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COVID-19 live updates: Delta leaves vaccinated, unvaccinated with similarly high viral loads, CDC says


(NEW YORK) — The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.

More than 612,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and over 4.1 million people have died worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 57.7% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC on Tuesday, citing new science on the transmissibility of the delta variant, changed its mask guidance to now recommend everyone in areas with substantial or high levels of transmission — vaccinated or not — wear a face covering in public, indoor settings.

Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:

Jul 30, 1:00 pm
Delta variant leaves vaccinated, unvaccinated with similarly high viral loads: CDC

Data shows that the delta variant leaves vaccinated and unvaccinated people with similarly high viral loads, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement Friday.

“High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus,” Walensky said.

“This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation” this week, Walensky said.

-ABC News’ Sony Salzman

Jul 30, 10:45 am
6 passengers test positive on cruise ship

Six passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas ship have tested positive for COVID-19 during routine testing, the cruise line said Friday.

Four of the passengers — who were not traveling together — are vaccinated. The other two are unvaccinated minors who were traveling together, the cruise line said.

One person has mild symptoms. The other five have no symptoms, the cruise line said.

“The guests were immediately quarantined, and their immediate travel party and all close contacts were traced and all tested negative,” Royal Caribbean said. “Each guest and their immediate travel parties disembarked in Freeport, The Bahamas, and separately traveled home via private transportation.”

This cruise started in the Bahamas on July 25. Everyone over 16 must be fully vaccinated and test negative before boarding, the cruise line said.

-ABC News’ Sam Sweeney

Jul 30, 10:30 am
Broadway audiences must be vaccinated

As Broadway gears up for its return in September, the Broadway League announced Friday that everyone attending a show must be vaccinated and wear a mask.

Guests will need to show proof of vaccination when they enter the theater.

This rule applies through October 2021 and may change in November.

All performers, staff and backstage crew also must be vaccinated.

Jul 30, 5:29 am
New Yorkers getting 1st dose to receive $100 incentive

Starting Friday, New Yorkers who receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at any city-run site will get a $100 incentive.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement during a press briefing Wednesday.

“We will say thank you. We’ll say we’re really glad that you got vaccinated for yourself, for your family, for your community,” de Blasio said. “And here’s $100 to thank you for doing the right thing and to encourage people.”

The mayor said that New Yorkers getting vaccinated will not only get the cash, they’ll also be able to do “everything else that’s wonderful in this city, including the amazing concerts coming up. You can’t go to those concerts unless you’re vaccinated.”

Jul 30, 4:53 am
Japan to extend coronavirus state of emergency covering 3 of Tokyo’s neighboring prefectures

Japan’s government will put in place a coronavirus state of emergency covering three of Tokyo’s neighboring prefectures and Osaka on Monday, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Tokyo and Okinawa’s declarations will remain in place.

The news comes as case numbers in Japan continue to rise amid the Olympics.

As of Friday, there are 3,300 new positive cases in Tokyo, according to the Tokyo government’s COVID-19 information website. Of those 3,300 cases, 88 are severe and two have turned fatal.

Jul 30, 4:22 am
New CDC brief says vaccines may be less effective against delta variant

An internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brief published by the Washington Post Thursday reveals more details about why the delta variant is different to and more concerning than other strains of the coronavirus.

The CDC said the main differences between the delta variant and previous strains is that delta is highly contagious and likely more severe. Plus, breakthrough infections caused by delta may be as transmissible as unvaccinated cases.

“This is an incredibly, incredibly contagious version of virus, it’s almost like a whole different virus,” Dr. Ashish Jha said. “And CDC is estimating that it is probably also more deadly.”

Vaccines prevent more than 90% of severe diseases, but may be less effective at preventing infection or transmission of the delta variant, the CDC said. Therefore, there could be more breakthrough infections and more community spread despite people’s vaccination status.

“Current vaccines continue to provide strong protection against severe illness and death, but the delta variant is likely responsible for increased numbers of breakthrough infections — breakthroughs that could be as infectious as unvaccinated cases,” Dr. John Brownstein, an ABC News contributor, said. “This internal document highlights the challenge we all now face in combating the most transmissible variant of COVID so far.”

Jul 30, 3:38 am
Number of positive cases at Tokyo Olympics reaches 225

There are now 225 positive COVID-19 cases at the Tokyo Olympics, according to a tally kept by Olympics organizers.

That is an increase of 27 cases since Thursday.

Of those cases, three of them are athletes. Two were in the Olympic Village at the time of their positive case, and one was not.

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