The Delta variant of COVID-19 is not made with the USA
Almost all American infections are now attributed to the highly contagious variant. And as the winter months mean more people will gather indoors, the nation is trying to prepare for a possible winter hike that may already be underway in some regions.
In New Mexico, hospitals are running out of intensive care units despite the state’s high vaccination rate. In Michigan, the Detroit area of three counties is once again becoming a hot spot for transmissions. Cases are also on the rise in highly-vaccinated Vermont.
Decreased immunity may contribute to the increase in cases, as months have passed since millions of Americans were first vaccinated, and previous increases in the virus led to others gaining some protection against natural infectious immunity. The nation’s ongoing booster rollout is trying to ward off the effects of declining immunity.
“Delta and declining immunity – the combination of these two has set us back,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics at the University of Washington. “This virus is going to stay with us for a long, long time.”
No state has achieved a sufficiently high vaccination rate, even when combined with infection-induced immunity, to avoid the type of outbreak that is happening now, Mokdad said.
Also in the news:
► California, Colorado and New Mexico are the three states that now allow coronavirus booster shots for all adults, although federal health authorities recommend limiting doses to those considered most at risk. The nation’s most populous state introduced its policy to try to ward off a dreaded increase around the end of the year when more people gather inside.
►En Iowa High School was closed Friday due to staff shortages, a sign of how the pandemic is affecting an ongoing shortage of teachers. The absence was due to illness among the staff and their families and also employees who could not find childcare.
► Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed into law an expansive legislative package that strictly limits the schools of government, health agencies and companies have over COVID-19 restrictions on Friday.
► On Friday, the government ordered nursing homes to open their doors wide to visitors and ease many remaining pandemic restrictions, while urging residents, families and facility staff to be vigilant against outbreaks.
📈Today’s figures: The United States has recorded nearly 47 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 762,500 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Nearly 252.7 million cases and 5 million deaths. More than 194.7 million Americans – 58.7% of the population – are fully vaccinated, According to the CDC.
📘 What we read: As children are vaccinated, parents look forward to the freedoms their children can enjoy after bravely facing their jab. But the issue of masking – especially in schools – still remains. Read the full story.
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Lawmakers are urging Biden to require vaccination or negative tests for holiday travel
With the holiday travel season rapidly approaching, there are three dozen legislators pressures the federal government to require proof of full vaccination or a negative coronavirus test to board domestic flights.
Lawmakers said the additional travel restrictions would “ensure Americans can travel safely to see their loved ones during the holidays, while also restricting household introduction and the spread of COVID-19 from visiting family and friends.” according to a letter sent to President Joe Biden.
The push for more mandates comes less than a week after the United States updated its entry requirements for international flights. As of Monday, most are foreign nationals must be fully vaccinated and all travelers 2 years of age and older who have not recently recovered from COVID-19 – including US citizens – must show a negative coronavirus test to participate.
– Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY
Missouri to allow nursing homes to close if staff shortages due to vaccine mandate
Missouri Health Department provides nursing homes with a legal way to temporarily shut down if they face staff shortages due to a new mandate from President Joe Biden’s administration to health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
An emergency rule published Friday by the state Department of Health and Senior Services would allow qualified nursing and intermediate care facilities to close for up to two years if they are briefly staffed due to the vaccine requirement. They could then reopen without having to start the licensing process from scratch.
Missouri’s nursing homes have some of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates nationwide, and the state’s top Republican nominee has pushed back against Biden’s vaccine requirements. State Attorney Eric Schmitt sued this week as part of a coalition of 10 states seeking to block the vaccine mandate.
New Oklahoma National Guard chief exceeds DOD vaccine requirement
In one of his first acts as head of the Oklahoma National Guard, the new Adjutant General Thomas Mancino updated the guard’s COVID-19 vaccine policy.
In a memo issued Thursday, Mancino ordered that no members of the Oklahoma National Guard take a COVID-19 vaccine.
The memo obtained by The Oklahoman, part of the U.S. TODAY Network, also notes that “no negative administrative or legal action will be taken” against guard members who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine.
In August, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said all military members should start getting COVID-19 vaccines immediately.
– Carmen Forman, The Oklahoman
Starring: Associated Press