The United States has recorded a total of 40 million COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began.
Data from Johns Hopkins University also shows the U.S. has reported about 12 cases for every 100 residents. The milestone comes as the delta variant continues to spread and worries mount about potential surges after the long Labor Day weekend. An estimated 42.5 million Americans traveled for the holiday to mark the end of summer, according to Arrivalist, a company that tracks travel data.
Daily coronavirus infections and deaths are much higher than a year ago, and hospitals across the country have continued to fill. Oregon and Idaho are among the latest states to warn they are running out of ICU beds.
“We are dangerously close to activating statewide crisis standards of care – a historic step that means Idahoans in need of health care could receive a lesser standard of care or may be turned away all together,” Idaho Gov. Brad Little said last week, noting the state had only four ICU beds available across the state.
Also in the news:
► Alabama hospital officials are planning a statewide moment of silence Tuesday at noon to remember the more than 12,000 Alabamians who have died of COVID-19.
► Police officers and other first responders are among those most hesitant to get the coronavirus vaccine. While there isn’t national data tracking vaccinations for first responders, police and fire departments across the U.S. have reported rates far below the national average of about 74% who have gotten at least one dose.
► A Florida doctor said she will no longer treat primary care patients in person who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 40 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 650,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 221 million cases and 4.57 million deaths. Nearly 176 million Americans – 53% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to reverse years of progress made in patient safety standards, a new CDC study suggests. An analysis found four out of the six routinely tracked infections saw major increases in 2020. Read more here.
As the last wave of U.S. kids heads back to school, parents are concerned their children will get seriously ill if they catch COVID-19. A strong majority support requiring universal mask-wearing and teacher vaccinations amid the surge in pediatric COVID cases. Still, parents are eager for their children to return to classrooms, and they’re more skeptical of online learning now than they were last school year.
– Alia Wong
An Ohio judge has ruled that West Chester Hospital cannot be compelled to administer ivermectin to a COVID-19 patient. Butler County Judge Michael Oster Jr. said no clear evidence that ivermectin is effective against COVID-19 was presented in court and that he must also consider the impact that forcing a hospital to give a drug could have.
Ivermectin is an antiparasitic treatment commonly used for livestock, and is recommended by the FDA to treat “infections caused by some parasitic worms” in humans as well as head lice and rosacea. Interest in the drug to combat the coronavirus has been fueled by endorsements from allies of former President Donald Trump as well as Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, plus Fox News personalities Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.
Julie Smith, the wife of the patient, Jeffrey Smith, had sued the hospital to force doctors to administer the medication.
– Cameron Knight, Cincinnati Enquirer
Millions of jobless Americans lost their unemployment benefits Monday, leaving only a handful of economic support programs for those who are still being hit financially by the year-and-a-half-old coronavirus pandemic.
Two critical programs expired Monday. One provided jobless aid to self-employed and gig workers and another provided benefits to those who have been unemployed more than six months. The Biden administration’s $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit also ran out Monday.
It’s estimated that roughly 8.9 million Americans will lose all or some of these benefits.
While the White House has encouraged states to keep paying the $300 weekly benefit by using money from the stimulus bills, no states have opted to do so. Many states even opted out of the federal program early after some businesses complained that they couldn’t find enough people to hire. The data has shown minimal economic benefits from cutting off aid early in those states.
As health centers prepare to receive COVID-19 booster shots, many community health clinics serving vulnerable people are preparing for a slew of patients amid limited resources.
Federal health officials are planning to expand booster shot eligibility for Americans starting Sept. 20. While the expansion is still subject to FDA approval, community health clinicians are worried about having enough resources to provide the booster shots amid short and overburdened staff, continued vaccine education and efforts to resume missed primary and preventative care appointments.
Nationwide, community health centers serve about 30 million patients. Most are uninsured or on Medicaid, and about two-thirds live at or below poverty. About half are people of color, who disproportionately suffered throughout the pandemic.
The centers have been essential in vaccinating populations hit hard by the pandemic, experts say.
Dr. Lowell Gordon, medical director at Families Together in California, expects fewer mass vaccination sites, leading to increased demand at clinics, primary care practices and hospitals already strained amid surging cases in unvaccinated communities.
“It really is going to fall to the clinics like ours,” Gordon said. “Where’s the support to make this happen?” Read more here.
– Nada Hassanein, USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press