Provincetown COVID Outbreak Exhibits “Vaccines Work”
In some regions of the United States where vaccination rates are low and COVID-19 case rates are high, more and more people are choosing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that this is the third week that states with the highest case numbers also have the highest rates of new vaccinations.
She said the average number of people getting their first shot each day has increased by 30% in the last week alone.
There were over half a million new gun shots on Friday – the highest number since July 1, added Jean-Pierre.
White House COVID-19 data director Cyrus Shahpar said 857,000 more doses were given on Friday, up from 600,000 the previous Friday. He said 712,000 doses were given on Saturday, up from 403,000 last Saturday.
More and more residents of the country’s hardest hit states are rushing to get vaccinated amid the surge in Delta cases, which is driving national numbers up.
On Friday, multiple media outlets reported that Louisiana saw vaccinations rise 114%. Arkansas saw a 96% increase while Alabama and Missouri saw a 65% and 49% increase, respectively.
“This is an encouraging sign, but we need everyone across the country to have a conversation with someone they know who is not vaccinated to get the shot,” said Jean-Pierre. “This is how we stop the spread of the Delta variant.”
Also on the news:
► Lollapalooza, Chicago’s largest music festival, is very crowded and is expected to be fully occupied with around 100,000 visitors a day over four days. The festival requires attendees to provide evidence of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test for the virus within the past 72 hours, but Northwestern University infectious disease experts warn of a possible spike in COVID-19 infections amid the already increasing case numbers in the city.
► Although every other US swimmer wears a mask when interviewing journalists, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee has allowed unvaccinated swimmer Michael Andrew not to wear a mask. Citing the Tokyo Playbook of COVID-19 Protocols released in June, USOPC said athletes can remove their masks for interviews.
► Given concerns that the summer vacation could spike Germany’s relatively low case rate, the country will require people who have not been vaccinated or who have recently recovered from COVID-19 to test negative.
► New Orleans rescue workers have been hit so hard by a resurgence of COVID-19 cases that the city does not have the capacity to adequately handle emergency calls, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said on CNN on Friday. Cantrell announced new mask mandates and an increase in EMS resources.
► Spectators at Broadway shows have to present a vaccination certificate and wear masks in the theaters, the producers said on Friday.
► Disney World and Disneyland require all employees to be vaccinated and visitors must again wear masks.
► With many people complaining of brain fog, attention problems, and confusion after COVID-19, researchers are investigating whether infections could have long-term effects on the brain. In several studies published Thursday, scientists found changes in brain biology after being hospitalized with COVID-19.
► The IRS announced it would extend tax credits to employers who give their employees paid time off to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and encouraged them to take time to get vaccinated.
📈Today’s numbers: There were more than 34.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 613,1006 deaths in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The global totals: More than 197.3 million cases and 4.2 million deaths. According to the CDC, more than 164.1 million Americans – 49.5% of the population – have been fully vaccinated.
📘What we read: Casinos from New York to Maryland are breaking new records for revenue as bettors return to slot machines and table games amid pent-up demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, records show. Continue reading.
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COVID Outbreak In National Spotlight Shows “Vaccines Work”
A Massachusetts COVID-19 outbreak, which was pivotal in health officials’ decision to expand masking recommendations, could have been much worse without vaccines, health experts say.
According to a CDC study published Friday in the agency’s Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, fully vaccinated people accounted for nearly three-quarters of COVID-19 infections following the July 4th events in Provincetown, the Massachusetts community was investigated. The seaside tourist resort is in the county with the highest vaccination rates in Massachusetts.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement that the results “raised concern that, unlike other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus”.
But the outbreak, fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, could have been much worse without vaccines.
“The vaccines are working. Of the 900 Provincetown cluster-related cases, there have been no deaths, 7 hospitalizations and symptoms are largely mild,” tweeted Alex Morse, Provincetown city manager.
“The outbreak is contained and Provincetown is safe.”
Dr. Ashish K. Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health, called these “very low rates” on Twitter, adding that the numbers “are in line with the theme that vaccines prevent serious diseases”.
Jha said that when “many thousands of people (some unvaccinated) showed up to celebrate July 4th,” the “packed bars, clubs, and many mixes of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in a confined space” created “ideal conditions for the spread of COVID “.
“Bottom line? The P-Town outbreak would have been a nightmare if no one had been vaccinated,” he said.
Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, cited Provincetown on Twitter as “perhaps the worst scenario,” adding that vaccines are highly effective at protecting against hospitalizations and serious cases.
Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said on Twitter that while some breakthrough infections had emerged, Provincetown “vaccines are still highly effective and saved lives.”
New cases breaking some local, state records
A spate of Delta cases results in record-breaking weekly case numbers in a number of locations in the United States, including a dozen Louisiana communities, 10 Florida counties, three Mississippi counties, and three Oregon counties. The surge also sets all-time case records in two states: Louisiana and Hawaii, according to USA TODAY’s analysis of the Johns Hopkins University data.
On Friday, Florida had a weekly case count of 110,447, well above the weekly number of 83,090 last summer. Friday’s census puts the state in second place for the worst rate of new cases per person, behind Louisiana.
While Louisiana has 4.6 million residents, there are more new COVID-19 cases than New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Delaware combined. These six states have a combined population of 43.3 million.
More:DeSantis won’t call an emergency, but some Florida mayors are defying him with mask and vaccine mandates
Congress cannot extend the eviction moratorium despite last-minute efforts
After fighting for votes all day, the House of Representatives was unable to pass a law on Friday that would have extended the ban on evictions, which is due to expire on Saturday.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, majority leader Steny Hoyer and Whip James Clyburn released a joint statement on the failed law, blaming Republicans for it.
“It is extremely disappointing that House and Senate Republicans have refused to cooperate with us on this matter,” they wrote in the statement. “We urge them to reconsider their opposition to helping millions of Americans and instead join forces with us to help tenants and landlords hardest hit by the pandemic and prevent a nationwide eviction crisis.”
-Chelsey Cox and Ella Lee
Six tested positive for COVID on the Royal Caribbean ship
Six passengers sailing on Royal Caribbean International’s Adventure of the Seas, which departed Nassau on Saturday, tested positive for COVID-19, Lyan Sierra-Caro, spokesman for Royal Caribbean, the US TODAY, confirmed on Friday. All are American citizens.
The tests came back as part of the routine end-of-cruise tests offered by the cruise line as most passengers are required to provide evidence of a negative test in order to return home. Travelers flying to the US from international destinations must show a negative COVID test or evidence that they have recovered from the virus within the last three months.
“These guests were quarantined and then retested with a PCR test to confirm their diagnosis,” said Sierra-Caro. Depending on the destination, passengers were offered PCR and antigen tests. The tests that came back positive were rapid tests, and these passengers were retested Thursday or Friday with a PCR test which is more reliable.
Featuring: Mike Stucka, USA TODAY; Jeffrey Schweers, Tallahassee Democrat; The Associated Press