COVID-19 cases in US triple over 2 weeks amid misinformation

  • FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, file photo doctors inject sisters Claudia Scott-Mighty, left, Althea Scott-Bonaparte, who are patient care directors, and Christine Scott, an ICU nurse, with their second shot of the Pfizer vaccine at NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital, in Bronxville, N.Y. The private New York-Presbyterian hospital system announced in June that it will require its 48,000 employees to be vaccinated unless they have a valid exemption. Workers in New York City-run hospitals and health clinics will have to get vaccinated or get tested weekly under a policy announced Wednesday, July 21, to battle a rise in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious delta variant. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, File) Kevin Hagen

  • FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2020, file photo, medical personnel don PPE while attending to a patient (not infected with COVID-19) at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Workers in New York City-run hospitals and health clinics will have to get vaccinated or get tested weekly under a policy announced Wednesday, July 21, 2021, to battle a rise in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious delta variant. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File) Seth Wenig

  • FILE - In this June 4, 2020, file photo, health care workers at Brooklyn's Kings County Hospital show their solidarity with Black Lives Matter during a demonstration in New York. Workers in New York City-run hospitals and health clinics will have to get vaccinated or get tested weekly under a policy announced Wednesday, July 21, 2021, to battle a rise in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious delta variant. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) Mark Lennihan

  • FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2021 file photo, Sarah Gonzalez of New York, a Nurse Practitioner, displays a COVID-19 vaccine card at a New York Health and Hospitals vaccine clinic in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Workers in New York City-run hospitals and health clinics will have to get vaccinated or get tested weekly under a policy announced Wednesday, July 21, to battle a rise in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious delta variant. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File) Craig Ruttle

  • FILE - In this Wednesday Oct. 21, 2020, file photo a health worker prepares to administer a COVID-19 swab at a drive-thru testing site in Lawrence, N.Y. The the state Department of Health said a tiny fraction of vaccinated New Yorkers have tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File) Seth Wenig

Published: 7/21/2021 4:24:32 PM

COVID-19 cases tripled in the U.S. over two weeks amid an onslaught of vaccine misinformation that is straining hospitals, exhausting doctors and pushing clergy into the fray.

“Our staff, they are frustrated,” said Chad Neilsen, director of infection prevention at UF Health Jacksonville, a Florida hospital that is canceling elective surgeries and procedures after the number of mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 inpatients at its two campuses jumped to 134, up from a low of 16 in mid-May.

“They are tired. They are thinking this is déjà vu all over again, and there is some anger because we know that this is a largely preventable situation, and people are not taking advantage of the vaccine.”

Across the U.S., the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases rose over the past two weeks to more than 37,000 on Tuesday, up from less than 13,700 on July 6, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Health officials blame the delta variant and slowing vaccination rates. Just 56.2% of Americans have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Louisiana, health officials reported 5,388 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday – the third-highest daily count since early 2020. Hospitalizations for the disease rose to 844 statewide, up more than 600 since mid-June.

“It is like seeing the car wreck before it happens,” said Dr. James Williams, a professor of emergency medicine at Texas Tech, who has recently started treating more COVID-19 patients. “None of us want to go through this again.”

He said the patients are younger – many in their 20s, 30s and 40s – and overwhelmingly unvaccinated.

“People were just begging for this,” he said of the vaccine. “And remarkably it was put together within a year, which is just astonishing. People don’t even appreciate that. Within a year, we got a vaccine. And now they are thinking, ‘Hmm, I don’t know if I will get it.’ ”




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