The high numbers come amid a COVID-19 surge caused by the delta variant, which has been spreading far and wide among unvaccinated individuals. Vaccinated people have been infected, too, but only in rare breakthrough cases.
“The jump in cases has translated into overcrowded hospitals and a rise in infections among children — of particular concern as many students return to their classrooms. And experts fear that a holiday weekend could make matters worse,” according to CNN.
Of course, the 40 million number is based on positive COVID-19 test results. It does not include any cases that have gone undiagnosed. Across the world, there has been concern that the reported numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths are lower than the actual numbers.
For example, a recent study from MIT suggested the actual number of COVID-19 infections was about 12 times higher than the official numbers.
“The magnitude of (the) epidemic is widely under-reported with much variation globally,” wrote the study’s authors, Hazhir Rahmandad, Tse Yang Lim and John Sterman, per The Hill.
Numbers may only continue to climb. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said last week that some states, like New York and Connecticut, will experience another COVID-19 wave, which will be the true wave of the delta variant, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
“I don’t think that that was the true delta wave. I think that that was a delta warning. I think our true delta wave is going to start to build after Labor Day here in the Northeast and the northern part of the country,” Gottlieb said.
Correction: This article previously said 4 million cases came within the last week. The report said 4 million cases came within the last four weeks.