Children’s hospitals fill with coronavirus patients as schools begin to open amid the recent surge in infections fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant.
Children’s hospitals in Tennessee will be full by the end of this week, the state health department predicted, and the number of children admitted to a children’s hospital in Jacksonville, Florida in July was more than four times as high as in June.
Schools allow students, maskless or with masks, back into the classroom. And some schools close as soon as they open their doors. One district in Mississippi reported 114 COVID-19 positive students for the week of July 24-30 and 608 students in quarantine, pushing two high schools and one middle school to virtual learning by August 16.
Children in a pre-K classroom in Georgia were sent home Thursday after potential contact with a person who tested positive at school. Another school in Tennessee postponed the start of the school year for a week because of a number of COVID-19 cases among staff.
In Austin, Texas, children with symptomatic COVID-19 are also getting sicker and having more severe symptoms than previous waves of the disease.
“That shouldn’t be happening,” said Dr. Meena Iyer, Chief Medical Officer at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Central Texas.
Also on the news:
►Scaling coronavirus cases are filling beds in U.S. hospitals, which are re-admitting more than 100,000 likely COVID patients each week, according to USA TODAY analysis of U.S. health and social services data. Hospitals reported 66,390 likely COVID-19 patients in beds on Saturday, up from 20,184 just four weeks earlier. Far more coronavirus sufferers were in the intensive care unit: around 15,900 compared to around 4,900 four weeks earlier.
As of Monday, Amazon will require all of its 900,000 US warehouse workers to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.
►With the spike in new COVID-19 cases in Louisiana, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will not return this year, organizers said Sunday.
►Arizona health officials reported more than 2,000 additional COVID-19 cases on Sunday for the fifth straight day as virus-related hospitalizations continued to rise.
► Full approval of vaccines to protect against COVID-19 may not be far off, said Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, warned that while the Food and Drug Administration is solely conducting its own review process, it “hopes” to get full approval by the end of the month.
📈 Today’s numbers: There have been more than 35.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 616,000 deaths in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The global totals: More than 202.8 million cases and 4.2 million deaths. More than 166 million Americans – 50% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we read: Public health experts told USA TODAY that shaming and blaming the unvaccinated could backfire – they could cement their decision instead of convincing them to get the shots. Read the full story.
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Judge blocks Florida law that bans cruises from asking for proof of vaccination
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. May require passengers to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination when boarding Florida cruises – at least for now. Late Sunday the company, parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, received an injunction from U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams temporarily blocking Florida’s law prohibiting cruise lines from showing evidence of a COVID-19 vaccine to ask to get in.
“This contract will now enable the company to operate in the safest possible manner with a 100% vaccination of all guests and crew members when sailing from ports in Florida,” the cruise line said in a press release.
– Morgan Hines
Canada opens its border to vaccinated Americans
Canada opened its border to vaccinated U.S. citizens on Monday after allowing only essential travel for more than a year.
Detroit’s ports to Canada were not congested early Monday. Waiting times for the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor tunnel were around 10 minutes. Americans must test negative for COVID-19 within three days to gain passage across one of the world’s busiest land borders. Passengers must also fill out a detailed application in the “arriveCAN” app before the crossing.
The US has extended its closure to all Canadians who do non-essential travel until at least August 21st. The same date applies to the Mexican border.
The moment couldn’t come sooner for loved ones who were separated throughout the pandemic. Asawari Kaur of Indiana huddled in Detroit’s duty-free shop with her family minutes before midnight. Some of Kaur’s family hadn’t seen their brother, who had married in April, for almost two years.
“We have all been waiting so longingly for this day,” said Kaur.
– Eve Chen and Minnah Arshad
Memorials to victims of the COVID-19 pandemic are taking shape in the US
Temporary monuments have sprung up all over the US – 250,000 white flags in the former Washington Football Team Stadium in the country’s capital, a garden of hand-carved flowers in Florida, origami cranes in Los Angeles. However, the process of creating more lasting memories honoring the more than 600,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus is strained for political reasons compared to previous memorial services.
Last year, a bill kicking off a national COVID-19 memorial process died in Congress as the Trump administration tried to mitigate the ravages of the pandemic.
Non-pandemic memorials – like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, the Oklahoma City National Memorial, and the National Sept. 11 Memorial in New York – are the result of negotiations between various stakeholders willing to instigate controversy to create common Elaborating narratives, said Nancy Bristow, a history professor at the University of Puget Sound. A national COVID-19 memorial won’t be that unique, she said.
“The problem and power of memorials is that they tell the story we want to tell and they may have nothing to do with learning from the past or remembering the complexities of what we went through” said Bristow. “Remembrance and commemoration has nothing to do with nuances.”
The doctor was looking “as far as Cincinnati” for care for a young COVID patient
A doctor from Tennessee struggled to find a nearby hospital with specialized care to help a young patient with coronavirus – a candidate for intensive therapy for COVID-19 patients when a ventilator isn’t enough.
A machine was available, but the staff needed for therapy were not available. Dr. Jason Martin, an intensive care doctor at Sumner Regional Medical Center in Gallatin, Tennessee, said he would have to search “as far as Cincinnati” to find a hospital that has both the equipment and the staff to help his patient.
“What we feel as practitioners is that there is no bed availability, and that manifests itself in a number of ways,” said Martin. “In a community hospital like the one I work at in Sumner County, there are some cases where patients need special attention and move to a larger hospital … if this is affected because COVID eats up the extra capacity, they suffer Patient. “
The Delta variant is “everywhere,” putting additional pressure on low-staffed hospitals, Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said on Aug. 2. Hospital stays are approaching those seen in February when the state saw another spike in COVID-19 cases.
As of Aug. 7, 14% of bunk beds in Tennessee hospitals and 10% of ICU beds were available, according to the state.
– Cassandra Stephenson, Nashville, Tennessee
Mother urges students to wear masks after a 5 year old child has COVID. is sick
Heidi Kim, an Arizona mother of two, learned that her 5-year-old daughter tested positive for COVID-19 within two weeks of sending her children to school. Last school year, the two were home-schooled to protect family members from contracting the virus. Kim and her husband were reluctant to send their children to personal school, she told Good Morning America.
“I was really nervous about sending them back there, but I was hoping they might be eligible for the vaccine in September,” said Kim. “I was hoping it would just be the month and a few extra weeks depending on when it comes.”
On June 30, Governor Goud Ducey signed law banning mask requirements in Arizona schools, an action carried out in seven other states to restrict the use of masks in educational institutions.
Kim said that although masks were encouraged, only two other kindergarten children wore masks in school.
“It’s incredibly frustrating because I think schools should absolutely be open. I don’t think people will have to put their lives on hold for a year and a half,” said Kim. “If we look at what public health is telling us, if you look at the American Academy of Pediatrics or the CDC, everyone is saying schools should be open. But people who aren’t vaccinated should wear masks too.”
– Steven Vargas
Contribution: The Associated Press