COVID-19 live updates: Louisiana, Florida leading US in cases

(NEW YORK) — The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.

More than 613,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and over 4.1 million people have died worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 58.1% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC last week, citing new science on the transmissibility of the delta variant, changed its mask guidance to now recommend everyone in areas with substantial or high levels of transmission — vaccinated or not — wear a face covering in public, indoor settings.

Here’s how the news is developing Monday. All times Eastern:

Aug 02, 3:42 pm

Nearly 60% of counties reporting high community transmission

In the U.S., 59.72% of counties are reporting high community transmission. Five weeks ago, only 8% of counties were reporting high transmission, according to federal data.

Louisiana now has the highest case rate in the country with more than 600 new cases per 100,000 residents, according to federal data.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Monday reinstated a statewide indoor mask mandate for everyone ages 5 and above.

Today, I am reinstating Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate indoors for all people ages 5 & up as COVID-19 cases & hospitalizations continue to rise across Louisiana, threatening the ability of hospitals to deliver care. #lagov pic.twitter.com/bFrI4y6MxT

— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) August 2, 2021

Louisiana is followed by Florida, Arkansas and Mississippi with 500, 400 and 300 new cases per 100,000 residents respectively.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Aug 02, 3:09 pm

Lindsey Graham tests positive for COVID-19

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is vaccinated, said he’s tested positive for COVID-19.

“I started having flu-like symptoms Saturday night and went to the doctor this morning,” the Republican senator tweeted Monday. “I feel like I have a sinus infection and at present time I have mild symptoms.”

Graham continued, “I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now. My symptoms would be far worse.”

I feel like I have a sinus infection and at present time I have mild symptoms.

I will be quarantining for ten days.

I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now.

My symptoms would be far worse.

— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 2, 2021

Aug 02, 2:14 pm

Louisiana respiratory therapist: ‘We see families destroyed’

In Louisiana, which has the nation’s highest case rate per 100,000 residents, COVID-19 hospitalizations are reaching peak levels, with more than 1,700 patients now receiving care.

“We’re seeing people that are way too young to be so sick,” David Wrightson, a respiratory therapist and ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) specialist for the Willis-Knighton Health System in Shreveport, Louisiana, told ABC News. “We see families destroyed. We see children without one or more parent because of this virus. We see a new mom who will never go home to see her newborn, will never see her child grow up.”

He went on, “When you see someone that’s 30 years old with no medical problems at all, nobody knew anything was wrong, and we have this person literally on death’s doorstep, doing everything in our power to turn them around and return them to their family. The vaccine is something worth getting.”

More people need to see and understand the reality of this disease, he said.

“I wish I could show them a few steps in our day to see what we see and to see what we have to do, and to go home at night and, and have nightmares about those things, and sometimes cry yourself to sleep,” he said.

-ABC News’ Erica Baumgart and Arielle Mitropoulos

Aug 02, 1:48 pm

Denver mandates vaccinations for workers in high-risk settings

Denver is mandating vaccinations for city employees and those in high-risk jobs like first responders, correctional workers and school personnel. The mandate also applies to staff at long-term care facilities, shelters and hospitals.

After considerable deliberation & consultation w/ public health experts, including @DDPHE‘s exec. director, I am approving a public health order mandating that all @CityofDenver employees and private-sector workers in high-risk settings, be fully vaccinated against COVID by 9/30. pic.twitter.com/VS73Z7HPvR

— Michael B. Hancock (@MayorHancock) August 2, 2021

Aug 02, 12:46 pm

70% of adults in US have now had at least 1 vaccine dose

Seventy percent of adults in the U.S. have now had at least one vaccine dose, the White House announced Monday, nearly one month after President Joe Biden hoped to reach the milestone.

Biden said in May, “Our goal by July 4th is to have 70% of adult Americans with at least one shot and 160 million Americans fully vaccinated.” When that date finally rolled out, the White House touted that 70% of Americans ages 27 and up met the goal, but low vaccination rates among young people kept the country from fully meeting the target.

Biden is scheduled to give remarks on vaccination progress on Tuesday.

-ABC News’ Sarah Kolinovsky

Aug 02, 11:50 am

Nearly 60% of counties reporting high community transmission

In the U.S., 59.72% of counties are reporting high community transmission. Five weeks ago, only 8% of counties were reporting high transmission, according to federal data.

Louisiana now has the highest case rate in the country with more than 600 new cases per 100,000 residents, according to federal data. Florida, Arkansas and Mississippi follow behind with 500, 400 and 300 new cases per 100,000 residents respectively.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Aug 02, 10:59 am

At least 1 patient checked in every hour at Louisiana hospital

At least one COVID-19 patient was checked in every hour Monday morning at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hospital officials told ABC Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ.

The hospital said Monday it has 301 unvaccinated COVID-19 patients and 52 vaccinated COVID-19 patients.

Our Lady of the Lake Hospital is among 45 hospitals in the state requesting extra staff, reported WBRZ.

Louisiana is recording a “remarkable increase in the number of newly vaccinated people,” White House COVID-19 data director Cyrus Shahpar tweeted Monday.

Aug 02, 10:42 am

Masks strongly recommended indoors for the vaccinated, NYC mayor says

Masks are now strongly recommended in public, indoor settings in New York City, even for those who are vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

The mayor also announced that all new city hires must be vaccinated.

De Blasio noted that this week is the last week to get all children ages 12 and above fully vaccinated by the first week of school.

Aug 02, 10:09 am

New vaccine policy for NY transit workers

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports, have adopted the same policy the state has for its public sector employees in requiring either a vaccine or a weekly proof of a negative test. Subway, airport and bus and commuter rail workers must be vaccinated starting Labor Day or face a weekly test, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

The number of COVID-19 cases in New York state has increased four-fold in the last month while hospitalizations have doubled.

Cuomo last week mandated vaccines for public-facing workers in state-run hospitals. If cases continue to rise, Cuomo said he would consider mandatory vaccines for teachers and nursing home employees.

Cuomo also said he is encouraging restaurants, bars and other business owners to adopt a vaccine-only policy.

-ABC News’ Aaron Katersky

Aug 02, 9:44 am
Tokyo COVID-19 cases up 200% in 1 week

There are 2,195 new COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, a 206.9% increase since last Monday, according to the Tokyo Media Center.

At the Olympics, there are 281 new COVID-19 cases, an increase of 17 cases in the last 24 hours, according to Tokyo 2020 organizers. None of these cases are athletes; they are all contractors, personnel or media.

Aug 02, 8:56 am
At least 1 patient checked in every hour at Louisiana hospital

At least one COVID-19 patient was checked in every hour Monday morning at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hospital officials told ABC Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ.

Our Lady of the Lake Hospital is among 45 hospitals in the state requesting extra staff, reported WBRZ.

Aug 02, 8:19 am
TSA screens highest number of people since start of pandemic

The Transportation Security Administration screened 2,238,462 people at U.S. airports on Sunday, the highest number since the start of the pandemic, the agency said. The continued spread of the highly contagious delta variant has not stopped travelers this summer and the TSA put out a tweet reminding fliers to mask up and socially distance.

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