Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 33,980,758 (33,951,558)
Total U.S. deaths: 608,432 (608,152)
Total global cases: 189,126,795 (188,565,395)
Total global deaths: 4,069,936 (4,061,263)
Cities in California told to put their masks back on
With an increase in cases of COVID-19 spiking nationwide, two California cities are telling residents to wear masks when they are in public indoor spaces. Officials in Los Angeles and Sacramento say the order applies to everyone, even those who have been vaccinated.
Los Angeles County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said the move is a response to the surge in cases that is occurring across the country. “We’re seeing the rates go up too high. We all need to do our part to try and prevent the need to do something else.”
The order goes into effect at noon on July 17.
WHO: U.S. should be concerned about variant spread
Two weeks after Independence Day gatherings were held across the country, the coronavirus is spreading in just about every state. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the U.S. should remain vigilant against the Delta variant, which spreads more easily.
The New York Times Tracker shows that the U.S. average case count on Wednesday was 26,513, an increase of 111% from two weeks ago.
Health officials say infections are occurring in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, though symptoms usually don’t manifest in vaccinated people. Despite the increase in cases, hospitalizations remain low.
More states resist mask and vaccination mandates
In recent weeks, eight states have passed laws barring schools from requiring vaccinations or requiring unvaccinated students to wear masks in the classroom. Supporters of these laws insist that these decisions should be left up to individuals and families.
Many colleges and universities have already enacted policies requiring students and staff to be vaccinated before returning to campus. Health officials say banning these policies will only result in more infections.
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Montana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah have outlawed the vaccination requirement. Three of these states -- Arizona, Arkansas, and Oklahoma -- have outlawed the required use of masks in schools.
Around the nation
New York: The New York Yankees’ game against the Boston Red Sox was postponed Thursday night after three Yankees players tested positive for COVID-19. "We have three positives, and we have three pending that we've had rapid tests on," said Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman.
Alabama: Some politicians are beginning to ask why Alabama has some of the lowest vaccination numbers of any state. State Senator Jim McClendon thinks the state health department needs to be reorganized. “The purpose of this is to not throw rocks at anybody, but I think it’s time to find out what’s going on and what the shortcomings are,” he said.
Colorado: At the beginning of the pandemic, business organizations in Colorado expected an economic Armageddon. Now that things are reopening, business leaders say it appears the state dodged a bullet. “We didn’t have as many go out of business as I think a lot of people had predicted or thought we would,” said Diane Schwenke, CEO of the Mesa County Chamber of Commerce.
Vermont: In another sign of the reopening, Amtrak will resume rail service to Vermont next week. It was suspended 16 months ago at the beginning of the pandemic. The Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express will resume their normal runs starting on Monday.
Texas: The city of Austin has reimposed some of its COVID-19 protocols that were lifted weeks ago in response to an increase in cases within the city. “We cannot pretend that we are done with a virus that is not done with us,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler.