A Quarter of All Los Angeles County COVID Patients Were Fully Vaccinated, CDC Says

A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 25 percent of residents who tested positive for COVID-19 in Los Angeles County were fully vaccinated.

The report also found about 12 percent of infected people hospitalized and about 12 percent of people who died from the virus were fully vaccinated. CDC officials noted the number of Americans who are fully vaccinated has been increasing, so they expected to see a rise in infections among fully vaccinated people.

The report concluded that infections tended to be more common and more severe in people who were unvaccinated. Unvaccinated people were nearly five times more likely to get infected and 29 times more likely to be hospitalized from the virus.

Additionally, the report found the median age for vaccinated people who died was 78, compared to 63 for unvaccinated individuals. It also noted that one quarter of the 24 fully vaccinated people who died had weakened immune systems.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Nurse reaches for vaccine
The CDC found that about 25 percent of people infected with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County were fully vaccinated. Above, a nurse reaches for a vial of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccine clinic in the Arleta neighborhood of Los Angeles on August 23. Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Fauci: Hospitals Use More Antibody Treatments

Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging hospitals and doctors to make greater use of antibody treatments for people infected with COVID-19 as hospitalizations and deaths rise due to the spread of the Delta variant.

Infusions of antibody drugs can keep patients who are experiencing mild-to-moderate symptoms from getting so sick they need hospitalization, the government's top infectious disease specialist said at Tuesday's White House coronavirus briefing. They also can serve as a preventive treatment for people exposed to someone with a documented infection.

Three antibody products are available under emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, and they're free thanks to taxpayer support. But Fauci says they remain "a much-underutilized intervention."

However, demand for the drugs increased five-fold last month to nearly 110,000 doses, with the majority going to states with low vaccination rates. Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has been among the patients treated with antibodies.

Louisiana's Largest Hospital System Requires Employee Vaccinations

Louisiana's largest hospital system, Ochsner Health, says it's requiring all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 29.

The announcement came a day after the Pfizer vaccine received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The state health department announced 3,814 new coronavirus cases statewide.

There were also 121 confirmed deaths reported Tuesday, along with 18 listed as "probable." Hospitalizations ticked up again, increasing by 18 to 2,856.

"This policy is the right thing to do to protect our employees, their families, and our patients," Ochsner CEO Warner Thomas said.

Ochsner Health, based in suburban New Orleans, says 69 percent of its employees are already vaccinated.

Michigan Judge Rules in Favor of Mask Mandates in Schools

A Catholic school in Lansing has lost an appeal over a Michigan policy that required masks on young kids earlier in the pandemic.

Although the statewide mandate ended, some counties are stepping in and requiring masks in schools when the 2021–2022 year starts.

Resurrection School and some parents sued in 2020, saying a state mask order violated the free exercise of religion, among other objections. A judge, however, refused to intervene and issue an injunction.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision Monday.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney "correctly concluded that because the requirement to wear a facial covering applied to students in grades K–5 at both religious and non-religious schools, it was neutral and of general applicability," the court said.

Attorney General Dana Nessel, whose department defended the policy, praised the decision.

Only 53 People Got Tested for COVID at Missouri State Fair

An estimated 300,000 people attended the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia over the 10-day period that ended Sunday, but just 53 took advantage of an on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinic, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Masks were not required at the fair. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

"Obviously, we'd love to have vaccinated 1,000 people," Pettis County Health Administrator JoAnn Martin told the Post-Dispatch. "But we are glad we made the effort."

Georgia National Guard Deployed to Hospitals

More than 100 National Guard personnel are being deployed to 20 hospitals across Georgia to help deal with the state's latest surge of COVID-19 cases, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced Tuesday.

The 105 medically trained Guardsmen and women will help staff at hospitals in Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, Brunswick, Albany and other cities across the state, Kemp said in a statement.

"These guardsmen will assist our frontline healthcare workers as they provide quality medical care during the current increase in cases and hospitalizations, and I greatly appreciate General [Thomas] Carden and his team for their willingness to answer the call again in our fight against COVID-19," Kemp said.

The guard is coordinating with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Community Health in the effort, Kemp said.

Arkansas Out of ICU Beds For COVID Patients

Arkansas doesn't have any intensive care unit beds available for COVID-19 patients as the state's coronavirus cases continue to surge, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday.

Hutchinson says it's the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began that no ICU beds were available for COVID-19 patients. Virus patients make up about half of the state's ICU beds. The number of virus patients in ICUs and on ventilators reached a new high in the state on Monday.

"Everyone should know the strain this puts on our hospitals and the need to get our vaccinations and how critical our bed space is," Hutchinson said at a news conference.

Hutchinson says hospitals in the state were working to open more ICU beds for virus patients.

'We May Never Get to Herd Immunity': Africa CDC Director

The director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning "we may never get to herd immunity" against COVID-19 given what is known about the coronavirus.

John Nkengasong spoke to African health ministers on Tuesday about infections that occur in people despite vaccinations. The Africa CDC has aimed to vaccinate 60 percent of the continent of 1.3 billion people, up to 30 percent of them this year.

But the more infectious Delta variant is driving a resurgence in cases and forcing governments around the world to reconsider lockdowns and other measures. The slow and limited flow of vaccines to African nations while richer nations secure supplies has complicated efforts to contain the pandemic.

The Africa CDC director for months has warned against allowing COVID-19 to become endemic on the continent with some of the world's least-equipped health systems.

Maine Senator Recovering From COVID-19

A spokesman for independent Senator Angus King says the senator is feeling better as he recovers from the coronavirus.

The 77-year-old King announced August 19 he had tested positive for the coronavirus. King was vaccinated for the disease earlier this year.

Spokesman Matthew Felling said Tuesday that King is "feeling better, quarantining and resting at home, following doctor's orders."

Maine health officials have reported 95 percent of state residents who are in their 70s have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. More than 70 percent of the state's eligible population is fully vaccinated.

Maine CDC has reported more than 74,000 total cases and 924 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Kansas Supreme Court Allows Mask Mandates to Be Challenged

People who oppose mask requirements or restrictions on public gatherings imposed by Kansas counties can challenge them in court and obtain a ruling within 10 days.

That's the result of a decision Tuesday by the state Supreme Court. The court said the state for now can enforce a COVID-19-inspired law enacted in March by the Republican-controlled Legislature to restrict the power of Democratic Governor Laura Kelly and county officials in emergencies.

A judge in Johnson County declared last month that the law violated the state constitution, but GOP state Attorney General Derek Schmidt appealed. The Supreme Court is blocking the county judge's order while it considers the appeal.

Louisiana State University Football Games Require Proof of Vaccination

Getting into a Louisiana State University football game this fall will require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID test.

The requirement announced Tuesday in Baton Rouge comes a day after the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval of the Pfizer vaccine. LSU's announcement says the university will require all Tiger Stadium guests 12 years old and older to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of entry.

Meanwhile, Louisiana State University students have until September 10 to submit proof of their first vaccine or file paperwork to opt out of the vaccination requirement. Under Louisiana law, students can provide a doctor's note citing a medical condition that precludes getting the vaccine or a "written dissent" form objecting to the shot.

LSU students have until October 15 to submit proof of full vaccination.

South Carolina Faces Lawsuit Over School Mask Mandate Bans

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit over a South Carolina law that bans school districts from imposing mask mandates.

The lawsuit argues the ban effectively excludes vulnerable students from public schools and disproportionately impacts students with underlying health conditions or disabilities, who are at risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract COVID-19.

Current guidance from the CDC recommends everyone in a school building, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors. Public health officials have pleaded with the governor and legislators to lift the ban on mask mandates.

South Carolina legislators included a provision in the state's general budget that prevented school districts from using state funding to mandate masks in schools. Governor Henry McMaster has said parents should have the choice regarding whether children wear masks in schools.

Under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, public schools cannot exclude students with disabilities or segregate them unnecessarily from their peers. Schools are also required to provide reasonable modifications to allow students with disabilities to fully participate.

Walt Disney World Requires All Workers to Be Fully Vaccinated

Florida's Walt Disney World will require union employees as well as non-union and salaried workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to keep their jobs at the theme park.

The deal was reached Monday with a union coalition, shortly after the Pfizer vaccine earned full Food and Drug Administration approval. It requires the workers to show proof of vaccination by October 22 to remain employed, although employees can request exemptions for medical or religious reasons, a union statement says.

Any employee who doesn't comply, and doesn't request an exemption, will be "separated from the company with a 'yes' rehire status," according to the Service Trades Council Union. Before layoffs and furloughs due to the pandemic, the coalition covered about 43,000 of 77,000 Disney World workers.

Disney announced last month that all non-union hourly and salaried employees would be required to receive the vaccine within 60 days. The company also asked all employees who were working from home to show proof of vaccination before returning to work.

EU Drug Regulator Approves New Manufacturing Sites for Vaccines

The European Union's drug regulator has approved new manufacturing sites for COVID-19 vaccines, boosting production in the EU by nearly half a billion shots this year.

The European Medicines Agency's human medicines committee on Tuesday approved an additional site in Saint Remy Sur Avre in France that is expected to produce an additional 51 million doses this year of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The French manufacturing site is operated by Delpharm. The agency has also approved a new manufacturing line at BioNTech's existing site in the town of Marburg, Germany, which increases capacity by some 410 million doses this year.

The EMA also approved an additional manufacturing site for the Moderna vaccine in Bloomington, Indiana.

Fauci Hopes For More Vaccinations as Pfizer Receives FDA Approval

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he's hoping for an uptick in the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations following U.S. government approval of the Pfizer vaccine.

The top infectious disease expert in the U.S. says the Food and Drug Administration's decision Monday should encourage people who cited lack of approval as a reason for not getting vaccinated. The FDA previously had cleared the Pfizer shots for use on an emergency basis.

Fauci told NBC's Today show that FDA approval will mean more "enthusiasm" for vaccine mandates by workplaces, colleges and universities, and the military. He says it will help boost U.S. vaccination rates.

The FDA's decision clears Pfizer to advertise the vaccine, which Fauci says should help. Government data show just under half of the U.S. population remains unvaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s hoping for an uptick in the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations following U.S. government approval of the Pfizer vaccine. Fauci testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on Capitol Hill July 20. J. Scott Applewhite, Pool/AP Photo