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Jul 14, 2021

A cluster of midwestern and southern states have emerged as a new center of Covid-19 outbreaks, as the highly transmissible Delta variant sweeps across poorly vaccinated populations in the US.
The news marks a potentially serious setback for the Biden administrations attempts to curb and control the pandemic as the Delta variant which has wreaked havoc in the UK and elsewhere is starting to spread more widely in America.
It also comes as life in much of the US has started to return to near normal, with many Covid-19 restrictions having been lifted, and as the vaccination program has slowed down.
Rates of Covid-19 cases in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi are among the highest in the country, and their vaccination rates among the lowest. Covid also appears to be gaining ground in the American west.
Even so, overall numbers of new Covid-19 cases are low. New infections are less than one-tenth the average daily rate at the height of the pandemic in January, even as they have doubled in the last two weeks.
We are not where we were in April 2020, said Dr David Dowdy, an associate professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University and an expert in infectious diseases. Nevertheless, he said, Weve seen those counts can go up substantially and quickly, so we need to be cautious but without panicking.
Localised outbreaks highlight a growing divide in vaccine adoption among US states, as a complex set of conditions have left Republican-leaning and rural places with lower overall vaccination rates than Democratic-leaning states.
Read more of Jessica Glenzas report here: Delta variant gains ground in US as outbreaks highlight vaccine divide