Delta variant of COVID-19 now 93% of all sequenced cases in US

More than 614,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 4.2 million people have died worldwide.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.

More than 614,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 4.2 million people have died worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 58.2% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC last week, citing new science on the transmissibility of the delta variant, changed its mask guidance to now recommend everyone in areas with substantial or high levels of transmission -- vaccinated or not -- wear a face covering in public, indoor settings.

The delta variant now accounts for 93% of all sequenced cases in the U.S., according to the latest CDC data, which was collected over the last two weeks of July.

Delta accounted for just 3% of cases sequenced in late May.

Across the Midwest, described as HHS regions 7 and 8, delta made up 97% to 98% of cases. This includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

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Meanwhile, in the Philadelphia region, Dr. John Zurlo, the head infectious disease specialist at Jefferson Health, says the cases will likely keep rising.

"My guess is in our region, as what we saw in the United Kingdom, we're going to see a rapid rise in cases as we are now seeing," said Zurlo.

But he says while things seem bleak now, in his opinion, this will likely subside.

"I think it's going to likely come down as equally as rapidly. What that time frame is I don't know. But I would say measured in weeks - not months," he said.

By the numbers, it's clear we're in that surge.

Over the last month - as of Tuesday - cases per day in the tri-state area have jumped significantly. Hospitalizations have also climbed, with New Jersey seeing the biggest jump.

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However, what is down, or even, are deaths per day in the region.

In fact, Delaware is reporting none. Dr. Zurlo says preventing death is exactly what the vaccine is designed for.

"I think the logical thing to assume is the higher the vaccination rate the fewer the people that are going to get sick and die from Covid," he said.

ABC News contributed to this report.

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