States are loosening restrictions and airlines are no longer blocking middle seats as more Americans get their COVID-19 vaccinations. But some health officials warn we are not out of the woods yet. Danya Bacchus reports.
ADRIANA DIAZ: Good evening. The world's coronavirus cases are hitting record levels, driven in part by a devastating surge in India. New daily infections there today topped 400,000.
At the same time, America's pandemic pain is easing. Over the past week, new infections are down in 26 states. They only rose in four. And vaccinations have provided a critical boost. More than 100 million American adults are now fully vaccinated.
That's fueling [? summer's ?] travel plans for many. CBS's Danya Bacchus at LAX leads us off. Danya, good evening.
DANYA BACCHUS: Good evening, Adriana. Those with travel plans will still face restrictions. The TSA just announced its COVID rules. Mask mandates at airports, on planes, trains, and buses will be extended through mid-September.
More packed planes are taking flight. As of today, Delta Airlines is no longer blocking middle seats. It was the last US carrier to do so. But CEO Ed Bastian cautions this is not a return to normal, saying, quote, "We are still operating in a pandemic. Changes such as cleanliness protocols will be permanent."
And starting Tuesday, the US will restrict flights from India, allowing only US citizens and permanent residents on planes. Cases there surging out of control.
SAHIL KAPOOR: The situation is extremely, extremely grim. The system is at a brink of collapse.
DANYA BACCHUS: Today, the country hit a dismal world record, new infections topping 400,000. Hospitals are overwhelmed, oxygen supplies desperately low.
A hospital fire today added to the misery. At least 18 people died.
Here in the US, vaccinations are boosting America's recovery. Nearly 40% of adults are now fully vaccinated.
JEFF ZIENTS: That's 100 million Americans with a sense of relief and peace of mind, knowing that after a long and hard year, they're protected from the virus.
DANYA BACCHUS: And there's new concern-- reaching those who haven't yet received a shot.
- This is an all-hands-on-deck effort, [? where we've all gotta chip in. ?]
DANYA BACCHUS: Still, Oregon is facing another outbreak and new restrictions. Georgia's governor removed many remaining COVID safety measures. One health official warns, it is still too soon.
DR. CARLOS DEL RIO: We're in the seventh inning. You know, we're doing well, and we can still lose the game.
DANYA BACCHUS: Here in California, 40% of eligible residents are now fully vaccinated. COVID cases in the state are among the lowest in the nation, and more restrictions could be lifted as soon as next week. Adriana.
ADRIANA DIAZ: Danya Bacchus, thank you.