Biden encourages COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Today President Joe Biden addressed the nation on the ongoing battle against the coronavirus pandemic and said vaccine requirements are working to raise the number of vaccinated Americans.

“One-hundred million Americans were unvaccinated in July, now that’s 66 million,” Biden said. The president said his goal was to reach those 66 million, a number he called unacceptably high, and he encouraged business owners to use vaccine mandates.

“Every day we see more businesses implementing requirements and see their vaccination rates rise by an average of 20% or more,” Biden said.

His comments came as the Food and Drug Administration today begins deliberating use of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters, along with mix-and-match options for the boosters. Currently, only Americans who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are authorized to receive a booster dose if they are over 65, have underlying health conditions, or work in an environment that puts them at high risk for contracting the virus.

Biden said boosters would be part of his plan to accelerate America’s path out of the pandemic, but his main goal was to get initial shots into arms. Biden also mentioned the chaos at Southwest airlines and said canceled flights last weekend were not due to a pilot protest of vaccine mandates.

Cases continue to drop across US

Biden said COVID-19 case counts are declining in 39 states, and 38 states are reporting decreasing hospitalizations. The United States reported 120,321 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 3,054 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

Ensemble forecasts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations will decline over the next 4 weeks, CNN reports. The latest forecast predicts 740,000 to 762,000 reported deaths by Nov 4.

Since the pandemic began, the United States has reported 44,731,793 COVID-19 cases, including 720,474 deaths.

Polls on healthcare, ivermectin, vaccine attitudes

A trio of new polls released this week provide different snapshots of how the pandemic continues to affect Americans and how opinions on how to treat the virus have changed—or not—over the last 20 months.

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans has had to delay care for serious illnesses in the past few months because hospitals have been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, according to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Meanwhile 4 in 10 Americans—and 7 in 10 heavy users of conservative media—say they would take ivermectin if they had been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, according to a new survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug not approved for use in COVID-19 patients but has been lauded by conservative pundits as a safe treatment.

For most Americans, their reported likelihood of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine remained stable between April 2021 and July 2021, according to data on about 9,000 adults from the Understanding America Study, published in a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Of the 1,403 of 1,967 respondents (71%) in April and May who were very or somewhat unlikely or unsure about getting a vaccine, 1,199 (85.5%) remained so in June and July, the authors wrote. Only about 7% of people who were very or somewhat unlikely to get vaccinated in April and May had received the vaccine by June or July.

“Individuals who were unsure or somewhat/very unlikely in April/May 2021 and who were middle-aged, in an urban/suburban area, Asian, and Democrat were most likely to report being vaccinated or switching to somewhat/very likely by July 2021, suggesting that some groups are ‘moveable’ toward vaccination,” the authors concluded.

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