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Coronavirus update: A big spike among the unvaccinated, vaccine mandate causes hospital resignations

An antibody study offers some encouraging news for the vaccinated

Coronavirus‌ ‌(COVID-19)‌ ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University ‌(previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses).

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 40,956,556 (40,923,034)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 659,985 (659,696)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 224,792,464 (224,329,369)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,633,281 (4,625,993)‌

Delta hits the unvaccinated particularly hard

Federal data show the recent surge in COVID-19 cases is hitting young people — especially those who have not been vaccinated — in particular. Current death counts of people under age 55 are about the same as those during last winter’s surge, before vaccines were readily available.

Today, COVID-19 deaths are well below what they were during January’s peak — but the fatalities are unevenly distributed throughout the population. Some researchers say deaths among the vaccinated older population are much lower than they were in January.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released studies that show unvaccinated people were 4.6 times as likely to be infected with the virus. Worse: The data shows they are 10 times as likely to require hospital care and 11 times as likely to die.

Resignations force New York hospital to pause baby deliveries

According to a mandate issued by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, all medical personnel in the state of New York must be vaccinated by Sept. 27. Because so many nurses have quit rather than get the vaccine, Lewis County General Hospital has “paused” maternity services because they can’t operate safely.

According to CNN, 30 of the hospital's employees have quit, six of whom worked in the maternity ward. Hospital officials expressed hope that state health officials would agree to a pause in service and not require the maternity department to close permanently.

There could be more resignations as the deadline approaches. Hospital officials say 165 employees have not been vaccinated.

Yale releases encouraging antibody study

People who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 have a level of protection that, in most cases, reduces bad outcomes, according to a new study from Yale researchers.

The researchers examined the role of T-cells and B-cells in COVID-19 infections and differences in protection produced by vaccines and natural infection. When a person is infected with COVID-19 for the first time, both T-cells and B-cells play a role in combating the infection.

“We saw that antibodies [generated from both vaccine and natural infection] were also sufficient to protect against the … Beta variant. That’s the variant that — at least until this point — had been shown to be the most evasive of antibody responses,” said Benjamin Goldman-Israelow, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at the Iwasaki Lab. “Even more so than the Delta variant.”

Around the nation

  • Massachusetts: Massachusetts is tied with Vermont for the highest vaccination, rate but that’s not stopping its residents from getting COVID-19. Health officials report “breakthrough” cases exceeded 4,400 last week as 600 fully vaccinated people a day tested positive.
  • Pennsylvania: The state begins the week with a spike in new cases of the coronavirus. Health officials reported just over 5,000 new cases on Friday, the most since May. Hospitals in three western counties report the increased caseload is straining resources.
  • Florida: An appeals court Friday reinstated Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on school district mask requirements. This means the state could withhold funding from districts that defy the governor’s order.
  • California: A California father of five children died of COVID-19, sending his children to an orphanage. The man’s wife, a 37-year-old delivery nurse, died three weeks ago of the virus. Neither had been vaccinated.
  • Arkansas: After being one of the epicenters of new outbreaks just two months ago, Arkansas’ numbers continue to move in the right direction. The Arkansas Department of Health reports hospitalizations fell for the fifth straight day, declining by 13 patients to a total of 1,118. However, the number of patients on ventilators remains high.

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