US hits 40 million COVID-19 cases

The U.S. has hit 40 million reported coronavirus cases as the delta variant has devastated many areas, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

There have been more than 648,000 deaths from the virus in the U.S., according to the data.

In the last month alone, there have been 4 million new cases recorded in the U.S., along with more than 32,000 new deaths. The seven-day average case count last week was as high as it's been since January.

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The latest spike in cases has been caused by the highly transmissible delta variant, which quickly reversed progress the U.S. had made in fighting the pandemic heading into the summer. 

New coronavirus restrictions such as mask mandates for vaccinated individuals have been implemented by some areas in order to fight the new surge in cases.

Some school districts have had to go partially or fully remote after the variant struck at the beginning of the school year, sending thousands of students into quarantine. More than 1,000 schools across the country have closed due to outbreak since late July. 

Health experts have warned that official counts of COVID-19 cases in any country are likely an underestimation due to limited testing at any point during the pandemic.

At both the federal and state levels, officials in the U.S. have urged individuals to get vaccinated, yet only 53 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.

The vaccination campaign has slowed since its initial enthusiasm with health officials struggling to overcome vaccine hesitancy and apathy among large segments of the population.