(NEW YORK) — The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.
More than 676,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.7 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The average number of daily deaths in the U.S. has risen about 20% in the last week, according to data from the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The U.S. is continuing to sink on the list of global vaccination rates, currently ranking No. 45, according to data compiled by the Financial Times. Just 64% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Sep 21, 3:35 pm
Texas, Georgia, Alabama account for about one-third of last week’s deaths
The U.S. daily death average has now climbed over 1,400 despite skewed reporting from the weekend, according to federal data.
About one-third of the nearly 9,500 virus-related deaths in the last week came from just three states: Texas, Georgia and Alabama.
About 90,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, compared to more than 100,000 patients about three weeks ago, according to federal data. But in the past month, at least 10 states — Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia — have reported record hospitalizations.
West Virginia is leading the nation in cases, followed by Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Alabama, Wyoming, Kentucky, North Dakota, Tennessee and Ohio, according to federal data.
Sep 21, 1:46 pm
Over half of Louisiana’s new cases are among people under 40
In Louisiana, 1,268 COVID-19 cases have been reported since Monday, and over half of those are people under 40.
Those ages 5 to 17 make up 21% of the cases, state health officials said. Louisiana residents ages 18 to 29 make up 16% and people between the ages of 30 to 39 account for 16%.
Louisiana has lost 13,558 residents to COVID-19 since the pandemic began, state health officials said.
The state currently has 1,239 COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
Sep 21, 12:31 pm
Pelosi visits art installation commemorating Americans lost to COVID
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday visited the public art installation on the National Mall that commemorates the American lives lost to COVID-19.
More than 660,000 white flags were planted in the biggest participatory art installation on the National Mall since the AIDS Quilt. The installation is open to the public from Sept. 17 to Oct. 3.
Sep 21, 11:23 am
Feds sending resources to North Carolina, Alaska, West Virginia, Tennessee
FEMA is preparing to send 50 ambulances and 100 personnel to North Carolina to help with shortages statewide, according to a federal planning document obtained by ABC News.
Alaska and West Virginia have each asked the Department of Health and Human Services to provide 50 ventilators, the document said, while the Defense Department is sending a 23-person military medical team to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Sep 21, 10:35 am
Biden addresses UN, touts global vaccine donations
President Joe Biden kicked off his first speech at the United Nations General Assembly since taking office by focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic, the global death toll and the need to “act together.”
“Will we work together to save lives, defeat COVID-19 everywhere and take the necessary steps to prepare ourselves for the next pandemic, if there will be another one? Or will we fail to harness the tools at our disposal as the dangerous variants take hold?” Biden said Tuesday.
“To fight this pandemic, we need a collective act of science and political will. We need to act now to get shots in arms as fast as possible. Expand access to oxygen, tests, treatments, to save lives around the world,” he said. “And for the future, we need to create a new mechanism to finance global health security.”
The president touted global vaccine donations, saying the U.S. has sent more than 160 million doses to 100 other countries.
Biden said he would announce “additional commitments” at Wednesday’s virtual COVID-19 summit.
Sep 21, 9:16 am
Washington state requests federal staff for overwhelmed hospitals
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter to the White House Monday requesting staffing resources to help the state’s overwhelmed hospitals.
“Once the Delta variant hit Washington state, COVID-19 hospitalizations skyrocketed. From mid-July to late August, we saw hospitalizations double about every two weeks,” Inslee wrote. “The hospitals have surged to increase staffed beds and stretch staff and have canceled most non-urgent procedures, but are still over capacity across the state.”
“While there are hopeful signs that the current wave of infection is peaking, and some states are beginning to see declines, we have not yet seen that effect here,” the governor said.
Washington state had already asked for 1,200 federal government staffers and is now “requesting the deployment of Department of Defense medical personnel to assist with the current hospital crisis,” Inslee said.
Sep 21, 8:31 am
2nd dose of J&J vaccine results in stronger protection, company says
A second dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine given two months after the first leads to stronger protection, the company said Tuesday.
Compared to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine always had slightly lower efficacy. Peak efficacy from the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines was 95% and 94%, respectively, against symptomatic illness. But two Johnson & Johnson shots, given two months apart, resulted in a similarly high effectiveness level: 94% protection against any symptomatic infection in the U.S. and 100% against severe disease.
J&J chief scientific officer Dr. Paul Stoffels said the single-shot vaccine still provides “strong and long-lasting protection” while also being “easy to use, distribute and administer.”
“At the same time,” Stoffels said, “we now have generated evidence that a booster shot further increases protection against COVID-19 and is expected to extend the duration of protection significantly.”
Sep 20, 5:39 pm
US records 1.1 million pediatric COVID-19 cases over past 5 weeks
The U.S. reported more than 225,000 child COVID-19 cases, marking the fourth consecutive week with over 200,000 new pediatric cases reported, according to a newly released weekly report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
In the last five weeks alone, the country has reported more than 1.1 million pediatric cases, according to the organizations.
“The weekly figure is now about 26 times higher than it was in June, when just 8,400 pediatric cases were reported over the span of a week,” the organizations wrote in their report.
The South accounted for about half –110,000– of last week’s pediatric cases, according to the report.
The organizations added that more than 2,200 children are hospitalized with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection.
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