Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the United States remain low but are slowly rising again, driven by outbreaks in patches of the country’s center, south and west, and by tiny increases almost everywhere else.
The highly contagious Delta variant, which now makes up a majority of new U.S. cases, has spread rapidly, fueling the national uptick. But because vaccines are effective against the variant — especially against serious disease — new cases and hospitalizations are primarily climbing in places with low vaccination rates.
Public health experts expect this trend to continue, putting the country’s vaccinated and unvaccinated on very different paths in the next phase of the pandemic. While nearly half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, the level of protection varies widely across and within states.