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(NEW YORK) – The United States faces a wave of COVID-19 this summer as the most contagious delta variant spreads.

More than 615,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 4.2 million people have died worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 58.4% of Americans aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Last week, the CDC, citing new science on the transmissibility of the delta variant, changed its mask guidelines to now recommend everyone in areas with substantial or high levels of transmission – vaccinated or not – to wear a face covering in public and indoor places.

Here’s how the news unfolds on Friday. Every hour in the East:

Aug 06, 7:42 a.m.
United to require all U.S. employees to be vaccinated by September

All United States-based employees will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September and upload their vaccination cards to the company’s website, the airline said on Friday. The move is the most stringent vaccination requirement a U.S. airline has taken so far.

“For employees who are already vaccinated – and for those who get vaccinated and upload their records to Flying Together by September 20 – we will be offering an extra day’s pay,” Scott Kirby and Brett Hart, CEO and Chairman of United, said written in a note to employees.

Employees will have up to five weeks after September 20 or five weeks after the Food and Drug Administration fully authorizes a COVID-19 vaccine to download their maps. All three vaccines in the United States are currently in use under emergency use authorization.

06 Aug, 04:31
Tokyo sees 4,515 new positive cases

As of Friday, there were 4,515 new positive cases of the coronavirus in Tokyo, according to the city’s COVID-19 news website.

That’s a 152.7% increase since last Friday.

Of the new cases, 141 are serious and four have become fatal.

August 06, 1:53 am
There are now 387 positive cases at the Tokyo Olympics

As of Friday, there were 387 positive cases of COVID-19 at the Tokyo Olympics, according to the Tokyo 2020 list of positive coronavirus cases.

This is an increase of 29 positive cases since Thursday.

All cases are either Tokyo 2020 contractors, Games related personnel or media.

“Of the 726 US Olympic delegates to Japan on August 5, no COVID test was confirmed positive based on daily results,” the International Olympic Committee tweeted.

August 05, 8:53 p.m.
Hawaii issues vaccine rules for state and county employees

Hawaii Governor David Ige announced Thursday that all state and county employees must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination by August 16 – or be tested weekly.

Those who don’t comply “could be fired,” Ige said.

It is not known how many state and county workers are already vaccinated.

The warrant comes as the number of cases and hospitalizations in the state “increases dramatically,” Ige said.

Maryland and Virginia announced similar measures earlier Thursday.

August 05, 4:12 p.m.
Delta “sweeps the Mississippi like a tsunami”: official

Mississippi is facing “a phenomenal increase in daily reported cases of COVID, and this is entirely attributable to the delta variant, which is sweeping the Mississippi like a tsunami,” public health official Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Thursday.

Dobbs said 97% of new cases are unvaccinated and 89% of hospitalizations and 85% of deaths are unvaccinated.

Dobbs pleaded with the public to get vaccinated, pointing out that the unvaccinated population is causing the current wave, but vulnerable and vaccinated people are bearing the brunt.

“There is going to be collateral damage, unfortunately, even people who have gone out of their way to protect themselves,” Dobbs said.

“The minority of people vaccinated and hospitalized is over-represented by the elderly and those with weaker immune systems, so we are seeing a fairly dramatic ripple effect of transmission in the community to the most vulnerable parts of our population,” did he declare.

August 05, 3:51 p.m.
New state employee vaccination rules issued in Virginia, Maryland

In Virginia, the state’s 120,000 employees must be vaccinated by September 1, Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday.

About 72% of employees are already vaccinated.

Anyone who chooses not to be vaccinated must get tested every week, he said.

In Maryland, state employees at 48 state facilities must be vaccinated by September 1, “or adhere to strict face covering requirements and undergo regular COVID-19 testing and ongoing, ”Governor Larry Hogan said.

The 48 institutions on the list include the Department of Health, the Department of Juvenile Services, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

August 05, 2:28 p.m.
Only 2 states do not experience high or substantial community transmission

Almost every state in the country is now experiencing an increase in cases and hospitalizations. Only two states – Vermont and Maine – do not report high or substantial community transmission, according to federal data.

The United States is now experiencing its largest increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19 since the winter. More than 61,000 patients are now hospitalized across the country with COVID-19, according to federal data. About a month ago, 12,000 patients were in American hospitals.

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