The U.S. states of Florida and Louisiana were at or near their highest hospitalization numbers of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, driven by the still-spreading Delta variant, as one doctor warned of the "darkest days" yet.
Lines of cars on Monday were backed up at some COVID-19 testing sites in Florida, as the Delta variant sweeps through the American South.
One Florida county health official said the new surge is the largest yet.
“These are the longest lines I have seen.
Surely what is motivating this is what we are seeing media -- rising COVID cases across the country, across the states, across the county.” U.S. officials say Florida faces one of the worst outbreaks in the nation.
Government health data shows it now has about a quarter of those Americans hospitalized by the disease.
The head of the state’s hospital association said the current surge saw hospitalizations skyrocket from 2,000 a day, to 10,000 in less than a month.
That breaks a previous record.
Deaths, however, have remained well below the last peak.
Meanwhile, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has resisted mask or vaccine mandates.
Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled state limited local officials’ ability to impose COVID restrictions and last week, DeSantis issued an executive order barring schools from mandating masks in the classroom, as students return this month.
Other states across the south, like Arkansas and Louisiana, are following Florida’s trend in hospitalizations, and could eventually break their state records.
CNN’s Randi Kaye attempts to speak with chiropractor Dan Busch, who despite not being a medical doctor, wrote medical exemptions for students wishing to opt out of wearing masks in Sarasota County Schools in Florida.
Authorities are searching for missing Florida woman Gabby Petito who was last believed to have been in the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming with her boyfriend, police said. HLN’s Mike Galanos reports.
[NFA] The United States reported more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, equating to around 42 fatalities an hour, according to a Reuters tally, as the Delta variant continues to ravage parts of the country with low vaccination rates. Gavino Garay reports.
COVID-19 vaccine booster shots will be made widely available to Americans starting on Sept. 20, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday, citing data showing diminishing protection from the initial vaccinations as infections rise from the Delta variant. Freddie Joyner reports.
Nicholas has weakened to a tropical storm after making a Texas landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. It still poses a major flood threat in Louisiana. CNN Meteorologist Jennifer Gray has the latest.
This will be the last school year for FSA testing in the state of Florida, Governor DeSantis announced Tuesday morning. https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/state/fsa-testing-will-end-in-florida-after-this-school-year-desantis-says
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards tells CNN’s Jake Tapper he is confident the storm reduction systems that protect the New Orleans area will hold against Hurricane Ida, but adds the storm will be their most severe test since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Nearly three out of four Americans above the age of 18 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This report produced by Chris Dignam.
Soggy conditions for much of the South today as a quick moving system pushes east. What is not so quick to move are the clouds over Seattle where the city has experienced a record number of days with no sunshine. Pedram Javaerhi is in to let you know when the sun will shine in both regions.
[NFA] The head of the second-largest U.S. teachers' union on Sunday was among those who said COVID-19 vaccinations should be required for teachers, shifting course on her previous position. Lisa Bernhard produced this report.
Former U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush on Monday wrote in a letter they were saddened by events in Afghanistan twenty years after the commander-in-chief ordered American troops to invade the country. This report produced by Zachary Goelman.
[NFA] School districts in Florida and Texas are bucking their Republican governors' bans on requiring masks for children and teachers as coronavirus cases soar in conservative areas with low vaccination rates. This report produced by Jillian Kitchener.
Only eight intensive care unit beds were available on Monday in the state of Arkansas, its governor said, as the rapid spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus pushed cases and hospitalizations in the United States to a six-month high. Gloria Tso reports.