COVID cases climb in US hot spots

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 11:42 AM CDT
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(CNN) – The United States is seeing a 47% jump in average daily new COVID-19 cases compared to a week ago.

The surge comes as the delta variant spreads rapidly throughout the country.

The hot spots include Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Nevada.

“Those five states are generating a third of the cases in the United States right now,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner at George Washington University.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, average COVID-19 case rates last week were about three times higher in states that have fully vaccinated less than half of their residents compared to states that have vaccinated more than half.

“In places like Missouri, where ICUs are packed, you’re going to see a surprising amount of death,” Reiner said.

But as U.S. health officials continue to push for more Americans to be vaccinated, the Food and Drug Administration is sending out a warning on the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.

The FDA says there may be an increased risk of a rare neurological condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can cause muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.

It’s not clear if the vaccine causes the condition, but the FDA notes an increase in reports of the syndrome.

“Even if it ends up being real, it’s still fewer than one in a million vaccine doses that end up with this syndrome, and there are around 3,000 to 5,000 that get Guillain-Barre syndrome every year with or without vaccines,” according to Dr. Megan Ranney, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Brown University.

Health experts and the CDC stress that even if there’s an increased risk of Guillain-Barre, it’s still better to get vaccinated against COVID-19 than doing without.

“That one in a million is so much smaller than the risk of catching COVID itself or getting really sick,” Ranney said.

The FDA says 12.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine have been administered with 100 preliminary reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

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