Experts fear Hurricane Ida may worsen the spread of COVID-19 in lower parishes across the state, where vaccination rates are low – in some only about a third of the population – and cases have reached as low as record levels.
Hospitals on Ida’s Road have been forced to evacuate dozens of patients after the storm ripped off pieces of roofs, caused water leaks and partially flooded some areas. Some hospitals relied on emergency generators for electricity as millions of people across the state lost power after the storm hit the coast as a Category 4 hurricane.
Hospitals were already inundated with COVID-19 patients due to the delta variant. The additional hurdles have caused hospitals to transfer patients to other medical centers in the state.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he expected the death toll to rise “dramatically”.
“It’s a COVID nightmare,” said Christina Stephens, spokesperson for Edwards. The state will work to move people to hotels quickly so they can keep their distance from each other. “We predict that we might see spikes in COVID related to this. “
As of Monday evening, there were more than 2,600 COVID-19 patients hospitalized and nearly 500 others on ventilators, who require electricity to operate. Those who are not vaccinated account for 91% of hospitalizations, according to the state health department.
Also in the news:
►Alabama set a new record for the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care with 884 in intensive care on Sunday, compared to the previous record of 848 in January, according to the Alabama Hospital Association.
► The European Union has removed the United States from its safe travel list and no longer recommends that its member states ease restrictions on non-essential travel for all Americans as cases of COVID-19 increase.
►Employees in the city of Portland, Oregon must be fully immunized against the coronavirus – or obtain medical or religious exemption – by mid-October, or they will be laid off.
►An Illinois judge on Monday overturned a decision to ban a divorced mother from seeing her 11-year-old son because she is not vaccinated against COVID-19.
►The mayor of Honolulu has said the city will soon require patrons of restaurants, bars, museums, theaters and other establishments to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test.
Today’s numbers: The United States has recorded more than 39 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 638,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 217 million cases and 4.5 million deaths. More than 173.8 million Americans – 52.4% of the population – have been fully immunized, according to the CDC.
What we read: Can Americans visit Europe this fall after the EU decision? It is complicated. What travelers need to know.
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Moderna vaccine generates more than twice as many antibodies as Pfizer’s, study finds
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine generated more than double the antibodies in Pfizer’s vaccine, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study tested the antibody levels of nearly 1,650 healthcare workers in a Belgian hospital system. For those who had not been infected with the virus before being vaccinated, antibody levels were on average 2,881 units per milliliter for people who received two doses of Moderna vaccine, compared to 1,108 units / ml in subjects who have received two doses of Pfizer vaccine.
The researchers suggested several possible explanations for the difference, including a longer interval of four weeks between doses of Moderna’s vaccine compared to three weeks for the Pfizer vaccine. Another possible reason is that the Moderna vaccine had a higher concentration of the key active ingredient used in both injections, according to the study.
Antibody levels were also lower in older participants, with the highest levels found in those under 35, according to the study.
Liberty University Pivots to Virtual Classrooms, Joining Other Changing Precautions
Just a week into the semester, Liberty University in Virginia switched to virtual classes starting Monday in response to high infection rates on campuses, according to a school statement Thursday.
As the Evangelical University temporarily shifts to online teaching and a suspension of indoor events, officials said there will be no campus-wide lockdown and students, other than those in quarantine will be able to use the campus facilities. Outdoor events, including a football game on September 4, will continue.
The university has reported 159 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 500 people have been asked to self-quarantine, according to the campus COVID-19 dashboard, last updated Wednesday.
“The infection rate on campus is higher than at any time last year, our only local hospital is reaching intensive care COVID treatment capacity, and we expect our annex quarantine capacity to be soon. reached, “school officials said in Thursday’s statement.
Liberty isn’t alone in changing reopening plans amid growing cases. Duke University of North Carolina announced changes on Monday, including the requirement for masks, allowing faculty members to teach virtually for two weeks, and discontinuing group meals indoors. Rice University officials said earlier this month that classes will be virtual during her first two weeks of classes.
CDC Panel Supports Full License of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine remains extremely safe and deserves use by a federal advisory committee agreed on Monday, recommending its use in people over 16 years of age.
The committee, known as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), reviewed data submitted as part of the companies’ request for a full license for the vaccine.
The vaccine had been cleared for emergency use; on August 23, the Food and Drug Administration issued it a biologics license application – the technical term for full approval – in people 16 years of age and older. Its use in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age will continue to receive emergency clearance until more data accumulates.
Emergency use was granted to accelerate vaccine availability in times of crisis, based on two months of data. Full approval is based on six months.
On Monday, ACIP publicly reviewed for the first time the data that was part of the application process. The results, they said, were clear.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine carries a risk of two potentially dangerous side effects: swelling of the heart, called myocarditis, and allergic reactions. But these effects are mostly manageable, the data shows, with allergic reactions widely detected during the 30-minute wait period after vaccination and the vast majority of people with myocarditis leaving the hospital within a day or two. Read more here.
– Karen Weintraub
Education Department investigates states banning school mask warrants
As thousands more schools return to full-time in-person education, President Joe Biden’s administration investigates five states that ban districts from imposing masks on charges such policies violate civil rights children with disabilities and the underlying health conditions.
State superintendents in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah received letters Monday explaining how banning masking inside schools prevents districts from putting implementing the necessary health and safety measures to protect students, the education ministry said in a press release.
Banning mask warrants may prevent schools “from meeting their legal obligations not to discriminate on the basis of disability and to provide equal educational opportunity for students with disabilities who are at increased risk of illness serious due to COVID-19, “the letters said, according to the department.
Contribution: The Associated Press