Matt Stroshane / Walt Disney World Resort via Getty
The U.S. is approaching its second Thanksgiving in the COVID-19 pandemic and cases are on the rise again.
The CDC reported that the seven-day daily average of new infections on Thursday was 88,482, an increase of 16.1% compared to the previous week.
Public health experts say that fully vaccinated families can enjoy a normal Thanksgiving together, and they urge those who have not yet received the vaccination to do so.
Here are some other coronavirus updates:
Disney is pausing its employee vaccination mandate under the new Florida law
Disney has suspended its COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the company confirmed to MediaFrolic on Sunday.
It comes after a new Florida law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis Thursday that prevents employers from enacting COVID-19 vaccine mandates and gives employees the option to choose an exception or opt in for regular testing or use personal protective equipment.
“No one should lose their job due to stubborn COVID mandates, and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the Florida people,” DeSantis said.
In a statement to MediaFrolic, a Disney spokesperson said the company believed its “approach to mandatory vaccines was the right one as we continue to focus on the safety and wellbeing of our performers and guests.”
More than 90% of Disney’s Florida-based employees have confirmed they are fully vaccinated, the company said.
Fauci says it is unclear how often boosters will be needed
The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week approved COVID-19 booster vaccinations for all fully vaccinated adults.
But whether we will need boosters of the coronavirus vaccine so often in the foreseeable future, experts say the jury is still open.
“We would hope – and we’re looking at that very carefully – that this third shot with the mRNA [vaccines] not only increases you to the top, it also increases the shelf life so you don’t necessarily need it every six months or a year, “said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Senior Medical Advisor to the President for COVID-19, on ABCs In this week Sunday morning.
“We hope it is more challenging,” he added. “If it doesn’t and the data shows we need it more often, then we will.”
Fauci was also asked about the Connecticut and New Mexico governors who said people are no longer considered fully vaccinated until they have received a booster vaccination. He said the federal definition of fully vaccinated remains unchanged: two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot.
Did COVID deaths in 2021 exceed those in 2020?
Data from Johns Hopkins University appears to show that registered deaths from COVID-19 in 2021 exceeded those of 2020, despite the fact that the vaccine was widely used for most of the year.
On Sunday, the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 data dashboard reported that there had been a total of 771,045 coronavirus deaths in the United States during the course of the pandemic.
According to the CDC, there were 385,343 deaths last year, which would mean the remaining deaths – 385,702 – will occur in 2021.
But the official CDC data has not yet caught up with the university’s record. The agency said 382,861 people have died from COVID-19 so far this year in the United States.
Johns Hopkins receives his data direct from the state and county health authorities.