The latest on the Covid-19 pandemic in the US

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

Updated 0743 GMT (1543 HKT) August 11, 2021
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8:52 a.m. ET, August 10, 2021

Nearly all Americans live in areas with "high" or "substantial" levels of Covid-19 spread

From CNN’s Michael Nedelman

A total of 98.2% of the US population — around 325 million people — live in counties considered to have “high” or “substantial” Covid-19 transmission, according to CNN’s analysis of data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Three quarters of the population, or 250 million people, live in “high” transmission areas alone.

That means the latest CDC guidance, which advises even fully vaccinated people to mask up indoors in areas with substantial or high transmission, would apply to all but six million Americans.

Only 0.2% of the population — fewer than 600,000 people — live in areas with “low” transmission. Another 1.6% are in areas with “moderate” transmission

The CDC considers a county to have “high” transmission if there have been 100 or more cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 residents in the past week, or a test positivity rate of 10% or higher during the same time frame. For “low” transmission, those numbers must be fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 or a test positivity rate under 5%.


9:53 a.m. ET, August 10, 2021

Fauci says Covid-19 vaccines should be mandated for teachers

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Students make their way into Brentwood High School outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that he thinks vaccines for teachers should be mandated. 
Students make their way into Brentwood High School outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that he thinks vaccines for teachers should be mandated.  (William DeShazer/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on MSNBC Tuesday that he thinks vaccines for teachers should be mandated. 

“I’m going to upset some people on this, but I think we should,” he said, when asked if he thought teachers should be mandates to vaccinate teachers.

He continued: “We are in a critical situation now. We’ve had 615,000-plus deaths and we are in a major surge now as we’re going into the fall, into the school season. This is very serious business. You would wish that people would see why it’s so important to get vaccinated.”  

There won’t be central mandates from the federal government, he said. 

“But when you’re talking about local mandates, mandates for schools, for teachers, for universities, for colleges, I’m sorry, I mean I know people must like to have their individual freedom and not be told to do something,” he said. “But, I think we’re in such a serious situation now that under certain circumstances mandates should be done.” 

He said that these mandates could “absolutely” come from governors, and he believes that when full approval for the vaccines comes from the US Food and Drug Administration, “I think you’re going to see that local institutions, local enterprises are going to feel empowered and appropriately so, they’re not worried about any, you know, getting sued or anything, that they’re going to be saying if you want to go to this university or if you want to go to this college, you got to be vaccinated. If you want to work in our organization, you have to be vaccinated. I think we’re going to see a lot more of that.” 

10:13 a.m. ET, August 10, 2021

Schools reopening without masks "is a formula for disaster," says Louisiana doctor 

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

more children are being hospitalized for Covid-19, Dr. Mark Kline, physician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital New Orleans in Louisiana, warned against reopening schools without mask mandates on Monday.

When asked what kind of protections are needed to keep kids safe as schools across the country reopen, Kline cited Louisiana’s mask mandate for schools. He told CNN’s Don Lemon that it would be wise for governors across the region to follow suit. 

“I think bringing together large numbers of children, congregating them in classrooms with masks being optional – or worse yet even, forbidden – is just a formula for disaster,” Kline told CNN’s Don Lemon.

“This virus that we're dealing with now is a game changer, and it's just so easily transmitted from person-to-person that this could truly catalyze an explosion of cases across the region,” he added.

Kline said he’s extremely concerned that students who are too young to be vaccinated will soon return to school, while huge numbers of eligible adults and adolescents in Louisiana remain unvaccinated. 

“It's one thing not to care about your own health or to think that Covid is not a threat to you personally, but maybe if you learn that it's a threat to your children, you'll reconsider the idea of not being vaccinated.” 

Kline said 18 children are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, six of whom are in the intensive care unit. He said the hospital has seen one child die during the current surge.

Kline said children and adolescents of all ages are being admitted for Covid-19 at the hospital. There are more of them than before — and now they’re getting sicker, he added.

“Half of the children that we've admitted have been under the age of two,” said Kline. “Currently, we have a seven-week-old and a 10-week-old in the hospital.”