The latest on the Covid-19 pandemic in the US

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

Updated 4:41 p.m. ET, September 13, 2021
6 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:49 a.m. ET, September 13, 2021

New York City begins its first day of school with 74% of employees fully vaccinated, officials say

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Students arrive on the first day of classes at a public school in the Bronx, New York on Sept. 13.
Students arrive on the first day of classes at a public school in the Bronx, New York on Sept. 13. Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg/Getty Images

As New York City begins its first day of school, Department of Education officials say 74% of the employees have been vaccinated and approximately 66% of children age 12-17 are also vaccinated.

“Everyone is excited to be back!” said Danielle Filson, press secretary for the NYC Department of Education. 

After a “short period” offline the DOE’s health screener is back up and running. Filson said the screener is filled out by anyone who enters a school building and will be filled out daily.

After welcoming students in the Bronx this morning with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC schools chancellor Meisha Ross Porter will join the US Education Secretary at PS 121 in Queens.

Ross Porter will be in Queens later Monday at a vaccination site then at an after-school soccer practice.

She will be at a dozen schools in every other Borough over the course of the week, Filson said. 

As of this morning, there are no quarantined or remote classes, or remote teachers, Filson said.

9:38 a.m. ET, September 13, 2021

High vaccine rates and low case rates needed to end Covid-19 prevention measures in schools, CDC director says

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

The first day of school at Bayview Avenue School of Arts and Sciences in Freeport, New York on September 1.
The first day of school at Bayview Avenue School of Arts and Sciences in Freeport, New York on September 1. Alejandra Villa Loarca/Newsday RM/Getty Images

A combination of high vaccination rates and low rates of disease spread are needed to start rolling back Covid-19 prevention measures in schools, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday.

“I think what we really need to see is very high vaccination rates,” she told NBC’s "Today," along with “very low rates of disease in the community.”

“Then we can start peeling back these metrics, these precaution measures so that schools can get back to normal but we all need to lean in and unify towards that common goal over the year ahead,” she said. 
9:27 a.m. ET, September 13, 2021

CDC director on Delta variant in kids: More transmissible can mean more dangerous

From CNN Health’s Virginia Langmaid

While the Delta variant of Covid-19 may not cause more severe disease, if the virus is more transmissible that can make it more dangerous, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday.

“I would say dangerous is more transmissible, right?” Walensky told NBC’s "Today." 

“If it is more transmissible, we have more kids with disease, we have more kids with symptomatic disease, and more kids ending up in the hospital. We haven't seen yet any data to suggest that if you get the Delta variant it’s more severe in a given person, but we are definitely seeing more disease.”

Walensky said the greatest risk to Covid-19 is still in unvaccinated people and communities. 

“This virus is an opportunist, it’ll go where places are not vaccinated, where people are not vaccinated. The best thing we can do for our kids is surround them by people who are vaccinated when they become eligible to be vaccinated.”
9:14 a.m. ET, September 13, 2021

England to abandon plans for "vaccine passport," health secretary says

From CNN's Jake Kwon

Authorities in England have dropped a controversial plan to introduce "vaccine passports" for Covid-19, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC in a televised interview on Sunday.  

"We've looked at it properly and, whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I'm pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports,” Javid told the presenter Nick Robinson.

The earlier proposed plan would have required guests at nightlife venues or crowded events to present a proof of vaccination, or a negative Covid test, or finishing self-isolation after a positive test.  

Javid said he "never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers" to "do what is just an everyday activity."

Javid said the passport was not needed because of the country’s high vaccine uptake, testing, surveillance, and new treatments.

“We’ve been very successful with our vaccination rate so far,” he added.

9:10 a.m. ET, September 13, 2021

Two departing FDA leaders among scientists who say Covid vaccines don't need a booster right now

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The current evidence on Covid-19 vaccines does not appear to support a need for booster shots in the general public right now, according to an international group of vaccine scientists, including some from the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

"Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high," the scientists write in a new paper, published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet.

The authors of the paper include two senior FDA vaccine leaders, Dr. Philip Krause and Marion Gruber, who will be stepping down in October and November, the FDA announced late last month. No further details were released about their retirements, although they sparked questions about whether the departures would affect the agency's work.

The FDA and other public health agencies around the world continue to examine evidence on Covid-19 vaccine efficacy and the role booster doses of vaccine might play in improving immunity against the disease.

For the new paper in The Lancet, the scientists note that they reviewed randomized trials and observational studies on Covid-19 vaccines and consistently find that "vaccine efficacy is substantially greater against severe disease than against any infection; in addition, vaccination appears to be substantially protective against severe disease from all the main viral variants."

The scientists note that there is an opportunity right now to study variant-based boosters before there could be a widespread need for them. But they also argue in their paper that the current Covid-19 vaccine supply could "save more lives" if used in people who are not yet vaccinated than if used as boosters. In early August, the World Health Organization called for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September.

"The limited supply of these vaccines will save the most lives if made available to people who are at appreciable risk of serious disease and have not yet received any vaccine. Even if some gain can ultimately be obtained from boosting, it will not outweigh the benefits of providing initial protection to the unvaccinated," the scientists write. "If vaccines are deployed where they would do the most good, they could hasten the end of the pandemic by inhibiting further evolution of variants."

CNN has reached out to the FDA for comment.

9:05 a.m. ET, September 13, 2021

Americans are growing more supportive of vaccine mandates

From CNN's Ariel Edwards-Levy and Jennifer Agiesta

Americans have grown more supportive of coronavirus vaccine mandates for workers, students, and in everyday public life, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. The shift comes amid renewed worries about the pandemic and a continued partisan divide over the efforts to combat it.

The public is split about evenly, 51% to 49%, on whether requiring proof of vaccination for everyday activities is an acceptable way to increase the vaccination rate, or an unacceptable infringement on personal rights.

But there's greater backing for requiring vaccines in many specific instances. More than half of Americans now say they support requiring vaccinations for office workers returning to the workplace (54%), students attending in-person classes (55%) and patrons attending sporting events or concerts (55%), although fewer (41%) support requiring vaccinations for a shopper to enter a grocery store.

Support for these mandates has risen across the board since April, growing six percentage points with regard to students, eight points regarding office workers and event attendees, and 15 points regarding grocery shoppers.

The survey, which used a different methodology than prior CNN polling, was conducted over a month-long period in August and September, prior to President Biden's announcement of new vaccine rules. Those requirements, announced last week, could apply to nearly two-thirds of the American workforce.