August 3, 2021 US coronavirus news

By Melissa Mahtani, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 4:07 p.m. ET, August 9, 2021
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7:12 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

San Francisco health department will allow J&J vaccine recipients to get supplemental mRNA vaccine dose

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

A health care worker prepares a Johnson & Johnson Covid19 vaccine on May 7, in Los Angeles.
A health care worker prepares a Johnson & Johnson Covid19 vaccine on May 7, in Los Angeles. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The San Francisco Department of Public Health said Tuesday it will allow people vaccinated with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to receive a supplemental mRNA vaccine dose. Doses will be available at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Department officials said they were making an “accommodation” for those who have consulted with a physician and said it was not a recommendation or policy change. They said the health department aligns with the US the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which does not currently recommend a booster shot for anyone, including J&J vaccine recipients.

“We are not recommending. We are accommodating requests,” Dr. Naveena Bobba, deputy director of health for the department, said during a media briefing. “We have gotten a few requests based on patients talking to their physicians and that's why we are allowing for the accommodation.”

Bobba said the supplemental vaccinations will be recorded the same way all Covid-19 vaccinations are. “These get entered into the system, just like other doses have as well, and the patients that have gotten them will be followed, just as others have gotten the vaccines throughout the country have continued to be followed,” Bobba said.

When asked whether anyone can walk in and receive a supplemental mRNA vaccine dose, Bobba said that each vaccine site in the city will choose how to proceed with the accommodation, but “the expectation is that they have had a discussion with a healthcare provider when they come in.”

The mRNA vaccines are made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, and require two doses for full immunization.

6:42 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

CDC issues new pandemic eviction moratorium

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Rep. Cori Bush, center, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, right, and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson speak at a rally against the end of the eviction moratorium at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, August 3.
Rep. Cori Bush, center, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, right, and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson speak at a rally against the end of the eviction moratorium at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, August 3. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a fresh stop on certain evictions Tuesday, saying that evicting people could be detrimental to public health and would interfere with efforts to slow the pandemic. 

“The eviction moratorium allows additional time for rent relief to reach renters and to further increase vaccination rates,” the CDC said in an email to CNN. 

“In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria—like quarantine, isolation, and social distancing—can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease. Eviction moratoria facilitate self-isolation and self-quarantine by people who become ill or who are at risk of transmitting COVID-19 by keeping people out of congregate settings and in their own homes,” it added.

“This order will expire on October 3, 2021 and applies in United States counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2.”

President Biden announced earlier Tuesday that the CDC would issue a new moratorium after a previous hold on evictions expired July 31.

“The emergence of the Delta variant has led to a rapid acceleration of community transmission in the United States, putting more Americans at increased risk, especially if they are unvaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

“This moratorium is the right thing to do to keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings where COVID-19 spreads. It is imperative that public health authorities act quickly to mitigate such an increase of evictions, which could increase the likelihood of new spikes in SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Such mass evictions and the attendant public health consequences would be very difficult to reverse.”

 

5:09 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

Biden to local governments: Help fight Covid-19 or "get out of the way"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

President Joe Biden gestures to a reporter to ask him a question as he speaks about the coronavirus pandemic in the East Room of the White House on, Tuesday, August 3.
President Joe Biden gestures to a reporter to ask him a question as he speaks about the coronavirus pandemic in the East Room of the White House on, Tuesday, August 3. Susan Walsh/AP

President Biden today singled out states that have made rules that could hinder the fight against Covid-19, telling local governments to help the fight or "get out of way."

"Others have declined to step up. I find it disappointing," said Biden, contrasting actions taken in states including Texas and Florida, to those taken by many private corporations which are preparing to require employees to get vaccinated. 

"Worst of all, some state officials are passing laws or are signing orders that forbid people from doing the right thing," continued Biden. "As of now, seven states not only ban mask mandates but also ban them in their school districts even for young children who cannot get vaccinated."

Biden then singled out Texas where new rules stipulate that state universities or community colleges could be fined if they allow teacher to ask for unvaccinated students to wear a mask.

"What are we doing?" asked Biden. "Covid-19 is a national challenge. And we have to come together, all of us together, as a country to solve it."

"Use your power to save lives," he concluded.

Watch:

4:47 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

Biden administration to announce new efforts to limit evictions during pandemic

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak 

President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Tuesday, August 3.
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Tuesday, August 3. Evan Vucci/AP

The Biden administration is expected to announce new efforts aimed at limiting evictions, according to an administration official, though details of the effort – and what impact it would have — are still unclear.

The White House and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have continued to search for legal avenues to extend a now-expired nationwide ban on evictions during the pandemic as the issue drives a major wedge between President Biden and members of his party.

Administration lawyers had been unable to identify how Biden could use his administrative authority to continue the eviction freeze following a late-June decision by the Supreme Court.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki sought to further explain Biden's thinking on Tuesday, suggesting a challenge to the court could hamper the federal government's public health authorities going forward.

"There are concerns about what the impact would be on the long term abilities, authorities, of the CDC. Their team is looking closely, carefully, has been since the president asked them to on Sunday, at what our options are here," she said, responding to a question from CNN's Phil Mattingly.

She indicated the search process had not ended, even though White House and CDC lawyers have made clear they do not currently see a legal pathway to extending the moratorium.  

4:45 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

US on a path "strikingly similar" to Delta outbreak in UK, Fauci says

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

People sit in Piccadilly Circus as the light display reads 'Let's Open Up London' on the day of lifting of nearly all remaining coronavirus restrictions in London, on July 19.
People sit in Piccadilly Circus as the light display reads 'Let's Open Up London' on the day of lifting of nearly all remaining coronavirus restrictions in London, on July 19. Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The US is on a similar path to a Delta variant outbreak like the one seen earlier this year in the United Kingdom, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday. 

“Since an acceleration of vaccines doesn't give a result until several weeks after, we are already on a trajectory that looks strikingly similar to the sharp incline that the UK saw,” Fauci said during a discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Fauci said this is what he “projects” will happen. “You never can guarantee it's going to be accurate, but I think this is what's going to happen,” he said.

“Remember, we went from an average of about 12 to 15,000 cases a day to 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 – we're up to 70 now. We are going to be between 100 and 200,000 cases before this thing starts to turn around.”

Fauci said this acceleration further enforces the importance of vaccines now. 

“In order to make sure that by the time we get into the fall we don't continue to accelerate but turn around and start coming down acutely, we've got to get those 93 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated, who are not getting vaccinated."

3:49 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

Toyota reinstates mask mandate for workers in US facilities

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Toyota is the latest major manufacturer in the US to require workers to wear masks at the workplace as the Delta variant continues to spread.

"With the health and safety of our employees as a top priority, following CDC guidelines, effective August 4, we are reinstating the use of masks/face shields as a requirement in our U.S. facilities," a spokesperson told CNN via email. "We will continue to monitor and adjust as circumstances require."
4:48 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

Fauci hints at coming changes to pandemic preparedness in the US

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

A woman walks past a sign calling for mask wearing at Penn Station in New York City, on August 2.
A woman walks past a sign calling for mask wearing at Penn Station in New York City, on August 2. Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday hinted at, but would not give specifics, on a “comprehensive” approach to pandemic response coming in the future. 

In a discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, moderator J. Stephen Morrison asked Fauci if “we are going to see some time soon a kind of formal rollout of a pandemic preparedness strategy” that would include the development and stockpile of drug therapies. 

“The answer is yes, we are in active discussion right now,” Fauci said. He said there were “sometimes sensitive” discussions about resources. “So I would rather not give you granular details of that right now,” he said.

“To the extent that I can have any influence on it, there will be a broad, comprehensive approach to pandemic preparedness and response at every level,” Fauci said. 

4:41 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

Politicians barring mask and vaccination mandates should "get out of the way," Psaki says 

From CNN's Allie Malloy

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attends a press briefing at the White House on Monday, August 2.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attends a press briefing at the White House on Monday, August 2. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that politicians and officials, including Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas – who are banning mask mandates and/or vaccine requirements – should “get out of the way” so lives can be saved from Covid-19, adding that they have a choice between saving lives and personal politics. 

“You’ll hear the President convey later, if you are not going to be a part of the solution, you’re not going to be a part of saving people’s lives, then get out of the way and let other people do the job,” Psaki said. 

Asked what she meant by “get out of the way,” Psaki said plainly, “That means don’t ban, don’t make it harder for people to put requirements on masks or asking for vaccination status into law.” 

“At a point in every leader’s life they have to make a decision about whether they’re going to abide by public health guidelines to save people’s lives or whether they’re going to be guided by politics and I will let you all people the judge of that,” Psaki said when asked specifically about the personal responsibility DeSantis and Abbott have after they banned mask and vaccination mandates in their states. 
4:51 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

Arkansas governor wants to give local school districts flexibility to require masks for children under 12

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson speaks at a news conference in Little Rock, on Thursday, July 29.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson speaks at a news conference in Little Rock, on Thursday, July 29. Andrew DeMillo/AP

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced today, that he has called a special session of the Arkansas Legislature to amend ACT 1002, a law passed to “end mandatory face covering requirements,” in order to give local school districts the flexibility to add protection for children under 12, who cannot be vaccinated. 

“The reasons for this is, they are required to go to school,” Hutchinson said. “Secondly, we understand the value of in-classroom instruction and we want those children to be as safe as possible. Local school districts are all different across the state, and they have different opinions on this. And they reflect different wishes of parents and their constituents.”

“The local school districts should make the call,” the governor said. “And they should have more options to make sure that their school is a safe environment during a very challenging time for education.”

When asked if he regretted signing the bill, Hutchinson said he signed it at the time because Arkansas’ cases were at a very low point and he knew that it would be overridden by the legislature if he didn't sign it. 

“I signed it for those reasons, that our cases were at a low point. Everything is changed now,” Hutchinson added. “And yes, in hindsight I wish that had not become law, but it is the law, and the only chance we have is either to amend it, or for the courts to say that it has an unconstitutional foundation.”

According to Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero, as of Aug. 1 of this year, nearly 19% of all active Covid-19 cases in Arkansas are in children under 18 years of age and at this point, those under 12 account for more than half of that percentage between April and July of this year.