Coronavirus is unfortunately still going strong in the U.S. as we head into the winter months.
COVID-19 deaths are ticking upwards in certain parts of the country ahead of the holiday season, according to new data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this week.
COVID-related hospitalizations rose by 8.6% the week ending Nov. 11, while deaths attributed to COVID increased by over 9% during that same period, the CDC said.
Maryland and Colorado were the two states with the highest percentage of deaths due to COVID-19 in the week ending Nov. 11, data showed.
The health agency also released data showing positive COVID test results have roughly remained unchanged during that week, while emergency department visits diagnosed as coronavirus rose by 7.1%.
Six states — Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska and Hawaii — all have counties with what the CDC considers high levels of reported COVID-19 new hospital admissions in the week ending Nov. 11. Still, the majority of the country had low levels of new COVID hospitalizations during the same period.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has announced more free COVID tests for those that didn’t take advantage of the kits made available in September. Specifically, Americans will be able to order up to eight at-home testing kits online through covid.gov/tests and get them delivered for free by the U.S. Postal Service.
Updated COVID vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have also been made available for Americans, but the CDC noted that vaccination levels were currently lower than desired.
“The data show that COVID-19 vaccine uptake is lower than we’d like to see and there are disparities in uptake by race and ethnicity,” they said. “This means a lot of people are missing out on the benefits of vaccination.”
As of Nov. 4, just 13.4% of adults in the country have taken the updated vaccine since mid-September, the CDC said, adding that about 18% of those surveyed said they definitely intend to get the new shot. The age group of those 65 and older recorded the highest vaccine uptake.
Apart from COVID, RSV-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations are also on the rise, with the CDC noting last week that just about 14% of adults over 60 years old have said they’ve had the RSV vaccine. The vaccine is recommended for adults age 60 and up who have certain risk factors.