U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters to all Americans regardless of age eight months after receiving the second dose of vaccine to ensure permanent protection from the coronavirus as the Delta variant spreads across the country .
So say two people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
An announcement was expected earlier this week, with doses starting to be given in large quantities once the Food and Drug Administration officially approves the vaccines. This action is expected for the Pfizer shot in the coming weeks.
US health officials last week recommended boosters for some with compromised immune systems.
Also on the news:
►New York, the first major city in the country to require at least partial vaccination for indoor activities such as eating and using the gym, will require proof from Tuesday. Mayor Bill de Blasio added the default to the list of public venues on Monday.
►The first four days of school in Nashville, Tennessee, revealed more than 250 cases of COVID-19 – 207 of them among high school students – and quarantined more than 1,000 students and staff. Metro Nashville Public Schools, with more than 80,000 students, began teaching Tuesday.
►CVS and Walgreens pharmacies started giving the newly approved third coronavirus vaccine to people with immunodeficiency conditions. Individuals who completed their first two doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at least 28 days ago and have a qualifying medical condition may schedule their booster vaccination.
►The US administered 665,000 doses of vaccine on Sunday, including 404,000 newly vaccinated, said Cyrus Shahpar, COVID-19 data director for the White House. Among the eligible people – 12 years and older – almost 70% received at least one dose, including 72% of adults.
📈 Today’s numbers: There have been more than 36.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 622,000 deaths in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global totals: More than 207.7 million cases and 4.37 million deaths. More than 168.6 million Americans – 50.8% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we read: Should children wear masks in school? Despite requests from experts, these states have banned mandates.
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Virus and politics disrupt the start of the school year in the US
Public health, politics and education made an uncomfortable mix in many parts of the country on Monday as hundreds of thousands of K-12 students returned to school amid a surge in coronavirus infections.
Confusion erupted in several Texas school districts after the state Supreme Court suspended mask requirements in two of the largest counties prior to the first day of school in Dallas. An Arizona judge at least temporarily upheld a mask mandate in a Phoenix district, despite a new state law prohibiting such requirements. A county in Colorado sent the sheriff’s deputies to schools on the first day of class as a precautionary measure after parents protested at the last minute against a mask mandate.
After the coronavirus pandemic forced widespread school closings and distance learning for several months, the new school year is facing various interruptions, partly caused by the virus.
Some early-start districts have already closed schools due to outbreaks while others are trying to survive them. In South Carolina, pressure is on the governor and general assembly to lift a ban on school mask mandates as infections escalate.
Nowhere was the fighting bigger on Monday than in Texas, where some counties and school districts had retained mask mandates banned by Republican Governor Greg Abbott and others when schools reopened after the court ruling on Sunday.
The state’s highest court order – which consisted entirely of elected Republican judges – halted the masking requirement introduced by Democrat-led district leaders in Dallas and San Antonio as new infections rose. The two cities – as well as other jurisdictions across Texas – were able to enforce the mandates through orders from lower courts.
Dallas school officials were among those who opposed the court order, and in Austin, students and parents gathered outside the governor’s mansion to urge Abbott to abandon his opposition to the mandates. The Austin and Harris County School Districts, which include Houston, also said their school mask requirements remained in place.
“We are waging war on a deadly virus on behalf of mothers and fathers and children,” said Clay Jenkins, Dallas District Judge. “I really wish the governor would join our side in the fight.”
Catholic cardinal who despises vaccines and safety measures is hospitalized with virus
A Conservative cardinal who has spoken out against COVID vaccines and once said Catholics who voted for former President Barack Obama “worked with evil” is on a ventilator in a Wisconsin hospital with coronavirus .
Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former Archbishop of St. Louis, has despised measures to prevent transmission of the virus, such as wearing masks and social distancing. It also promoted the misconception that vaccines contain a microchip implanted in recipients to control them.
Burke, 73, announced on Tuesday via Twitter that he had tested positive for the virus. “Please pray for me as I begin my recovery,” the tweet read. “Let us trust in Divine Providence. Godd bless you.”
A tweet on Saturday said Burke’s doctors were “encouraged by his progress.”
Florida teenagers challenge a vaccination
With a big spike in coronavirus infections hit Florida early in the school year, school-age students rolled their arms for the COVID vaccine.
Vaccinations in 12-19 year olds made up 20% of the doses in the state over the past two weeks, though that age group makes up only 9% of the total population.
In the week of July 30th to August 5th, a total of 57,571 people between the ages of 12 and 19 were vaccinated in Florida, and another 55,083 the following week. That’s about twice as many as the 28,537 who received the vaccine in the week of July 9-15.
“We encourage anyone who is of legal age to get the vaccine,” said Katherine Allen, government and community relations coordinator for Brevard Public Schools. “If you can, please do so.”
– Dave Berman, Florida today
Deaths are increasing in most states
The rise in the US Delta variant is entering a deadly new phase: the number of weekly fatalities is rising in more than three-quarters of the states.
The latest record shows more than 4,800 deaths in a week, according to a US TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. That is more than three times the relative slack in early July. And the death toll is even worse because a large California county changed its methodology and removed hundreds of reported deaths from their lists.
Coronavirus hospital admissions have reached a pandemic peak in all under-50s, report the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the total number of new infections is still increasing in almost all states.
“We see how many people get seriously ill,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Biden government’s lead advisor on the pandemic, on Sunday in CBS’s Face the Nation, especially intensive care units. “
Mississippi community flooded by COVID after carnival
A rural Mississippi community is overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases two weeks after the Neshoba County Fair attracted thousands of people to attend shoulder-to-shoulder outdoor concerts, horse racing and political speeches. Republican Governor Tate Reeves spoke at the July 29 mass and told the crowd that the CDC was giving “foolish” and “harmful” advice and that the Mississippi “believe in freedom.”
According to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 case tracker, Neshoba County had the highest COVID-19 case per capita in Mississippi and the 55th among any counties in the country on Friday. Mississippi has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the US – 36% in the state, compared to 50% across the country.
Children admitted to hospital 2 weeks and older as pediatric cases increased
As COVID-19 hospital admissions in Escambia County, Florida soar to levels previously unseen in the pandemic and schools are back up, the growing number of children hospitalized with the coronavirus worries experts .
Studer Family Children’s Hospital pediatrician Jason Foland said he saw a two week old baby with COVID-19 go into cardiac arrest and recently seen more children, from newborns to teenagers in intensive care are or need intensive care.
On Friday, 12 children were treated for COVID-19 in the county’s three major hospitals, out of 357 coronavirus-related hospitalizations. Pediatric cases are relatively low compared to the general population, but the delta variant makes the disease spread very easily among people, especially children at risk, Foland said.
“(The parents are) scared and scared,” he said. “You know the odds here, right, you know that statistically very few kids get complications from COVID, but now it’s your child and now they’re really worried about it.”
– Emma Kennedy, Pensacola News Journal
Featuring: Mike Stucka, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.