As New York City takes victory lap, where are we in fight against COVID-19

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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- One day after ticker tape fell on essential workers being honored in a parade in New York City, the pandemic continues to rage in other countries.

The Delta variant is fueling COVID clusters in other states as well, and the novel coronavirus has now killed at least 4 million people around the world.

So where are we in this fight? And what battle may still lie ahead?

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New York City is taking a victory lap against the pandemic, with the ticker tape parade Wednesday and all three mass vaccination locations set to close Friday -- after administering more than 9 million doses of the vaccine.

"Wasn't yesterday amazing, a beautiful tribute to our hometown heroes, it was so emotional, so powerful," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "The reason we could have that parade is the reason we've been talking about: Vaccination."

But around the world and even in parts of the U.S., the picture isn't quite as rosy.

"There's not really a moment right now officially where we can say this is over," said Dr. Lindsay Gottlieb, of Mount Sinai Morningside. "There are part of the world where we are seeing the numbers rise significantly."

That rise is attributed to the delta variant, with hospitalizations rising in Nevada, Utah, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisana, Texas and Florida.

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With the new more contagious delta variant of the COVID-19 virus spreading, communities with low vaccination rates are trying to get creative to get more shots into people's arms.

And a tale of two Americas is emerging, with these states still in the trenches.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reflected on how his state made it through.

"I feel confident in saying we did the best work that we could do under the circumstances," he said. "The circumstances were impossible, but we did the best that we could."

But the difference now is that more is known about the virus, and severe illness is preventable with the vaccines. So the question remains, how long will it take for all of America to take their victory lap as well?

"It's important to both acknowledge where we're at and how far we've come, and it's important to consider keeping ourselves safe moving forward," Dr. Gottlieb said. "Because we're not out of the woods."

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