A man inquires about a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a mobile testing van in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., June 2, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

The seven-day average of daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed the peak seen last summer when the nation didn’t have an authorized Covid-19 vaccine, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday, citing data published over the weekend.

U.S. Covid cases, based on a seven-day moving average, reached 72,790 on Friday, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s higher than the peak in average daily cases seen last summer, when the country was reporting about 68,700 new cases per day, according to the CDC.

The daily average in Covid cases has since dropped, however, falling to 68,326 new cases per day on Saturday and 63,250 new cases per day on Sunday, according to the agency.

While data published on the CDC website shows a decline in the seven-day average of daily case counts in the following days, a separate coronavirus dataset maintained by Johns Hopkins University does not show a decline. Rather it shows a continued increase in the seven-day average to nearly 80,000 new cases per day as of Sunday.

“While we desperately want to be done with this pandemic, Covid-19 is clearly not done with us and so, our battle must last a little longer,” Walensky said during a White House Covid briefing. “This is hard. This is heavy. But, we are in this together. And as we learn more about Covid, we continue to rely on proven ways to protect ourselves, our children and our loved ones.”

The CDC director’s comments come as Covid cases in the U.S. begin to spike once again, with the highly contagious delta variant fueling infections, particularly in regions of the nation with low vaccination rates.

One out of three Covid cases occurred in Florida and Texas over the past week, White House Covid czar Jeff Zients said Monday. About 17% of cases came from seven states with low vaccination rates, he added.

The seven-day average of hospital admissions is about 6,200 per day, an increase of about 41% from the previous seven-day period, according to Walensky. The seven-day average of daily deaths has also increased to 300 per day, an increase of more than 25%, she said, but still far below last summer’s peak of more than 1,100 daily deaths in early August 2020.

U.S. health officials are urging more Americans to get vaccinated against Covid as the shots have proven to be highly protective against the virus and its new variant, especially against severe disease, hospitalizations and death.

Earlier Monday, updated CDC data showed 70% of U.S. adults have had at least one shot of a Covid vaccine.

The milestone is about a month behind President Joe Biden’s original Fourth of July goal as health officials have struggled to persuade some Americans to get the shots.

In an attempt to boost the number of shots administered, some state and local officials have either offered incentives to getting vaccinated or enforced mandates.

While a very small portion of vaccinated people can experience so-called breakthrough infections, Walensky emphasized Monday that the vast majority of spread in the country is among the unvaccinated.

“If you are not vaccinated— please, protect yourself and get vaccinated,” she said.