POST 182. July 26, 2021. CORONAVIRUS. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R): “Folks supposed to have common sense.”…“But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.” ““Beginning in mid-September, New York City will require all of its 340,000 municipal workers, including police, firefighters and teachers, to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly.”

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“Beginning in mid-September, New York City will require all of its 340,000 municipal workers, including police, firefighters and teachers, to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly. The mayor’s office says the policy will be announced Monday.

Under the latest plan, all city workers must comply with the vaccination-or-test rule beginning on September 13th, which is also the first day of public school in New York City. However, for 45,000 city staffers or contractors who work in residential and congregate care settings, the deadline to comply will come earlier, on August 16th.

As part of the transition to spur more vaccination, the city will double down on its existing mask mandates for unvaccinated employees. All city workers must show proof of vaccination starting August 2nd or be forced to wear a mask at all times.

The new directives come less than a week after Mayor Bill de Blasio issued the “get vaccinated or get tested” rule for the city’s 42,000 public health workers. At the time, the mayor hinted that the requirement would eventually be expanded to more of the city’s workforce as part of an incremental or “climb up the ladder” approach.

About 54% of all New Yorkers have been fully inoculated to date, but the pace of vaccinations has been slowing, leading experts to worry that the more contagious delta variant will fuel a rapid surge in infections. The latest seven-day average of total cases is 824, more than double the number two weeks ago. The daily positivity rate has also climbed to 2.27%, after being well below 1% in June.”  (C)

“Mayor Bill de Blasio urged on Friday that New York City’s private businesses require their workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus and signaled that he would introduce similar measures for hundreds of thousands of municipal employees…

“If people want freedom, if people want jobs, if people want to live again, we have got to get more people vaccinated,” Mr. de Blasio said on Friday during a weekly radio appearance on WNYC. “And obviously it’s time for whatever mandates we can achieve.”

“I’m calling upon all New York City employers, including our private hospitals: Move immediately to some form of mandate, whatever the maximum you feel you can do,” he added.

Across the country, government officials and private businesses have increasingly debated whether to require vaccinations, as the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus surges in many regions. Still, moves to adopt such measures have been limited.

Some hospitals and health care systems, including NewYork-Presbyterian and Trinity Health, have announced vaccine mandates, in some cases touching off union protests. The National Football League said it could penalize teams with players who refuse to get vaccinated. Delta Air Lines will require new employees to be vaccinated, but it will not expect the same of its current workers. And a federal judge this week ruled that Indiana University could require vaccinations for students and staff members for the fall semester…

Still, for government officials who have seemed wary about forcing the coronavirus vaccine on the population at large, requiring public employees to get the shots is a potentially powerful tool for mitigating another wave of the pandemic, experts say. And Mr. de Blasio’s effort to pull in private employers may also seem critical, as many companies return to in-person work in the fall and students go back to school.” (D)

“California will require all state employees and health care workers to provide proof of vaccination status or get regular testing amid a surge of cases from the highly contagious Delta variant, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a press conference Monday.

All employees will be required to prove they have received the vaccine by showing their vaccination cards or through a verification code provided by the California Department of Public Health.

Unvaccinated state employees will be required to get tested at least once a week and will be required to wear N95 masks at all times. Unvaccinated health care workers will have to get tested at least twice a week, health officials said…

“We are now dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it’s going to take renewed efforts to protect Californians from the dangerous Delta variant,” Newsom said in a statement.

“As the state’s largest employer, we are leading by example and requiring all state and health care workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested regularly, and we are encouraging local governments and businesses to do the same. Vaccines are safe — they protect our family, those who truly can’t get vaccinated, our children and our economy. Vaccines are the way we end this pandemic.”

In a teleconference Monday, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said there is a seven-fold difference in case rates between the unvaccinated and vaccinated population. The case rate is now at 14 per 100,000 unvaccinated residents compared to two cases per 100,000 vaccinated residents…

In his press conference, Gov. Newsom specifically called out conservative figures whom he said have shared misinformation undermining the vaccine.

“We are exhausted, respectfully exhausted by the ideological prism that too many Americans are living under,” said Newsom at a press conference. “We are exhausted by the Ron Johnsons, and the Tucker Carlsons. We are exhausted by the Marjorie Taylor Greenes. We are exhausted by the right-wing echo chamber that has been perpetuating misinformation around the vaccine and its efficacy and safety. We are exhausted by the politicization of this pandemic.” (E)

“The Department of Veterans Affairs will require its front-line health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a move that comes as vaccine mandates from employers are on the rise.

“I am doing this because it’s the best way to keep our veterans safe, full stop,” Denis McDonough, the secretary of Veterans Affairs, told The New York Times in an interview.

The move will apply to 115,000 employees who have the most “patient-facing” jobs, the Times reported, and they will have eight weeks to get the shots if they have not already.

The move from the sprawling federal agency is the first time any part of the federal government has mandated COVID-19 vaccines, a step that the Biden administration has generally shied away from.” (F)

“As COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths mount again across the country, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Nursing Association, and 54 other medical and allied healthcare associations released a joint statement today calling on “all health care and long-term care employers” to require their workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

This injunction covers everyone in healthcare, Emanuel Ezekiel, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and the organizer of the joint statement, told Medscape Medical News.

That includes not only hospitals, but also physician offices, ambulatory surgery centers, home care agencies, skilled nursing facilities, pharmacies, laboratories, and imaging centers, he said.

The exhortation to get vaccinated also extends to federal and state healthcare facilities, including those of the military health system — TRICARE and the Department of Veterans Affairs — which today instituted a mandate.” (K)

“The Pentagon is considering making COVID-19 vaccinations for troops mandatory once the Food and Drug Administration fully approves the shots, part of ongoing discussions about the next step in the agency’s response.

In a briefing with reporters Tuesday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said senior leaders within the Defense Department have had “some preliminary discussions” about what would happen if and when full FDA approval comes through.

“Should the FDA approve it, then I am certain that Pentagon leadership will take a look at what our options are going forward, including the potential option of making it mandatory,” Kirby said.

But he had no new decisions or procedures to announce Tuesday.” (G)

“Earlier this week the Army Times obtained an internal Army memo that said commanders should “prepare for a directive to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for service members (on or around) 01 September 2021, pending full FDA licensure,” the order said.” (H)

“At the same press conference, Ivey said she would not implement a statewide mask mandate and that she would prefer that Alabamans simply get a vaccine.

“Why we wanna mess around with just temporary stuff. We don’t need to encourage people to just half way with curing this disease,” Ivey said.

The governor made clear earlier this week that she does not support masking requirements for children returning to school in the fall, although school districts may choose to implement a mandate if they choose.” (B)

“A federal appeals court late on Friday reversed course and let stand a lower court order prohibiting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from enforcing coronavirus-related cruise ship rules in Florida.

The decision is a win for Florida that had filed a lawsuit arguing the CDC curbs made it tough for the cruise industry to recover from the pandemic…

The CDC said that even though it cannot require cruise ships to abide by the sail order, it will enforce its separate transit mask requirements on cruise ships in Florida that opt not to follow the now voluntary program.

All cruise ships in Florida will still be required to report “individual cases of illness or death and ship inspections and sanitary measures to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases,” the CDC said late on Friday.

Cruise lines that ensure at least 95% of passengers and nearly all crew are vaccinated can bypass simulated voyages and move more quickly to resuming commercial trips and can allow vaccinated people to avoid masks in inside common spaces, according to the CDC’s conditional sail order.

The conditional sail order “represents the most effective way of continuing to protect the public’s health,” the CDC said.

The CDC “remains committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners” to ensure the safe resumption of operations, it added.” (I)

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is examining whether to reinstate mask guidance even for fully vaccinated people in public.

“This is under active consideration,” Fauci told CNN anchor Jake Tapper, when asked if masks should be brought back for vaccinated Americans.

Tapper had cited CNN’s reporting, which said that the Biden administration’s top health officials are holding “preliminary conversations” on whether to urge vaccinated people to wear masks again in public. The Washington Post also reported that the talks were in a “preliminary phase and their result could be as simple as new messaging from top White House officials.”…

“We’re going in the wrong direction,” Fauci said Sunday on “State of the Union.” “And since we have 50 percent of the country [that] is not fully vaccinated, that’s a problem, particularly when you have a variant like Delta, which has this extraordinary characteristic of being able to spread very efficiently and very easily from person to person.”

Fauci, who serves as President Biden’s chief medical adviser, added: “If we don’t vaccinate people, the model is going to predict that we’re going to be in trouble as we continue to get more and more cases.”” (J)


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