Covid-19 live updates: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announces vaccine mandate for city workers

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imageNew York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced Wednesday that all city workers would be subject to a coronavirus vaccine mandate.The move comes the same day the White House announced its plan to roll out vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, pending the shot’s approval by federal health officials.The city is taking a carrot and stick approach to its deadline for municipal employees, requiring them to show proof of at least one vaccine dose by Oct.29 – and will give them an extra $500 for getting their first shot by the deadline.Unvaccinated employees will be placed on unpaid leave until they show a supervisor proof of vaccination, de Blasio’s office said in a statement.The mandate is expected to apply to some 160,500 workers, according to the statement, including employees of the New York police, fire and sanitation departments.The city says 71 percent have already received at least one dose.Civilian employees of the Department of Correction and uniformed members assigned to health-care settings are also immediately subject to the mandate.

Uniformed members of the Department of Correction will have until Dec.1 to comply with the mandate because of a staffing situation at Riker’s Island.City school employees are already subject to a vaccine mandate effective earlier this month.“As we continue our recovery for all of us, city workers have been a daily inspiration,” de Blasio said in a statement.“Now is the time for them to show their city the path out of this pandemic once and for all.” U.S.coronavirus cases tracker and map Here’s what to know In August, as the surge of the delta variant overwhelmed Hawaii’s 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.Speaking at the Kona airport, Ige said case counts are trending lower and hospitals are seeing fewer patients with covid-19.“Because of this, it is now safe for fully vaccinated residents and visitors to resume nonessential travel to and within the state of Hawaii,” he said.“Beginning November 1, we want to invite and encourage fully vaccinated visitors and residents to travel for business or leisure, trans-Pacific and inter-island.”

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Key update Biden nominee for ambassador to China accuses Beijing of ‘stonewalling’ on virus origin By John Hudson 1:16 p.m.Link copied Link

President Biden’s nominee for ambassador to China accused Beijing of “stonewalling” the international community about the origins of the coronavirus, telling a Senate panel Wednesday that China needs to be more transparent about the virus.“We need to push the Chinese to come clean about what happened,” Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat and former ambassador to NATO, said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.Burns also sharply criticized the Chinese government for what he called the “genocide” in the Xinjiang region and said its aggressive actions toward Tibet and Taiwan must stop.China forcefully rejects the U.S.government’s view that its campaign of mass detention and sterilization of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang amounts to genocide.

Federal regulators are seriously considering authorizing coronavirus vaccine boosters for everyone 40 years old and above, a move that could sharply increase the number of people eligible for the shots, according to two federal officials familiar with the plans.Action would not occur until next month, after the Food and Drug Administration deals with two big items on its agenda, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue.The FDA is expected Wednesday to authorize a booster shot of the Moderna vaccine for people 65 and older and for people at special risk of covid-19, the illness caused by the virus, and an extra shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for people 18 and older.

The broader age criteria for Johnson & Johnson reflects lower protection offered by the initial single-shot regimen compared with other coronavirus vaccines.

A booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine already is cleared for people 65 and older and for people at higher risk because of medical conditions or exposure on the job.Read the story

In July, an unvaccinated woman with low oxygen levels and a fever arrived at the emergency room of a hospital in Washington state.She had used up the tank of oxygen that a physician assistant in Washougal had shipped to her home days before, the woman told hospital staff.The unidentified woman, whom Scott C.Miller also had allegedly treated with ivermectin — a deworming drug that some people are using to prevent or treat covid-19, despite several public health agencies’ advising against it — died about a week later.That same month, according to a statement of charges released by the State of Washington Medical Commission, the family of an unvaccinated man hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms filed an emergency injunction requesting that the hospital give him ivermectin.

Miller, who had never treated or examined the man, his wife said, had recommended that course of action, the document states.The family later dropped the request.The patient died Aug.

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Advertisement Updates continue below advertisement Israel identifies case of mutated ‘descendant’ of delta variant By Bryan Pietsch 11:52 a.m.Link copied Link

Israel said it has identified a mutated delta variant, AY.4.2, the first case of the mutant confirmed in the country.The Israeli Health Ministry confirmed that it was detected in an 11- year-old-boy at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, and that the child, who was arriving from Moldova, went into isolation.The ministry said the child is doing fine and plans to return to school Thursday.During a Wednesday White House briefing , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said AY.4.2 has occasionally been found in the United States — but “not with recent increased frequency or clustering to date.”“In the United States, delta remains the dominant variant with more than 99.7 percent of sequence cases in the country being caused by delta,” Walensky said.

“There are new variants that continue to emerge as cases continue to spread, and in particular, the AY4.2 variant has drawn some attention in recent days.”The AY.4.2 variation of the coronavirus, which was described by one expert as a “descendant” of the delta variant, is being monitored in Britain, though it is unclear whether AY.4.2 poses a significant risk of being more contagious or more capable of evading protection provided by vaccines.It has not been categorized as a “variant of interest” or a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization.The coronavirus is constantly mutating , as is normal for viruses.Health experts have warned, however, that as some of the world’s population, mostly in wealthy countries, becomes vaccinated, it becomes increasingly important to vaccinate the rest of the population, as the virus can mutate more quickly among the unvaccinated.María Luisa Paúl contributed to this report.

While a pandemic that has killed close to 5 million people across the world is no laughing matter, researchers found that humor can be a positive and healthy mechanism when it comes to dealing with these challenging times.According to a study published Monday in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Psychology of Popular Media, viewing memes helped lower stress levels and made people feel more confident in their ability to cope with the global health crisis.“As the pandemic kept dragging on, it became more and more interesting to me how people were using social media and memes in particular, as a way to think about the pandemic,” said Jessica Gall Myrick, the study’s lead author, in a news release.“We found that viewing just three memes can help people cope with the stress of living during a global pandemic.”The researchers surveyed 748 people and showed popular memes from websites, including Imgur and IMGflip , to half of them, while the other half was shown other media.Among the meme-viewing group, some participants were provided with covid-related captions while others saw the same image with its original caption.

For example, when it came to a picture of an angry cat, it was captioned “New study confirms: Cats can’t spread covid-19 but would if given option” for one set of participants.For the other group, it read “New study confirms: Cats can’t sabotage your car but would if given option.”Individuals then rated how cute and funny they found the displayed media and reported their levels of anxiety and states such as relaxation and calmness.They were also asked pandemic-related questions, including their stress about the virus and how much the images caused them to think about other information they knew about covid-19.Those who viewed memes reported more positive emotions and had “increased covid-19 coping efficacy,” according to the study.Another key finding was that memes about the virus aided people in processing the stressful news without getting overwhelmed by it — something researchers said public officials could benefit from in their attempts to communicate information to the public.“The positive emotions associated with this type of content may make people feel psychologically safer and therefore better able to pay attention to the underlying messages related to health threats,” Myrick said.

Key update Putin orders a nationwide week off for Russians amid surging covid deaths By Mary Ilyushina 11:02 a.m.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has greenlighted a proposal to require workers to take a week off, keeping them out of their jobs after the country set grim records for coronavirus cases and deaths for three weeks in a row.On Wednesday, Russian health officials reported 1,028 deaths over the past 24 hours, the highest such number since the start of the pandemic.The official death count in Russia stands at 226,353, the highest in Europe.But Russian data analysts and demographers suggest that the number could be as high as 750,000, based on analysis of data from the government statistics agency.What is known as the “nonworking” week will start Oct.

30.“If necessary, nonworking days could be extended beyond November 7,” Putin said during a meeting with his cabinet.The president once again pleaded with Russians to get immunized amid worries that the vaccination rate has stalled again.Only about 33 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, even though the shots have been widely available since the beginning of the year.“It’s strange that well-educated people, people with scientific degrees, don’t want to get vaccinated.We have a safe and effective vaccine,” Putin said.“I don’t understand what’s going on.”“We only have two ways to get through this: get sick or get vaccinated, but it’s better to get vaccinated,” he added.Russian officials have struggled to persuade people to get the shots in the midst of widespread anti-vaccine sentiment, in part fueled by officials’ dismissive approach to the coronavirus early in the pandemic.Putin, who spent several weeks in quarantine in September because of an outbreak among his staff, has made several public appearances.But Wednesday, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced that the Russian leader will take part in the upcoming Group of 20 meeting and the COP26 climate change conference via video link.

One Friday last year, as the Washington region experienced its first wave of the coronavirus , the local grocery chain MegaMart announced that it would be offering free food for two hours.Thousands of people showed up, waiting in lines that snaked through parking lots and onto roads.Helicopters from TV stations hovered above, trying to capture this surge in need, which, a month into the pandemic, was only just beginning.In the D.C.

region, one of the most affluent — and unequal — areas in the country, as many as 250,000 residents were thrown into food insecurity last year, a local food bank estimated, joining some 400,000 who had been struggling to get meals even before the pandemic.Buoyed by several rounds of federal funding, local governments and civic organizations spent millions of dollars to ameliorate this spike in hunger , drawing in droves of new volunteers and forming new partnerships with local farms and businesses.Their efforts helped soften what would have otherwise been a full-out crisis, advocates say.And now, as the pandemic abates, it’s giving way to a new resolve to beat back food insecurity — permanently.

Advertisement Updates continue below advertisement In-N-Out Burger clashes with San Francisco over vaccine mandate: ‘We refuse to become the vaccination police’ By Julian Mark 9:40 a.m.

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Popular California burger chain In-N-Out is refusing to comply with San Francisco’s mandate that restaurants check vaccine cards before allowing customers to dine indoors — a move that resulted in a temporary shutdown of the city’s only location.“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” Arnie Wensinger, the company’s chief legal and business officer, said in a statement shared with The Washington Post.“It is unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe to force our restaurant Associates to segregate Customers into those who may be served and those who may not, whether based on the documentation they carry, or any other reason.”The clash comes as the country remains divided about pandemic policies, with vaccination mandates in the public and private sectors prompting unrest and firings.San Francisco, like New York City , requires customers to be vaccinated before they can dine inside, and restaurants are responsible for checking cards at the door.

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Key update White House unveils plans to roll out coronavirus vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 By Amy B Wang and Lena H.Sun 9:01 a.m.

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White House officials said they have secured enough doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the country’s 28 million children in the 5-to-11 age group.“Today the Biden Administration is announcing a plan to ensure that, if a vaccine is authorized for children ages 5-11, it is quickly distributed and made conveniently and equitably available to families across the country,” the White House said in a statement.An expert advisory group to the FDA is scheduled to meet Oct.26 to hear data about the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine.The FDA will decide whether to authorize its use.A vaccine advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to meet Nov.2 and 3 to weigh a recommendation for use.If the CDC director signs off on a recommendation for use, the vaccine can be administered to kids.Once authorized, the White House has vowed it will quickly distribute the shots across the country, relying on more than 25,000 pediatricians’ offices and primary care sites, as well as hospitals.White House officials said they are hosting “operational readiness calls” with local jurisdictions.

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At least 65,000 more men have died of covid-19 than women in the United States by the end of August, according to a study by the Brookings Institution .While the disproportionate impact of this pandemic on men has already been recorded, this study released Tuesday uses the latest data from the U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to quantify that gap, which it said was most pronounced among middle-aged adults.It finds that, while age remains the main risk factor for covid mortality, the gender gap is important and caused by “a combination of factors, which may differ by race, class, geography and other variables.”The CDC recorded 362,187 male deaths and 296,567 female deaths between February 2020 and the end of August this year.Men overall were 1.6 times likelier to die of the disease caused by the coronavirus than women, the study said, while men aged between 45 and 64 were more than 1.8 times likelier.Since March however, when vaccination became widespread in the United States, the gap in deaths between men and women has narrowed in some age groups, it said.The male-to-female death ratio among middle aged adults has fallen to 1.5, or by about 17 percent, the report said.Race was an important risk factor, with the study authors citing a previous finding that “Black and Hispanic or Latino death rates are six times higher than those for white people.”They call on policymakers to focus on inoculating “the most vulnerable groups,” including “men, and especially Black men” — a recommendation that is not without its challenges, given socio-economic factors including barriers to health care access for many people of color.Black Americans were 1.2 times less likely than their White counterparts to have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine in a recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis .As of last month, White Americans were six percentage points likelier than Black Americans to have at least one vaccine dose, the authors said, citing data from the CDC.CDC data on Tuesday showed that Whites were still likelier to have had at least one dose than Blacks, though more Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans as a proportion of their populations, were likelier than Whites and Blacks to have had at least one vaccine shot.

SÃO PAULO — A special Senate committee investigating Brazil’s response to the pandemic will accuse President Jair Bolsonaro of committing crimes against humanity for his role in the public health disaster that killed hundreds of thousands of people, a senior lawmaker said Tuesday.A draft version of a report detailing the committee’s findings had included calls for authorities to indict the president, other senior officials and three of his sons on charges of mass murder and genocide against the Indigenous population, whose communities were particularly vulnerable to the virus.But the president of the special committee, Sen.Omar Aziz, said Tuesday that senators involved in the probe will remove the genocide and homicide allegations from the report.Aziz said senators would keep in the report accusations of crimes against humanity and the crime of causing an epidemic that led to deaths.

Coronavirus rates decline in the DMV, but flu season poses new threat By Jenna Portnoy 6:31 a.m.

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Coronavirus rates continue to steadily decline in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia after a surge brought on by the highly contagious delta variant , but public health experts say it’s too early to declare victory against the unpredictable virus.And with flu season around the corner, some hospitals are still at or near capacity with covid-19 patients and people who put off care at the height of the pandemic, meaning there’s little room for an influx of flu patients this winter.Officials are bracing for the possibility of a severe flu season and encouraging people to get a flu vaccine on top of a coronavirus vaccine.“We’re heading in a better direction than we were a month ago, but we’ve been here several times before,” said Boris Lushniak, dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Health.“I don’t want to diminish optimism, but it’s not over yet.”

Gates Foundation to invest $120 million to widen access to covid treatment pill in lower-income countries By Andrew Jeong 5:42 a.m.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said it will pour $120 million into boosting access in lower-income countries to the pill known as molnupiravir , a drug under development to curb severe cases among people already infected with the coronavirus.The pill, by pharmaceutical companies Merck and Ridgeback, is a twice-daily treatment that has shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death among people infected with the coronavirus by half in clinical trials done on unvaccinated people until earlier this year.Regulators haven’t yet approved the drug for public use, but Merck has agreed to supply $1.2 billion worth of the pills to the United States upon authorization.Australia, Singapore and South Korea are among countries to have made advanced agreements.The Gates Foundation’s latest investment expands on the $1.9 billion it has already provided since the pandemic’s start to increase access to coronavirus vaccine shots, treatments and tests, it said.Senior health officials from the African Union, a body consisting of 55 member-states from the continent, expressed hope that the Gates Foundation’s new round of funding would boost Africa’s ability to combat the coronavirus by providing it with faster supplies of the pill.Africa remains one of the least vaccinated areas, with less than 8 percent of its 1.3 billion people having received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to figures compiled by researchers at Our World in Data.

That’s about a sixth of the approximately 48 percent of the world population that has received at least one dose.Molnupiravir would be the first oral outpatient drug authorized for use in treating covid-19 patients with mild and moderate disease..

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