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

More than 611,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, 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 57% of Americans aged 12 and older are fully immunized.

COVID-19 has infected more than 194 million people worldwide and killed more than 4.1 million.
Latest titles:

-United States moved to “high” community transmission category by CDC
-Dep. of Veterans Affairs demand vaccine
-Savannah restores the mandate of the mask inside
-Orlando area in ‘crisis mode’ as cases skyrocket

Here is how the news is evolving today. All Eastern hours.

July 26, 7:46 p.m.
Delta variant is “a brand new virus” responsible for the health of St. Louis

The senior St. Louis health official spoke to ABC News on Monday about the increase in coronavirus cases in Missouri and issued a stern warning to the rest of the country.

“The delta variant is a whole new virus,” Dr. Sam Page, county manager of St. Louis, Missouri, told ABC News.

Since June, the daily average of Missouri cases has increased 500%, with the state now reporting its highest number of new infections since mid-January. Hospitalizations have more than doubled in recent weeks. They rose 125% last month, according to Page.

At the same time, vaccinations have seen a slight increase in the county, Page said. However, he reiterated that it will be at least another month before the county sees the full effect of the vaccines in these patients.

“We just wish we could get people vaccinated earlier because the disease is associated with unfortunate loss of life. And it’s just a terrible thing to watch, ”Page said.

Page said there was no “quick fix” that would help boost vaccination rates statewide or immediately reduce cases, but said officials need to work together quickly.

“It will be multifactorial, a lot of education, a lot of time, a lot of reassurance,” he said.

ABC News Cheyenne Haslett and Arielle Mitropoulos

July 26, 3:45 p.m.
US moved to “high” community transmission category by CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now classifies the United States as having “high” community transmission, with nearly 62% of counties nationwide reporting high (43.79%) or substantial (18.17%) transmission.

New York County, which includes Manhattan, is among those now reporting significant community transmission.

A month ago, only 8% of counties reported high transmission.

Louisiana, Florida and Arkansas have the highest case rate in the country with more than 300 new cases per 100,000 population.

Missouri follows closely with 200 new cases per 100,000 population.

The number of hospitalizations is also increasing. More than 27,300 COVID-10 patients are hospitalized across the country – a jump of 36.8% last week.

Arielle Mitropoulos from ABC News

July 26, 2:44 p.m.
Department of Veterans Affairs demands vaccine

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced Monday that COVID-19 vaccines will be mandatory for departmental health workers.

Four VA employees, all unvaccinated, have died in recent weeks, the department said. At least three of these cases were related to the delta variant.

VA employees will have eight weeks to be fully immunized.

McDonough said the tenure is “the best way to keep veterans safe, especially as the Delta variant spreads across the country.”

ABC News’ Cindy Smith

July 26, 2:06 p.m.
New York City’s unvaccinated city workers will need weekly testing

According to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, all unvaccinated New York City municipal workers will need to undergo weekly testing before school starts in September.

The new requirement will apply to all workers in the city, including police, firefighters and teachers. The new rule will take effect on September 13, when students are expected to return to public schools.

The New York City Police Department has a 43% vaccination rate while approximately 55% of New York City Fire Department employees are vaccinated.

Workers in public residential or collective care facilities, such as nursing homes, must show proof of vaccination even earlier, on August 16.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a similar term on Monday. Starting August 9, state employees and healthcare workers must show proof of vaccination or get tested regularly.

In California, 75% of eligible people received at least one dose.

“Anyone who can get the vaccine should do so,” Newsom tweeted.

ABC News Aaron Katersky

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