(NEW YORK) – The United States faces a wave of COVID-19 this summer as the most contagious delta variant spreads.
More than 630,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while more than 4.4 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns University Hopkins.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 60.2% of Americans aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Here’s how the news unfolds on Wednesday. Every hour in the East:
August 25, 7:00 a.m.
J&J says vaccine booster boosts antibody levels 9-fold
Amid wave of delta variants, new study finds that giving a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine six months after primary vaccination leads to a nine-fold increase in crucial antibody response, according to a statement company press release.
Meanwhile, an earlier study found that people vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still had a lasting immune response at least eight months later, even without a booster.
Collectively, the findings could help inform U.S. government recommendations on booster shots for the 14 million people who received the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine.
The boost after six months “appears to be harmless and greatly enhances immune responses,” Dr. Dan Barouch, Ph.D., director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told ABC News.
August 25, 3:53 am
COVID-19 cases rise among athletes at Tokyo Paralympic Games
Several Paralympic athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo in recent days.
According to daily figures released by the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, at least eight positive cases have been confirmed so far among anonymous Paralympic athletes, with two new cases reported on Wednesday after the opening ceremony.
The 2020 Paralympic Summer Games officially opened in the Japanese capital on Tuesday, after a year of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. Like the 2020 Olympics, which ended on August 8, this year’s Paralympic Games are being held under a state of emergency as Japan grapples with a growing COVID-19 crisis.
August 24, 9:01 p.m.
Another Florida school district issues mask warrant
Leaders of the Orange County public school system voted on Tuesday to demand a mask mandate for all students and staff.
The rule goes into effect on August 30 and will last for at least two months. There will be exemptions for medical reasons.
School board members cited rising rates of COVID-19 and hospitalizations in the area as the reason for their decision.
August 24, 5:54 p.m.
New York school chancellor discusses teachers’ vaccination mandate
New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter spoke to ABC News about the vaccination mandate for public school staff that goes into effect on September 27.
Porter said she is confident teachers and other staff will comply to ensure classrooms are safe for everyone.
“It’s the extra layer of protection that we didn’t have a year ago,” she said.
Porter said she was in discussions with the United Teachers’ Federation over the penalties if a teacher does not comply, and was told that “many of their members are already vaccinated.”
The Chancellor said those who still have concerns should know that the Food and Drug Administration has fully approved the Pfizer vaccine and that it has been shown to be effective in preventing serious illness.
August 24, 5:38 p.m.
Kentucky Reports Record Hospitalizations, Critical Care Patients
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has tweeted a disastrous update on the state’s COVID-19 cases.
The state’s health department reported that 2,014 people are currently hospitalized with the virus, including 589 in intensive care units and 338 on ventilators. Beshear said these are record numbers.
“Friends, it’s dangerous. Please get vaccinated and mask yourself indoors, ”the governor tweeted.
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