COVID News: U.S. vaccination rates have dropped 37% over last 3 weeks

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- According to the CDC, 75% of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but vaccination rates have declined by 37% over the past three weeks.

According to the Financial Times, the U.S. ranks 45th in the world in vaccination rate.

More than 70 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated.

"The reason we're seeing lots of people in hospitals and still more than a thousand, more than 1,500 deaths every day in this country is because there are so many people who are not yet vaccinated," Former CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said.

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



Millions of newly eligible line up for vaccine boosters
Millions of Americans, newly eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot following a CDC decision late Thursday, lined up at vaccine distribution sites across the country Friday. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky ruled that people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 and up who have chronic health problems such as diabetes should be offered a booster once they're six months past their last Pfizer dose. And a broad swath of other adults can decide for themselves if they want a booster once they reach that six-month mark: Younger people with underlying health problems - plus people at increased risk of infection because of their jobs, such as health workers, or their living conditions, such as jails or homeless shelters. Walensky overruled objections from her own advisory panel in adding that last category, but the decision drew praise from health organizations that need their employees to avoid even a mild infection so they can come to work.

Knicks fully vaccinated, some Nets not yet eligible to play home games
The New York Knicks' entire roster is vaccinated, making all the players compliant with New York City's vaccine mandate and eligible to play in their home games. "I'm proud to say that our organization - players, coaches and staff - are 100 percent vaccinated," general manager Scott Perry said Friday. "And I think it's a credit to our players, too, in particular that they took this thing very seriously and took the responsibility to get that done." Nets general manager Sean Marks said earlier this week that a couple players wouldn't yet be eligible, but he was confident everyone would be able to participate by the time the regular season began on Oct. 19.

Another judge temporarily blocks NYC school vaccine mandate
A federal appeals court has temporarily delayed the New York City implementing its vaccine requirement for public school employees, the latest challenge to the impending mandate. The temporary restraining order was granted by a judge on the federal government's Second Circuit Court of Appeals Friday night. The case will now go to a three judge federal panel for review, and it will likely be decided before the city's vaccine mandate for schools takes effect next week.

Anger over CDC panel's original booster decision

National Nurses United, the largest union of registered nurses, was furious over the CDC advisory panel's original decision to exclude frontline workers from its booster shot recommendation. The group labeled the decision "unconscionable," and urged CDC's director to overrule the panel. In the end, Dr. Rachel Walensky sided with the workers, stating, "As CDC director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact." Dr. Walensky said she made the decision in part because it aligned with the FDA's booster authorization decision earlier this week.

8 unvaccinated NYPD officers hospitalized for COVID-19
Eight unvaccinated NYPD officers are currently in the hospital with COVID-19, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. That number includes a 23-year-old officer who Shea says is "fighting for his life." Shea urged officers to get vaccinated in a somber video message to the department.
"Why do I keep coming back to you on this? Because I'm talking to family members, I'm talking to union representatives of multiple ranks, I'm talking to you and your partners," Shea said in the video obtained by Eyewitness News. "When it's too late, when you're in the hospital or you're driving to the hospital, and you have difficulty breathing."

NJ mask mandate for ages 2 and up in day cares begins
New Jersey's mask mandate for day cares goes into effect Friday. Anyone over the age of 2 will have to wear a mask while indoors. The state says this will strengthen protections for those too young to get vaccinated. Governor Murphy says he understands it may be difficult to get young children to wear masks for the majority of the day, but is hoping day cares will provide children with as much support as is necessary.

NYC schools prepare for possible teacher, staff shortages Monday
Workers at New York City schools have until Monday to get their COVID vaccinations before the city's mandate goes into effect. Right now, about 10,000 teachers remain unvaccinated, and schools are scrambling to replace them before the deadline. Unions are bracing for shortages and a chaotic week next week - and they are calling for a delay.

2 'View' hosts pulled from set on live TV following COVID test results, delaying VP Harris interview
Two hosts of ABC's "The View" were pulled from the set during the show's live broadcast Friday after learning that they tested positive for COVID-19. The panelists were moments away from introducing Vice President Kamala Harris to the show for an in-person interview in their New York City studio. Co-host Sunny Hostin and guest host Ana Navarro were asked to leave the anchor desk in the middle of the live show, and the remaining anchors subsequently explained that Hostin and Navarro had tested positive. Harris, who had planned to join the table, was instead interviewed remotely from another room inside ABC's building about 10 minutes before the show wrapped. "The View" has invited her to return.
"We did everything we could to make sure you were safe because we value you so much," host Joy Behar said after welcoming Harris.

Biden urges booster shots after CDC recommends 3rd dose for vulnerable Americans
President Joe Biden on Friday urged those now eligible for boosters of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to get the added protection a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the extra doses for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans. Now public health officials must clear up confusion over exactly who should get a booster, and why - as they juggle vaccinating the unvaccinated who still make up the vast majority of the nation's coronavirus cases. People 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 and up who have chronic health problems such as diabetes should be offered a booster once they're six months past their last Pfizer dose, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky ruled late Thursday.

Hochul announces vaccine incentive with NY football teams
Governor Kathy Hochul announced a marketing campaign and vaccine incentive program in partnership with all three New York football teams, including a #VaxAndWin Football Sweepstakes with the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, and New York Jets. Any New Yorkers who receives their first COVID-19 vaccine dose from September 9 through October 24 is eligible to win prizes including game tickets, special in-game experiences, stadium tours, signed team gear, FaceTime calls with alumni players, and more. CLICK HERE to enter.
"As we heard from the players themselves, the best defense is a good offense," Hochul said. "New York State has made tremendous progress in vaccinating eligible New Yorkers - but there is still work to be done. As a new football season begins, I am proud to announce this unique vaccine incentive program with all of New York's professional football teams to continue this work on a new playing field."

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