Updates: Dr. Anthony Fauci defends booster shots; New York judge blocks state’s vaccination mandate for health care workers: Latest COVID-19

Booster shots are a crucial part of the effort to halt the coronavirus surge because immunity is waning across all age groups, Dr. Anthony Fauci told MSNBC. He said the government is working to provide vaccine for the U.S. and the world and reprised his call for all Americans to get jabbed, even if young and healthy.

The nation’s top infectious diseases expert stressed the importance of COVID-19 booster shots Tuesday after a report this week questioned their use.

“If you get infected, even if you don’t have any symptoms, it is likely that you will pass the virus on to someone else who might pass it on to someone else who might have a severe outcome leading to hospitalization and even death,” Fauci said. “So you’ve got to look at it that you’re not in a vacuum, you’re part of society.”

Fauci’s comments come after an expert review by international scientists – including some at the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – questioned the value and ethics of providing third “booster” shots to healthy Americans while many countries are unable to secure sufficient vaccine for first and second jabs.

The review, published Monday in The Lancet, found vaccines remain highly effective against severe disease, including from the delta variant and other main variants.

Meanwhile, the U.K. announced Tuesday it will offer booster shots to everyone over 50 and other vulnerable people, and the Dutch government’s independent medical advisory body said booster shots should be given “with high priority” to people with seriously compromised immune systems.

Also in the news:

►Three in five Americans support the Biden administration’s vaccine requirements for federal employees and businesses with 100 or more workers, according to an Axios/Ipsos poll released Tuesday.

►As Florida continues to be an epicenter of COVID-19 infections, the state’s deputy secretary for health is stepping down from her post, a department spokesperson confirmed Tuesday. The news comes after Florida’s health secretary and state surgeon general announced he was stepping down after his contract runs out Sept. 20.
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►From June through August, COVID-19 hospitalizations among unvaccinated adults cost over $5.7 billion, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis published Tuesday.

►Just three states have vaccinated less than 60% of their adult population with at least one dose: West Virginia (56.5%), Wyoming (57.6%) and Mississippi (59.6%), according to CDC data.

►Six New Orleans Saints assistant coaches have tested positive for COVID-19, NFL Media and ESPN reported Tuesday. One player and a nutritionist also tested positive, per the reports.

►Brown University in Rhode Island has paused in-person dining and placed a limit of five people for undergraduate social gatherings in response to a recent rise in confirmed coronavirus cases on campus.

►The World Health Organization and partners say they hope to provide Africa with about 30% of the COVID-19 vaccines they need by February, half of the 60% goal African leaders had aimed for by the end of this year.

📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 41.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more 663,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 225.6 million cases and 4.64 million deaths. Nearly 179 million Americans– 53.9% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.