COVID-19 Live Updates: Dallas County Raises COVID-19 Threat Level, Calling For 'Extreme Caution'
Get live updates throughout the day on how COVID-19 is affecting North Texas.
» COVID-19 By The Numbers:
- In Texas: More than 3 million cases and more than 52,700 deaths have been reported.
- Cases In North Texas: Tarrant County: 269,138; Dallas County: 267,436; Denton County: 78,793; Collin County: 77,151. There have been at least 9,281 reported deaths in the region's four largest counties. (Data as of July 23)
- Counties across Texas: Use the Texas Newsroom's interactive maps.
- Global: See Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 dashboard.
Saturday, July 24
Dallas County Raises COVID-19 Threat Level, Calling For 'Extreme Caution'
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said late Friday the county has raised its COVID-19 threat level back up to orange, signaling that unvaccinated residents should use "extreme caution."
The move comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase across the region. Public health officials are urging unvaccinated residents to get shots.
Friday, July 23
Tarrant Area Food Bank & HelloFresh Team Up To Feed Local Families
HelloFresh, Tarrant Area Food Bank, and the local community are coming together to pack and distribute meal kits to families in need. The events are part of an ongoing commitment from HelloFresh and TAFB to provide more than 250,000 meals by the end of the year.
Community volunteers will pack ingredients for meal kits Wednesday, July 28. The kits will be distributed at a drive-through pantry at Herman Clark Stadium in Fort Worth from 9 to 11 a.m. on Friday, July 30.
Summertime often sees spikes in food insecurity due to schools being closed and students having limited access to school-provided meals. The pandemic continues to impact access to fresh food, affecting an estimated 45 million people or 1 in 7 Americans. There are 550,000 people battling food insecurity across the 13 counties served by the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
Federal Government Allocates Over $7 Million To Support Rural Texas Clinics
Today, the Biden administration provided $7,033,118 to support rural health clinics in Texas with vaccination efforts, particularly as many communities face increased challenges caused by the Delta variant.
The money, made available through the American Rescue Plan, will go to 142 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) who will use these resources to combat COVID-19 misinformation by developing and implementing additional vaccine confidence and outreach efforts.
“Rural health clinics play a crucial role in supporting our national vaccination effort to defeat COVID-19,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This funding will give trusted messengers in rural communities the tools they need to counsel patients on how COVID-19 vaccines can help protect them and their loved ones.”
Restaurant Industry Urges Workers To Continue To Guard Against COVID
The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) is urging food service workers to not let their guard down amid a resurgence of COVID-19 across the state.
TRA's Kelsey Erickson Streufert says restaurants and patrons can help prevent the kind of pandemic surges that prompted lockdowns last year.
“We have come through so much, and endured through so much already as an industry, and just as a state, and as a people," Erickson Streufert said. "It’s scary anytime you see those numbers increase. But, I think we’ve got to remember that unlike previous peaks, there is a huge differentiating factor right now — which is the availability of vaccines.”
According to TRA, at least 9,000 restaurants in the state have gone out of business during the pandemic, with thousands more still trying to recover.
The association is telling restaurants to continue safety protocols and ensure all workers pass health screenings before their shifts.
“At this point, we know how to do it, right?" Erickson Streufert said. "It’s get the vaccine. It’s wear a mask, if you haven’t. And, make sure you’re social distancing. Just really make sure that if you do have any signs or symptoms. Then [make sure] you are separating yourself, getting tested and making sure you’re not spreading the virus to others.”
New Statewide TV Ad Encourages Vaccination For Eligible Children
A new TV ad campaign from the Texas Department of State Health Services is promoting COVID vaccinations for children 12 and older ahead of the next school year.
The effort launched this week featuring Texas doctors, including Ryan Van Ramshorst, stressing the vaccines are safe and effective.
"My role as a pediatrician is to keep my patients safe and healthy to allow my patients -- kids and teenagers -- to get back to those activities that they deserve to be doing, to get back to some semblance of normalcy," Ramshorst said.
About 26% of Texans, age 12 to 17, have gotten the shot. Overall nearly 52% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.
Over the next two weeks, DSHS is also hosting pop-up events at Walmart stores across the state to emphasize the importance of vaccinating kids.
Thursday, July 22
Biden Administration to Invest Over $1.6 Billion In COVID Mitigation Efforts
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will invest more than $1.6 billion towards testing and mitigation efforts in high-risk areas.
The funding will go towards homeless shelters, treatment and recovery facilities, domestic violence shelters and correctional facilities.
“As we continue the vaccination program to get more Americans protected, it is important that we double down on our efforts to increase testing especially in vulnerable communities,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.
Funding for the investment came from The American Rescue Plan.
North Texas Counties See Spike In Cases
Counties across North Texas are reporting spikes in COVID-19 cases.
Experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center attribute that to the more contagious Delta variant of coronavirus and the slowing pace of vaccinations.
Internal Medicine associate professor Dr. James Cutrell said cases are forecasted to climb in Dallas and Tarrant Counties.
“By August 9th, there will be on average 600 new cases of COVID-19 per day, reported in each of these counties.”
COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Texas rose 89% over the past two weeks.
That spike in cases continued with the numbers reported in three of North Texas' four biggest counties Thursday:
Dallas County - 340 New Cases | 267,108 Total Cases | 4,176 Total Deaths
Tarrant County - 354 New Cases | 268,548 Total Cases | 3,611 Total Deaths
Denton County - 202 New Cases | 78,678 Total Cases | 630 Total Deaths
Forecasters say increasing vaccinations could help North Texas avoid the level of hospital admissions seen during last summer's surge.
American And Southwest Airlines Post Profits After Receiving Federal Aid
Federal payroll aid as part of coronavirus relief has helped American and Southwest to post a profit in the second quarter.
American saw a $19 million profit while Southwest earned $348 million.
It's the first time since the end of 2019 that American's turned a profit, and only the second time for Dallas-based Southwest.
Wednesday, July 21
UT Southwestern Warns Of Rising Hospitalizations
UT Southwestern Medical Center says the rising hospitalization rates in North Texas are resembling trends previously seen in summer 2020 and January 2021.
North Texas saw an 89% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past two weeks, according to the latest forecast from UT Southwestern. Experts say the trend is likely tied to the increasing prevalence of the Delta variant and a large number of unvaccinated individuals.
The Delta variant, which experts say is more contagious, has now become the dominant variant of the coronavirus in Texas.
Dr. Brad Cutrell, an associate professor in the department of internal medicine at UT Southwestern, says North Texas could avoid another surge in hospitalizations if more people get vaccinated.
“Our UTSW forecasts predict that, if we continue at our current pace of vaccinations and behaviors around masking and physical distancing — that by October of this year, we are likely to return to the same number of cases and hospitalizations that we’ve seen in prior surges,” Cutrell said.
Cutrell predicts a “sharp increase in hospitalizations” in Dallas and Tarrant counties, based on data provided by county officials.
“We estimate by August 9, there will be 400 to 500 hospitalizations in Dallas County, and 500 to 700 hospitalizations in Tarrant County,” Cutrell said.
UT Southwestern experts say most unvaccinated individuals are under the age of 65. They're reminding people getting vaccinated that short lived symptoms like arm pain, low grade fevers and chills are to be expected as part of the body’s normal reaction to vaccinations.
Forecasters also said the percentage of North Texans who say they have been — or are willing to get vaccinated — has plateaued.
Health Officials Prepare For Fourth Wave
Texas hospital officials are preparing for a fourth wave of COVID-19 as the Delta variant fuels an increase in infections.
Dr. Paul Klotman is president and CEO of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He said he doesn’t expect this wave to be as bad as previous ones because more people are vaccinated.
"What we will see is a hill, not a mountain,” he said. “We sort of saw three very big peaks in the past and I think this one will be more of a prolonged, slow rise. It will peak at much less than the peaks we had before, but this virus is really good at finding unvaccinated people."
Nearly 52% of Texans 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
Gov. Abbott Says He Won’t Issue Statewide Mask Mandate For Schools
Gov. Greg Abbott says he will not institute a statewide mask mandate for schools even though children under 12 are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and cases are on the rise in Texas. He told Fox News Channel Tuesday parents will decide if kids wear masks.
"Parents have the right to make sure, to make the choice, about whether their child will be wearing a mask in school,” he said.
Abbott issued an executive order earlier this year prohibiting public schools from requiring face masks.
His comments follow new COVID-19 guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommending all students over the age of 2 and all school staff wear masks whether or not they are vaccinated.
Tuesday, July 20
Tarrant County Hospitalizations Up Nearly 400%
Over the past month, Tarrant County has seen nearly four times the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, compared to the month before. The county also posted its highest case counts since March this past weekend.
County health officials reported 439 new cases today.
Public Health Director Vinny Taneja says the more transmissible delta variant is the reason for these increases.
"The more time we give the virus to mutate in people, the more variants are gonna come out, he said. "We're gonna run out of alphabets to name those variants. But it's going to keep coming, we just have to work together as a community, get vaccinated. Let's get rid of COVID."
There's been a cumulative total of 267,874 new cases, including 3,608 deaths.
Taneja says it's largely a pandemic of the unvaccinated now. He's encouraging community members to wear masks and avoid large crowds as cases surge.
Dallas County Reports 3-Day Total of 870 New Cases & 5 Deaths
The 870 new cases and five additional deaths is a three-day total from Saturday through Monday. There's been a cumulative total of 266,274 cases in the county, including 4,166 deaths.
"In addition to increasing daily cases, our hospitalizations have doubled in July," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. "The slope of our upward trend is concerning and is more dramatic in the past week with increased hospital admissions, patients hospitalized and an increased percentage of cases in the ICU."
165 New Cases In Denton County Today
Denton County Public Health announced 165 new cases of today, of which 150 are active. This increases the cumulative, countywide total to 78,267 COVID-19 cases, including 628 deaths.
Experts Worry About Growing Number Of Children With Delta Variant
Officials in Texas are concerned about the rapid spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 in Children.
Dr. Jim Versalovic is pathologist-in-chief and interim pediatrician-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. He talked with Public Radio's Texas Standard about the risk to children under 12.
"This is a totally unvaccinated population and we know that children certainly can get infected with COVID-19. They can be hospitalized and they can go into critical care," he said. "So it's a serious issue."
Versalovic says Texas Children's has seen over 15,000 cases of COVID-19 in children this year, and recommends parents and children over 12 get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Cases & Hospitalizations Rising In Houston As Well
Top Houston doctors are warning that a fourth wave of the pandemic is underway. COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising for the first time since January.
On Zoom today, leaders at the Texas Medical Center raised concerns about the threat the delta variant will have on Greater Houston, particularly among the unvaccinated.
COVID hospitalizations at the TMC have almost doubled over the past two weeks, and the vast majority of these patients were unvaccinated.
Vaccine Expert Dr. Peter Hotez said the next wave will hit unvaccinated regions of Texas the hardest like East Texas and the Panhandle.
“We're seeing two to COVID nations, we're also seeing two aspects of Texas," Hotez said. "Along the border with Mexico, vaccination rates look pretty good. Same with some of the big urban areas, including Houston, we're doing relatively okay.”
Over 50% of Harris County is fully vaccinated. But Hotez says the other 50% will be vulnerable to the highly contagious delta variant.
Monday, July 19
UT Southwestern Forecast Shows Surge In North Texas Hospitalizations
The latest forecast from UT Southwestern Medical Center said Dallas County saw a 40% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the last two weeks.
In Tarrant County, the increase in hospitalization was 65% over the same period.
The report said most people hospitalized for COVID-19 in North Texas are under the age of 65 and the Delta variant of the virus could contribute to a further spike in hospitalizations.
Forecasters add Dallas County could see about 200 new cases a day by August 2, and Tarrant County could see about 180.
Tarrant County Reports Almost 1,500 New Cases Over The Weekend
Tarrant County reported nearly 1,500 new coronavirus cases over the weekend, which is the most new cases reported in months.
Health officials said nearly everyone who has contracted COVID-19 in Tarrant County since March has been unvaccinated.
The percentage of tests coming back positive has increased from more 3% a month ago to nearly 12% as of last week.
County Health Director Vinny Taneja urged people to get the COVID vaccine as soon as possible.
Saturday, July 17
Tarrant County Reports 966 New Cases, One Death, As Community Spread Remains High
The death reported Saturday is a Fort Worth man in his 40s who had an underlying health condition. Tarrant County has now seen 3,607 confirmed deaths from COVID-19. The county has also seen a total 266,698 cases of COVID-19. Officials report 259,297 people have recovered.
More Than 12 Million Texans Fully Vaccinated
The Texas Department of State Health Services reports 12,326,614 Texans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Officials also report 14,254,212 people have received at least one dose.
Friday, July 16
Tarrant County Raises Community Spread Level To High, Reports Five Deaths
The deaths include a woman from Richland Hills in her 80s, a man and a woman from Fort Worth in their 70s, a man from Haltom City in his 50s, and a man from Fort Worth in his 40s. All had an underlying health condition.
The rate of community spread has increased from near 2% in June to near 12% this week, which has triggered the Community Spread Level to rise from Moderate to Substantial on Wednesday and increase again today to High. By definition, High community spread occurs when positive cases (positivity rate) climbs above 10%.
Tarrant County now has 3,606 confirmed deaths and 259,194 people have recovered.
Dallas County Reports 207 Cases, Three Deaths
The three deaths give Dallas County a total of 4,160. The deaths reported Friday included people who ranged in age from their 40s to their 80s, and all had underlying health conditions.
The Fair Park vaccination site will close Saturday after providing shots since January. More than 496,000 total doses have been given at that mega-vaccination site.
Denton County Reports 115 Cases
Of the 115 cases reported, 107 were active cases. Denton County also reported 43 recoveries, bringing the countywide recovery total to 75,461. There have been a total of 628 deaths in the county.
Texas Added 43,900 Jobs In June
Texas added 43,900 jobs last month, according to data released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
The state added a revised 45,300 jobs in May. It has added 267,400 jobs year to date.
Using a top-down model based on national forecasts, COVID-19 hospitalizations and oil futures prices, the Texas Employment Forecast estimates that that job growth will increase by 5.6 percent in 2021.
“Healthy job growth in May and June and a stronger outlook for U.S. GDP growth in the second half of the year pushed up the forecast,” said Keith Phillips, Dallas Fed assistant vice president and senior economist. “Supply bottlenecks and labor constraints are likely to ease in the second half of the year. The forecast would be even stronger except for an increase in projected Texas COVID-19 hospitalizations in the third quarter, which may suppress growth somewhat.”
Gov. Abbott Encourages Texans To Get Vaccinated
Gov. Greg Abbott said COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to slow a recent rise in new infections across the state. The Republican governor told public radio's Texas Standard the shots are optional for Texans, but acknowledged the protections it offers against the virus.
"Anybody who gets vaccinated, the chances of them getting COVID or facing serious consequences of COVID are extremely minimal, and from all the information that I've been provided, the people who are getting COVID are people who are not vaccinated," he said.
As of Tuesday, more than 2,400 Texans were hospitalized with COVID.
Other officials across Texas are urging unvaccinated people to get COVID-19 shots as the more contagious Delta variant drives up new cases and hospitalizations.
San Antonio, for example, saw its positivity rate nearly double in one week to 11.2%. Mayor Ron Nirenberg says residents cannot let their guards down.
"The renewed growth in new cases and hospitalizations is concerning. Particularly for those who are unvaccinated," Nirenberg said. "COVID-19 remains deadly and the unvaccinated remain at risk of hospitalization or severe illness."
Texans 12 and older can get COVID-19 vaccines. About 51 percent of the state's eligible population is fully vaccinated.
Thursday, July 15
Texas Hospitalizations Reach A Two-Month High As The Delta Variant Pushes Case Numbers Up
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in Texas as the more contagious delta variant drives new infections. The increase is prompting local officials to remind residents to get vaccinated.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff is among those urging people to get the shots, as the San Antonio area sees a significant uptick in patients. He spoke Wednesday.
"We didn't know what to expect as we hit the very low that we were at in fact on June 15 we were down to only 117 people in the hospital, Wolff said. "Now, as of just yesterday, we're up to 258 people in the hospital."
There are more than 2,400 COVID-19 patients statewide — the highest number since May 10.
Texans 12 and older can get COVID-19 vaccines. Of the state's eligible population, 51% is is fully vaccinated.
Expanded Child Tax Credit Payments Start Today
Starting today, the federal government will start sending out the first of six monthly payments to millions of American families with children.
It's part of the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law last spring.
Most U.S. families with children under 18 are eligible to get the monthly payments.
Families can get up to $250 per child aged 6 to 17, .and as much as $300 for each child under 6.
The exact payment is based on family income and tapers off for higher income families.
For eligible families who filed taxes over the last two years, payments should start automatically in the middle of this month. They'll come as a check or a direct deposit from the Treasury.
Families who did not file taxes may need to take an extra step. They can go to IRS.gov to make sure they're signed up to get the Advance Child Tax Credit payments.
Ben Carson Prompted 2020 Testing Of An Unproven COVID Remedy
Former federal housing secretary Ben Carson enlisted Texas A&M to test an anti COVID-19 drug that never proved itself. Along the way, trusted drug testing rules and procedures were violated.
An investigation by The Dallas Morning News revealed Carson pushed to school organize testing a compound from the oleander plant that preliminary experiments found killed COVID-19 cells in monkeys. The Morning News found extensive animal trials were bypassed to test the compound in people — including workers at a Corpus Christi meat packing plant and seniors in Bryan.
No one at the plant who got the compound died of COVID-19, but neither did any other workers who also caught the virus.
While some in the senior center died of the virus, none given the compound died.
The FDA had not approved the compound's use as treatment for COVID-19 and wouldn’t even approve it's use as a dietary supplement.
In Texas, Unemployment Claims Are Down Overall But First-Time Request Went Up In June
The U.S. Labor Department reports today that the number of Texans seeking first-time unemployment benefits rose last week.
In Texas, 31,749 people applied for unemployment for the first time last week. That marks a 31% increase from the previous week when 24,216 people in the state filed new jobless claims.
While Texas saw an uptick in the number of people applying for benefits, nationwide, unemployment claims fell to their lowest level since the onset of the pandemic in early March 2020. In the last ten days, the Texas Workforce Commission has made more than 980,000 unemployment payments.
Wednesday, July 14
Head Of Richardson Schools Joins National Committee On Education Pandemic Recovery
Jeannie Stone, superintendent of the Richardson Independent School District will be a part of a national committee focused on pandemic recovery for schools — the American Rescue Plan Committee.
Richardson was one of the few school districts that operated in person for the majority of last year.
The committee was organized by the School Superintendents Association, a national advocacy group for education leaders.
Stone will join other superintendents to provide recommendations for districts opening up across the nation. The committee will also weigh in on how to spend federal relief funds.
Stone hopes to focus on the learning gaps that many students faced last year, and tackle the loss of social and emotional relationships as students switch back to in-person learning.
Tuesday, July 13
Dallas County Reports 626 Cases, Four Deaths
The data reported by Dallas County on Tuesday is from three days' worth. The deaths reported Tuesday were of people who ranged in age from their 30s to their 90s, and all had underlying health conditions. Dallas County now has a countywide total of 4,152 deaths.
Denton County Reports 110 Cases, Four Deaths
The four deaths give Denton County a total of 628. The deaths reported Tuesday were of people who ranged in age from their 50s to their 80s. Denton County also reported 37 newly recovered cases, increasing the countywide recovery total to 75,354.
Recent Outbreaks Tied To Summer Camps
The U.S. has seen a string of COVID-19 outbreaks tied to summer camps in recent weeks in several states including Texas and Florida.
The clusters have come as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. has reversed course, surging more than 60% over the past two weeks from an average of about 12,000 a day to about 19,500.
The rise in many places has been blamed on too many unvaccinated people and the highly contagious delta variant.
In the Houston area, health officials reported more than 130 children and adults tested positive for the virus in cases connected to a church camp. The pastor of Clear Creek Community Church in League City said the outbreak happened in two waves, first at the camp and then when people returned home in late June.
Biden Administration Provides $29 Million To Support Rural COVID Response Efforts
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday it would provide $29 million to the state of Texas to help rural areas in particular. The funding will go to 115 small rural hospitals to help them with testing and mitigating the COVID-19 virus.
Small rural hospitals are defined as those who have fewer than 50 beds and are Critical Access Hospitals.
Monday, July 12
Dallas County Reports 186 Cases, Three Deaths
The three deaths give Dallas County a total of 4,148. The deaths reported Monday were of people who ranged in age from their 50s to their 70s, and all but one person had underlying health conditions.
This is the last week vaccinations will be given at the Fair Park site. The site is scheduled to close on Saturday, July 17. More than 494,000 doses have been administered at Fair Park since January.
For the week ending July 3, about 58% of Dallas residents 12 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Denton County Reports 141 Cases
Of the 141 cases reported by Denton County, 139 of them are active cases. The county has a total of 624 deaths. There were 96 newly recovered cases reported Monday.
Health Officials: No Need To Get A COVID-19 Booster — Yet
Pfizer's plan to seek federal authorization for a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is drawing mixed reaction from public health officials.
Dr. Peter Hotez is a top vaccine expert with the Baylor College of Medicine. He said he's surprised the pharmaceutical company is seeking emergency use authorization for a third vaccine dose and recommends they pursue full approval instead.
"Yes, I do think we ultimately will need a third immunization," Hotez said. "I don't know that we need to do it now. And I don't know that we need to do it against the Delta variant."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need a booster right now.
Dallas County Saw A Big Increase In Sales Tax Revenues
County sfficials say they’re seeing a big increase in sales tax revenues.I n May, the city got nearly $29 million dollars in sales tax receipts — a 28% increase compared to last year, when many people weren't going out to shop or dine because of COVID-19.
By the end of the fiscal year, officials expect to have about $35 million more in sales tax collections as the economy rebounds faster than expected from the COVID-19-related recession.
Dallas College Reopens Food Pantries
Dallas College is reopening food pantries today at each of its seven campuses. The pantries closed last April, after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Since then, Dallas College worked with the North Texas Food Bank to organize mobile pantries.
Carlos Cruz is dean of the Student Care Network at Dallas College. He said reopening the on-campus pantries serves a critical need for students.
"Because we want to ensure that our students have every resource available to them as we remove these barriers for their student success," Cruz said.
Since the pandemic began, Dallas College has distributed nearly 3 million pounds of food, serving more than 98,000 students and community members.
Local Professor Is Studying How Government, Mutual Aid Groups Responded To Pandemic And Storm
A University of Texas at Arlington professor is studying how the government and mutual aid groups responded to the pandemic and February’s winter storm. The findings could inform planning and preparedness for future disasters.
When winter storm Uri hit in February, Texas was already in a state of emergency addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Daniel Sledge, an associate professor of political science at UTA, wants to understand how local, state and federal entities operated under such massive amounts of stress — and where mutual aid groups helped fill in the gaps.
“So how do people get food? How do people get shelter? How do people stay warm?," Sledge said. "These are things that shape our ability to stay healthy and to thrive. Understanding how this relationship between government and these non-governmental entities shapes our ability to provide these services is incredibly important.”
The goal is to better understand the crisis response, and find efficiencies for the next time disaster strikes. Sledge said his findings will be shared with public officials and practitioners.
Cases And Hospitalizations Are On The Rise In Texas
The Texas Department of State Health Services reports hospitalizations have increased by 23% since July 1 with 1,961 COVID-19 patients as of Saturday. That's the highest number of patients since late May.
Texas's Chief State Epidemiologist warned last week the increase is driven by the highly-transmissible Delta variant spreading in communities with low vaccination rates. White House officials say, nationwide, virtually all people who are hospitalized for COVID-19 are not vaccinated."
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