COVID-19 live updates: US approaching same case numbers as 1 year ago


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

More than 611,000 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 57.6% 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 on Tuesday, 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 Thursday. All times Eastern:

Jul 29, 4:00 pm

Biden calls on states to offer $100 to those who get vaccinated

President Joe Biden is urging local governments to offer $100 to those who get vaccinated with funding from the American Rescue Plan.

Biden will also announce Thursday that all federal government employees and outside contractors will be asked to “attest to their vaccination status,” and those who aren’t vaccinated must social distance, get tested once or twice a week and wear a mask at work no matter where they live. This includes members of the Armed Forces and National Guard.

Biden’s also set to announce that small and medium businesses will be reimbursed for giving employees paid leave to get their family members vaccinated.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

Jul 29, 2:54 pm

US approaching same case, hospitalization levels as 1 year ago

One year ago, the U.S. was beginning to see a downturn in COVID-19 cases following a summer surge. On July 27, 2020, the U.S. was averaging about 63,400 new COVID-19 cases per day.

Now, one year later, the U.S. case average is trending in the wrong direction, averaging nearly 62,000 new cases a day.

The new infection average is up by 64.1% in the last week and 440% since mid-June.

Hospitalization levels are also nearing last summer’s numbers. More than 33,000 COVID-19 patients are now receiving care, close to the 37,000 patients hospitalized on Aug. 1, 2020.

Daily deaths, however, are significantly lower now than they were last summer.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Jul 29, 2:42 pm

Florida hospital at capacity

Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida, warned Thursday that its hospitals and emergency rooms are at maximum capacity.

Hospital president and CEO Michael Mayo said earlier this week that the hospital had over 400 COVID-19 patients, an all-time high, and that unvaccinated people accounted for at least 97% of the patients. “It’s never been as bad as it is now,” Mayo said in a statement.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

Jul 29, 2:06 pm

Vaccinations up in Louisiana, Kentucky

Louisiana reported more than 10,000 vaccine doses per day over the last week, the first time the state’s daily numbers climbed above 10,000 since April, according to state data.

Kentucky is seeing a “little bit of an uptick” in vaccinations, Gov. Andy Beshear said, as cases skyrocket in the state.

When asked if he was considering a mask mandate, Beshear said, “I am not currently considering reinstating the mask mandate, but it’s still on the table if needed.”

Kentucky Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said 95% of all cases involve unvaccinated individuals.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky and Jason Volack

Jul 29, 1:16 pm

Israel to give 3rd vaccine dose to those 60 and over

In Israel, a third vaccine dose can be administered to people 60 and older beginning Aug. 1, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said.

The third shot will be given to those who received a second dose at least five months ago.

-ABC News’ Bruno Nota

Jul 29, 12:34 pm

University of Missouri requiring masks in classrooms

The University of Missouri is requiring masks in classrooms, including for those who are vaccinated as of Aug. 2, the school said.

COVID-19 cases are surging in Missouri. The state’s positivity rate stands at 14.7%.

The university said the temporary mask requirement will be reviewed by Sept. 15.

-ABC News’ Will Gretsky

Jul 29, 9:46 am
Masks required in all federal buildings in areas of high or substantial transmission

Masks are now required for everyone — including vaccinated people — in all federal buildings that are in areas of high or substantial transmission, according to an Office of Management and Budget official. That includes federal offices in Washington, D.C., which is currently in substantial transmission status.

Jul 29, 8:12 am
US now administering over 600,000 shots per day on average

Over 754,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines went into the arms of people across the United States on Wednesday, according to White House COVID-19 data director Cyrus Shahpar.

That figure includes 498,000 newly vaccinated individuals, Shahpar said, which is the highest daily amount reported since July 1.

The U.S. is now averaging more than 600,000 total shots administered per day, an increase of about 18% compared with last week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jul 29, 7:21 am
Daily case count hits record high in Tokyo amid Olympics

As the 2020 Summer Olympics plays out in Tokyo, the host city saw a record-breaking number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the third straight day.

A new all-time high of 3,865 cases were reported on Thursday, up from 3,177 on Wednesday and double the daily count a week ago, according to data from Tokyo’s metropolitan government. The Games, which were postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, are being held under a regional state of emergency and stringent restrictions.

Although Japan has managed to keep its COVID-19 cases and death toll lower than many other countries, its numbers have been on the rise in recent weeks with infections soaring not just in the capital city but across the nation.

“We have never experienced the expansion of the infections of this magnitude,” Japanese chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters Tuesday.

At least 198 confirmed cases have been associated with the Tokyo Olympics. Of those, 24 were reported on Thursday and include three athletes who are staying at the Olympic Village, according to data from the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.

Jul 29, 5:41 am
Dozens of cases across US linked to Christian summer camp

At least 75 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across 17 U.S. states have been linked to a Christian summer camp in North Carolina, officials said.

The outbreak is associated with campers and staff who attended The Wilds camp near Rosman in North Carolina’s Transylvania County between June 28 and July 17, according to a statement from the local public health department.

The camp, nestled on 1,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, offers sessions for children, adults and families.

Last week, a spokesperson for the camp told Ashevile ABC affiliate WLOS that they had cancelled sessions that week to work on enhancing COVID-19 protocols. Although there was no plan to cancel further sessions, the spokesperson said the camp was working to limit the number of attendees and started asking campers to get tested for COVID-19 before their sessions.

“We’ve been checking our staff, we’ve been doing screenings for everyone who comes onto the campsite and anticipating they’re coming to our campsite healthy,” the spokesperson told WLOS during a telephone interview last week. “And the anticipation is that they would leave healthy as well.”

Jul 29, 1:20 am
FDA approves shelf life extension for J&J vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration has approved another extension to the shelf life of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, from four-and-a-half months to six months, J&J said in a statement late Wednesday.

“The decision is based on data from ongoing stability assessment studies, which have demonstrated the vaccine is stable at six months when refrigerated at temperatures of 36 – 46 degrees Fahrenheit,” J&J said.

Jul 29, 12:38 am
CDC changes testing guidance for vaccinated people

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly updated its guidance on testing for vaccinated people on its website.

While the CDC had previously said vaccinated people did not have to get tested for COVID-19 after being exposed to someone with the virus, unless they had symptoms, that is no longer the case.

The government agency now recommends: “If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms.”

“You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative. You should isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive,” the updated guidance states.

Jul 28, 10:20 pm
Disney World brings back indoor mask requirement for all guests

Masks once again will be required while indoors at Disney World, regardless of vaccination status, the company announced Wednesday, as Florida has quickly become a COVID-19 hotspot.

Starting Friday, face coverings will be required for all guests ages 2 and up while indoors, including upon entering and throughout all attractions.

They are also required while riding Disney transportation.

Masks are still optional in outdoor common areas, the company said.

The theme park had initially dropped its mask requirement for vaccinated guests last month.

The updated rule will also go into effect Friday at Disneyland in California.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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