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'Lambda' variant detected as Houston COVID cases, hospitalizations continue to climb, Houston Methodist says

"The vast majority of those hospitalized are unvaccinated," stated the hospital system on Monday.

HOUSTON — A spokesperson for Houston Methodist said Monday there is an "alarming spike in the number of COVID-19 cases across the Houston area, with the steepest increase happening over the weekend."

Most of the new cases continue to be the Delta variant, although they have now seen their first Lambda variant as well.

ALSO READ: What is the Lambda variant?

"The increased hospitalizations add stress to many of our hospitals that are nearing capacity," stated Houston Methodist in a press release. "A week ago today, Houston Methodist had a little over 100 COVID-19 patients across our hospital system. Today we have more than 185 COVID-19 patients."

Dr. Marc Boom said it is imperative "we, as a community, step up our vigilance and impress upon people to get vaccinated and decrease virus spread."

Last Thursday, KHOU 11 reported that COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations were still at some of the lowest levels since the start of the pandemic, but the numbers overall were once again moving in the wrong direction.

ALSO READ: COVID cases on the rise across Houston area

ALSO READ: All students should wear masks in school this fall, top pediatrics group says

Memorial Hermann last week reported a 50% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations as almost every county in the area is seeing an increase in new cases. KHOU 11 analyzed health department data and found daily new cases in the Greater Houston area have jumped about 65% in the last two weeks. The seven-day moving average, as of July 15th, was 588 new cases a day.

More than 159 million people in the Unites States have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to CDC data released on July 12. 

During the same period, the agency reported 5,492 patients nationwide with COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infections had been hospitalized or died. According to the CDC, 75% of those patients were 65 or older and 19% of those cases resulted in death.

Watch: It takes only a few seconds: The Delta variant of COVID is much more contagious

Stocks fall worldwide on new COVID concerns

(AP) — Stocks are falling sharply Monday as worries sweep from Wall Street to Sydney that the worsening pandemic in hotspots around the world will derail what's been a strong economic recovery.

The S&P 500 was 1.9% lower in morning trading, after setting a record high just a week earlier. In another sign of worry, the yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped close to its lowest level in five months. It sank below 1.20% as investors scrambled for safer places to put their money.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 769 points, or 2.2%, at 33,918, as of 10:17 a.m. Eastern time. The Nasdaq composite was 1.7% lower.

Airlines, hotels and stocks of other companies that would get hurt the most by potential COVID-19 restrictions were taking some of the heaviest losses, similar to the early days of the pandemic in February and March 2020. Mall owner Simon Property Group tumbled 7.8%, and cruise operator Carnival lost 7.5%.

READ: Health care workers urge you to wear a mask, even if you're vaccinated