It is a sobering toll as hospitals in the United States struggle to keep up with the number of patients and more children struggle with the virus. Hoping to control the spread and prevent more unnecessary deaths, officials are implementing mandates for workplace vaccinations and masking in schools.
But with only 54% of the population fully vaccinated, the number of people starting vaccinations every day has dropped over the last month.
Another layer of strong protection, experts say, is masking.
The CDC recommends people – including those who are fully vaccinated – wearing masks indoors in areas with significant or high community transmission. More than 99% of the population lives in a county with one of these designations.
In Ohio, where children’s hospitals are overwhelmed by Covid-19 and respiratory cases, Gov. Mike DeWine is urging schools to issue mask mandates since state lawmakers told him it would overturn any mandate he issued.
“Reasonable people may disagree a lot, but we can all agree that we should keep our children in the classroom so they do not fall behind and so that their parents can go to work and not take time off to see their children at home. “DeWine said.
The combination of masks and vaccinations is the way to keep children in school, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to CNN Tuesday.
“If you surround the kids with vaccinated people and you have everyone wearing a mask, you could get a situation where the kids will be relatively safe in school,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Fight brewing for vaccine mandates
In an effort to deal with the spread of the virus, many officials and experts have promoted vaccination mandates – but others oppose such measures.
Because the mandate does not require healthcare professionals to receive their first dose of the vaccine before Sept. 27, the judge’s executive order states that the temporary injunction “practically does not take effect before that date.”
A hearing is scheduled for September 28.
Following the ruling, New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s Press Secretary Hazel Crampton-Hays said in a statement that the governor is considering all legal options.
“Governor Hochul is doing everything she can to protect New Yorkers and fight the Delta variant by raising vaccine prices across the state,” Crampton-Hays said.
In Los Angeles, despite a mandate that all city employees must be vaccinated against the virus, nearly a quarter of the police force is seeking an exception, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office. Those who have not been vaccinated must show proof of weekly testing and a negative COVID result if they report for work regularly.
On November 1, Nevada workers serving “vulnerable populations” must show proof of vaccination under a new emergency ordinance passed Tuesday.
New employees must receive at least one dose before the start date and must follow the necessary vaccination plan to remain employed. Workers are allowed to request a medical or religious exemption.
Booster meeting will not be a slam dunk
Unlike other meetings to discuss the vaccine, this one, with requests from Pfizer to approve a third dose for most people, will not be a slam dunk.
“This will be a lot more messy than in December,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a specialist in infectious disease at Vanderbilt University. The FDA committee was quick to recommend approval of vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and rival Moderna last December.
When the FDA’s advisory committee on vaccines and related biological products meets on Friday, it will be presented with dueling data, some of which suggest that boosters are needed, but other data that suggest there is no such need.
Three separate articles published last week in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report suggest we do not need boosters.
On the other hand, an Israeli study found that over time, the power of vaccines to prevent people from becoming very ill with Covid-19 decreased. The study looked at diseases in the second half of July that those who had received their second dose of Pfizer’s vaccine in March were 70% more protected against serious illness than those who received the second shot in January.
President Joe Biden last month announced plans to begin administering booster doses next week. Although she would not say directly whether this date would be adhered to, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday that she hopes the timeline for getting doses administered.
If the booster is approved, experts will still have to wait and see how much protection is added by the third dose.
“I would hope it would sustain us for a longer period of time, but I do not know that right now,” Fauci said. “We just have to increase the boost and then follow people long enough to determine what the durability of this protection is.”
CNN’s Ben Tinker and Deidre McPhillips, Liam Reilly, Kay Jones, Lauren Mascarenhas, Artemis Moshtaghian, Jenn Selva, Andy Rose, Elizabeth Cohen and Virginia Langmaid contributed to this report.