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Coronavirus update: U.S. vaccination rate nearly doubles, companies urged to mandate vaccinations

A recent study suggests a way to develop vaccines faster

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 36,071,850 (35,983,375)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 618,220 (617,704)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 204,286,683 (203,708,052)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,319,262 (4,308,757)‌

Vaccination rate is on the rise

As the Delta variant swept through unvaccinated areas and is now spreading through states where vaccination rates are high, holdouts are apparently changing their attitude. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the U.S. vaccination rate has nearly doubled in the last 30 days.

As of Aug. 5, the CDC says there have been 441,198 new vaccinations per day. That compares to just 226,209 daily doses reported on July 5.

Alabama and Louisiana, which had among the lowest vaccination rates in the nation, saw the biggest increase in inoculations. Vaccinations also increased in Missouri, where some people reportedly got vaccinated in secret because they feared backlash from anti-vax family and friends.

Biden pushes for corporate vaccination mandate

President Biden is pointing to United Airlines as an example of how corporate America can limit the spread of COVID-19. The airline recently told all of its 67-thousand employees they must be vaccinated by Oct. 25 if they want to keep their jobs.

While there is a growing movement toward vaccination mandates, not all companies are joining in. Three major airlines, Southwest, Delta, and American, say they will not join rival United in requiring employees to be vaccinated.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian told a New York City TV station that about 75% of Delta’s employees are already vaccinated, so he doesn’t see the need to impose a mandate. CNN cites an internal memo from Southwest CEO Gary Kelly telling employees he “strongly encourages” vaccinations but that the company won’t require it.

Study points to faster vaccine development and testing

New research shows how scientists may be able to more quickly develop new vaccines and boosters to combat the coronavirus. It involves doctors being able to immediately test a vaccine recipient to measure antibody production.

Instead of lengthy clinical trials, a vaccine’s effectiveness can be quickly demonstrated. The research identifies antibodies that scientists can test for to see if a COVID-19 vaccine is effective. Peter Gilbert, co-author of the study posted Tuesday to medRxiv, calls it “the Holy Grail” of vaccine research.

"The hope is that the Food and Drug Administration will see these data and use them as a provisional approval mechanism," he said.

Around the nation

  • Texas: Like his counterpart in Florida, Gov. Greg Abbott has issued an order banning mandates to wear masks. Now he’s facing lawsuits from school districts that argue that mask mandates are necessary to keep people safe. Bexar County school officials have sued Abbott, seeking the power to impose a local mask mandate in their schools.

  • Michigan: Cases of the virus are on the rise again statewide. "In Michigan, the number of cases has jumped 100% and 80% in the past two weeks, and hospitalizations statewide are up by about 35%," said Dr. Adnan Munkaraha, the chief clinical officer at Henry Ford Health System.

  • New Jersey: The CDC now classifies all 21 counties in the state as “substantial” or “high” risk areas. The state began the week with 884 new cases of the coronavirus, but deaths remain low.

  • Minnesota: Cases of the virus are up with the spread of the Delta variant, but doctors say deaths from the virus have remained at low levels so far. The state health department reports that no more than four deaths have occurred on any single day since June 12.

  • Mississippi: School officials across the state are voicing concerns about rising COVID-19 cases among children ahead of the school year. A new report from the Mississippi State Department of Health shows that nearly 1,000 students were infected with COVID-19 for the week of Aug. 2-6. 

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