Coronavirus Updates: 50% of U.S. population vaccinated, but transmission rate remains high

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The US hit the key milestone of vaccinating 50% of the total population against COVID-19 and nearly 60% of the eligible population, those 12 and older, are fully vaccinated.

However, the country is still seeing cases surge again, more than 120,000 cases were reported in the last 24 hours.

The seven-day average of deaths exceeds 450.

"Today, about 400 people will die because of the Delta variant in this country. A tragedy, because virtually all of these deaths were preventable if people had gotten vaccinated," President Joe Biden said Friday at an event that was supposed to tout the jobs numbers.

Here are more of today's headlines:



CDC: 4th straight day with over 100k COVID-19 cases reported
The United States has recorded a fourth straight day with over 100,000 COVID-19 cases reported in a single day, according to CDC data.

The country is now averaging more than 99,000 cases a day, per the CDC.

Amazon to mandate masks for all its workers in warehouses
Starting Monday, Amazon will be requiring all of its 900,000 U.S. warehouse workers to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.

The move follows steps by a slew of other retailers, including Walmart and Target, to mandate masks for their workers. In many of those cases the mandates apply to workers in locations of substantial COVID-19 transmission.

Lambda and delta plus: What to know about other COVID variants detected in US
The delta variant is fueling the COVID-19 surge in the United States, but experts warn that a more dangerous variant could emerge if more Americans don't get vaccinated.

Delta is the most recent of four coronavirus mutations added to the World Health Organization's and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "variants of concern" lists.

Viruses constantly mutate, and most changes aren't concerning. Right now, health officials are most concerned with the spread of the highly contagious delta but are monitoring mutations closely.

These include lambda, listed as a "variant of interest" by WHO, and delta plus, a mutation of delta itself. Here is what you need to know.

Funeral of man who died of COVID-19 is turned into vaccine and testing event
A Florida man's last wish before dying of COVID-19 was to get the vaccine. To honor his memory, his family is turning his funeral into a vaccine and testing event to protect the community against the deadly virus.

Marquis Davis, a 28-year-old business owner and father, died on July 26 from COVID-19. He was not vaccinated at the time.

Despite initially being hesitant to take the vaccine, Marquis Davis told his wife he wanted to get the shot after he recovered.

Hospital ends relationship with Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins over vaccine stance
Holland Hospital in western Michigan said it is ending its relationship with Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins over his stance on COVID-19 vaccines.

The hospital announced the cancellation of its agreement with Cousins after he refused to say at a news conference whether he is vaccinated, calling it a "very private health decision."

US now averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 cases a day

The U.S. is now averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 infections a day, returning to a milestone last seen during the winter surge in yet another bleak reminder of how quickly the delta variant has spread through the country. The U.S. was averaging about 11,000 cases a day in late June. Now the number is 107,143. It took the U.S. about nine months to cross the 100,000 average case number in November before peaking at about 250,000 in early January. Cases bottomed out in June but took about six weeks to go back above 100,000, despite a vaccine that has been given to more than 70% of the adult population.

FDA may recommend booster for immunocompromised
There is new guidance expected soon from the FDA recommending vaccine boosters for those who are immunocompromised. The plan is reportedly expected by early next month, if not sooner. Many immunocompromised people have been left vulnerable to the virus despite vaccination. Immune response has been particularly low for transplant recipients, cancer patients, and those on medications to suppress their immune response.

Lamont orders long-term care facility staff to be vaccinated
Governor Ned Lamont announced that in an effort to protect some of the most vulnerable residents of Connecticut from the impact of COVID-19, he has directed an executive order be issued to require employees of all long-term care facilities in the state to be vaccinated against the virus.

US records highest single day COVID cases 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 CDC data. The country is now averaging more than 96,000 new cases a day.

Additionally, now, 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.

Masks to be required in NJ schools
New Jersey will require all students, educators, staff, and visitors to wear face masks inside of school buildings, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday. Murphy said the requirement applies to the start of the 2021-2022 school year, regardless of vaccination status. The executive order Murphy signed pertains to public, private, and parochial preschool, elementary, and secondary school buildings.

Unvaccinated COVID-19 survivors twice as likely to get reinfected, study shows
Even people who have recovered from COVID-19 are urged to get vaccinated, especially as the extra-contagious delta variant surges - and a new study shows survivors who ignored that advice were more than twice as likely to get reinfected. Friday's report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adds to growing laboratory evidence that people who had one bout of COVID-19 get a dramatic boost in virus-fighting immune cells - and a bonus of broader protection against new mutants - when they're vaccinated.
"If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. "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."

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