Coronavirus Updates: Field hospitals in some states where ICUs overwhelmed

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
COVID booster shots could get green light amid flood in hospitalizations
EMBED <>More Videos

Reena Roy has the latest on the coronavirus pandemic as hospitals across the country are overwhelmed with COVID patients.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Hospitals in some parts of the country are becoming overwhelmed with ICU patients, and Mississippi is now building a second field hospital in a parking lot that will include critical care capacity.

The CDC says there has been a 400% increase in hospital admissions for children with COVID since July 4, and there are concerns the spread could worsen as more children head back to school.

Confusion reigned in several Texas school districts after the state Supreme Court stopped mask mandates in two of the state's largest districts, the day before the first day of school in Dallas.

An Arizona judge upheld, at least temporarily, a mask mandate in a Phoenix district despite a new state law prohibiting such restrictions.

One Colorado county posted sheriff's deputies in schools on the first day of classes as a precaution after parents protested a last-minute mask mandate.

Here are more of today's headlines:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tests positive for COVID-19

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. According to a release from his office, Abbott tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

TSA extending its mask rule for airline passengers through January 2022

Federal officials are extending into January a requirement that people on airline flights and public transportation wear face masks to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Transportation Security Administration's current order was scheduled to expire on Sept. 13. An agency spokesman said Tuesday that the mandate will be extended until Jan. 18, 2022.

Amid new COVID-19 surge, Florida skeptics reconsider vaccines

In a rural stretch of northeastern Florida where barely half the people have gotten a coronavirus shot, Roger West had no problem telling others he was "adamantly anti-vaccination." The co-owner of the Westside Journal weekly newspaper used his voice as a columnist to widely share his doubts about the vaccine and his mistrust of the health experts in the U.S. who have been urging everyone to get it.

"I do not trust the Federal Government," West wrote recently. "I do not trust Dr. Fauci, I do not trust the medical profession, nor the pharmaceutical giants."

But something happened to change his mind: Two of West's close friends became ill with the virus, and a third died. Rattled and stressed, he prayed for guidance. Then, when his mother and another relative both urged him to get vaccinated, he took it as a sign from God. West drove to the Winn Dixie supermarket and rolled up his sleeve for the first of two injections of the Moderna vaccine.

Deaths in NJ, NY are recent highs

Officials announced 20 COVID-related deaths in New Jersey on Tuesday, which is the most since 25 deaths were reported May 26.

New York reported 18 deaths on Tuesday, which is also a recent high.

Masks to be mandatory in CT schools

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday that masks will be required for all students kindergarten through 12th grade.

He said he hopes it will only last the first month.

NYC will make boosters 'easy and free,' mayor says

New York City is preparing to make 3rd doses of the Pfizer and Modern vaccine "easy and free" if and when booster shots are recommended by federal authorities, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. The Biden administration is expected to start recommending Americans get booster doses eight months after their second shot.

US to recommend COVID vaccine booster shots at 8 months

U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country. That's according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

NYC's indoor vaccine mandate takes effect

New York City's first-in-the-nation vaccine mandate took effect Tuesday, meaning everyone who enters restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues, and other businesses will need to be vaccinated. They will also have to show proof in the form of a CDC-issued vaccine card, the New York State Excelsior Pass or the NYC COVID Safe app. Even photograph of a vaccination card is acceptable. Mayor Bill de Blasio has told businesses this will be no different than checking customers' IDs before serving alcohol.

"Just buy into this because it's going to work for all of us, is going to make us all safer," de Blasio said Monday.

New Zealand to enter nationwide lockdown after single COVID case found

New Zealand's government took drastic action Tuesday by putting the entire nation into a strict lockdown for at least three days after finding a single case of coronavirus infection in the community. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern invoked some of the stirring rhetoric she used early in the pandemic by urging the "team of 5 million" - New Zealand's population - to go hard and early in trying to eliminate the latest outbreak.

"We have seen what happens elsewhere if we fail to get on top of it," Ardern said. "We only get one chance."

NYC schools chancellor, next governor hold roundtables on back to school safety

Two roundtable discussions are being held in New York City Tuesday about the upcoming school year and safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter hosted Department of Education Secretary Dr. Miguel Cardona in the Bronx at PS5 in Port Morris. Separately, incoming governor and current Lt. Gov Kathy Hochul is hosting a roundtable with parents and teachers on the upcoming school year as COVID cases rise and the delta variant spreads.

Vaccine skeptic Cardinal Raymond Burke hospitalized with COVID-19, on ventilator

Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Catholic Church's most outspoken conservatives and a vaccine skeptic, said he has COVID-19 and his staff said he is breathing through a ventilator. Burke tweeted Aug. 10 that he had caught the virus, was resting comfortably and was receiving excellent medical care.

"Please pray for me as I begin my recovery," the 73-year-old Burke said in the tweet. "Let us trust in Divine Providence. God bless you."

On Saturday, his staff tweeted that he has been hospitalized and is on a ventilator, but that doctors were encouraged with his progress.

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.

national geographic covid newsletter sign up


New York City COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

New Jersey COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

Submit a News Tip or Question