NEW YORK (WABC) -- The number of pediatric COVID admissions among patients 17 and under in the U.S. is now at record highs.
On average, more than 300 children are landing in hospitals across the country every day, creating a growing crisis at hospitals in some regions.
A physician at one Kentucky medical center says the increase in pediatric admissions is taking a personal toll among staffers.
"We walk in the hospital and it feels like the world is on fire," dr. Karan Singh said. "Seeing younger patients fall this sick and die is, has been awful on all of us."
The U.S. is now averaging more than 900 deaths a day, up a staggering 173 percent in the last month.
Here are more of today's headlines:
Drug combo effective against delta variant back on market
A monoclonal antibody treatment that was shelved because it wasn't effective against COVID at the time, is now being brought back to market. The U.S. paused distribution of Eli Lilly's dual monoclonal antibody treatment in June because it was ineffective against the beta and gamma variants. But studies are now showing the drug combination is surprisingly effective against the delta variant.
According to the CDC, the delta variant accounts for nearly 96% of COVID cases in the US now. With its return to market, doctors now have three different monoclonal antibody treatments to use in the fight against coronavirus. Although the three formulations are slightly different, they all can provide a kickstart to the immune system, if used early in a COVID infection.
High rate of transmission in all 50 states
All 50 states are now reporting a high rate of COVID transmission. A new medical forecast is warning we could see more than 100,000 new deaths between now and December 1st. In North Carolina, the ICUs are treating more patients now than at any other time during the pandemic. In Georgia, some hospitals are turning away ambulances.
There's a similar situation in Florida, where a hospital in West Palm Beach had to transport a police officer to Ohio after running out of ECMO machines, a life support system that provides oxygen by bypassing the lungs. In Central Florida, they're running out of places to put bodies. With morgues at capacity, some hospitals are now using refrigerated trucks to store the dead. It comes as Florida's ban on mask mandates returns to court, with a judge set to rule on its legality Friday.
Biden says health officials exploring whether to recommend COVID booster shots sooner
President Joe Biden said Friday that his administration was looking into whether to shorten the window of the planned Covid-19 booster shot program, something he discussed with Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during a visit at the White House.
Biden noted that the US booster program is expected to start September 20, pending sign off from the US Food and Drug Administration and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Earlier this month, US health officials announced that booster shots would be offered starting eight months after an individual's second dose of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines. There is not yet enough data to make plans for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine booster, although they're being studied.
US intelligence still divided on origins of coronavirus in new report
U.S. intelligence agencies remain divided on the origins of the coronavirus but believe China's leaders did not know about the virus before the start of the global pandemic, according to results released Friday of a review ordered by President Joe Biden.
According to an unclassified summary, four members of the U.S. intelligence community say with low confidence that the virus was initially transmitted from an animal to a human. A fifth intelligence agency believes with moderate confidence that the first human infection was linked to a lab. Analysts do not believe the virus was developed as a bioweapon.
Amid push to get Harlem protected, Melba's hosts mobile vaccination site
New York City partnered with Melba's Restaurant on a mobile vaccination site in hopes of encouraging more Harlem residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The neighborhood has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the city and a large Black population, a community in which vaccine hesitancy remains high.
Less than half of all Harlem residents are fully vaccinated, comparatively, in nearby Hell's Kitchen nearly all residents are. Health experts say the push to vaccinate is more important than ever as the delta variant spreads.
Judge rules against Florida Gov. DeSantis' ban on mask mandates in schools
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates in schools will not remain in place, Leon County's 2nd Judicial Circuit Court Judge John Cooper ruled Friday.
The court said that under the law the defendants "did not have the authority for a blanket mandatory ban against face mask policy, that does not provide a parental opt-out. They simply do not have that authority," the judge said.
Woman hospitalized with COVID-19 comes home to find husband dead from virus
A Florida woman, who battled and beat COVID-19 in the hospital for eight days, returned home to discover her husband had died in their home due to the virus.
The 58-year-old thought she was through the worst of it. She and her husband Ron both got diagnosed with COVID-19 in early August.
Ron never ended up in the hospital. Instead, he was home taking care of the dogs, while his wife was gone.
Forecasting model predicts 100,000 more COVID deaths by December 1 unless US changes its ways
The U.S. is projected to see nearly 100,000 more COVID-19 deaths between now and Dec. 1, according to the nation's most closely watched forecasting model. But health experts say that toll could be cut in half if nearly everyone wore a mask in public spaces.
In other words, what the coronavirus has in store this fall depends on human behavior.
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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