Vaccination rates among people who are pregnant have been low, despite evidence that vaccines can prevent the “severe risk of severe disease” posed to pregnant people from COVID-19.
Only 18% of pregnant people have received a dose, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
While new data shows overall racial disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations are improving, federal numbers show pregnant Black people are the least vaccinated compared to those expecting in other races.
Just 15% of Black pregnant people are fully vaccinated and only 13% have received at least one dose, according to the CDC.
Women giving birth while having COVID-19 had “significantly higher rates” of ICU admission, intubation, ventilation and death, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. In August alone, 21 pregnant people died of COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Scientists have said vaccines are safe to be taken at any time while pregnant or breastfeeding for both mother and baby.
-Nada Hassanein, USA TODAY
Also in the news:
►The World Health Organization said global COVID-19 cases and deaths dropped by about 10% in the past week, continuing an ongoing decline for the past several weeks. Compared with the week ending Aug. 26, the week ending Monday had 30% fewer cases and 21.2% fewer deaths, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
►The United States has reported more than 50,000 COVID-19 deaths in September. Through Tuesday, with two days of counting remaining in the month, the country has reported 51,789 deaths, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
► More than 1,000 Mississippi students were infected by coronavirus last week and 4,729 students, teachers and staff were quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19. Nearly 22,800 students have tested positive in the state since the school year started.
► Los Angeles might implement new vaccine mandates for indoor public locations including gyms and restaurants, The Los Angeles Times reported. The City Council will consider the plan on Wednesday.
► Families at an Iowa school district who are angry over a new mask mandate are threatening to unenroll their students ahead of the school’s student count date to artificially lower enrollment numbers, potentially costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding.
► California’s Department of Public Health issued an order Tuesday requiring all workers in adult care facilities and in-home care workers to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 30.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 43.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 693,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 232.8 million cases and 4.7 million deaths. More than 185 million Americans — 55.8% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: The restaurant industry is struggling to hire. Ex-servers, bartenders and cooks share why they left during COVID-19 and won’t be returning. Read about why here.
COVID-19 boosters are now available to millions of Americans who fall into certain broad categories and want greater protection from the coronavirus.
While many are relieved boosters are finally here, there’s little policing to ensure third shots go to the intended people. Health experts say some people who don’t meet the requirements are ignoring official guidelines and seeking third shots.
“Right now, it’s been the Wild West. I know people are going out and helping themselves to all kinds of things and basically lying to do so,” said Dr. Camille Kotton, an infectious disease expert at Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a CDC advisory group.
Following CDC guidance, hospitals and pharmacies are relying on patients to “self-attest” their eligibility as defined by the guidelines to help “reduce barriers to access for these select populations.” While it may improve access to vaccines, it also leaves room for people to be dishonest. Read more here.
– Adrianna Rodriguez
A federal court Tuesday ruled South Carolina cannot enforce a ban school districts requiring masks in schools, a move Gov. Henry McMaster is expected to appeal.
The court found budget proviso 1.108, which said that state funds cannot be used to require masks in schools, restricted students with disabilities from accessing educational opportunities that are provided to other students and concluded that it should be up to school districts to decide whether to mandate masks on school property.
The ruling is part of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and disability rights groups late August against top state government officials including, McMaster and State Attorney General Alan Wilson. The plaintiffs said the mask proviso was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.
McMaster’s spokesperson, Brian Symmes, said the governor will appeal.
– Devyani Chhetri, Greenville News
The Michigan state health department is increasing the threshold for the number of COVID-19 cases that would constitute an outbreak at a K-12 school.
The move will result in fewer reported outbreaks and inconsistent state data, coming at a time when school outbreaks are on the rise and local health leaders are pleading for a statewide mask mandate.
As of Monday, an outbreak at a school must have three or more associated cases. For the past 18 months, an outbreak consisted of two or more cases. The new definition will not be applied to older outbreaks.
If this change had been implemented at the start of September when many students returned to classrooms, the state could have excluded almost 25% of new school outbreaks reported in that time frame.
-Dave Boucher and Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press
Texas on Tuesday continued to record fewer than 10,000 people in the hospital for COVID-19, extending a streak of declining figures. The state also had the most available staffed intensive care unit beds in almost two months.
On Tuesday, 9,551 people were hospitalized in Texas with COVID-19, another drop from the previous day and an improvement after reaching a summer high of 13,932 last month. The pandemic high was 14,218 Texans hospitalized in January.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 494 available staffed ICU beds for adult patients, up from the pandemic low of 270 on Sept. 9, and the most since Aug. 4 when 497 were available. Although the state only had 112 staffed pediatric ICU beds, that is still much more than the pandemic low of 64 beds reported on Aug. 4.
-Roberto Villalpando, Austin American-Statesman
Contributing: Mike Stucka, USA TODAY; The Associated Press