The new study, published in British journal The Lancet, looked at the effects of the delta variant on public health and social measures. The variant has been identified in 154 countries and has been the most prevalent variant in recent months.
The researchers looked at just under 8,700 patients carrying the delta variant and around 34,600 with the alpha variant, which was confirmed by genome sequencing. They found that patients infected with the delta variant are two times more likely to end up in hospital compared with patients with the alpha variant.
"Emergency care attendance combined with hospital admission was also higher for patients with the delta variant, showing increased use of emergency care services as well as inpatient hospitalization," the study claimed.
The U.S. has reached a new peak of hospitalizations, with a daily average of 100,000 for the first time since the winter peak earlier this year as vaccinations first became available, The New York Times reported.
In January 2021, the U.S. rolling seven-day average for hospitalizations hit around 137,500.
Florida is facing the most severe hospitalization crisis in the country, with 79 hospitalizations per 100,000 people over the past 14 days. Other states in the South, including Alabama (61 per 100,000), Mississippi (59 per 100,000) and Georgia (58 per 100,000) face similarly difficult situations – and also some of the lowest vaccination rates: Mississippi and Alabama each have fully vaccinated just under 38% of their populations.
Nationwide deaths have also jumped by 355% since early July, according to CBS News. Louisiana recorded a high of 139 deaths in a single day on Aug. 24.