Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 45,445,118 (45,317,284)
Total U.S. deaths: 735,943 (733,426)
Total global cases: 243,805,577 (243,124,120)
Total global deaths: 4,951,264 (4,939,467)
Vaccines for young children could come next month
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing data on COVID-19 vaccines administered to young children. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), predicts that approval for five- to 11-year-olds could come as soon as next month.
“If all goes well, and we get the regulatory approval, and the recommendation from the CDC, it’s entirely possible, if not very likely, that vaccines will be available for children from five to 11 within the first week or two of November,” Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Fauci said we shouldn’t “get ahead of” the FDA, but from the data he’s seen, the smaller dose of the Pfizer vaccine appears to be safe and effective for young children. FDA researchers shared a study Friday showing that the vaccine had proven to be highly effective at protecting kids from COVID-19.
Officials concerned about fake vaccines
Health experts say medical practitioners are now more knowledgeable about COVID-19, but mitigation efforts are now being threatened by counterfeit vaccines and medicines. Officials say these knock-off products can undermine efforts to control the pandemic.
According to a report published in STAT, these products can’t prevent or treat the virus. So, in essence, they are contributing to its spread. They say these products also erode confidence in valid vaccines and therapeutics.
These products are less common in the U.S., but the World Health Organization (WHO) has voiced concern that they are becoming more pervasive in poorer countries where legitimate products are in short supply.
Texas universities caught in the middle
Several universities in the state are reportedly on the fence about the Biden administration's directive that institutions receiving federal contracts impose vaccination mandates. The state has issued an order banning mandates, and universities have until Dec. 8 to decide.
Several colleges told the Texas Tribune that they are still analyzing Biden’s executive order, which applies to new federal contracts of $250,000 or greater that were awarded as of Nov. 14 or existing contracts that have been renewed as of Oct. 15.
“This is unprecedented,” said Michael LeRoy, a labor law expert at the University of Illinois College of Law. “There have been conflicts between the state and federal government, but not at this magnitude with this kind of money on the line.”
Around the nation
Michigan: State officials have announced that Michigan will not require employers in the state to follow COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements that are stricter than policies being implemented by the Biden administration. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer revealed her plans in response to questions from the business community.
New York: There are only a few days to go before New York City’s vaccination mandate goes into effect. Several hundred municipal workers, including firefighters, staged a protest on Staten Island. Union officials at the protest said any disruption in city services will be the city government’s fault.
Nevada: We’re well into the second year of the pandemic, and some businesses are continuing to struggle. Small businesses in 16 of Nevada’s 17 counties have been awarded federal COVID-19 grants of up to $25,000 in forgivable loans. The debt is wiped clean after participants complete a nine-month online business training and mentoring program.
Tennessee: State legislators are headed back to Nashville this week for a special session that lawmakers say will largely focus on vaccine mandates. Two bills have been submitted so far. One would make employers liable for COVID-19 vaccine side effects.
Florida: Health officials say the state appears to have turned the corner in its battle with the surge of Delta variant cases. While Florida is still recording an average of just under 2,700 new cases a day, data from Johns Hopkins University shows that the figure represents less than one-tenth of the state's summer high.