Nearly 600 patients wait for hospital beds in Houston as city sees surge in COVID cases

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

More than 620,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and over 4.3 million people have died worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 59.1% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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

Aug 15, 7:20 pm
Texas Supreme Court sides with Gov. Greg Abbott on mask mandate

Two days after a Dallas appeals court dealt Texas Gov. Greg Abbott a legal setback by upholding Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ order requiring masks in schools and businesses, the Texas Supreme Court shut the mandate down Sunday.

The entirely Republican Court granted a temporary stay at the request of Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

“The ban doesn’t prohibit using masks. Anyone who wants to wear a mask can do so, including in schools,” Abbott tweeted Sunday.

Hearings on the mask mandates will continue in lower courts as scheduled, the Court ruled.

“We won’t stop working with parents, doctors, schools, business + others to protect you and intend to win that hearing,” Jenkins tweeted Sunday.

Aug 15, 11:54 am
Nearly 600 patients waiting for hospital beds in Houston

As of Saturday, 575 patients are waiting for a general bed in hospitals in the Houston area. Eighty-seven patients are waiting for an intensive care unit beds.

Hospital officials in Houston said last week that area hospitals with beds had insufficient numbers of nurses to serve them.

Nurses the state was going to surge to the area have yet to arrive, more than two weeks after they were promised.

Gov. Greg Abbott appealed for out-of-state help to fight the third wave of COVID-19 in Texas while two more of the state’s largest school districts announced mask mandates in defiance of the governor last week.

As of Saturday, there are 3.3M confirmed cases of COVID-19 and there have been 54,289 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 46.33% of Texans have been fully vaccinated.

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