(NEW YORK) — The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.
More than 655,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.6 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.
Just 62.7% 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 10, 3:34 pm
South Carolina, Kentucky leading nation in cases
The daily death average in the U.S. has climbed to about 1,100, which is a 65.5% jump in the last month, according to federal data.
The daily case average in the U.S. is around 140,000, which is nearly four times higher than it was one year ago, according to federal data.
South Carolina and Kentucky have the highest case rate in the nation, followed by West Virginia, Wyoming, Alaska, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, according to federal data.
But some states are seeing progress. In Florida, daily cases are down by about 33% in the last two weeks.
-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos
Sep 10, 3:13 pm
Florida governor’s school mask mandate ban is reinstated
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ school mask mandate ban was reinstated by an appeals court Friday.
This overrules a Tallahassee judge’s decision on Wednesday to lift the stay, preventing the state from enforcing the ban. (The appeals court still needs to rule on the legality of the order, but the reinstatement of the stay means that until then, the state can continue sanctioning school districts.)
DeSantis responded on Twitter, “I will continue to fight for parents’ rights.”
DeSantis has struggled to rein in the state’s largest school systems as they implement mask mandates in defiance of state law. At least 13 districts, including Florida’s six largest, have mask requirements in place. The Florida Department of Education has threatened to withhold the salaries of school board members in most of these districts and has begun doing so in at least two cases.
-ABC News’ Will McDuffie
Sep 10, 2:18 pm
Kentucky hospitals ‘never been more dire in my lifetime,’ governor says
In hard-hit Kentucky, over 300 more National Guard members will be sent to help at 21 strained hospitals, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
Kentucky’s positivity rate was above 14% Thursday as the state set new records for hospitalizations and patients on ventilators, the governor said.
“In the past month, ventilator use at hospitals has nearly tripled due to the surge from the delta variant,” Beshear tweeted. “Our hospital situation has never been more dire in my lifetime than it is right now. We cannot handle more sick individuals.”
-ABC News’ Will Gretsky
Sep 10, 1:00 pm
CDC studies: Vaccines still dramatically reduce risk of hospitalization, death amid delta
The unvaccinated “are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said at Friday’s White House COVID briefing.
Three new studies from the CDC show vaccines still dramatically reduce the risk of hospitalization and death amid the delta surge.
A study of U.S. veterans fully vaccinated with Pfizer and Moderna found no real change in vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization pre-delta to post-delta. A second study of all three vaccines across nine states found vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization was 86% for all age groups. A third study of all three vaccines across 13 jurisdictions found vaccines performed roughly equally well protecting against hospitalization and death during the delta surge compared to pre-delta.
Across the studies, vaccines remained 86-87% effective against preventing hospitalizations.
But effectiveness dropped more for people ages 65 and older in recent months compared to before delta, likely due a combination of vaccine effectiveness fading over time and the slight impact of the delta variant on vaccine efficacy.
Vaccines are losing some of their effectiveness when it comes to preventing mild infections among the vaccinated.
-ABC News’ Sony Salzman
Sep 10, 9:54 am
FDA says it won’t cut corners for vaccine for young kids
While awaiting Pfizer trial data for kids ages 5 to 11, the Food and Drug Administration is vowing not to cut corners.
The FDA said, “it’s critical that thorough and robust clinical trials of adequate size are completed to evaluate the safety and the immune response.”
“Children are not small adults — and issues that may be addressed in pediatric vaccine trials can include whether there is a need for different doses or different strength formulations of vaccines already used for adults,” the FDA said.
When the FDA receives a completed emergency use authorization request, “the agency will carefully, thoroughly and independently examine the data to evaluate benefits and risks and be prepared to complete its review as quickly as possible, likely in a matter of weeks rather than months.”
“However, the agency’s ability to review these submissions rapidly will depend in part on the quality and timeliness of the submissions by manufacturers,” the FDA added.
-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty
Sep 10, 5:43 am
Milwaukee Public Schools to require COVID-19 vaccination for staff
All employees of Milwaukee Public Schools must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination by Nov. 1, unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption, school board members voted unanimously on Thursday night.
The board also decided that staff who qualify for an exemption must take COVID-19 tests twice weekly. Anyone who does not comply with the new vaccine mandate or is not exempt would be placed on unpaid leave and ultimately could lose their job.
Students are not required to get vaccinated, but the board approved monetary incentives of $100 for those who are 12 and older and can provide proof of vaccination by the Nov. 1 deadline.
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