The United States accounts for more than one-fifth of the world’s total COVID-19 cases for the first time since mid-February, before vaccines were widely available, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
The country reported more than 900,000 cases in a week for the first time since the week ending Feb. 4, while deaths surpassed 4,500 a week, nearly triple the count during the last lull.
Cases were rising in 46 states. Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana and Mississippi broke all-time case count records last week, based on data reported Friday. Friday’s tallies broke community-level records, too, including those of 32 Florida counties, 32 Mississippi counties, 12 Louisiana parishes and 10 Oregon counties. They also broke records in four of five Hawaii counties. Hawaii’s other county is secluded and has about 100 residents.
Oregon has shattered its all-time COVID-19 case count record set in December. The state reported 11,564 cases in the week ending Friday, already more than 7.2% above the previous record. The state is deploying National Guard members to help fight the surge of the highly contagious delta variant.
-Mike Stucka, USA TODAY
Also in the news:
►The 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that drew tens of thousands of bikers wraps up today in South Dakota. Gov. Kristi Noem dismissed criticism about the rally being a COVID superspreader, insisting it was a “fantastic” event.
►Protesters in France took the streets for the fifth weekend in a row to protest mandatory health passes that require citizens to show proof of a vaccine, negative test or previous infection in order to access public indoor spaces like restaurants and gyms. The mandate went into effect last week.
► A man was stabbed at an anti-vaccine rally in Los Angeles on Saturday, police said. A fight erupted in a crowd of hundreds who descended on City Hall to rally against vaccines. The Los Angeles Police Department said no arrests were made.
► The University of Minnesota joined the list of hundreds of U.S. colleges to require that students and staff be vaccinated against the coronavirus, with medical and religious exemptions possible for those who qualify.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has had more than 36.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 621,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 206.6 million cases and 4.3 million deaths. More than 168 million Americans — 50.6% of the population — have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: The travel landscape has changed dramatically in just a few short weeks. That leaves travelers, many of whom booked trips months ago when case counts were low, wondering whether or not to follow through with their plans. Should they cancel their trips? Read the full story.
Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
People who choose not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus are more likely to become seriously ill and hospitalized, and some insurers are making the unvaccinated pay a larger share of their medical bills. Major insurers such as Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and UnitedHealth Group discontinued some fee waivers for COVID treatments as vaccines became widely available, Kaiser Health News reports.
“Now you probably will have to pay a lot of money if you get hospitalized,” said Cynthia Cox, director for the Kaiser Family Foundation’s program on the Affordable Care Act. “That’s a very direct cost to people because of their lack of vaccination.”
Federal moratoriums on evictions – including a new targeted moratorium the Biden administration issued Aug. 3 – have protected many from losing their homes. But millions of Americans have not received the emergency rental assistance that is available to them through a federal program administered by their state. A slow start, computer glitches and a thorny application process have kept emergency assistance from getting to many renters and landlords, experts say.
“It’s just been crickets. I’ve been waiting on a response – and nothing,” said Luis Caballero, a personal trainer in the Bronx.
– Joey Garrison and Michael Collins
Jan Swartz, president of Holland America Group, which includes Princess Cruises, had a front seat to the mayhem as COVID spread through ships and eventually across the world. Swartz has served as president of Princess Cruises since 2013 and was promoted to her group president role in December. Now, 16 months after the cruise industry was shuttered, the Carnival Corp. cruise line is back in service with a vaccine requirement in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
“We can expect that there will be cases of COVID on ships like there are on land, in schools, you name it. So we have many procedures in place should we have positive cases,” Swartz said referencing, isolation, contact tracing and onboard medical staff. “It’s a very dynamic situation, so I think we can all expect more change ahead.”
– Morgan Hines
CVS and Walgreens pharmacies began administering the newly authorized third coronavirus vaccine shot to individuals with immunocompromising conditions on Saturday. People who completed their first two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines at least 28 days ago and have a qualifying condition can schedule their booster shots on the companies’ websites.
Food and Drug Administration determined on Thursday that people who take medications or have conditions that suppress their immune systems might not have gotten enough protection from the first two doses of the vaccine. The agency determined that applies to less than 3% of the U.S. population. The CDC gave its approval for a third shot less than a day later.
“People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them,” Walgreens instructs its customers.
Contributing: The Associated Press