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Coronavirus update: U.S. cases exceed 40 million, boosters likely to become the norm

Enhanced jobless benefits have come to an end

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Photo (c) Paul Biris - Getty Images
Coronavirus‌ ‌(COVID-19)‌ ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 40,028,975 (39,820,117)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 649,134 (648,281)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 221,314,774 (220,937,269)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,579,064 (4,563,447)‌

U.S. cases top 40 million

The U.S. has now recorded more than 40 million cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began thanks to the most recent spike in cases caused by the spread of the Delta variant. The majority of the cases were not serious, but the death toll is nearly 650,000 -- a death rate of 1.6%.

Before the rapid spread of the Delta variant, the U.S. appeared to be on the road to putting the pandemic behind it. Things seemed almost back to normal by July 4th, but cases were surging again by the middle of that month, with a growing number of vaccinated Americans also testing positive.

"Here's the important thing: Everyone that I'm hospitalizing is not vaccinated,” Dr. Megan Ranney, professor of emergency medicine and associate dean at Brown University's school of public health, told CNN. “We are, by and large across the country, not needing to hospitalize people that have gotten both doses of the vaccine. This is a disease of the unvaccinated right now."

Fauci: Three shots may be necessary

If you got two shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you’ll probably need a third one. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, says a third dose several months after the second one might help the body’s immune system mature.

“I must say from my own experience as an immunologist, I would not at all be surprised that the adequate full regimen for vaccination will likely be three doses,” Fauci told reporters during a White House COVID-19 briefing.

Fauci also says he expects the Pfizer vaccine to be the first to be approved for booster shots, a decision that could come by Sept. 20. He said approval for the Moderna booster may require additional research.

Enhanced jobless benefits end

Some people who were laid off from work early in the pandemic have been collecting an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits provided under the CARES Act. That extra assistance ended Monday.

The White House said there are no plans to extend the enhanced benefits again since the economy has resumed economic growth and there are a record number of job openings. Unfortunately, businesses have had trouble filling those positions. The Labor Department's latest report shows that the economy added only 325,000 jobs in August.

An estimated 7 million Americans were receiving the extra benefit when it expired. 

Around the state

  • Vermont: Health officials say the state has so far escaped the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases that many other states have experienced over the summer. After a brief mid-July spike caused by the Delta variant, state health officials say cases have begun trending lower again.

  • Texas: The Texas Education Agency reports that at least 45 state school districts have temporarily halted in-classroom sessions because of a spike in new cases of the coronavirus. The shutdowns mean that about 42,000 students are attending school online again.

  • Oregon: Costco stores in Oregon are cautioning shoppers about hoarding. The warning comes amid concerns that the spike in COVID-19 cases will once again cause a run on toilet paper and other staples. In an update on its website, the retailer said "some warehouses may have temporary item limits on select items."

  • Florida: The state has already been ravaged by an August spike in COVID-19 cases, and state health officials fear it could get worse. They cite a survey by Value Penguin showing that Florida was the top destination for the Labor Day weekend. “When you see people crowded together in tight confines, you know there’s going to be an increase in cases,” said Dr. John Greene with the Moffitt Cancer Center.

  • Arkansas: State health officials are cautiously optimistic that attitudes about COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to change. After a spike in cases that led to deaths and a crisis at hospitals in the state, officials say there has been an increase in the vaccination rate over the last four weeks.

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