The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.
More than 667,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.6 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 63.5% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC predicts hospitalizations will drop this month
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly ensemble forecast, an average of several models, predicts that the number of new daily hospital admissions will likely drop.
The ensemble forecast predicts "5,000 to 15,300 new confirmed COVID-19 hospital admissions likely reported on October 11." The current seven-day average is 11,165 new hospitalizations per day.
-ABC News' Brian Hartman
Pfizer CEO pens letter making the case for boosters
In an open letter, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla is making the case for his company's vaccine booster shot, one day before an FDA advisory committee meets to debate and vote on the issue.
Bourla underscored the "strong immune response after the booster dose" and vowed that Pfizer has "stayed true to our commitment of full transparency without selectively cherry-picking data."
Bourla also addressed international concerns over boosters for all potentially detracting from access to first doses in developing countries.
"Some people and organizations have raised concerns that the approval of boosters will divert doses dedicated to the low- and middle-income countries and redirect them to the high-income countries. And they use this argument to claim that boosters should not be approved. I disagree," Bourla wrote.
"No commitments already made by Pfizer to a country will change if boosters are approved," he wrote.
-ABC News' Sasha Pezenik
US reports highest daily death toll in nearly 7 months
The U.S. reported a staggering 2,000 COVID-19 related fatalities overnight, marking the highest single-day death total in nearly seven months, according to federal data. Although that large number could be partially due to data backlogs, it's still significant given that the pandemic has been ongoing for 18 months.
In the last five weeks, the U.S. has not seen a single day with less than 100,000 new cases, according to federal data. This is a massive step back in the fight against COVID-19; between Feb. 7 and July 29, 2021, there was never a day with 100,000 or more new cases.
Tennessee has the country's highest case rate followed by West Virginia, Wyoming, South Carolina, Alaska, Montana and Kentucky.
Nine states now have more patients in hospitals than at any point in the pandemic: Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia.
-ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos
Idaho expands crisis standards of care statewide
Idaho is expanding its crisis standards of care plan to the entire state due to a surge in hospitalized patients that's exhausting resources.
"The situation is dire," Dave Jeppesen, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said in a statement Thursday. "We don’t have enough resources to adequately treat the patients in our hospitals, whether you are there for COVID-19 or a heart attack or because of a car accident."
Crisis standards of care was first activated Sept. 6 in North Idaho.
"When crisis standards of care are in effect, people who need medical care may experience care that is different from what they expect," state officials said. "For example, patients admitted to the hospital may find that hospital beds are not available or are in repurposed rooms (such as a conference room) or that needed equipment is not available."
"Not all hospitals will move to that standard of care," state officials said Thursday. "Hospitals will implement as needed and according to their own CSC policies."