U.S. Suffers Worst Week for COVID Cases Since January

COVID cases in the U.S. reached their highest levels since January over the past week, with weekly averages topping 160,000 for the first time in several months.

Case data collected by The New York Times shows that seven-day average cases hit the same levels as they did in late January between August 31 and September 5.

It comes as the U.S. hits 40,000,000 total cases of COVID, with 648,264 deaths according to the NYT data, which was updated on Monday.

The seven-day moving average of deaths in the country is increasing and surpassed the 1,000 mark in late August, CDC data shows—a milestone last seen in March when numbers were decreasing from the January peak.

According to Our World in Data, the rate of people getting vaccinated in the U.S. is slowly increasing after hitting a several-month low in July. The rate is currently at around 0.28 vaccines administered per 100 people a day, down from the April peak of 1 per day and up from the July low of about 0.15.

The country is currently battling the more transmissible Delta variant of COVID, which accounts for nearly 100 percent of all sequenced cases nationally, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

The ongoing wave of infections has interrupted learning for kids across the U.S., with a number of school districts temporarily shutting their doors or switching to distance learning in a bid to prevent further outbreaks.

On September 1, the Connally Independent School District in central Texas closed five schools for that week after the deaths of two teachers from COVID in one week, according to The Associated Press.

Superintendent Wesley Holt said the schools were hoping to reopen after the Labor Day holiday as this would give infected people time to isolate and also allow for the deep-cleaning of district facilities.

That came after classrooms in the west Texas school district of Iraan-Sheffield had to close only a week after students returned because of an outbreak there towards the end of August.

The state has struggled with COVID and currently leads in terms of cases in the past seven days with 128,131 as of September 4, according to the CDC.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott's approval rating has taken a hit amidst the recent wave while stoking controversy by opposing mask mandates in schools.

But Texas is not the only state struggling with infections. Tennessee and South Carolina are significantly ahead of the rest of the U.S. in terms of their seven-day case rate per 100,000 people with over 720 each. Wyoming, with the third-highest, has 646.

South Carolina news outlet WLTX reported on September 3 that as of Friday last week, 19 schools in the Midlands area had gone virtual due to outbreaks.

COVID test site
A COVID test being carried out at a drive-through test site in Costa Mesa, California, in November 2020. U.S. cases are forcing some schools in to switch back to virtual learning. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP / Getty