PHOENIX — Arizona is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, with the seven-day average of newly-added cases in the state rising above 500 for the first time since June 3, a 23% bump from last week.
According to data from the COVID-19 tracking site 91-DIVOC.COM, 19 states are experiencing increases in their seven-day moving average — 12 are higher than 10%.
While Friday’s reported death number was the highest that has been reported since April 20, the data is not yet signaling an increase.
The seven-day average of newly added deaths increased to 11.5, but Arizona has remained in a daily range of nine to 13 since April 26. Of the 28 reported deaths, 24 of them are recent, having occurred after May 23.
Experts are attributing this sudden rise in cases to the surge in cases coming from the COVID-19 Delta variant.
The Center for Disease Control identifies Delta as a “variant of concern,” the same classification assigned to the now-dominant UK variant.
Due to its increased transmission rate, thought to be around 60% higher than the UK variant, experts believe the variant will be more than 50% of COVID-19 cases in the United States in the next two to three weeks.
According to the laboratory T-GEN, the Delta variant is around 15% of cases in Arizona, up from 3% in May.
Two-shot vaccine preventing deaths
The good news in all of this, according to White House Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Bechara Chouchair, a two-dose vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna is “very effective” against the Delta variant.
“What we know is that the overwhelming majority, and by far, of people who are dying from this virus or being hospitalized are people who are unvaccinated,” Chouchair said.
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He told ABC15 that the doctors expect the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be just as effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths from the Delta variant, but because most people in the country have taken the two-dose mRNA Pfizer or Moderna vaccines the data is more complete.
Vaccinations in Arizona continue to trend downward
The Arizona Department of Health Services reports that 3,531,405 Arizonans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose, with 3,102,335 of them being reported as fully vaccinated.
The state does not break out the numbers on one versus two-dose vaccines.
The seven-day average of Arizona’s receiving at least one dose is creeping towards 10,000, the lowest since early January when the vaccine was not readily available.
Arizonans over the age of 65 have the highest vaccination rates by far of any age group at 85.9%.
The health department’s data estimates that just under half of the state’s population has been vaccinated.