Seven US states with least shots make up half of Covid-19 cases

Demonstrators protest at a community town hall event promoting Covid-19 vaccinations in Arkansas in July 2021.
Demonstrators protest at a community town hall event promoting Covid-19 vaccinations in Arkansas in July 2021.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Seven US states with the lowest Covid-19 vaccination rates account for half of the country’s new cases and hospitalisations in the last week, the White House said on Thursday (Aug 5).

The states are Florida, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, according to President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 coordinator, Jeff Zients, who spoke on a press briefing.

Of those, Florida and Texas account for about a third of new coronavirus cases and an even higher share of hospitalisations in the country.

The Biden administration has been eager to thaw opposition by some Americans, including those who distrust the government, to taking the vaccine as the highly infectious Delta variant sweeps the country.

Covid-19 cases are up about 43 per cent over the previous week and daily deaths are up more than 39 per cent, according to US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr Rochelle Walensky, who also spoke on the call.

The United States hit a six-month high for new Covid-19 cases with over 100,000 infections reported on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally.

Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told reporters that he credits the administration of Republican former president Donald Trump for helping to develop the vaccine. Biden is a Democrat.

“We give credit to the Trump administration for doing this,” said Fauci.

Some 864,000 vaccinations have been given in the past 24 hours, the highest since early July, the White House said.