COVID-19 cases in Florida soared to close to 46,000 this week, accounting for 20% of all new cases in the nation.
The astonishing number is double the cases of the previous week and four times the cases in mid-June, according to statistics from the Florida Health Department.
The health department also reported 231 new deaths, up from 172 the week ending July 9, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
States with the highest outbreaks now also include Nevada, Missouri and Arkansas, which all have low vaccination rates of about 50% of the population with at least one dose. Arkansas and Missouri are tallying more cases now than they did in the winter. Some rural areas have vaccination rates as low as 20%.
In Florida, 59% of resident have had at least one dose. States with rates of 70% or more are faring much better.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky in a press briefing at the White House Friday called the outbreaks a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” (See the video below.)
The vaccinated remain relatively safe, she said, while the unvaccinated are “at risk.” Of those recently hospitalized with COVID-19, 97% are unvaccinated, Walensky added.
“Our biggest concern is we are going to continue to see preventable cases, hospitalizations and, sadly, deaths among the unvaccinated,” she said.
The nation is now averaging about 26,000 cases per day, a nearly 70% hike from the previous seven-day average, according to Walensky. Hospitalizations are up to about 2,790 per day — a 36% increase over the previous week — and deaths are up 26% to 211 per day.
Walensky said states with soaring cases might consider reinstating indoor mask mandates.
President Joe Biden on Friday criticized social media for spreading vaccine disinformation that’s costing lives.
“They’re killing people,” he said. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people.”
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