US coronavirus: As Covid-19 hospitalizations increase, more Americans decide to get vaccinated

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More than a million doses of the vaccine were administered in a day, new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Thursday, which has crossed the one million mark for the first time since early July. The average pace of those starting vaccination is over 70% higher than a month ago.

As a result of a growing awareness of the urgency to vaccinate the public, two states lagging behind the rest of the nation — Oklahoma and Louisiana — are surpassing the national average, said Asma Mirza, chief of staff for the White House Covid-19 Response Team.
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“We see a new willingness, a new openness to get vaccinated,” she said in a conversation with Louisiana faith leaders.

And because it takes weeks to gain immunity after full vaccination, even those starting their inoculation should remain cautious against infection.

dr. Robert Jansen, chief medical officer of one of Atlanta’s largest trauma centers, Grady Health System, said it saw a “tsunami of patients entering the emergency department.”

The situation in Texas is also critical.

“We are in a very difficult situation in Austin,” said Lauren Meyers, director of the University of Texas Covid-19 Modeling Consortium, noting that hospitals in the region are at a “breaking point.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the state will deploy additional medical personnel to assist hospitals across the state.

One state has no ICU beds available, while thousands more students are quarantined over Covid-19
The number of hospital admissions is still lower pandemic highlights witnessed in January, CDC data shows. But at the current rate — an average of more than 11,000 new hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the past week — the U.S. could hit an all-time high within a month, the CDC said.

Preventive vaccinations are the most effective way to fight Covid-19 infections, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is likely to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in late August, said former FDA Commissioner Dr. Mark McClellan Thursday. Current vaccines are licensed for emergency use.

“I think that approval, at least for the Pfizer vaccine, will come very soon — probably by the end of the month or around there,” McClellan said. Chris Cuomo of CNN.
Booster shots for those who have been vaccinated are expected made generally available by September 20 and approximately 75% of the eligible population will have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine at current vaccination rates, according to a CNN analysis of CDC data.

According to the CDC, approximately 51.1% of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated.

dr.  Michael Nguyen tends to a patient in a hallway at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital on August 18, 2021.

Vaccine requirements begin to take shape

With the efficacy of vaccines continuously proven to keep recipients out of hospitals, more nationwide jurisdictions are enacting measures requiring employees to be vaccinated, excluding medical or religious exemptions.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued an executive order Thursday that, according to a spokesman for about 42,000 executive department employees, will require them to provide proof of vaccination by mid-October or it will be possible to resign.

This California school district requires all eligible students to be vaccinated by mid-November
In New Orleans, all city and public servants must apply proof of vaccination or receive routine Covid-19 testing from Aug. 30, according to Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

The mayor’s office said the extra step has been taken “to protect residents, city employees and publicly contracted personnel from the Covid-19 outbreak, and more recently from the Delta variant outbreak in the parish of Orleans.”

In Oregon, all teachers, educators, staff and volunteers in schools — both public and private — must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by Oct. 18, or six weeks after full FDA approval, Governor Kate Brown announced at a news conference Thursday.

The chief physician at St. Charles Hospital, in Bend, Oregon, said hospitals are in crisis.

Medical assistant Lucy Cruz injects the vaccine into a patient's arm at the Lancaster Family Health Center in Salem, Oregon on August 19, 2021.

“Our frontline health workers who care for patients every day are exhausted,” said Dr. Jeff Absalon. “They’ve burned out. And we’re in a pandemic that many of us consider largely preventable.”

dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday that vaccination requirements in schools are a good strategy for creating a safe environment.

“One of the most important ways is to surround the kids with people who are vaccinated, if they’re eligible to be vaccinated — and that means teachers and school staff,” Fauci said.

‘This is no longer an adult disease’

With schools back in session, local officials also find themselves in a quarantine over whether or not to mandate the wearing of masks in classrooms, as well as the day-to-day challenges of quarantining students exposed to Covid-19.

Legal battles over mask mandates continued in Texas on Thursday, as the state Supreme Court rejected the Abbott administration’s request to act quickly on the decision of some local jurisdictions to require masks in schools.
Local mask mandates are tentatively allowed after Texas Supreme Court denies Governor Abbott's request to intervene

dr. Sara Cross, a member of the Covid-19 task force for the governor of Tennessee and an infectious disease specialist at the University of Tennessee, said a ban on mask mandates would have “catastrophic consequences” for those in classrooms.

“If a child doesn’t wear a mask, it doesn’t just affect that child. It affects the whole class. It affects teachers. We just had a teacher near Memphis, a 31-year-old woman, died of Covid in recent days by contracting it in the classroom,” Cross told CNN’s Ana Cabrera on Thursday.

“We can’t handle what we’re seeing. We estimate that the number of cases in Tennessee will increase sixfold by the end of September if we don’t take steps to reduce the spread,” Cross said.

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“This is not an adult disease anymore,” Cross said, saying the children’s hospital in downtown Memphis “currently has at least 9 children in the ICU from Covid-19.”

According to an analysis by CNN, at least 15 states have temporarily or indefinitely required K-12 students to wear masks in schools, with some exceptions: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey , New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.

Elizabeth Stuart, Maggie Fox, Deidre McPhillips, Virginia Langmaid, Lauren Mascarenhas, Madeline Holcombe, Rebekah Riess, Kay Jones, Brad Parks, Kristina Sgueglia, Jennifer Henderson, Andy Rose and Melissa Alonso of CNN contributed to this report.

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