Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious-disease doctor, said Covid-19 vaccine booster shots should be given “reasonably soon” to people with weakened immune systems. A third of Israeli adults over the age of 60 have already received a booster shot, as the country struggles to contain a surge in infections.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten called for support for vaccine mandates among teachers. A group of parents in Florida asked a judge to block an executive order by Governor Ron DeSantis that bans school districts from imposing mask requirements.
Deaths in Iran have reached 500 per day for the first time in the pandemic, while fatalities in Russia and infections in Malaysia hover near record highs.
Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases top 202.5 million; deaths pass 4.29 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 4.41 billion doses administeredU.S. city with 2.4 million people has just six ICU beds leftOnce largely Covid free, Asia economies are now upended by deltaDelta’s spread to Indonesia’s outer islands spurs vaccine rushIt’s chaos on Wall Street as delta complicates return to work
Teacher Leader Calls for Vaccine Mandates (4 p.m. N.Y.)
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten called for support for vaccine mandates among teachers, after previously said that vaccinations must not be “coerced.”
“As a matter of personal conscience, I think that we need to be working with our employers, not opposing them, on vaccine mandates,” Weingarten said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
She said members have “stepped up,” with 90% of teacher members already vaccinated. An affiliate of the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers represents 1.7 million members nationwide.
Jazz Festival Cancelled (4:10 p.m. NY)
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was canceled for a second year because of Covid-19, organizers announced on Sunday, as Louisiana weathers the nation’s worst per capita outbreak of the virus.
“We urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials, so that we can all soon experience together the joy that is Jazz Fest,” according to a statement.
The festival was canceled for the first time last year, its 50th anniversary, and rescheduled for this October. It has been rescheduled again for the spring of 2022.
Tesla Requires Masks at Nevada Plant (2:15 p.m. NY)
Tesla will require workers at its battery plant in Reno, Nevada to wear masks indoor, whether vaccinated or not, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The company had required only unvaccinated employees to wear masks, the paper reported, citing people familiar.
Video: Dr. Fauci explains updated mask guidance for vaccinated folks (MSNBC)
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- Supreme Court to take up major gun rights case November 3 The Supreme Court announced justices have agreed to take up a case in November that involves a New York state law for those who want to carry guns outside of their homes. NBC’s Pete Williams reports. MSNBC
- Biden to address Afghanistan crisis in afternoon White House remarks NBC News' Mike Memoli reports on what to expect from President Biden's just-announced afternoon address on Afghanistan. MSNBC
NIH Director Supports Vaccine Mandates (1:10 p.m. NY)
The director of the National Institutes of Health said he supported vaccine mandates, given the renewed viral surge that has pushed new cases back to an average of more than 100,000 a day.
“We ought to use every public health tool we can when people are dying,” Francis Collins said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I understand how that can sometimes set off all kinds of resistance. But isn’t that a shame?” he added. “I mean, how did we get here? Why is it that a mandate about a vaccine or wearing a mask suddenly becomes a statement of your political party?”
Fauci Favors Boosters for Most Vulnerable (11:45 a.m. NY)
Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious-disease doctor, said Covid-19 vaccine booster shots should be given “reasonably soon” to people with weakened immune systems.
“We need to look at them in a different light,” Fauci said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on Sunday. “We would certainly be boosting those people before we boost the general population that’s been vaccinated, and we should be doing that reasonably soon.”
When asked if other groups should get booster shots, Fauci said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ready to give such recommendations “as soon as” they see clear evidence to do so from the data.
Florida Parents Sue to Allow Masks in Schools (11:42 a.m. NY)
A group of parents in Florida asked a judge to block an executive order by Governor Ron DeSantis that bans school districts from imposing mask requirements when classes resume in the fall.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in state court in Florida, comes amid a fierce national debate about whether children in schools should wear masks as the delta variant of the coronavirus sweeps the country and case counts rise. The lawsuit argues that DeSantis’ order violates a provision of the state constitution that requires public officials to ensure schools are safe for students.
Israel Nears Half a Million Booster Shots (11:40 a.m. NY)
A third of Israeli adults over the age of 60 have already received a coronavirus booster shot, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday, as the country struggles to contain a surge in infections.
Some 420,000 older Israelis received a third dose of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE jab last week, and the total was expected to rise to more than half a million on Sunday, Bennett said at a cabinet meeting. He pressed health officials to pick up the pace even further, in a bid to head off a possible lockdown.
U.K. Health Ministry Slows Return to Office (9:30 a.m. NY)
The U.K.’s Department of Health and Social Care has dialed back requirements for staff to begin returning to the office next month, the Guardian newspaper reported. Staff were told this week that the department had scrapped plans requiring them to be in the office at least four to eight days per month from September.
“It’s clear we cannot proceed with this phase on the planned timescale” and the agency will continue reviewing public-health guidance, according to a note sent to staff and seen by the Guardian. The U.K. dropped its mandatory work-from-home rule in July but office occupancy remains far below pre-pandemic levels.
Daily Deaths Reach 500 in Iran (6:30 a.m. NY)
Iran’s daily deaths surpassed 500 for the first time since the pandemic began, surging to a record 542 over the last 24 hours, the health ministry reported.
The country also reported its highest-ever daily case count at 39,619, its fourth record for daily new infections this month. Iran now has 94,015 deaths with more than 4.1 million known cases.
Ghana Gets First J&J Shots (6:30 a.m. NY)
Ghana took delivery of 177,600 J&J single-shot vaccines on Saturday, through an arrangement by the African Union.
The first shipments form part of the 6.4 million vaccines to be sent to members of the regional bloc this month, the AU’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust said in an emailed statement.
The countries agreed in March to procure 220 million of the J&J doses for monthly distribution to members, with the potential to order another 180 million, it said. The agreement with J&J was made possible by a facility of $2 billion from the African Export-Import Bank.
EU Gets Astra Shots from U.K. Factory (4:50 p.m. HK)
AstraZeneca has started to ship its vaccine from a British factory to the European Union, the Telegraph newspaper reported, in a move could improve the company’s troubled relations with Brussels.
Earlier this year, the bloc attempted to sue the drugmaker for not coming up with a reliable strategy to deliver doses. The firm’s Oxford facility has now begun distribution to the continent, the Telegraph said.
Russian Deaths Near Record (4:25 p.m. HK)
Deaths in Russia remain near last month’s record high, with 787 people dying from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the country’s response center said Sunday. The seven-day moving average has been at 790 for the past four days.
That brings the total death toll to 164,881, the task force said in a statement. That’s far lower than Federal Statistics Service data, which show almost 316,800 deaths through the end of June, including cases where the virus was an indirect cause.
In the past 24 hours, 22,866 cases of the coronavirus were registered, compared with 22,320 the previous day, taking the total to 6.45 million, the response center said.
Malaysian Cases Ease Slightly (4:10 p.m. HK)
Malaysia announced a slight drop in new daily Covid-19 infections on Sunday with 18,688 cases, after 19,257 on Saturday and a record high of 20,899 on Friday. Malaysia’s health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a tweet the country has now had 1,262,540 infections.
The industrial state of Selangor continues to record the highest number of daily cases with 6,565, followed by the capital city of Kuala Lumpur at 1,883 and the northern state of Kedah at 1,610, according to Noor Hisham.
As vaccines expand, Malaysia plans to use hospital admissions, not total cases, to guide its plans of easing coronavirus curbs.
German New Cases Climb (2:51 p.m. HK)
Germany reported 3,127 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, prolonging a trend of rising infections that started about one month ago.
The 7-day incidence rate climbed to 22.6, after falling below 5 early July.
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