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COVID-19 live updates: Abbott issues executive order banning vaccine mandates in Texas

Written by on October 12, 2021

(NEW YORK) — The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 714,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 66% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Oct 12, 10:26 am

Maine medical center suspends pediatric, heart attack, trauma admissions

Central Maine Medical Center updated its website Monday to say it would be suspending pediatric, heart attack and trauma admissions. Patients who arrive at the Lewiston medical center will be evaluated, stabilized and transferred to another hospital if needed, the statement said.

While the announcement didn’t cite a reason for the suspended admissions, ABC affiliate WMTW said Central Maine Healthcare is enduring a staffing shortage.

Oct 12, 9:36 am

Pediatric infection rates trending down

More than 6 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Although the weekly case rate remains exceptionally high, the U.S. is reporting about 95,000 fewer child cases now compared to one month ago, according to a weekly report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

Even with the decline, last week children still accounted for 24.8% of the week’s cases, the report found.

The South is no longer reporting the highest number pediatric cases and has now been surpassed by the Midwest.

Severe illness due to COVID-19 remains “uncommon” among children, the two organizations wrote in the report. However, AAP and CHA warned that there is an urgent need to collect more data on the long-term consequences of the pandemic on children, “including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects.”

About 43.3% of adolescents ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated, according to federal data.

Oct 12, 9:15 am

Fauci: Best way to avoid resurgence is getting more Americans vaccinated

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN Monday night that “the best way to assure that decline in cases, hospitalizations and deaths [will] continue is to continue to get a lot more people vaccinated.”

“We need the overwhelming proportion of those unvaccinated people to get vaccinated. Then we can be quite confident that if we can do that, you will not see a resurgence,” Fauci said.

About 68 million eligible Americans remain completely unvaccinated.

Despite continued pushback, Fauci said that newly implemented vaccine mandates are working.

“Sometimes mandates can help. As sensitive an issue as that is, it is really getting people more vaccinated,” Fauci said.

Oct 11, 6:41 pm

Abbott issues executive order banning vaccine mandates in Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that he issued an executive order that bans vaccine mandates “by any entity” in Texas.

The executive order prohibits entities from issuing a mandate to anyone who “objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a statement.

The governor also announced that the issue over vaccine mandates will be addressed in a special session of the state legislature.

As of Monday evening, 72.4% of Texas residents over 12 have received one vaccine dose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Texas’s seven-day average for new daily COVID-19 cases is 7,447 as of Oct. 8, according to the CDC.

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