More than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths recorded as US returns to April levels

The U.S. recorded more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday as numbers reach levels last seen in April, largely due to the highly infectious delta variant spreading rapidly throughout the country.

The 1,017 coronavirus deaths reported on Tuesday equate to roughly 42 fatalities an hour, according to a Reuters tally of state data.

The U.S. has recorded more than 620,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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The U.S. is now averaging 769 daily coronavirus deaths, Reuters reported, which is the highest rate seen since mid-April.

The U.S. has consistently been seeing fewer than than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths per day since mid-March, when large swaths of the country started getting vaccinated. Before that, the country was recording more than 1,000 deaths daily.

Infections are also currently on the rise in the U.S.

According to the Reuters tally, the U.S. has recorded an average of more than 100,000 new daily cases for the past 12 days, marking a six-month high.

The increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths is driven largely by the delta variant, which is more infectious than previous versions of the virus and has taken hold as the dominant strain in the country.

The CDC reported on Tuesday that the delta variant accounts for more than 98.8 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to USA Today.

Health officials are now doubling down on their push for vaccinations, especially since the vast majority of recent COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths are among those who have not been inoculated.

The Biden administration is reportedly expected to announce as early as this week that Americans should receive a COVID-19 booster shot eight months after becoming fully vaccinated.