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“I’m sorry but it’s too late”

An Alabama doctor grimly says she is making “a lot of progress” in encouraging people to get vaccinated – as she struggles to keep them alive.

Dr Brytney Cobia, a hospitalist at Birmingham’s Grandview Medical Center and virus survivor, wrote in a recent Facebook post that she is treating many otherwise healthy young people for serious coronavirus infections.

“One of the last things they do before they are intubated is begging me for the vaccine,” she wrote. “I hold their hand and tell them I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”

Cobia says that when the patient dies, she hugs her family members and urges them to be vaccinated. She says they cry and tell her they thought the pandemic was a hoax, or political, or targeting another age group or skin color.

“They wish they could go back. But they can’t,” Cobia wrote. “So they thank me and they are going to get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their obituary and say a little prayer that this loss will save more lives.”

Cobia was pregnant when she battled the virus on her own last summer, suffering from a mild fever, sore throat, fatigue, congestion and sneezing. She had spent a weekend with other family members – and eight of them eventually tested positive for the virus, including her husband. Most suffered from more severe symptoms than she did, she said.

“The fear I feel for myself and for my unborn baby is bad enough, but the guilt I feel for exposing people who trusted me is what I want to focus on,” had -she wrote in an article on Facebook at the time. “Don’t be me. Don’t wear a mask anywhere else in the world EXCEPT around your heart.”

Also in the news:

►Las Vegas employees are now required to wear masks indoors, but the mandate will not be extended to tourists walking the Strip or meeting in casinos, Clark County commissioners have ruled. The new mandate will remain in place at least until August 17.

►Apple has reportedly delayed their return to the office for at least a month until October due to the spread of the delta variant, Bloomberg reported. CEO Tim Cook previously said employees will return to the office three days a week in September.

►A White House official and Assistant to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Tested positive for the coronavirus after attending an event together, a White House official confirmed. Both were fully vaccinated.

► Amazon will no longer test its warehouse workers at the end of the month due to the availability of vaccines and free tests, reported The Information. The initiative began last year when tests were hard to come by and reported that around 1.4% of their workers tested positive at some point in 2020.

Today’s numbers: The United States has recorded more than 34.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 609,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 191 million cases and 4.1 million deaths. More than 161.4 million Americans – 48.6% of the population – have been fully immunized, according to the CDC.

What we read: Amid fears over COVID cases in Congress, the White House and public health experts are calling for vaccinations.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates straight to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

The United States will maintain the closure of the Mexican and Canadian borders until August 21

The United States will continue to restrict non-essential travelers from Mexico and Canada at least until August 21, according to documents that will be published in the Federal Register. Previous border restrictions were due to end on Thursday. The Department of Homeland Security, together with its Canadian and Mexican counterparts, first closed U.S. borders to leisure travelers in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The restrictions have since been extended on a monthly basis.

Canada announced Monday that it will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents on August 9, with plans to allow fully vaccinated travelers from any country on September 7.

– Bailey Schulz and Morgan Hines

Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be less effective against delta variant

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may not be as effective as those using mRNA technology, according to a new study. The study, published by bioRxiv, indicates that the 13 million people who received the vaccine may need to receive a second dose, ideally the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Although the study has not been peer reviewed or published, the results align with studies of the AstraZeneca vaccine which conclude that one dose of the vaccine is 33% effective against symptomatic Delta variant disease and 60% against the variant after the second dose. . The results contradict studies published by Johnson & Johnson which say that a single dose of their vaccine is effective against the variant.

“The message we wanted to get across was not that people shouldn’t be getting the J. & J. vaccine, but we hope that in the future it will be boosted with another dose of J. & J. or a boost with Pfizer or Moderna, ”Nathaniel Landau, a virologist at the Grossman School of Medicine at New York University who led the study, told The New York Times.

FEMA funeral assistance funds not easy to claim

Americans who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 can request up to $ 9,000 for funeral assistance, but some are struggling to get the money. More than $ 710 million has so far been distributed to 107,000 people. But some applicants said they had difficulty proving to FEMA that their relative had died from COVID if another cause of death, such as an underlying illness like heart disease or diabetes, was on the certificate. of deaths – especially during the first days of the pandemic during testing. was limited. FEMA says it’s streamlining paperwork, but Kalpana Kpoto says she submitted documents three times to the FEMA website after her mother passed away last year. Her documents were eventually approved, but she didn’t see any money.

“I’m still waiting,” Kpoto said, “It’s a process.”

Desiree Williams

Life expectancy in the United States registers the biggest drop since World War II

The United States has seen the biggest one-year drop in life expectancy since World War II during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Hispanic and black populations have seen the biggest declines, data shows government released on Wednesday.

Life expectancy at birth fell from 1.5 years in 2020 to 77.3 – the lowest level since 2003, according to the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 1942 and 1943, during World War II, life expectancy in the United States declined by 2.9 years.

“The numbers are devastating,” said Chantel Martin, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “The declines that we are seeing, particularly among the Hispanic and non-Hispanic black population, are massive.”

Health experts have said the data on life expectancy is further evidence of the disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color.

Deaths from COVID-19 contributed about 74% of the decline in life expectancy in the general population of the United States, according to the data. Another 11% of the decline can be attributed to an increase in deaths from accidents or unintentional injuries, including drug overdose deaths. Read more here.

– Grace Hauck

1 million children may have been orphaned due to the pandemic

A recent study reveals another devastating impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on children around the world. Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital estimate that more than a million children may have been orphaned due to a death linked to COVID-19, according to their model published Tuesday in The Lancet. They defined orphans as the loss of at least one parent.

The countries with the largest number of children who have lost their primary caregivers are the United States, South Africa, Peru, India, Brazil and Mexico. Read more here.

-Adrianna Rodriguez

Smoke from forest fires may increase the risk of COVID-19

Scientists from Nevada argue in a new study that smoke from wildfires may increase the risk of contracting the coronavirus. A study published last week by scientists at the Desert Research Institute found that coronavirus infection rates rose disproportionately during the wildfire season of 2020, when smoke from fires in neighboring states blanketed a much of northern Nevada.

In an article in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, Desert Research Institute associate scientist Daniel Kiser and four co-authors note that the test positivity rate in Washoe County increased significantly during times when monitors have measured high levels of particles in the air from wildfire smoke.

For every 10 micrograms per cubic meter of small particles known as PM2.5 in the air, the positivity rate increased by about 6.3% two to six days later, according to the study. Kiser said the study was observational and noted that the rise could be attributed to other factors, such as the second increase from last year, students returning to school, or changes in local restrictions. . But he said momentary increases during times of high pollution suggested a link between the smoke and the spread of the virus.

“This temporary association amid a surge in the number of cases overall is what convinced us that something was happening,” he told The Associated Press.

Tennessee’s largest district will need masks this fall

Schools in Shelby County, Tennessee’s largest district, will continue to require masks from all students and staff, regardless of their immunization status, the district said. All students in the district are required to return to in-person learning on August 9, the first time since the district closed in March 2020. Since then, any in-person attendance by students is optional. The teachers were required to return in person last March.

The district says it is encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations, but will not require them from students or employees.

“The district is aware of the increase in cases and the spread of the Delta variant,” the SCS announcement said. The move is in line with American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines released Monday, calling on students to learn in person this school year and that all people, regardless of their immunization status, wear masks in schools.

– Laura Testino, Memphis Commercial Call

Contribution: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: J&J May Not Be As Effective Against Delta Variant: COVID Updates

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