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The United States finds itself, once again, in a grave situation. The COVID-19 pandemic is once again killing more 1,000 people in the country every single day, according to The New York Times‘ online tracker — and that death toll is now spiking into what looks like one of the most deadly waves yet.

That’s a threshold that we haven’t crossed since late March 2021, when we were finally recovering from the horrible surge in cases and deaths that hit the country the previous winter. The NYT‘s tracker says that the coronavirus killed 1,359 people in the US on Monday. Following a rough couple of weeks while the delta variant continues to surge throughout the country, the death toll — calculated as a weekly average — crossed the 1,000-per-day mark on Saturday, with no sign of letting up.

This horrible turn of events was, unfortunately, completely predictable.

After a brief lull in cases in the early summer, infections began to skyrocket as the delta variant of the coronavirus spread rampantly throughout the country — especially among those who still haven’t gotten vaccinated. There are now more COVID-19 infections per day in the US than since February — at which point we were just starting to recover from that horrific winter surge — and that number appears to be growing higher still.

Just as with previous spikes or waves of new infections, a sharp uptick in deaths has followed shortly behind.

Even more unfortunate is that this surge was entirely preventable. COVID-19 vaccines work exceptionally well, especially when it comes to preventing severe and deadly cases of the coronavirus.

“For me, the most devastating part of this surge is that it didn’t have to happen,” Tampa General Hospital hospitalist Jennifer Caputo-Seidler, who says her hospital is overrun with coronavirus patients, wrote in a grueling new STAT News op-ed. “The hope that I and other health care workers felt when COVID-19 vaccines arrived was real. Vaccines have since become easy to get — at the corner pharmacy, pop-up vaccination center, on the job, and elsewhere — which makes it unfathomable that nearly all of my current COVID-19 patients haven’t been vaccinated.”