COVID-19 live updates: Texas Lt. Gov. claims unvaccinated Black people driving spike in cases

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

More than 623,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.3 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 59.5% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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

Aug 20, 3:54 pm
US sees highest daily case total in nearly 7 months

The U.S. reported the highest single-day COVID-19 case total in nearly seven months overnight, with just under 158,000 new cases, according to federal data.

The daily case average in the U.S. has surged to approximately 133,000 a day, up by nearly 14% in the last week and more than 1,040% in the last two months, an ABC News analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

The South has the highest case rates in the country, led by Mississippi and followed by Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

The national case total now stands at nearly 37.3 million, which means one in approximately every eight Americans has tested positive for the virus.

The U.S. is also experiencing its steepest increases in COVID-19-related hospitalizations since the winter of 2020. More than 93,000 patients are now hospitalized across the country with COVID-19, according to federal data.

The country’s average daily COVID-19 deaths stands at 640, an increase of 233% in the last six weeks and the highest in four months.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Aug 20, 3:05 pm
University of Virginia disenrolls over 200 students who did not meet school’s vaccination policy

The University of Virginia has cut 238 students from its rolls after they failed to comply with the university’s vaccination policy, school officials confirmed to ABC news.

“We first announced this vaccination requirement on May 20 and the deadline for compliance was July 1,” Brian Coy, a spokesman for the university, told ABC News in an email.

“Since then, students received multiple reminders about this policy and the need to either be vaccinated or request a medical or religious exemption. Students who remained out of compliance after the deadline received multiple communications in the form of emails, texts, phone calls, and in some cases phone calls to their parents. The University’s vaccination policy was also covered extensively on our digital platforms, our daily news product, the student newspaper, and local media all over Virginia.”

The university has given the students until Aug. 25 to comply or they won’t be allowed to come back school in the fall.

-ABC News’ Will McDuffie

Aug 20, 11:39 am
200 million people have received at least 1 COVID vaccine dose, White House says

Two hundred million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the White House announced Friday. That figure includes more than 1 million doses administered in 24 hours on Thursday, 534,000 of which were first doses.

“Today we hit a milestone: 200M people w/ at least one dose!” Cyrus Shahpar, the White House’s COVID-19 data director, wrote on Twitter. “On avg., over 33,000 people have gotten their first dose, every hour of every day since mid-Dec 2020. Keep it up!”

Aug 20, 11:26 am
Boston indoor mask mandate goes into effect next week

Boston will require face masks in all indoor public settings beginning Aug. 27 at 8 a.m., Mayor Kim Janey announced in a Friday statement.

“We know that masks work best when everyone wears one,” Janey said. “Requiring masks indoors is a proactive public health measure to limit transmission of the Delta variant, boost the public confidence in our businesses and venues, and protect the residents of our city who are too young for vaccination.”

Aug 20, 10:48 am
Unvaccinated Black people ‘biggest group’ driving COVID spike: Texas Lt Gov

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham that “African-Americans who have not been vaccinated” are the “the biggest group in most states” driving the spike in COVID-19 cases, during a Thursday interview.

Patrick doubled down on his comment, adding that “over 90% of them vote for Democrats and their major cities and major counties.”

“It’s up to the Democrats to get — just as it’s up to Republicans to try to get as many people vaccinated,” he said. “In terms of criticizing the Republicans for this, we are encouraging people who want to take it to take it, but they are doing nothing for the African-American community that has significant high number of unvaccinated.”

NAACP President Derrick Johnson pushed back in a statement: “Lt. Governor Dan Patrick lives in an alternate reality, where facts don’t matter,” Johnson said.

“He’s delusional. Black Texans are not the driving force behind the surge of COVID cases in Texas. His statement is not only baseless, it’s racist. Falsely casting blame on the Black community is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and we expect better from an elected official.”

Aug 19, 5:57 pm
Mississippi’s only pediatric hospital sees record COVID-19 patients

Children’s of Mississippi, the state’s only pediatric hospital, reported a record number of patients Thursday.

There are 28 children, all unvaccinated, with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, the highest since the start of the pandemic, the hospital said on Facebook. Among those, eight children are in the intensive care unit, including five not yet old enough to receive the vaccine, the hospital said.

“The best way to protect ALL of Mississippi’s kids from COVID-19 is for everyone age 12 and up to get vaccinated,” said the hospital, which is part of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Nearly 43% of Mississippi residents ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data, one of the lowest rates in the country.

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