Nearly 600 patients wait for hospital beds in Houston following surge in COVID cases

According to the CDC, 46% of Texans have been fully vaccinated.

Last Updated: August 15, 2021, 7:20 PM EDT

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.

Latest headlines:

Here's how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.
Aug 15, 2021, 7:20 PM EDT

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.

-ABC News' Jim Scholz

Aug 15, 2021, 11:54 AM EDT

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.

Aug 14, 2021, 4:25 PM EDT

Florida COVID-19 cases now 14 times higher than in June

COVID-19 infections have continued to soar in Florida. 

The state reported 151,415 new infections in the last week -- that's 14 times higher than the number of new cases reported just two months ago. For the week of June 11, the state recorded 10,461 new cases and a positivity rate of 3.4%. 

Ivette Torres, a R.N., prepares to treat a COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers, Fla., Aug. 13, 2021.
Andrew West/The News-Press via USA Today Network

Hospitalizations have surged to 15,750, the Florida Hospital Association reported.

The state also recorded 286 deaths over the past week and a new case positivity rate of 19.3%.

Aug 14, 2021, 3:39 PM EDT

Nearly 1 million vaccinations administered Friday

The White House offered a glimmer of hope on the vaccination front Saturday.

More than 991,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered Friday. Among those, 604,000 people were newly vaccinated, White House COVID-19 Data Director Cyrus Shahpar said Saturday. 

It’s a sign of progress compared to last Saturday when 840,000 doses were reported.

So far, over 197 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose and more than 167 million are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.