The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.
More than 629,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.4 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 60.2% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It is not a good time to travel to the islands. I encourage everyone to restrict and curtail travel to Hawaii,” Ige said at a news conference Monday.
The islands are dealing with a big COVID surge due to the delta variant, but have a limited number of hospitals. The governor even suggested that another full lockdown is on the table.
“Is a lockdown on the table? Yes, it would be if the number of cases continues to grow exponentially as it has in the last 10 weeks … then we will have to take action to limit and ensure that the hospitals aren’t overrun,” Ige said Monday.
In an interview with ABC News’ Linsey Davis, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said she hopes unvaccinated Americans are spurred into action following Monday’s Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Walensky said the FDA is “the gold standard for the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines,” and the move was “powerful signal in the safety and effectiveness.”
“We have an extraordinary amount of data, and I’m really pleased that the FDA not just took their time and did the due diligence that needed to be done, but did it quickly and efficiently to bring this to the American people as soon as possible,” she said.
Walensky didn’t have a timetable for when the Moderna vaccine would get full approval since they haven’t submitted its data to the FDA yet.
She did say that the current expectation is that the Pfizer vaccine will be authorized for children ages 5 to 12 by November.
While Walensky said she prefers Americans voluntarily get their shots, she encouraged more vaccine mandates to spur people.
“We’ve already seen just today many come through so that people will recognize if they were on the fence and they just needed that extra push that these mandates will get them there,” she said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday afternoon that city workers will have to get their COVID-19 vaccines.
Lightfoot said that the city has been working with labor unions over the last several weeks to finalize plans.
“It’s for the safety of all involved,” she said.
Lightfoot did not immediately reveal a deadline or other details about her order.
All large gatherings in Honolulu will be suspended due to a dramatic uptick in cases, Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced Monday.
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