(NEW YORK) — The United States is facing a COVID-19 summer surge as the delta variant spreads.
More than 611,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Just 57.6% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, 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 mask in public, indoor settings.
Worldwide, COVID-19 has killed over 4.1 million.
Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:
Jul 28, 8:46 pm
Atlanta to require masks indoors
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an order Wednesday requiring everyone to wear masks indoors in public places, as the city is experiencing “substantial” COVID-19 transmission.
“Public health experts overwhelmingly agree, and data has proved, that wearing a face covering helps slow the spread of this deadly virus,” Bottoms said in a statement. “As COVID-19 rates increase, we must remain vigilant, wear a mask, follow CDC guidelines and other measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities.”
The order includes exceptions while eating and drinking and for children under the age of 10, among others. It does not say those who have been vaccinated are exempt.
Those who continue to fail to comply after an initial warning could face up to a $50 civil penalty, according to the order.
The city’s order comes as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp took to Twitter Wednesday to say he won’t issue a statewide mask mandate and urged people to “get vaccinated as quickly as possible.” Just over 45% of Georgia residents ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last year, Kemp, a Republican, filed a lawsuit against Bottoms, a Democrat, for requiring face coverings and other pandemic measures that were more restrictive than his own executive orders. The lawsuit was eventually dropped.
Jul 28, 8:22 pm
Defense Department to require masks in Pentagon
The Department of Defense said Wednesday that, effective immediately, masks are required for everyone in the Pentagon, regardless of vaccination status.
The updated mask guidance applies to all service members, federal employees, onsite contractor employees and visitors to “installations and other facilities owned, leased or otherwise controlled by DoD in the Pentagon Reservation,” the department said in a statement.
The Department of Defense had said on May 14 that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks at any of its facilities.
Jul 28, 2:45 pm
CDC predicts increase in cases, hospitalizations, deaths
In its weekly virus forecast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that U.S. COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions and daily deaths will increase over the next four weeks.
Daily fatalities have increased by 30.7% in the last week.
Over 32,000 patients are now hospitalized across the country with COVID-19, a 43.2% jump in the last week. One month ago, just under 12,000 COVID-19 patients were receiving care across the country.
Jul 28, 1:22 pm
Google requiring vaccines for in-office workers
Anyone working on Google’s campuses must be vaccinated, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced Wednesday.
“Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy,” Pichai said.
Google also said it’s extending its global voluntary work-from-home policy through Oct. 18.
Jul 28, 12:00 pm
US reports highest number of new cases in the world
The U.S. reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the world in the last week, according to the World Health Organization. The U.S. saw a 131% increase in new cases for the week ending July 25 compared to the previous week, according to the WHO’s epidemiological report.
The U.S. was followed by Brazil, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and India.
Globally, there were 3.8 million new cases in the last week, an 8% increase over the previous week. The number of new COVID-19-related deaths also increased sharply this week to over 69,000, a 21% jump from 57,000 deaths last week.
Jul 28, 11:27 am
Health care workers in NY state-run hospitals must get vaccinated
All patient-facing health care workers in New York’s state-run hospitals must get vaccinated, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.
“There will be no testing option,” Cuomo said.
Giving a major address and making an announcement at the virtual ABNY meeting. Watch live: https://t.co/hA1rgMefcG
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 28, 2021
In addition, beginning Labor Day, all state employees will be required to either be vaccinated or get tested weekly.
Jul 28, 11:05 am
Florida hospital seeing an all-time high of COVID hospitalizations
Baptist Health, a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, said it now has over 400 COVID-19 patients, an all-time high.
The unvaccinated make up at least 97% of the patients, hospital president and CEO Michael Mayo said.
“Northeast Florida has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s never been as bad as it is now,” Mayo said in a statement.
Jul 28, 10:02 am
Fully vaccinated Americans can soon travel to the UK
Fully vaccinated Americans can travel to the United Kingdom without quarantining as of Aug. 2, the U.K. announced Wednesday.
We’re helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK 👪
From 2nd August at 4am people from these countries will be able to come to the England from an amber country without having to quarantine if they’re fully vaxxed 💉
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) July 28, 2021
The new rule also applies to those traveling to the U.K. from the European Union.
Jul 28, 8:54 am
New mask order in Las Vegas
Nevada is implementing an indoor mask mandate in counties with substantial or high transmission. The mandate includes Clark County, home to Las Vegas, and Sin City’s casinos and hotels.
The emergency directive, a result of the new CDC guidance, goes into effect Friday, state officials said.
Jul 28, 8:14 am
Masks now recommended in US Senate
Following the new CDC guidance, the Capitol attending physician is recommending that senators and U.S. Senate staff wear face masks.
Jul 28, 8:05 am
Vaccinated people with breakthrough infections could pass COVID to the immunosuppressed: CDC director
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, spoke to “Good Morning America” Wednesday about why the CDC has reversed its guidance on masks for vaccinated people.
She said the agency felt it was important that vaccinated Americans “understand that if they happen to be one of those breakthrough infections, which was more likely in areas with a huge amount of transmission and disease, that those people could potentially pass it on to somebody, a loved one, who is immunosuppressed.”
Walensky said the mask guidance was changed because of the “new science that demonstrated for those who are vaccinated, that they could in fact transmit if they are one of those rare breakthrough infections.”
The Office of the Attending Physician is now requiring all members and staff to wear “medical-grade” masks throughout the House of Representatives unless members are speaking in the hall of the House or individuals are alone.
Members and staff will once again be prohibited from stepping on the floor to vote without a mask, or risk incurring fines.
The new guidance follows the CDC’s latest recommendations and will not be in effect on the Senate side.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.