Faculties in Florida, Texas, require masks; 11 international locations report 1 million COVID circumstances

Half of American states have each reported at least half a million cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, with Oklahoma and Kentucky each reporting their 500,000th coronavirus case on Monday, according to an analysis of USA TODAY’s Johns Hopkins University data indicates.

A total of 11 states have reported at least 1 million cases each: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Michigan.

In Kentucky, 1,139 people were hospitalized on Monday, compared with a few hundred a day in June and early July. The number of patients in intensive care units and on ventilators has also risen steadily.

In Oklahoma, the state’s seven-day average daily new cases now exceeds 2,000 per day. The last time the state’s daily cases rate was higher in early February.

During a press conference at the downtown fire station, emergency authorities said Oklahoma City is among the cities across the country where there is a shortage of qualified emergency medics and paramedics to provide pre-clinical treatment, care, and transportation.

“When we look at the confluence of a busy Oklahoma City summer, we are not just in the middle of a pandemic, but according to all the scientific evidence of the fourth wave of this pandemic in the United States,” said EMSA Medical Director Jeffrey Goodloe.

– Mike Stucka, USA TODAY and Josh Dulaney, Oklahoma

Also on the news:

►The superintendent of the school district in the Florida capital said Monday that he will need masks even as Republican Governor Ron DeSantis issued an order suggesting penalties for school districts that mandate the wearing of masks in classrooms.

► The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised their travel advisories for France, Israel and Thailand to level four on Monday, which advises against visiting these countries due to the large COVID-19 cases.

►The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by September 15, according to a memo received from The Associated Press.

►Most Washington state employees, private health workers and long-term care workers will be required to provide proof of vaccination for the coronavirus by October 18 or lose their jobs.

►Mexico will ask the United States to send at least 3.5 million more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as the country faces a third wave of infections.

📈 Today’s numbers: In the United States, there have been more than 35.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 617,300 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The global totals: more than 203.3 million cases and 4.2 million deaths. According to the CDC, more than 166.6 million Americans – 50.1% of the population – have been fully vaccinated.

📘 What we read: Staff and faculty at colleges across the country have raised concerns about returning to work on campus, especially as the Delta variant is causing an increase in cases across the country. Read the full story.

Keep updating 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.

School authorities face an ongoing battle for mask mandates

In counties across the country, school committee meetings have become the battleground of recalcitrant debates over masking requirements in school schools. Fueled by misinformation campaigns against masks, tensions in schools have increased and the once sparsely attended school board meetings have turned into screams.

Most recently, anger over masking requirements in North Carolina boiled over when a group of recalcitrant parents who defied Buncombe County’s masking requirements “overthrew” the current board and promoted themselves to the positions. About 30 people signed a loose leaf in which they described themselves as “witnesses” for the new school authorities.

“You have acted as a dictatorship, and so the people are taking it into their own hands to abolish this government and immediately re-elect new members,” said group leader Stephanie Parsons.

Buncombe County Schools attorney Dean Shatley said the group’s actions “clearly” do not mean that the current school board is out of office.

“I know they are very passionate and care a lot about what they are talking about, but what they have done has no legal authority,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a county of Indiana about miles northwest of Indianapolis, a recent school council meeting was jam-packed with parents holding signs with phrases like “my body, my choice, no masks” and “stop the masking.” Several outbursts from the crowd resulted in a warning from the board chairman that people would be escorted out if they couldn’t keep the peace.

Other school committee meetings across the country have been postponed amid loud anti-masking protests, one of which led to charges in July against 11 people who interrupted a school committee meeting in Utah.

School districts in Dallas, Austin that require masks for students and teachers

The second largest school district in Texas is opposed to the governor’s order to ban mask mandates, officials said Monday. After their announcement, they were joined by another district in a large metropolitan area in Texas.

“We are in a situation that has become much more urgent,” said Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa in his announcement that the district would be the first in the state to require masks for students and teachers.

Austin Superintendent Stephanie S. Elizalde announced late Monday that the district will require face masks, in contravention of Governor Greg Abbott’s orders to ban mask mandates amid a spate of COVID-19 hospital admissions from the highly contagious Delta variant.

And Houston ISD Superintendent Millard House II is slated to get approval for a mask mandate from the school board of the state’s largest school district this week.

Governor Greg Abbott has continued to forbid school districts from requiring face-covering, contrary to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatricians and the CDC.

CDC study shows vaccine boosts immunity in people with COVID-19

Two Kentucky Republican Congressmen – Senator Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massie – have steadfastly refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, saying they had natural immunity because they had the viral infection.

But a new study by the CDC, based on data from people in Kentucky who contracted COVID-19 a second time, says the vaccine boosts immunity in people who have had the virus.

Unvaccinated people infected with COVID-19 are more than twice as likely to get it as those who were vaccinated after contracting the virus, it said.

The study shows that “COVID-19 vaccines offer better protection than natural immunity alone and that vaccines help prevent re-infection even after previous infection,” the CDC said in a press release announcing the results were given. Read more here.

– Deborah Yetter, Louisville Courier Journal

Fake COVID-19 vaccination cards worry college officials

As the delta variant of the coronavirus hits the United States, more colleges and universities are demanding proof of COVID-19 vaccination for students in order to take in-person classes. However, according to interviews with students, education and law enforcement officials, the new mandate has opened the door to those who oppose receiving the vaccine to defraud the system.

Both faculty and students at dozens of schools interviewed by The Associated Press say they are concerned about how easy it is to obtain fake vaccination cards. A home industry has sprung up over the internet to take in people who say they will not be vaccinated for personal or religious reasons.

An Instagram account with the username “vaccinationcards” sells laminated COVID-19 vaccination cards for US $ 25 each. A user of the encrypted messaging app Telegram is offering “COVID-19 Vaccine Card Certificates” for up to $ 200 each.

Commenting on a thread about counterfeiting COVID-19 vaccination cards, a Reddit user said in part, “I need one for college too. I refuse to be a guinea pig. “

On Twitter, a user with more than 70,000 followers tweeted: “My daughter bought two fake ID cards online for $ 50 in college. Shipping from China. Does anyone have the link for vaccination cards? “

At least 675 colleges and universities now require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a tally by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The process of confirming vaccination at many schools can be as simple as uploading a picture of the vaccination card to the student portal.

Contributors: Shelby Harris, Asheville Citizen Times; Arika Herron and MJ Slaby, Indianapolis Star; The Associated Press.

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