US COVID deaths rise, cases slowly decrease

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:03 AM CDT
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(CNN) – Coronavirus deaths are now averaging 1,600 a day in the U.S. It’s a growing number after an earlier surge in cases.

Nationwide, more than 100,000 hospital beds are currently filled with COVID patients.

Even with those figures, there appears to be some good news. The country is seeing case numbers at their lowest point in three weeks.

In New York, Monday was the first day residents and visitors had to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.

It was also the first day all New York City students were welcome back in the classroom since last year.

“This is the day we have been waiting for,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The pivotal day came as people of all ages in the Big Apple faced the new requirements aimed at beating back COVID-19 and many of the city’s municipal employees returned to their workplaces.

“You’re going to remember in the history of this city, this day Sept. 13, 2021, a day that was a game-changer,” the mayor said.

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is now required at indoor restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues. Companies that don’t enforce the rule face fines.

Children under 12, who are too young to be vaccinated, will have to mask up.

The same goes for the nation’s largest school district, where all students and teachers must be masked as full-time, in-person learning begins.

All public school employees must receive at least one dose of vaccine by Sept. 27.

In Georgia, at least seven schools in Fulton County reverted to virtual learning this week due to a spike in COVID cases.

The highly contagious delta variant remains a driving force in the outbreak.

“I would say dangerous is more transmissible. If it is more transmissible, we have more kids with disease, we have more kids with symptomatic disease, more kids ending up in the hospital,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Health experts say widespread mandates could be the key to ending the pandemic.

“I think that if you get trusted public messengers who put aside political ideologies and convince people to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “The other way to do it is to have many, many more mandates.”

Last week, President Joe Biden announced that companies with more than 100 employees must require their workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly.

“We’ve heard a lot of feedback from the business round table and others that this will help us create safer workplaces,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

But on the state level, not everyone’s a fan.

“The problem is that I’m trying to overcome resistance, but the president’s actions in a mandate hardens the resistance,” said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

At one upstate New York hospital, a stunning step was taken after too many maternity ward workers quit over vaccination requirements.

“We are unable to safely staff the service after Sept. 24,” said Lewis County Health System CEO Gerald R. Cayer. “The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital.”

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