Americans’ approval of President Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic — one of his most positive assets early in his presidency — has continued on a downward trend in recent months, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found.This tracks with the trajectory of the public health crisis that seemed to be easing this summer, but roared back to life with the spread of the more-contagious delta variant and plateauing vaccination rates in some areas.The Post-ABC poll finds that 47 percent of Americans approve and 49 percent disapprove of Biden’s handling of the pandemic.In a June survey, 62 percent approved and 31 percent disapproved.Overall, 53 percent of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the presidency while 41 percent approve — numbers that were almost exactly reversed in June.The poll, which was conducted over the phone Nov.7-10 among a national sample of 1,001 U.S.adults, showcases the increasing relevance of schools as a battleground for political debates that play out at the national level, including over the handling of the pandemic.
When asked about their school districts’ pandemic policies, 25 percent of adults felt they were too strict, 53 percent said they were about right and 16 percent said they weren’t strict enough.Here’s what to know Enrollment stayed steady or shrank slightly in public school systems across the Washington region this academic year, suggesting schools have so far failed to rebound from pandemic-era drops — with possible repercussions for funding.The coronavirus pandemic led to a stark plunge in public school enrollment nationwide, as families with resources opted for in-person learning offered by private schools or undertook home schooling.School districts in the D.C.area experienced student-body declines of between 2 and 5 percent in the 2020-21 school year, a loss of thousands of children that threatened millions of dollars in budgeting and spurred promises from educators that they would work to re-enroll students and attract new families.The start of the 2021-22 school year, for which the overwhelming majority of public school systems in the Washington region are offering five days a week of almost-normal face-to-face schooling, marked the first big test of whether those efforts would bear fruit.
Advertisement Updates continue below advertisement For this winter, here are the best ways to avoid covid-19, the flu and colds Return to menu By Catherine Roberts 9:30 p.m.Link copied Link
Last year, as Americans facing the threat of covid-19 hunkered down and masked up, the flu seemed to go into hibernation.At the height of a typical flu season, up to 1 visit in 20 to emergency department s is for the illness.But during the most recent flu season, it accounted for less than 1 of every 1,000 emergency room visits.Experts expect that the flu will make a comeback this winter, circulating along with other seasonal respiratory viruses as well as the coronavirus.Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself and your family.
Advertisement Updates continue below advertisement Specter of new restrictions rises in Europe as coronavirus cases spike yet again Return to menu By Miriam Berger 8:00 p.m.
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Nearly two years into the coronavirus era, much of Europe is once-again facing a surge in cases — and in some countries, a return to lockdowns and other restrictions that had begun to feel like a distant part of the pandemic.This time around, the unvaccinated are frequently the target of new measures.Overall, 76 percent of adults in the European Union, and 65 percent of the total population, has been fully vaccinated, according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention .Last week, Europe reported close to 2 million coronavirus cases — the “most in a single week in that region since the pandemic started,” World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference Friday.“Some European countries are now reintroducing restrictions to curb transmission and take the pressure off their health systems,” Tedros said.“No country should be in this position, almost two years into the covid-19 pandemic.”Fueled by vaccine hesitancy, slowing vaccination rates and the rollback of infection-control measures such as face mask requirements and travel bans, Europe is in many ways a test case for what life with both the virus and vaccines could come to look like.
Advertisement Updates continue below advertisement Analysis: The Trump-era politicization of the pandemic that still benefits Joe Biden Return to menu By Philip Bump 6:30 p.m.Link copied Link
Immigration was the animating issue for Donald Trump’s political career, the focus of his campaign announcement in 2015 and the reason that he emerged as the front-runner in the 2016 Republican presidential nominating contest.
He made impossible pledges about what he’d do as president — cover the border with a wall; make Mexico pay for it — that he was unable to fulfill.
But he tried, declaring a dubious national emergency that allowed him to shift funds from the Defense Department to start building a barrier.When the coronavirus pandemic emerged, Trump had the opportunity to enact a change he’d flirted with previously.The little-understood virus allowed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to apply a section of U.S.Code — Title 42 — intended to address the “serious danger of the introduction of disease into the United States.” In short order, Border Patrol agents began simply turning migrants away, denying them the opportunity to apply for asylum.Testifying before the House select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis this year, CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat suggested that the decision to deploy Title 42 was rooted more in politics than public health.
Advertisement Updates continue below advertisement HHS reverses Trump-era rule that blocked FDA pre-market review of diagnostic tests Return to menu By Katie Shepherd 4:50 p.m.Link copied Link
Federal officials on Monday reversed a Trump-era rule that blocked the Food and Drug Administration from reviewing certain diagnostic tests before they came onto the market.The move means federal regulators can once again conduct pre-market reviews of so-called lab-developed tests in a move the FDA heralded as necessary to ensure at-home covid tests are “accurate and reliable.” The rule was a major source of tension among top Trump health officials.Then-Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar argued that the FDA was taking too long to clear new tests and overruled top agency officials who opposed the rule.
Critics worried that the limited FDA oversight would allow poorly performing tests on store shelves.“By withdrawing the policy, HHS is helping to ensure that COVID-19 tests work as intended,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement Monday.The FDA said it would focus on reviewing at-home diagnostic tests, antibody tests and other tests that may expand covid testing capacity or accessibility.The updated policy also follows renewed efforts by the Biden Administration to provide cheap covid tests to the public.Earlier this month, the White House announced a $1 billion purchase of rapid, at-home tests that will quadruple the number of tests available by December.At-home covid tests have been harder to come by and more expensive in the United States than in some other countries.
Public health experts have pushed for improved access to at-home tests so that people can more reliably screen for covid infections.But federal regulators also have to make sure the tests work well.“If the FDA is too strict and demands too much, there are arguments that the FDA is preventing people from getting access to tests,” said Nathan Cortez, a professor of law at Southern Methodist University.“But if you don’t do enough, then people have access to tests, but the tests aren’t worth very much because they’re not giving reliable information.”
A major long-term study of covid-19′s effects on children has enrolled its first participant at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, the agency announced Monday .Researchers plan to track as many as 1,000 children and young adults who have tested positive for the coronavirus, evaluating the disease’s impact on their physical and mental health over a three-year period.The work is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is aimed at determining how the virus impacts a child’s overall health and quality of life years after infection.The National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center is recruiting participants between 3 and 21 years old, while D.C.’s Children’s National Hospital is seeking participants ranging from newborn to 21 years old.
The research will include tracking their long-term immune responses to the disease and screening for genetic factors that could impact how a child responds to infection.Although children were initially thought to be less susceptible to severe cases of covid-19, the news release said, some have suffered serious effects.About 6 million pediatric cases have been reported in the United States.Anthony S.Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in the release that scientists “still do not have a clear picture” of covid-19′s long-term effects on children.The study will help, he said.“Our investigations into the pediatric population will deepen our understanding of the public health impact that the pandemic has had and will continue to have in the months and years to come,” Fauci said.
Key update As Fla.
special session on vaccine mandates begins, Democrats say bid to outlaw them is anti-business Return to menu By Lori Rozsa 2:17 p.m.Link copied Link
TALLAHASSEE — A special legislative session called by Gov.Ron DeSantis (R) to outlaw vaccine mandates began Monday afternoon with Democrats saying his effort is anti-business and even some Republicans — at least behind the scenes — expressing skepticism about his proposed measures.Democrats said they’re trying to protect small businesses that want to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Sen.Jason Pizzo (D) of Miami said the new laws DeSantis wants are “creating extra layers of confusion and regulation and control.”Pizzo said he’s talked to Republican colleagues who also have concerns, albeit private ones for the moment.“When they’re being honest, they understand that there are a lot of limitations and nonworkable sections” of the governor’s proposals, he said.“I don’t know that they’re going to voice that to anybody, but maybe they’ll try to work through them with us.”Four bills are being considered.One would raise the penalties for businesses and local governments that require workers to be vaccinated against the virus.According to Rep.
Alex Rizo, a Republican from Miami-Dade County, there is “very little” dissension among House Republicans over passing the bills.“It’s not the role of government to force mandates on people,” Rizo said.“I think we all agree on that.”The session is expected to last through Wednesday.
New documents and testimony released by a House committee examining the federal government’s early coronavirus response confirm much of what we already knew: There was a concerted effort by political officials to interfere with the independent advice of health officials — often reflecting President Donald Trump’s own efforts to downplay the virus .And one particular episode we just learned more about drives that home as well as just about anything.The examples of this politicization of the pandemic response are myriad.As the new releases from the House committee reinforce, politics infected many aspects of the response.But one episode stands out in the new documents and testimony: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s August 2020 guidance scaling back its testing recommendations .
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Key update New York City opens booster shots to all adults Return to menu By Brittany Shammas 11:54 a.m.Link copied Link
New York City is advising health-care providers to allow everyone over 18 to get a coronavirus booster shot.City officials announced the guidance Monday, saying they hope to prevent a jump in infections as temperatures drop, the holidays approach and more people gather indoors.
Hospitalizations remain low, but cases have climbed in recent days, New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said during a news conference .“We have anticipated that this might occur as the weather gets cooler and people spend more time indoors,” he said.“But compared to this time last year, we have many more tools to fight covid-19 and work to keep a winter wave at bay.”The announcement followed similar moves by a handful of states.California, Colorado and New Mexico recently began allowing all adults to receive booster shots, CBS News reported .In a Sunday appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Colorado Gov.
Jared Polis (D) expressed frustration Sunday with what he called the “convoluted messaging out of the CDC and the FDA” on boosters.The agencies have authorized booster shots only for senior citizens and other adults at high risk.In New York City, about 630,000 people have gotten a booster shot, Chokshi said.He said health-care providers should “not turn a patient away if they request a booster” and are over 18.“In my own conversation with patients and family members, I know that booster doses can provide one more layer of reassurance, allowing us to breathe a bit easier either for ourselves or our loved ones, particularly as we gather and travel around the holidays,” Chokshi said.“So let’s use every means at our disposal to make this a safe and healthy winter season.”
LAKE CHAWEVA, W.Va.— Her text messages with links to medical research had gone unanswered.
Her halting pleas at the kitchen table had failed.And by the time Laurel Haught pulled into her driveway to find her daughter Sam’s car newly adorned with an Infowars bumper sticker, she could only conclude that her campaign to persuade her child to get the coronavirus vaccine was going nowhere.Laurel was vaccinated.Sam was not.They lived together, along with Laurel’s vaccinated husband and Sam’s unvaccinated boyfriend, in a tumbledown chalet above an artificial lake outside Charleston.
It was a home with creaking floorboards, bulging photo albums and a fireplace that had burned through three decades of Thanksgiving nights and Christmas mornings.It was a home the Haughts had always cherished, and it was about to come apart.“Y’all got to move out,” Laurel, then 57, told her daughter.But Sam, then 32, appealed to her father, who didn’t share his wife’s alarm about the risk of contracting the virus.The eviction was overruled.
So Laurel decided there was only one thing left to do: She moved out herself.She drove just eight miles away, finding refuge with another daughter, this one inoculated.But across that short distance was a rift that is dividing households across America.
Oklahoma National Guard rejects Pentagon’s coronavirus vaccine mandate Return to menu By Alex Horton and Dan Lamothe 9:49 a.m.Link copied Link
The Oklahoma National Guard has rejected the Defense Department’s requirement for all service members to receive the coronavirus vaccine and will allow personnel to sidestep the policy with no repercussions, an order from the governor that could serve as a blueprint for other Republican-led states that have challenged Biden administration mandates.Brig.Gen.Thomas Mancino, appointed this week by Gov.
Kevin Stitt (R) as adjutant of the state’s 10,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen, Thursday notified those under his command that they are not required to receive the vaccine and won’t be punished if they decline it.It’s an extraordinary refusal of Pentagon policy by the general and follows Stitt’s written request to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin seeking suspension of the requirement for Guard personnel in the state.
Hospital revokes Houston doctor’s privileges for spreading ‘misinformation’ about covid Return to menu By Andrea Salcedo 9:01 a.m.Link copied Link
Mary Bowden, an ear, nose and throat doctor at Houston Methodist Hospital, says vaccine mandates are wrong.It’s a sentiment she has tweeted about numerous times this month, even declaring last week that she is “shifting my practice” to focus on treating unvaccinated patients.Bowden has also used her personal Twitter account to promote the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a treatment for the coronavirus , despite warnings from public health officials advising people not to take it .But those opinions have come at a professional cost.Bowden, who recently joined the hospital’s medical staff, has been suspended for “spreading dangerous misinformation” and sharing “harmful” personal and political opinions about the coronavirus vaccine and treatments, a hospital spokeswoman told The Washington Post.
Chicago launches at-home coronavirus vaccination drive Return to menu By Annabelle Timsit 8:16 a.m.Link copied Link
Anyone 5 and older living in the city of Chicago can be vaccinated against the coronavirus in their home starting Monday under a new municipal initiative named “ Protect Chicago At Home .”Chicago residents can now book weekday appointments for up to 10 people to be vaccinated in one household with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, depending on age and eligibility.Children between 5 and 11 years old can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine, and eligible individuals can request a booster dose.The initiative is part of a major push to increase the city’s vaccination rate, to get newly eligible young children vaccinated and to refresh the immunity of older or more vulnerable individuals with boosters.On Nov.
12, the city celebrated Vaccine Awareness Day ; Chicago Public Schools were closed for the day as parents were encouraged to get their child vaccinated at one of dozens of special sites, and municipal employees were given two hours of paid leave to get themselves or their families vaccinated.According to the latest data from the city , 65.5 percent of residents have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 59.8 percent are fully vaccinated.Cases of the coronavirus are on an upward trend, with an average of 436 new cases recorded per day — but they remain much lower than before vaccination was widely available in the United States.People who get their first course of vaccination through the Protect Chicago At Home initiative will be eligible for a $100 visa gift card, the city said.
Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis (R) decried coronavirus-related mandates at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting in Las Vegas on Nov.6.(The Washington Post) TALLAHASSEE — A special legislative session dubbed “Keep Florida Free” begins Monday at the behest of Gov.Ron DeSantis, who wants lawmakers to pass more measures to block coronavirus vaccine mandates by public and private employers.The four bills being considered would ratchet up the penalties for businesses, local governments and other entities that require workers to be vaccinated against the virus and students to wear masks in school.According to DeSantis (R), the session will strengthen as well as augment rules already in place — in part through his own executive orders.“At the end of the day, we want people to be able to make informed decisions for themselves, but we’ve got to stop bossing people around,” DeSantis said last week as he officially announced his 2022 reelection bid.
“We’ve got to stop the coercion.
We’ve got to stop trying to browbeat people.”.