COVID News: Frequency of boosters depends on vaccine durability, Fauci says

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci is shedding some light on the future of booster shots now that they are recommended for all vaccinated adults.

He says even with boosters available and recommended, the White House considers those who have gotten two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one shot of Johnson & Johnson to be fully vaccinated.

As for additional doses, Dr. Fauci says the data will be the guide.

"We would hope, and this is something that we are looking at very carefully, that the third shot with the mRNA not only boosts you way up but increases the durability so that you will not necessarily need it every six months or a year," he said.

Dr. Fauci also stressed how crucial vaccines are to returning to a normal holiday season.

He says the real concern now is those who are unvaccinated.

Here are more of today's COVID-19 headlines:



Long Island hospital temporarily closing ER due to nursing staff shortages
The emergency department at a Nassau County hospital has temporarily closed due to nursing staff shortages as a result of New York's vaccine mandate.

Officials at Mount Sinai South Nassau said Monday that all other options were exhausted before the decision was made to close the ER, starting at 3 p.m. Instead, patients in need of emergency care will be directed to the hospital's main campus in Oceanside. An ambulance will be stationed at the ER at all times for the duration of the closure.

Erie County institutes indoor mask mandate
With positivity rates increasing, Erie County will implement a mask mandate for all indoor public locations starting 6 a.m. Tuesday.

The indoor mask mandate is phase one of a four phase plan. Erie County hopes not have to implement the other phases, which include vaccinations, capacity restrictions and shutdowns.

Gov. Kathy Hochul commended the Erie County executive for taking strong local action, calling it "an example of the leadership we need to see at the local level to combat this deadly virus."

White House: 90% of federal workers, military have gotten at least one COVID shot
More than 90% of the nation's 3.5 million federal workers have gotten at least one COVID shot with the "vast majority" of employees fully vaccinated and another 5% either requesting an extension or exemption, the Biden administration was expected to announce on Monday.

Officials said the numbers -- which include civilian and military personnel -- show the government won't see disruptions this holiday season in because of the mandate.

More than 800,000 NYC residents have gotten boosters
811,460 New York City residents have received COVID-19 booster shots, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. 88% of NYC adults are now vaccinated. 75% of all NYC residents have received at least one shot. And 101,217 5-11 year-old children are now vaccinated, the mayor said. In all,12,437,097 doses of COVID vaccine have been administered in the city since the start of the pandemic.

Thanksgiving travel begins
Thanksgiving holiday travelers have already begun hitting the nation's highways and airports. According to the TSA, agents screened more than 2.2 million passengers on Friday alone the highest number since early 2020. Seven in ten Americans say they plan to get together with friends and family over the next week. Health officials are urging everyone who will be away from home to get vaccinated. "You have to create your so-called wall of prevention or circle of safety as we call it by having family and friends around you be fully vaccinated," Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Raymund RaZonable said. AAA and the TSA are predicting air travel will approach pre-pandemic levels.

COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise in New York
New York state data released Saturday show the state continuing to see an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in November as the holiday season approaches. Nearly 6,100 people a day are now testing positive for COVID-19 in New York. That's up 22% from roughly 5,000 for the seven days through Nov. 11. It's also the highest seven-day average since mid-April. The vast majority of the state's 62 counties are seeing sharp upticks in new COVID-19 positives: from a 32% increase in cases over the seven days through Thursday on Long Island, to a 37% increase in Niagara County. And hospitals in New York reported 2,249 confirmed COVID-19 patients as of Friday, up 20% from the previous Friday.

12% of NYC kids have been vaccinated, mayor says
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is touting the City's efforts to get young children vaccinated. The mayor says 12% of city children 5 to 11 years old have gotten their first shot. That's 2% higher than the national average. The mayor credits efforts like school pop-up sites. "We're off to a very strong start with vaccinating our youngest New Yorkers and a lot of this is this in school vaccination drive and it's going to continue," de Blasio told WNYC. The City began hosting pop-up vaccination sites at charter schools. Starting November 30, vaccination sites will return to other public schools to administer both first and second doses of the vaccine.

Relatives of virus dead question Japan's stay-at-home policy
Two women whose relatives died from the coronavirus at home are questioning the Japanese government's policy of having some infected people recuperate in their own homes. The move comes as the government says it will ensure the availability of more hospital beds for any future COVID-19 outbreaks. Japan boasts one of the world's most affordable and accessible public health systems. But hospitals were not reorganized or equipped to accommodate all those who were seriously ill with the virus. Hundreds are estimated to have died at home. It's unclear if the government can muster the influence and resources to prevent that from happening again.

Ukraine's doctors pushed to the limit by COVID-19 wave
Ukraine is setting records almost every day for coronavirus infections and deaths. Vaccination rates in Eastern Europe have generally lagged and Ukraine has one of the lowest. But the situation has turned dire nearly two years since the virus swept into Europe because of Ukraine's underfunded and struggling health care system. That means health care workers in the southern city of Kakhovka are being stretched to the limit. One doctor works a 42-hour shift and tends to patients in a hospital and in adjacent tents before taking two days off. Only 21% of Ukraine's 41 million people are fully vaccinated despite plentiful vaccine supplies. Many people cite falsehoods about the vaccines.

Cuomo misrepresented COVID-19 nursing home toll, report says
The New York Assembly's investigation into former Gov. Andrew Cuomo's conduct in office concluded the Democrat's administration misrepresented how many nursing home residents died of COVID-19, according to a lawmaker who reviewed the committee's still-secret report. Assembly Member Phil Steck was among the Assembly Judiciary Committee members who were able to review a copy of the approximately 45-page report Thursday and Friday in advance of its public release, possibly as soon as next week.

U.S. to buy $5.29 billion worth of Pfizer pills

The U.S. government says it will buy 10 million treatment courses of Pfizer's COVID-19 pill, if that medication receives authorization from the FDA. The government would pay $5.29 billion for the experimental pill, in the largest purchase agreement yet for a coronavirus treatment. Pfizer asked the FDA for emergency authorization earlier this week. Officials are also reviewing a competing pill from Merck.

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