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Wearing face masks, people walk through Union Station in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

As vaccination rates dwindle and the Delta variant becomes a growing public health concern, COVID cases appear to be surging across the U.S.

The big picture: "Twenty-four states have seen an uptick of at least 10% in Covid-19 cases over the past week," CNN writes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says between June 20 and July 3, the Delta variant accounted for more than 51% of all news cases.

Driving the news: Missouri and Arkansas are the states with the highest weekly case rates per capita. In the last seven days, Missouri had 142.1 cases per 100,000 residents and Arkansas had 139.8, according to CDC data.

  • Kansas reported the most number of new cases in over three months, AP reports.
  • The city of Independence issued a public health advisory Friday, saying cases and hospitalizations were growing throughout the Kansas City metro and the state of Missouri due to the Delta variant.
  • In California, Los Angeles County officials said they saw a 165% increase in new cases week over week.
  • Arizona reported its biggest daily increase in two months with more than 900 new cases on Friday.
  • Mississippi health officials acknowledged a "modest" increase in hospitalizations, mostly driven by the Delta variant, AP notes.

What they're saying: "We should think about the Delta variant as the 2020 version of Covid-19 on steroids," former White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt told CNN on Wednesday.

  • "It's twice as infectious. Fortunately, unlike 2020, we actually have a tool that stops the Delta variant in its tracks: It's called vaccine," he added.
  • Slavitt noted the variant presented a "very little threat" to fully vaccinated individuals.

Zoom out: Virus cases have ticked up around the world. The United Kingdom saw its highest case count since January as the disease spreads among younger age groups. On Friday, the government reported more than 35,700 new cases, the highest number since January.

  • The Netherlands reimposed coronavirus restrictions on Friday amid a surge of new cases, which the government said were driven by the Delta variant.
  • In Bangkok, health authorities reported more than 9,200 new cases and 72 new deaths. "More than 90% of the cases and deaths have occurred since early April," AP writes.

Go deeper

Oct 17, 2021 - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

Oct 16, 2021 - Health

Pope Francis calls on companies to release COVID vaccine patents

Pope Francis. Photo: Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pope Francis called on pharmaceutical companies on Saturday to release patents to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible to the poor, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: There is a stark divide between countries that have access to COVID-19 shots and those that don't, and the gap has widened as some wealthier countries have begun distributing third doses.

Oct 17, 2021 - Health

Fauci: J&J recipients will likely be able to mix and match boosters

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will likely allow recipients of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 to mix and match vaccine boosters depending on their individual health, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told ABC News' '"This Week" on Sunday.

Why it matters: The FDA's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed booster shots for adult recipients of the J&J vaccine. The panel is also exploring the mix and match strategy but hasn't yet taken a formal vote on the matter.

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