New COVID-19 deaths and cases skyrocketed across the country over the past week as the nation continues to battle a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” White House officials said Tuesday. 

The latest rolling seven-day average of daily COVID-19 deaths was 739 — a 23 percent increase from the week before, said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky during a briefing. 

While the daily average hospitalization rate of 11,000 remained close to the previous week’s numbers, the seven-day average for new cases jumped nearly 12 percent with about 137,000 new infections reported each day, Walensky said. 

“As cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise, I want to re-emphasize the serious risk of COVID, especially to the unvaccinated and the importance of vaccines to prevent severe illness and save lives,” Walensky said.

The latest rolling seven-day average of daily COVID-19 deaths was 739.REUTERS/Nick Oxford

As the highly transmissible Delta variant continues to spread among both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans, Walensky shared data that showed vaccines are still highly effective against serious COVID-19 illness. 

A sample of nationally representative data of COVID-19-related hospitalizations between January and July showed the unvaccinated were 17 times more likely to end up in the hospital compared to those who got the shot, she said. 

Walensky also shared data from a study out of Los Angeles County that found unvaccinated residents were five times more likely to be infected and 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with the virus than those who’ve been vaccinated. 

Patty Trejo, 54, holds the hand of her intubated husband, Joseph, in a COVID-19 unit at St. Jude Medical Center, in Fullerton, California.AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

“These data remind us that if you are not yet vaccinated, you are among those highest at risk,” Walenksy warned. 

“The Delta variant of Sars-Cov-2 virus is highly transmissible, represents over 98 percent of COVID cases here in the United States and is driving up infections, hospitalizations and deaths across the country,” she said. “Please, do not underestimate the risk of serious consequences of this virus.” 

On Monday, the FDA announced it fully approved the Pfizer vaccine for use, and Walensky encouraged those who’ve been on the fence about getting the shot to speak to their doctor and reevaluate their decision. 

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