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Protests against mandated COVID-19 vaccines pop up across US

ABC News logo ABC News 8/9/2021
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The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.

More than 615,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and over 4.2 million people have died worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

MORE: Fauci warns 'things are going to get worse' with COVID

Just 58.4% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC last week, citing new science on the transmissibility of the delta variant, changed its mask guidance to now recommend everyone in areas with substantial or high levels of transmission -- vaccinated or not -- wear a face covering in public, indoor settings.

 

Latest Developments

August 8, 2021

Court rules cruise vaccine mandate does not violate Florida law

A federal judge ruled Sunday in favor of Norwegian Cruise Line and will allow the company to require proof of vaccination on cruises out of Florida despite a state law that bans cruise ships from enacting such an order.

Norwegian sued the state last month contending that the law prevented them "from safely and soundly resuming passenger cruise operations from Miami, Florida."

Florida's law threatens to fine companies $5,000 each time they ask a customer to provide proof that they've been vaccinated.

Florida has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the last couple of weeks, with most cases affecting unvaccinated residents.

Judge Kathleen M. Williams wrote in her decision that Norwegian "has demonstrated that public health will be jeopardized if it is required to suspend its vaccination requirement," and the Florida Department of Health, "identifies no public benefit from the continued enforcement of the Statute Case."

Neither the cruise line nor the Florida Department of Health issued immediate statements about the ruling as of Sunday evening.

-ABC News' Sam Sweeney

 
August 8, 2021

Memphis school delays first day of school due to COVID cases

A Memphis area elementary school sent a message to parents Sunday, just hours before the new school year was about to begin, informing them that the first day of classes would be postponed for a week due to COVID-19 cases among the staff.

The letter from Donelson Elementary School administrators didn't specify how many staff members contracted the virus but indicated they "are simply at a point where opening tomorrow would risk further exposure to students and staff."

The first day of classes is tentatively rescheduled for Aug. 16, the letter said.

-ABC News' Darren Reynolds

 
August 8, 2021

Austin hospitals down to 6 ICU beds

Hospitals in Austin, Texas are down to just six available intensive care unit beds as more COVID-19 patients are admitted, officials warned.

City officials said there are 591 COVID-19 patients that are hospitalized. The seven-day average of new coronavirus ICU admissions in Austin's hospitals has jumped from 23.4 on July 4 to 184 on Aug. 6, the city's health department data showed.

Over the weekend, the Warn Central Texas system sent out an alert to residents via text message that urged people to wear a mask, get vaccinated and stay home if possible.

-ABC News' Matthew Fuhrman

 
August 8, 2021

WHO warns of phony COVID lottery scam

The World Health Organization issued a warning Sunday about online scams involving a phony COVID-19 lottery.

The scammers claim to be a financial management firm in London under the name "Capital Finance, Inc. London," WHO said.

The fraudsters allege through emails that the "COVID-19 Lottery Compensation Prize" is brought to you by WHO, in association with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), according to WHO. 

The emails also state that they come from a group appointed by the WHO to process payment of these prizes, and then solicit personal details and in some cases, money from their victims, WHO warned.

"WHO is not offering or conducting a lottery prize to compensate individuals, whose names or contact details are purportedly selected at random, for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," the UN agency said in a statement.

-ABC News' Sasha Pezenik

 
August 8, 2021

Vaccine mandates would make a difference: NIH director

National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said Sunday he believes vaccine requirements could make a difference in slowing the rapid spread of COVID-19 and acknowledged how politics has polarized public opinion on pandemic mitigation strategies.

"Why is it that a mandate about a vaccine or wearing a mask suddenly becomes a statement of your political party? We never should have let that happen." Collins told ABC "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos.

Read the full story here.

 
August 8, 2021

Protests against mandated COVID-19 vaccines pop up across US

As the COVID-19 delta variant causes a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the U.S., protests against mandatory COVID vaccines have cropped up around the country.

Dozens of people gathered outside St. John's Hospital in Maplewood, Minnesota on Saturday to protest vaccination mandates from health care systems including M Health Fairview, Allina Health, HealthPartners and Children's Minnesota,

ABC affiliate KSTP reported.

The only exemptions are for strong religious beliefs or medical conditions. "We stand up for our patients all the time and no one's standing up for us," Allison Todd, a nurse at Allina Health's Cambridge clinic told the station.

a sign on the side of a building: A sign is seen at a protest against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates being implemented by various hospitals, universities and business across the state of Michigan at the State Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan, Aug. 6, 2021. © Seth Herald/Reuters A sign is seen at a protest against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates being implemented by various hospitals, universities and business across the state of Michigan at the State Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan, Aug. 6, 2021.

Hundreds protested outside of ChristianaCare in Newark, Delaware, Saturday to push back against the hospital's decision to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for all employees, according to WPVI.

And more than 100 gathered in Vancouver, Washington, to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates for hospital workers, ABC's Portland affiliate, KATU reported.

 
August 8, 2021

Florida's largest school districts impose mask mandates -- with a catch

This weekend, some of Florida's largest school districts have moved to require masks for students, the latest in a weeklong saga that began when Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order aimed at preventing districts from mandating face coverings for kids.

However, the mandates -- issued by districts including Hillsborough (Tampa), Orange (Orlando), and Palm Beach -- come with a catch: parents are allowed to opt their children out of them, without providing a reason.

Read the full story here.

 
August 7, 2021

US records 4th straight day with at least 100,000 cases

 

The U.S. just recorded a fourth consecutive day with more than 100,000 new daily COVID-19 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The country is averaging more than 99,000 daily cases over the last week, CDC data shows, as the delta variant continues to spread.

 
August 7, 2021

'Too late for meaningful mitigation' in Gulf states: Expert

Tom Bossert, a former White House homeland security adviser and an ABC News contributor, painted a somber picture of the COVID-19 crisis unfolding, saying, "It's too late for any meaningful mitigation" in Gulf states.

Bossert warned that hospital systems in hard-hit states could be overwhelmed within a few days as the delta variant spreads further.

"If this pace continues for the next four or five days, which it seems it will, the hospital systems in Florida and Louisiana will collapse. That's how bad this is. By 'collapse,' I mean they will be full, their ICUs and their hospitals, they will be turning away patients," he said on "Good Morning America" Saturday. 

"In some states -- Florida, Louisiana, Texas is looking bad -- all through the Gulf Coast, I believe it's too late for any meaningful mitigation," he continued. "In other words, there is so much disease that what we're seeing is a mathematical certainty."

Bossert urged federal and local governments to focus on providing aid to overburdened hospital systems.

 
August 7, 2021

San Francisco restaurants closing 'like PTSD again'

Several San Francisco restaurants have been forced to temporarily close due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. 

Aziza, a Moroccan restaurant in the Outer Richmond area, closed after several employees' breakthrough cases.

Tosca in North Beach partially reopened Friday after a staff member was exposed to COVID-19. The restaurant closed for a few days to get everyone tested in San Francisco, Calif., Aug. 6, 2021. © KGO Tosca in North Beach partially reopened Friday after a staff member was exposed to COVID-19. The restaurant closed for a few days to get everyone tested in San Francisco, Calif., Aug. 6, 2021.

“We’ve been closed a week, and we’ll be closed probably another week,” co-owner Scott Chilcutt told ABC San Francisco station KGO. He mandated the vaccine for employees in the spring, but three staffers still recently tested positive even after getting shots. 

Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, said there’s only been a handful of recent closures, but each is painful.

"It’s like PTSD again," she said.

Click here to read the rest of the blog.
a passenger seat of a car © Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Video: No federal mandate on COVID-19 vaccine: CDC chief (Reuters)

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