Fall is almost upon us but experts say with the covid delta variant out there, plans will be negatively affected.
The St. Louis Blues are the latest hockey club to require fans, event staff, sponsors and media over 12 to demonstrate either a negative test result or recent negative test to enter their home games, The Associated Press reported. The policy applies across events at the Enterprise Center, where the Blues play, and will begin on Oct. 15, a week before the Blues’ home opener. Kids 11 and younger will need to wear a mask at all times. The Blues’ are the 16th team to impose a vaccine restriction at their home arena.
Kids and teens in the United States gained weight at nearly double the normal rate during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. News & World Report reported. The study, which came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the number of obese children and teens shot up from 19% to 22% nationally. "During the COVID-19 pandemic, children and adolescents spent more time than usual away from structured school settings, and families who were already disproportionally affected by obesity risk factors might have had additional disruptions in income, food, and other social determinants of health," the report says. Children ages 6-11 saw the largest increase in their BMI, up 2.5 times pre-pandemic levels.Read the full study here.
Only 14 of the 120 ICU beds in the entirety of Alaska were available as of Thursday, attesting to the strain vaccine hesitancy and the delta variant have placed on the state’s hospitals, ABC News reported. Alaska had the highest per capita coronavirus vaccination rate in the nation back during January, but it saw its vaccination rates begin to drop over the summer. Only 56.8% of residents over 12 were fully vaccinated as of Thursday, according to Alaska’s coronavirus dashboard. “In terms of why things went stagnant, it does seem like hesitancy is the main factor behind that,” Jared Kosin, CEO and president of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, told ABC News. “It’s not an access issue. The vaccine’s widely available in Alaska anywhere.”
The number of individuals in intensive care units in Maine due to COVID-19 has reached its highest point since the pandemic began last year.On Friday, a total of 201 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized, 76 of those individuals being admitted to intensive care units. The previous record high number of patients in intensive care units was 72 people and was reached on Sept. 11, according to the Press Herald. Between 70 and 75% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the state have not been fully vaccinated against the virus.
In a study comparing the three authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., the Moderna vaccine was found to be slightly more effective than Pfizer’s in keeping people out of the hospital, according to CNN. While the Johnson & Johnson vaccine came in third, it still provides 71% protection for adults without immunocompromised conditions — Moderna’s vaccine provided 93% protection against hospitalization and Pfizer’s 88%. The CDC led the nationwide study, involving more than 3,600 adults hospitalized for COVID-19 between March and August.
“Differences in vaccine effectiveness between the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine might be due to higher mRNA content in the Moderna vaccine, differences in timing between doses (3 weeks for Pfizer-BioNTech versus 4 weeks for Moderna), or possibly differences between groups that received each vaccine that were not accounted for in the analysis,” the team wrote. They also found that there was a drop in the Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy 120 days after receiving the second dose, dropping from 91% to 77%.
Since late July, at least eight pregnant, not fully vaccinated women in Mississippi have died from COVID-19, CNN reported. The surge in tragic deaths is causing health officials to emphasize that the vaccine is recommended for pregnant woman. "Please get vaccinated," Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state's medical officer, said. "You've got to protect yourself; you've got to protect your baby." Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that deaths among pregnant women seemed to increase in August. Mississippi also is investigating 72 stillbirths in women who had tested positive for the coronavirus, Dobbs said.
A majority of Kentucky school boards voted in favor of continuing mask requirements in schools amid the current coronavirus surge, The Associated Press reported. Of the state’s 171 public school districts, 165 decided to extend universal masking in schools and six decided to make mask-wearing optional, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association. These votes came after Republican-led legislature shifted masking decision to local school leaders last week and alongside of the statewide mask mandate approved by the state school board ending Friday.
A federal advisory panel for the FDA has voted against Pfizer’s plan to offer booster shots for COVID-19 to most Americans. The vote was decided after several hours of discussion, with a final vote of 16-2 against the booster. According to The Associated Press, the panel of experts was concerned with the little amount of data Pfizer provided on the safety of extra coronavirus vaccine doses. In addition, the experts voiced concerns that previous data provided by researchers in Israel may not carry the same results in the U.S. The FDA could still decide to approve the booster shots, however it is uncommon for the agency to go against the advice of the panel. The CDC advisory panel is set to meet to discuss the booster shots next week. Despite voting against recommending the booster for most Americans, the panel decided to recommend the booster shot for those 65 years or older and other high-risk groups, according to CNBC.
FILE - In this March 2, 2021, file photo, Hollie Maloney, a pharmacy technician, loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. An influential federal advisory panel overwhelmingly rejected a plan Friday, Sept. 17, to offer Pfizer booster shots against COVID-19 to most Americans, dealing a heavy blow to the Biden administration’s effort to shore up people’s protection amid the highly contagious delta variant. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says that world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly will need to be vaccinated with an approved vaccine, Bloomberg reported. De Blasio and UN Secretary-General António Guterres agreed to follow much of New York City’s guidelines, ensuring continuity between the quasi-extraterritorial building and the local government. “We have cooperated with the host country and the host city on these matters and will continue to be discussing these matters with them.” Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the secretary-general, said. “We fully expect to find appropriate solutions consistent with our respective requirements and status.” Watch the video below for more.
Animal keepers at Smithsonian’s National Zoo noticed some large cats were acting odd with six lions and three tigers reportedly sneezing, coughing and having reduced appetites. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute reported that all of the cats have been tested for COVID-19 and are currently being treated with anti-inflammatories and anti-nausea medication. The cats have been presumed positive while zookeepers await the final results of the tests, which are expected in the coming days. The zoo is unclear how exactly the lions and tigers became infected but stated that there is no risk to the public and that no other animals at the zoo are showing signs of illness.
Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) in action during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius blames the coronavirus vaccine for causing a form of arthritis in his elbow, something that experts say has no basis in fact, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. This current season was Gregorius’ worst ever, largely due to him developing pseudogout, which causes sudden and painful swelling. “Some people say it’s from the vaccine. I will say it’s likely from that, too,” Gregorius told The Inquirer before Wednesday’s game. “But when you say that, everyone looks at you like you’re stupid because the vaccine is not supposed to be like that or give you that reaction.” Paul Offit, a vaccine expert who works for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told the Inquirer it’s possible that the vaccine could cause a flareup of pseudogout in someone who already had it, but that a months-long flare “doesn’t make any sense.”
The coronavirus isn’t stopping the 2021 San Francisco Marathon, but safety measures could slow down some runners as they compete in Sunday’s annual event. Part of the race passes through Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is operated by the National Park Service (NPS). Even though the race is outdoors, there is often some congestion in this part of the course, meaning that runners will need to adhere to the mask requirements for “crowded outdoor spaces,” KCBS Radio reported. Runners who do not wear a mask in these sections of the course could be fined by the NPS or disqualified from the race. In total, marathon runners will need to wear a mask for 6.7 miles, KCBS said. AccuWeather forecasters say there is the chance for a passing shower on Sunday morning with temperatures topping out around 70 F.
One week after the number of jobless claims reached a pandemic low of 312,000, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits reached 332,000 for the week ending Sept. 11, the U.S. Department of Labor said. Despite a rise in coronavirus cases, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose 0.7% in August, a development that was unexpected according to The Associated Press. The AP reported that online spending increased but spending at bars, restaurants and other public places was in a "holding pattern."
A retired Boeing passenger jet has been lugged to the top on a seaside cliff on the Indonesian island of Bali to help draw tourists. The island has been struggling with tourism throughout the pandemic, AFP reported. A dozen workers used cranes to assemble the remains of the aircraft on the cliff near the Nyang Nyang beach. Felix Demin, the owner of the plane and a Russian entrepreneur, told AFP he expects it to become a popular photo destination. However, some on social media have complained that the plane could spoil the view. Demin purchased the remains of the plane when it was about to be sold as scrap metal to China, he told AFP. Watch the video below for more.
As vaccination rates in Germany have slowed down, one shop in Berlin is offering its signature meal for free to every newly vaccinated customer: kebab. Remzi Kaplan, the restaurant owner, told AFP that they came up with the idea after hearing that the country’s vaccination rate was slowing down after topping 60%. Kaplan said their goal was to to give out 1,500 free kebabs in three days.
"We wanted to organize a joint event with the head of health in Berlin, Dilek Kalayci," Kaplan said. "And we know that Germans also like doner kebab. We give doner kebab to citizens free of charge on the same day they are vaccinated." For more, watch the video below.
After 15 Texas school districts were sued within the past week for defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates, a few of them are pushing back. Attorney General Ken Paxton started suing school districts last week for “unconstitutional mandates,” according to NBC News. At least eight counties and 87 school districts or systems in the state have imposed mask mandates in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus and ease the strain on Texas’s overwhelmed hospitals. The school district in Paris, Texas, in Lamar County is among the number that Paxton is suing after the district incorporated masks into its dress code, making the requirement a part of the education code. However, during a court hearing on Monday, a judge granted Paxton’s request for a temporary restraining order to stop the district’s mask requirement, according to NBC News. The district was not informed of the lawsuit or the hearing until two hours after the hearing had ended, according to Dennis Eichelbaum, an attorney for the school district. “We weren’t surprised by the lawsuit. But we were shocked at the cowardly manner in which it was filled,” Eichelbaum told NBC News.
After winning his recall election with 63.8% of voters voting not to recall, California Gov. Gavin Newsom suggested that national Democrats “lean into” more pandemic-related restrictions and mandates. According to SF Gate, the recall of Newsom was in part due to his already strict approach to the pandemic. "We need to stiffen our spines and lean into keeping people safe and healthy,” Newsom said. "We shouldn't be timid in trying to protect people's lives and mitigate the spread and transmission of the disease."
An Associated Press reporter became stuck in Vung Tau, Vietnam, for nine weeks after Vietnam imposed a stringent COVID-19 lockdown. The spread of the delta variant in Vietnam blew through Vietnam’s previous coronavirus prevention measures, causing air travel to be halted from Ho Chi Minh City and canceling reporter Hau Dinh’s flight out of the country. Today, more than half of Vietnam’s people are still under lockdown, with more than 99% of Vietnam’s 16,000 COVID-19 fatalities coming as part of the delta-driven wave. Read more about Dinh’s experience in his Associated Press report.
As the number of vaccine mandates across the country grows, employees are citing religious exemptions to avoid the coronavirus vaccine, The Associated Press Reported. Around 2,600 employees of the Los Angeles Police Department are citing religious objections to the vaccine, while thousands of state employees in Washington are doing the same. Religious exemptions were signed into law via the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says employers need to make reasonable accommodations for employees “sincerely held” religious beliefs.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti had a warning for those seeking exemptions: “We will not tolerate the abuse of these exemptions by those who simply don’t want to get vaccinated. To anyone thinking about filing a disingenuous exemption request, I strongly urge that you reconsider.”
According to Moderna, data from its vaccine trial shows that the protection the vaccine offers wanes, supporting the case for a booster shot, Reuters reported. Recent studies have shown that Moderna’s vaccine may offer longer protection than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, though both still largely protect from severe illness and death even as their effectiveness wanes. “This is only one estimate, but we do believe this means as you look toward the fall and winter, at minimum we expect the estimated impact of waning immunity would be 600,000 additional cases of COVID-19," Moderna President Stephen Hoge said. On Sept. 1, Moderna submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration for authorization of its booster shot. "We also believe that a third dose of mRNA-1273 has a chance of significantly extending immunity throughout much of next year as we attempt to end the pandemic," Hoge said.
The Biden administration has been pushing for months for vaccinated Americans to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, but a recent publication from the Food and Drug Administration may complicate those efforts. The agency released findings on Wednesday that expressed skepticism over the apparent diminished protection that renders vaccines less effective over time, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Overall, data indicate that currently U.S.-licensed or authorized COVID-19 vaccines still afford protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death in the United States,” FDA scientists wrote. The Biden administration, which had purchased 1 billion vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna combined, could pivot to a strategy of providing booster shots strictly to those in certain groups, such as individuals over the age of 65.
An Israeli man takes a selfie while receiving the third Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from medical staff at a coronavirus vaccination center in Ramat Gan, Israel, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. Israel is grappling with a surge of infections and urging people over age 12 to get a booster shot. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Bargoers in Los Angeles will need to be carded twice to enter. Just as bars demand proof of age, bars and nightclubs in Los Angeles County will be required to check for proof of vaccination, AFP reported. The new vaccine mandate will begin in October, according to local health officials. "This is a reasonable path forward that could position us to be better able to break the cycle of the surges," said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Los Angeles is also requiring those at outdoor events with more than 10,000 people either demonstrate proof of vaccination or show a negative test, including at NFL football games and theme parks.
More than 171,000 new coronavirus cases and over 2,600 fatalities were reported in the United States on Wednesday, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. The positivity rate fell to 9.3% on Wednesday. Still, the U.S. reported by far the most cases globally, outpacing India, which reported the second-highest global caseload, by more than 140,000 new cases. The number of new vaccinations ticked up, with more than 841,000 vaccine doses administered in the U.S., and 55% of the U.S. population now fully vaccinated.
China has tightened lockdowns and increased testing in cities along its east coast Wednesday amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, The Associated Press reported. While national has imposed strict testing and lockdowns since the beginning of the pandemic, the delta variant has continued to spur on outbreaks across the country. Fujian, a providence on China’s southeastern coast, has seen at least 152 new cases in the past few days, leading to stay-at-home orders, the shuttering of businesses and cancellation of activities including those for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, according to the AP. “Even with 91% of students and teachers vaccinated nationwide, it is still recommended students do not leave their home provinces and stay on guard,” Wang Dengfeng, head of the COVID-19 prevention office at the Ministry of Education, was quoted in the official China Daily newspaper.
Nearly 900 new infections of COVID-19 were reported across West Virginia on Wednesday, a new record for the state, The Associated Press reported. The previous record for new cases was 852, set just two days prior. Gov. Jim Justice spoke during a news conference amid this news in support of vaccines and mitigation measures. “If you have chosen to be unvaccinated, in my opinion, it was a bad choice,” Justice said, but adding that “it was your choice.” Justice said he would not be issuing a new mask mandate but told people to make the right decision amid the surge in cases.
The Electric City is turning green this weekend as folks from all across northeastern Pennsylvania gather for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. The parade, which takes place in Scranton, is typically held every March around the time of St. Patrick’s Day, but the parade was postponed by six months this year due to the pandemic, WNEP reported. Parade organizers are already gearing up for the event, painting green lines on the streets where the parade will take place. This weekend’s parade is set to start shortly before noon, and although it will look like the traditional parade, it certainly won’t feel like it. Temperatures are projected to reach the upper 70s F, significantly warmer than what is typically felt across the region in mid-March. Those that miss waking up on cold winter mornings for what locals call ‘Parade Day’ only have to wait another 6 months as organizers are planning to host the event next March for the actual St. Patrick’s Day, WNEP said.
Moderna released a new analysis on breakthrough cases on Wednesday, adding that it supports booster shots, CNBC reported. The drugmaker conducted a trial consisting of 14,746 people inoculated by the Moderna vaccine between July and October. Of this group, 162 breakthrough cases were reported, which is about 1% of all participants. Moderna president Stephen Hoge said on Wednesday that there is “a significant increase in the risk of Covid-19 for those who are vaccinated a year ago versus six months ago.” The data analysis conducted by Moderna has yet to be peer-reviewed but comes just two days before the Food and Drug Administration meets to discuss the need for booster shots in the U.S., CNBC said.
Wednesday marked the first day that health medical workers in France could be suspended from their jobs if they were not vaccinated against COVID-19, The Associated Press reported. Up to 300,000 health care employees are reportedly not vaccinated yet in the country. The mandate was approved by France's government earlier in the summer amid a surge in infections and hospitalizations, the AP said. Many who were hospitalized were not vaccinated.“It’s aimed at one thing: protecting hospitals, protecting health care workers, protecting our fragile populations,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said of the mandate Wednesday. “We are not stigmatizing anyone. We are making everyone take responsibility,” Attal noted that more than 90% of French health care workers are currently vaccinated.
Adam Shallbetter, who is going into kindergarten, poses as his mother takes a photograph, after arriving at Whittier Elementary School Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Pfizer will release crucial vaccine data from clinical trials conducted in children 5 years old and younger by late October, while vaccine data for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 could be released by the end of this month, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said, according to CNBC. Pfizer's vaccine has currently been cleared by the FDA for people as young as 12, CNBC reported. Other vaccines, such as Moderna's and Johnson & Johnson's, remain approved only for adults.
People in George Town, Malaysia, hoping to get an extra shot amid the pandemic can simply place an order at a local business, as long as they are of age. A bar called the Backdoor Bodega has introduced a new line of alcoholic beverages that are named after different coronavirus vaccines around the world. One of the drinks is called Pfizermeister and is a mix of an American bourbon and the German drink Jagermeister which is fitting for a company that has roots in both the U.S. and Germany. Folks don’t even need to step foot in the bar to try the vaccine-themed beverages as they can be delivered to customers in bottles that resemble bottles found at a pharmacy.
President Joe Biden is reportedly meeting with the CEOs of Disney, Microsoft and Walgreens, as well as other top business leaders, on Wednesday to help push his recent vaccine mandate, Reuters reported. Biden's mandate includes nearly all federal employees and federal contractors. It also calls on large businesses to urge employees to get inoculated or tested weekly. The White House is hoping the Wednesday meeting serves "as a rallying cry for more businesses across the country to step up and institute similar measures," an anonymous official told Reuters.
COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the Black community, and The Associated Press reports it has also taken a heavy toll on those who provide the funeral rites to that community. Dr. Hari P. Close II of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association told the AP that the pandemic has claimed the lives of around 130 of his colleagues, not including the support staff. He added that African American funeral tradition has played a role in it. “We’re more, I should say, intimate more, because of our culture base,” Close told the AP. “In our community, in the African American community, the funeral director is the most … prominent individual, and we are the pillars in our community.”
William Penn Troy Sr. was just that for Marion County, South Carolina. “He was involved. He was connected. He was respected,” State Senator Kent Williams and Troy family friend told the AP. Troy was not only a funeral director, but also a county councilman, school board member and treasurer of his church. However, people close to him noted he was reluctant to wear a mask properly, and two days after officiating at a funeral during June 2020, he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and passed away two months later.
Last month, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a vaccine mandate for health care workers in the state at a time when about 75% of hospital workers in New York were vaccinated. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Hurd in Utica, New York, temporarily blocked that decision, Reuters reported. Hurd explained in a written brief that the mandate doesn't allow exemptions for workers' religious beliefs. On Monday, 17 doctors, nurses and other health care employees in the state filed a lawsuit against the state saying the mandate violates their constitutional rights, Reuters reported.
After a hiatus due to the pandemic, some of Broadway’s biggest hits are returning to the stage. Back in May, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had slated Sept. 14 as the day Broadway could begin reopening. So, when Tuesday rolled around, audiences welcomed “The Lion King,” “Wicked” and “Hamilton” back with thunderous applause. Ticket holders were asked to show that they were fully vaccinated with an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine, and masks were required to be worn at all times, except when eating or drinking in designated areas, according to The Associated Press. The rest of Broadway’s theaters are expected to reopen by Thanksgiving.
The vaccination effort across the United States continued at its tepid pace Tuesday, though some states are making strides. New Jersey vaccinated the most citizens on Tuesday with more than 67,000 shots administered. The Garden State has now seen 65% of its population fully vaccinated, according to figures tracked by Johns Hopkins University. Texas ranked second on Tuesday with more than 61,000 shots given out, but the Lone Star State trails New Jersey significantly with just 51% of the population at full vaccinations status. Meanwhile, nationally, the U.S. has been seeing new caseloads and fatalities on par with the numbers recorded last winter, The Associated Press reported, with hospitals strained in numerous states, including Washington, Utah, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas. For more on the vaccination effort and how the virus is spreading nationwide and worldwide, watch the video below.
Following the announcement that a requirement of proof of vaccination for access to nightclubs and large events was reversed, some are concerned about the consequences for those at the highest risk of severe COVID-19, the BBC reported. The policy was reversed after criticism came from venues, members of Parliament and the unvaccinated. But Laith Alobaidi, who suffers from Crohn’s Disease and is highly immunocompromised, called the decision “another blow to sick and disabled people, the most clinically vulnerable to COVID." Alobaidi, who has been mostly isolating for months even when guidelines say it is safer, takes medication that weakens his immune system. "[A vaccine passport] would give me reassurance,” Alobaidi said. “And it feels like there aren't too many accommodations for the most vulnerable at events."
Some Americans are finding ways to get a booster shot before they are officially approved by the government, The New York Times reported. After reading a myriad of information online, Amy Piccioni, 55, who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last November as part of a critical trial the decided she would not wait for official government approval for a booster. She was able to walk into a Walgreens and get a Pfizer shot, no question asked. “All I could think about was how low the vaccination rate is in some areas,” said Piccioni, who lives in California. “Those doses don’t last forever, so I felt no guilt about taking one that probably would have expired.” Lynn Hensley, 78, told the Times she lied about not getting a shot in order to receive a third dose six months after getting her second shot -- and she explained, in frank terms, the motivation behind that lie.
With the new NBA season on the horizon, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association continue to negotiate details surrounding COVID-related protocols. However, one key decision has already been made, ESPN reported. The league will not enforce a vaccine mandate on players, according to ESPN. About 85% of the players in the league are vaccinated, an NBA spokesperson told ESPN. The new NBA season will begin on Oct. 19 when the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks host the Brooklyn Nets.
With the first week of the NFL season in the books, one team has announced new coronavirus-related policies for fans planning to attend home games later this season. The Buffalo Bills said on Tuesday that to comply with a directive from the Erie Country Department of Health, “all guests age 12 and older will be required to provide proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination to attend Bills games at Highmark Stadium until Oct. 31, at which point guests will be required to provide proof of complete vaccination.” Additionally, the vaccinated guests will no longer need to wear face masks. Fans under 12 that are not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can still attend games but must wear a mask at all times. Season ticket holders who elect not to get vaccinated can request a refund. However, those who have purchased tickets for individual games cannot get a refund but can transfer, sell or donate their tickets, the Bills said on its website.
Miami International Airport (MIA) is enlisting man’s best friend to try and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. COVID-19 detector dogs will be debuting at an employee security checkpoint at MIA, making it the first airport to test the usefulness of COVID-19-sniffing dogs, International Airport Review reported. After training sessions at Florida International University, the dogs were 96 to 99% accurate in detecting the coronavirus. “We must not stay behind in our approach to fighting the spread of this virus,” said Kionne L. McGhee, the Miami-Dade county commissioner. “I am proud to be the sponsor of a program that will bring about crucial life-saving benefits for our communities.” An individual infected with COVID-19 produces volatile organic compounds, which can be smelled in an individual’s breath and sweat – a scent that dogs can be trained to detect.
Canberra has extended its lockdown for another four weeks after 22 new coronavirus cases were recorded Tuesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. At least 13 of the new cases spent time in the community while infectious. Canberra has been in a state of lockdown since Aug. 12 in what was initially planned to be a seven-day lockdown. Now, the lockdown will not end until at least Oct. 15. Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the decision to extend the lockdown was made in part because New South Wales, which is seeing a large surge in coronavirus cases, surrounds Canberra. "What we are certain of though, is a highly vaccinated Canberra is a safer Canberra,” Barr said. “This is the safest path forward, and it will lead to a safer Christmas, a safer summer holiday period and a safer 2022."
As President Joe Biden is set to roll out coronavirus vaccine mandates, more than half of Americans support proof of vaccination being required for a return to the office and schools, CNN reported. Biden’s new efforts include mandating the vaccine for the federal government, compelling health care facilities to mandate vaccines or lose federal funding and requiring companies with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or submit to weekly tests, CNBC reported.
Americans are more supportive of vaccine mandates today than they were in April, with 54% supporting a vaccine mandate for office workers and 55% supporting a vaccine mandate for schools, concerts and sporting events. The issue is deeply polarized, though, with 51% of Americans stating that they agree vaccine mandates are an acceptable way to incentivize an increase in vaccinations, while 49% felt it was “an unacceptable infringement on personal rights.”
Eight members of the New Orleans Saints organization have tested positive for COVID-19, ESPN reported. The organization members include six offensive coaches, one player and a nutritionist. The coaches' status for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers is uncertain at this time, according to ESPN. 'We'll be just fine," a Saints source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Saints have been displaced since Hurricane Ida, and had to play the first home game of the season this past Sunday in Jacksonville. The alternate home site didn't seem to bother the Saints much since they thoroughly dismantled the Green Bay Packers 38-3.
Medical garb debuted on the runway at China Fashion Week in Beijing, Sea Today News reported. The designs, a project by the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology and the Dishang Group, were intended to pay tribute to medical professionals who have battled against the virus. In addition to showcasing personal protective equipment, the models also wore doctor and nurse outfits, as well as debuting a new look for patient uniforms. Watch the video below for more.
The United Kingdom is set to begin a booster shot program for adults over 50, frontline health workers and those at heightened risk of severe disease, Reuters reported. The British government is choosing to rely on booster shots rather than lockdowns, hoping that hospitals will be able to function normally during a potentially “bumpy” winter. Health Minister Sajid Javid did say that the government’s “Plan B,” which involves mandatory vaccine certificates in public settings, mandating mask wearing and asking people to work for home, remains an option. "Booster doses are an important way of keeping the virus under control for the long term," Javid told Parliament. "We have prepared a plan B of contingency measures that we can call upon only if they are needed and supported by the data." The British government believes that coronavirus vaccinations have saved more than 112,000 lives.
Russian President Vladmir Putin is self-isolating after meeting with people who tested positive for the coronavirus, The Associated Press reported. According to the Kremlin, Putin himself has tested negative. Putin is fully vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. On Monday, Putin attended several public events, most of which took place indoors and with little to no masking. Putin met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russian Paralympians and attended military exercises, all while seemingly knowing people in his circle were positive. “Even in my circle problems occur with this COVID,” the Russian leader said while meeting the Paralympians. “We need to look into what’s really happening there. I think I may have to quarantine soon myself. A lot of people around (me) are sick.” Just 32% of Russia’s population has received one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with only 27% fully vaccinated.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says she will appeal a judge’s ruling that allows Iowa schools to enforce a mask mandate to prevent against the spread of the coronavirus, Reuters reported. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on a law passed in May that prevented school boards from ordering mask mandates, with the judge arguing the law increased the risk children with health conditions catching COVID-19. The temporary restraining order will remain in effect until a preliminary injunction is issued. "We will appeal and exercise every legal option we have to uphold state law and defend the rights and liberties afforded to any American citizen protected by our constitution," Republican Governor Kim Reynolds tweeted Monday night. More than 6,300 people in Iowa have died from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.
In an opinion piece published in The Lancet, an international panel of scientists, including two top experts from the United States, argue that the average person does not yet need a booster shot, The Associated Press reported. The experts argued that studies have demonstrated that the vaccines are working well, especially in protecting against severe disease. “Even in populations with fairly high vaccination rates, the unvaccinated are still the major drivers of transmission,” the authors concluded. The U.S. is currently planning to begin administering booster shots to the general public later this month, contingent on agreement from both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read the scientists' full opinion piece here.
Visitors to the TCL Chinese Theatre wear masks as they explore the forecourt, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
In an interview with Bloomberg, epidemiologist Michael Osterholm warns that the COVID-19 pandemic is nowhere near over. Osterholm says that it will take almost the entire world getting infected or vaccinated to have some serious sense of protection. The delta variant, which has spread across the world, may not have made the situation worse, but means that infections will happen quicker, Osterholm added. “Think of delta as a forest fire where instead of 30 mph winds there’s 80 mph winds, that’s what delta is,” Osterholm said. “In the end, it’s still going to be the same size of forest fire.” Osterholm also cautioned against thinking that delta will be the last notable variant, warning that an even more infectious variant is possible. Watch the video below for more.
More than 2,100 fatalities in the U.S. were blamed on the coronavirus on Monday, and the nation recorded more than 262,000 new cases, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics. Monday's tally of new cases is the third-highest over a 24-hour period in the last month, and more than 41 million Americans have been infected with the virus since the outbreak began in January 2020. The national death toll stands at 662,254. Globally, the U.S. continues to count the most new cases on a daily basis, by far. Meanwhile, 55% of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated. For more on new cases and vaccinations, watch the video below.
On Sept. 1, Ray Demonia, 73, who lived in Cullman, Alabama, died some 200 miles away in an ICU in Meridian, Mississippi. Last month, he had suffered a cardiac emergency. It was due to hospitals being at full capacity caring for COVID-19 patients that he had been forced to spend his last days away from home, according to his family. “Due to COVID 19, CRMC emergency staff contacted 43 hospitals in 3 states in search of a Cardiac ICU bed and finally located one in Meridian, MS,” read a section of Demonia’s obituary. NPR reported that ICU capacity in Alabama has been filled to the brim over the past few weeks, with half of the intensive care beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. “In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergency,” the obituary reads. “He would not want any other family to go through what his did.”
Six Los Angeles Police Department officers are filing a lawsuit against the city, demanding that a federal judge immediately overturn the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for city employees, claiming there’s no evidence that natural immunity isn’t as effective as the vaccine, according to KFI 640 AM. The city, Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAPD Chief Michael Moore and City Administrative Officer Matthew Szabo are listed as defendants. “The city does not and cannot point to any evidence that vaccinated individuals have longer lasting or more complete immunity than those who have recovered from COVID,” according to the complaint filed. However, a CDC study released during early August found that vaccines offer a higher protection than natural immunity alone and help prevent reinfections.“If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said when the study was released. “This study shows you are twice as likely to get infected again if you are vaccinated. Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious Delta variant spreads around the country.”
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