Coronavirus Updates: Biden calls for vaccine mandates after FDA approval

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Officials are hoping that the FDA approval of Pfizer's COVID vaccine will give reassurance to the 82 million eligible but still unvaccinated people in the United States.

The FDA director said that the approval process was extremely rigorous.

"We've heard false claims that thousands of people have died from the vaccine. Let me be clear, these claims are simply not true. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can save your life," Dr. Marks said.

The White House says that the approval means that businesses and institutions should now have the confidence to issue vaccine mandates.

"If you're a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, I call on you now to do that, require it," President Biden said.

Some 738 Americans die every day from COVID-19.

Here are more of today's headlines:



Hochul pushes for vaccine/testing mandate
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced New York will require vaccinations for all school personnel in the state with an option to test out weekly, "at least for now."

She will plan on announcing more school-related policies next week.

US could enter spring of 2022 with COVID 'under control' if enough people get vaccinated, Fauci says
Dr. Anthony Fauci urged the public to get vaccinated and said if the "overwhelming majority" of the population does so the US could have the pandemic "under control" by spring of 2022.

It isn't yet clear to health experts what proportion of the population needs to be vaccinated to reach a level of protection that could sustain a return to normalcy, like safely going to restaurants and theaters, Fauci said. So the best way forward is to vaccinate as many people as possible, he said.

77-year-old woman dies of COVID-19 after testing positive on Carnival cruise
At least one person who sailed on a Carnival cruise out of Galveston, Texas in late July to early August died from COVID-19, the cruise line confirmed Tuesday.

The cruise line is pushing back against what they call "disinformation," saying it is almost certain the woman who died did not contract COVID on the ship.

Hawaii governor urges visitors not to travel to islands amid COVID surge
Hawaii's governor asked Monday that visitors and residents reduce travel to the islands to essential business only while the state struggles to control COVID-19 as the highly contagious delta variant spreads in the community.

Gov. David Ige wants to curtail travel to Hawaii through the end of October.

Doctors urge people taking at-home COVID tests to report results
Doctors at UCSF want people who are about to take an at-home COVID-19 test to report results to a doctor regardless of the result.

"COVID home tests are accurate, but people should follow directions," said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong with UCSF.

He says at home COVID tests can help identify positive tests fast, but sometimes not everyone reports the results. Unlike getting tested at a certain location, at-home tests make it hard for health officials to track who has a negative and positive test. There is no supervision, so there is no immediate reporting to a government agency.

California couple stuck in Italy: How husband's breakthrough COVID case could cost them $10,000
It's a trip many people dream of -- an anniversary trip to Italy. But for Matthew and Katherine Walden of Mountain View, California, their anniversary to Milan has turned into a nightmare.

The next morning, Matthew tested positive for COVID-19, despite both he and his wife taking two tests 24 hours before they left and both being fully vaccinated.

Now, they're stuck in quarantine in their hotel for anywhere between 10 and 21 days, depending on how things unfold. The trip could end up costing the Waldens close to $10,000, a fee that won't be covered by the travel insurance they purchased.

3 Houston-area emergency rooms close due to COVID surge
Three Houston-area emergency rooms shut down Monday afternoon due to the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

According to an announcement made by Memorial Hermann, three 24-hour emergency rooms will be closed until further notice.

Vaccine push on Staten Island

Officials are stepping up efforts to increase vaccination rates on Staten Island. Mobile vaccination vans are being deployed at sites across the borough from now through the end of the month. And in an effort to recruit more vaccination outreach volunteers, "Staten Island Vax Thursday" kicks off on Thursday August 26. Volunteer outreach centers will be open at the Staten Island Mall in New Springfield and at Tappen Park in Clifton.

100,000 NYC residents have received $100 vax incentive payments
One hundred thousand New Yorkers have received $100 vaccine payments since the city's cash incentive program launched several weeks ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. The city has administered about 10.5 million doses of COVID vaccine since the start of the pandemic. Two hundred thousand of those doses have been given through mobile vaccination sites, the mayor said.

What to know about delta and other COVID-19 variants of concern
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed the COVID-19 delta variant as one of its "variants of concern" (VOCs) on June 15. According to the CDC, VOCs can be more contagious, more dangerous, less susceptible to available treatments or harder to detect. The current VOCs all have mutations in the virus's spike protein, which acts as a key to break into cells to infect them. And that's a potential concern because the spike protein from the original version of the virus is what scientists used to design all three authorized vaccines. It's also what monoclonal antibody treatments latch on to so the virus can't get into your cells, effectively "neutralizing" the threat. So far none of these mutations have changed the virus enough to undercut the vaccines. The uncontrolled spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, means the virus is mutating quickly. That's why many new variants are being discovered in places with the highest infection rates and large numbers of unvaccinated individuals, like the United States, the United Kingdom, India and Brazil.

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