NEW YORK (WABC) -- As the delta variant continues to surge across the country, some hospitals have been pushed to their breaking point.
The United States recorded more than 140,000 new infections on Friday and Saturday, and daily average cases are up 930% since mid-June.
The eight states with the highest case rates are in the deep south and account for more than half of all cases in the country.
The situation is especially dire in Houston, where there is a 600-person waiting list for hospital beds and growing concerns over a lack of necessary staffing.
Here are more of today's headlines:
US to recommend COVID vaccine booster shots at 8 months
U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country. That's according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
NY mandating vaccine for all healthcare workers
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that all healthcare workers in New York State, including staff at hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, adult care, and other congregate care settings, will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday, September 27, with limited exceptions for those with religious or medical reasons. To date, 75% of the state's 450,000 hospital workers, 74% of the state's 30,000 adult care facility workers, and 68% of the state's 145,500 nursing home workers have completed their vaccine series.
"When COVID ambushed New York last year, New Yorkers acted, while the Federal Government denied the problem," Cuomo said. "Now, the delta variant is spreading across the nation and across New York -- new daily positives are up over 1000% over the last six weeks, and over 80% of recent positives in New York State are linked to the delta variant. We must now act again to stop the spread. Our healthcare heroes led the battle against the virus, and now we need them to lead the battle between the variant and the vaccine."
"Key to NYC" vaccine mandate begins Tuesday
New York City Mayor de Blasio unveiled details of the city's "Key to NYC" plan indoor vaccine mandate Monday. His executive order goes into effect tomorrow, Tuesday, August 17. The program will involve door-to-door canvassing, support for small businesses and a $10 million advertising campaign. Enforcement will begin September 13.
Hospital cases among children are on the rise
Public health experts are raising alarms about a surge in COVID hospitalizations among children across the country, including in the Tri-State area. After declining in the early summer, child COVID-19 cases have steadily increased again in recent weeks just as schools are about to reopen. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association (CHA) found that nearly 94,000 new child COVID-19 cases were reported earlier this month, a continued "substantial" increase.
NYC sites to offer 3rd doses of Pfizer/Moderna to immunocompromised
New York City-run vaccination sites will begin offering third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to immunocompromised New Yorkers. Third doses will be distributed via walk-in and appointment. Residents will not have to show documentation of a qualifying underlying medical condition, but they are urged to check with their doctor before receiving a third dose.
Outer borough NYC Homecoming concerts start in the Bronx
The NYC Homecoming Week concerts taking place in the outer boroughs prior to the big finale concert in Central Park begin Monday in the Bronx. The "It's Time for Hip Hop in NYC" concerts will take place the week of August 16. All are free. Attendees will need to show proof of at least one dose of COVID vaccination.
NYPD Detective dies of COVID
An NYPD detective has died of COVID-19. Shantay Neal-Baker served in the risk mitigation division. She was with the department for 20 years. Neal-Baker is one of two NYPD detectives to die on the same day. 50th Precinct Sergeant Ryan Kenny died from a possible heart attack, according to Chief of Department Rodney Harrison.
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