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Delta variant drives nationwide COVID surge, prompting new mandates

Delta variant drives nationwide COVID surge
Delta variant drives nationwide COVID surge 04:23

Healthcare workers in Missouri are bearing the brunt as hospitalizations among people with COVID-19 have nearly doubled in a month.  

The hardest hit area includes Springfield, where there's been a dramatic rise of COVID-19 patients in one hospital system since mask mandates were lifted before two big holiday weekends. CoxHealth brought in a new morgue and doubled its oxygen reserves to prepare for the anticipated rise in cases and deaths. On Monday, it had 187 coronavirus patients — its highest ever. 

"We're very concerned at this point because we are headed back into school and we have seen disease spreading in our kids who are not vaccinated and don't have the option to be vaccinated," said Katie Towns, director of Springfield-Greene County Health Department. 

As bad as the situation is in Missouri, it's worse in several other states, including Florida, where more than 10,000 are hospitalized

"The numbers that we're seeing are just unbelievably frightening," said Florida International University's Dr. Aileen Marty. 

The Delta variant is responsible for the nation's exponential surge, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is reminding Americans that the COVID vaccines do work. 

"I want to be clear, while vaccinated people can spread the virus if they get a breakthrough infection, the odds of them getting sick in the first place are far lower than those who are unvaccinated," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. 

Among the new cases is Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is fully vaccinated. He said Monday he tested positive and is having flu-like symptoms. 

"Without vaccination, I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now," the South Carolina senator said. "My symptoms would be far worse." 

In New York, the push continues to mandate vaccinations. Governor Andrew announced that 68,000 state transit workers will be required to get vaccinated or face weekly testing. He's asking others to follow suit. 

"Private businesses, I am asking them and suggesting to them go to vaccine only admission," he said. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging mask-wearing indoors in public spaces, but has not mandated them. 

"We want to strongly recommend that people wear a mask in indoor settings, even if you're vaccinated. This is particularly true of course if you might be around anyone unvaccinated," de Blasio said, according to CBS New York

A mask mandate has been reinstated in Louisiana for people older than 5, Governor John Bel Edwards announced Monday. He cited rising infections and hospitalizations across the state, "threatening the ability of hospitals to deliver care." 

Amid the surge, the U.S. finally reached President Biden's Fourth of July goal of having 70% of adults with at least one shot, according to the CDC. 

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