Covid 19 Live Updates: U.S. Hospitals In Crisis As Idaho Rations Care

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a group of people walking down a street next to a clock tower: People visit the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, Calif., in April. Leaders from Disney and other major companies are scheduled to meet Wednesday with President Biden to discuss his vaccination mandates. (Bing Guan/Bloomberg) People visit the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, Calif., in April. Leaders from Disney and other major companies are scheduled to meet Wednesday with President Biden to discuss his vaccination mandates. (Bing Guan/Bloomberg)

Alaska’s largest hospital has implemented crisis standards of care, prioritizing limited resources as a surge in coronavirus cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant has strained health workers.

Alaska is sixth in the nation for average daily new cases per capita, and one of several with hospitals near or at their breaking points. Last week, Idaho announced it would start rationing medical care at hospitals in the northern part of the state. Meanwhile, intensive care units in hospitals in Southern states have faced a crush of unvaccinated patients.

The pandemic hit another grim milestone: 1 in 500 Americans has died of covid-19.

Here’s what to know

10:28 PM: Everyone loves to hate resort fees. That’s especially true in a pandemic.

text © Washington Post illustration; iStock

Jeremy Medina has always thought resort fees were “kind of ridiculous.”

Such fees, tacked on top of a daily room rate and often opaque when comparing hotel prices online, are meant to cover anything from WiFi to gym access, pool towels, water bottles, restaurant discounts, lobby wine, local phone calls and in-room coffee.

Then Medina stayed at a hotel in the Orlando area last October where many of the services covered by the fee — including a shuttle to Disney theme parks — were not available because of the covid-19 pandemic.

“I am very pro-being cautious about the virus, so I didn’t push it,” said Medina, 37, of Vero Beach, Fla. “I didn’t want to be, like, a Karen.” But the more amenities that he discovered were unavailable, the more the daily fee — which he believes was about $25 — bothered him.

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By: Hannah Sampson

9:30 PM: This pastor will sign a religious exemption for vaccines if you donate to his church

A pastor is encouraging people to donate to his Tulsa church so they can become an online member and get his signature on a religious exemption from coronavirus vaccine mandates. The pastor, Jackson Lahmeyer, is a 29-year-old small-business owner running in the Republican primary challenge to Sen. James Lankford in 2022.

Lahmeyer, who leads Sheridan Church with his wife, Kendra, said Tuesday that in the past two days, about 30,000 people have downloaded the religious exemption form he created.

“It’s beautiful,” he said. “My phone and my emails have blown up.”

The rules around religious exemptions for coronavirus vaccines vary widely as each state or institution often has its own exemption forms for people to sign. Experts on religious freedom claims say that most people do not necessarily need a letter from clergy for a religious exemption.

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By: Sarah Pulliam Bailey

8:24 PM: Trinidad official says ‘we wasted so much time’ on Nicki Minaj vaccine claim; White House says it offered rapper call, not visit

Trinidad and Tobago Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said Wednesday that officials looked into an unsubstantiated assertion by Trinidadian-born rapper Nicki Minaj that the coronavirus vaccine caused a relative’s friend to become impotent.

“Unfortunately, we wasted so much time yesterday running down this false claim,” he said at a news conference, adding that the ministry takes side-effect claims seriously no matter their origin.

“As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad … none that we know of anywhere in the world,” he said.

Medical experts have said claims that infertility is linked to vaccinations are unsubstantiated.

Minaj has been vocal about her vaccine hesitancy in addition to her recent false claims that vaccinations can lead to impotency. The rapper skipped out on the Met Gala on Monday because of its vaccine requirement for attendees.

She tweeted on Monday that a friend of her cousin in Trinidad became impotent after getting vaccinated.

“If I get vaccinated it won’t [be] for the Met,” she said. “It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now.”

In a subsequent tweet, she said she would probably get jabbed before touring.

On Wednesday, the rapper said she’s been invited by the White House to talk about the vaccine.

A White House official told The Washington Post that a call was offered to her with a White House doctor to answer questions she had about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.

By: Lateshia Beachum and Tyler Pager

8:07 PM: Alaska’s largest hospital implements ‘crisis standards of care’ as E.R. patients wait in their cars

a sign in front of a building: A sign points to the emergency department at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage on Aug. 11. (Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News) A sign points to the emergency department at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage on Aug. 11. (Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News)

Alaska’s largest hospital has implemented crisis standards of care, prioritizing limited resources as a surge in coronavirus cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant has strained health workers.

In a letter addressed to the community, Kristen Solana Walkinshaw, a doctor and leader at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, shared “the distressing reality of what is happening inside the walls of our hospital,” where the emergency room is overflowing and elective surgeries may be postponed.

Patients waiting to see doctors for emergencies have waited in their cars for hours, Solana Walkinshaw said.

“If you or your loved one need specialty care at Providence, such as a cardiologist, trauma surgeon, or a neurosurgeon, we sadly may not have room now,” she wrote in the Sept. 14 letter, obtained by The Washington Post. “There are no more staffed beds left.”

Alaska is sixth in the nation for average daily new cases per capita, and one of several with hospitals near or at their breaking points. Last week, Idaho announced it would start rationing medical care at hospitals in the northern part of the state. Meanwhile, intensive care units in hospitals in Southern states have faced a crush of unvaccinated patients.

Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, told the Anchorage Daily News on Wednesday that nearly all hospitals in the state are at crisis level.

“Some (larger) hospitals have crisis standards of care committees that have already been set up, and they can kind of activate those, and … they just make the best decisions they can,” she told the outlet.

Alaska has lagged behind many other states in the vaccination effort, with 48.5 percent of the state’s population fully vaccinated. About 29 people are hospitalized with covid-19 for every 100,000 Alaskans, according to data compiled by The Post.

Solana Walkinshaw pleaded in the letter that residents wear masks, get vaccinated and quarantine if exposed. She also warned that people should avoid activities that could get them hurt.

“Unfortunately, if you are seriously injured, it is possible that there will not be a bed available at our trauma center to save your life,” she wrote.

By: Meryl Kornfield

6:31 PM: Florida landlord says tenants must get coronavirus vaccine or move

Jasmine Irby was leaving her two-bedroom apartment in South Florida last month when she noticed a letter from the management company taped to her door.

It read: “As of August 15th, all new tenants must show proof of vaccination before moving in. … Existing tenants must show proof of vaccination before leases are renewed.” The policy, the notice stated, also applied to building employees.

Irby, a security guard who had lived in the Lauderhill, Fla., building for the past two years, was appalled, she told The Washington Post. Irby, 28, had planned to renew her lease by the end of August, but she did not intend to get the coronavirus vaccine.

After unsuccessful negotiations with the management company and her landlord, Santiago A. Alvarez, Irby filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services demanding that she be allowed to renew her lease “without having to disclose my personal health information.”

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By: Andrea Salcedo

6:01 PM: New Hampshire lawmaker joins Democrats because of GOP views on vaccines, masks

A New Hampshire state representative “reluctantly” switched his party affiliation to Democratic on Tuesday, citing state Republicans’ opposition to masks and coronavirus vaccines.

Rep. William Marsh, a former Republican, said party extremists are edging out moderates like him, and that he had planned to quietly retire but felt his hand was forced by what he called Republicans’ refusal to take reasonable health precautions.

“Politics, I’m afraid, is a team sport,” he told The Washington Post. “You’ve got to work with other people, and if nobody’s interested in what you have to say, you might as well go home.”

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By: Caroline Anders

5:30 PM: The pandemic marks another grim milestone: 1 in 500 Americans have died of covid-19

At a certain point, it was no longer a matter of if the United States would reach the gruesome milestone of 1 in 500 people dying of covid-19, but a matter of when. A year? Maybe 15 months? The answer: 19 months.

Given the mortality rate from covid and our nation’s population size, “we’re kind of where we predicted we would be with completely uncontrolled spread of infection,” said Jeffrey D. Klausner, clinical professor of medicine, population and public health sciences at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. “Remember at the very beginning, which we don’t hear about anymore, it was all about flatten the curve.”

The idea, he said, was to prevent “the humanitarian disaster” that occurred in New York City, where ambulance sirens were a constant as hospitals were overwhelmed and mortuaries needed mobile units to handle the additional dead.

The goal of testing, mask-wearing, keeping six feet apart and limiting gatherings was to slow the spread of the highly infectious virus until a vaccine could stamp it out. The vaccines came but not enough people have been immunized, and the triumph of science waned as mass death and disease remain. The result: As the nation’s covid death toll exceeded 663,000 this week, it meant roughly 1 in every 500 Americans had succumbed to the disease caused by the coronavirus.

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By: Dan Keating and Akilah Johnson

4:37 PM: Biden administration urges travel companies to mandate employee vaccinations

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Wednesday urged U.S. tourism companies to require their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as pandemic-induced travel restrictions continue to hobble the industry.

Some travel businesses not affected by President Biden’s new vaccination requirements for medium and large companies have still chosen to mandate the shots for their workers, Raimondo told the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.

“They’ve seen significant increases in their vaccination rates because of their company policies, and we applaud those decisions,” she said to the 32-member committee gathered in Washington. “We encourage you all to consider doing the same.”

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By: Marisa Iati

4:18 PM: Moderna, Pfizer present evidence that vaccine immunity wanes over time

Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech both presented data Wednesday showing that breakthrough infections were more common among people vaccinated earlier in the companies’ large clinical trials, yet another line of evidence that the vaccines’ protection against disease wanes over time.

Both companies found that people who started in the placebo group, and therefore received the real vaccine months later than those given the vaccine right off the bat, tended to be more protected against disease during the surge in infections caused by the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Moderna released a statement saying it “believes this adds to evidence of potential benefit of a booster dose.”

Pfizer said in its submission to the Food and Drug Administration that the results suggest a booster should be given at six months “to restore high levels of protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

Both studies took advantage of the fact that the companies have been closely monitoring tens of thousands of people who were vaccinated over different periods.

In both studies, half of the participants were given the real vaccine from July to December 2020, while the other half received a placebo and didn’t get the vaccine until the very end of last year or the beginning of this year.

Moderna’s publication, submitted to a preprint server, showed that people who were more recently vaccinated had lower rates of any infection and severe infection. There were 88 breakthrough cases among people vaccinated recently vs. 162 among those vaccinated last year.

Pfizer data submitted to the FDA showed a similar trend.

Natalie Dean, a biostatistician at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, called the studies a “thoughtful approach” and another line of evidence that the vaccines’ ability to prevent disease does wane over time. It has been less clear whether protection against severe disease is dropping off, and she noted that the number of serious cases was too small in the studies to draw conclusions.

By: Carolyn Y. Johnson

3:50 PM: Biden meets with business leaders on vaccine mandate

a group of people in a room: President Biden speaks during a meeting with executives who've taken steps to require employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Library in Washington. (Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg News) © Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg President Biden speaks during a meeting with executives who've taken steps to require employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Library in Washington. (Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg News)

President Biden met with business leaders from Disney, Microsoft, Walgreens and other large companies Wednesday to discuss coronavirus vaccine mandates as the private sector grapples with his administration’s efforts to compel medium and large companies to make the shots mandatory for their workers or require weekly testing.

With the delta variant fueling a surge in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations, Biden’s move puts the onus on businesses to help contain the virus’s spread. The planned mandates, which would affect roughly two-thirds of the U.S. workforce, mark the most extensive government intervention into private companies and employer practices since the pandemic began.

“Vaccinations mean fewer infections, hospitalizations and deaths, and in turn it means a stronger economy,” Biden told the business leaders. “I think everybody should join me today, and I look forward to working together to beat this pandemic to keep our economy growing.”

A White House official said the gathering served as a “rallying cry” to persuade more companies to move expeditiously toward vaccine mandates as the Labor Department develops the emergency rules. The requirement would apply to businesses with 100 or more workers, who would need to be fully vaccinated or show a negative test result at least once a week.

“The vaccine requirements work, and more companies are instituting them — even Fox News is requiring it,” Biden said. “I am not being facetious when I say that, but it’s interesting that they’ve stepped forward and done that as well.”

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By: Taylor Telford, Tyler Pager and Eli Rosenberg

2:58 PM: FDA review remains neutral on boosters ahead of critical Friday vote, as Pfizer pushes added shots

A highly-anticipated Food and Drug Administration review of evidence on whether a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is widely necessary struck a noncommittal tone Wednesday, setting the stage for a potentially fractious debate among expert advisers to the agency this week.

Pfizer and government officials have relied heavily on data from Israel in making the case to the public that boosters are necessary six months after full vaccination. But FDA reviewers cautioned that a raft of studies with clear limitations have emerged in the last few months, pointing out that “biases can affect their reliability.” The reviewers stated that “US-based studies … may most accurately represent vaccine effectiveness.”

Some studies have suggested the efficacy of the vaccines declines against symptomatic infections, but some have not, agency reviewers wrote.

“Overall, data indicate that currently US-licensed or authorized COVID-19 vaccines still afford protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death in the United States,” they wrote. “There are many potentially relevant studies, but FDA has not independently reviewed or verified the underlying data or their conclusions.”

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By: Carolyn Y. Johnson, Joel Achenbach and Laurie McGinley

2:45 PM: Thousands of LAPD employees plan to seek vaccine exemptions; police officials sue city over mandate

Thousands of Los Angeles Police Department employees are planning to seek exemptions from getting vaccinated against the coronavirus after a group of police officials filed a federal lawsuit against the city over its vaccine and mask mandate.

Roughly 3,000 LAPD employees are expected to seek either religious or medical exemptions ahead of the city’s Oct. 5 deadline for municipal employees to be vaccinated, according to figures released by the city Tuesday. The vast majority of them are filing for religious exemptions. If those numbers hold up, nearly a quarter of the LAPD workforce will try to avoid vaccination.

The development follows the federal lawsuit recently filed by six LAPD employees against the city, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) and LAPD Chief Michel Moore, saying the vaccine and mask mandate for city employees violates their constitutional right to privacy and due process. The suit, filed Saturday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, says that some employees involved in the litigation “could not assert a medical or religious exemption,” while others claim they have acquired antibodies from previous covid-19 infection.

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By: Timothy Bella

2:43 PM: Biden says Newsom beating back California recall is ‘resounding win’ for their approach to battling covid

Biden congratulated California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday for overcoming a GOP-led recall effort, calling it a victory for their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This vote is a resounding win for the approach that he and I share to beating the pandemic: strong vaccine requirements, strong steps to reopen schools safely, and strong plans to distribute real medicines — not fake treatments — to help those who get sick,” the president said in a statement. “The fact that voters in both traditionally Democratic and traditionally Republican parts of the state rejected the recall shows that Americans are unifying behind taking these steps to get the pandemic behind us.”

Biden has faced criticism from Republicans over his push to mandate vaccination for health-care workers, federal employees and contractors. He also has announced that his administration will press ahead with mandating that all companies with 100 or more employees require vaccinations or weekly testing.

With about two-thirds of the vote counted Tuesday night, those saying no to recalling Newsom were ahead by nearly 30 percentage points. He campaigned on being the best person to help California tackle the pandemic, with vaccine and mask mandates. The leading Republican rival, Larry Elder, opposed those requirements.

The U.S. covid death toll exceeded 663,000 this week, meaning that roughly 1 in every 500 Americans had died of the disease caused by the coronavirus. A majority of Americans support the measures Biden announced last week to curb the spread of the virus, according to a poll by Monmouth University.

Campaigning for Newsom in Long Beach, Calif., on Monday, Biden said that supporting Elder, a conservative talk radio host who embraced many of the politics and tactics of former president Donald Trump, would move the state backward.

“We need science, we need courage, we need leadership,” Biden said. “Extreme weather is here. The climate crisis is getting worse. We have to deal with it, not deny it.”

By: Eugene Scott

2:00 PM: At the besieged FDA, ‘it never stops!’ as decisions loom on boosters, pediatric shots and more

a man wearing a suit and tie standing next to a fence: Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, stands at the center of important decisions on coronavirus vaccines. © Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for The Washington Post Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, stands at the center of important decisions on coronavirus vaccines.

Peter Marks, the Food and Drug Administration official overseeing coronavirus vaccines, was preparing Monday for a critical meeting on booster shots later in the week when he received a text from a friend: “Oh, my God, it never stops!”

Marks asked what the friend was referring to. “The Lancet article,” came the reply, according to the friend who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private interaction.

The article was a shock. The medical journal Lancet had just published a review by an international roster of scientists — including Marks’s top two vaccine officials — that argued forcefully against administering boosters to the general public, at least for now.

The public nature of the dissent and the timing were stunning. The FDA is scheduled to meet Friday with its vaccine advisory committee to discuss whether to approve a Pfizer-BioNTech booster, the start of what the Biden administration hopes will be a rollout of extra shots for all three vaccines used in the United States. But now, the two officials, who typically play major roles in running such meetings, had publicly rejected the need for boosters even before the session — a strikingly unusual development.

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By: Laurie McGinley and Dan Diamond

1:15 PM: Patients and doctors who embraced telehealth during the pandemic fear it will become harder to access

a group of people sitting on a suitcase: Accompanied by vascular neurologist Anand Viswanathan, Island Health Services Director Sharon Daley takes the mail boat from Northeast Harbor to the Cranberry Isles to visit patients. © Ellie Markovitch/for The Washington Post Accompanied by vascular neurologist Anand Viswanathan, Island Health Services Director Sharon Daley takes the mail boat from Northeast Harbor to the Cranberry Isles to visit patients.

When the pandemic hit, the little health center on Vinalhaven, an island 15 miles off the coast of Maine, was prepared in ways many larger facilities were not. The Islands Community Medical Services had long been using telehealth to provide primary and behavioral care to its 1,500-strong year-round community, relying on grants to cover costs. As the public health emergency lifted many restrictions on virtual care, the clinic ramped up its offerings.

“We were able to pivot pretty quickly,” said former operations director Christina R. Quinlan, describing a scramble to add specialized medical and social care.

Across the country, in urban and suburban settings, the same pattern played out as federal and state regulators issued scores of waivers to telehealth access and coverage rules, making it easier for hospitals, health centers and clinics to offer a wider range of remote services and be reimbursed for delivering them.

A question that remains to be answered, experts say, is how many rules will tighten once the public health emergency is over.

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By: Frances Stead Sellers

12:30 PM: Special enrollment for ACA health plans attracts nearly 3 million consumers

a person holding a sign: Activists in front of the Supreme Court in 2015 after a ruling that year in favor of the Affordable Care Act. © Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post Activists in front of the Supreme Court in 2015 after a ruling that year in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

About 2.8 million people signed up for Affordable Care Act health plans during an unprecedented six-month special enrollment period that President Biden ordered to help Americans find insurance coverage during the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures his administration released Wednesday.

The additional enrollees raised ACA health plan subscriptions to a record level of 12.2 million since the insurance marketplaces that were created under the law began offering health plans in 2014.

The enrollment tally — along with a raft of figures illustrating that such health plans are affordable for many people — comes as the president is pressing Congress to make permanent a temporary upgrade in federal subsidies for ACA health plans that began early in the spring as part of a pandemic relief law.

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By: Amy Goldstein

11:45 AM: Rebounding after vaccine debacle, E.U. chief seeks to project confidence

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen puts on her face mask after delivering a speech on Wednesday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. (Yves Herman/Pool/AP) European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen puts on her face mask after delivering a speech on Wednesday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. (Yves Herman/Pool/AP)

BRUSSELS — The leader of the European Union’s executive branch used a sweeping annual address on Wednesday to portray the bloc as a united force that has overcome a rocky pandemic response to achieve some of the world’s highest coronavirus vaccination rates and is now seeking to become a more formidable actor on the global stage.

In the E.U.’s version of a State of the Union speech, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen sought to emphasize the 27-member club’s unity, celebrating the “strong soul in everything that we do.” This confidence is a sharp contrast to early 2021, when the bloc struggled with the bungled rollout of its vaccination campaign, which stalled its recovery and left the continent vulnerable to another deadly wave of infections.

Immunization rates in the European Union have since accelerated dramatically, surpassing the United States and reaching the bloc’s goal of fully vaccinating 70 percent of adults late last month. But challenges remain, particularly in Eastern European countries like Bulgaria and Romania, where just 18 percent and 27 percent of people are vaccinated, respectively ­— disparities von der Leyen noted as “worrisome divergences.”

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By: Reis Thebault

11:00 AM: Poll: Majority of Americans support Biden’s vaccine mandates to fight covid

A majority of Americans support the mandates requiring vaccines or regular testing announced by President Biden last week in response to rising concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, according to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.

And a majority of Americans continue to give the president positive reviews for his handling of the pandemic, although the number has declined.

Just over half — 52 percent — give Biden positive reviews for how he has handled the pandemic, a significant drop from a high of 62 percent in April.

Majorities of Americans also support implementing guidelines for masking and social distancing at the statewide level as well as requiring proof of vaccination for specific activities, including boarding airplanes, working from the office and attending indoor sporting events.

“The delta variant has dampened public confidence that we will get clear of this pandemic. That’s probably playing a role in broad support for mandates and other measures,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Support for these measures is high in both heavily Democratic and Republican states, but the biggest growth has come in blue states. More than six in 10 — 63 percent — of Americans support these measures in their states — which is up from just over half — 52 percent — in July.

Most Americans support the president’s mandate requiring vaccine mandates for key groups. More than 60 percent — 63 percent — of Americans back Biden’s requirement that health-care workers be vaccinated and nearly 60 percent — 58 percent — support mandating that federal employees be vaccinated.

And the majority of Americans — 60 percent — back requiring teachers and school staff to be vaccinated. Notably, the difference in support among blue and red states for the various mandates is no more than five points.

The number of Americans very concerned about a family member becoming seriously ill from coronavirus has been on the rise since June. It is now nearly half — 45 percent, up from 23 percent in June. The highest point for this metric was in January — 60 percent.

While most of those surveyed have received at least one shot, a sizable percentage of anti-vaccine or vaccine hesitancy remains. Fifteen percent of those surveyed said they will not get any vaccine if they can avoid it. The political leanings of the anti-vaccine support are heavily conservative. Of those who expressed anti-vaccine sentiments, more than seven in 10 — 72 percent — self-identify as Republicans or lean toward the GOP.

The telephone poll was conducted Sept. 9 to 13 with 802 adults in the United States. The survey has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

By: Eugene Scott

11:00 AM: ‘Long covid’ study gets $470 million of funding

The National Institutes of Health is awarding $470 million to study the long-term effects of covid-19, NIH Director Francis S. Collins announced Wednesday.

The studies will recruit a large population of volunteers to help researchers examine “long covid,” the symptoms that persist in some people long after they have recovered from an initial coronavirus infection.

Those symptoms include respiratory problems, fatigue, brain fog and gastrointestinal difficulties. Some people have reported suffering those problems for months; others have found that vaccines offer some relief.

Some long-haul covid-19 patients say their symptoms are subsiding after getting vaccines

Research shows that between 10 and 30 percent of people infected by the virus suffer long-term symptoms.

“We know some people have had their lives completely upended by the major long-term effects of COVID-19,” Collins said in a news release. “These studies will aim to determine the cause and find much needed answers to prevent this often-debilitating condition and help those who suffer move toward recovery.”

In February, NIH launched an initiative to define and study long-covid symptoms.

The money awarded Wednesday will go to New York University Langone Health, which will parcel it out to 30 other institutions involved in the research, NIH said.

By: Lenny Bernstein

10:42 AM: France kicks off vaccine mandate for health-care workers

All health-care workers in France must be vaccinated as of Wednesday or face unpaid suspension under a law passed in July, the likes of which more countries are beginning to consider adopting as the coronavirus pandemic enters its second year.

Under the French law, all health-care professionals — including students preparing to become health-care professionals — must have at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 15 and present a negative coronavirus test to come to work, unless they can prove they are exempt either for health reasons or because they have recently recovered from covid-19. By Oct. 16, they must be able to prove they are fully vaccinated, unless they are exempt.

Regulators will carry out checks in health-care facilities, the government said, and health-care workers who are found to have broken the rules could be suspended without pay, but not fired. If they take steps to be vaccinated, their suspension will end.

Most health-care workers in France are vaccinated and yet “a small but vocal minority is holding out,” according to the Associated Press. In most departments, 85-to-90 percent of professionals in public retirement homes or long-term hospitalized care facilities for the elderly are fully vaccinated already, according to the latest data from the government — although the numbers lag behind in southeast France and some overseas French territories for which data is available.

In the United States, President Biden recently issued an executive order mandating that workers in “most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement” be vaccinated. The White House estimates that its new requirements will “cover a majority of health care workers across the country.”

“If you’re seeking care at a health facility, you should be able to know that the people treating you are vaccinated. Simple. Straightforward. Period,” Biden said in a speech last week.

By: Annabelle Timsit

10:15 AM: Biden set to meet with business leaders on vaccine mandate

a man standing in front of a flower: President Biden returns to the Oval Office following a visit to Brookland Middle School in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 10, 2021. © Ken Cedeno/Bloomberg President Biden returns to the Oval Office following a visit to Brookland Middle School in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 10, 2021.

Business leaders from Disney, Microsoft, Columbia Sportswear, Walgreens and other large companies are slated to convene Wednesday at the White House to discuss coronavirus vaccinations, as the private sector grapples with President Biden’s efforts to compel companies with more than 100 workers to make the shots mandatory for their staff or require weekly testing.

With the delta variant fueling a surge in infections among the unvaccinated, Biden’s move puts the onus on businesses to help contain the spread. The planned mandates, which would reach roughly two-thirds of the U.S. workforce, mark the most extensive government intervention into private companies and employer practices since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many Republican leaders have bucked at the move, accusing the president of overreach and of levying an undue burden on the business community. But a chorus of business leaders applaud Biden’s approach, saying it alleviates pressure for companies that wished to require vaccines but feared the stance would drive away workers.

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By: Taylor Telford

9:29 AM: Coronavirus fears play major role in Newsom recall election

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Gavin New­som (D) was projected to defeat a recall campaign against him Tuesday thanks to a large Democratic turnout and broad fears within the state over the surging coronavirus pandemic.

Newsom rode a large Democratic turnout, which he and his proxies worked on ensuring for months in this very blue state. Even more important were public fears over the new wave of coronavirus cases. He has been among the most aggressive governors in the nation in demanding vaccinations and mask-wearing, policies his Republican rivals opposed.

According to early exit polls, the pandemic was the top issue for California voters, with 3 in 10 saying it was most important in determining their vote. Nearly 70 percent of voters supported school mask requirements, according to the early exit polls, an opinion that appeared to favor Newsom.

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By: Scott Wilson and David Weigel

8:30 AM: Group shares partial details of Pfizer ‘vaccine recipe’

An advocacy organization on Tuesday released a partial list of specifications needed to produce Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, as activists amp up pressure on pharmaceutical companies to share their intellectual property with the developing world.

Public Citizen, which provided a copy of its report to The Washington Post, says it discovered the list in a leaked contract that was published by an Italian news outlet in April. Pfizer’s vaccine — which the company has said draws on 280 different components and materials — must meet specific criteria, such as ensuring that a component known as lipid nanoparticles are less than 200 nanometers in size, Public Citizen found.

Those and other specifications listed in the report have previously been redacted in documents published by U.S. regulators and other global health officials. Activists, international medical groups and health experts have pressed drug companies to share details of their vaccine manufacturing process, arguing that publicizing the so-called vaccine recipe will allow more countries to begin the process of preparing to manufacture generic versions of the shots as global demand outstrips supply.

“The U.S. government must immediately urge Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to share COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology and know-how," Carrie Teicher, director of programs at Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement last month.

Some experts also have criticized President Biden for not moving faster to address disparities in global vaccination levels. The World Health Organization last week condemned the disproportionate access to coronavirus vaccines as “unacceptable.”

“This leaked contract teaches the world more about how to make mRNA vaccines than anything done by rich countries so far,” said Zain Rizvi, a Public Citizen researcher who oversaw the group’s new report. "The Biden administration should help the world produce more vaccines by sharing the rest of the vaccine recipe.”

Pfizer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company and other firms involved in vaccine manufacturing have argued that they are moving to aid developing countries by donating doses and sharing their know-how, but that the drug industry also needs to protect its intellectual property to ensure smooth manufacturing processes and retain incentives to invest in new research and development.

By: Dan Diamond

8:30 AM: U.S. hospitals in crisis; Idaho moves to ration care

a group of people standing in front of a store window: William Dittrich, a doctor in the medical intensive care unit at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, looks over a covid-19 patient on Aug. 31. © Kyle Green/AP William Dittrich, a doctor in the medical intensive care unit at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, looks over a covid-19 patient on Aug. 31.

Health officials in Idaho said Tuesday that hospitals in the southern and southwestern parts of the state may soon get approval to ration health care amid a sharp rise in covid-19 cases and lackluster vaccination uptake, joining two districts in the state’s north and northwest that activated “crisis standards of care” last week.

Covid-19 patients, most of them unvaccinated, are flooding Idaho’s hospitals, and, as a result, the Panhandle and North Central health districts of Idaho said that in at least 10 hospitals as of Sept. 7, they would not be able to provide the same level of care for non-covid patients because of a staffing and bed shortage.

Officials now say hospitals in the Boise-Nampa and Magic Valley regions could be next as Idaho, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates among states, recorded a 44 percent average increase in covid-19 deaths over the past week.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R), who throughout the pandemic chose not to impose a statewide mask or vaccination mandate, said he is “exploring legal action to stop” President Biden’s recent move to mandate vaccination or regular testing for more workers, calling it “unprecedented government overreach into the private sector.”

Hospitals across the United States are at a breaking point. At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Defense recently deployed 20-person teams of military medical personnel to support health-care workers in Idaho and Arkansas, as it has done in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. In the populous states of Florida and Texas, 89.2 and 92.1 percent of ICU beds are in use, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Meanwhile, the largest hospital in Alaska has started rationing care and has implemented crisis standards as coronavirus infections surge in that state, the Associated Press reported.

Providence Alaska Medical Center is one of three hospitals in Anchorage, which is the state’s largest city, with a population close to 300,000. Late Tuesday, Providence began implementing crisis standards of care, a protocol that includes prioritizing resources and treatments for those who can benefit most from them. A hospital executive warned that specialty care such as cardiac treatments, trauma surgery and neurosurgery may not be available in the short term, according to local news reports.

Like other areas around the United States, Alaska is experiencing a surge in covid-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. “The acuity and number of patients now exceeds our resources and our ability to staff beds with skilled caregivers, like nurses and respiratory therapists,” Providence executive and physician Kristen Solana Walkinshaw wrote in a letter to Alaskans on Tuesday.

By: Annabelle Timsit, Bryan Pietsch and Aaron Gregg

8:09 AM: NBA will not institute vaccine mandate for players in upcoming season

a sign on the floor: There will be no vaccine mandate for NBA players during the 2021-22 season, which is scheduled to begin next month. (Mark J. Terrill/AP, File) © Mark J. Terrill/AP There will be no vaccine mandate for NBA players during the 2021-22 season, which is scheduled to begin next month. (Mark J. Terrill/AP, File)

The NBA will not require its players to be vaccinated against the coronavirus this season, a person familiar with the situation confirmed Tuesday.

As reported earlier in the day by ESPN, the players union is opposing a vaccine mandate, the person confirmed. Approximately 85 percent of NBA players are already vaccinated, a spokesman for the league reportedly stated Tuesday.

The NBA came to an agreement last month with the referees union that requires all of them to be vaccinated. In addition, there are vaccine mandates for all team, arena and other game-day personnel whose duties require them to be within 15 feet of players, referees and areas used by players or referees.

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By: Des Bieler

7:37 AM: Fauci debunks vaccine infertility conspiracies after Nicki Minaj’s viral tweets

Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pushed back against a coronavirus vaccine conspiracy theory shared by Nicki Minaj — insisting there is no evidence that it causes infertility after the pop star tweeted about her cousin’s hesitancy to get vaccinated and sparked a social media controversy.

Minaj tweeted on Monday night that her cousin in Trinidad, where the singer and rapper is from, “won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen.”

Fauci, in response to a question Tuesday from CNN’s Jake Tapper about Minaj’s claim, said “the answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no.” “There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen. So the answer to your question is no.” Other medical experts have long said that claims about infertility linked to vaccinations are unsubstantiated.

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By: Annabelle Timsit

6:46 AM: Analysis: The U.S. was a global leader in vaccinations. Now it’s falling behind.

a man wearing a hat: A man dressed as Uncle Sam attends a demonstration last month in Manhattan protesting coronavirus vaccine requirements and vaccine passports. © Andrew Kelly/Reuters A man dressed as Uncle Sam attends a demonstration last month in Manhattan protesting coronavirus vaccine requirements and vaccine passports.

In the fight against the coronavirus, President Biden is setting an ambitious new goal. According to a list of targets obtained by my colleagues, the White House will call for a global effort to get 70 percent of the world’s population vaccinated against the virus by the time world leaders convene at the U.N. General Assembly in September 2022.

The dangers of the pandemic and a warming planet will dominate proceedings next week at this year’s assembly. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, the world’s inveterate town crier, said Friday that the international community had reached “a pivotal moment” and that real momentum was needed to break the “paralysis” surrounding collective action on both the coronavirus and climate change.

But as it tries to rally international support in producing and distributing vaccine doses, the Biden administration has to sit with an uncomfortable, parallel reality: On the domestic front, the United States’ once-world-leading immunization drive seems to have run out of steam.

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By: Ishaan Tharoor

6:01 AM: Key coronavirus updates from around the world

Here’s what to know about the top coronavirus stories around the globe from news service reports.

By: Annabelle Timsit

5:58 AM: Some Christian nationalists are fueling their movement with opposition to coronavirus vaccines and mask mandates

Anti-vaccine rally protesters hold signs outside of Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas on June 26, 2021. © Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images Anti-vaccine rally protesters hold signs outside of Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas on June 26, 2021.

About midway through his address to a crowd in St. Louis in late August, Greg Locke shifted gears. The goateed pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., had been regaling the audience — “patriots,” he called them — with stories of defying state health recommendations by holding maskless, in-person worship services during the covid-19 pandemic.

Shouting into the microphone, Locke — who weeks earlier denied the delta variant of the coronavirus existed — suddenly began scolding listeners for not doing enough in the fight against pandemic restrictions.

“Do something in your hometown,” Locke said. “Stir your school board meeting up for the glory of God. Run for office. Do something. Go let some churches know in town they need to open up and quit playing the coward. Make some Facebook videos until they de-platform you. Don’t just go to conferences and enjoy people — save the nation.”

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By: Jack Jenkins

5:03 AM: U.S. will require most new immigrants to get coronavirus vaccines

The United States will require new immigrants to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as part of its routine medical examination, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Tuesday.

The measure goes into effect Oct. 1. Most people applying to become a permanent resident in the United States are required to receive the immigration medical examination “to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under the health-related grounds,” according to USCIS.

The United States already requires a slew of other vaccinations for permanent resident applicants, including measles, polio, influenza and tetanus.

The coronavirus vaccine requirement follows updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USCIS said. Exceptions to the requirement will be allowed for medical conditions, if there is a lack of vaccine supply, or if the vaccine is “not age-appropriate” for the immigration applicant, USCIS said. Religious or “moral convictions” exemptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The announcement comes after the Biden administration last week unveiled a sweeping set of vaccine mandates, requiring federal employees to get immunized against the coronavirus and ordering businesses with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations or weekly testing.

The Biden administration has struggled to increase vaccinations, which have plateaued in recent days after a slight increase in August. More than 63 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with 54 percent of the country’s population fully vaccinated.

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By: Bryan Pietsch

4:25 AM: Michigan hospital system will exempt employees with ‘natural immunity’ from vaccine requirement

A hospital system in Michigan said that it will allow employees who provide proof of prior coronavirus infection to be exempted from its vaccine requirement.

A spokesperson for Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich., said in a statement that the exemption for people with “natural immunity” had been recommended by a medical exemption committee composed of infectious-disease experts.

Employees seeking an exemption will need to provide a positive coronavirus test and a positive antibody test from within the past three months, the statement said.

Spectrum Health, which has more than 31,000 employees, according to its website, still recommends vaccination for people with prior infection, the statement said, noting that the measure was temporary. The measure could be lifted or modified “should evidence in the future demonstrate significant waning” of protection via prior infection.

Raina MacIntyre, an epidemiologist at the University of New South Wales, criticized such exemptions, saying that “prior infection does not protect as well as vaccines.” She noted examples such as the city of Manaus, Brazil, where more than 70 percent of the population was infected but a second wave of infections still came.

MacIntyre said that it was “extremely risky” for Spectrum Health to enact the exemption.

“When health workers are infected or quarantined, the ability to provide health care is compromised,” she said. “Why would you take a risk with something so critical?”

Studies have suggested the human body retains a robust immune response to the coronavirus after infection. A study published in the journal Science early this year found that about 90 percent of patients studied showed lingering, stable immunity at least eight months after infection. A smaller study published in June in the journal Nature showed that protection from the coronavirus could last as long as a year after prior infection. The report also noted that getting vaccinated — its study involved people who received messenger RNA vaccines, the technology behind Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines — provides a boost in protection for people who have been previously infected.

Those studies were published before the more contagious delta variant took hold in the United States, setting off a surge in cases. The level of protection provided by prior infection against the delta variant is still unclear, as robust research has yet to be published. A recent preprint study in Israel that has not been peer-reviewed suggested that natural immunity might actually offer longer lasting and stronger protection against the delta variant, but MacIntyre cautioned that the study is “an outlier from trial data and real world observation.”

Two hospital systems in Pennsylvania have announced similar natural-immunity exemptions for people who have previously had covid-19, the Morning Call newspaper reported. St. Luke’s University Health and Lehigh Valley Health will allow vaccine deferrals for up to a year after infection, the report said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who have recovered from covid-19 be vaccinated.

By: Bryan Pietsch

4:13 AM: Virginia senators push DHS to do more to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by Afghan patients

a group of people wearing costumes: Afghan evacuees arriving at Dulles International Airport in September. Many have come in need of medical attention, adding strain to area hospitals already taxed by the coronavirus pandemic. © Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters Afghan evacuees arriving at Dulles International Airport in September. Many have come in need of medical attention, adding strain to area hospitals already taxed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Virginia’s two senators are pressing the Biden administration to do more to make sure that Afghan evacuees in need of medical attention don’t overwhelm local hospitals after officials in D.C.’s suburbs complained that a lack of federal planning wreaked havoc on facilities already stretched thin by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter sent Monday evening to the Department of Homeland Security secretary and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Sens. Mark R. Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D) said they are concerned about a lack of coordination between federal and local officials around the hospitalizations of Afghan evacuees so far.

With as many as 5,000 evacuees temporarily housed at the Marine Corps Base Quantico and as many as 10,000 staying at the U.S. Army’s Fort Lee base near Petersburg, the senators urged federal officials to take steps to keep nearby hospitals from shouldering the burden of medical treatment.

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By: Antonio Olivo

4:12 AM: White House considered requiring vaccines for international air travelers

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: President Biden delivers remarks regarding the new covid-19 action plan in the State Dining Room at the White House on Sept. 9. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post President Biden delivers remarks regarding the new covid-19 action plan in the State Dining Room at the White House on Sept. 9.

As White House officials rushed to shape last week’s sweeping new vaccine mandates, they debated the idea of requiring international air travelers to be vaccinated before boarding a plane, as part of a larger effort to persuade more Americans to get immunized, according to two people familiar with the plans.

Some aides argued that other countries already require vaccinations to fly and that the United States should join their ranks, according to an administration official. But others said mandates work best when they require people to prove they are immunized only once — like at work — rather than repeatedly, like every time they board a plane.

The idea was shelved, but top White House officials say that proposal and similar ones are still under consideration — including, potentially, a broader vaccine mandate that would include domestic air travel.

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By: Annie Linskey and Yasmeen Abutaleb

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/covid-19-live-updates-u-s-hospitals-in-crisis-as-idaho-rations-care/ar-AAOskLO

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COVID-19 Live Updates: American Hospitals Begin Rationing Healthcare, Schools Face Delta Variant Surge

Source:Newsweek on MSN.com

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EXPLAINER: What are ‘Crisis Standards of Care?’

Source:WMBB

EXPLAINER: What are ‘Crisis Standards of Care?’

Idaho allows rationing of medical care statewide amid surge in covid hospitalizations

Source:Washington Post

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Source:WSB Radio

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Source:Yahoo

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Idaho rations health care statewide as COVID surge drags on

Source:LocalSYR

Idaho rations health care statewide as COVID surge drags on