COVID-19 live updates: More than 180,000 new cases reported among kids last week

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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 628,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.4 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 60.2% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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

Aug 23, 4:40 pm
Honolulu suspending large gatherings due to dramatic uptick in cases

All large gatherings in Honolulu will be suspended due to a dramatic uptick in cases, Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced Monday.

Health care workers are “pushed beyond their limits,” the mayor said.

The ban begins Aug. 25 and will last for four weeks.

Aug 23, 3:39 pm
5 Southern states have ICUs over 90% full

Five states have intensive care units over 90% full: Alabama (100%), Florida (92.82%), Georgia (92.95%), Mississippi (93.81%) and Texas (91.27%), according to federal data.

The South also leads the country with the highest case rates. Louisiana and Mississippi have the highest case rates, followed by Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas and South Carolina, according to federal data.

More than 95.6% of counties are either reporting high (89.32%) or substantial (6.24%) community transmission, federal data shows. Just 4.41% of counties are reporting moderate or low transmission.

Aug 23, 2:10 pm

FDA grants full approval for Pfizer vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, becoming the first COVID-19 vaccine to transition from an emergency authorization status to full FDA approval.

The full approval indicates that Pfizer has shown enough effectiveness and safety data to meet the stringent Biologics License Application requirements, which includes at least six months of safety data from a majority of the volunteers in a large, final stage clinical trial.

Pfizer’s full approval will pave the way for further vaccine mandates in both the public and private sector. Some businesses and state leaders have held off thus far, signaling they’d wait for full approval before imposing tighter requirements.

Federal, state and local health officials have also expressed optimism that full approval will help dissolve some of the lingering hesitancy around taking a shot that until now has been only authorized for emergency use.

Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock called Monday’s announcement a “pivotal moment” made possible by a “rigorous and thorough review” done in record time.

“Working around the clock, FDA staff were able to complete the evaluation of this biologics license application in just over three months,” she said. “This is an unprecedented timeline given the volume of review and the meticulous manner in which it was done, but we want to underscore that our efforts to move as quickly as possible have in no way sacrifice scientific standards for the integrity of our process.”

President Joe Biden said Monday, “If you’re one of the millions of Americans who’ve said that they will not get the shot until it has full and final approval of the FDA — it has now happened.

Aug 23, 2:07 pm
More than 180,000 new cases reported among kids last week

More than 180,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported among kids last week, reaching levels of the previous winter surge of 2020-2021, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

More than 4.59 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. Last week, children represented 22.4% of all reported cases.

Severe illness due to COVID-19 remains “uncommon” among children, the two organizations wrote in the report. In nearly two dozen states, 0.2%-1.9% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization.

AAP and CHA, however, 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.”

Aug 23, 11:12 am
Pentagon preparing to make Pfizer vaccine mandatory

The Pentagon will move forward with making the Pfizer vaccine mandatory now that it has been fully approved by the FDA, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Monday.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Aug. 9 that he would seek authorization to mandate the vaccine for the military unless the FDA approved it before Sept. 15.

“Now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved, the department is prepared to issue updated guidance, requiring all service members to be vaccinated,” Kirby said at a briefing. “A timeline for vaccination completion will be provided in the coming days.”

Aug 23, 10:50 am
NYC school staff must get vaccine

All of New York City’s nearly 150,000 public school employees must receive at least one vaccine dose by Sept. 27, Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce Monday. The new vaccination policy will not allow weekly testing as an option.

At least 63% of New York City’s Department of Education employees are already vaccinated, Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter said.

The previous requirement allowed for weekly testing of the unvaccinated, with unpaid suspensions for workers who didn’t comply.

New York City’s school year starts on Sept. 13.

Aug 23, 9:46 am
FDA grants full approval for Pfizer vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, becoming the first COVID-19 vaccine to transition from an emergency authorization status to full FDA approval.

The full approval indicates that Pfizer has shown enough effectiveness and safety data to meet the stringent Biologics License Application requirements, which includes at least six months of safety data from a majority of the volunteers in a large, final stage clinical trial.

Pfizer’s full approval will pave the way for further vaccine mandates in both the public and private sector. Some businesses and state leaders have held off thus far, signaling they’d wait for full approval before imposing tighter requirements.

Federal, state and local health officials have also expressed optimism that full approval will help dissolve some of the lingering hesitancy around taking a shot that until now has been only authorized for emergency use.

Aug 23, 7:48 am
Rev. Jesse Jackson ‘responding’ to COVID treatment

Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, who is in the hospital with COVID-19, is responding positively to treatment, his son told ABC Chicago station WLS.

The 79-year-old, who has Parkinson’s disease, was vaccinated for COVID-19 in January, WLS reported.

His wife, Jacqueline, 77, is also in the hospital with COVID-19 and is resting comfortably, their son, Jonathan Jackson, said.

“She is having some oxygen but is able to function and breathe on her own without a respirator,” he told WLS.

Aug 23, 4:43 am
Over 880,000 Moderna vaccine doses donated by US arrive in Kenya

More than 880,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated by the United States arrived in Kenya on Monday morning.

The 880,460 doses were given to the East African nation by the U.S. government via the global vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, according to a press release from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), which is leading vaccine procurement and delivery efforts on behalf of COVAX. It is the first of two shipments, totaling 1.76 million donate doses.

The donation marks the first time that Kenya has received the Moderna vaccine, widening the portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines available for the country’s ongoing rollout of its national immunization campaign. All Kenyans over the age of 18 are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Kenya aims to vaccinate 10 million of its 53 million people by the end of the year.

So far, Kenya has reported more than 229,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including at least 4,497 deaths, according to the latest data from the Kenyan Ministry of Health.

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