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(NEW YORK) – The United States faces a wave of COVID-19 this summer as the most contagious delta variant spreads.

More than 630,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while more than 4.4 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns University Hopkins.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 60.2% of Americans aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Here’s how the news unfolds on Wednesday. Every hour in the East:

August 25, 4:25 p.m.
Governor Abbott issues executive order maintaining ban on vaccination warrants

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday issued an executive order maintaining the ban on vaccination warrants.

I have issued an executive decree now banning vaccination warrants.

In addition, I added the issue of immunization mandates to the agenda of the special session.#txlege participation is important to avoid a patchwork of immunization mandates across texas.https: //t.co/mZQJEkUJqJ pic.twitter.com/C7BtyN7bRx

– Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) August 25, 2021

Abbott also said he added the issue of the vaccine mandate to the Texas special session’s agenda.

Abbott tested positive for COVID-19 last week and has since tested negative.

August 25, 2:35 p.m.
Pfizer asks FDA for full booster approval

Pfizer on Wednesday asked the Food and Drug Administration for full approval of a booster dose. The company said its Phase 3 data showed that people who received a third dose between five and eight months after the second injection had antibody levels three times higher than the levels seen after the second dose.

Because Pfizer’s injections were approved by the FDA on Monday, Pfizer is now asking the agency to consider an “additional” request for recalls for people 16 years of age and older. This is a “continuous submission” with Pfizer intending to complete the submission by the end of the week.

The Biden administration said its goal was to have boosters available from September 20, with the recommendation to get one eight months after the second shot from Pfizer or Moderna.

-Sony Salzman of ABC News

August 25, 1:35 p.m.
Baby dies in Louisiana, marking state’s first pediatric death in 6 months

A baby under one year of age has died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours in Louisiana, the state Department of Health said on Wednesday.

It was the first COVID-19 pediatric death in Louisiana in six months, the department said. The baby was one of 110 people in Louisiana to die from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

Eleven children in Louisiana have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, the department said.

August 25, 1:07 p.m.
Hospitalizations at the highest in 7 months

There are now more than 100,000 COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals, the most in seven months, according to federal data.

The per capita hospital admissions rate for Americans 29 and under is at the peak of the pandemic, federal data shows.

Compared to July 4, six times as many children are admitted to hospitals and daily deaths have increased 281% in the past six weeks to 775, according to federal data.

Eight states have intensive care units over 90% full: Alabama (100%), Arkansas (89.58%), Florida (93.52%), Georgia (92.74%), Kentucky (89.33%) %), Mississippi (92.93%), Oklahoma (88.93%) and Texas (93.12%).

-Arielle Mitropoulos from ABC News

August 25, 10:56 a.m.
Pentagon announces mandatory Pfizer vaccinations

The Pentagon announced the mandatory vaccination of Pfizer on Wednesday, calling it “necessary to protect the safety of our military and our force.”

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine received full FDA approval on Monday.

August 25, 10:37 a.m.
Delta Air Lines increases health insurance premiums for unvaccinated employees

Delta is increasing health insurance premiums for unvaccinated employees by $ 200 per month to cover costs related to COVID-19 such as possible hospitalization, which the airline says cost it $ 40,000 per person on average.

In recent weeks, not all Delta employees hospitalized with COVID-19 were fully immunized, Delta CEO Ed Bastian wrote in a note to employees.

Currently, 75% of Delta employees are vaccinated, according to the airline.

The health insurance premium begins on November 1.

Unvaccinated employees will also be required to wear masks indoors and will be required to take a weekly COVID test starting September 12.

August 25, 10:00 a.m.
Moderna finalizes submission to FDA for full approval

Moderna has finalized its submission to the Food and Drug Administration for full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, the company said on Monday.

It is not yet clear how long the FDA will take to review Moderna’s application.

Pfizer completed its vaccine application in May and received full approval on Monday.

August 25, 7:00 a.m.
J&J says vaccine booster boosts antibody levels 9-fold

Amid a wave of delta variants, a new study finds that giving a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine six months after the primary vaccination leads to a nine-fold increase in a crucial antibody response, according to a statement from company press.

Meanwhile, an earlier study found that people vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still had a lasting immune response at least eight months later, even without a booster.

Collectively, the findings could help inform U.S. government recommendations on booster shots for the 14 million people who received the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine.

The boost after six months “appears to be safe and greatly enhances immune responses,” Dr. Dan Barouch, Ph.D., director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told ABC News.

August 25, 3:53 am
COVID-19 cases rise among athletes at Tokyo Paralympic Games

Several Paralympic athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo in recent days.

According to daily figures released by the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, at least eight positive cases have been confirmed so far among anonymous Paralympic athletes, with two new cases reported on Wednesday after the opening ceremony.

The 2020 Paralympic Summer Games officially opened in the Japanese capital on Tuesday, after a year of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. Like the 2020 Olympics, which ended on August 8, this year’s Paralympic Games are being held under a state of emergency as Japan grapples with a growing COVID-19 crisis.

August 24, 9:01 p.m.
Another Florida school district issues mask warrant

Leaders of the Orange County public school system voted on Tuesday to demand a mask mandate for all students and staff.

The rule goes into effect on August 30 and will last for at least two months. There will be exemptions for medical reasons.

School board members cited rising rates of COVID-19 and hospitalizations in the area as the reason for their decision.

August 24, 5:54 p.m.
New York school chancellor discusses teachers’ vaccination mandate

New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter spoke to ABC News about the vaccination mandate for public school staff that goes into effect on September 27.

Porter said she is confident teachers and other staff will comply to ensure classrooms are safe for everyone.

“It’s the extra layer of protection that we didn’t have a year ago,” she said.

Porter said she was in discussions with the United Teachers’ Federation over penalties if a teacher does not comply, and was told that “many of their members are already vaccinated.”

The Chancellor said those who still have concerns should know that the Food and Drug Administration has fully approved the Pfizer vaccine and that it has been shown to be effective in preventing serious illness.

August 24, 5:38 p.m.
Kentucky Reports Record Hospitalizations, Critical Care Patients

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has tweeted a disastrous update on the state’s COVID-19 cases.

The state’s health department reported that 2,014 people are currently hospitalized with the virus, including 589 in intensive care units and 338 on ventilators. Beshear said these are record numbers.

“Guys, this is dangerous. Please get vaccinated and hide inside,” the governor tweeted.

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