August 3, 2021 US coronavirus news

By Melissa Mahtani, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 4:07 p.m. ET, August 9, 2021
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9:03 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

FDA is moving as fast as possible to approve Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine, federal official says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

The US Food and Drug Administration is moving as fast as possible to get to final approval of Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine but doesn’t have a set date in mind, a federal official told CNN Tuesday.

The New York Times reported that the FDA was aiming to make a decision of full approval by Labor Day, citing multiple sources familiar with the matter. 

“That’s an outside date. We don’t have a set date,” said the official, who asked not to be identified because they did not have approval to speak to the media about the matter.

FDA officials have said multiple times they are working as fast as they can to fully approve Pfizer’s vaccine, which is being distributed now under emergency use authorization. The FDA posted a statement last Friday saying it was pulling in help from across the agency, including “sprint teams,” to speed final approval.

“We have to make sure we dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s, or else people will say we did not do the approval correctly,” the official said.

4:07 p.m. ET, August 9, 2021

Facing likely eviction, Las Vegas woman overwhelmed by donations from strangers 

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Update: After CNN aired a story about her potential eviction, Dasha Kelly clarified to CNN that she is not the mother of the three children featured in the story. CNN has verified she takes care of the children in her home for periods of time. She says she originally described herself to CNN as a mother because she considers herself to be like one to them.

CNN has learned the children are also cared for by their mother, Shadia Hilo, and their father, David Allison, who is Kelly's boyfriend.

GoFundMe tells CNN they are in close contact with Kelly and funds will stay on hold until they verify her information. GoFundMe says no funds have been withdrawn.

A Las Vegas woman has avoided eviction for herself after their GoFundMe account brought in more than $150,000.

Dasha Kelly, who lost her casino job during the pandemic, appeared on "Erin Burnett OutFront" Monday evening detailing the challenges she's faced making ends meet. Twenty-four hours later, thanks to the generosity of strangers, Kelly said she will no longer have to worry about donating blood or pawning furniture simply to pay rent.

"I just want to tell everybody, 'thank you so much.' I'm still in denial. It's a lot to take in," Kelly told Burnett in a follow-up interview Tuesday night. Kelly was joined by her boyfriend's three daughters, Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, who she says she cares for part-time. 

The family was featured in a CNN story that aired on Monday about the federal eviction moratorium that ended this past weekend.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued a stop on certain evictions. The new ban applies to areas of the country with high or substantial transmission of Covid-19 and will last until Oct. 3, according to the announcement.

The new moratorium comes after President Biden and his administration allowed a previous freeze to expire, setting off fury among members of his own party, including Rep. Cori Bush who participated in a protest on the steps of the US Capitol. On Tuesday, Bush said of the effort, "our movement moved mountains."

7:50 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

There is an effort to get immunocompromised people a Covid-19 vaccine booster "very soon," says Fauci

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

from Gov. Ralph Northam
from Gov. Ralph Northam

People with compromised immune systems may need additional protection after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine, and there is an effort to make vaccine boosters available to that population “very soon,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.

“There are those individuals who are immune compromised – transplant patients, patients on cancer chemotherapy, patients on immunosuppressive regimen, for example, for autoimmune diseases,” Fauci said during a virtual event hosted by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam Tuesday. “Those individuals we know almost invariably do not have an adequate response, so the need to give them an additional boost is much more emergent than the general population.”

Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have met to discuss whether immunocompromised people may need additional protection from a vaccine booster, but have not yet presented a formal recommendation or voted on guidance.

“We are trying very hard to get the regulatory mechanism in place very soon to get those individuals a boost that might bring up their immunity to the level where it should be, if possible,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
7:38 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

New York City only requiring one vaccine dose with new mandate

From CNN's Sonia Moghe and Julian Cummings


New York City’s decision to require one vaccine dose for its newly announced vaccine mandate for restaurants, gyms, and entertainment was meant to incentivize people to get vaccinated, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“This is a strategy very clearly, we want to encourage people right now if you aren’t vaccinated we are not telling people you don’t have to wait a long time to experience all the great things in life. Get that dose and get that card you are in business,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio said that he believes more mandates like the one announced in New York will be implemented across the country.

“If you are unvaccinated, you are going to get left out more and more,” de Blasio said.

A source familiar with the making of the policy said the vast majority of people who get one dose will also get their second in a two-dose series. 

“The plan as it stands is the plan for now — if things change we’ll make further adjustments,” the source said. 

7:12 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

San Francisco health department will allow J&J vaccine recipients to get supplemental mRNA vaccine dose

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

A health care worker prepares a Johnson & Johnson Covid19 vaccine on May 7, in Los Angeles.
A health care worker prepares a Johnson & Johnson Covid19 vaccine on May 7, in Los Angeles. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The San Francisco Department of Public Health said Tuesday it will allow people vaccinated with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to receive a supplemental mRNA vaccine dose. Doses will be available at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Department officials said they were making an “accommodation” for those who have consulted with a physician and said it was not a recommendation or policy change. They said the health department aligns with the US the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which does not currently recommend a booster shot for anyone, including J&J vaccine recipients.

“We are not recommending. We are accommodating requests,” Dr. Naveena Bobba, deputy director of health for the department, said during a media briefing. “We have gotten a few requests based on patients talking to their physicians and that's why we are allowing for the accommodation.”

Bobba said the supplemental vaccinations will be recorded the same way all Covid-19 vaccinations are. “These get entered into the system, just like other doses have as well, and the patients that have gotten them will be followed, just as others have gotten the vaccines throughout the country have continued to be followed,” Bobba said.

When asked whether anyone can walk in and receive a supplemental mRNA vaccine dose, Bobba said that each vaccine site in the city will choose how to proceed with the accommodation, but “the expectation is that they have had a discussion with a healthcare provider when they come in.”

The mRNA vaccines are made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, and require two doses for full immunization.

6:42 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

CDC issues new pandemic eviction moratorium

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Rep. Cori Bush, center, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, right, and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson speak at a rally against the end of the eviction moratorium at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, August 3.
Rep. Cori Bush, center, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, right, and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson speak at a rally against the end of the eviction moratorium at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, August 3. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a fresh stop on certain evictions Tuesday, saying that evicting people could be detrimental to public health and would interfere with efforts to slow the pandemic. 

“The eviction moratorium allows additional time for rent relief to reach renters and to further increase vaccination rates,” the CDC said in an email to CNN. 

“In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria—like quarantine, isolation, and social distancing—can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease. Eviction moratoria facilitate self-isolation and self-quarantine by people who become ill or who are at risk of transmitting COVID-19 by keeping people out of congregate settings and in their own homes,” it added.

“This order will expire on October 3, 2021 and applies in United States counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2.”

President Biden announced earlier Tuesday that the CDC would issue a new moratorium after a previous hold on evictions expired July 31.

“The emergence of the Delta variant has led to a rapid acceleration of community transmission in the United States, putting more Americans at increased risk, especially if they are unvaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

“This moratorium is the right thing to do to keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings where COVID-19 spreads. It is imperative that public health authorities act quickly to mitigate such an increase of evictions, which could increase the likelihood of new spikes in SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Such mass evictions and the attendant public health consequences would be very difficult to reverse.”


5:09 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

Biden to local governments: Help fight Covid-19 or "get out of the way"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

President Joe Biden gestures to a reporter to ask him a question as he speaks about the coronavirus pandemic in the East Room of the White House on, Tuesday, August 3.
President Joe Biden gestures to a reporter to ask him a question as he speaks about the coronavirus pandemic in the East Room of the White House on, Tuesday, August 3. Susan Walsh/AP

President Biden today singled out states that have made rules that could hinder the fight against Covid-19, telling local governments to help the fight or "get out of way."

"Others have declined to step up. I find it disappointing," said Biden, contrasting actions taken in states including Texas and Florida, to those taken by many private corporations which are preparing to require employees to get vaccinated. 

"Worst of all, some state officials are passing laws or are signing orders that forbid people from doing the right thing," continued Biden. "As of now, seven states not only ban mask mandates but also ban them in their school districts even for young children who cannot get vaccinated."

Biden then singled out Texas where new rules stipulate that state universities or community colleges could be fined if they allow teacher to ask for unvaccinated students to wear a mask.

"What are we doing?" asked Biden. "Covid-19 is a national challenge. And we have to come together, all of us together, as a country to solve it."

"Use your power to save lives," he concluded.


4:47 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

Biden administration to announce new efforts to limit evictions during pandemic

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak 

President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Tuesday, August 3.
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Tuesday, August 3. Evan Vucci/AP

The Biden administration is expected to announce new efforts aimed at limiting evictions, according to an administration official, though details of the effort – and what impact it would have — are still unclear.

The White House and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have continued to search for legal avenues to extend a now-expired nationwide ban on evictions during the pandemic as the issue drives a major wedge between President Biden and members of his party.

Administration lawyers had been unable to identify how Biden could use his administrative authority to continue the eviction freeze following a late-June decision by the Supreme Court.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki sought to further explain Biden's thinking on Tuesday, suggesting a challenge to the court could hamper the federal government's public health authorities going forward.

"There are concerns about what the impact would be on the long term abilities, authorities, of the CDC. Their team is looking closely, carefully, has been since the president asked them to on Sunday, at what our options are here," she said, responding to a question from CNN's Phil Mattingly.

She indicated the search process had not ended, even though White House and CDC lawyers have made clear they do not currently see a legal pathway to extending the moratorium.  

4:45 p.m. ET, August 3, 2021

US on a path "strikingly similar" to Delta outbreak in UK, Fauci says

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

People sit in Piccadilly Circus as the light display reads 'Let's Open Up London' on the day of lifting of nearly all remaining coronavirus restrictions in London, on July 19.
People sit in Piccadilly Circus as the light display reads 'Let's Open Up London' on the day of lifting of nearly all remaining coronavirus restrictions in London, on July 19. Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The US is on a similar path to a Delta variant outbreak like the one seen earlier this year in the United Kingdom, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday. 

“Since an acceleration of vaccines doesn't give a result until several weeks after, we are already on a trajectory that looks strikingly similar to the sharp incline that the UK saw,” Fauci said during a discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Fauci said this is what he “projects” will happen. “You never can guarantee it's going to be accurate, but I think this is what's going to happen,” he said.

“Remember, we went from an average of about 12 to 15,000 cases a day to 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 – we're up to 70 now. We are going to be between 100 and 200,000 cases before this thing starts to turn around.”

Fauci said this acceleration further enforces the importance of vaccines now. 

“In order to make sure that by the time we get into the fall we don't continue to accelerate but turn around and start coming down acutely, we've got to get those 93 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated, who are not getting vaccinated."