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Arkansas reports 1,000 new cases; biggest 1-day virus spike in 5 months

The Department of Health on Wednesday reported the state’s virus cases now total 353,095 and its hospitalizations increased by 16 to 432.

The state’s COVID-19 deaths rose by seven to 5,933.

Wednesday marked the biggest one-day jump in cases for Arkansas since the state reported 1,103 on Feb. 10.

Public health officials have warned about a third wave of the virus hitting Arkansas, which has had one of the largest increases in cases per capita and one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

Georgetown University researchers identified 30 clusters of counties in the nation with low vaccination rates and significant population sizes. The five most significant of those clusters are sprawled across large swaths of the southeastern United States — including Arkansas — and a smaller portion in the Midwest, according to CNN.

The five clusters are largely in parts of eight states, starting in the east in Georgia and stretching west to Texas and north to southern Missouri. The clusters also include parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, and are made up of mostly smaller counties but also cities such as Montgomery, Alabama; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Amarillo, Texas.

Most of these states are currently seeing increases in Covid-19 cases.

According to the Associated Press, new research from France adds to evidence that widely used COVID-19 vaccines still offer strong protection against the coronavirus mutant that now accounts for most U.S. infections.

The delta variant is surging through populations with low vaccination rates. Researchers from France’s Pasteur Institute reported new evidence Thursday in the journal Nature that full vaccination is critical.

In laboratory tests, a single dose of the two-dose Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines “barely inhibited” the delta variant. But after a second dose just about everyone experienced a big boost in immunity. (For more on this new research regarding the importance of receiving two doses of the vaccine in the fight against the delta variant, click here.)

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