Covid-19 cases
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
  • The US reported more than 122,000 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday, according to data analyzed by The New York Times.
  • The figure is the highest since February and comes amid the spread of the more contagious Delta variant.
  • The CDC last week said vaccinated people should mask up in areas with high levels of the disease.
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The United States reported more than 122,000 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday - the highest number of new cases reported in a single day since early February, according to data analysed by The New York Times.

The new cases are fueled at least partially by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, which has become the dominant strain of the virus in the US, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The US had not reported more than 100,000 new Covid-19 infections in a single day since February 11, according to the Times data.

A number of new cases as high as the number reported Friday - 122,674 - hasn't been reported in more than five months since February 5, when more than 129,000 new infections were reported, according to the data.

The highest number of new cases of all time in the US was reported in early January when more than 259,000 cases of the disease were reported, according to the Times. While the number of cases, hospitalisations, and deaths has steadily declined since then due to the availability of vaccines that began rolling out late last year, the Delta variant has again caused the disease to surge.

Deaths in the US have ticked up 10% over the last two weeks, according to the Times data, while hospitalisations have increased 74% over the past 14 days.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky earlier in July called the ongoing surge a "pandemic of the unvaccinated."

While people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can become infected with the disease in what is known as a breakthrough infection, experts say the vaccines work well at preventing serious illness and death.

The vast majority of deaths are among unvaccinated Americans, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with NBC earlier in July.

New science this week promoted the CDC to change its guidance on face masks, warning that vaccinated people can still spread the variant and urging fully vaccinated Americans to wear face masks in areas with high levels of Covid-19. The agency earlier this year told fully vaccinated people they could ditch their masks in most settings.

"Information on the Delta variant from several states and other countries indicates that, on rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others," Walensky said Tuesday.

"This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations," she added.

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