NEW YORK (WABC) -- The US is now averaging more than 16,000 new covid cases per day, an increase of more than 21% in just the last week.
In nine states, infections are up by more than 50% over the past two weeks.
One hospital in Missouri had to borrow ventilators, they've been busy treating the most COVID patients they've seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
Doctors there say they're putting more people on breathing machines than ever before and that they've seen a dramatic rise in severe cases among younger, seemingly healthier people.
In Mississippi, only one-third of the population is fully vaccinated.
Nationwide, daily vaccinations are down 45% from last week.
Here are more of today's headlines:
NY among 25 states reporting rise in new cases
New York is among 25 states reporting an increase in COVID-19 cases. Health experts cite the highly infectious delta variant for a 16% jump in new cases in the past week. That's coupled with a 44% drop in people getting vaccinated each day. It's apparent that wide swaths of the country don't want the vaccine, even though public health officials say the data is overwhelming. "You're going to start seeing mini surges that are localized to certain regions and, as I've said, you don't want to see two Americas, one that's vaccinated and protected and yet another that's unvaccinated and very much at risk," director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, said.
Pfizer to ask FDA for booster shot approval
Pfizer is about to seek U.S. authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, saying that another shot within 12 months could dramatically boost immunity and maybe help ward off the latest worrisome coronavirus mutant. Research from multiple countries shows the Pfizer shot and other widely used COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant, which is spreading rapidly around the world and now accounts for most new U.S. infections. Two doses of most vaccines are critical to develop high levels of virus-fighting antibodies against all versions of the coronavirus, not just the delta variant -- and most of the world still is desperate to get those initial protective doses as the pandemic continues to rage. But antibodies naturally wane over time, so studies also are underway to tell if and when boosters might be needed.
CDC says vaccinated teachers, students can go without masks
Vaccinated teachers and students don't need to wear masks inside school buildings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday in relaxing its COVID-19 guidelines. The changes come amid a national vaccination campaign in which children as young as 12 are eligible to get shots, as well as a general decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.
"We're at a new point in the pandemic that we're all really excited about," and so it's time to update the guidance, said Erin Sauber-Schatz, who leads the CDC task force that prepares recommendations designed to keep Americans safe from COVID-19.
Javits Center, 2 other mass vaccination sites close
Mass vaccination sites at the Javits Center, Suffolk County Community College - Brentwood, and SUNY Ulster have closed up shop Friday. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the closures are part of an ongoing downscaling that will allow the state to focus on local vaccination efforts.
Summer cold 2021 baffles doctors, worries parents
The recent emergence of a virus that typically sickens children in colder months has baffled U.S. pediatricians and put many infants in the hospital with troublesome coughs and breathing trouble. RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common cause of cold-like symptoms but can be serious for infants and the elderly. Cases dropped dramatically last year, with people staying home and social distancing, but began cropping up as pandemic restrictions eased.
"I've never seen anything like this before,'' Dr. Kate Dutkiewicz, medical director at Beacon Children's Hospital in South Bend, Indiana, said after treating two RSV-infected infants recently. Both needed oxygen treatment to help with breathing. ''I've never seen cases in July, or close to July.''
Moderna flu shot technology
Moderna's trying to transfer the technology it used for its COVID vaccine to create a better flu shot. The company says it has started clinical trials of a flu shot that utilizes mRNA therapeutics. Moderna says its mRNA-1010 is a quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccine candidate targeting WHO recommendations including A H1N1, H3N2, and influenza B Yamagata and Victoria lineages. The current flu vaccines have about 50% effectiveness. Moderna's COVID vaccine claims to prevent infection more than 90-percent of the time. The company says it could eventually combine the flu, RSV, and COVID booster vaccines into one shot.
COVID deaths hit 4 million worldwide
The global death toll from COVID-19 eclipsed 4 million as the crisis increasingly becomes a race between the vaccine and the highly contagious delta variant. The tally of lives lost over the past year and a half, as compiled from official sources by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the number of people killed in battle in all of the world's wars since 1982, according to estimates from the Peace Research Institute Oslo. With the advent of the vaccine, deaths per day have plummeted to around 7,900, after topping out at over 18,000 a day in January.
But in recent weeks, the mutant delta version of the virus first identified in India has set off alarms around the world, spreading rapidly even in vaccination success stories like the U.S., Britain, and Israel. The U.S. and other wealthy countries have agreed to share at least 1 billion doses with struggling countries.
Disney on Broadway announces 4-show benefit
Disney on Broadway has announced a four-show "Live for the New Am" benefit concert for The Actors Fund to help entertainers who have been left out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tickets are now on sale for the shows, which will feature Disney on Broadway's most beloved songs performed by the stars of the hit musicals. It celebrates the reopening of Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre and honors the remarkable support that The Actors Fund has provided to members of the industry.
Poll among unvaccinated Americans
The CDC reports 67% of adults in the United States have had one dose and 58% are fully vaccinated. A new ABC News-Washington Post poll finds that among those unvaccinated, 74% say they're unlikely to get a shot. President Joe Biden called Americans to action and asked them to get the vaccine.
"My fellow Americans, it's the most patriotic thing you can do," he said. "So please, if you haven't gotten vaccinated, do it. Do it now."
Staten Island communities among highest COVID positivity rates in NYC
New York City may be starting to celebrate the end of the pandemic, but some communities on Staten Island are proving it's not over yet. There are 145 zip codes in New York City, and the one with the highest rate of COVID positivity is 10308 on Staten Island, a stretch of strip malls and single-family homes in the Great Kills section, where the positivity rate is above 5%. So why is COVID surging here? Well, that's COVID.
"It's an opportunist," New York City Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi said. "It goes to places where it has a chance to spread."
NYC vaccination rates by zip code
There are about a dozen communities in the New York City area where three out of four people have not been vaccinated yet. 7 On Your Side Investigates created a map where the darkest colored zip codes have the most vaccinated New Yorkers and the lightest, the least.
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