Bronwyn Russell wears a mask anytime she leaves her Illinois home, though she wouldn’t dream of going out to eat or to hear a band play, much less setting foot on a plane. In Virginia, Oliver Midgette rarely dons a mask, never lets COVID-19 rouse any worry and happily finds himself in restaurants and among crowds.
She is vaccinated. He is not.
In a sign of the starkly different way Americans view the coronavirus pandemic, vaccinated older adults are far more worried about the virus than the unvaccinated and far likelier to take precautions despite the protection afforded by their shots, according to a new poll out Wednesday from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The share of Hispanic adults in the U.S. who say they have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine reached 73% in September, an increase of 12 percentage points from July, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
The increase was the fastest of any demographic group in the survey, and it put the reported vaccination rate for Hispanic adults slightly ahead of that of white adults.
Experts say that disparities in vaccination rates and access persist in may parts of the country. But they said that the strong increases among Hispanic and Latino adults in the national poll signaled that on-the-ground vaccination efforts focused on the group were paying off.
Lynden Christian Schools will be going to remote learning for its students for two weeks as the private school deals with an outbreak in COVID-19 cases. An email was sent to parents on Tuesday, Sept. 28, informing them that classes would be canceled on Wednesday, Sept. 29, and that remote learning would begin on Thursday, Sept. 30. The website Whatcom News first reported the decision and The Bellingham Herald obtained a screenshot of the email.
Whatcom County saw 78 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 16 additional probable cases reported on the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID Data Dashboard Tuesday, Sept. 28. Total deaths during the pandemic remained at 134. There have now been 13,466 confirmed cases in Whatcom and 1,017 probable cases during the pandemic, resulting from positive antigen tests not confirmed by a molecular test.
John Tuxill, an ethnobotanist and associate professor at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College, said local trees struggled to survive the early summer heatwave that sent temperatures soaring above 100 degrees. “Part of what we’re seeing now is the aftermath of that heat dome at the end of June,” Tuxill told The Herald. “It’s the first time that I recall a big dieback in the Pacific Northwest relative to a specific event.”
Last week, a panel of scientists and doctors met to discuss the Pfizer booster vaccine. Specifically, the goal was to advise the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about who needs a third shot.
The agency ultimately recommended anyone age 65 and over should get one as well as people who live in long-term care facilities or people ages 50 to 64, who have underlying health conditions.
But several panelists felt there was a more urgent matter at hand than Pfizer boosters.
"To me, the biggest policy question out there is the Johnson & Johnson [booster]," Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot at Vanderbilt University, who's a member of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, told the panel. "I worry we're getting distracted by the question of boosters of Pfizer when we have bigger and more important things to do in the pandemic."
The delta variant was the main reason that people decided to get vaccinated against COVID-19 this summer and why most say they will get boosters when eligible, according to the latest monthly survey on vaccine attitudes by the Kaiser Family Foundation, released on Tuesday morning. But the survey indicated that nearly three-quarters of unvaccinated Americans view boosters very differently, saying that the need for them shows that the vaccines are not working.
Authorities in Washington state said Monday that COVID-19 hospital admission rates “look better” but hospitalizations still remain high. Cassie Sauer, CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association, said during a weekly news briefing that deaths continue to rise — an expected trend that often comes two to four weeks after a surge of hospitalizations. She said about 30 people in the stat are dying of the coronavirus each day. The Seattle Times reports that as of two weeks ago, the state Department of Health’s most recent, complete COVID-19 data, Washington’s average hospitalization rate was about 14.7 admissions per 100,000 people, down from 17.7 admissions per 100,000 people in late August.
Whatcom County continued with triple-digital weekend COVID-19 case numbers, according to the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard on Monday, Sept. 27. With 183 new confirmed cases reported over the weekend, Whatcom’s pandemic total increased to 13,388.
With more than 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines available, U.S. health authorities said they’re confident there will be enough for both qualified older Americans seeking booster shots and the young children for whom initial vaccines are expected to be approved in the not-too-distant future.
The spike in demand — expected following last week’s federal recommendation on booster shots — would be the first significant jump in months. More than 70 million Americans remain unvaccinated despite the enticement of lottery prizes, free food or gifts and pleas from exhausted health care workers as the average number of deaths per day climbed to more than 1,900 in recent weeks.