“The daily average for hospitalized Covid-19 patients in the United States is now more than 100,000. That average, calculated over the last seven days, is higher than in any previous surge except last winter’s, before most Americans were eligible to get vaccinated.
The influx of patients is straining hospitals and pushing health care workers to the brink as deaths have risen to an average of more than 1,000 a day for the first time since March.
Hospitalizations nationwide have increased by nearly 500 percent in the past two months, particularly across Southern states, where I.C.U. beds are filling up, a crisis fueled by some of the country’s lowest vaccination rates and widespread political opposition to public health measures like mask requirements.
In Florida, 16,457 people are hospitalized, the most of any state, followed by Texas, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
With the surge pummeling the nation and overwhelming hospitals, a shortage of bedside nurses has complicated efforts to treat hospitalized coronavirus patients, leading to longer emergency room waiting times and rushed or inadequate care.
The European Union is set to advise member states that they should reintroduce travel restrictions for visitors from the United States, three E.U. officials said on Sunday, as coronavirus infections and hospitalizations have surged in the U.S. in recent weeks.
Starting Monday, the officials said, the United States will be removed from a “safe list” of countries whose residents can travel to the 27-nation bloc without additional restrictions, such as quarantine and testing requirements. The suggested restrictions, made by the European Council, will not be mandatory for member countries, and it will remain up to those countries to decide whether or not to impose them.
Most European countries reopened their borders to Americans in June, more than a year after imposing a travel ban, hoping that Americans would visit this summer and help an ailing tourism industry bounce back.
In essence, the European Union gave the United States a summertime pass to encourage tourism, despite the relatively high infection rates in parts of the country.
Israel on Sunday extended its booster shot campaign to all citizens aged 12 and above amid a surge of Delta variant infections that has made the number of new daily cases among the highest in the world.
After a remarkably swift vaccination campaign in the winter and spring, about 80 percent of Israel’s adult population has been inoculated with at least two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine administered three weeks apart.
But a new study by Israeli experts points to a waning of the vaccine’s protections over time for all ages, a finding that contributed to a U.S. decision to begin offering booster shots to Americans starting next month.
And a nationwide study of people over 60 completed by Israeli experts in late August demonstrates that a third shot provides significant extra protection against both infection and severe illness.
Israel began offering third booster shots on Aug. 1 to people aged 60 and above who had received a second shot at least five months earlier. The country rapidly expanded the program to include Israelis aged 30 and above. About 2 million Israelis, or half of those in the eligible groups so far, have already received a third shot.
As children’s hospitals in many parts of the United States admit more Covid-19 patients, a result of the highly contagious Delta variant, federal and state health officials are grappling with a sharp new concern: children not yet eligible for vaccination in places with substantial viral spread, who are now at higher risk of being infected than at any other time in the pandemic.
Nowhere is that worry greater than in Louisiana, which has among the highest new daily case rates in the country and where only 40 percent of people are fully vaccinated, putting children at particular risk as they return to school.
At Children’s Hospital New Orleans, the intensive care unit has been jammed with Covid-19 patients, and nurses have raced around monitoring one gut-wrenching case after another. One child was getting a complicated breathing treatment known as ECMO, a last resort after ventilators fail, which nurses said was almost unheard-of for pediatric cases. About half a dozen others were in various stages of distress.
Medical staff throughout the hospital said the causes of illness in children were often simple: parents, family members and friends who were unvaccinated and not wearing masks.
Louisiana hospitals scrambled Sunday to deal with two severe challenges, the landfall of Hurricane Ida and a surge of Covid that has stretched hospital capacity and left daily deaths at their highest levels in the pandemic.
Louisiana’s medical director, Dr. Joseph Kanter, had asked residents on Friday to avoid unnecessary emergency room visits to preserve the state’s hospital capacity, which has been vastly diminished by its most severe Covid surge of the pandemic.
And while plans exist to transfer patients away from coastal areas to inland hospitals ahead of a hurricane, this time “evacuations are just not possible,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a news conference.
“The hospitals don’t have room,” he said. “We don’t have any place to bring those patients — not in state, not out of state.”
On the ground floor of a parking garage at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, there are coronavirus patients where the cars should be — about 20 of them on any given day, laid up in air-conditioned tents and cared for by a team of medical personnel from a Christian charity group. Another garage nearby has been transformed into a staging area for a monoclonal antibody clinic for Covid-19 patients.
These scenes, unfolding in the heart of Mississippi’s capital city, are a clear indication that the health care system in the nation’s poorest state is close to buckling under the latest avalanche of cases triggered by the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.
“We have reached a failure point,” LouAnn Woodward, the medical center’s top executive, said late last week. “The demand has exceeded our resources.”
The current coronavirus spike has hit the South hard, but a combination of poverty and politics made Mississippi uniquely unprepared to handle what is now the worst coronavirus outbreak in the nation. The state has fewer active physicians per capita than any other. Five rural hospitals have closed in the past decade, and 35 more are at imminent risk of closing, according to an assessment from a nonprofit health care quality agency. There are 2,000 fewer nurses in Mississippi today than there were at the beginning of the year, according to the state hospital association.
During the first 18 months of the pandemic, Oregon’s Tillamook County reported five deaths from Covid-19. But from Aug. 18 to Aug. 23, it had six. And now the county has asked the state for a refrigerated truck to help store an overflow of bodies from the morgue.
In a letter published in the local newspaper, the Tillamook County Board of Supervisers pleaded with residents to “please get vaccinated,” noting that 86 percent of new cases are among the unvaccinated. The local funeral home is at capacity — the surge “has put a strain on our ability to store the bodies of the deceased,” the commissioners wrote.
The strain in Tillamook is being felt elsewhere in the state, with other local jurisdictions seeking help storing the deceased, according to The Associated Press.
The challenges reflected a 990 percent increase in Covid hospitalizations since July 9 in Oregon, where leaders have deployed the National Guard to hospitals, dispatched crisis teams to the hardest-hit regions of the state and ordered educators and health care workers to get vaccinated or lose their jobs.
The weekly rhythms of Catholic life have started to return at Our Lady of Lourdes in Harlem. The pews are packed on Sunday mornings, prayer groups meet after work and the collection plate is almost as full as it was before the coronavirus pandemic began.
But parishioners are starting to worry about the virus again.
“For a little while, everyone felt more free, not using masks and things like that,” said the Rev. Gilberto Ángel-Neri, the pastor. “But now that we hear all the news about the Delta variant, everyone is using masks again.”
The progress made at Father Ángel-Neri’s church, and at houses of worship across New York City, may be threatened by a rise in virus cases in the past month and by an uneven patchwork of rules governing vaccination.
New rules to curb the spread of the virus’s more contagious Delta variant require New Yorkers to show proof of vaccination to participate in many indoor activities, including sitting inside restaurants or bars, going to a gym or nightclub and visiting a museum or zoo. But they do not apply to religious services, and most churches in the city do not require worshipers to be vaccinated, though approaches vary from place to place.
Caleb Wallace, a leader of the anti-mask movement in Texas who became infected with the coronavirus and spent three weeks in an intensive care unit, has died, his wife, Jessica, said on Saturday.
“Caleb has peacefully passed on. He will forever live in our hearts and minds,” Mrs. Wallace wrote in a post on GoFundMe, where she had been raising money to cover medical costs.
Mrs. Wallace had said recently that her husband’s condition was declining and that doctors had run out of treatment options. On Saturday, he was to be moved to a hospice at Shannon Medical Center in the city of San Angelo so that his family could say their goodbyes, she said.
Mrs. Wallace, who is pregnant with the couple’s fourth child, recently told the San Angelo Standard-Times that when her husband first felt ill, he took a mix of vitamin C, zinc, aspirin and ivermectin — a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms in both people and animals that has been touted as a coronavirus treatment but was recently proved to be ineffective against the virus.
Mr. Wallace, 30, who campaigned against mask mandates and other Covid policies that he saw as government intrusion, lived in San Angelo for most of his life and worked at a company that sells welding equipment. He checked into the Shannon Medical Center on July 30.
As travelers prepare for their next vacation, among the essentials to take along — like a toothbrush, wallet and phone charger — could be proof of vaccinationfor Covid-19, depending on where they are booked to sleep.
As coronavirus cases surge again across the country, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, a small number of hotels in the United States have announced that they will require proof of vaccination from guests and staff.
Accommodations such as PUBLIC Hotel, Equinox Hotel and Wythe Hotel, all in New York City, Urban Cowboy Lodge in Big Indian, N.Y., a hamlet in the Catskill Mountains, and Pilgrim House in Provincetown, Mass., are among the first in the United States to announce that they will require evidence of vaccination, via a physical card or a digital verification, from their guests.
The precedent for hotels requiring vaccination is already being set beyond the contiguous United States. In August, Puerto Rico issued an island-wide vaccine mandate that requires guests and staff at all hotels, guesthouses and short-term rentals, including Airbnb, to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours before their visit. If a person is staying longer than a week, they will need to present negative tests to hotel staff on a weekly basis.
Elite Island Resorts, a Florida-based company that runs a collection of all-inclusive Caribbean resorts stretching from Antigua to Panama, announced that all guests over the age of 12 would be required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination upon arrival beginning on Sept. 1.”