COVID-19 live updates: Judge allows Florida school districts to keep mandating masks while state appeals

COVID-19 live updates: Judge allows Florida school districts to keep mandating masks while state appeals

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(NEW YORK) — The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.

More than 650,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.5 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 62.3% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Sep 08, 6:45 pm
Kentucky reaches record number of hospitalizations

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced new grim COVID-19 data and said the state has reached a record high positivity rate of 14.1%, and a hospitalization rate of 2,424.

There are 674 residents in ICUs, Beshear said.

In the last 24 hours, 4,468 newly coronavirus cases and 30 new deaths, including that of a young teen, were reported, according to the governor.

“No matter what age you are, this thing is deadly and it’s out there. You need to get vaccinated and you need to wear your mask,” he wrote on Twitter.

Today I am sad to share another tough report in our battle with COVID-19. For Wednesday I am announcing 4,468 newly reported cases and 30 new deaths, including a 15-year-old from Shelby County. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/jMOWZtcT6B

— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) September 8, 2021

Sep 08, 6:31 pm
Nearly 94% of NFL players partially vaccinated: ESPN

Nearly 94% of all NFL players and 99% of the league’s football-related staff members are at least partially vaccinated, ESPN reported Wednesday.

The season begins Thursday night with a match between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The league has mandated that coaches and staff be vaccinated and has been going back and forth with the NFL Players Association about a requirement for players.

Currently, unvaccinated players are being tested daily and required to follow a series of protocols, while those fully vaccinated are tested once a week. Still, the NFL Players Association has now demanded all players be tested daily, regardless of their vaccination status.

Sep 08, 3:53 pm
Biden to lay out next steps on testing, vaccine requirements, school safety

President Joe Biden will lay out a six-prong strategy to combat the delta variant on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

“He’s going to outline the next phase in the fight against the virus and what that looks like, including measures to work with the public and private sector, building on the steps that we’ve already announced, the steps we’ve taken over the last few months, requiring more vaccinations, boosting important testing measures and more, making it safer for kids to go to school,” Psaki said Wednesday.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

Sep 08, 2:38 pm
Over 95% of US counties reporting high community transmission

More than 95% of U.S. counties are now reporting high community transmission, the highest level since CDC tracking began, according to federal data.

The average daily case rate (per 100,000) is now higher among children ages 5 to 17 than all adult age groups.

Death rates are continuing to surge with about 1,000 Americans dying from COVID-19 each day, according to federal data.

Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 made up about one-third — 34.4% — of the patients hospitalized as of Aug. 28.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Sep 08, 2:32 pm
Over 95% of US counties reporting high community transmission

More than 95% of U.S. counties are now reporting high community transmission, the highest level since CDC tracking began, according to federal data.

The average daily case rate (per 100,000) is now higher among children ages 5 to 17 than all adult age groups.

Death rates are continuing to surge with about 1,000 Americans dying from COVID-19 each day, according to federal data.

Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 made up about one-third — 34.4% — of the patients hospitalized as of Aug. 28.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Sep 08, 1:30 pm
Fauci: 3rd shot likely going to become standard regimen

In an interview with the podcast “In the Bubble,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told former White House adviser Andy Slavitt that he predicts three doses will become the standard dosing regimen for COVID-19 vaccines going forward.

Fauci cited new data from Israel that vaccine protection against hospitalization dropped in recent months from some 97% to 77% or 78%.

The vaccines still provide extraordinary protection, but the combination of the delta variant and waning immunity with time are causes for concern, he said.

Fauci added that that he thinks it will probably be the end of 2022 or early 2023 before much of the world is vaccinated.

-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty

Sep 08, 1:06 pm
Kentucky hospitals on brink of rationing care: Governor

Kentucky is “quickly approaching that point” where hospitals will need to start rationing care, Gov. Andy Beshear warned on CNN.

Over two-thirds of Kentucky’s hospitals have critical staffing shortages, the governor said. FEMA and National Guard teams have been called in and nursing students have been deployed across the state, he said.

“We’ve got one hospital in Morehead called St. Clair that’s closed three operating rooms to expand ICU bed space,” he said. “We had a hospital in Danville, Kentucky, that’s not used to treating really sick patients, that had a morgue for two — and had seven individuals pass away in their hospital over one weekend.”

“We’ve set up tents outside Pikeville Medical Center to triage whether people really need to be in the hospital or not,” Beshear continued. “We’re in a very precarious situation.”

-ABC News’ Brian Hartman

Sep 08, 11:09 am
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade participants must be vaccinated

All participants in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade must be vaccinated and wear face coverings, the department store announced Wednesday. Singers, dancers and musicians may be exempt from wearing face masks.

The number of participants will see a 10 to 20% cut this year and social distancing will be followed, Macy’s added.

Last year, much of the parade was pre-taped due to the pandemic. There were no high school band performances and limited spectators on the street.

The marching band and other specialty group performances that were initially set to perform last year will get to participate in this Thanksgiving’s parade, Macy’s said.

Sep 08, 10:40 am
Supreme Court to resume in-person oral arguments

The Supreme Court will resume in-person oral arguments on Oct. 4 for the first time since the pandemic began.

All arguments will be in person from Oct. 4 through the rest of the year. The courtroom will only have staff, counsel of cases on the docket and hard-pass court reporters there in person, with the court staying closed to the general public.

The court says it will continue to offer a real-time live audio feed of arguments.

-ABC News’ Devin Dwyer

Sep 08, 10:03 am
Only 20% of people in low, lower-middle-income countries have had 1st vaccine dose

Just 20% of people in low and lower-middle-income countries have received their first vaccine dose, compared to 80% of people in high and upper-middle income countries, according to the World Health Organization and COVAX, the initiative aiming to provide equitable vaccine access across the world.

“The global picture of access to COVID-19 vaccines is unacceptable,” COVAX said, adding that its ability to reach lower income countries is “hampered by export bans, the prioritisation of bilateral deals by manufacturers and countries, ongoing challenges in scaling up production by some key producers, and delays in filing for regulatory approval.”

COVAX said it expects to have access to 1.425 billion doses of vaccine this year, with about 1.2 billion available for lower income economies participating in COVAX’s Advance Market Commitment.

“This is enough to protect 20% of the population, or 40% of all adults, in all 92 AMC economies with the exception of India. Over 200 million doses will be allocated to self-financing participants,” COVAX said. “The key COVAX milestone of two billion doses released for delivery is now expected to be reached in the first quarter of 2022.”

Sep 08, 6:02 am
US surpasses 40 million cases and 650,000 deaths

The United States has recorded more than 40 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 650,000 deaths from the disease since the start of the pandemic, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. surpassed the grim milestones on Tuesday, as the highly contagious delta variant continued to spread across the nation. The U.S. has reported more COVID-19 cases and deaths than any other country in the world.

Sep 07, 9:56 pm
Pediatric cases reach highest point of pandemic

The U.S. reported 251,781 COVID-19 cases among kids during the week ending Sept. 2 — the highest week of pediatric cases since the pandemic began, according to the weekly report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

After declining in the early summer, new cases among kids are rising “exponentially,” the organizations wrote, with the weekly figure now standing nearly 300 times higher than it was in June, when just 8,400 pediatric cases were reported over the span of one week.

Last week children represented 26.8% of all reported COVID-19 cases. Regionally, the South had the highest number pediatric cases, accounting for approximately 140,000 of last week’s cases.

The rate of pediatric hospital admissions per 100,000 people is also at one of its highest points of the pandemic, up by 600% since the 4th of July, according to federal data.

Severe illness due to COVID-19 remains “uncommon” among children, the two organizations wrote in the report. According to the nearly two dozen states which reported pediatric hospitalizations, 0.1%-1.9% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization. ​Similarly, in states which reported virus-related deaths by age, 0.00%-0.03% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death.

However, the AAP and CHA warned that there is an urgent need to collect more data on the long-term consequences of the pandemic on children, “including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects.”

About 37.7% of children ages 12 to 15 and 46.4% of adolescents ages 16 to 17 have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Sep 07, 9:50 pm
About 1 in every 500 Americans has died from COVID

The country’s daily death average continues to surge, now standing at more than 1,100 deaths reported a day. This marks the nation’s highest average in nearly six months.

On Tuesday, the death toll crossed 650,000 Americans lost to the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, meaning that 1 in every 504 Americans has died from the virus.

The U.S. COVID death toll is now more than 218 times higher than the number of lives lost during the U.S. attacks on Sept. 11. It is also rapidly approaching the total number of American deaths that were recorded during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Prior to the Labor Day holiday, the U.S. daily case average stood around 150,000 cases a day. About a year ago, around Labor Day, the country was averaging about 38,000 new cases a day.

Sep 07, 6:36 pm
Tucson pauses vaccine mandate for city employees following AG legal threat

Tucson, Arizona, officials announced a pause on the city’s policy to require its public employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine after Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich called it illegal and threatened to cut funding if the city went through with the plan.

Tuscon City Manager Michael Ortega said in a statement the city council is evaluating the mandate’s legal position.

“Until we have a better understanding of our legal position in relation to today’s report, I have instructed staff to pause on the implementation of the policy,” he said.

Brnovich said Tuscon’s rule violated Gov. Doug Ducey’s July executive order that banned any state or local office from requiring their staff get a vaccine against the coronavirus or any vaccine that has only received an emergency order.

“COVID-19 vaccinations should be a choice, not a government mandate,” he said in a statement.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said in a statement that the attorney general was “prioritizing his political ambitions over his responsibility to objectively interpret the law.”

As of Tuesday, over 606,000 residents in Pima County, Arizona, the county that includes Tucson, have had one COVID-19 shot, according to the Pima County Health Department. That represents roughly 56.7% of the county’s 1.07 million population, according to the U.S. Census numbers.

The county has recorded more than 4,000 new cases since Aug. 5, according to health department data.

Sep 07, 5:57 pm
Idaho hospital officials plead with public to get vaccinated as they run out of beds

Idaho hospital officials are pleading for the public to get vaccinated and take COVID-19 warnings seriously after the state declared a crisis in its standards of care.

Kootenai Health, a northern Idaho hospital, currently has 113 patients with COVID-19, an increase from the 90 patients they had last week, officials said. Administrators had to set up 22 beds in a conference room to deal with the influx of patients.

Dr. Robert Scoggins the chief of staff at Kootenai Health, said the hospital was not built for a pandemic this size. Currently, 39 patients are in the intensive care units and 19 are on ventilators, all on high levels of oxygen, he said.

The hospital said it could see as many as 140 patients in the coming weeks.

“The message that I’d like to send out to people is that we’re near the limit that we can handle in this facility,” Scoggins said in a news conference. “We’ve done a lot of things to expand our care to take care of more patients, but it keeps growing. If we had everyone in the community vaccinated, we would not be in this position.”

-ABC News’ Flor Tolentino and Nicholas Kerr

Sep 07, 4:00 pm
Louisiana hospital reports significant decline in number of patients

In hard-hit Louisiana, the Ochsner Health System is seeing a significant decline in COVID-19 patients, now down to 530 — dropping by nearly 250 patients in the last week, hospital CEO and president Warner Thomas said.

But in the wake of deadly Hurricane Ida, releasing patients from hospitals has been difficult, as some patients have no homes to return to, he said.

Sep 07, 3:30 pm
Oregon hospitals ‘scrambling’ with cases, hospitalizations ‘hovering at or near pandemic highs’

Hospitals in Oregon are “scrambling” to stay afloat with cases and hospitalizations “hovering at or near pandemic highs,” the state epidemiologist, Dean Sidelinger, said at COVID-19 briefing Tuesday.

Oregon saw 16,252 new cases in its most recent weekly report – which is 13 times higher than the reported cases for the week ending July 4, Sidelinger said.

Hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions are “alarmingly high” and hospitals are at a “saturation point” where they aren’t “able to provide care to everyone arriving at their door,” Sidelinger warned.

Sep 07, 3:08 pm
Former NBA player on 10th day in ICU

Former Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers player Cedric Ceballos, 52, tweeted that he’s on his 10th day in the ICU battling COVID-19.

On my 10th day in ICU, COVID-19 is officially kicking my but, I am asking ALL family, friends , prayer warriors healers for your prayers and well wish for my recovery.
If I have done and anything to you in the past , allow me to publicly apologize.
My fight is not done…..
Thx pic.twitter.com/r9QZBpfmEI

— Cedric Ceballos (@cedceballos) September 7, 2021

Sep 07, 2:03 pm
Military medical personnel head to Idaho, Arkansas, Alabama

About 60 military medical personnel are heading in three, 20-person teams to Arkansas, Alabama and Idaho to help treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients following a request from FEMA, the U.S. Army North said.

The personnel, including doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists, were sent to hospitals in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Ozark, Alabama; and Little Rock, Arkansas.

Six teams had previously been dispatched to six other hospitals: three in Louisiana, two in Mississippi and one in Dothan, Alabama.

Sep 07, 1:43 pm
Crisis Standards of Care enacted as ‘last resort’ at 10 Idaho hospital systems

A Crisis Standards of Care plan has been enacted at 10 hospital systems in Idaho, which is only done as a “last resort,” Dave Jeppesen, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said in a statement Tuesday.

The hospitals were chosen due to their “severe” shortages in beds and staffing as a result of a “massive increase” in COVID-19 hospitalizations, state officials said.

Crisis Standards of Care “means we have exhausted our resources to the point that our healthcare systems are unable to provide the treatment and care we expect,” Jeppesen said. “This is a decision I was fervently hoping to avoid.”

“When crisis standards of care are in effect, people who need medical care may experience care that is different from what they expect,” state officials said. “For example, patients admitted to the hospital may find that hospital beds are not available or are in repurposed rooms (such as a conference room) or that needed equipment is not available.”

Sep 07, 12:37 pm
75% of American adults have had at least 1 vaccine dose

Seventy-five percent of U.S. adults have now had at least one vaccine dose, Cyrus Shahpar, the White House’s COVID-19 data director, tweeted Tuesday.

Sunday-Tuesday just in: +1.51M doses reported administered over Saturday’s total, including 681K newly vaccinated and 105K additional doses. As usual, lower reporting over the holiday weekend. Just hit 75% of adults with at least one dose!

— Cyrus Shahpar (@cyrusshahpar46) September 7, 2021

Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

Sep 07, 10:36 am

Biden to layout administration’s strategy to combat delta

President Joe Biden on Thursday will deliver remarks on his plan to stop the spread of the delta variant and to boost vaccinations, the White House confirmed Tuesday.

Biden “will lay out a six-pronged strategy … working across the public and private sectors,” a White House official said.

On Friday, while addressing August’s disappointing jobs report, Biden said, “there’s no question the delta variant is why today’s jobs report isn’t stronger. … Next week, I’ll lay out the next steps that are going to — we’re going to need to combat the delta variant, to address some of those fears and concerns.”

Part of the strategy Biden referenced Friday is to ask states and local governments to consider using federal funding to extend unemployment benefits in hard-hit areas.

“I want to talk about how we’ll further protect our schools, our businesses, our economy, and our families from the threat of delta,” Biden said Friday. “As we continue to fight the delta variant, the American Rescue Plan we passed continues to support families, businesses and communities. Even as some of the benefits that were provided are set to expire next week, states have the option to extend those benefits and the federal resources from the Rescue Plan to do so.”

Sep 07, 7:05 am
3rd person dies in Japan after receiving contaminated Moderna vaccine

A third person has died in Japan after receiving a dose from one of three batches of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine that have since been recalled due to contamination, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The 49-year-old man died on Aug. 12, one day after getting his second shot of the two-dose vaccine. His only known health issue was an allergy to buckwheat, the Japanese health ministry said in a statement Monday.

Two other men, aged 30 and 38, also died in August within days of getting their second Moderna shot. In all three cases, the men received doses from a batch manufactured in the same production line as another lot from which some unused vials were reported to contain foreign substances at multiple inoculation sites in Japan.

The deaths remain under investigation, and the Japanese health ministry said it has yet to establish any casual relationship with the vaccine.

The contaminated lot and two adjacent batches were suspended from use by the Japanese health ministry last month, pending an investigation. Moderna and its Japanese distribution partner Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. ultimately recalled the three lots, containing about 1.63 million doses, after an investigation confirmed the foreign matter to be high-grade stainless steel from manufacturing equipment.

The Japanese health ministry said that, based on the companies’ analysis, it is unlikely the stainless steel contaminants pose any additional health risk.

Moderna and Takeda have yet to release statements on the third fatality, but the companies have previously said there is currently no evidence that the other two deaths were caused by the vaccine.

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