COVID-19 Live Updates: Federal Agencies Requiring Vaccine, Delta Variant Overwhelms Texas

Live Updates

Vaccine mandates are being introduced across states and federal agencies, including the military, as the United States contends with an aggressive Delta variant. The spread of the mutation has lead to a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, as Texas officials asking for out-of-state nurses to help staff critical wards.

Many local governments and school districts are issuing mask requirements, despite orders from the governors against mask mandates.

President Joe Biden warned the country is still on a wartime footing and "being vaccinated will enable our service members to stay healthy" and some states are turning to influencers, lotteries and college scholarships to boost vaccination rates.

The live updates for this blog have ended.

Key moments:

Testing Site
Cars line up for Covid-19 testing in Miami, on August 3, 2020. In Florida cars are lining up for COVID-19 testings once again, amid record hospitalizations, as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis downplays the outbreaks severity, blaming media hysteria. HANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Iowa forced to throw out expired COVID-19 vaccines and demand remains lows

Iowa has tossed out tens of thousands of expired COVID-19 vaccine doses, as demand for the vaccine continues to lag.

Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand told the Des Moines Register on Monday that the state has tossed more than 81,000 doses of the vaccine.

Hundreds of thousands of doses could be thrown out by the end of August if demand remains low.

While the surge in cases has caused more interest in getting the shot, officials say the demand is still far below what it was in April.

North Carolina sees increase in vaccinations after boosting financial incentives

North Carolina officials have seen an increase in vaccinations since Governor Roy Cooper raised the financial incentives for getting the shot from $25 to $100 last week.

"Many of our providers distributed all of their cards in a single day after we announced the shift to $100 last week," Catie Armstrong, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said. "One of our providers went from distributing 1,000 cards per week to 3,000 in two days."

About 38,000 $25 cards have been issued since the state launched its pilot program in May. The department has ordered roughly $1.8 million worth of cards for delivery this week, Armstrong said.

North Carolina also held its fourth and final lottery for a $1 million prize and $125,00 college scholarship last week.

"It's hard to know exactly what combination of factors draws people in to get vaccinated, and I think one thing builds upon the other," Cooper said in a news conference last week. "As much information as we can get out there [and] as much incentive as we can get out there, the better off that we are."

More than 75% of U.K. adults are fully vaccinated

More than three-quarters of adults in the United Kingdom have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Department of Health and Social Care released figures Tuesday showing that a total of about 86.8 million vaccine doses have been administered. More than 47 million people have received the first dose while about 39.7 million people are fully vaccinated.

"Getting two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine is the key to enjoying a host of new freedoms safely – whether that be to enjoy a trip abroad with family or a night out with friends – as we continue to build our wall of protection," Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called this milestone a "huge national achievement."

Our incredible vaccine rollout has now provided protection to 3/4 of UK adults.

We should be proud of this huge national achievement.

It’s vital those who haven’t been vaccinated book their jab to protect themselves, their loved ones and allow us to enjoy our freedoms safely. pic.twitter.com/LG3X7J1d0K

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 10, 2021

The U.S. will donate 8.5 million vaccine doses to Mexico

The United States will donate 8.5 million more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico, according to Mexico's Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris Monday. The U.S. affirmed they will donate an additional 3.5 million Moderna vaccines and 5 million AstraZeneca vaccines, Ebrard told CNN.

The Moderna vaccine is not yet authorized in Mexico. However, the Biden administration is working with Mexico and Moderna to resolve legal and regulatory issues, according to Bloomberg.

"We are in a good moment in the relationship with the United States, the issues that we have raised have been addressed, and this is how a relationship is built, with respect from both parties," he said. Ebrard added that he believes the vaccines will come "very soon.

School districts in Delaware, Maryland issue mask mandates

Schools in Delaware and Maryland will require students and staff to wear masks when they return to the classroom this fall.

Delaware Governor John Carney is imposing a mask mandate for all public and private schools in the state starting next Monday.

The mandate applies to everyone kindergarten age and older, regardless of vaccine status.

Maryland's Baltimore County public school district will require students, staff and visitors to wear masks starting Tuesday.

"As we prepare to welcome students and staff back to school for in-person learning, universal masking is an important step to help maintain our community's health and safety," Superintendent Dr. Darryl Williams said in a statement.

New people are getting vaccinated at highest rate in months

New people are getting vaccinated at the highest rate in over two months, according to Cyrus Shahpar, the White House COVID-19 data director.

On Tuesday, over 618,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered. Of them, 424,000 were newly vaccinated people, Shahpar tweeted.

The seven-day average for newly vaccinated Americans is 503,000.

Tuesday just in: +618K doses reported administered (453K last Tuesday) with 424K newly vaccinated (302K). 7-day average reported for newly vaccinated is 503K. New people are getting vaccinated at the highest rate in over 2 months. Let's Unite against COVID-19 🇺🇸

— Cyrus Shahpar (@cyrusshahpar46) August 10, 2021

Miami-Dade school superintendent responds to Gov. DeSantis' threats over mask mandates

The superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools showed no sign of backing down on considerations for a mask mandate in schools, despite threats from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

"We have established a process that requires consultation with experts in the areas of public health and medicine. We will follow this process, which has served us well, and then make a final decision," Alberto M. Carvalho, said.

"At no point shall I allow my paycheck; a small price to pay considering the gravity of the issue and the potential impact to the health and well-being of our students and dedicated employees," he added.

DeSantis announced Monday that the Florida Board of Education may withhold the salaries of school board officials who choose to defy the governor's executive order and require masks in schools.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools said it will decide on mask requirements next week, before students return to the classroom on August 23, according to WFOR-TV.

Marjorie Taylor Greene suspended from Twitter for "misleading" tweet about COVID-19 vaccines

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has been suspended from Twitter after her tweet about vaccines "failing" was flagged as misleading.

Greene's tweet read: "The FDA should not approve the covid vaccines. There are too many reports of infection & spread of #COVID19 among vaccinated people. These vaccines are failing & do not reduce the spread of the virus & neither do masks. Vaccine mandates & passports violate individual freedoms."

The tweet "was labeled in line with our COVID-19 misleading information policy. The account will be in read-only mode for a week due to repeated violations of the Twitter Rules," a Twitter spokesperson told CNN's Donie O'Sullivan.

Greene will be suspended from the platform for one week. Her tweet remains up, but it cannot be replied to, liked or shared.

READ MORE: "Marjorie Taylor Greene Suspended From Twitter After Saying Vaccines Are Failing"

Lithuanians protest new COVID-19 regualtions

About 5,000 people gathered outside the Lithuanian parliament to protest new COVID-19 health passes that will be required to enter cafes, shops, public transportation and other venues in the country soon.

By mid-September, the government will impose these restrictions that could also mean unvaccinated people who contract COVID-19 may lose the right to free medical treatment.

Protestors said they would disobey the new regulations.

"This is anti-constitutional. I have a right not to get these fishy jabs and live my life as I like," Jonas Grabnys, an unemployed teacher told The Associated Press.

While coronavirus cases continue to rise in Lithuania, 49 percent of the population have received at least one shot.

Dr. Fauci says vaccines should be mandated for teachers

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday that he thinks vaccines should be mandated for teachers.

"I'm going to upset some people on this, but I think we should [mandate teacher vaccinations]," he said on MSNBC. "We are in a critical situation now. We've had 615,000-plus deaths and we are in a major surge now as we're going into the fall, into the school season."

He said that the rise in COVID-19 cases is "very serious business" and wishes people would see the importance of getting vaccinated.

"I know people must like to have their individual freedom and not be told to do something," he said. "But, I think we're in such a serious situation now that under certain circumstances mandates should be done."

States are running out of hospital spaces as COVID-19 cases rise

Some states are running out of space in their hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients as cases continue to rise.

COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Arkansas rose by 103 to hit 1,376, the state's highest single-day increase since January, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. There are currently 22,815 active cases and only eight ICU beds available in the entire state, Governor Asa Hutchinson tweeted Monday.

In Mississippi, there were 6,912 new COVID-19 cases and 28 new deaths reported from August 6 to August 8, according to the Mississippi Department of Health.

"Keep in mind this will translate into around 500 new hospitalizations in coming days, and we have ZERO ICU beds at Level 1-3 hospitals," Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs tweeted.

He added that 200 patients are in emergency rooms waiting for a room across the state.

Senator Ted Cruz introduces bill to end mask, vaccine mandates

Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced the No Mask Mandates Act and the No Vaccine Mandates Act Monday to "stop discrimination based on vaccine status" and to allow Americans to "have the freedom to exercise personal choice" in regards to vaccines and masks.

The No Mask Mandates Act would end President Joe Biden's and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's mask mandate for all Americans regardless of vaccine status.

The No Vaccine Mandates Act would require people administering a COVID-19 vaccine to first obtain the patient's informed consent and imposes penalties for violating a patient's right by issuing a vaccine without consent.

"I got the vaccine because it was the right choice for me. But I also believe in individual freedom," Cruz said in a statement. "No one should force anyone to take the vaccine, including the federal government or an employer. Americans should have the choice to make their own medical decisions in consultation with their doctor."

My No Mask Mandates Act of 2021 would:

- End President Biden's Executive Order related to mask mandates on public property.

- End the CDC's mask mandate affecting transportation while also prohibiting implementation of similar federal mandates in the future.

— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) August 10, 2021

Florida's COVID-19 death rate is higher than 32 states combined

Florida's COVID-19 death rate is now more than 32 U.S. states combined.

According to a COVID tracker created by The New York Times, Florida is currently recording a seven-day average of 122.1 deaths in the state from the virus.

Florida's figure is more than double the second most affected state, as Texas recorded a seven-day average of 57.6 deaths.

READ MORE: "Florida's COVID Death Rate Is More Than 32 States Combined"

Texas pleas for out-of-state medical staff as hospitals struggle

Critical staff shortages have left hospitals in Texas vulnerable to being overwhelmed by COVID as tents are set up to stem the flow of patients. Hospital officials in Houston are warning that hospitals had insufficient nurses to staff them.

Governor Greg Abbott has directed the state health department and the Texas Division of Emergency Management to open more COVID-19 "antibody infusion centers" to treat patients not needing hospital care.

The rolling two-week daily average of new cases has increased by 165 percent to 8,533, while around 45% of the state's population has been vaccinated so far.

Tokyo continues to record thousands of cases each day after the Olympics

The Japanese city, which has just finished hosting the Olympic Games, reported 2,612 new daily infections today.

It is around 1,000 cases less than Tuesday last week, prompting questions about how much the Games affected numbers.

The Games coincided with a major spike in the number of COVID cases across Japan - but also in Tokyo and its Olympic Village.

'Zero COVID' goal costing Australian taxypayers up to $1 billion (AUD) a week

Economists have warned about extraordinary spending in Australia to attempt a "zero COVID" approach to the virus. Lockdowns alone are costing the country's economy upwards of $500 million a week, implemented in local areas or regions where COVID cases begin to climb. The country wants to evict COVID from its shores once and for all - despite an ongoing debate and whether that is possible.

Some of Australia's most largest tourist groups, including almost one million Americans, have adopted the alternative of "living with" COVID and do not believe eradication is realistic, meaning border restrictions may continue for much longer than other nations around the world.

Philippines government introduces 'modified enhanced community quarantine'

The regional COVID-19 inter-agency task force in the country's Cebu province will put 11 areas under stricter COVID measures from Wednesday as cases begin to rise once again in the country.

Eight towns and three cities will be affected, local officials said, including the municipalities of Samboan, Sibonga, Argao, Cordova, Oslob, Liloan, Minglanilla, and Consolacion, plus the cities of Talisay, Carcar, and Naga.

As Afghanistan reels from Taliban resurgence, COVID retreats

The number of new daily COVID cases in the country has significantly declined in recent weeks.

The country has been dealing with another crisis, however - the resurgence of the Taliban as U.S. troops prepare to leave.

It is not known whether the unrest witnessed in the past two months has affected COVID numbers, but infections have dropped from around 2,000 a day to 400 now.

Medical staff treat COVID patients in Afghanistan
Medical staff treat COVID patients at Muhammed Ali Jinnah hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan Wakil Kohsar/Getty Images

English Premier League fans to be randomly spot-checked

As the new soccer season in England kicks off, fans will be randomly spot-checked for COVID vaccine status or a negative test.

A statement from organizers said:

Initially, in the first few matchdays of the season, supporters can expect the introduction of random spot-checks for ticket holders at some grounds as we establish the required processes so clubs and fans are prepared for all match attenders to have their COVID-19 status checked upon arrival, should it become mandatory.

Premier League fans to get COVID spot-checked
Premier League fans in England will be spot-checked for COVID-19 vaccination status or a negative test as they enter stadiums for games Paul Ellis/Getty Images

Delta rips through the U.S. - but Lambda haunts health experts

While the Delta variant has become the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S.—responsible for more than 93 percent of circulating cases—the Lambda variant has swept much of South America.

Known as C.37, it was first detected in Peru in August 2020 and has since spread to other countries, many in Latin America. The exact origins of the variant remain unclear, but scientists say the Andean strain emerged in South America.

With the strain now accounting for over 90 percent of cases in Peru in July - compared to 0.5 percent of cases in December - experts in the U.S. fear the worst about its ability to infect.

READ MORE: The Origin of the Lambda COVID Variant Explained

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

The Delta COVID variant continues to sweep through U.S. states this morning as many hospitals breach their capacity and staff levels drop to dangerous levels.

The race is on between the vaccine and the variant, with some states drawing on support from influencers and flashy prizes to get the uptake boost they are looking for.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Tuesday for all the latest.