The Latest: Georgia Gov. orders National Guard to hospitals
ATLANTA — More than 100 National Guard personnel are being deployed to 20 hospitals across Georgia to help deal with the state’s latest surge of COVID-19 cases, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced Tuesday.
The 105 medically trained Guardsmen and women will help staff at hospitals in Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, Brunswick, Albany and other cities across the state, Kemp said in a statement.
“These guardsmen will assist our frontline healthcare workers as they provide quality medical care during the current increase in cases and hospitalizations, and I greatly appreciate General Carden and his team for their willingness to answer the call again in our fight against COVID-19,” Kemp said.
The Guard is coordinating with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Community Health in the effort, Kemp said.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— US outbreaks force early reversals on in-person learning at schools
— ACLU sues over South Carolina ban on school mask mandates
— Dr. Fauci expects uptick in U.S. vaccinations after FDA OKs Pfizer shot
— Paralympics open in empty stadium as cases keep rising in Tokyo
Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
NEW YORK — A new report from California finds that COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to be far more common in unvaccinated people than those who got the shots.
But it also indicates fully vaccinated people accounted for a higher proportion of hospitalizations and deaths than previous reports.
Health officials looked at about 43,000 reported coronavirus infections in Los Angeles County residents, ages 16 and older, that were reported in May, June and July. They found that about 25% were fully vaccinated people.
Infections tended to be more common and more severe in unvaccinated people, the report concluded. People who were unvaccinated were nearly five times more likely to be infected and 29 times more likely to be hospitalized.
But the report also found about 12% of the infected people who were hospitalized and about 12% who died were fully vaccinated.
The L.A. County report – which the CDC released on Tuesday – found fully vaccinated people who died after infection tended to be older and more frail than the unvaccinated people who died. The median age of the vaccinated people who died was 78, compared with 63 for the unvaccinated people. Also, one quarter of the 24 fully vaccinated people who died had weakened immune systems i
Last month, federal officials said only about 3% of hospitalized patients and fewer than 1% of deaths were vaccinated. The CDC officials noted the proportion of Americans who are fully vaccinated has been rising, and therefore they expected to see a rise in infections among vaccinated people.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas doesn’t have any intensive care unit beds available for COVID-19 patients as the state’s coronavirus cases continue to surge, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday.
Hutchinson says it’s the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began that no ICU beds were available for COVID-19 patients. Virus patients make up about half of the state’s ICU beds. The number of virus patients in ICUs and on ventilators reached a new high in the state on Monday.
“Everyone should know the strain this puts on our hospitals and the need to get our vaccinations and how critical our bed space is,” Hutchinson said at a news conference.
Hutchinson says hospitals in the state were working to open more ICU beds for virus patients.
TEL AVIV, Israel — The number of daily coronavirus cases in Israel is nearing the record set in January.
The government reported Tuesday that 9,831 new cases had been registered a day earlier, the highest since the record of 10,000 new cases was set in mid-January.
The number is notable because more than 5.5 million of Israel’s 9.3 million have received two doses of the vaccine, one of the fastest vaccination drives in the world. In recent weeks, the delta variant has driven a surge of infections and with it, new restrictions. Nearly 1.6 million people have received a third jab.
ATLANTA — A few weeks into the new school year, growing numbers of U.S. districts have halted in-person learning or switched to hybrid models because of rapidly increasing coronavirus infections.
The setbacks in mostly small, rural districts that were among the first to go back are dampening hopes for a sustained, widespread return to classrooms after two years of schooling disrupted by the pandemic. More than 80 school districts or charter networks have closed or delayed in-person schooling. That’s happened for at least one entire school in more than a dozen states. Others have sent home entire grade levels or asked half of their students to stay home on hybrid schedules.
In Georgia, in-person classes are on hold in more than 20 districts that started the school year without mask requirements. Some superintendents say the virus appeared to be spreading in schools before they sent students home.
“We just couldn’t manage it with that much staff out, having to cover classes and the spread so rapid,” said Eddie Morris, superintendent of the 1,050-student Johnson County district in Georgia. With 40% of students in quarantine or isolation, the district shifted last week to online instruction until Sept. 13.
NAIROBI, Kenya — The director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning “we may never get to herd immunity” against COVID-19 given what is known about the coronavirus.
John Nkengasong spoke to African health ministers on Tuesday about infections that occur in people despite vaccinations. The Africa CDC has aimed to vaccinate 60% of the continent of 1.3 billion people, up to 30% of them this year.
But the more infectious delta variant is driving a resurgence in cases and forcing governments around the world to reconsider lockdowns and other measures. The slow and limited flow of vaccines to African nations while richer nations secure supplies has complicated efforts to contain the pandemic.
The Africa CDC director for months has warned against allowing COVID-19 to become endemic on the continent with some of the world’s least-equipped health systems.
PORTLAND, Maine — A spokesman for independent Sen. Angus King says the senator is feeling better as he recovers from the coronavirus.
The 77-year-old King announced Aug. 19 he had tested positive for the coronavirus. King was vaccinated for the disease earlier this year.
Spokesman Matthew Felling said Tuesday that King is “feeling better, quarantining and resting at home, following doctor’s orders.”
Maine health officials have reported 95% of state residents who are in their 70s have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. More than 70% of the state’s eligible population is fully vaccinated.
Maine CDC has reported more than 74,000 total cases and 924 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.
TOKYO — The Paralympics have begun in the same empty National Stadium that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics.
Japanese Emperor Naruhito again had the official honor of getting it all started. The Paralympics open with COVID-19 cases on the rise in Tokyo and Japan.
Daily new cases in Tokyo have increased four to five times since the Olympics opened on July 23. Tokyo is under a state of emergency until Sept. 12.
The Paralympics end Sept. 5. Organizers say they are confident the Paralympics can be safely held.
TOPEKA, Kan. — People who oppose mask requirements or restrictions on public gatherings imposed by Kansas counties can challenge them in court and obtain a ruling within 10 days.
That’s the result of a decision Tuesday by the state Supreme Court. The court said the state for now can enforce a COVID-19-inspired law enacted in March by the Republican-controlled Legislature to restrict the power of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and county officials in emergencies.
A judge in Johnson County declared last month that the law violated the state constitution, but GOP state Attorney General Derek Schmidt appealed. The Supreme Court is blocking the county judge’s order while it considers the appeal.
NEW ORLEANS — Getting into a Louisiana State University football game this fall will require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID test.
The requirement announced Tuesday in Baton Rouge comes a day after the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval of the Pfizer vaccine. LSU’s announcement says the university will require all Tiger Stadium guests 12 years old and older to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of entry.
Meanwhile, Louisiana State University students have until Sept. 10 to submit proof of their first vaccine or file paperwork to opt out of the vaccination requirement. Under Louisiana law, students can provide a doctor’s note citing a medical condition that precludes getting the vaccine or a “written dissent” form objecting to the shot.
LSU students have until Oct. 15 to submit proof of full vaccination.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit over a South Carolina law that bans school districts from imposing mask mandates.
The lawsuit argues the ban effectively excludes vulnerable students from public schools and disproportionately impacts students with underlying health conditions or disabilities, who are at risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract COVID-19.
Current guidance from the CDC recommends everyone in a school building, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors. Public health officials have pleaded with the governor and legislators to lift the ban on mask mandates.
South Carolina legislators included a provision in the state’s general budget that prevented school districts from using state funding to mandate masks in schools. Gov. Henry McMaster has said parents should have the choice regarding whether children wear masks in schools.
Under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, public schools cannot exclude students with disabilities or segregate them unnecessarily from their peers. Schools are also required to provide reasonable modifications to allow students with disabilities to fully participate.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida’s Walt Disney World will require union employees as well as non-union and salaried workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to keep their jobs at the theme park.
The deal was reached Monday with a union coalition, shortly after the Pfizer vaccine earned full Food and Drug Administration approval. It requires the workers to show proof of vaccination by Oct. 22 to remain employed, although employees can request exemptions for medical or religious reasons, a union statement says.
Any employee who doesn’t comply, and doesn’t request an exemption, will be “separated from the company with a ‘yes’ rehire status,” according to the Service Trades Council Union. Before layoffs and furloughs due to the pandemic, the coalition covered about 43,000 of 77,000 Disney World workers.
Disney announced last month that all non-union hourly and salaried employees would be required to receive the vaccine within 60 days. The company also asked all employees who were working from home to show proof of vaccination before returning to work.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The European Union’s drug regulator has approved new manufacturing sites for COVID-19 vaccines, boosting production in the EU by nearly half a billion shots this year.
The European Medicines Agency’s human medicines committee on Tuesday approved an additional site in Saint Remy Sur Avre in France that is expected to produce an additional 51 million doses this year of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
The French manufacturing site is operated by Delpharm. The agency has also approved a new manufacturing line at BioNTech’s existing site in the German town of Marburg, which increases capacity by some 410 million doses this year.
The EMA also approved an additional manufacturing site for the Moderna vaccine in Bloomington, Indiana.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, more than 517 million shots of vaccine have been administered in the 30 nations of the European Union and European Economic Area. That’s 65% of the adult population of the region fully vaccinated.
The EMA has said it is considering whether to authorize booster shots. Some countries, including France and Germany, have started or will soon start offering third doses to some vulnerable groups.
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s hoping for an uptick in the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations following U.S. government approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
The top infectious disease expert in the U.S. says the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Monday should encourage people who cited lack of approval as a reason for not getting vaccinated. The FDA previously had cleared the Pfizer shots for use on an emergency basis.
Fauci told NBC’s “Today Show” that FDA approval will mean more “enthusiasm” for vaccine mandates by workplaces, colleges and universities, and the military. He says it will help boost U.S. vaccination rates.
The FDA’s decision clears Pfizer to advertise the vaccine, which Fauci says should help. Government data show just under half of the U.S. population remains unvaccinated.
LONDON — Scotland officials say they’ll hold a public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic by authorities, starting by the end of the year.
The Scottish government says the judge-led probe will “scrutinize decisions taken in the course of this pandemic and learn lessons for future pandemics.” It will look at deaths and other health impacts along with the economic and social effects of the coronavirus outbreak.
Cases are once again rising following the easing of pandemic restrictions — especially in Scotland, where new infections have more than doubled in the past week. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says she can’t “rule out having to reimpose some restrictions” if cases continue to rise.
A separate inquiry for the whole U.K. has been announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson but is not scheduled to begin until next year. Families of people who died in the pandemic have been pushing for an earlier start.
Britain has recorded more than 130,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest toll in Europe after Russia.
ROME — The head of Italy’s nationwide vaccine effort is optimistic the country will vaccinate 80% of its eligible population age 12 and older by the end of September.
Army Gen. Francesco Paolo Figliuolo says the pace of vaccination is picking up again after an expected slump in daily vaccinations due to the peak summer vacation period.
Starting on Wednesday, some 3.7 million doses of Pfizer and 1.6 million of Moderna vaccines will be distributed across the country. The new infusion of supplies combined with young people’s enthusiasm to get the injections are boosting the general’s “optimism” about making the Sept. 30 target.
Two-thirds, or 66%, of Italy’s eligible population is fully vaccinated.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s health minister has announced restrictions and requirements for people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, stressing that more than 90% of patients being treated for the disease in intensive care units are unvaccinated.
Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias also stressed Tuesday that health care and care home workers who refuse to get vaccinated would not get a grace period for a previously announced suspension from work starting Sept. 1.
From Sept. 13 until March 31, Kililias announced, all private and public sector workers without a certificate proving vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 within the last six months will have to undergo one rapid test per week. Two tests per week will be required for those working in academia, tourism, restaurants, cafes, bars, and in television, movie, theater and musical productions.
The minister says indoor restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs and entertainment venues will only be accessible to customers who are vaccinated or recently recovered, with checks conducted at the entrance through an app that scans the certificates to verify them.
Masks will be mandatory for all, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, in indoor public areas and in crowded outdoor areas.
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has registered its highest single-day COVID-19 death toll of the pandemic, according to state media reports.
The country’s Health Ministry said Tuesday that 709 people with the disease had died since Monday and 7,727 patients were in critical condition. The ministry said 40,600 new cases were confirmed in the same 24-hour period.
The previous daily record for COVID-19 deaths in Iran was set Sunday. The country reported its highest daily tally of confirmed cases — more than 50,000 — a week ago.
The highly contagious delta variant is fueling the surge in new cases. A five-day lockdown in the country that included a ban on the use of personal cars between provinces recently ended.
Only some 8% of Iranians have been fully vaccinated.
Authorities have said that less than 40% of the population follows measures such as wearing face masks and social distancing.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan will require all teachers, professors, school staff and students age 17 and older to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Unvaccinated people will be barred from entering educational institutions starting Oct. 15. That’s also when the government will require proof of vaccination in order to purchase train and bus tickets.
Planning Minister Asad Umar announced the new rules Tuesday at a press conference in Islamabad. He said vaccinated people can get online certificates from the National Database and Registration Authority, and a smartphone app is also being developed.
Pakistan, with a population of about 220 million, has reported more than 1,131,000 confirmed cases and 25,094 deaths.