Coronavirus Updates: Average number of cases exceeds last summer's peak

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Average number of COVID cases exceeds last summer's peak
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Andrea Fuji has more on the battle against the coronavirus in the United States.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It's come a month late, but the U.S. has hit President Joe Biden's goal of at least partially vaccinating 70% of all American adults.

But some doctors worry it is too late, as some hospitals are running out of ICU beds.

The average number of U.S. daily cases last week topped 72,000. That's more than the peak of last summer's COVID surge when there was no vaccine.

Texas and Florida account for one-third of the country's infections, and in Austin, just 10 ICU beds remain for a population of over 2 million.

Here are more of today's headlines:

NYC to require proof of vaccine for indoor dining, gyms and entertainment

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new proof of vaccination requirement for most indoor events in New York City, believed to be the first such mandate by an American city. Dining at restaurants, working out at a gym, attending a movie or play will all require proof of vaccination starting August 16. Enforcement will begin on September 13, to coincide with the return of children to schools.

"So today I announce a new approach, which we are calling the 'Key to NYC Pass,'" de Blasio said. "The key to NYC, when you hear those words, I want you to imagine the notion that because someone is vaccinated they can do all the amazing things available in New York City. This is a miraculous place literally full of wonders. If you are vaccinated all that is going to open up to you, you have the key, you can open the door. If you are unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things. That's the point we are trying to get across."

Florida and Texas had 1/3 of all US COVID-19 cases in past week, official says

One-third of all US COVID-19 cases reported in the past week were in just two states -- Florida and Texas -- according to White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients. The cases are mainly in areas where vaccination rates remain low, Zients said at a briefing. In the past two weeks, daily case rates have gone up fourfold, according to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

"In fact, seven states with the lowest vaccination rates represent just about 8- 1/2% of the US population, but account for more than 17% of cases, and one in three cases nationwide occurred in Florida and Texas, this past week," Zients said.

China orders mass testing in Wuhan as COVID outbreak spreads

China suspended flights and trains, canceled professional basketball league games and announced mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan on Tuesday as widening outbreaks of the delta variant reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019. While the total number of cases is still in the hundreds, they are far more widespread than anything China has dealt with since the initial outbreak that devastated Wuhan in early 2020 and over time spread to the rest of the country and the world. China has not eliminated but largely curbed COVID-19 at home with quick lockdowns and mass testing to isolate infected people whenever new cases pop up. Most previous outbreaks didn't spread far beyond a city or province. This time, cases have been confirmed in more than 35 cities in 17 of China's 33 provinces and regions.

Nassau County announces new traveling vaccination program

Nassau County announced a new traveling vaccination program, in hopes of increasing vaccinations. County Executive Laura Curran says the program will allow the Department of Health to travel to businesses, restaurants, shops, and more. Employees and family members will then be able to get vaccinated for free on-site.

Landlords, tenants fill courts as federal eviction moratorium ends

Gabe Imondi, a 74-year-old landlord from Rhode Island, had come to court hoping to get his apartment back. He was tired of waiting for federal rental assistance and wondered aloud "what they're doing with that money?" Hours later, Luis Vertentes, in a different case, was told by a judge he had three weeks to clear out of his one-bedroom apartment in nearby East Providence. The 43-year-old landscaper said he was four months behind on rent after being hospitalized for a time.

"I'm going to be homeless, all because of this pandemic," Vertentes said. "I feel helpless, like I can't do anything even though I work and I got a full-time job."

Scenes like this played out from North Carolina to Virginia to Ohio and beyond as the eviction system, which saw a dramatic drop in cases before a federal moratorium expired over the weekend, rumbled back into action. Activists fear millions will be tossed onto the streets as the delta variant of the coronavirus surges.

US hits 70% COVID vaccination rate -- a month late, amid a surge

The U.S. has finally reached President Joe Biden's goal of getting at least one COVID-19 shot into 70% of American adults -- a month late and amid a fierce surge by the delta variant that is swamping hospitals and leading to new mask rules and mandatory vaccinations around the country. In a major retreat in the Deep South, Louisiana ordered nearly everyone, vaccinated or not, to wear masks again in all indoor public settings, including schools and colleges. And other cities and states likewise moved to reinstate precautions to counter a crisis blamed on the fast-spreading variant and stubborn resistance to getting the vaccine.

Northwell requiring employees to get vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID

In a notable shift from just last week, New York State's largest healthcare provider and private employer, Northwell Health, will now require all employees to get the COVID vaccine or face regular testing. Employees who are not fully vaccinated by August 16 will be required to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.

Home Depot, Lowe's mask policies

Home Depot is once again "asking customers" to wear masks in its stores nationwide and Lowe's is "encouraging customers" to wear masks -- saying free masks will be available to any shopper who needs one.

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