The Texas State Supreme Court upholds the governor’s mask-mandate ban, for now.

In a blow to the right to conceal one’s identity in the state of Texas, the Texas State Supreme Court has upheld a ban on the wearing of masks at rallies held by anti-Donald Trump protesters. The ruling was made by the court after a lawsuit by the city of Austin was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

In an action that is sure to be cheered by fans of the Lone Star State’s favorite new pastime (robbing banks), Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s latest executive order is now law after the State Supreme Court upheld it last night.

Briefing on Daily Coverage

15th of August, 2021 

2:03 p.m. ET, August 16, 2021

2:03 p.m. ET, August 16, 2021

On Thursday, students at Lamar Elementary School in San Antonio wore the school-mandated masks. Credit… The New York Times’ Matthew Busch

After the State Supreme Court agreed with the state on Sunday, issuing an emergency stay of an appeal court decision that would have enabled schools to make facial coverings obligatory, the governor of Texas may now prohibit mask requirements, at least for the time being.

The judgment is merely temporary, lasting until the State Supreme Court, whose judges are elected and are all Republicans at the moment, issues a final judgement. Despite the decision, the Dallas Independent School District and the San Antonio Independent School District both stated on Monday that masks will be required for the time being.

“The City of San Antonio and Bexar County’s response to the Texas Supreme Court continues to emphasize that the governor cannot use his emergency powers to suspend laws that provide local entities with the needed flexibility to act in an emergency,” San Antonio city attorney Andy Segovia said in a statement on Sunday. “His suspension power is intended to assist rather than prevent action.”

Following the State Supreme Court decision on Sunday night, Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa held a press conference, saying that, after speaking with attorneys, he intended to keep the district’s mask requirement in place — but that this might alter based on the evolving legal situation.

“We will continue to have the mask requirement until there is an official court ruling that applies to the Dallas Independent School District,” Mr. Hinojosa said.

“We will cooperate when the court order applies to us,” he said.

As schools throughout the country start or prepare to begin, tens of millions of youngsters under the age of 12 are ineligible for immunization. As the highly transmissible Delta form of the virus has spread, the number of young individuals admitted to hospitals has risen.

Mask laws have been portrayed by some Republicans as an intrusion on parental rights, while many Democrats believe they are an issue of public health.

After Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban was struck down by at least three courts, the state attorney general, Ken Paxton, said late Friday that he was bringing the case to the Texas Supreme Court. Democratic leaders, widespread coronavirus infections, and increasing hospitalizations were among the losses.

Given that the bulk of the state’s oldest and most susceptible people are already vaccinated, coronavirus fatalities are increasing, albeit much more slowly than in previous rounds.

A state district court granted interim authority to Harris County, which encompasses Houston, and other school districts throughout the state to adopt safety measures such as mask requirements.

Mr. Abbott’s appeal to a previous decision upholding a Bexar County school mask requirement was rejected by the state’s Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio.

Mr. Abbott’s appeal to a county official’s mask requirement for public schools, colleges, and companies was rejected by the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas shortly after the San Antonio court announced its decision.

Clay Jenkins, the officer who issued the injunction, applauded the decision. He said on Twitter, “We should all be united; Team Human against Virus.” “I’ll continue to follow the doctor’s advice and collaborate with anybody to defeat #COVID19.”

Judge Jenkins said on Twitter on Sunday evening, after the State Supreme Court’s ruling, that the court had “narrowly decided.” “We won’t stop working with parents, physicians, and schools to safeguard you, and we plan to win that hearing,” he added.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida in Pensacola last year.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visits Pensacola last year. Credit… Getty Images/Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse

On Sunday, the chairwoman of the Broward County School Board claimed the district had no option except to violate Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mask mandate prohibition.

“We’re living through the horror of the Covid epidemic, where so many individuals in our county, including members of our staff and others, are being impacted,” Rosalind Osgood, the school board president, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program.

The number of cases in Florida is on the rise. In the midst of the pandemic’s greatest spike, the state recorded a seven-day rolling average of 21,706 new daily cases on Saturday. The number of deaths and hospitalizations is increasing, while the number of tests given out is decreasing.

According to Dr. Osgood, Broward County has lost two instructors and an instructional assistant due to Covid-19 problems. The school board enforced a mask requirement for students, employees, and visitors, with student exemptions requiring a doctor’s certificate.

Dr. Osgood said, “We feel we have a constitutional responsibility to safeguard the lives of our students and employees.”

The Biden administration intervened when Mr. DeSantis threatened to withdraw school funding. Officials said they backed the mask requirement and would enable schools to replace the wages with money from pandemic relief efforts.

“Getting the backing of the White House at this very, very tough period was extremely encouraging,” Dr. Osgood added.

She said Florida educators are aware of the negative effects of so much time away from in-person education for many kids, including mental health concerns and decreasing academic performance. That made the mask requirement, as well as on-site testing, vaccine access, and air filtering, even more critical.

Dr. Osgood said, “We’ve worked very hard to put things in place, and we’re not going to jeopardize their lives by making it optional.”

Similar prohibitions on mask requirements have been enacted in other states. The governor of Arkansas recently expressed remorse for implementing such a restriction, which hampered schools’ capacity to safeguard children under the age of 12 who cannot yet be vaccinated.

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Masha Crawford, a nurse, and Jocelyn Carrillo, a nursing student, cared for a 44-year-old patient in the I.C.U. at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., in July. The patient died four days later.

In July, Masha Crawford, a nurse, and Jocelyn Carrillo, a nursing student, worked in the I.C.U. at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., caring for a 44-year-old patient. Four days later, the patient passed away. Credit… The New York Times’ Isadora Kosofsky

In the United States, an increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations is being driven by a lagging vaccination program and the emergence of the extremely infectious Delta form.

According to the newest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, average daily hospital admissions among Americans under 50 have reached a pandemic high.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the Biden administration’s top advisor on the pandemic, said, “We’re seeing a lot of individuals become very sick.” “Hospitalizations are on the verge of overrunning the hospitals, especially the critical care units.”

Children and young people are especially affected by the tendency. On average, 263 youngsters were admitted to hospitals every day from Aug. 5 to Aug. 11, compared to 217 in early January, the previous high. According to the C.D.C., average daily admissions among 18- to 49-year-olds reached a new high.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has activated at least 500 National Guard soldiers to assist hospitals in dealing with a surge in coronavirus patients as the state experiences its worst outbreak of the epidemic.

In the United States, the Delta variety currently accounts for more than 83 percent of new infections. According to a database kept by The New York Times, about 129,000 new cases are recorded every day, a 65 percent rise from two weeks ago.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, stated, “This is continuing very rapidly upward with no indications of having topped out.” “I’ll be shocked if we don’t hit 200,000 cases each day in the following few weeks.”

Every age group is seeing an increase in hospitalizations. From Aug. 5 to Aug. 11, the average daily number of hospital admissions for all age categories was approximately 20% to 30% higher than the previous week.

However, new hospital admissions have remained below past pandemic peaks among people aged 50 and older, who are at the greatest risk of severe illness but are also the most likely to be vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital admissions among Americans aged 70 and over are 65 percent fewer than they were in early January.

The vaccinations are still effective against the Delta form and provide significant protection against serious illness and death. Half of all Americans have been completely vaccinated, although rates vary greatly depending on age and region.

Only 47% of 12- to 17-year-olds have had at least one vaccination, compared to 67 percent of 18- to 64-year-olds and 91 percent of those aged 65 and above. Vaccines are not available to children under the age of 12.

Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House’s second-ranking Republican, said on Sunday that in his area, “hospitals with overflowing capacity are the greatest worry.”

With fewer than half of all people completely vaccinated, Louisiana has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. Mr. Scalise said, “I have great trust in this vaccine.” “It’s safe and effective, and I believe we should encourage more people to do it rather than condemning those who haven’t.”

Mr. Scalise got his first dosage of the Pfizer vaccine less than a month ago, and previously blamed President Biden for vaccination apprehension in the United States.

It is unknown whether Delta produces more severe illness than other variations. Several studies from Canada, Scotland, and Singapore have indicated that it might, but the findings are tentative. According to some physicians on the front lines, the variation seems to make young people “sicker and faster.”

However, the variation is causing an outbreak of new infections, particularly in regions and communities where vaccination rates are low. According to health authorities, more than 95 percent of hospitalized Covid-19 patients are unvaccinated.

Dr. Fauci said, “All of this is completely foreseeable and, on the other side, totally avoidable.” “We need to get everyone vaccinated,” says the doctor. We have approximately 90 million individuals who are vaccine-eligible but aren’t being vaccinated, with a significant concentration in the Southern states.”

Dr. Collins believes that increasing vaccination rates among those who are eligible may help safeguard young children who are not yet eligible for vaccinations.

While face masks had become divisive, both Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins agreed that they were an important public health measure that might help limit the spread of the infection.

Dr. Collins said, “This mask that I’m holding has somehow become a symbol that it never should have been.” “This is really a life-saving medical gadget that is now being seen as an infringement on your personal liberty.”

From Washington, Chris Cameron provided reporting.

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Coronavirus testing in February in Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Coronavirus testing at Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the United States Virgin Islands, in February. Credit… The New York Times’ Gabby Jones

As the number of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations rises throughout the country, regions with poor vaccination rates, such as Louisiana, Florida, and Mississippi, have been particularly severely affected.

The same may be said for the US Virgin Islands, where only approximately a third of the population gets vaccinated. Since the beginning of the epidemic, the islands have experienced their greatest number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations in recent days.

According to a New York Times database, the islands, which have a year-round population of roughly 106,000 people, are now among the top 20 U.S. states and territories for cases per capita.

According to statistics from the islands’ Department of Health, active cases have been steadily increasing for weeks, going from about 60 at the beginning of July to a high of 401 on Friday. The greatest number of active cases before this summer’s spike was 295, which was recorded almost a year ago. According to government statistics, just 37 percent of the population was completely vaccinated as of Saturday, behind every state save Mississippi and Alabama.

In a phone interview early last week, Richard Motta Jr., communications director for the territory’s governor, Albert Bryan Jr., said there were 26 Covid hospitalizations, the most since the pandemic response on the islands started in March 2020.

Mr. Motta blamed the low vaccination rate on disinformation, a section of the island population wary of vaccinations, and the fact that the injections are not yet completely authorized but are being given out under emergency use authorizations.

Mr. Motta said the islands had set up a lottery to encourage vaccines, and injections or frequent tests are needed for the approximately 6,000 government workers and hospital employees. Vaccinations are also required for most on-campus students and employees at the University of the Virgin Islands.

When most of the nation still restricted vaccines to high-risk groups, the islands made them accessible to all adults, prompting some Americans to go there to be vaccinated.

Mr. Motta noted that unvaccinated individuals are responsible for all fatalities and hospitalizations on the islands, and that the few reported breakthrough infections were not severe – more proof that vaccinations provide substantial protection against the worst consequences.

The islands have more stringent measures than most of the mainland, including as an interior mask requirement, social distance regulations, and a beach and business curfew.

Mr. Motta stated that the schools, which have just recently reopened, are completely remote and would remain so at least until September.

Mr. Motta said the islands usually attract up to 2,000 people each day, but as instances began to rise in the summer of 2020, the islands prohibited new hotel bookings. Tourism has recently rebounded, with several carriers launching additional routes this spring.

Visitors aged 5 and above, regardless of vaccination status, must provide evidence of a negative coronavirus test done no more than five days before to arrival to an online travel gateway. According to Mr. Motta, a dozen to two dozen individuals faked tests, and some of them were jailed.

The British Virgin Islands, which are just a few miles away by boat from the US Virgin Islands, have effectively closed their waters to incoming foreign visitors until April. A spike of instances occurred in the area, which has only just started to decrease.

Tropical Depression Fred completely spared both island territories, although the hurricane season continues into November. A natural catastrophe may significantly complicate their pandemic chances, as President Biden pointed out this week when he stated that being vaccinated was an important part of hurricane season preparation.

“You don’t want to add Covid-19 to the list of risks that you’re going to be facing if you end up having to evacuate, if you end up having to remain in a shelter,” Mr. Biden added.

The date has been changed to August 15, 2021.

The vaccination requirements at the University of the Virgin Islands were misrepresented in a previous version of this article. It does not allow for frequent testing instead of immunization, and most on-campus students and employees are required to get vaccinations.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, with his wife Sophie Grégoire and their children, arrived at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Sunday to discuss an election with Mary Simon, the governor general.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada came at Rideau Hall in Ottawa with his wife Sophie Grégoire and their children to discuss the election with Governor General Mary Simon. Credit… Reuters/Blair Gable

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — On Sunday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Canada’s governor general and set the country on course for an election on Sept. 20. The move was widely expected, and it demonstrated his belief that voters would return him to power after three consecutive elections.

The election will take place fewer than two years after the last one, and at a time when coronavirus infections are on the rise in several areas of the nation, prompting health authorities to proclaim a fourth wave. Mr. Trudeau could have postponed the election until 2024.

Mr. Trudeau, members of his cabinet, and leaders of the major opposition parties have been making campaign-style appearances throughout Canada for many weeks. Several lawmakers have announced their retirements during the summer, indicating that a vote is imminent.

While campaigning lately, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole and New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh both criticized the notion of holding an election during the epidemic as hazardous, despite the fact that provincial governments from both parties had conducted elections throughout the crisis.

An early vote was also described by opposition leaders as a needless move by Mr. Trudeau to assist his Liberal Party gain a majority in the House of Commons, which it was denied in 2019.

Mr. Trudeau, 49, is betting that his government’s largely well-received management of the epidemic — Canada is on the brink of having the highest vaccination rate in the world — would convert into electoral victory if an election is called soon, according to Canadian political analysts.

Mr. Trudeau’s party leads the Conservatives in all major Canadian polls, but his hoped-for legislative majority is not certain. Much has changed for him politically since he pledged “sunny ways” when the Liberal Party he led beat the Conservatives in a surprise victory in 2015.

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Protesters rallied for and against mask mandates outside the Cobb County School District headquarters in Marietta, Ga., on Thursday.

Protesters gathered outside the Cobb County School District offices in Marietta, Ga., on Thursday to support and against mask requirements. Credit… The New York Times’ Audra Melton

It was meant to be a new school year, a new beginning with some kind of normality. Instead, for many parents, kids, and instructors, it has become a politicized, anxiety-inducing event.

The coronavirus epidemic has interrupted the school year for the third time. While there is now widespread bipartisan support for keeping classrooms open five days a week, this is based on comforting data from last year that the coronavirus did not spread extensively inside schools.

The increase in the Delta variation has created a new level of uncertainty. This week, there have been more than twice as many daily viral cases in the United States than there were a year ago.

However, it is unknown if the Delta variety poses a greater threat to students in American schools than earlier strains of the virus. “We’re basically in the same position we were last year with the issue of keeping students safe,” Raymond C. Hart, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, a consortium of urban districts, said.

Cobb County, in the Atlanta suburbs, may be a foreshadowing of things to come.

Virus cases in the area have increased by 76% in the previous 14 days as of Friday. However, the school system has decided not to have a mask requirement, and the district has recorded more than 700 coronavirus infections among kids and staff members in the first two weeks of school, which started on Aug. 2. (A total of 110,00 students are enrolled.)

Because so many students had tested positive for the virus, the entire fifth grade at East Side Elementary School in Marietta was sent home on Wednesday. Holly Golden Simmel’s son, a junior at Walton High School, was exposed to the virus twice on his first day, in homeroom and in a science class. He was exposed for the third time on the third day.

Under the district’s policy, he could still attend to school as long as he was asymptomatic and wore a mask for 10 days. Other pupils may go unnoticed.

Ms. Golden Simmel expressed her surprise, saying, “I was astonished.” “This is going to be a disaster.”

Protests were held outside the Cobb County district offices in Marietta on Thursday evening. Ms. Simmel and almost 100 other parents fought with a handful who do not want masks in schools and blame the superintendent for the absence of a mandate.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 62 percent of parents nationwide favor concealing measures for unvaccinated kids and school employees. However, more over two-thirds of Republican parents reject school mask requirements, indicating how polarized the issue remains.

According to data from the Center for Reinventing Public Education, nine states have abolished school mask requirements, driven by Republican governors or legislative majorities.

Vaccine requirements, particularly for teachers and school staff, may be the next hot topic. Vaccination is required for all school staff members in certain liberal areas, such as Los Angeles and Chicago. Teachers in New York will be able to choose between immunization and weekly testing.

According to the Center for Reinventing Public Education, a quarter of states, mostly conservative ones, have prohibited vaccination requirements for public workers such as teachers and school staff members.

The Major Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, both national teachers’ organizations, have recently said that they favor vaccination requirements for its members.

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It’s obvious that this isn’t just ordinary morning when New York awakens from its sleep. Stephen Colbert appears on a rooftop, while Peppermint, a drag artist, walks over a bridge in glistening heels. Sara Bareilles is seated in a café on the Lower East Side, but she isn’t eating her lox bagel because she is thinking about something.

“Some people prefer to go away from the neighborhood,” she sings, “take a vacation from the neighborhood.”

Billy Joel’s 1976 song “New York State of Mind” begins with the phrase.

Ms. Bareilles is followed by some of New York’s most well-known performers, who take turns singing, dancing, and playing instruments in a music video published on Sunday in an attempt to elevate the city as it heals from the epidemic.


With lyrics about the Hudson River, Greyhound buses, and our newspaper, “New York State of Mind” is a staple in every setting when New York energy is needed. From the city’s economic crises in the 1970s to the aftermath of 9/11, it has been evoked at difficult times.

The volunteer group behind the film, NYCNext, believes the cover will remind New Yorkers of the city’s vitality as the city emerges from the pandemic’s worst days, said Tom Kitt, a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning composer who helped create the video.

Suzanne Vega performs inside Tom’s Restaurant, the Morningside Heights establishment she helped make famous with “Tom’s Diner.” The Broadway performer Jerry Dixon and the comedian Mario Cantone sing in front of the fountain at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. The actress LaChanze belts a bridge on the roof of the Steinway & Sons factory in Queens, where the pianist Chloe Flower delivers a soaring arpeggio.

Ms. Flower said she was ecstatic to be in the video after spending a year locked up in her apartment during the epidemic. In an interview, Ms. Flower stated, “Being a New Yorker and filming that particular song, I felt I was going to weep while shooting.” “It was very moving.”

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A man waiting to receive his second shot of a vaccine. The first booster shots would most likely go to nursing home residents and health care workers.

A guy stands in line for his second vaccination injection. Nursing home residents and health-care employees would most likely get the initial booster injections. Credit… The New York Times’ Christopher Occhicone

According to individuals familiar with the initiative, Biden administration officials are working on a plan to begin giving Covid-19 booster injections to certain Americans as early as this autumn, despite the fact that experts are still debating whether the additional shots are necessary.

Nursing home residents and health-care professionals are expected to get the first boosters, followed by other seniors who were towards the head of the line when immunizations started last year. Officials plan to provide the same vaccination to those who got it before. They spoke about beginning the endeavor in October but couldn’t agree on a date.

While many outside specialists contend that there is no evidence that the vaccinations’ high degree of protection against serious illness and hospitalization is fading in the United States, administration officials say they can’t afford to wait much longer to figure out how to provide supplements to millions of individuals. The sporadic nature of the nation’s disease-reporting network complicates the time issue even further.

The initiative comes as the country is engulfed in a viral outbreak caused by the highly infectious Delta strain. Hospitals in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi are once again overburdened with patients, the vast majority of whom have not been vaccinated.

According to individuals who have examined the data, the government is also keeping a close eye on Israel, where some data indicates an increase in severe illness among older persons who got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine early in that country’s program. Some authorities are worried that even if a drop in protection only results in mild or asymptomatic illnesses, individuals who get sick may propagate the virus and extend the pandemic.

Officials said any booster policy choice is risky because the government does not want to jeopardize public trust in vaccinations that have shown to be very effective. It also doesn’t want to overvaccinate Americans at a time when many other nations have yet to start serious vaccination programs, raising the risk of deadly new strains spreading to the US and evading vaccines.

Noah Weiland and Benjamin Mueller contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett helped with the study.

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Demonstrators called for the expansion of New York’s eviction moratorium on Wednesday, but a day later it was partly blocked by the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, demonstrators asked for the extension of New York’s eviction moratorium, but it was partially halted by the Supreme Court the next day. Credit… Getty Images/Ed Jones/Agence France-Presse

A Supreme Court decision last week halting part of an eviction moratorium in New York State has offered struggling landlords a ray of optimism, but it also stoked concerns among financially vulnerable renters.

As a result of the decision, landlords will be allowed to take renters to court and have a judge determine if an eviction is necessary. It targeted a part of the New York State moratorium, which was adopted last year and is scheduled to expire on Aug. 31, that prevented evictions of tenants who filed a form claiming economic hardship instead of presenting proof in court.

There is speculation that Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is set to succeed Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he resigns amid a sexual harassment scandal, will push for new safeguards. She pledged to “strengthen the eviction moratorium legislation” in a statement on Thursday.

According to a census study by the National Equity Atlas, a research organization affiliated with the University of Southern California, more than 830,000 families in New York State, the bulk of which are in New York City, are behind on rent.

However, since its inception in June, a $2 billion rental assistance program aimed at assisting tenants in paying their landlords has only approved about 5% of applicants.

With the Supreme Court decision, New York landlords may theoretically begin bringing eviction cases right away, even though it takes two weeks from the time a notice is sent to the time an eviction is carried out. The ruling, however, does not preclude a tenant from using a so-called hardship argument.

“All renters and landlords suffered from the pandemic,” said Randy M. Mastro, a lawyer representing the landlords who challenged the legislation, “and this provides a level playing field, as a matter of justice, so that both sides may be heard in court.” The ruling, according to lawyers, essentially allows housing courts to operate as they did before the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently renewed a federal moratorium on evictions in high-transmission areas, which provides some protection to tenants but does not prevent landlords from taking them to court. The moratorium will end on October 3rd.

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Covid-19 vaccines being prepared near Paris in April.

In April, Covid-19 vaccinations are being produced near Paris. Credit… The New York Times’ Dmitry Kostyukov

As the Delta variety spreads across the globe, public health authorities are debating whether booster injections should be recommended.

On one hand, global health officials argue that available vaccines should be used to inoculate high-risk people in poor countries where vaccination rates are low.

Leaders and health authorities in richer nations, on the other hand, are reserving dosages for more vulnerable individuals who may need extra protection against the virus.

Officials in the Biden administration have already started working on a plan to roll out third shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as soon as this fall, claiming that the logistics are too complicated to wait until scientific certainty that the extra doses are truly needed.

The whole vaccine is very efficient in guarding against severe illness caused by the virus, and it is unclear whether further doses for specific populations may be required. Boosters are required for certain vaccinations to maintain their high level of protection.

Last Monday, regulatory authorities in the United States approved a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for individuals whose immune systems have been weakened by organ transplants, chemotherapy, or other medical problems.

Officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on the other hand, have said that approving third doses for immunocompromised individuals is a different matter from whether or not booster doses are required for the general population.

Pfizer has pushed for a quick approval of third dosages, but US authorities indicated in July that they needed more evidence, potentially months’ worth, to address the issue.

Some people have decided to take matters into their own hands. According to Dr. Kathleen Dooling, a C.D.C. official, little over a million individuals in the United States who got a two-dose vaccination have already received a third dosage. It was unclear how many people were immunocompromised.

Booster shots for the elderly have been approved in some countries, including France, Germany, and Israel. Israel announced on Friday that the age for receiving a third dosage will be lowered to 50.

World Health Organization officials contend vehemently that booster programs would further deprive low-income nations of immunizations they urgently need.

W.H.O. officials argue that leaving vast swathes of the globe uninfected is costly, stupid, and allows the virus to evolve into potentially more transmissible or virulent forms.

The distribution of vaccines throughout the globe has been extremely uneven. According to the Our World in Data project at Oxford University, many countries in North America and Europe have at least partially vaccinated more than half of their populations, compared to barely more than 4% of Africa’s population.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, asked on wealthier countries to suspend providing third doses until the end of September during a press conference earlier this month. “We cannot — and should not — allow nations that have already used up the vast majority of the global vaccination supply consuming even more while the world’s most vulnerable people go unprotected,” he added.

Andrew Pollard, the head of the Oxford Vaccination Group at the University of Oxford, and Seth Berkley, the chief executive of Gavi, a global vaccine alliance, wrote in The Guardian on Friday that there was insufficient data to make a judgment on boosters.

They stated, “Large-scale boosting in one wealthy nation would convey a signal across the globe that boosters are required everywhere.” “Many vaccination doses will be sucked out of the system, and many more individuals will die because they never had an opportunity to get even a single dose.”

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Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, in June. There are fewer than 10 locally transmitted cases a day on the island, which has favored a less heavy-handed approach than in China.

Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, in June. On the island, there are less than ten locally transmitted cases each day, allowing for a more gentle approach than in China.Credit…Ann Wang/Reuters

Pop music videos, video game clips, and, more recently, the health minister’s daily briefings on the coronavirus, are the most popular YouTube programs in Taiwan.

The health minister’s briefings, in which he and other officials answer public questions on the island’s newest antiviral efforts, have become a success, with hundreds of thousands of people tuning in each afternoon. He’s been dubbed a “minister of steel” by the Taiwanese version of GQ, who utilizes infographics and memes, including one of a Health Ministry worker’s dog, to communicate news about instances in Taiwan and how the public should remain alert.

Taiwan, which has less than ten domestically transmitted cases per day than China, has taken a less punitive stance than China, instead increasing awareness via public health initiatives such as the daily briefing. In public places, masks are compulsory, and individuals often follow social-distancing norms while hiking, jogging, or even going to the pool.

Taiwan has flourished as a bubble of normality throughout the most of the epidemic, avoiding severe lockdowns by enforcing tight contact tracking and quarantines for foreign visitors.

Rather of imposing mass testing and full lockdowns, as the Chinese government did in May, the Taiwanese authorities left workplaces and stores open and public transit operating, although at a reduced capacity. These limitations have been eased in recent weeks, with indoor restaurants, gyms, and tourist attractions reopening, but many residents have remained at home save for necessary activities, fearful of another wave.

According to a New York Times tracker, approximately 39 percent of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people have gotten at least one dosage of vaccination as of Monday, and a locally produced vaccine will be available beginning next week.

In reaction to recent flare-ups of illnesses caused by the more infectious Delta strain, China, which claims the self-ruling democracy as its territory, has been more aggressive. Beijing has sanctioned hundreds of officials for mishandling local outbreaks, and it has resisted calls to change its “zero case” policy.

After three new locally transmitted cases were discovered in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan last month, the local authorities blocked all highways leading out of the city. Authorities have performed at least seven rounds of mass testing in hard-hit eastern cities, including Nanjing and Yangzhou, and people have been told to remain at home.

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This article broadly covered the following related topics:

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  • supreme court upholds muslim ban
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