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California the Only State Without 'High' Virus Transmission

A map of the United States, updated daily, shows that California is the only state that is not recording "high" rates of COVID transmission, according to the CDC.

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(TNS) - Bay Area health leaders are planning for the coronavirus booster rollout, which seems likely to begin with third shots for Pfizer recipients who are 65 and over or at high risk of severe COVID.Solano County is the least vaccinated of the Bay Area's nine counties.

Just 54% of its 450,000 residents are fully vaccinated, compared with counties with the next-lowest rates. California's high vaccination and masking rates and a state culture that embraces health precautions gave the state the lowest coronavirus case rate in the nation. The superintendent of West Contra Costa Unified School District canceled a special board meeting that was to feature a vote on whether to require COVID-19 vaccination for eligible staff and students.

Latest updates:

Marin school families receive free at-home COVID tests: Nine schools in Marin County are providing free at-home coronavirus tests to families as part of a pilot program launched last week. If the program is successful in controlling outbreaks and allowing more children to return to school with negative rapid-test results, county officials said it could expand to all Marin school families by early November. The kits were provided to the county by the California Department of Public Health as part of a federal effort to increase at-home testing for school families.

Relief emerges in Bay Area at news of Pfizer findings on vaccine for kids: "A huge relief" was the reaction of a Bay Area couple on learning of Pfizer's announcement that its coronavirus vaccine is safe and highly effective in young children ages 5-11. The news could help ease months of anxiety among parents and teachers about when children, and their close contacts, might be able to get protection from the coronavirus. Renee and Miguel Chavez, who enrolled their children in the Pfizer vaccine trial for elementary school-age kids at Stanford, said it was "a great that the data is there."

Official action expected this week on Pfizer booster: Following the recommendation of its key advisory committee on Friday, the FDA is likely this week to authorize Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots for many Americans at high risk of serious illness from the coronavirus, the New York Times reports. The agency often follows the committee's advice, but is not required to. An advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to meet Wednesday and Thursday to discuss booster shots before that agency — which sets vaccine policy — issues its recommendations The FDA advisory panel of experts on Friday endorsed Pfizer booster shots for people 65 and older, and those 16 and over who are at high risk of getting severe COVID-19 or who work in more risk-prone settings.

Nearly 1 million children infected in past month: There were 225,978 child COVID-19 cases reported in the United States for the week ending Sept. 16, according to data published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatricians. The number represents a 9% increase over two weeks in the cumulated number of child COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. It amounts to close to 1 million cases over the past four weeks. Children represented 25.7% of the overall weekly reported cases in the nation. In the states reporting, children ranged from 1.6%-4.2% of their total cumulated hospitalizations.

California again the only state to escape federal "high" transmission category: A map of the United States, updated daily, shows that California is the only state that is not recording "high" rates of COVID transmission, according to the CDC. Transmission in the state is "substantial," meaning that California is orange in a sea of worse red. Numbers change daily; California has previously fallen out of the red zone in the delta age, only to climb back in a day or two later. This article explains why the state has the nation's lowest COVID case rate.

Vaccination mandate for schools in Washington, D.C.: Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday that all D.C. teachers and school staff and early child-care workers must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Nov. 1. The Washington Post reports that the move does not include a testing option in lieu of vaccination. The vaccine mandate was expanded to include workers at charter and private schools and day cares, who were not covered by an earlier requirement that included a test-out option. A majority of the D.C. Council asked Bowser to remove the testing option and extend the mandate to charter schools, child-care workers and city contractors who interact with children.

NYC to randomly test unvaccinated students: New York City will begin conducting weekly, random coronavirus tests of unvaccinated students, including those under 12 who are not yet eligible for their jabs,, the Associated Press reports. It's an attempt by the nation's largest school district to more quickly spot outbreaks.Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement Monday, saying the changes followed U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and would keep students from missing vital classroom time. The new rules take effect on Sept. 27, the deadline for the city's public school teachers and staff to get at least their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 death toll matches Spanish flu of a century ago: COVID-19 has now killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic did — approximately 675,000. As of Monday morning the COVID death toll stood at more than 674,000, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University, though the true figure is believed to be higher. The delta-fueled surge in new infections appears to have peaked, but U.S. deaths still are running at over 1,900 a day on average, the highest level since early March. The 1918-19 flu pandemic killed an estimated 675,000 Americans in a U.S. population one-third the size of what it is today. It struck down 50 million victims globally at a time when the world had one-quarter of today's global population. COVID-19 deaths globally now stand at close to 4.7 million.

U.S. to allow vaccinated foreigners in: The U.S. will ease foreign travel restrictions to the country beginning in November, allowing foreigners in if they have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test, the White House said Monday. The new rules will replace restrictions that had barred non-citizens who had been in Europe, much of Asia and certain other countries in the prior 14 days from entering the U.S.

Biden's approval rating on virus falls: More than half of registered voters in the U.S., 52%, approve of how President Biden is responding to the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll shows. That's a drop from 63% in July, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released to The Hill. A majority in the weighted online poll, 54%, also say the country is going in the wrong direction. The findings come as Biden faces a number of challenges, including the continued raging of COVID-19 continues in much of the nation.

Booster shot recommendation likely to expand in "next few weeks": A government advisory panel's recommendation to limit Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots to Americans 65 and older as well as those at high risk of severe disease is a preliminary step and there could be broader approval for most Americans "in the next few weeks," the National Institutes of Health director told "Fox News Sunday." The Associated Press reports that Dr. Francis Collins said the panel's recommendation Friday was correct based on a "snapshot" of available data on the effectiveness of Pfizer's two-shot regimen over time. But he said real-time data from the U.S. and Israel continue to come in showing waning efficacy among broader groups of people that will need to be addressed soon. "I think there will be a decision in the coming weeks to extend boosters beyond the list that they approved on Friday."

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11: The drugmaker said its COVID vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for that age group soon, the Associated Press reported.

What the booster rollout will look like in the Bay Area: Bay Area health leaders are planning for the coronavirus booster rollout, which seems likely to begin with third shots for Pfizer recipients who are 65 and over or at high risk of severe COVID. Local health officials and providers say they are ready to offer these booster shots if and when federal officials finalize this recommendation.

East Bay school district cancels meeting to vote on vaccine mandate: The superintendent of West Contra Costa Unified School District canceled a special Tuesday board meeting that was to feature a vote on whether to require COVID-19 vaccination for eligible staff and students. He cited the need for more time to work out specifics. Read the story here.

UCSF doctor says risks 'way down' compared to earlier in the summer: Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of UCSF's Department of Medicine, tweeted that for the first time in months, asymptomatic positivity rates were under 1% among UCSF patients who were given a test, an encouraging sign that this summer's surge is indeed waning. "Need to keep masking indoors, but risk way down from summer," Wachter tweeted.

In Solano County, the Bay Area's COVID outlier, masks are anything but universal: Solano County is the least vaccinated of the Bay Area's nine counties. Just 54% of its 450,000 residents are fully vaccinated, compared with 67% in Napa and Sonoma, the counties with the next-lowest rate. County officials have been consistently less willing ot restrict residents' activities and impose mandates.

Here's what Bay Area children's hospitals are seeing a month after schools reopened: Pediatric hospitals in the Bay Area have reported few COVID admissions in the past month, even though children younger than 12 do not yet have access to coronavirus vaccines.

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