The latest on the Covid-19 pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 8:00 p.m. ET, August 6, 2021
18 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:57 p.m. ET, August 6, 2021

New Jersey governor announces statewide mask mandate in schools

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy talks to reporters on June 8.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy talks to reporters on June 8. Seth Wenig/AP

Students, educators, staff and visitors – regardless of Covid-19 vaccination status – will be required to wear face masks while inside school buildings across New Jersey during the 2021-2022 academic year, Gov. Phil Murphy announced in a news conference Friday afternoon.

The decision was made due to the recent and rapid spread of the Delta variant, because no child under the age of 12 is eligible for vaccination, and the reality that many older students and their parents remain unvaccinated, he said.

1:46 p.m. ET, August 6, 2021

Covid-19 vaccination rates are lower among adults with disabilities, according to Census Bureau survey data

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

The Covid-19 vaccination rate among adults with disabilities is lower than among those without disabilities, according to data from the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey and published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the latest survey data, about 77% of adults with a disability had received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, compared to 82% of adults without a disability.

This survey data differs from the official vaccination data published the CDC, which shows that about 70% of adults have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

But the gap in reported vaccination rates from the survey – a difference of about five percentage points – highlights the relative disparity.

A gap exists across age groups, but is largest among adults ages 50-64, with about 78% of people with a disability who have had at least one dose compared to about 87% of those without a disability.

Vaccination rates among Black people with and without a disability are about even, but are largest among those individuals who identify as multiracial or a race or ethnicity other than White, Black, Hispanic or Asian.

Responses for the latest Household Pulse Survey were collected between June 23 and July 5. They are weighted to be representative of the total adult population in the United States.

1:23 p.m. ET, August 6, 2021

Vaccination more than halves your chance of Covid-19 reinfection, study suggests

From CNN’s Michael Nedelman

A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine on July 29 in Wilmington, California.
A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine on July 29 in Wilmington, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

For adults previously infected with Covid-19, a new study shows that vaccines do a better job at protecting you from reinfection than natural immunity on its own.

The study, published Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests that people who got Covid-19 in 2020 and didn’t get a Covid-19 vaccine were more than twice as likely to be reinfected in May or June 2021, compared with people who also had Covid-19 but were later fully vaccinated.

“If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement Friday. ”Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious Delta variant spreads around the country.”

The CDC has long recommended that people who have been previously infected also get vaccinated. The agency notes that reinfection risk “is low in the months after initial infection but may increase with time due to waning immunity.” There is no minimum time to wait between recovering from Covid-19 and getting vaccinated.

The authors note that scientists are still unraveling how long and how robust natural immunity to Covid-19 is. A number of earlier studies have shown evidence of lasting immunity in some people with previous Covid-19 – but scientific consensus has maintained that vaccines do an even better job.

With the Delta variant driving a surge in cases, the study also noted that “the emergence of new variants might affect the duration of infection-acquired immunity, and laboratory studies have shown that” those antibodies from natural infection might be weaker against certain variants of concern.

Meanwhile, studies of vaccinated people have continued to show high levels of protection, particularly when it comes to severe outcomes, including hospitalization and death.

The new study of hundreds of people in the state of Kentucky did not assess severity of reinfections, and it noted that vaccinated people may be less likely to get tested, thus potentially skewing the numbers.

12:03 p.m. ET, August 6, 2021

Half of US population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine during an event hosted by the Miami Heat at the FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. 
A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine during an event hosted by the Miami Heat at the FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.  Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Half of the US population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to White House Data Director Dr. Cyrus Shahpar.

In a tweet on Friday, Shahpar said that more than 821,000 doses had been reported administered over the previous day’s total, including about 555,000 people who got their first shot.

The first dose of Covid-19 vaccine was administered about nine months ago, on December 14. It took about four months – until late March – to fully vaccinate a quarter of the US population, and another four and a half months to reach half, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker has not yet officially updated with this data, but it is expected to this afternoon. 

According to the latest data available from the CDC dashboard, an average of 699,261 doses have been administered each day over the past seven days, and an average of 464,778 people initiated vaccination each day over the past seven days. 

Covid-19 vaccinations in the US reached a record high in mid-April, with an average of more than 3 million shots administered each day and about 2 million people initiating vaccination each day.

11:51 a.m. ET, August 6, 2021

Unvaccinated Americans are causing a "needless toll" on the US

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Vials and syringes of the Johnson and Johnson Janssen Covid-19 vaccine are displayed at a Culver City Fire Department vaccination clinic on August 5, 2021, in California. 
Vials and syringes of the Johnson and Johnson Janssen Covid-19 vaccine are displayed at a Culver City Fire Department vaccination clinic on August 5, 2021, in California.  Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

President Joe Biden said that while vaccinations and other efforts against the Covid-19 pandemic will help make the Delta variant wave "very different" than previous waves in the US, it's still taking a "needless toll."

"Cases are going to go up before they come back down. It's a pandemic of the unvaccinated. And it's ... taking a needless toll on our country," he said.  

As of today, 193 million Americans have gotten at least one vaccine dose and 165 million Americans are fully vaccinated, according to Biden.

"Today, about 400 people will die because of the Delta variant in this country. A tragedy, because virtually all of these deaths were preventible if people had gotten vaccinated," he said.

12:47 p.m. ET, August 6, 2021

Biden credits pandemic recovery plan as nearly 950,000 jobs were added in July

From CNN's Elise Hammond

President Joe Biden speaks about the July jobs report during an event in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Washington.
President Joe Biden speaks about the July jobs report during an event in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

President Biden said while there will continue to be "ups and downs along the way as we continue to fight the Delta surge of Covid," the administration's plan to bring by jobs and jump start the economy is working.

The US economy added 943,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4% — a new low of the pandemic era — the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

It was the biggest job gain since August last year, when more than 1 million positions were added back — and more than the 870,000 economists had expected.

"What is indisputable now is this – the Biden plan is working. The Biden plan produced results and it is moving the country forward," the President said on Friday.

"We are now the first administration in history to add jobs every single month on our first six months in office. And the only one in history to add more than 4 million jobs during the first six months. Economy growth is the fastest in 40 years. Jobs are up. The unemployment rate is the lowest since the pandemic hit," he said, pointing to the fact that the necessary tools are in place to allow that growth to happen.

Since May 2020, America has added back 16.7 million jobs. But remember: it’s still 5.7 million short of its pre-pandemic level.

WATCH:

11:19 a.m. ET, August 6, 2021

One dose of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine may be enough for those previously infected, study finds

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine against Covid-19 at a mass vaccination center on July 1, 2021 in Leipzig, Germany.
A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine against Covid-19 at a mass vaccination center on July 1, 2021 in Leipzig, Germany. Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

New data published Friday suggest that people with a previous Covid-19 infection may have a sufficient immune response to the virus when vaccinated with just one of Pfizer’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine doses. 

In the study, published Friday in JAMA Network Open, researchers from Rush University compared antibody levels after one and two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine in people previously infected with Covid-19 to levels in those without a previous infection. 

“We observed higher SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels in previously infected individuals after 1 dose of BNT162b2 compared with infection-naive individuals after 2 doses,” the study authors wrote. 

The researchers said a second dose in this population did not “significantly increase” antibody levels, meaning one dose may be enough for the previously infected. 

Of the group with a previous infection, four had a positive PCR test for Covid-19 but did not develop antibodies to the virus. In these people, vaccine response was more similar to that of people without a previous infection, meaning that a PCR test alone may not be enough to determine the number of vaccine doses needed, the study authors wrote. 

11:48 a.m. ET, August 6, 2021

Pelosi says vaccine mandate on Capitol Hill could change with full approval

From CNN's Kristin Wilson and Clare Foran 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at her weekly news conference at the Capitol building on August 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at her weekly news conference at the Capitol building on August 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Asked about calls from some House Democrats for a vaccine mandate for members and staff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “We are guided and have to be guided by the guidance of the Capitol Physician,” but suggested the dynamic might change once full approval is granted.

“Now in a matter of maybe days or weeks the full approval will be given to the vaccines and that I think will make a difference in terms of what we can do," she said at her weekly press conference.

Pelosi also thanked President Biden for the administration’s move to announce a new targeted eviction moratorium.

“Thank you Mr. President for the courage and the initiative that you took to extend the moratorium,” she said, adding, “It was very clear the Senate was not going to take any action. We needed a presidential moratorium.”

11:22 a.m. ET, August 6, 2021

Challenge to Indiana University vaccine mandate reaches Supreme Court

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC on July 1, 2021.
The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC on July 1, 2021. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

A lawyer representing Indiana University students asked the Supreme Court to block the school's vaccine mandate that is set to take effect this fall, while the appeals process plays out. 

The filing Friday marks the first time the justices have been asked to weigh in on the issue as private and public entities are increasingly requiring vaccines in the wake of a new surge of the virus caused by the Delta variant.

The university requires students to be vaccinated unless they qualify for exemptions. If they are exempted, they must wear masks and undergo testing twice a week.

"IU is coercing students to give up their rights to bodily integrity, autonomy, and of medical treatment choice in exchange for the discretionary benefit of matriculating at IU," James Bopp, a lawyer for the students, told the Supreme Court in an emergency petition asking the justices to act by Aug. 13.

Bopp said the students' refusal is "based on legitimate concerns including underlying medical conditions, having natural antibodies, and the risks associated with the vaccine."

Lower courts have ruled against the students, citing a Supreme Court decision from 1905 which held that a state may require vaccines against smallpox. 

A panel of judges on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, all Republican appointees, said that vaccination requirements "have been common in this nation" and stressed that the IU policies allow exemptions for those who have medical issues related to the vaccine or religious objections. 

"These plaintiffs just need to wear a mask and be tested, requirements that are not constitutionally problematic," the court held, and added that vaccination is a condition for attending the university. 

Those who do not want to be vaccinated may "go elsewhere." 

"A university will have trouble operating when each student fears that everyone else may be spreading diseases," the court held. "Few people want to return to remote education – and we do not think that the Constitution forces the distance-learning approach on a university that believes vaccination (or masks and frequent testing of the unvaccinated) will make in-person operations safe enough."

The Supreme Court will likely ask the university for its response. 

Last week, IU spokesperson Chuck Carney told CNN that it "remains confident" that it will ultimately prevail because of a legitimate public health interest in assuring the safety of our students, faculty and staff."