COVID News: CDC panel meets on booster shots as hospitalizations soar

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- A CDC panel is meeting Monday to discuss the latest research on the COVID vaccines and when most Americans will need booster shots.

It comes as the U.S. sees its highest number of hospitalized COVID patients in seven months.

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



Nassau County vaccine milestone
County Executive Laura Curran announced that one million Nassau County residents have now received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

"Nassau County has the highest adult vaccination rate in New York State and the third highest in the United States and we're committed to keeping up our momentum," Curran said.

Children with COVID cases hit second highest mark ever
n a newly released weekly report, which compiles state-by-state data on COVID-19 cases among children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association (CHA) found that just under 204,000 new child COVID-19 cases were reported last week, marking the second highest week on record.

States with school face mask bans face federal civil rights inquiries
The Education Department announced Monday that it's investigating five Republican-led states with universal mask bans, saying the policies could amount to discrimination against students with disabilities or health conditions.

The department's Office for Civil Rights sent letters to education chiefs in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. Those states have barred schools from requiring masks among students and staff, a move that the department says could prevent some students from safely attending school.

Nurse with 5 children, including newborn, dies from COVID as husband remains hospitalized
Family members are mourning the loss of an ER nurse from southern California who died from COVID-19 as her husband remains in the hospital with the virus.

Davy Macias, a mother of five and registered nurse who had been caring for patients since the beginning of the pandemic, died Thursday after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

"She touched everybody's life. When she's there, she's an advocate for all of her patients. It's always for the benefit of the patient and the babies. She's a great and amazing woman," her sister added.

NJ to end pandemic unemployment benefits
New Jersey will end the coronavirus-related unemployment benefits program on Sept. 4, Gov. Murphy announced. The governor says the cost to the state is too high. "The proper way to extend federal UI benefits is through federal action, not a patchwork of state ones," he said.

Some CT districts head back to school with mandates in place
Classes resume Monday in several Connecticut school districts. Among the return to in-person learning are New Canaan, Stamford, and Norwalk. The state's indoor school mask mandate, COVID vaccine, and testing for teachers remain hot topics for parents.

J'Ouvert Parade canceled
The J'Ouvert parade in Brooklyn is canceled this year due to COVID concerns, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced. He's hopeful that the pre-dawn event celebrating the West Indian Day Carnival will resume next year.

European Union recommends reinstating COVID-related restrictions on US tourists
The European Union recommended Monday that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infections there.

The decision by the European Council to remove the U.S. from a safe list of countries for nonessential travel reverses advice that it gave in June, when the bloc recommended lifting restrictions on U.S. travelers before the summer tourism season. The guidance is nonbinding, however, and U.S. travelers should expect a mishmash of travel rules across the continent.

Clashes in Greece over mandates

Clashes erupted in Athens between the police and some participants in a protest rally against COVID-19 vaccinations. Police estimate the participants in Sunday's rally in central Syntagma Square at between 7,000 and 8,000.

As the last of the speeches denouncing government plans to make vaccinations for health workers and students mandatory were finishing, some youths attacked police standing before the tomb of the Unknown Soldier next to the Greek Parliament with bottles, firecrackers and some firebombs. Police used tear gas, stun grenades and a water cannon to disperse protesters, who shouted obscenities at the police and against Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
While over 5.7 million people in Greece's population of 10.7 million have been fully vaccinated, there has been a recent resurgence of cases and hospitalizations, almost entirely fueled by the delta variant and mainly affecting the unvaccinated.

Drug combo effective against delta variant back on market
A monoclonal antibody treatment that was shelved because it wasn't effective against COVID at the time, is now being brought back to market. The U.S. paused distribution of Eli Lilly's dual monoclonal antibody treatment in June because it was ineffective against the beta and gamma variants. But studies are now showing the drug combination is surprisingly effective against the delta variant.

According to the CDC, the delta variant accounts for nearly 96% of COVID cases in the US now. With its return to market, doctors now have three different monoclonal antibody treatments to use in the fight against coronavirus. Although the three formulations are slightly different, they all can provide a kickstart to the immune system, if used early in a COVID infection.

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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