Coronavirus update: Expert calls ‘herd immunity’ a myth, LA mandates vaccinations for public spaces

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Florida’s governor is facing a growing backlash

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 36,210,096 (36,071,850)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 618,572 (618,220)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 204,986,180 (204,286,683)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,329,089 (4,319,262)‌

Expert says ‘herd immunity’ is not possible

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials have set so-called “herd immunity” as a goal for stopping the virus. The idea is that the virus will eventually die out when enough people are vaccinated. A noted health expert says it isn’t going to happen.

Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told Parliament that vaccines have failed to stop the virus completely. Now that the highly contagious Delta variant is spreading across the globe, he said “herd immunity” is a “mythical” concept.

“I think we are in a situation here with this current variant where herd immunity is not a possibility because it still infects vaccinated individuals,” Pollard told British lawmakers.

LA demands vaccinations for public venues

If you want to go to a bar, restaurant, or movie theater in Los Angeles, you’ll have to be vaccinated and able to prove it. The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to draft an ordinance requiring a vaccination to enter most indoor spaces, including retail stores.

The proposed measure -- the toughest in the nation so far -- comes as the Delta variant has swept across every state. Most of the people who are getting severely ill are unvaccinated.

“COVID-19 could be eradicated if we had mass vaccinations across the country and across the world,” said Councilman Mitch O’Farrell.

Florida governor faces growing rebellion

You might call it the Florida rebellion. While people are pushing back against vaccine and mask requirements in some southern states, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is encountering opposition to his firm stand against these mandates.

DeSantis signed a law barring entities from requiring proof of vaccinations and has ordered school districts not to require students and teachers to wear masks. That has prompted at least three large school districts to defy the governor. 

The school districts -- in Ft. Lauderdale, Tallahassee, and Gainsville -- have said they will not obey the governor’s executive order in an effort to limit the fast-spreading virus. In an interview on NPR, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber accused DeSantis of politicizing a health care crisis, which he said helps explain some of the backlash.

The severity of the current outbreak may also help explain it. Florida hospitalizations from COVID-19 hit a record Wednesday for an 11th straight day.

Around the nation

  • Tennessee: The Williamson County School Board voted to require teachers and students to wear masks in schools, triggering an angry demonstration by parents. Dozens of people filled the parking lot after the meeting chanting “will not comply.”

  • Nebraska: Several state senators are asking the state government to reinstate its real-time COVID-19 dashboard, which was replaced with weekly numbers when the pandemic appeared to be fading. “Basic numbers shared on a weekly basis is not enough,” the senators wrote in a letter to the governor.

  • Louisiana: Louisiana has the fastest growth of new COVID-19 cases in the nation, and many of the victims are children. One in four children now tests positive for the virus in the state. “There is clearly a lot more virus in the pediatric community,” Dr. William Lennarz, the system chair for pediatrics for Ochsner Health, told WWNO Radio.

  • California: State health officials say the virus is spreading throughout the state at a rate not seen since last winter. As a result, officials say hospitals are nearing capacity. Official records show that hospitalizations statewide have almost doubled in the past two weeks, with 5,358 people in hospitals at the start of the week.

  • Hawaii: With a steep rise in cases of the Delta variant, Hawaii has reimposed COVID-19 restrictions, including orders for restaurants to reduce capacity again. “The Delta variant has truly changed the COVID-19 pandemic here in the islands,” said Gov. David Ige.

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