The latest AP stories on COVID-19 outbreak in the United States
- United States
Colorado Governor Jared Polis is urging the Food and Drug Administration to quickly authorize booster shots for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine as well as permit children ages 5 to 11 to be vaccinated.
Polis said Monday that foot-dragging by US health officials has cost lives. In his words, "The FDA needs to get out of their ivory tower and realize there is a real-life pandemic." In August, Pfizer said it had started the application process for the third dose of its vaccine for everyone age 16 and older. It asserts that people's antibody levels jump fivefold to tenfold after a third dose, compared to their second dose months earlier.
The White House has begun planning for boosters later this month if both the FDA and the CDC agree. Advisers to the FDA will weigh evidence about an extra Pfizer shot Friday. The US already offers an extra dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to people with severely weakened immune systems.
-------- Cullman: As hundreds of mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 patients filled Alabama intensive care units, hospital staff in north Alabama contacted 43 hospitals in three states to find a specialty cardiac ICU bed for Ray Martin Demonia, his family writes in his obituary.
The resident of Cullman, Alabama, was finally transferred to Meridian, Mississippi, about 170 miles (274 km) away. The 73-year-old antique dealer died on September 1 because of the cardiac event he suffered.
Now, his family is making a plea.
"In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, to free up resources for non-COVID-related emergencies," his obituary reads. After describing the search for an ICU bed for Demonia, the obituary adds: "He would not want any other family to go through what he did." -------- Great Falls: Great Falls High School in Montana is moving to remote learning for the rest of the week due to an increase in coronavirus cases among students and staff.
School officials said Monday that more than 35 people have tested positive for the virus. Moving to remote learning will allow for quarantine or isolation times for students and staff to lapse and give sanitation crews time to disinfect more than 40 classrooms.
Student athletic activities will continue as scheduled, but there will be a mask requirement when students and coaches are nearby.
Other school districts have switched to remote classes because of outbreaks.
-------- Charleston: The number of coronavirus infections and people hospitalized for COVID-19 in West Virginia has set new highs as Governor Jim Justice scolds residents who continue to balk at getting vaccinated.
At least 40% of the state's people older than 12 have not received all doses.
The governor said Monday that "this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated." He has balked at issuing either vaccination or mask mandate.
Officials said Monday that confirmed virus cases statewide totaled about 8,860 last week, breaking the previous weekly high of about 8,200 set in early January. A record 852 people were in hospitals Monday for COVID-19, the disease that can be caused by the virus. The previous high of 818 was set for January 5.
-------- Olympia: Washington state troopers, prison correctional officers, ferry workers, and other public sector employees have filed a lawsuit to try to overturn Governor Jay Inslee's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The Northwest News Network reports the lawsuit filed by more than 90 workers on Friday in Walla Walla County says the mandate is unlawful and unconstitutional. The lawsuit says the penalty of being fired for not getting the vaccine is "arbitrary and capricious," especially for employees who can work from home or have natural immunity from having previously contracted COVID-19. An Inslee spokesperson, Mike Faulk, said the office had not yet reviewed the lawsuit.
Inslee issued his vaccine mandate last month. It requires most state employees, on-site contractors, and volunteers, as well as private health care and long-term care workers, to be fully vaccinated by October 18. Inslee later expanded the mandate to include workers in educational settings from preschool through higher education.
While Inslee did not offer a testing alternative in place of the vaccine, workers subject to the mandate can apply for religious or medical exemptions.
-------- New York: Classroom doors are swinging open for about a million New York City public school students in the nation's largest experiment of in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic.
The start of the school year Monday coincides with several other milestones in the city's pandemic recovery that hinge on vaccine mandates.
Nearly all of the city's 300,000 employees will be required to be back in their workplaces as the city ends remote work. Most will either need to be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
The city was also set to start enforcing rules requiring workers and patrons to be vaccinated to go indoors at restaurants, museums, and entertainment venues.
-------- Bangor: Maine is starting the week with more than a dozen outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools, and many schools are testing to mitigate the risk. As of Friday, 384 of Maine's 720 public and private schools had signed up with Concentric, a branch of Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks, for pool testing of students. The Bangor Daily News reports that the program calls for student tests to be pooled and sent to a lab in Massachusetts. If there's a positive test for a school, then individual students will be tested.
The school outbreaks come amid a surge in infections tied to the delta variant, which is spreading in Maine.
-------- Orlando: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has threatened local governments with $5,000 fines per violation for requiring their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that has overrun hospitals across the state. DeSantis said Monday that local municipalities potentially face millions of dollars in fines for implementing a requirement that their employees get a COVID-19 vaccine. Gainesville and Orange County officials say they still are going ahead with the vaccine requirements. Florida has been a national epicenter for the virus this summer, with COVID-19 deaths in Florida accounting for more than 20% of the virus-related deaths across the country last week.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)