NEW YORK (WABC) -- COVID cases have been exploding around the country. Deaths now stand at approximately 500 each day. That's up more than 130% since last month.
ICUs across five states are now more than 90% full.
In Alabama, Jenna Carpenter, a pulmonologist, says seeing the virus claim the lives of younger people is difficult.
"Losing within a week three patients under the age of 40, just very heartbreaking," she said.
The delta variant is strengthening in Mississippi. The University of Mississippi's medical center was forced to build a second field hospital.
Here are more of today's headlines:
West Indian American Day Parade postponed
The West Indian American Day Parade is postponed until next year, due to continued coronavirus uncertainties. But there will be a mix of in person and virtual events this year, despite technically not holding the traditional parade for the second year in a row. And like last year, the city will be prepared for crowds that come out anyway for J'ouvert and come onto the parade route on labor day.
The WIADCA will hold a New York Carnival Week that starts on Sept. 2 with the Vibes With Voicey concert tour at a venue that has not yet been announced.
Coney Island Mermaid Parade canceled
The beloved annual tradition known as the Coney Island Mermaid Parade has been canceled, organizers said.
"It is with sadness that we announce the cancellation of the 2021 Mermaid Parade," the not-for-profit Coney Island USA announced.
The group had already postponed the parade, usually held in June, to September. Organizers said they expect the event to return in 2022.
COVID booster shots: Who will get them? When? And why?
U.S. health officials plan to offer COVID-19 booster shots to vaccinated Americans to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant and evidence that the vaccines' effectiveness is declining. A look at what we know about boosters and how they could help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden administration to begin rolling out booster shots the week of Sept. 20
The Biden administration is prepared to begin rolling out booster shots for many Americans the week of Sept. 20, the nation's top health officials announced Wednesday, citing data that show the effectiveness of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19 diminishes over time.
Incoming NY Governor Kathy Hochul pushes for mask wearing in schools
Incoming Governor Kathy Hochul met with New York City School Chancellor Meisha Porter at PS 143 The Louis Armstrong School in Corona Wednesday, as she campaigned for mandatory mask-wearing in schools.
Hochul reiterated her support of mask mandates in schools, calling it "something that I believe has to occur" for the safety of children, teachers, administrators, and the wider community.
Unvaccinated couple die of COVID-19 hours apart, leaving behind 2 teenagers
Martin and Trina Daniel, married for over 20 years, both died of COVID-19 within hours of each other, leaving behind two teenage children facing an unimaginable loss.
Florida to decide whether to punish school districts that instated mask mandates
The Florida Board of Education suggested Tuesday it could remove local school officials who broke state rules and required masks for students, the latest in a weekslong battle between Gov. Ron DeSantis and school leaders who say they are desperate to keep students safe as pediatric cases of COVID-19 rise in Florida.
In an emergency meeting, the board approved the recommendations of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to crack down on the school districts in Alachua and Broward counties, home to Gainesville and Fort Lauderdale, which violated a Florida Department of Health rule that requires districts to let parents opt out of mask mandates for their kids.
For businesses, NYC indoor vaccine mandate means safety - and headaches
New York City's indoor vaccine mandate went into effect Tuesday, making it the first major U.S. city to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to eat or drink inside bars and restaurants.
The new requirement, which applies to everyone 12 and older, doesn't just apply to dining but includes nearly every public indoor activity, from gyms to bowling alleys to movie theaters to concert venues and more, according to the city.
What to know about delta and other COVID-19 variants of concern
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed the COVID-19 delta variant as one of its "variants of concern" (VOCs) on June 15. According to the CDC, VOCs can be more contagious, more dangerous, less susceptible to available treatments or harder to detect. The current VOCs all have mutations in the virus's spike protein, which acts as a key to break into cells to infect them. And that's a potential concern because the spike protein from the original version of the virus is what scientists used to design all three authorized vaccines. It's also what monoclonal antibody treatments latch on to so the virus can't get into your cells, effectively "neutralizing" the threat. So far none of these mutations have changed the virus enough to undercut the vaccines. The uncontrolled spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, means the virus is mutating quickly. That's why many new variants are being discovered in places with the highest infection rates and large numbers of unvaccinated individuals, like the United States, the United Kingdom, India and Brazil.
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