(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 since the start of the pandemic, 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.
Worldwide, the virus that causes COVID-19 has infected more than 195 million people, with over 4.1 million dying from the disease.
Here’s how the news is developing Thursday. All times Eastern:
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.
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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