(NEW YORK) — The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.
More than 615,000 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 58.4% 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 Friday. All times Eastern:
Aug 06, 6:27 pm
US records highest single-day COVID case total in 6 months
The U.S. has recorded its highest single-day COVID-19 case total in exactly six months with more than 120,000 new cases reported, according to newly updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The country is now averaging more than 96,000 new cases a day.
Additionally, every single state in the country is reporting “high” (a seven-day new case rate ≥100) or “substantial” (a seven-day new case rate between 50-99.99) community transmission.
-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos
Aug 06, 5:34 pm
Louisiana marks highest test positivity rate since April 2020
Cases are skyrocketing in Louisiana, officials said Friday, with case positivity rates returning to the highs seen last spring.
Over the past two weeks, about 1% of the entire state population has become infected with COVID-19, officials said at a briefing.
The test positivity rate is now 15.4%, the highest number since April 22, 2020.
“We are at the leading edge of the surge case growth per capita and Louisiana continues to be the highest in the country,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
Only about 37.5% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, well below the national rate of 50%.
“It is because of these grim statistics, coupled with a shortage of nurses and hospital staff that we asked the federal government to send medical strike teams our way,” Edwards reported.
-ABC News’ Jamie Aranoff and Jianna Cousin
Aug 06, 2:29 pm
NJ school mask mandate reinstated: Governor
Public school students in New Jersey will be required to wear masks when school starts up again, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday.
The rules, which will apply to K-12 students, are a departure for Murphy, who previously said school mask mandates would be left up to each district.
“I want as much as anybody else in our state to see our kids’ smiles as they start their school years. But I do not want to see any of them getting sick needlessly or schools have to shut down again and go remote because of an outbreak,” Murphy told reporters.
The governor stressed that the mask mandate is not permanent.
“As soon as conditions allow — and please God sooner than later — we will lift this requirement again,” he said.
-ABC News’ Will McDuffie
Aug 06, 2:15 pm
1 in 5 new COVID-19 infections is in Florida
Florida reported a seven-day average of 17,757 new cases Thursday, meaning that 20% of new cases are now occurring in the state, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly criticized COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates, even as infections and hospitalizations in his state soared to record levels.
Despite its high case count, Florida’s vaccination rate is on par with the national average. As of Friday, 49% of Florida residents were fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, compared with 50% of all Americans.
Aug 06, 1:47 pm
Small Georgia hospital sounds alarm over ‘staggering’ 1,126% hospitalization increase
An Albany, Georgia, hospital system has seen a worrying spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations. “A month ago, we had eight COVID patients in our hospitals. Today, we’re caring for 97. That’s a staggering 1,126% increase in just over four weeks,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System’s president and CEO.
“Our current challenges are exacerbated by a lack of available contract staff to support the Phoebe Family. Every hospital in our region is stretched to its limit,” he added. Steiner urged residents to support health care workers. “Get vaccinated, wear masks and take appropriate steps to slow down the spread of the virus,” he said.
-ABC News’ Brandon Baur
Aug 06, 1:46 pm
Prior COVID infection followed by vaccination more protective than infection alone: CDC
Being vaccinated after having had COVID-19 offers far better protection than prior infection alone, according to a study the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Friday.
The study, which appeared in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, examined Kentucky residents who had previously had COVID-19. Some chose to get vaccinated, while others didn’t. The result: Those who skipped the vaccine were more than twice as likely to be reinfected compared to those who were vaccinated.
“If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director. “Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious delta variant spreads around the country.”
-ABC News’ Sony Salzman
Aug 06, 12:24 pm
50% of Americans now vaccinated: White House
As of Friday, half of Americans are now vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the White House.
“50% of Americans (all ages) are now fully vaccinated,” Cyrus Shahpar, the White House’s COVID-19 data director, wrote on Twitter Friday. “Keep going!”
-ABC News’ William Gretsky
Aug 06, 12:54 pm
Single-shot J&J vaccine effective against delta and beta variants: Study
A real-world study of South African health care workers found that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine was highly effective against the delta and beta variants, according to the South African Medical Research Council, which presented the results Friday.
The vaccine was between 91% and 96% effective against death, according the study, which included more than 477,000 health care workers. J&J showed stronger protection against the delta variant, now dominant in the United States and South Africa, than it showed against the beta variant.
“The data reported today by South African investigators show that a single shot can protect against death due to COVID-19 in the most challenging epidemiologic setting: A massive delta surge in Africa,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who helped invent the J&J shot but was not directly involved in the South Africa study.
While the results have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, they may serve as a reassuring data point as the delta variant sweeps the U.S.
Glenda Gray, president and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council, who led the study, said at the Friday press conference that the J&J vaccine showed good durability, an indication that there’s no need for booster shots just yet.
-ABC News’ Sony Salzman.
Aug 06, 10:39 am
DC theaters unite, require vaccinations for audiences
Thirteen theaters in Washington, D.C., have joined forces to require audiences to supply proof of vaccination in order to attend live performances at indoor venues.
In addition to the vaccination requirement, masks will be required inside the theaters. Medical and religious exemptions to the rule will be accepted, but those patrons will have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test in order to gain entry. For children younger than 12, patrons should contact the theater directly for more information about individual policy.
More theaters are expected to join the cohort in comings weeks, according to Theatre Washington, an alliance of theater organizations and supporters.
Aug 06, 7:42 am
United to require all US employees be vaccinated by September
All U.S.-based United employees will be required to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by September and must upload their vaccination card to the company website, the airline announced Friday. The move is the strongest vaccination requirement a U.S. airline has taken so far.
“For those employees who are already vaccinated — and for those employees who get vaccinated and upload their records to Flying Together before September 20th — we’ll offer an additional day of pay,” Scott Kirby and Brett Hart, the CEO and president of United, wrote in a memo to employees.
Employees will have until five weeks after Sept. 20 or five weeks after the Food and Drug Administration fully authorizes a COVID-19 vaccine to upload their cards. All three vaccines in the U.S. are currently being used under emergency use authorization.
Aug 06, 4:31 am
Tokyo sees 4,515 new positive cases
There are 4,515 new positive coronavirus cases in Tokyo as of Friday, according to the city’s COVID-19 information website.
It’s a 152.7% increase since last Friday.
Of the new cases, 141 are severe and four have turned fatal.
Aug 06, 1:53 am
There are now 387 positive cases at the Tokyo Olympics
As of Friday, there are 387 positive COVID-19 cases at the Tokyo Olympics, according to the Tokyo 2020 coronavirus positive case list.
This is an increase of 29 positive cases since Thursday.
All of the cases are either Tokyo 2020 contractors, Games-concerned personnel or media.
“Of the 726 U.S. Olympic delegates in Japan on Aug. 5, no COVID tests were confirmed positive based on daily results,” the International Olympic Committee tweeted.
Aug 05, 8:53 pm
Hawaii issues vaccine rules for state, county employees
Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced Thursday that all state and county employees must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination by Aug. 16 — or be subject to weekly testing.
Those who don’t comply “could be subject to termination,” Ige said.
It is unclear how many state and county workers are already vaccinated.
The mandate comes as the number of cases and hospitalizations in the state are “trending up dramatically,” Ige said.
Maryland and Virginia announced similar measures earlier Thursday.
Aug 05, 4:12 pm
Delta ‘sweeping over Mississippi like a tsunami’: Official
Mississippi is facing “a phenomenal increase in daily reported cases of COVID, and this is entirely attributable to the delta variant, which is sweeping over Mississippi like a tsunami,” state health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Thursday.
Dobbs said 97% of new cases are among the unvaccinated, and that 89% of hospitalizations and 85% of deaths are unvaccinated.
Dobbs pleaded with the public to get vaccinated, stressing that the unvaccinated population is driving the current surge, but that vulnerable, vaccinated people are suffering the fallout.
“There is going to be some collateral damage, unfortunately, even folks who’ve done everything they can to protect themselves,” Dobbs said.
“The minority of folks who are vaccinated and hospitalized are overrepresented by the older and those with weaker immune system, so we’re seeing a pretty dramatic spillover effect from the transmission in the community to more vulnerable parts of our population,” he said.
Aug 05, 3:51 pm
New state employee vaccination rules issued in Virginia, Maryland
In Virginia, all 120,000 state employees must be vaccinated by Sept. 1, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday.
About 72% of employees are already vaccinated.
Anyone who chooses not to be vaccinated must get tested weekly, he said.
In Maryland, state employees at 48 state facilities must be vaccinated by Sept. 1, “or adhere to strict face covering requirements and submit to regular, ongoing COVID-19 testing,” Gov. Larry Hogan said.
The 48 facilities on the list include the Department of Health, Department of Juvenile Services, Department of Public Safety and Corrections and Department of Veterans Affairs.
Aug 05, 2:28 pm
Only 2 states not experiencing high or substantial community transmission
Nearly every state in the country is now experiencing case and hospitalization increases. Only two states — Vermont and Maine — are not reporting high or substantial community transmission, according to federal data.
The U.S. is now experiencing its steepest increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since the winter. More than 61,000 patients are now hospitalized across the country with COVID-19, according to federal data. About one month ago, 12,000 patients were in U.S. hospitals.
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