COVID-19 hospitalizations hit highest national average since March

COVID-19 hospitalizations have steadily increased to reach the highest national average since early March, with more than 33,000 people in U.S. hospitals with coronavirus on a given day.

Hospitalizations are up 18 percent nationwide over the past 14 days, with a daily average of 37,472 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of July 11, according to HHS data collected by The New York Times

Southern states have seen the greatest jumps over the past 14 days, with South Carolina reporting a 54 percent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations (daily average of 436); Arkansas reporting a 47 percent increase (daily average of 365); Alabama reporting a 46 percent increase (daily average of 675) and Louisiana reporting a 42 percent increase (daily average of 420). 

In California and the Bay Area, COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached their highest point since February, when the region was still coming out of the winter omicron surge, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. The state is reporting a 28 percent increase over the past 14 days with a daily average of 4,360 hospitalizations. 

The CDC's latest variant proportion update for the week ending July 2 showed the omicron subvariant BA.5 accounted for nearly 54 percent of all cases. The subvariant is particularly adept in evading immunity from vaccination and prior infection. Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston recently found neutralizing antibody responses against BA.4 and BA.5 were twentyfold lower than against the original omicron strain.

The size of the BA.5 wave is muddled because most people are testing at home or not testing at all, resulting in undercounts. The CDC in the past week has reported a little more than 100,000 new cases a day on average. 

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