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US COVID-19 deaths almost double in 2 weeks, as fight over ban of school mask mandate goes on

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-08-15 10:24
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Children play with water at a park in New York, the United States, July 26, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

NEW YORK - The seven-day average of COVID-19 deaths reached 645 in the United States on Friday, almost doubling in two weeks to reach the highest point since May, according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, the daily infections are up about 66 percent over the same period, back at levels last seen in early February, with the average topping 128,000 as of Friday, showed the university's data.

As the whole nation is grappling with the Delta variant which caused a new round of fatalities since the pandemic occurred 18 months ago, educators and the federal government's fight to keep the school mask mandate in place is still going on.

Virus unbridled

Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in their 30s have hit a new record, US government data show, a sign of the toll that the highly contagious Delta variant is taking among the unvaccinated, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

Thirty-somethings, who are in prime ages for work and parenting, had largely avoided hospital stays for COVID-19 during earlier phases of the pandemic because of their relative good health. Yet the age group is seeing new coronavirus hospital admissions increase during the recent Delta-driven surge, which doctors and epidemiologists attribute to the failure of large numbers of Americans to get vaccinated and their highly active lives, according to the newspaper.

The rate at which adults ages 30 to 39 are entering hospitals with COVID-19 reached about 2.5 per 100,000 people as of last Wednesday, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services, up from the previous peak of roughly 2 per 100,000 people in early January.

The same tragedy has happened to American children -- early versions of COVID-19 largely spared children but the Delta variant proved to be much less discriminating, and has led to more child hospitalizations, reported the National Public Radio (NPR) on Saturday.

"Now, health care workers on the front lines say there is another frightening prospect looming: a surge in children diagnosed with a combination of COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)," said the report. The CDC said that it can be life-threatening in infants and young adults.

Pediatric hospitals in Texas and around the country are reporting unseasonably early outbreaks of RSV, a respiratory virus that mostly manifests as a mild illness with cold-like symptoms in adults but that can cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis in very young children, it added.

Moreover, the first case of the much-talked-about Lambda variant of COVID-19 was reported by Los Angeles health officials on Thursday. "But for all the fanfare, Lambda doesn't seem to have been much of a match for Delta -- yet," reported Deadline Hollywood on Saturday.

"We've only seen one Lambda variant among tests sequenced in our labs, and this was a sample from June," Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer was quoted as saying.

The fact that Lambda was sequenced in June and has not been found since would seem to indicate it's not spreading rapidly, if at all, in the county which, according to Ferrer, saw the powerful Delta variant account for "99 percent of all sequences last week."

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