LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA – AUGUST 10: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Clinicians work on intubation of a COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital on August 10, 2021 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. COVID-19 hospitalizations yesterday broke another record in the state at 2,720, with Louisiana being one of the country’s epicentres as the spread of the Delta variant continues. More than ninety percent of Louisiana hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. The Lake Charles Memorial currently hosts 52 COVID-19 patients, 25 of whom are in intensive care. (Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Mario Tama | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Five states broke records for the average number of new Covid cases over the weekend as the Delta variant strains US hospital systems and forces many states to reintroduce public health restrictions.

Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, Oregon and Mississippi all hit new highs on Sunday, the seven-day average of new cases per day, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. On a per capita basis, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida are suffering from the three worst outbreaks in the country.

New Covid cases per 100,000 inhabitants every day

Note: The lines show the 7-day average of the daily new cases.

Source: Johns Hopkins University, CNBC analysis. From 08/15/2021.

New Covid cases every day

100,000 inhabitants

Note: The lines show the 7-day average for the day

new cases.

Source: Johns Hopkins University, CNBC

Analysis. From 08/15/2021.

New Covid cases per 100,000 inhabitants every day

Note: The lines show the 7-day average of the daily new cases.

Source: Johns Hopkins University, CNBC analysis. From 08/15/2021.

Louisiana averaged 126 cases per 100,000 people on Sunday, more than three times the national average, while Mississippi and Florida averaged 110 and 101 cases per 100,000 people, respectively, according to the data.

“We are in the middle of summer, people are gathering with people again, they are in large groups, the vaccine in a way gave people a false sense of security and made them forget,” Dr. Perry Halkitis. Dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health told CNBC in an interview.


The surging Delta variant hit the Gulf Coast particularly hard and pushed hospitals to their limits. To contain the Louisiana outbreak, officials recommended masks indoors in July, regardless of whether they were vaccinated or not. They reintroduced a nationwide mask mandate on August 2 after it became apparent that it wasn’t working and cases continued to increase.

Everyone is now required to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, including all students from kindergarten to college.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Louisiana has the fifth lowest vaccination rate of any state in the country, with 38.3% of the population being fully immunized against the coronavirus. According to Hopkins data, Louisiana reported a record seven-day average of more than 5,800 new Covid cases on Sunday, an increase of nearly 27% from a week ago.

Louisiana recorded a seven-day average of 44 Covid-related deaths on Sunday, over 46% more than a week earlier. Nearly half of the state’s 882 reported intensive care beds were occupied by coronavirus patients as of Monday, compared with a nationwide average of 25%, according to the Department of Health and Social Affairs.


Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, a Republican, pleaded with residents Friday to get vaccinated as the state scrambles to hire hundreds of temporary doctors, nurses and emergency medical services.

He has also requested ventilators from the Strategic National Stockpile as the proliferation of the Delta variant fills hospitals across the state with mostly unvaccinated patients. Nearly 55% of Mississippi’s ICU beds were filled with Covid patients on Monday, and the state’s seven-day average of nearly 3,300 new coronavirus cases on Sunday rose 57% from a week.

“If you overlook the whole country, this current wave is in a sense the unvaccinated pandemic,” Reeves said at a press conference. “We keep seeing more and more data, and the data is getting clearer. Those who received the vaccine are far less likely to get the virus.”

Mississippi has the second lowest coronavirus vaccination rate in the country, with 35.8% of the population being fully vaccinated as of Sunday. The state’s death toll also hit a seven-day average of 20, nearly 80% more than a week ago.


Florida reported a record 151,764 new Covid cases for the week on Friday, hitting a new seven-day average of 21,681 cases per day – more than any other state. More than half of the intensive care beds in the state are occupied by Covid patients, according to HHS data.

Florida’s surge in cases comes as Republican Governor Ron DeSantis continues to oppose calls by the Biden government and state advocacy groups to enforce mask mandates and other pandemic-related measures to contain the massive outbreak. He signed an executive order and bill in May that lifted all Covid restrictions across the state and permanently prevented local officials from enacting new ones starting July 1.

In late July, DeSantis issued a controversial executive order that blocked the mask mandate in state schools and overruled two counties that required face coverings for their students.


Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, is dispatching up to 1,500 National Guard members to aid the state’s health systems as Covid hospital admissions hit a new record three days in a row, reaching 733 on Friday. The state recorded 1,765 new cases on Friday, bringing its seven-day average to 1,652, according to the latest data available.

The state reintroduced an indoor mask mandate for everyone, including those fully vaccinated, on Friday in response to the surge in hospital admissions.


Although the outbreak in Hawaii is relatively small compared to most mainland states, cases there have repeatedly hit new records since mid-July, hitting a seven-day average of 671 new cases per day on Sunday, according to Hopkins’ data.

That’s a more than seven-fold increase from 89 cases per day a month ago. The recent surge in cases has taken health officials by surprise and is starting to weigh on hospital systems. The total number of hospital admissions on the islands is 3,030, with 552 deaths recorded since the pandemic began.

“We’re on fire. When we have hospitals that are really concerned about taking care of people, it’s a crisis,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char at a press conference last week. “If we take this exponential growth in the number of people infected with Covid-19 every day – 2,000 people in the last three days – that’s a crisis. And at the point where we overwhelm our resources, it’s a disaster . “

However, hospitalization rates in Hawaii and Oregon are not as high as in other states. Nationwide, less than 11% of all hospital beds are used by Covid patients. Oregon is 11.4%, Hawaii is 12.1%, followed by Louisiana at 20.4%, Mississippi at 18.7%, and Florida at 28.2%, according to HHS data.

The capacity of hospital beds correlates very closely with vaccination rates. In the states with higher vaccination rates, fewer Covid patients use hospital beds. Oregon has fully vaccinated 56.6% of its residents, followed by Hawaii with 54%, Florida with 50.3%, Louisiana with 37.8%, and Mississippi with 35.4%, according to CDC data.

“As a result, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi are suffering with bed capacity and rising death rates; while Oregon and Hawaii suffer with explosive case numbers but high vaccination and masking rates, may not always be in the same precarious position.” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at the University of California at San Francisco.

According to Hopkins data, the national seven-day mean of new cases on Sunday is 130,710, a 20% increase from the previous seven-day mean. The seven-day average of Covid deaths nationwide rose to 687, up 36% from the previous average.

“We know the tools, and now it comes down to the value judgment of policymakers to determine which tools they want to implement,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert at the University of Toronto, told CNBC.