Federal health officials are imploring Americans to get vaccinated as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations start to climb just ahead of the holidays.
There's been an 18% increase in the United States' seven-day average of reported coronavirus infections, and a 6% increase in the seven-day average of COVID-19 hospitalizations, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a Monday media briefing.
Nearly a third of new cases are in Midwestern states, with Michigan and Minnesota reporting more cases per capita than any other states, but all but a dozen states saw cases rise over the past week, Johns Hopkins data shows.
"Heading into the winter months, when respiratory viruses are more likely to spread, and with plans for increased holiday season travel and gatherings, boosting people's overall protection against COVID-19 disease and death was important to do now," Walensky said, the Washington Post reported.
"Most tragic are the vaccine-preventable deaths we are still seeing from this disease," Walensky added. "Even in our updated data, unvaccinated people are at 14 times greater risk of dying from COVID-19 than people who are vaccinated."
Children have not been spared the recent spike in coronavirus infections, either, with pediatric cases up 32% from two weeks ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported Monday.
There were at least 141,905 new cases among children for the week ending Nov. 18, with children representing more than a quarter of all new coronavirus cases for the past week, the AAP report found. The statistic is stark, since children only account for 22% of the U.S. population. When the pandemic began in early 2020, kids accounted for fewer than 3% of confirmed cases. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 6.8 million children have tested positive for COVID-19, the AAP said in its report.
Just a few days ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for all adults 18 and older at least six months after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and anyone who received Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine also is eligible for a booster, the Post reported.