The latest on the Covid-19 pandemic in the US

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

Updated 7:58 p.m. ET, August 27, 2021
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2:15 p.m. ET, August 27, 2021

Judge rules against Florida governor's ban on mask mandates in schools 

From CNN’s Leyla Santiago and Sara Weisfeldt in Miami

Principal Nathan Hay performs temperature checks on students as they arrive on the first day of classes for the 2021-22 school year at Baldwin Park Elementary School in Orlando, Florida.
Principal Nathan Hay performs temperature checks on students as they arrive on the first day of classes for the 2021-22 school year at Baldwin Park Elementary School in Orlando, Florida. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates in schools will not remain in place, Leon County’s 2nd Judicial Circuit Court Judge John Cooper ruled Friday. 

The court said that under the law the defendants “did not have the authority for a blanket mandatory ban against face mask policy, that does not provide a parental opt-out. They simply do not have that authority,” the judge said.  

The order will not take effect until the written order is issued, Cooper said. The court expected the written order to be issued early next week.

Some more context: Florida is among a small number of states — others include Texas and Oklahoma — that had moved to restrict school districts' ability to require masks in schools to protect students from Covid-19 infection.

That's as Florida reported more Covid-19 deaths last week than ever before, with one in every five US deaths reported in the state, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Florida broke its January record for new daily cases about two weeks ago, and cases have increased since to the current average of 21,534 new cases each day.

More than 14,000 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Florida's 15 largest school districts since the start of the school year — 11,851 students and 2,610 school employees, according to a CNN analysis. Almost 30,000 are in quarantine.

CNN's Leyla Santiago and Sara Weisfeldt contributed reporting to this post. 

  

12:55 p.m. ET, August 27, 2021

White House to unvaccinated Americans: "Get off the sidelines, step up, and do your part"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

The White House on Friday encouraged unvaccinated Americans to “get off the sidelines” and get their shots as it praised moves to mandate vaccinations or negative tests at college football games, and universities more broadly, on Friday.

“If you’re an American who is not yet vaccinated or if you’re an employer who has yet to adopt vaccination requirements, we have a very simple message: get off the sidelines, step up, and do your part. Individuals, get vaccinated, employers, adopt vaccination requirements. You have the power to protect your communities and help end the pandemic,” White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said Friday at a rescheduled, audio-only Covid briefing Friday.

Zients ticked off a list of federal vaccine mandates, including for federal workers in the Veterans Administration and Health and Human Services Department health care personnel, then touting “momentum” for requirements in the private sector. He praised Disney, Deloitte, and the City of Chicago for instating vaccine requirements, and noted an endorsement of the policy from Business Roundtable.

He also praised The Ohio State University for a student, faculty, and staff vaccine requirement, as well as Louisiana State University, which is requiring vaccination or proof of a negative test to attend a football game this fall.

“Together, these vaccination requirements add up to make a big difference, helping protect tens of millions of Americans at work, at school, in healthcare citizens, and at sporting events,” Zients said.

Zients also touted “critical progress” in vaccinating young people, announcing that 50% of 12-17 year-olds have had at least one shot.

 

12:55 p.m. ET, August 27, 2021

Covid-19 patients infect about 1 in 5 household members, study finds

From CNN's Maggie Fox

People infected with coronavirus pass it on to about one in five of their household contacts, a new global study finds.

It was a meta-analysis — a study of other studies – covering more than 1.2 million people around the world who shared at least some time in a home with someone infected with Covid-19.

“The estimated household secondary attack rate was 19%,” biostatistician Zachary Madewell of the University of Florida and colleagues wrote in JAMA Network Open.

“The findings of this study suggest that the household remains an important site of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and recent studies have higher household secondary attack rate estimates compared with the earliest reports. More transmissible variants and vaccines may be associated with further changes,” they added.

“Recent data suggest that one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine may be associated with reductions in the risk of household transmission by up to 50%, potentially supporting the case for universal vaccination and offering a path forward to protect household contacts.”