Unvaccinated people 11 times more likely to die in COVID-19 delta surge

The unvaccinated were six times more likely to get the virus in August.

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

More than 722,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 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 66.5% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.


White House to donate 17 million J&J doses to African Union

When President Joe Biden meets with his Kenyan counterpart in the Oval Office Thursday, he'll announce a one-time donation of over 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the African Union. This is in addition to the 50 million doses the U.S. has already donated to the African Union.

"We are hopeful this donation will help AU countries build vaccination programs and get shots into arms," the White House said.

The doses will ship immediately.

-ABC News' Sarah Kolinovsky

Region sees hospitalizations at highest point in nearly 10 months

Alaska currently has the country's highest infection rate, followed by Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia and Idaho, according to federal data.

In the Department of Health and Human Services' Mountain Region – which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming -- hospital admissions are at their highest point in nearly 10 months, according to federal data.

In the last five weeks, Michigan daily cases have nearly doubled and Minnesota daily cases have nearly tripled, according to federal data.

In New Hampshire and Vermont, daily cases are up by 40% and 43% respectively in the last month.

Over the last month, the U.S. has reported more than 47,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, including nearly 9,000 deaths recorded in the last week, according to federal data.

But hospital admissions have dropped by about 9.2% in the last week.

-ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos

Moderna says half dose booster will be just as effective

Dr. Jaqueline Miller, who presented data to the FDA committee on Thursday on behalf of Moderna, said the half dose works to boost antibody protections back up to the initial level.

"We chose the 50 microgram dose for the booster because we believe we should vaccinate with the lowest amount of antigen needed to induce an immune response at least equal to that in study 301 [the initial clinical study of Moderna vaccine], which was linked to vaccine efficacy of 93%," Miller said.

Miller added that "reducing the booster dose to 50 micrograms will also increase the worldwide vaccine supply of mRNA."

Americans who had a normal immune response to the first two shots and are getting a booster will need a half dose. But immunocompromised Americans -- people receiving cancer treatment or organ transplant recipients, for example -- need a full dose for their third shot to try and initiate the immune response they didn't get from the first two.

Moderna officials said they're preparing a letter explaining this administration to health care workers.

According to the FDA's review of Moderna's data, there was no evidence of increased side effects from booster doses.

-ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett

Labor Department to issue new vaccine mandate

The U.S. is making progress in the fight against COVID-19 with daily cases and hospitalizations on the decline, but the nation must to do more to vaccinate Americans, President Joe Biden said Thursday.

The Labor Department will soon issue a vaccine mandate for workplaces with 100 or more employees, Biden said.

Biden called on more businesses to "step up" and more parents to get their children vaccinated when eligible.

"We can't let up now," he said.