US deaths in September outpacing previous months; U.N. General Assembly relying on vaccine honor system ahead of meeting: COVID-19 updates

With more than a third of the month remaining, the United States has already reported thousands of more deaths in September than it did in all of August.

Through Saturday, the country reported 32,526 deaths in September, compared to 27,612 in all of August. With deaths averaging nearly 2,000 per day, the U.S. is on track to exceed the total deaths of July and August combined within a matter of days, a USA TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

September is on track to be the deadliest month since February.

West Virginia alone has already reported 286 deaths in September, more than double the 138 reported in August. Hawaii has already reported 113 deaths in September, compared to 52 in August.

The rise in deaths come as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report noting 99.4% of all the COVID-19 cases in the U.S. were due to the ultra-infectious delta variant. The variant has caused sudden spikes across the country, forcing some hospitals to limit care along with leading to the highest numbers of children infections since the start of the pandemic.

Nearly 30% of COVID infections across the country for the week that ended Sept. 9 were among children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Also in the news:

►For the first time in its documented history, the state of Alabama recorded more deaths than births in a year, and state health officials are attributing the 2020 population shrinkage to COVID-19. The state had 64,714 total deaths and 57,641 total births last year.

►Chris Rock has tested positive for COVID-19, the comedian announced Sunday. Rock, 56, previously received the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine, he told Jimmy Fallon in May.

►The U.N. General Assembly is relying on a vaccine honor system for world leaders before they speak at next week’s meeting. Presidents, premiers, monarchs and other dignitaries won’t have to show vaccination cards or other proof of inoculation.

📈 Today's numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 42 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 673,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 228 million cases and 4.6 million deaths. More than 181 million Americans — 54% of the population — have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘 What we're reading: A year ago, Mallory Dunlap and her dad were planning her college softball career. Then their COVID-19-safe bubble burst and her life turned upside down. Read one family's story through the lens of a teen girl.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY's Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Seth Rogen jokes about COVID protocols at crowded Emmys

Seth Rogen made headlines Sunday after he took some jabs at COVID-19 protocols at the Emmys Sunday night as he presented an award.

“They said this was outdoors. It's not. They lied to us. We're in a hermetically sealed tent right now. I would not have come to this,” Rogen said.

He took issue with the guest spacing – “There is way too many of us in this little room” – but also with the ceiling on the tent that Emmy organizers had said would “allow for more socially-distanced audience seating.”

“It's more important that we have three chandeliers than that we make sure we don't kill Eugene Levy tonight. That is what has been decided,” Rogen said.

Emmys host Cedric the Entertainer offered a quick pushback.

“It actually feels amazing in here unlike what Seth (Rogen) was talking about. It feels good. We’re all vaxxed. We had to get vaxxed to come here. I got vaxxed. I did not have a reaction like Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend. I got Pfizer because I’m bougie. Pfizer is the Neiman Marcus of vaccines. Moderna, that’s Macy’s. Johnson & Johnson, that’s TJ Maxx,” he said.

– Bill Keveney

Gov. Reeves sidesteps Mississippi's high COVID death rate on CNN

In a Sunday morning appearance on CNN's State of the Union, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves did his best to avoid questions about the state's high COVID-19 death rate, instead using the platform to again attack President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine requirement for American workers.

Mississippi has the highest COVID-19 death rate per capita in the nation, surpassing New Jersey at the end of last week.

“Unfortunately fatalities is a lagging indicator when it comes to the virus … and so timing has as much to do with where that statistic that you use as anything else,” Reeves said. He added he expects death rates to rise elsewhere as the delta variant takes hold.

State of the Union Host Jake Tapper asked Reeves if he had any plans to change how the state responds to COVID-19, the same question local reporters have asked Reeves for months, one he frequently answers with some version of “no.”

“So, with all due respect, governor, your way is failing,” Tapper said. Read more here.

— Lee O. Sanderlin, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger

Contributing: Mike Stucka; Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: United Nations relying on COVID vaccine honor system ahead of meeting

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