In keeping with its long-standing policy on public health and safety coverage, The Daily News is providing all content about the COVID-19 crisis free to online readers.

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The increasing rates of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Texas are showing steeper jumps than past surges, state health officials said Wednesday as they stressed the need to be fully vaccinated to slow the state’s third wave, brought on by the delta variant.

COVID-19: Latest from AP

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For months, most employers relied on information campaigns, bonuses and other incentives to encourage their workforces to get the COVID-19 shot. Now, a growing number is imposing rules to make it more onerous for employees to refuse — from outright mandates to requiring the unvaccinated to undergo regular testing.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the United States where the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling infection surges.

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Most Americans who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 said they are unlikely to get the shots and doubt they would work against the aggressive delta variant despite evidence they do, according to a new poll that underscores the challenges facing public health officials amid soaring infections in some states.

COVID-19: More from AP