Coronavirus Live News: France Health Worker Vaccine Mandate Comes Into Effect; Healthcare Rationing ‘imminent’ For Idaho

With fall here, academic models are predicting for coronavirus case counts to rise across the US as the virus attacks the unvaccinated, people gather inside in cooler weather, and immunity wanes among those who were vaccinated months ago.

A clinical pharmacist with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health explained the two-shot dosing of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a one-day vaccination clinic set up in a facility in Seattle. © Ted S. Warren A clinical pharmacist with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health explained the two-shot dosing of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a one-day vaccination clinic set up in a facility in Seattle.

Below, we’re gathering the latest news and updates on coronavirus in New England and beyond.

DeSantis calls back Florida legislature over vaccine mandates — 10:25 a.m.

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By Bloomberg

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he is calling back the Republican-dominated state legislature to take action against employer Covid-19 vaccine mandates.

Speaking Thursday in Clearwater, Florida, DeSantis said he wanted to block employers from firing workers over vaccination status.

“That’s something that cannot wait until the regular legislative session next year,” DeSantis said. “It needs to happen soon. And so we will be calling the legislature back for a special session. We want to make sure that individuals in Florida have their livelihoods and their jobs protected.”

Barrington, R.I. joins school districts requiring teacher vaccines — 9:54 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Another Rhode Island school district is requiring teachers and staff to get coronavirus vaccinations or face unpaid leave and possible termination.

Employees of Barrington’s schools have until Nov. 1 to get vaccinated, Superintendent Michael Messore told The Providence Journal. Barrington joins West Warwick and Newport with a mandatory vaccination policy for faculty and staff, according to the state Department of Education.

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When local reporters resist vaccination mandates, everyone in town hears about it — 9:27 a.m.

By The Washington Post

As a news anchor at KGWN in Cheyenne, Wyo., Kerri Hayden said she tried to stay neutral in reporting about the coronavirus pandemic, including stories about mask and vaccine mandates. But when her station’s owner, Gray Television, required all employees to be vaccinated, Hayden was forced to pick a side.

“I wanted the decision to be my choice,” she said in an interview this week, “not a billion-dollar company’s.”

Hayden refused, citing personal objections, which promptly led Gray to fire her earlier this month from the station she’s worked at for the past quarter century. She thus became part of a small wave of TV journalists who have resigned or been dismissed in recent weeks over their opposition to vaccination requirements.

These journalists aren’t much different from other workers who have opposed employee vaccination mandates, whether in health care, law enforcement, education or any other field - except for one thing: They’re among the best-known people in their communities as a result of beaming into homes for years or even decades.

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Tokyo to lift virus curbs on most bars, restaurants as cases ebb — 9:26 a.m.

By Bloomberg

Tokyo is set to roll back restrictions that limited the operating hours and alcohol service of bars and eateries from Monday as coronavirus cases drop nationwide and authorities look to open more parts of the economy.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to formally lift the restrictions for restaurants and bars that meet its criteria for taking appropriate measures to limit the spread of infections, Kyodo News and other local media reported, citing unnamed officials.

The move would have a widespread impact in Japan’s capital since about 85% of those establishments have already met the requirements, according to national public broadcaster NHK.

Some 102,000 eateries certified as taking anti-virus measures have currently been asked to stop serving alcohol by 8 p.m. and close by 9 p.m., Kyodo said. Under the new guidelines, Tokyo’s government is asking restaurants to set a limit of four customers to a table, it added.

Separately, Oriental Land, the operator of Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea parks, will extend operating hours from Nov. 1 at one of the biggest tourists destinations in Asia. It also said it would start increasing the number of visitors allowed to the parks from Monday.

The moves come as daily recorded covid-19 cases in Tokyo have dropped to double digits from Oct. 9 after hitting over 5,000 several days in August during a wave powered by the delta variant.

Japan at the end of September lifted a national virus emergency in place for Tokyo and 18 other areas, easing restrictions that have dragged on the economy.

The national government at that time said certified bars and restaurants that take precautions, such as installing perspex screens and adequate ventilation, would be allowed to serve alcohol until 8 p.m. and open until 9 p.m. at the discretion of local authorities.

Some colleges put new vaccine mandates in place — for the flu — 8:26 a.m.

By The Washington Post

After a pandemic-disrupted year of safety measures and Zoom lectures, the promise of coronavirus vaccines offered U.S. universities a shot at normalcy this fall. The virus has not been wiped completely from campuses, but major outbreaks have so far been rare.

The arrival of flu season, however, poses an added challenge.

Colleges are ideal breeding grounds for viruses, and some public health experts are predicting that this year’s flu season will be more severe than the last. To guard against outbreaks, a number of major universities are going beyond their usual autumn flu vaccine pushes — and enacting mandates.

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Ukraine hits all-time death record amid vaccine hesitancy — 7:47 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Coronavirus infections and deaths in Ukraine surged to all-time highs Thursday amid a laggard pace of vaccination, which is one of the lowest in Europe.

Ukrainian authorities reported 22,415 new confirmed infections and 546 deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest numbers since the start of the pandemic.

Authorities have blamed a spike in infections on a slow pace of vaccination in the 41-million nation. Ukrainians can choose between Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines, but only about 15 percent of Ukrainians are fully vaccinated, Europe’s lowest level after Armenia.

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A couple died of covid, leaving five children behind. A relative says people called their deaths ‘fake news.’ — 7:46 a.m.

By The Washington Post

Two days after arriving at a Fredericksburg, Va., hospital with covid-19 in September, Misty Mitchem was put on a ventilator. Another two days later, she died.

Misty’s husband, Kevin Mitchem, got the news as he arrived at a separate hospital with an unshakable cough. He also had covid-19, and within a week or so he couldn’t breathe on his own, Kevin’s younger brother, Mike Mitchem, told The Washington Post.

Kevin died on Oct. 8, orphaning the four children he and Misty had raised together - and leaving behind a 22-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. But before he did, he expressed regret that he had not been immunized.

“His last words to my mom were, ‘Mom, I love you. I wish I would have got the shot,’” Mike Mitchem told The Post.

Read more

IMF warns Covid-19 risks becoming endemic problem for Africa — 7:36 a.m.

By Bloomberg

Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa will lag behind world output partly because of the slow rollout of coronavirus vaccines, with more delays to immunization raising chances the disease will become an endemic problem, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The regional economy will probably expand 3.7% this year, after shrinking 1.7% in 2020, when restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 weighed on activity and trade, the Washington-based lender said Thursday in its economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa.

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Passenger revenue soars at Southwest despite hit from virus — 7:20 a.m.

By The Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — Passenger revenue almost tripled and Southwest Airlines posted a smaller loss that most had expected, despite slowing air traffic in the third quarter with the spread of the delta variant.

Net income was $446 million, or 73 cents per share, bouncing back from a loss over the same period last year. There were one-time costs that drove a per-share loss of 23 cents, but that’s not as bad as the per-share loss of 27 cents that Wall Street was expecting, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

“Third quarter 2021 was a challenge for us, operationally,” said CEO and Chairman Gary Kelly in a prepared statement. “Despite the deceleration of traffic in August and September due to surging COVID-19 cases, the third quarter 2021 demand and revenue performance was quite strong and a dramatic improvement from a year ago. That was a bright and encouraging sign of recovery.”

Revenue was $4.68 billion, also better than expected.

Japan and South Korea never did full lockdowns. It left lessons on how to coexist with the virus — 6:43 a.m.

By The Washington Post

In Japan, the newly minted prime minister has vowed to create a path into the “post-corona era.” South Korea has launched a “living with COVID-19″ panel of experts.

Like many countries, both are navigating a way to safely coexist with the coronavirus in the face of increasing economic pressures and a potential new wave of infections in the winter.

But unlike many other countries, neither Japan nor South Korea imposed a full lockdown and have been trying to coexist with the virus all along.

Read more

Pfizer jab effective against Delta variant in teens, study finds — 6:42 a.m.

By Bloomberg

Adolescents who receive two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have a much lower risk of contracting symptomatic COVID-19, with the risk of infection dropping by 90 percent, a study by Israel’s Clalit Research Institute and Harvard University suggests.

The data make “a strong argument in favor of opting-in to get vaccinated, especially in countries where the virus is currently widespread,” Ran Balicer, senior author of the study and chief innovation officer at the Clalit health care service, said in a press release. “These data provide much needed real-world evidence to help parents make informed decisions about vaccinating their adolescent children,” he added in a clip sent to journalists.

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Moscow tightens restrictions as infections, deaths soar — 6:41 a.m.

By The Associated Press

The authorities in Moscow on Thursday announced a plan to shut restaurants and non-food stores and introduce other restrictions later this month as Russia registered the highest daily numbers of new coronavirus infections and deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The government coronavirus task force reported 36,339 new confirmed infections and 1,036 deaths in the past 24 hours that brought Russia’s death toll to 227,389 — by far the highest in Europe.

Read more

Belgium braces for another surge in COVID-19 cases — 3:10 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Belgium’s government warned Thursday that the country could well be on the cusp of another major surge in COVID-19 cases despite its high vaccination rate.

Though the government recently relaxed the mandatory use of facemasks, it is again starting to encourage the population to use them to counter a rise in cases reminiscent of the first three surges of the past 1 1/2 years.

“We are clearly in a fourth wave,” Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke told the VRT network. “We will see a major increase in infections and, unfortunately, hospital admissions.”

The government has this month loosened some restrictions, including allowing for more indoor events and dropping requirements for customers to wear masks in bars.

Belgium, a nation of 11 million, again has over 3,000 infections a day, an increase of 50 percent compared to the week earlier. Hospital admissions are at 80 a day now, an increase of over 40%.

Even if the total numbers are still manageable, there are worries about the curve spiking again, even though 85 percent of the adult population is vaccinated.

Can new variants of the coronavirus keep emerging? — 1:23 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Can new variants of the coronavirus keep emerging?

Yes, as long as the virus that caused the pandemic keeps infecting people. But that doesn’t mean new variants will keep emerging as regularly, or that they’ll be more dangerous.

With more than half the world still not vaccinated, the virus will likely keep finding people to infect and replicating inside them for several months or years to come. And each time a virus makes a copy of itself, a small mutation could occur. Those changes could help the virus survive, becoming new variants.

Read more

India hits 1 billion vaccine doses, worries about gap between shots — 1:20 a.m.

By The Associated Press

India has administered 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine, officials said Thursday, passing a milestone for the South Asian country where the Delta variant fueled its first crushing surge earlier this year.

About 75 percent of India’s total eligible adult population have received at least one dose, while nearly 30 percent are fully immunized. The country of nearly 1.4 billion people is the second to exceed a billion cumulative doses after the most populous country China did so in June.

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US marks 200M COVID-19 shots shared with world — 1:17 a.m.

By The Associated Press

The US on Thursday donated its 200 millionth COVID-19 shot to help vaccinate the rest of the world, the White House announced. The Biden administration aims to lead a global vaccination campaign even as it rolls out boosters for domestic use, which critics say diverts doses from those who are in greater need around the world.

The donated doses include more than 120 million in surplus from the US stockpile of shots, as well as the initial deliveries of the 1 billion doses the Biden administration has purchased from Pfizer for overseas donation by September 2022. More than 100 countries and territories have received the American doses, and the US remains the largest vaccine donor in the world.

Read more

 

Oct. 20, 2021  

Britain’s conservatives resist calls for renewed COVID restrictions — 8:27 p.m.

New York Times

Despite high and rising coronavirus case numbers, the British government on Wednesday rejected calls for the immediate reintroduction of some restrictions in England, while warning that they might be needed if the rollout of vaccine booster shots failed to contain the worsening situation.

Speaking at a news conference, the health secretary, Sajid Javid, said that a contingency plan for tighter rules would not be carried out “at this point” but added that he would be “staying vigilant” and warned that new cases could surge to 100,000 a day.

“We will do what it takes to make sure that this pressure does not become unsustainable, and we won’t allow the NHS to become overwhelmed,” Javid said, referring to Britain’s National Health Service, which is already under pressure. “We are concerned. Everyone is right to be concerned,” he added.

Javid warned that if the situation deteriorates, he could be forced to activate a contingency plan that would reimpose some restrictions that were scrapped in England in July. Under this plan, mask-wearing rules could return, people could be urged to work from home, and those visiting nightclubs and other venues could be required to show proof of their vaccination status or of a recent negative test. If necessary, he added, “we won’t hesitate to act.”

Bay Area county fines burger chain over vaccine verification — 7:33 p.m.

Associated Press

California’s popular In-N-Out hamburger chain is in trouble with yet another San Francisco Bay Area county over its failure to verify the vaccination cards of people choosing to dine-in with their double-doubles, shakes and fries.

A spokesperson for Contra Costa County’s environmental health division said that the department received repeated complaints from residents saying that workers at the Pleasant Hill location were not verifying vaccine cards as required for in-person dining.

Karl Fischer told the San Francisco Chronicle that enforcement officers visited that particular restaurant three times, resulting in a warning and two fines totaling $750. The company, based in Irvine, California, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

San Francisco’s public health department temporarily shuttered the company’s Fisherman’s Wharf location Oct. 14, saying that the restaurant was endangering public health by not checking customer vaccination cards as required by the city. It has since reopened but no longer offers in-store dining.

The closure elicited a spirited rebuke from the family-owned restaurant better known for its old-timey atmosphere and devoted following, with its chief legal and business officer blasting the check mandate as unreasonable and invasive.

MTA chief calls out unmasked police on the New York City subway — 6:18 p.m.

By Bloomberg

An unmasked New York City police officer pushing a passenger out of a subway station won’t help the city’s struggling subways and transit system restore ridership and revive the economy, according to the acting head of the nation’s largest public transit provider.

A video of the Tuesday incident, which New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said is under investigation, spread across social media, reinforcing an image of a dangerous transit system. In the video, one cop forcibly removed a male commuter after he asked the officer about not wearing a mask. He pushed the rider through an emergency exit door. The MTA requires riders to wear a mask or face a $50 fine.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the city’s network of subway, buses and commuter rail lines, is struggling to bring riders back to its system. Its subways carry about half the weekday passengers it did in 2019 and ridership may not match pre-pandemic levels until 2024 or later, according to the MTA.

The incident comes as the MTA has worked to restore confidence in the transit system, with deep cleaning, mask mandates and additional police presence to combat an increase in crime on subways.

“I’m upset by what I saw,” Janno Lieber, the MTA’s acting chief executive officer, told reporters Wednesday. “We count on our law enforcement officers to set an example. They gotta do it and frankly the city’s recovery is counting on people being able to be safe on mass transit.”

FDA OK’s mixing COVID vaccines for boosters, backs Moderna, J&J boosters — 5:03 p.m.

By The Associated Press

U.S. regulators on Wednesday signed off on extending COVID-19 boosters to Americans who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said anyone eligible for an extra dose can get a brand different from the one they received initially.

The Food and Drug Administration’s decisions mark a big step toward expanding the U.S. booster campaign, which began with extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine last month.

Read more

NYC, Chicago confront police union blowback on vaccine mandates — 4:50 p.m.

By Bloomberg

Police unions in America’s biggest cities are resisting Covid-19 vaccination mandates, placing the officers they represent at odds with their task of protecting residents.

The New York City Police Benevolent Association, representing 24,000 uniformed cops, said it will legally challenge Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mandate for all city employees, hours after it was announced on Wednesday. About a third of Chicago’s police department as of Tuesday hadn’t complied with the city’s order to report their vaccination status last week. In Los Angeles, the city council may extend its mandate deadline as more than 3,000 officers remain unvaccinated.

The labor standoff with recalcitrant employees comes during a global pandemic that has left many cities struggling to fill open roles. Private and public employers have faced more than 30 challenges to expanding mandates in federal court so far this year, but they’ve largely stood up to those legal tests.

“The government has the overriding interest of keeping the country healthy, and that trumps the individual’s right to say no,” said Michael Barasch, managing partner at New York City law firm Barasch & McGarry. “The unions can sue, but in my opinion, based on hundreds of years of precedent, they’re going to lose.”

Former Patriot Kenbrell Thompkins guilty of ID theft, COVID-19 relief fraud — 4:43 p.m.

By The Associated Press

A former NFL wide receiver and South Florida native has pleaded guilty to stealing identities to fraudulently obtain coronavirus-related unemployment insurance benefits in California.

Former Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Armod Thompkins, 33, pleaded guilty Monday in Miami federal court to one count of unauthorized access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to court records. He faces up to 12 years in prison at his scheduled Jan. 6 sentencing.

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Connecticut lawmaker arrested, accused of COVID-19 funds misuse — 2:25 p.m.

By The Associated Press

A Connecticut state legislator who works as an aide to the West Haven City Council is being accused of creating a company that received more than $600,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funds for services that were never provided.

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Kids could soon be able to get COVID-19 shots. Here’s what you need to know — 2:20 p.m.

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

The White House is preparing a nationwide push to vaccinate children who are 5 to 11 years old against COVID-19. Here, compiled from Globe wire and major media reports, is a quick roundup of what you need to know.

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Mass General Brigham employees lose bid to halt unpaid leave over vaccine mandate — 1:46 p.m.

By Tonya Alanez, Globe Staff

On the day that 229 Mass General Brigham employees were placed on unpaid leave for not getting a COVID-19 vaccine, a federal judge in Boston on Wednesday denied their motion to prevent the hospital from moving forward with its vaccine mandate.

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Florida chief fired for not forcing firefighter vaccinations — 1:11 p.m.

By The Associated Press

A Florida battalion chief has been fired for refusing to discipline workers who hadn’t gotten a COVID-19 vaccine in violation of a requirement for county employees.

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Hawaii wants vaccinated tourists to return, starting Nov. 1 — 12:02 p.m.

By The Washington Post

In August, as the delta surge overwhelmed Hawaii hospitals, Gov. David Ige, D, had a message for the tourists who were pouring into the state: “Now is not the time to visit the islands.”

On Tuesday, he had a new message: Starting Nov. 1, come on back - especially if you’re vaccinated.

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FDA official: Booster announcements coming Wednesday — 11:49 a.m.

By The Associated Press

U.S. regulators expect to rule Wednesday on authorizing booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, a Food and Drug Administration official said at a government meeting.

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Lockdowns are back as EU’s east pays for low vaccination rates — 11:40 a.m.

By Bloomberg

The coronavirus is resurgent in the European Union’s less-vaccinated east -- bringing with it the return of lockdowns.

Read more

Judge dismisses request to stop NH school mask mandates — 10:46 a.m.

By The Associated Press

A judge dismissed a request to stop enforcing a mask-wearing policy at a number of school districts in New Hampshire’s Rockingham County.

Parents of children in the districts alleged in a lawsuit filed in August that wearing masks causes their children to have difficulty breathing, develop facial acne and rashes, suffer anxiety and experience headaches.

The parents challenged the legality of mask mandates on the grounds that they violate a state law prohibiting the use of “dangerous restraint techniques” in schools; that the school districts lack the authority to issue mask mandates and that the state Health Department’s authority under regulations concerning communicable diseases conflicts with the mandates.

Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Marguerite Wageling ruled on Saturday that the plaintiffs haven’t established a likelihood of success on their arguments.

The parents sued school districts in Exeter, Brentwood, Kensington, and Stratham.

Gates Foundation to spend $120M on access for COVID-19 pill — 10:45 a.m.

By The Associated Press

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says it will spend $120 million to boost access to generic versions of drugmaker Merck’s antiviral COVID-19 pill for lower income countries, if the drug gets approved by regulators.

The private foundation said in a statement released Wednesday it hasn’t determined how it will allocate the money, but will use the funds to “support the range of activities required to develop and manufacture generic versions” of the drug, molnupiravir.

Merck has licensed its technology with generic drug manufacturers in India. Under the agreement, the company said it will provide licenses to manufacturers to supply the drug to India and more than 100 other lower and middle income countries. It’s unclear how much of the generic drug could be available for use.

The Gates Foundation says its funding is also intended to help ready regulatory, delivery and other pathways in order to make the pill more accessible, if it becomes available.

Serbia introduces evening COVID passes amid infection surge — 10:23 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Serbia on Wednesday introduced COVID-19 passes for indoor venues late at night following weeks of surging infections and relatively low vaccination rates.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the new measure will take effect on Saturday and will be applied starting from 10 p.m. in bars, restaurants, nightclubs or any other indoor gatherings.

Medical experts repeatedly have urged Serbian authorities to tighten the country’s loose anti-virus measures. Serbia has seen several thousand new infections a day since early October and about 50 virus-related deaths a day.

Infections also have soared in other Central and Eastern European countries where vaccination rates are lower than European Union average.

Brnabic said the introduction of COVID-19 passes will be confirmed at a government session on Thursday. She said late evening hours are when nightclubs have their biggest crowds. The passes will show a person’s vaccination status, or if they have recovered from the virus or tested negative recently.

Brazil Senate report recommends charges against President Jair Bolsonaro over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic — 10:10 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Brazil Senate report recommends charges against President Jair Bolsonaro over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Vermont to add beds to relieve pressure on hospitals — 10:00 a.m.

By The Associated Press

To relieve some of the pressure on Vermont hospitals caused by a combination of factors, including COVID-19, the state is opening 80 beds at long-term care and rehabilitation facilities, said Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith.

“It’s clear that our health care system as the governor mentioned and our health care workers are under stress,” Smith said during the Gov. Phil Scott’s weekly virus briefing on Tuesday.

It’s a result of a combination of factors, including people delaying care and arriving at hospitals or doctors’ offices with more acute conditions; people going to the emergency department with mental health needs; and a shortage of staffed beds available for patients to be discharged from hospitals, he said.

“The main point I really want to make here is that across the board our health care workforce is under stress,” Smith said. “With that said, day in and day out we see them going above and beyond to care for their fellow Vermonters. So I want to take a moment to thank them, to sincerely thank them for all that they do,” he said.

NYC requiring vaccine for cops, firefighters, city workers — 9:17 a.m.

By The Associated Press

New York City will require police officers, firefighters, and other municipal workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be placed on unpaid leave, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, giving an ultimatum to public employees who’ve refused and ensuring a fight with some of the unions representing them.

The mandate affecting the nation’s largest police department and more than 100,000 other Big Apple workers — including trash haulers and building inspectors — carries a Nov. 1 deadline for getting the first vaccine dose, de Blasio announced.

White House details plans to vaccinate 28 million children age 5-11 — 8:35 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Children age 5 to 11 will soon be able to get a COVID-19 shot at their pediatrician’s office, local pharmacy and potentially even their school, the White House said Wednesday as it detailed plans for the expected authorization of the Pfizer shot for younger children in a matter of weeks.

Federal regulators will meet over the next two weeks to weigh the benefits of giving shots to kids, after lengthy studies meant to ensure the safety of the vaccines.

Within hours of formal approval, expected after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory meeting scheduled for Nov. 2-3, doses will begin shipping to providers across the country, along with smaller needles necessary for injecting young kids, and within days will be ready to go into the arms of kids on a wide scale.

Read more

As White House tries to finalize vaccine mandate, dozens of groups seek last-minute meetings — 6:41 a.m.

By The Washington Post

WASHINGTON - Federal officials are plowing through meetings requested by more than 40 groups and individuals that have raised questions and concerns about the coming rule that will require many companies to implement coronavirus vaccination or testing protocols for their workers, according to records posted on a government website.

Lobbyists from industry associations and unions, as well as some private anti-vaccine individuals, are lining up to take meetings with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is in the process of finalizing the rule that will apply to some 80 million workers, before its expected release in coming weeks.

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Russia’s daily coronavirus deaths mount to another high — 5:26 a.m.

By The Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s coronavirus deaths surged to another daily record Wednesday as soaring infections prompted the Cabinet to suggest declaring a nonworking week to stem contagion.

The government task force reported 1,028 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. That brought the total death toll to 226,353 — by far the highest in Europe.

Amid a spike in infections and deaths, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova suggested introducing a nonworking period starting Oct. 30 and extending through the following week, when four of seven days already are state holidays. The proposal is yet to be authorized by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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WHO: Europe the only region with rise in COVID-19 last week — 4:56 a.m.

By The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization said there was a 7% rise in new coronavirus cases across Europe last week, the only region in the world where cases increased.

In its weekly assessment of the pandemic released late Tuesday, the U.N. health agency said there were about 2.7 million new COVID-19 cases and more than 46,000 deaths last week, similar to the numbers reported the previous week. Britain, Russia and Turkey accounted for the most cases.

Read more

Vast majority of Maine paramedics vaccinated for COVID-19 — 1:31 am.

By The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The vast majority of paramedics in Maine have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in advance of a mandate that goes into effect later this month.

Nine out of 10 paramedics are vaccinated, the Bangor Daily News reported. Enforcement of the rule is scheduled to start on Oct. 29.

The Maine Emergency Medical Services Board expressed concern in August that the mandate could lead to a staffing crunch at public safety agencies. The board gave workers two extra weeks to comply with the mandate at the time.

The enforcement of the rule could still tax emergency services in rural areas, the Bangor Daily News reported. Lack of emergency medical services workers was a problem in Maine before the pandemic started.

San Francisco shuts burger spot for not checking vaccination — 12:52 a.m.

By The Associated Press


Video: Could kids 5-11 get COVID-19 vaccine by early November? (WCVB Boston)

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