New studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Friday show that unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated people.
Even among the delta variant, one study found that the unvaccinated were 4.5 times more likely to get infected, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die. The study was conducted across 13 states and included data from over 600,000 COVID cases since April.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Friday that over 90% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 are unvaccinated at this point, and there are 10 times the number of unvaccinated people in the hospital for COVID-19 than vaccinated people.
Two other studies released show further evidence that vaccine effectiveness is waning over time, particularly for elderly adults. The data supports experts' recommendations that most Americans receive booster shots for mRNA vaccines, which are expected to become available beginning Sept. 20 for many who were fully vaccinated at least eight months prior.
"We have the scientific tools we need to turn the corner on this pandemic. Vaccination works and will protect us from the severe complications of COVID-19," Walensky said.
Also in the news:
► Some expecting mothers are being turned away when trying to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Mississippi and pregnant women now make up 30% of ICU patients at the state's largest hospital, doctors said Friday. There have been 72 fetal deaths associated with pregnant people who had COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in the state.
►Anti-mask demonstrators returned to protest at a high school in Vancouver, Washington, on Friday despite a judge's injunction. Skyview High was one of three area schools locked down earlier this month when demonstrators attempted to access school grounds.
►Data is showing immunity holds up for the majority of vaccine recipients, even against the delta variant, said Oxford University professor Sarah Gilbert, a leading scientist behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Boosters may not be needed except for the elderly and immunocompromised, she said. The vaccine is not approved for use in the U.S.
► Public health officials in New Jersey and Kentucky say the mu variant of the coronavirus has been detected in their states. Still, Dr. Anthony Fauci says the prevalence of the variant is still "extremely low" in the U.S.
► The school board in Paris, Arkansas, voted to give teachers and students monetary incentives to get COVID-19 vaccines. Staff members will receive $1,500 bonuses if they're vaccinated by Nov. 1, and students are eligible to receive $50 gift cards.
📈Today's numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 40.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 658,900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 223.7 million cases and 4.6 million deaths. More than 177.8 million Americans — 53.6% of the population — have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we're reading: President Joe Biden's vaccine order for employers raises thorny questions about the federal government's power to mandate a response to a public health crisis, experts say. Read the full story.
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The sweeping vaccine mandates announced by President Joe Biden this week have many Republican lawmakers threatening lawsuits in response.
The White House announced that all employers with at least 100 employees will be required to institute vaccine mandates, or require weekly testing for employees. Additionally, all federal employees will be required to become fully vaccinated.
The move has state lawmakers accusing the federal government of overreach into states' rights territory. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy called the rules “ill conceived, divisive, and un-American," while Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said they were an "assault on private businesses."
White House Coronavirus Response Director Jeff Zients has warned workplaces that safety fines could be high if they refuse to comply. Biden's response to threats of lawsuits? "Have at it."
On Friday, USA TODAY spoke with the Food and Drug Administration's Dr. Peter Marks about what the agency needs from vaccine manufacturers to authorize shots for kids and why the process takes time.
We asked him: When can we expect COVID-19 vaccines for kids aged 5-11?
Marks said that Pfizer company officials have publicly said they intend to submit data to the FDA before the end of September.
Why aren't COVID-19 vaccines available yet for kids under 12?
"It's pretty simple. One has to actually have data that shows that they're safe and that they have evidence that they'll be effective in that population," Marks said.
"I'm an adult internist and hematologist/oncologist by training, but I have had to care for pediatric transplant patients on occasion. If there's one thing that the pediatricians banged into my head, it’s that children are not little adults."
Read more from the Q&A here:Why FDA needs time to evaluate kids' COVID-19 vaccines.
— Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY
An appeals court Friday reinstated Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on school mask requirements at least temporarily, while a ruling overturning the prohibition is being reviewed by judges.
Tallahassee-based Circuit Judge John Cooper, who earlier threw out the mask restriction, took the unusual step of removing an automatic stay this week that kept the ban in place while DeSantis challenged the underlying ruling before the 1st District Court of Appeal.
DeSantis immediately appealed Cooper’s decision and Friday the court agreed with the governor. Judges also cast doubt on Cooper’s decision to overturn the mask prohibition.
“Upon our review of the trial court’s final judgment and the operative pleadings, we have serious doubts about standing, jurisdiction and other threshold matters,” the court wrote, although it stopped short of any further action.
-John Kennedy, Capital Bureau, USA TODAY Network-Florida
Contributing: The Associated Press