The United States recorded more than 100,000 new daily COVID-19 cases on each of the past two days, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Between Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, new daily cases jumped from 25,141 to a staggering 127,976 new daily cases.
The giant leap in new daily COVID-19 cases is a stark illustration of the delta variant-driven surge in the U.S. amid mostly stagnant vaccination rates.
FILE - A flag with "COVID-19 Testing Entrance" written on it at the St. Joseph's Community Campus in downtown Reading Wednesday afternoon April 21, 2021. (Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed the delta variant as a variant of concern in the U.S. and noted that it is more transmissible than previous variants.
New evidence from the CDC released on July 29 revealed that the delta variant can be as contagious as chickenpox. A surge in new cases being spurred on by the variant of concern has led the CDC and federal health officials to reverse their recommendations on mask-wearing indoors.
The CDC changed course on masks on July 27, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing facial coverings indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling infection surges.
Citing new information about the variant’s ability to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status.
The CDC noted that vaccinated people are 10 times less likely to get seriously sick from COVID-19, and three times less likely to get infected.
New cases per day in the U.S. have increased sixfold over the past month to an average of nearly 80,000, a level not seen since mid-February. And deaths per day have climbed over the past two weeks from an average of 259 to 360.
Those are still below the 3,400 deaths and a quarter-million cases per day seen during the worst of the outbreak in January. But some places around the country are watching caseloads reach their highest levels since the pandemic began. And nearly all deaths and serious illnesses now are among unvaccinated people.
The surge has led states and cities across the U.S. to retreat, just weeks after it looked as if the country was going to see a close-to-normal summer.
In July, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said the U.S. was headed in the "wrong direction."
"This is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we’re out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated," Fauci said.
Meanwhile, in multiple states — including Wisconsin— hospital admissions have skyrocketed as the delta variant continues to sweep through the population.
"The state of Wisconsin has seen a fourfold increase in hospitalizations in the last four weeks," Dr. Ben Weston with the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management said on Tuesday. "That’s worth repeating: We have four times as many people hospitalized with COVID in Wisconsin as we did one month ago – from 74 one month ago to 310 today."
"The way out of this pandemic is through vaccines. Every person who is not vaccinated is a potential host for another variant," Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said.
Health officials said just over half of Milwaukee residents ages 16 and older are fully vaccinated. It has reason only 0.8% since hitting the 50% threshold a week and a half ago.
Florida leads the nation in the percentage of inpatient hospital beds occupied by people with COVID-19, according to data posted Tuesday by the federal government.
As of Monday, 11,863 inpatient beds in Florida were being used by COVID-19 patients, about 22% of all inpatient beds in the state, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data show. No other state had as high of a utilization rate.
In Georgia, hospitalizations from COVID-19 have surpassed 2,500, numbers not reported by the Georgia Department of Public Health since this past February.
More than 9,100 new reported cases were added to the state’s data by the GDPH. The combined PCR positive and antigen-positive cases were not previously reported due to an error, the state agency said.
"So we’re looking, not, I believe, to lockdown, but we’re looking to some pain and suffering in the future because we’re seeing the cases go up, which is the reason why we keep saying over and over again, the solution to this is get vaccinated and this would not be happening," Fauci said on ABC's "This Week."
So far, 49.8% of the U.S. adult population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to CDC data.
The Associated Press, FOX 6, FOX 35 Orlando and FOX 5 Atlanta contributed to this report.