New infections nearly triple in two weeks: COVID updates

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An Alabama physician glumly says she is making “a lot of progress” in encouraging people to vaccinate – as she struggles to keep them alive.

Dr. Brytney Cobia, a hospitalist at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, wrote in a recent Facebook post she is treating a lot of young, otherwise healthy people for serious coronavirus infections.

“One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine,” she wrote. “I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”

In her post, Cobia wrote that when a patient dies, she hugs their family members and urges them to get vaccinated. She said they cry and tell her they thought the pandemic was a “hoax,” or “political,” or targeting some other age group or skin color.

“They wish they could go back. But they can’t,” Cobia wrote. “So they thank me and they go get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their death note, and say a small prayer that this loss will save more lives.”

Cobia was pregnant when she battled COVID-19 last summer, and she had a low-grade fever, sore throat, fatigue, congestion and sneezing. She spent a weekend with other family members – and eight of them ultimately tested positive for the virus, including her husband. Most suffered more severe symptoms than she did, she said.

“The fear that I feel for myself and my unborn baby is bad enough, but the guilt that I feel for exposing people that trusted me is what I want to focus on,” she wrote in a Facebook post at the time. “Don’t be me. Don’t wear a mask everywhere else in the world EXCEPT around your core.”

Also in the news:

►North Carolina children would need parental permission before they could receive COVID-19 vaccines authorized by federal regulators for emergency use in legislation that advanced through a Senate committee Wednesday.

►Dr. Anthony Fauci recommended parents follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidance calling for everyone older than 2 to wear masks at school regardless of vaccination status. Fauci told “CBS This Morning” the CDC is reviewing its guidance calling for only unvaccinated children and adults to wear masks.

►Public health researchers called the rise in cases and hospitalizations in Arkansas a “raging forest fire,” and the state’s top health official warned he expects significant outbreaks in schools. Only 35% of Arkansans are fully vaccinated.

►Las Vegas employees are now required to wear masks indoors, but the mandate will not be extended to tourists strolling the strip or gathering in casinos, Clark County commissioners decided. The new mandate will remain in place until at least Aug. 17.

📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has had more than 34.1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 609,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 191.7 million cases and 4.1 million deaths. Nearly 161.9 million Americans — 48.8% of the population — have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘What we’re reading: Amid fears over COVID cases in Congress, the White House and public health experts urge vaccinations.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

The U.S. will continue to restrict non-essential travelers from Mexico and Canada via land and ferry at least through Aug. 21, according to documents to be published in the Federal Register. The previous border restrictions were set to end Thursday. Travelers from Canada and Mexico can still come into the U.S. by air with proof of a negative COVID test or recovery from COVID. The borders were first closed to leisure travelers in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The restrictions have been extended on a monthly basis ever since.

Canada announced Monday it would reopen its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents Aug. 9, with plans to allow fully vaccinated travelers from any country on Sept. 7.

The U.S. Travel Association estimates that each month the border is closed costs $1.5 billion. Canadian officials say Canada had about 22 million foreign visitors in 2019 – about 15 million of them from the U.S.

– Bailey Schulz and Morgan Hines

Anti-vaxxers using fake names, code words to skirt social media bans

Anti-vaxx groups are disguising themselves to evade detection from social media platforms cracking down on COVID vaccine misinformation, NBC News reported.

Some of the groups are using names like “Dance Party” or “Dinner Party” and resorting to code words to avoid being banned from Facebook while still spreading their message.

NBC News said anti-vaxxers are using similar tactic on…



Read More:New infections nearly triple in two weeks: COVID updates

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