COVID-19 updates: American Airlines to require employee vaccinations

The airline's CEO and president informed employees in a letter Friday.

Last Updated: October 3, 2021, 5:19 PM EDT

The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 700,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.7 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 65% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Latest headlines:

Here's how the news developed. All times Eastern.
Oct 03, 2021, 5:19 PM EDT

NBA's Andrew Wiggins gets vaccine after he's denied exemption

Andrew Wiggins, an NBA player who has vocally opposed the COVID-19 vaccine, just received a dose, according to his coach.

Wiggins, of the Golden State Warriors, refused to answer reporters' questions about his vaccination status during a news conference last Monday.

"It's my problem...Not yours," he said.

Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors poses for a portrait during the Golden State Warriors Media Day, Sept. 27, 2021 in San Francisco.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

But Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Sunday that the 26-year-old did get vaccinated.

"He just told me today that he was fine with us acknowledging it," Kerr said.

Kerr didn't provide any more details including which vaccine Wiggins received.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health bars unvaccinated residents over the age of 12 from attending indoor events. The rule goes into effect for employees of indoor businesses on Oct. 13, eight days before the Warriors' home opener.

Wiggins applied for a religious exemption with the NBA, but his request was denied, ESPN reported

Oct 03, 2021, 3:28 PM EDT

Israel updates Green Pass rules to bar residents who refuse booster

The Israeli Health Ministry announced an update Sunday to its Green Pass program, which is needed to access to all types of businesses including restaurants, gyms and hotels.

The pass is now valid up to six months from a person's last COVID-19 shot. All current passes are void and everyone must re-apply, according to the new rules.

Israel began offering Pfizer booster shots to its residents over the age of 12 on Aug. 1.

Israeli residents who haven’t received their third COVID-19 booster shot and residents who haven’t received any dose since April 3 will be ineligible, the health ministry said.

-ABC News' Christine Theodorou

Oct 01, 2021, 9:10 PM EDT

US death toll surpasses 700,000

The U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpassed 700,000 Friday night, though the latest surge continues to subside. 

About 1,500 new deaths are reported each day on average in the U.S. The country's daily case average has dropped to just under 106,000 cases a day, down by about 33% in the last month, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

However, that number is still significantly higher than it was three months ago. 

There have been over 43 million coronavirus cases in the U.S., which means 1 in approximately every 7 Americans has tested positive, and 1 in every 469 Americans has lost their life to the virus. 

Some states -- like Alaska and West Virginia -- are experiencing record-breaking surges, while other states -- including Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Texas -- have an intensive care unit capacity of about 10% or less.

In other states -- Maine, Minnesota and New Hampshire -- infection rates continue to rise. 

About 97% of counties across the country are reporting "high" or "substantial" community transmission, as the country nears the grim milestone of 700,000 deaths. 

-ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos

Oct 01, 2021, 7:38 PM EDT

American Airlines to require employee vaccinations

American Airlines told employees Friday that all U.S.-based employees and certain international crew members must be vaccinated in light of the federal vaccine mandate.

"While we are still working through the details of the federal requirements, it is clear that team members who choose to remain unvaccinated will not be able to work at American Airlines," CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom wrote in a letter obtained by ABC News. 

Those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons "can request an accommodation," they continued. 

No deadline was set.

Reuters reported Friday that the White House has pressed U.S. airline CEOs to mandate vaccines for staff by early December.

Delta Air Lines said in a statement Friday that 84% of its employees were vaccinated and the airline continues "to evaluate the administration’s plan." 

Southwest Airlines said it "continues to strongly encourage employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine."

United Airlines has already put in place a vaccine mandate; 99.5% of its U.S.-based employees are vaccinated.

-ABC News' Mina Kaji

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