NEW YORK (WABC) -- Across the country, hospitalizations are on the rise for the fourth consecutive day as 47,000 patients are now receiving care.
Medical experts say several factors may be contributing to the rising numbers.
"The vast majority of hospitalizations are still among the unvaccinated, but we are seeing waning immunity," Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. Peter Hotez said.
So far there is no word on when the FDA and the CDC will make the decision to extend boosters to all adults.
Here are more of today's COVID-19 headlines:
California, Colorado and NM expand virus booster access
California is among three U.S. states now allowing coronavirus booster shots for all adults even though federal health officials recommend limiting doses to those considered most at risk. The nation's most populous state, along with Colorado and New Mexico, instituted their policies to try to head off a feared surge around the end-of-year holidays when more people are gathering inside. Colorado and New Mexico have among the nation's highest rates of new infections, while California - lowest in the nation earlier this fall - now joins them in the "high" tier for transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cases on the rise for the 1st time in 10 weeks
The contagious delta variant is driving up COVID-19 hospitalizations across the U.S. and fueling disruptive outbreaks, a worrisome sign of what could be ahead this winter. While trends are improving in Florida, Texas and other Southern states that bore the worst of the summer surge, it's clear that delta isn't done with the United States. COVID-19 is moving north and west for the winter as people head indoors, close their windows and breathe stagnant air. "We're going to see a lot of outbreaks in unvaccinated people that will result in serious illness, and it will be tragic," said Dr. Donald Milton, of the University of Maryland School of Public Health. In recent days, a Vermont college suspended social gatherings after a spike in cases tied to Halloween parties. Boston officials shut down an elementary school to control an outbreak. Hospitals in New Mexico and Colorado are overwhelmed. In Michigan, the three-county metro Detroit area is again becoming a hot spot for transmissions, with one hospital system reporting nearly 400 COVID-19 patients. Mask-wearing in Michigan has declined to about 25% of people, according to a combination of surveys tracked by an influential modeling group at the University of Washington.
Johnson & Johnson to split into two companies
Johnson & Johnson, which makes one of three COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the United States, is splitting into two companies. The move separates the division that sells Band-Aids and Listerine from its medical device and prescription drug business. The company said Friday the move will help improve the focus and speed of each company to address trends in their different industries. The company selling prescription drugs and medical devices will keep Johnson & Johnson as its name, the company said Friday. A name was not disclosed for the new company.
Morristown High School goes to virtual learning
Morristown High School announced that they experienced at least 10 positive cases of COVID among students and staff. So, due to the direction of the local health department, Morristown High School will be closed to in-person learning until Monday, November 22, 2021.
COVID at-home test recalled
The FDA is elevating the seriousness of its recall for some at-home COVID-19 tests. Officials say 2.2 million Ellume tests are now being recalled because of the risk of false positives. The FDA is making it a class one recall, the most serious type. The agency has received dozens of reports of false positives, which could lead to a person wrongly receiving COVID-19 treatments.
2nd Queens school closes to in-person education amid outbreak
Another Queens school is temporarily closed by coronavirus transmission in the building, the second this week. Village Academy in Far Rockaway will close today through Nov. 20. Students will return to the school on Nov. 22. The school reported 14 cases among students over the past week and two among staff, according to state data. Nine partial classroom closures at the middle school, which shares a building with other schools. Earlier this week, P.S. 166Q, the Henry Gradstein School, also in Queens went fully remote.
Austria's chancellor threatens lockdown for unvaccinated people as COVID cases soar
Austria's chancellor stepped up threats of lockdown measures for unvaccinated people, as new coronavirus cases in the Alpine nation are soaring. The country's worst-affected province said it plans to take that step next week. Austria has taken a series of measures in recent weeks in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 and encourage more people to get vaccinated. On Monday, new rules took effect barring unvaccinated people who haven't recovered from an infection from restaurants, hotels, hairdressing salons and large public events.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said late last month that unvaccinated people in Austria could face new lockdown restrictions if infection numbers continue to rise - which they have. On Thursday, official figures showed 760.6 reported new cases per 100,000 residents over the previous seven days - a rate three times that of neighboring Germany, where record numbers also are causing alarm.
Suffolk County offering free vaccines to kids
The Suffolk County Health Department is administering free COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5 to 11. Vaccines will be administered at the H. Lee Dennison Building located at 100 Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Thursday, November 11, the vaccine clinic will operate from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, who must complete the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Form for the first dose and attest that they are eligible to be vaccinated.
"I am beyond pleased that the CDC has recommended that children ages 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. "As a father, I am encouraging all parents who may have questions to talk with their pediatrician or a trusted healthcare provider about the importance of getting their children vaccinated. This vaccine saves lives and it could save the life of your child."
While appointments are not required, they are strongly encouraged. Walk-ins will be available on a first come, first served basis. For more information on the county's vaccine efforts, or to schedule an appointment call 311 or visit SuffolkCountyNY.gov/vaccine.
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