More than a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, most Americans believe the coronavirus remains a major threat to public health and the U.S. economy, according to a Pew Research Center report released Wednesday.
Despite widespread vaccination efforts, 54% of U.S. adults say the worst of the outbreak is still to come. The report, based on a survey of 10,348 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 23-29, 2021, found 73% of those ages 18 and older say they’ve received at least one dose of a vaccine for COVID-19.
About a quarter of adults say they have not received a vaccine. Some of the lowest vaccination rates are seen among those with no health insurance and white evangelical Protestants (57% each) as well as among Republicans and Republican leaners (60%).
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Black adults are now about as likely as white adults to say they’ve received a vaccine (70% and 72%, respectively). Earlier in the outbreak, African Americans were less likely to say they planned to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Also in the news:
►Figures on COVID-19 deaths in Florida’s counties quietly rematerialized this week on a federal website tracking the pandemic, more than three months after state officials stopped publicly reporting the information. The new data appeared one week after a USA TODAY Network-Florida report on the lack of accessible county death data.
►Maine Senate President Troy Jackson and Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli have tested positive, despite being vaccinated. Jackson said he had no symptoms; Vitelli said hers were mild.
►Donald Kauerauf, Missouri’s new health czar, said it was crucial to retool the state’s vaccine message with a goal of getting 80% of the state’s residents jabbed. About 52.8% have gotten at least one dose, state data shows.
►A Minnesota judge has rejected a request by concerned parents to force a statewide mask mandate in all schools. Ramsey County District Judge Thomas Gilligan said the court was “gravely concerned” about the virus but said the court lacked the legal authority to order Gov. Tim Walz to issue the directive.
►”Saturday Night Live” alum Jim Breuer says on his Facebook page that he won’t perform at venues requiring proof of vaccination. Breuer says he wouldn’t attend two scheduled standup shows “due to the segregation of them forcing people to show up with vaccinations, to prove you’re vaccinated.”
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 41.4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 665,800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 226.1 million cases and 4.65 million deaths. Nearly 179 million Americans — 54% of the population — have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
© Damian Dovarganes, AP Images
Patrons enjoy tropical cocktails in the tiny interior of the Tiki-Ti bar as it reopens on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Public health officials in Los Angeles County will begin requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for patrons and workers at indoor bars, wineries, breweries and nightclubs in October.
📘What we’re reading: A week ago, President Joe Biden signed a measure requiring employees of businesses with 100 or more workers be either vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing if they aren’t working from home. It’s been called a vaccine mandate but experts say it can just as easily be thought of as a testing mandate.
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Los Angeles County to require vaccine proof for indoor bars, breweries
Public health officials in Los Angeles County will begin requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for patrons and workers at indoor bars, wineries, breweries and nightclubs next month.
The new initiative in the nation’s most populous county begins Oct. 7, with proof of at least one vaccine dose required. By Nov. 4, proof of full vaccination will be mandatory, according to the county’s Department of Public Health. Health officials strongly recommend the same precautions for indoor restaurants but have not chosen to mandate proof of vaccination for them.
The new restrictions come ahead of the holiday season, which brought a massive surge to Los Angeles last year. More than 25,000 people have died of the virus countywide and the toll continues to climb amid the more-contagious delta variant.
“This is a reasonable path forward that will position us to be better able to break the cycle of surges,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, told the Board of Supervisors during a Wednesday meeting.
FDA shares first analysis of Pfizer booster shot application
Two days before a CDC advisory committee is expected to meet to discuss the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 booster shots, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shared its first analysis of Pfizer’s application for booster shot authorization.
Officials reviewed the company’s data on more than 300 adults who received a booster dose six months after initial vaccination and found they had an increased immune response. At the same time, officials said the “data indicate that currently US-licensed or authorized COVID-19 vaccines still afford protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death in the United States.”
The report comes after an expert review by international scientists found vaccines remain highly effective against severe disease, including from the delta variant and other main variants. The review, published Monday, questioned the value and ethics of providing third “booster” shots to healthy Americans while many countries are unable to secure sufficient vaccine for first and second jabs.
Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke with MSNBC on Tuesday and argued booster shots are a crucial part of the effort to halt the coronavirus surge because immunity is waning across all age groups. He said the government is working to provide vaccine for the U.S. and the world and reprised his call for all Americans to get jabbed, even if young and healthy.
US makes COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for new immigrants
Beginning Oct. 1, immigrants to the U.S. must be vaccinated against COVID-19, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Tuesday.
The agency said it “may grant blanket waivers” if the vaccine is not age-appropriate, not suggested due to a medical condition, not routinely available or limited in supply.
The Immigration and Nationality Act already requires a handful of vaccinations for immigration purposes – such as for polio and mumps, measles and rubella – and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires several more.
US to spend $470M to learn more about long COVID-19
The U.S. government will spend $470 million to learn more about long COVID-19, its causes and potential treatments.
The National Institutes of Health announced the plans Wednesday with a grant awarded to New York University and a goal of enrolling up to 40,000 adults and children nationwide. The effort, dubbed RECOVER, will involve researchers at more than 30 U.S. institutions.
“This is being taken with the greatest seriousness… at a scale that has not really been attempted with something like this,” Dr. Francis Collins, NIH director, said at a briefing Wednesday. It is estimated 10% to 30% of people infected with COVID-19 may develop persistent, new or recurring symptoms that can last months or perhaps years, Collins said.
Nearly 3M Americans sign up during Affordable Care Act special enrollment
Some 2.8 million Americans signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act during a special enrollment period that President Joe Biden enacted to help people find coverage during the coronavirus pandemic.
Just days after taking office, Biden signed an executive order to reopen insurance enrollment on HealthCare.gov, giving a new coverage opportunity to Americans who lost their jobs and employer-based insurance during the pandemic. The initial special enrollment period ran from Feb. 15 through May 15, but Biden later extended it through Aug. 15.
The new enrollments mean 2.8 million families “will have more security, more breathing room, and more money in their pocket if an illness or accident hits home,” Biden said. Altogether, 12.2 million Americans are actively enrolled in coverage under the Affordable Care Act – an all-time high, Biden said.
– Michael Collins
More than 5K Chicago students in COVID-19 quarantine
By the end of the second week of school in the nation’s third-largest school district, Chicago Public Schools had directed more than 5,600 students and nearly 100 staff members to quarantine, according to district data provided by the Chicago Teachers Union.
Meanwhile, Chicago Public Schools data posted online suggests nearly 3,000 students were close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases since the first day of classes Aug. 30. A district spokesperson did not respond to USA TODAY inquiries about the discrepancy.
The district has more than 340,000 students.
– Grace Hauck
Survey: August COVID hospital bills of $3.7B were double June, July combined
A surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations among people who have not been vaccinated is adding billions of dollars in preventable costs to the nation’s health-care system, a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) analysis found.
In August, the new analysis estimates that the preventable costs of treating unvaccinated patients in hospitals total $3.7 billion, almost twice the estimates for June and July combined. The total preventable costs for those three months now stand at an estimated $5.7 billion.
Clinics specialize in post-infection COVID issues
Clinics are opening across the nation specifically to treat patients with post-infection COVID-19 illness.
Just like the virus, these new clinics are far from uniform. Some focus on one or a handful of symptoms, such as smell and taste, headaches or heart problems. Others seek to address a range of complaints. Some formed specifically to treat long-haul COVID-19. Doctors find themselves engaging in trial and error to figure out what works.
Dr. Zijian Chen, an endocrinologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai, said he’s concerned that clinics will treat those who show up at their doors rather than all those who need help.
“We don’t want to preferentially treat those who seek help,” he said. “We want to reach out to those who may not even know the help is out there.” Read more here.
– Stephanie Innes and Shari Rudavsky
Contributing: The Associated Press
Clemson University students study in the outdoor amphitheater during the first day of in-person classes for the fall semester in Clemson, S.C. Monday, September 21, 2020. Clemson University students walk up stairs outside the new College of Business facility, during the first day of in-person classes for the fall semester in Clemson, S.C. Monday, September 21, 2020. People wait in line to enter Cool Beans on The Strip on Cumberland Avenue at 11:15 p.m. Saturday in Knoxville, Tennessee on Sept. 12, 2020. The University of Tennessee is asking students to follow COVID-19 safety measures, and Knox County bars are under order to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. Ryan Coffey, right, a senior at Clemson University watches others visit downtown Clemson, S.C. Saturday, September 12, 2020. Freshmen Lauren Tamborini and Bailey Donahue move out of Sellery Residence Hall Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020 at UW-Madison in Madison, Wis. The students plan on attending class online. Citing rapidly rising COVID-19 cases including two straight days in which one in five student tests came back positive, University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank locked down the state’s largest university campus for two weeks. University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh marches at UM stadium along with Jennifer ‘Peach’ Pagano, the mom of the University of Michigan team captain Carlo Kemp and other player parents, players and coaches over no college football on the day that was supposed to be the first game. Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo walks with his team of the field before an NCAA college football game against the BYU, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in Annapolis, Md. Life sciences professor Dr. Christy Strong teaches an in-person Phage Discovery Laboratory course at UNLV amid the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on September 1, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Strong has two other classes of 50 and 250 students that she teaches remotely. To lower the number of people on campus to allow for social distancing because of the pandemic, the university moved fall 2020 courses with more than 50 students, about 80 percent of its classes, to remote instruction, with 20 percent of courses held in-person or hybrid. UNLV is only using large classrooms with spaced out seating and under 50 percent capacity for in-person classes, which are now staggered to reduce density on the campus. Partiers congregate on the balcony of a downtown apartment on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, in Columbia, Mo., near the University of Missouri campus. Many colleges quickly scrapped in-person learning in favor of online after cases began to spike, bars have been shut down in college towns, and students, fraternities and sororities have been repeatedly disciplined for parties and large gatherings. Offensive coordinator Harry Bailey takes freshmen guard Traviontae Ali’s temperature before work out at Adrian College in Adrian on Aug. 14, 2020. A group of football players walk down to the Kapnick Field for their workout at Docking Stadium of Adrian College in Adrian ON August 14, 2020. Students at New York University (NYU) wait outside of a Covid-19 test tent outside of its business school on August 25, 2020 in New York City. All students arriving back to the campus are required to get tested for the virus upon arrival, students will then have to be tested again seven to 10 days later. Students arrive at the Student Union at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Monday, August 24, 2020, on the first day of classes with new safety protocols in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Students wearing face masks walk past doors marked with COVID-19 related warnings at the Seamans Center during the first day of in-person classes for the fall semester amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, Iowa. Freshman Savanna McIntosh moves into a dorm at UNLV, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas. Eighty percent of the classes at the university will be online or remote, while 20 percent will be in person. Enrollment at the university is similar to last year, but about half of the normal level of students will be living the the dorms. An incoming freshman queries a university employee upon arriving on campus at University of Colorado Boulder on August 18, 2020 in Boulder, Colorado. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many colleges and universities are instituting different strategies this fall semester, with most students living on campus attending all classes with remote instruction. Custodian Gary Whitner takes a break from cleaning inside the new College of Business during the first day of fall classes at Clemson University in Clemson Wednesday, August 19, 2020. Faith Spino, Darcy Roberts and Abby Helliburton walk by the Cooper Library and reflection pond during a morning walk early, before their first day of fall classes at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., Aug. 19, 2020. Students wearing masks walk on campus of the University of Notre Dame on Aug. 18, 2020, in South Bend, Ind. The University of Notre Dame on Aug. 18 canceled in-person undergraduate classes for two weeks after a spike of coronavirus cases that occurred since the semester began. Oyeronke Popoola, a 17-year-old freshman from Raleigh, carries some of her belongings as she and other students leave campus following a cluster of COVID-19 cases at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 18, 2020. The university announced that it would cancel all in-person undergraduate learning starting on Aug. 19. University of Idaho students wear face masks while playing a game outside of Sigma Nu fraternity during fraternity bid day, the final day of the recruitment process, on Aug. 17, 2020, in Moscow, Idaho. Sororities and fraternities at the university are taking a variety of precautions to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The first day of classes at the University are on Aug. 24. New York University students wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 before school opens on Aug. 18, 2020 in New York. A graduate assistant sits in an empty auditorium during an online lecture on the first day of classes Aug. 17, 2020, at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. More of Georgia’s public universities are opening for the fall term, trying to balance concern about COVID-19 infections against a mandate for on-campus classes citing financial needs and student desires. A protester holds a sign opposing in-person classes Aug. 17, 2020, at a “die-in” at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Sophmore nursing major Savannah Wooten walks to class with Hannah Nelson, a sophomore early education major, on campus at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Aug. 17, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Aug. 17 was UTC’s first day of classes in person classes since March, when all University of Tennessee schools moved to virtual classes in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Incoming freshman Jordin Stribling, 18, carries pillows while moving into a campus dormitory at University of Colorado Boulder on Aug. 18, 2020 in Boulder, Colo.. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many colleges and universities are instituting different strategies this fall semester, with most students living on campus attending all classes with remote instruction. Incoming freshmen wait in line to ask questions at an informational tent while arriving on campus at University of Colorado Boulder on Aug. 18, 2020 in Boulder, Colo.. Kyalynn Moore-Wilson, a freshman, sits at a desk in her dorm room before joining a Zoom meeting for an ‘Introduction to Psychology’ course as classes begin amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the first day of the fall 2020 semester at the University of New Mexico on Aug.17, 2020 in Albuquerque, N.M.. The course will meet in person four times during the fall semester with the remaining classes and coursework completed online. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the university has moved to a hybrid instruction model that includes a mixture of in-person and remote classes. According to the school, about 70 percent of classes are being taught online. A student checks her phone while shopping for textbooks as classes begin amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the first day of the fall 2020 semester at the University of New Mexico on Aug. 17, 2020 in Albuquerque, N.M.. Jose Villar (R) gives a mask to Savannah Sickler, a freshman, as students begin classes amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the first day of the fall 2020 semester at the University of New Mexico on Aug. 17, 2020 in Albuquerque, N.M.. Sophomore Brandon Williams of the Bronx and his mother Julie Andrew look at a welcome bag which included a face mask, hand sanitizer and a face shield at Iona College in New Rochelle. N.Y. on Aug. 13, 2020. The college has been in remote learning for one week and begins in-person classes on Aug. 17 . Kathleen Sherlock, from Urbana, Ill., fills out paperwork as she registers to get a COVID-19 test in Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University, in Indianopolis, Ind. on Aug. 14, 2020, as part of the check-in process for students moving into housing on campus. Students have to have a negative test before they are allowed into the Butler residences. Students receive results from their test in under 30 minutes. Move-in is over two weeks this year, because of the pandemic. Students sit in socially distanced desks in a ballroom made into a classroom inside the Student Union at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn. on Aug. 14, 2020. Tracy Peyton, English and communications department head at Pensacola State College, gathers COVID-19 supplies for students and instructors as she prepares for the fall semester on Aug. 12, 2020. PSC students begin in-person and online classes on Aug. 17 in Pensacola, Fla. Students begin to move into the dorms on campus at University of Louisville on Aug. 12, 2020 in Louisville, Ky. A recently placed mask on the Giant is a symbol of College of the Sequoias’ priority for the health and safety of students, staff and faculty in Visalia, Calif. Lauren Fishback, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, said masks are required for all students, staff and faculty while physically on one of the three campuses. The mask was made by faculty member Jonna Schengel, Director Allied Health and Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Faculty learn to use new technology for virtual classes at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. on Aug. 13, 2020. The college has been in remote learning for one week and on Aug. 17 begins in-person classes. From left, St. Louis University students Miah Cramer, Alexis Schweitzer, and Adam Seger, members of Oriflamme, the student volunteer group which welcomes new students, clean the containers used by students moving in their belongings to the Reinert Hall dorm on a move-in day for SLU freshmen, Aug. 11, 2020. The containers are cleaned after each student uses it and the move-in days have been increased so that everyone can better abide by the social distancing guidelines. College students walk carrying their dinners at the University of South Carolina on Aug. 10, 2020 in Columbia, S.C.. Students began moving back to campus housing Aug. 9 with classes to start Aug. 20. Baylor Garland, left, arrives to move in for his freshman year, assisted by his father Alan, right and mother, Teena, after they arrived from Eaton, Ga., at the University of Alabama on Aug. 15, 2020, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. More than 20,000 students returned to campus for the first time since spring break with numerous school and city codes in effect to limit the spread of COVID-19. A sign at the front desk of Fred Brown Hall reminds residents to keep social distancing at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on Aug. 14, 2020. Matthew Claflin and Sara Norton sit in partial shade on the quad at the University of Alabama on Aug. 15, 2020, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. College students with the assistance of family begin moving in for the fall semester at N.C. State University in Raleigh, N.C., July 31, 2020. The first wave of college students returning to their dorms arenÕt finding the typical mobs of students and parents. At N.C. State, the return of students was staggered over 10 days and students were greeted by socially distant volunteers donning masks and face shields. Groundskeeper Carrie Ward, right, and maintenance mechanic Samuel Francis adjust and disinfect a plexiglass divider, used to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, in a classroom of the TEC buildng at Rowan College on July 31, 2020 at Burlington County in Mount Laurel, N.J.. Ulyssa Howard, 19, of Corinth, Miss. unpacks her microwave and other items as she and her roommate begin moving into their dorm room at Woodd Hall at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, Miss., July 29, 2020. Evan Olinger of Sellersburg loads a cart with his dad, Scott Olinger as Evan moves into his Purdue University dorm, Aug. 15, 2020 in West Lafayette, Ind. Parents and students arrive in their vehicles for health screenings and temperature checks before moving belongings into residence halls at West Virginia State University campus July 31, 2020, in Institute, W. Va. The first wave of college students returning to their dorms arenÕt finding the typical mobs of students and parents. What they found were strict safety protocols and some heightened anxiety amid a global pandemic where virus infections are growing in dozens of states. University of Idaho students line up for a COVID-19 test on Aug. 13, 2020, outside the Student Recreation Center in Moscow, Idaho. The university’s plans to open it’s own lab to process the tests has been delayed. All students at the university are required to be tested for COVID-19 before classes start on Aug. 24. A student swipes into Earhart Dining Hall, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Incoming students began moving in on the OSU campus on Aug. 13, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio. All students moving into the dormitories are required to schedule a time to move in gradually with only 8 students permitted to move into a building in the same hour as an attempt to prevent spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) among OSU students. Pensacola State College Librarian Dena Gilliam prepares for the return of students by putting out COVID-19 reminders on Aug. 12, 2020 in Pensacola, Fla.. College students eat dinner outside at the University of South Carolina on Aug. 10, 2020 in Columbia, S.C.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Los Angeles County to require vaccine proof for indoor bars; most Americans believe worst is yet to come, poll says: COVID-19 updates
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