COVID-19 Updates: 100 million eligible Americans still unvaccinated

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NEW YORK (WABC) — More than 63% of counties across the United States are seeing COVID cases spreading rapidly, mostly attributed to the more transmissible Delta variant.

“We are all at risk,” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and former CDC Director Dr. Richard Besser said. “There are many who wanted to declare victory over this pandemic several months ago, but it’s far from over.”

The CDC is stressing the virus is still primarily spreading among the unvaccinated.

According to the White House, 100 million Americans who are eligible for the vaccine have still not gotten the shot.

Here are more of today’s headlines:

Google, Facebook will require employees to be vaccinated upon return to offices
Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened.

The announcement Wednesday came as the more highly contagious delta variant is driving a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Facebook made a similar announcement on Wednesday, saying employees at any of its U.S. based campuses will be required to be vaccinated.

Pentagon requires masks in all Department of Defense facilities
On Wednesday, Department of Defense officials announced that masks will be required in all facilities in accordance with CDC guidelines. The Director of Administration and Management directed that service members, federal employees, onsite contractors and visitors wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Yonkers announces new COVID vaccine protocol
On Wednesday at the Special Meeting of the Yonkers Board of Education the Trustees adopted COVID-19 Protocol Resolution 4.1 in compliance with the City of Yonkers Workforce COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate issued today by Mayor Mike Spano. The resolution was adopted to protect the safety of students and employees by preventing the resurgence of COVID-19 cases and in particular the COVID-19 Delta variant.

School district employees must prove they have been vaccinated by Sept. 1 or undergo weekly COVID testing. Additionally, Yonkers Board of Education employees and students must continue to wear masks at all times regardless of vaccination status while at school.

NY adds hospital vaccine mandate, Cuomo wants ‘everyone back in the office’ by Labor Day
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced vaccination rules for state workers and state-run hospitals Wednesday, and for many, there will be no weekly testing option rather than getting the COVID-19 shot. All patient-facing health care workers in state-run hospitals must get vaccinated, with no testing option, Cuomo said. It was one of several announcements made by Cuomo, including another calling for state employers to bring employees back in the office by Labor Day.

NJ recommends indoor masking, NY guidance to come
After the CDC released new guidance on indoor masking for areas seeing spikes in COVID cases, local leaders are revisiting the current policies. Parts of New York and New Jersey are among the high risk areas, and on Wednesday, Governor Phil Murphy and Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli strongly recommended that both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents wear masks in indoor settings when there is increased risk.

“Our metrics are trending in the wrong direction, and new data suggests the Delta variant is more transmissible even among vaccinated individuals, which is why we are making this strong recommendation,” Murphy and Persichilli said in a joint statement. “Fortunately, our numbers are a fraction of those in many other states, most of which have significantly lower vaccination rates.”

New York officials said they are still reviewing the guidance and will issue an update in the coming days.

NYC offering $100 vaccine incentive
Starting Friday, New York City will be offering $100 to anyone who gets vaccinated at a city-run vaccination site, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. The announcement comes as the city continues its push to get more residents vaccinated. 9.9 million residents have received at least one dose to date, the mayor said.

New Pfizer data suggests 3rd COVID vaccine dose ‘strongly’ boosts protection against delta variant
A third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can “strongly” boost protection against the delta variant — beyond the protection afforded by the standard two doses, suggests new data released by Pfizer on Wednesday. The data posted online, which are expected to be discussed in a company earnings call on Wednesday morning, suggest that antibody levels against the delta variant in people ages 18 to 55 who receive a third dose of vaccine are greater than five-fold than following a second dose. Among people ages 65 to 85, the Pfizer data suggest that antibody levels against the Delta variant after receiving a third dose of vaccine are greater than 11-fold than following a second dose.

Fully vaccinated Americans can soon travel to the UK
Fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and much of Europe can enter England without quarantining starting next week. The British government says people who have received both doses of a vaccine approved by the FDA in the U.S. or the European Medicines Agency, can take pre- and post-arrival coronavirus tests instead of self-isolating.

Biden to announce COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all federal employees: Sources
President Joe Biden said Tuesday afternoon that a mandate to require all federal employees to be vaccinated is now “under consideration.” Sources familiar with the discussion told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega that the president is awaiting the outcome of a policy review, but that likely Thursday, he will announce that federal employees will be required to be vaccinated or else they must abide by “stringent COVID-19 protocols like mandatory mask wearing — even in communities not with high or substantial spread — and regular testing.”

New CDC guidance: Parts of NY, NJ have ‘substantial’ risk of COVID transmission
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced new recommendations that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in areas where the coronavirus is surging, and parts of New York and New Jersey are among the high risk areas. The agency also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status, citing new information about the ability of the Delta variant to spread among vaccinated people.

NYC vaccination rates by zip code
There are about a dozen communities in the New York City area where three out of four people have not been vaccinated yet. 7 On Your Side Investigates created a map where the darkest colored zip codes have the most vaccinated New Yorkers and the lightest, the least.

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