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Total vaccination numbers up as cities announce vaccine mandates

Total vaccination numbers are at the highest they have been in more than a month as more cities have begun mandating them.

Total vaccination numbers in the U.S. are at the highest they have been in more than a month as companies, organizations and, most recently, cities have begun announcing vaccine mandates. At the same time, Covid cases have also climbed around the country, driven by the highly contagious delta variant.

White House chief of staff Ronald Klain said in a post on Twitter Friday that Covid vaccinations had reached their highest 24-hour total since before July 4, with 918,000 doses administered and 576,000 newly vaccinated, up from 821,000 and 565,000 respectively last Friday.

This comes in a week that has seen reported Covid case counts at the level of November 2020 and a seven-day average of more than 140,000 cases per day, according to NBC News' tally.

"Vaccine requirements and incentives are starting to pay off — as well as the tragedy of seeing so much needless illness and loss due to Delta's impact on the unvaccinated," Klain wrote.

The 900,000-plus doses administered is the highest total reported in a day since 1.1 million doses in the U.S. were reported July 3, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's up from a low of about 243,000 doses administered July 20.

And while single-day numbers can fluctuate dramatically, the seven-day average of doses administered has also been trending up for most of the last six weeks, according to an NBC News analysis of CDC data. After hitting a pandemic low of an average 507,000 doses over the past seven days on July 20, that figure stood at about 712,000 Friday.

Vaccinations are on the rise as cities — on the heels of major companies and other organizations — implement stricter vaccination rules.

New Orleans announced Thursday that effective Aug. 16 it would require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test for indoor dining, bars, gyms, indoor entertainment and large outdoor events.

“This is in addition to the indoor mask mandate and in an effort to curb the unprecedented level of hospitalizations statewide and the growing number of deaths due to the more contagious and more deadly Delta variant,” the city said in a statement.

And San Francisco Mayor London Breed also announced Thursday that the city will be requiring proof of vaccination for patrons and employees of restaurants, bars, theaters, gyms and large events. Breed said the requirement for full proof of vaccination for patrons in indoor public settings would begin Aug. 20 and the proof of vaccination requirement for staff members would begin Oct. 13 to allow time for full vaccination.

“We know that for our city to bounce back from the pandemic and thrive, we need to use the best method we have to fight Covid-19 and that’s vaccines,” Breed said in a statement. “Many San Francisco businesses are already leading the way by requiring proof of vaccination for their customers because they care about the health of their employees, their customers, and this City. This order builds on their leadership and will help us weather the challenges ahead and keep our businesses open. Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic, and our way back to a life where we can be together safely.”

Passengers ride a tour bus as they resumed service on Aug. 3, 2021 in San Francisco. The city suspended tour bus services at the start of the pandemic.China News Service / China News Service

The two announcements, some of the first in the country, followed the lead of New York City after it announced this month that it would require proof of vaccination for leisure indoor activities at restaurants, gyms and performances, becoming the first major city in the United States to do so.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the program will begin in mid-August during a transition period before it will be fully enforced beginning the week of Sept. 13.

"It is time for people to see vaccinations as literally necessary to living a good, full and healthy life," he said at the time. "If you're unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things."

As cities have begun announcing vaccine mandates, more than a dozen large corporate employers have recently done the same. President Joe Biden has also been expanding the list of federal workers mandated to get the vaccine, with the latest announcement Thursday adding all Health and Human Services employees who may come in contact with patients.

The administration has already mandated vaccinations for health care and nursing home workers for the Veterans Affairs administration, while the Department of Defense said this week it would require members of the military to be vaccinated by mid-September. All federal workers will be required to either be vaccinated or undergo frequent testing.

Joe Murphy contributed.