COVID-19 live updates: Nearly 72,000 kids tested positive in US last week

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(NEW YORK) — The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.

More than 614,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and over 4.2 million people have died worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 58.2% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC last week, citing new science on the transmissibility of the delta variant, changed its mask guidance to now recommend everyone in areas with substantial or high levels of transmission — vaccinated or not — wear a face covering in public, indoor settings.

Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:

Aug 04, 3:08 pm
Delta variant now 93% of all sequenced cases in US

The delta variant now accounts for 93% of all sequenced cases in the U.S., according to the latest CDC data, which was collected over the last two weeks of July.

Delta accounted for just 3% of cases sequenced in late May.

Across the Midwest, described as HHS regions 7 and 8, delta made up 97% to 98% of cases. This includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

-ABC News’ Cheyenne Haslett

Aug 04, 2:55 pm
WHO chief: No booster shots until at least end of September

The World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on booster shots until more people from low-income countries have received a vaccine.

Low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 shots for every 100 people due to lack of supply, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said Wednesday.

A moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September will “enable at least 10% of the population of every country to be vaccinated,” he said.

But White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in response that the U.S. doesn’t have to choose.

“We feel that it’s a false choice and that we can do both,” Psaki said Wednesday.

The U.S. has ordered enough supply for every American to get vaccinated, plus get a booster shot, according to the White House. The U.S. has already pledged to donate 580 million doses to the international community by 2022.

-ABC News’ Sarah Kolinovsky and Zoe Magee

Aug 04, 2:27 pm
Hospitalizations could more than triple this month

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecasts that daily hospitalizations “will likely increase over the next four weeks.”

About 7,000 new COVID-19 patients are hospitalized each day right now. That may soar to 24,000 per day, according to the COVID-19 Forecast Hub at U Mass Amherst.

Aug 04, 2:11 pm
Fully vaccinated people susceptible to ‘long COVID’: Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning that fully vaccinated people are also susceptible to “long COVID” if they have a breakthrough infection.

“We already know that people who get breakthrough infections and don’t go on to get advanced disease requiring hospitalization, they too are susceptible to long COVID,” Fauci told McClatchy. “You’re not exempt from long COVID if you get a breakthrough infection.”

As the delta variant surges, Fauci said, “there could be a variant that’s lingering out there that can push aside delta.”

“If another one comes along that has an equally high capability of transmitting but also is much more severe, then we could really be in trouble,” he said.

-ABC News’ Cheyenne Haslett

Aug 04, 1:40 pm
NY auto show canceled

The New York International Automobile Show, set to begin Aug. 20 in New York City, has been canceled due to the spread of the delta variant.

“All signs were positive” when planning began “but today is a different story,” show organizers said.

Aug 04, 1:30 pm
Louisiana hospitalizations reach all-time high

Louisiana now has 2,247 COVID-19 patients in hospitals — a new all-time high for the state.

This surpasses the previous record set Tuesday of 2,112 patients, the state’s Department of Health said.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has reinstated a mask mandate for the month of August.

The governor said Wednesday that he won’t mandate vaccinations for state employees until the FDA grants full approval.

He said 37.1% of the Louisiana population is fully vaccinated.

Aug 04, 11:47 am
The Offspring drummer says he’s not playing at upcoming shows because he’s unvaccinated

Pete Parada, the drummer for pop-punk band The Offspring, says he is not playing with the band at upcoming shows because he is unvaccinated.

Parada wrote on Instagram that he’s avoiding the shot on his doctor’s advice, saying he’s had a lifelong battle with the rare neurological disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome and the vaccine’s “risks far outweigh the benefits.”

Because he’s unvaccinated, “it has recently been decided that I am unsafe to be around, in the studio, and on tour,” Parada said.

“I have no negative feelings towards my band,” he continued. “They’re doing what they believe is best for them, while I am doing the same.”

-ABC News’ Evan McMurry

Aug 04, 11:15 am
Florida hospitalizations reach highest point in pandemic

Florida has 12,408 COVID-19 patients in hospitals — the highest number to date of the entire pandemic.

Florida hospitals report that more than 95% of COVID-19 patients are not fully vaccinated, according to state data.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Aug 04, 10:01 am
WHO chief: No booster shots until at least end of September

The World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on booster shots until more people from low-income countries have received a vaccine.

Low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 shots for every 100 people due to lack of supply, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said Wednesday.

A moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September will “enable at least 10% of the population of every country to be vaccinated,” he said.

Aug 04, 9:20 am
Alabama hospital sees deadliest day of pandemic

Four COVID-19 patients at Regional Medical Center in Anniston, Alabama — all unvaccinated — died within 24 hours, marking the hospital’s deadliest day of the pandemic, The Anniston Star reported.

As delta surges, patients are now getting sicker faster, a doctor at the hospital told the newspaper.

Only 28% of residents in Calhoun County are fully vaccinated, according to The Anniston Star.

Aug 04, 8:24 am
Obama to ‘significantly scale back’ 60th birthday party

Former President Barack Obama has decided to “significantly scale back” his 60th birthday party on Martha’s Vineyard due to the spread of the delta variant, according to a spokesperson. Hundreds of guests were expected to attend.

“This outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public health guidelines and with covid safeguards in place. Due to the new spread of the delta variant over the past week, the President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends,” spokesperson Hannah Hankins said in a statement.

Obama’s office did not give a new estimate of how many guests will attend.

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