The U.S. has recorded more than 20,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 for the third day in a row, a threshold that has not been crossed since May.
Health officials say that the fast-spreading Delta variant first identified in India is racing through areas with low vaccination rates, eroding gains made in beating back the virus.
On Friday, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases was up 47 percent from two weeks ago, and hospitalizations were up 11 percent, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Around 93 percent of COVID-19 cases in recent days have occurred in counties with vaccination rates of less than 40 percent, CDC director Rochelle Walensky told a media briefing on Thursday.
The Delta variant (dark orange) now accounts for 80% of all new cases in the US heartland
People check in for their Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic in an East Los Angeles neighborhood which has shown lower vaccination rates especially among the young on Friday
Preliminary data from recent months suggest 99.5 percent of COVID-19 deaths have occurred in unvaccinated people, she added.
'Simply put: In areas of low vaccination coverage, cases and hospitalizations are up,' Walensky said.
The CDC earlier this week said that the Delta variant of COVID-19 has become the dominant strain in the United States, accounting for more than half of all new cases.
In Missouri, the Delta variant now accounts for 96 percent of all new cases, and is driving a dangerous surge in the southwest part of the state.
This week, a federal COVID 'surge team' was dispatched to Springfield, Missouri in the heart of the hotspot.
Parts of central and northwest Arkansas are also seeing a surge in new cases.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
On Friday, Arkansas added more than 1,000 coronavirus cases for the third day in a row, as the state topped the nation in new cases per capita.