Google, Facebook mandate vaccines to employees; states react to CDC mask guidance change; virus deaths over 2,000 per week: COVID-19 news
Jorge L. Ortiz, Ryan W. Miller and Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY
July 28, 2021·9 min read
CDC recommends vaccinated Americans wear masks again as Delta variant continues to spread
The CDC reversed course and urged even fully vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in areas of high COVID-19 transmission.
For the first time in a month, COVID-19 deaths in the United States are once again over 2,000 per week, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data found. New cases are also averaging more than 60,000 per day for the first time in more than three months.
The delta variant of the coronavirus has caused a concerning new wave of the pandemic as unvaccinated people bear the brunt of its effects. While breakthrough cases are possible in vaccinated individuals, the unvaccinated account for virtually all hospitalizations and deaths.
The worrying trend comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new mask guidance Tuesday recommending fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in public in areas with high transmission.
'New science is worrisome': CDC recommends wearing masks indoors, again. What that means for vaccinated Americans.
In response, California recommended that everybody in the state regardless of vaccination status wear a mask at indoors public settings. Similarly, the governors of New York and New Jersey urged indoor use of masks but did not require it.
Nevada issued an emergency order requiring people — vaccinated or not — in 12 of 17 counties to wear masks in public indoor spaces. In Kansas, where 80% of the counties have high or substantial spread, Gov. Laura Kelly said her administration intends to follow the CDC's guidance.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said a special session to revisit the state’s ban on mask mandates in schools is an option as the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state surpassed 1,000.
Michigan and Pennsylvania, on the other hand, likely won't issue a mask mandate or any other new COVID-19 pandemic orders in the immediate future.
Here are the mask mandates by state.
Globally, the pandemic remains in a critical period. The World Health Organization said the number of COVID-19 deaths jumped by 21% in the last week. "If these trends continue, the cumulative number of cases reported globally could exceed 200 million in the next two weeks," the WHO said.
Also in the news:
►Starting Thursday, Apple will require customers to wear masks in COVID hotspots or in areas that have local or state mandates, accounting for about half its U.S. stores.
►The Nationals’ baseball game at Philadelphia on Wednesday was postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak involving four Washington players and eight staffers. On Tuesday, All-Star shortstop Trea Turner tested positive for the coronavirus.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday state employees must be vaccinated by Labor Day or face weekly testing. Patient-facing healthcare workers will be mandated to be vaccinated without a testing option. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $100 incentive for all people who get vaccinated starting Friday at city sites.
►President Joe Biden said Tuesday his administration is weighing the possibility of requiring all federal workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as infections surge across the nation. Biden is expected to announce the requirement, with the alternative of regular testing, on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported.