SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Missouri now leads the nation with the highest rate of new COVID-19 infections as vaccinations lag. One person in every 1,349 people in the state was diagnosed with COVID-19 from June 13 to Sunday. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services spokeswoman Lisa Cox said the north-central and southwest part of the state are driving the surge. While 53.3% of the population of Americans have initiated vaccination, most southern and northern Missouri counties are well short of 40%. And a handful of southern Missouri counties have fewer than 20% of residents vaccinated.