In a speech today, Vice President Joe Biden described a government-wide mandate that would require all employers to provide vaccines to their employees. Under the plan, two-thirds of the country’s workers would be covered under the mandate, as vaccinations are mandatory for those working in health care, public health, law enforcement, and agriculture.
Vice President Joe Biden announced a new proposal to force two-thirds of all employees in the country to vaccinate their children against childhood diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella. It’s part of a plan to reduce the number of cases of those diseases in the United States by 90 percent by 2030. Biden’s plan calls for the country’s largest employers to provide coverage for vaccinations to all employees, as well as their children, as a condition of employment. The requirement would apply to all but the smallest employers, for whom the plan calls for more targeted vaccinations.
Vice President Joe Biden today announced new provisions for vaccine mandates in the health care reform bill he will soon introduce in Congress, ensuring that two-thirds of all Americans will be covered by a mandatory vaccination policy by 2018.
Here’s what you should be aware of:
Two-thirds of American workers must be vaccinated, according to Biden.
President Biden proposed broad measures to vaccinate tens of millions of Americans, including private sector employees, health-care workers, and government contractors, against the coronavirus.
As president, it is my responsibility to safeguard all Americans. So, today, I’m announcing that the Department of Labor is working on an emergency regulation that would compel all businesses with 100 or more employees — a total of over 80 million people — to guarantee that their employees are completely vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week. United Airlines, Disney, Tyson Foods, and even Fox News are among the businesses that have already made this a requirement. In the end, we’ll safeguard vaccinated employees from unvaccinated colleagues. Because I have that federal power, I’ve already stated that all nursing home employees who handle Medicare and Medicaid patients would be required to get vaccinated. I’m using that same power tonight to extend it to people who work in hospitals, home health care institutions, and other medical settings. A total of 17 million people labor in the health-care industry. If you go to a health facility for treatment, you should be able to verify that the persons who are treating you have been vaccinated. Simple and simple is the only way to go. Following that, I’ll issue an executive order requiring all executive branch government workers to get vaccinated. I’ve also issued an executive order requiring government contractors to follow suit. Get vaccinated if you want to work with the federal government or do business with us.
President Biden proposed broad measures to vaccinate tens of millions of Americans, including private sector employees, health-care workers, and government contractors, against the coronavirus. CreditCredit… The New York Times/David Mills
President Biden used the full force of his presidency on Thursday to ensure that two-thirds of the American workforce, including private sector employees, health-care workers, and federal contractors — as well as the vast majority of federal employees, who could face disciplinary action if they refuse — are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The president’s broad steps, which he outlined in a White House address, are the most comprehensive measures he has taken to combat the epidemic since taking office in January, and will have an impact on virtually every area of American life. They also express Mr. Biden’s dissatisfaction with the approximately 80 million Americans who are eligible for vaccines but have not received them.
Mr. Biden said from the White House state dining room, a picture of Abraham Lincoln towering over his shoulders, “We’re going to safeguard vaccinated employees from unvaccinated coworkers.” “We’re going to slow the spread of Covid-19 by boosting the percentage of workers who are vaccinated in companies throughout the country.”
He stated, “We can and will reverse the tide on Covid-19.”
Mr. Biden, who was first hesitant to impose requirements, is now pushing more forcefully than any president in recent history to compel immunization, according to experts.
On Thursday, he also ordered obligatory immunization for roughly 300,000 federal Head Start instructors. He said that he would utilize the Defense Manufacturing Act to boost fast testing kit production and that he would collaborate with merchants such as Amazon and Walmart to extend their availability. He also said that, among other things, the Transportation Security Administration will now treble penalties for passengers who refuse to wear masks.
“Be prepared to pay if you violate the regulations — and by the way, show some respect,” Mr. Biden added, referring to irate airplane customers who refuse to wear masks.
Mr. Biden, who was first hesitant to impose requirements, is now leading a vigorous campaign to push private companies, governments, and schools to adopt tougher vaccination and testing measures as the Delta strain spreads throughout the country.
Mr. Biden is using a mix of executive orders and new government regulations to achieve his goals. After Mr. Biden directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop a regulation, private sector companies with 100 or more employees will be required to mandate immunization or obligatory weekly testing for their workers. Approximately 17 million health care workers employed by hospitals and other institutions that receive Medicare and Medicaid payment, as well as federal employees and contractors, would be subject to stringent new vaccination requirements.
OSHA, which is part of the Department of Labor, is in charge of workplace safety, which includes vaccination requirements, according to experts. Other recommendations for pandemic preparedness have been published by the FDA, including a regulation announced in June mandating health-care companies to provide protective equipment, sufficient ventilation, and social distance, among other things.
Fully vaccinated Americans currently account for slightly more than half of the population, or 53%. While the number of individuals seeking vaccinations increased significantly in August as the Delta virus expanded, the vaccination rate has failed to help the country pass the barrier of “herd immunity” – the point at which mass vaccination combined with natural immunity inhibits the spread of a virus. Officials worry that if it spreads further, it may evolve into a new, even more deadly strain that is immune to vaccinations.
In an interview, Mr. Biden’s top medical adviser for the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, warned, “When you have 75 to 80 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated, who don’t get vaccinated, you’re going to have a dynamic of continual smoldering spread of the infection,” adding, “It’s very frustrating, because we have the wherewithal within our power to be able to actually suppress the infection
The president’s directive for federal employees is a particularly bold step. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, informed reporters on Thursday that, with the exception of certain religious and disability exemptions, the overwhelming majority of federal employees will be given a 75-day grace period to be vaccinated.
Ms. Psaki said that if employees refuse to get vaccinations within that time period, they would be subjected to “the normal H.R. procedure,” which may include escalating disciplinary action. Even before Mr. Biden made his address, at least one major labor group opposed the requirement.
In an interview, Cathie McQuiston, a deputy general counsel for the American Federation of Government People, a union that represents 700,000 federal workers, said her group would work with agencies to “not skip over processes and make sure employees get due process” if punished.
Lauren Hirsch provided reporting to this article.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced a government employee vaccination requirement. For The New York Times, Al Drago is to thank.
According to White House officials, President Biden’s federal employee mandate, which was announced Thursday, will apply to employees of the executive branch, including the White House, all federal agencies, and members of the armed forces — a workforce of more than four million people — but not to those who work for Congress or the federal court system.
According to authorities, the requirement for health care employees would apply to individuals employed by institutions that accept Medicare and Medicaid payment, such as hospitals and nursing homes. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the health-care sector, will carry it out.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, stated, “We’d want to be an example for what we believe other businesses and organizations could do across the nation.”
She went on to say that, with the exception of a few religious and disability exemptions, the overwhelming majority of government employees will have a 75-day grace period before having to be vaccinated.
For the first time since late January, the outbreak of the highly contagious Delta strain drove the country’s daily average caseload over 150,000, overwhelming hospitals in hard-hit regions and killing approximately 1,500 people each day. The outbreak has worried Vice President Joe Biden and his top health advisors, who believe that widespread vaccination is the only way to stop the pandemic.
Mr. Biden had previously pressed government employees to be vaccinated by threatening to subject them to regular coronavirus testing if they refused. However, the increase, along with the FDA’s decision last month to give full clearance to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for individuals 16 and older, persuaded him to forego testing, according to authorities.
Companies have been debating whether or not to mandate for months, fearful of possible lawsuits and employee backlash. But, with vaccination rates stagnating and the spread of the dangerous Delta form, CEOs are under increasing strain. Following the Biden administration’s previous mandate actions, they were given cover to go ahead with obligations.
Walmart, Walt Disney Company, Google, and others announced requirements shortly after. Goldman Sachs, Chevron, and others followed Pfizer’s lead when the vaccine gained full government clearance late last month.
The requirements represent a significant change for a president who, aware of the tumultuous political environment around immunization, originally avoided any discussion of making vaccinations obligatory. However, Mr. Biden’s hand has been strengthened by the FDA’s clearance.
Some of the new rules may result in litigation, but Lawrence O. Gostin, a Georgetown University professor of global health law, said Mr. Biden had wide authority to force immunization, even for private-sector employees.
Mr. Gostin said, “The federal government has sufficient authority to regulate occupational health and safety.” “Employers are required by law to follow evidence-based federal health and safety standards.”
Still, Mr. Gostin believes the president could do a lot more, such as requiring immunization for foreign or interstate travel.
Mr. Biden will not be able to force all Americans to be vaccinated; vaccines are a state-by-state issue in the United States.
Companies with more than 100 workers would be subject to a new regulation mandating vaccines or frequent testing. Credit… The New York Times’ Jenna Schoenefeld
New federal safety rules requiring coronavirus vaccines for firms with more than 100 employees would reaffirm mandates already in place at many enterprises and provide protection for those that have yet to decide.
President Biden unveiled the new regulations on Thursday, which would force workers to get immunized or face weekly testing, as well as requiring employers to provide paid time off for vaccinations. They are the government’s most aggressive attempt yet to enlist employers in a nationwide vaccination program.
A total of 80 million people will be impacted. According to the White House, the rules will be enforced by the Department of Labor and its Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is now developing an emergency interim standard to carry out the mandate.
During a speech on Thursday, Mr. Biden said, “Some of the largest businesses are now demanding this – United Airlines, Disney, Tyson Foods, and even Fox News.”
However, the measure will almost certainly be met with political opposition and legal action. It also confronts significant difficulties, such as creating a system for collecting and storing vaccination data, as well as a procedure for exemptions. The president did not outline any consequences for breaking the rules.
Lawyers said it was unclear if the regulation would apply to all workers or just those who work in business offices or facilities as of Thursday.
The Biden administration also plans to mandate vaccination for government employees and contractors, as well as the 17 million health-care workers who work in hospitals and other institutions that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds.
Mr. Biden appealed for more companies to join the campaign to boost immunization rates. “Please compel people to be vaccinated or show a negative test as a condition of admission to those of you operating major entertainment facilities — from sports stadiums to music venues to movie theaters,” he added.
OSHA is in charge of workplace safety, which it is expected to argue includes vaccination requirements. Other recommendations for pandemic preparedness have been published by the FDA, including a regulation announced in June mandating health-care companies to provide protective equipment, sufficient ventilation, and social distance, among other things.
“I believe the Department of Labor will be able to defend its responsibility for worker health and safety,” said Steve Bell, a labor and employment partner at the law firm Dorsey & Whitney.
“They have a wide, fairly good foundation for saying, ‘We’re here to protect the workers, and this is part of our purview, and we believe this will safeguard employees,’” he added.
If OSHA can demonstrate that employees are in severe risk and that the rule is required to address that danger, it has the power to establish an emergency interim standard. Employers must also be able to enforce the regulation.
Except in states with their own OSHA-approved workplace agency, which makes up roughly half of the nation, such a requirement would preempt current state regulations. States that have their own programs have 30 days to establish a standard that is at least as effective and covers state and local government workers like teachers. State and local government workers are not covered by federal OSHA regulations.
Employers and perhaps even some states are likely to fight the rule in court. However, in states immediately within OSHA’s authority, the legal foundation for a state challenge is likely to be the weakest. Some of the states most affected by Covid-19 lately, as well as those where politicians have been opposed to requirements, such as Texas and Florida, are among them.
In a statement, the US Chamber of Commerce said it “will strive to ensure that businesses have the tools, advice, and flexibility required to guarantee the safety of their workers and customers while still complying with public health standards.” The Business Roundtable, a prominent business lobby organization, said it “welcomes” the Biden administration’s efforts, including the requirement that employers provide paid time off for employees to be vaccinated.
“Stricter” vaccination requirements, according to the Culinary Employees Union, which represents 57,000 workers in Nevada, are “the only way we see a complete recovery possible.”
Some unions, though, have been skeptical of mandates, with members concerned about possible health consequences or resenting the notion of an employer meddling in what they consider a personal health choice.
When the Food and Drug Administration granted full clearance to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Aug. 23, it cleared the door for wider requirements.
CVS Health, Goldman Sachs, and Chevron are among the companies that have implemented some kind of mandate. Companies have been keen to reintroduce their employees to the workplace and restore some kind of normality. Others, like as AstraZeneca and JPMorgan Chase, have already made immunization or weekly testing mandatory.
Many requirements, however, are not complete. Walmart and Citigroup, for example, have rules for corporate staff, but not for frontline personnel in shops or branches. Many businesses are struggling with workforce shortages as well as different degrees of vaccination apprehension among their employees.
Ian Schaefer, a lawyer at the law firm Loeb & Loeb who specializes in labor problems and has been counseling businesses on their Covid policy, said, “It levels the playing field.” “Employers were hesitant to impose a vaccination requirement because they feared losing talent, particularly in service sectors or businesses where minority groups or lower-wage workers are disproportionately unlikely to be vaccinated.”
“They’d be in a problem if they carried out that requirement and individuals in their job stream didn’t get vaccinated and walked across the street elsewhere,” he added.
Mr. Biden has previously pressed private companies to contribute to vaccine programs. The White House met with CEOs from businesses that have required immunization, including Scott Kirby of United Airlines, in August to explore how they might persuade more business leaders to follow suit.
The wide-ranging regulation issued on Thursday, according to Joseph Allen, an associate professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who consults businesses on Covid strategy, was “a strong statement” from the federal government that it stood behind requirements.
“I believe the dominoes will continue to fall,” he said. “It’s also important and essential. The voluntary method has reached its logical conclusion.”
Noam Scheiber and Katie Rogers provided reporting.
After the Biden administration announced on Thursday that it would remove a $500,000 limit on disaster relief loans, small companies seeking cash to help them weather the epidemic may now borrow up to $2 million from the federal government.
Those who received lesser Economic Injury Disaster Loans will be allowed to apply for increases, but the Small Business Administration has warned that requests for more over $500,000 would not be approved until Oct. 8.
Any loans taken out this year will have a two-year repayment deferment, giving struggling companies time to make up on their expenses, according to the agency. Existing debt may now be refinanced using a loan.
According to Isabella Casillas Guzman, the agency’s administrator, the loan program “provides a lifeline to millions of small companies that are still being affected by the epidemic.”
The Small Business Administration has provided 3.8 million loans totalling $263 billion under the program so far. Small businesses and charity organizations may borrow up to $2 million depending on their income and expenditures. They are now eligible for loans equal to approximately two years’ worth of running costs.
Early in the epidemic, Small Business Administration officials secretly restricted the amount of loans to $150,000, fearing that a deluge of applicants would rapidly exhaust the program. After President Biden entered office, the limit was increased to $500,000.
The low-interest loans, which are issued directly by the government, may be returned over a period of up to 30 years and can be used for a range of expenditures, including paying off higher-interest debt or other federal loans, as of Thursday. Businesses were previously prohibited from utilizing the funds for such purposes.
Many company owners have benefited from the loan program, but it has been plagued by changing regulations, complexity, and delays. The government said in August that it had substantially sped up processing and cleared a 600,000-plus backlog of loan-increase applications.
However, the program’s remaining funds may be limited: The Senate’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, approved last month, aims to divert part of it for other uses. The measure will be debated in the House this month.
Grover Cleveland Charter Senior High School in Los Angeles welcomes students back. Credit… The New York Times’ Allison Zaucha
Los Angeles is the first large school system in the country to require coronavirus vaccinations for kids aged 12 and above who attend classes in person.
The district’s Board of Education decided to approve the legislation on Thursday afternoon, despite the Delta variety causing havoc throughout the nation. The requirement would ultimately apply to more than 460,000 kids in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the nation’s second biggest.
At Thursday’s board meeting, interim superintendent Megan Reilly stated that student immunization was one method to guarantee that the district’s classrooms could stay open. Last year, Los Angeles experienced among of the country’s longest school closures.
The city of Los Angeles already has a rigorous vaccination requirement for teachers and employees, and the new student requirement would improve classroom safety even further. It will, however, most likely be more controversial.
Nick Melvoin, a member of the Board of Education who supports the mandate, said that about 60% of the emails he received in the hours after news of the proposed resolution was first published expressed opposition to the mandate, which he said was most likely a reflection of the opposition’s organizing strength.
Los Angeles isn’t the first school system to require vaccinations for kids aged 12 and above. In August, the city of Culver City in west Los Angeles County passed a rule, and other California school districts are exploring similar regulations.
Shawn Hubler and Eliza Shapiro contributed reporting.
At August, a Covid-19 patient in an I.C.U. in Mississippi. Credit… The New York Times’ Rory Doyle
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told the political news site Axios that coronavirus infections are more than 10 times higher than they need to be to terminate the epidemic.
In the United States, about 150,000 new infections occur every day. Dr. Fauci told Axios, “That’s not even somewhat excellent control.”
“You can’t sit around in a nation our size and have 100,000 infections a day,” he said. Before you start to feel at ease, you need to go far below 10,000.”
In June, case rates dropped to almost that level, with an average of 12,000 new infections each day.
But that was before the highly infectious Delta form spread extensively throughout the country, resulting in a significant increase in infections and hospitalizations, particularly in regions where vaccination rates were low.
Children, who are now being hospitalized at the highest rate recorded to date, with over 30,000 entering hospitals in August, have been affected by this increase. No vaccination has been approved for children under the age of 12, who account for a significant portion of the unvaccinated population in the United States.
“We are still in the midst of a severe epidemic, and it is certainly affecting children,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview with Apoorva Mandavilli, a New York Times writer who covers science and global health.
“We’re seeing more children in the hospital today because the Delta version is more easily transmissible among everyone, adults and children,” Dr. Fauci said in the interview, which was published on Thursday on The New York Times website.
Children are still much less likely than adults, particularly older people, to be hospitalized or die as a result of Covid-19. However, experts believe that the rising number of children in hospitals, although modest in comparison to adults, should not be overlooked, and should instead motivate communities to do more to safeguard their youngest citizens.
Despite increasing worries about breakthrough infections, which authorities admit are not as uncommon as previously thought, the vaccinations continue to offer effective protection against the worst consequences, such as hospitalization and death.
Experts and health authorities have consistently said that vaccination is the greatest way to avoid the pandemic. Dr. Fauci told Axios, “The goal is to suppress the virus.” “We’re still in epidemic mode right now.”
On Aug. 25, a Houston Fire Department medic prepares to transfer a 2-year-old for Covid therapy. Credit… Getty Images/John Moore
In the United States, the number of children hospitalized to hospitals with Covid-19 has increased to the greatest levels ever recorded. In August, almost 30,000 of them were admitted to hospitals.
Pediatric hospitalizations have risen to unprecedented levels, causing children’s hospitals and critical care units in places like Louisiana and Texas to become overburdened. According to a recent government research, the hospitalization rate among unvaccinated teenagers was approximately ten times higher than in vaccinated adolescents during the summer spike. There is a scarcity of data on hospitalizations among children of various ages.
Children are still much less likely than adults to be hospitalized or die as a result of Covid-19 infection. According to the most recent American Academy of Pediatrics study of state statistics, the United States reported more than 250,000 child virus infections in the previous week, the largest amount to date.
“It should concern us all that hospitalizations — indicators of severe illness — are on the rise in the pediatric population, especially when there are many steps we could take to prevent many of these hospitalizations,” said Jason L. Salemi, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida who tracks Covid-19 hospitalization data.
The typical pediatric intensive care unit in the United States contains 12 beds, according to Dr. Christopher Carroll, a pediatric intensivist at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “Even a few patients may rapidly exceed the capacity of a system that small,” he added. “And there are fewer pediatric physicians with specialized training to take up the slack.”
Vaccinations, according to experts, may make all the difference. So far, pediatric hospital admissions for Covid-19 have been essentially stable in areas with the greatest immunization rates, whereas child hospital admissions in states with the lowest vaccine coverage have been approximately four times as high.
At the handover ceremony of the EU’s gift of 900,000 COVID-19 testing kits to the African C.D.C. in Ethiopia in October 2020, Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Credit… Getty Images/Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency
The decision by some wealthy countries to offer booster shots will obstruct low-income countries’ access to coronavirus vaccines, according to the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who claims there is no conclusive evidence that healthy people who are not immunocompromised require an extra shot.
There has been increasing impetus in affluent nations, such as Germany, France, Israel, and the United States, to provide extra dosages to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, as well as the general public.
“The issue with the third dosages is that we haven’t seen enough research behind them,” Dr. John Nkengasong, the director, said in an online press conference with media on Thursday. “I’m still perplexed as to why we’re heading toward a broad recommendation for a booster dose.”
“We will undoubtedly be gambling” by giving booster injections, he said.
Booster doses, according to the World Health Organization, may shift vaccination supply away from nations where the population is mainly uninfected. On Wednesday, the WHO requested that rich nations delay giving booster doses to healthy people until at least the end of the year, in order for every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population.
Officials from the World Health Organization have attempted to differentiate between booster injections, which enhance immunity in previously vaccinated populations, and extra doses, which may be required by the immunocompromised to acquire immunity in the first place. Additional dosages for the immunocompromised are not opposed by officials.
Despite the rush of booster programs in richer countries, the research on whether they are necessary is still a work in progress.
According to several research, the vaccinations’ ability to protect against infection and mild illness is diminishing. However, they remain extremely effective in avoiding the worst consequences, including as serious illness and death, and experts have cautioned against making a blanket prescription for boosters.
Experts agree, however, that for individuals with weakened immune systems who may not have built a robust immunological response to the first dosages, a third injection is necessary. Several nations, including the US, are currently providing extra vaccines to this susceptible population.
Dr. Nkengasong’s remarks came as the World Health Organization’s Africa director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, warned on Thursday that the continent would get less Covid-19 vaccine doses than anticipated from Covax, the global vaccination program, for the remainder of the year.
Covax cut its estimate for doses available in 2021 by nearly a quarter on Wednesday, adding to a slew of setbacks for an endeavor plagued by manufacturing issues, export restrictions, and vaccine stockpiling by rich countries. The lower dosages were “in part due to the emphasis of bilateral agreements above international solidarity,” according to Dr. Moeti.
According to the World Health Organization, around 3% of Africa’s population, or 39 million people out of 1.3 billion, has been completely vaccinated, with 72 percent of all doses given.
The African continent is recovering from a particularly severe third wave of the epidemic, which was mainly caused by the Delta strain.
According to the Africa C.D.C., the virus has caused 7.9 million infections and over 200,000 fatalities on the continent as of Thursday.
Dr. Nkengasong believes that rich countries should first fulfill their pledges to give hundreds of millions of doses in order to assist stop the pandemic’s acute phase.
Those donated dosages, according to Dr. Moeti, were not only the clearest route out of the epidemic, but they would also help relieve the pressure on already overburdened health-care institutions. For example, the Democratic Republic of Congo is coping with a meningitis epidemic and the threat of fatal illnesses like measles resurfacing.
“This epidemic may be ended soon if producing nations and businesses prioritize vaccine equity,” Dr. Moeti stated.
Emily Anthes contributed to this story.
Long before the death toll from Covid-19 in the United States reached over 650,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began looking into fatalities that may have been caused by the coronavirus. Credit… The New York Times’ Victor J. Blue
A intriguing finding was made late last year by the federal government’s top statistician on death: someone had died from Covid-19 in January 2020, according to a death certificate, a disclosure that would have accelerated up the virus’s spread in the United States by several weeks.
That death was not what it looked in the end. It was intended to be June 2020, not January 2020, by the person who verified it. But, in the uncertain days of early 2020, that blip on the radar screen of Robert Anderson, the chief of mortality statistics at a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helped to kick off a quiet, yearlong campaign at the agency to check and recheck the country’s first suspected Covid-related deaths.
Dr. Anderson’s vetting of at least four potential Covid-19 fatalities from January 2020 has now been completed. They’ve become part of a jumbled collection of indications regarding the virus’s early spread beyond China — some of them reliable, some not — that have begun to get greater attention as scientists and intelligence officials attempt to figure out how the epidemic started.
According to some experts, the chances that all four of the C.D.C.’s new mortality cases — from Kansas, California, Alabama, and Wisconsin — were caused by Covid-19 are low. This year, they were reclassified as Covid-related by a doctor or another recognized certifier. It’s unclear if they did so purely based on the person’s symptoms or with the assistance of more valuable blood or tissue samples.
Passengers waiting in line to check in for a Qantas aircraft to New Zealand in April at Sydney International Airport. Credit… Getty Images/James D. Morgan
When Qantas, Australia’s largest airline, resumes global operations in December, it will require all passengers on international flights to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to its chief executive. This will make Qantas one of the first airlines in the world to require proof of vaccination for everyone on board.
In an interview with the Trans-Tasman Business Circle, a network for business executives in Australia and New Zealand, Alan Joyce, the airline’s parent company, Qantas Group, made the revelation.
“Internationally, Qantas will only transport vaccinated passengers because we believe it will be one of the requirements to demonstrate that you’re flying safe,” he said, adding that several nations already require incoming tourists to be vaccinated. He expressed the expectation that the policy will be implemented “before Christmas.”
During the epidemic, Sydney-based Qantas halted international operations, but resumed flights to New Zealand in April this year before halting them again on July 31. The airline intends to resume international flights in December. Mr. Joyce said in November of last year that he was contemplating prohibiting unvaccinated passengers from flying internationally, although he did not provide a timeframe.
Other airlines have said that flight attendants and pilots would be required to be vaccinated, although few have stated that unvaccinated passengers will be denied boarding. Only Air Canada seems to be on the verge of starting to refuse passengers who have not been vaccinated. All commercial airline workers and passengers will be required to get vaccinated by the end of October, according to the Canadian government. In August, Air Canada supported the government’s stance.
Leonard J. Marcus, co-director of Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Effort and head of a public-health initiative aboard planes, expressed optimism that other airlines would follow Qantas’ approach.
He added, “I believe this would be a bold and brave move in the right way.” In comparison to countries like the United States, requiring passenger vaccines in Australia is presently simpler than in other parts of the globe, he added, since the country has a consistent method of verifying vaccination status.
Qantas did not answer to a question on whether it will make exceptions for children who are too young to be vaccinated and individuals who are unable to take the shots due to medical reasons, two of the groups most impacted by the vaccination status of passengers seated nearby.
Throughout the pandemic, Qantas has prioritized vaccination in its marketing approach. A widely circulated television commercial depicts Australians yearning to travel and then receiving vaccines before boarding foreign planes.
Tel Aviv is a popular tourist destination in 2019. According to the Tourism Ministry, 4.55 million tourists gave Israel $7.18 billion in income in that year. Credit… The New York Times’ Corinna Kern
After Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, Israel intends to allow organized groups of vaccinated tourists to come, taking a step toward reopening to the rest of the world, despite the fact that health authorities are reporting thousands of new coronavirus infections every day.
Officials from the Ministry of Tourism stated the government decision was authorized as a pilot program and that it was just the first stage.
Pini Shani, a senior Tourism Ministry official, stated, “This initiative is a foot in the door.” “It’s the beginning of a process that we hope will result in the tourist industry’s renewal.”
The ministry therefore hoped, he added, that the government would allow individual tourists to enter beginning in October.
Prior to the epidemic, Israel’s tourist industry was flourishing, with 4.55 million visitors bringing in $7.18 billion in revenue in 2019, according to Tourism Ministry figures.
The pilot program will begin on Sept. 19, allowing groups of five to 30 people to enter on the condition that they comply with a number of virus-related requirements, including providing a negative P.C.R. test 72 hours before landing and undergoing a second test as well as a serological examination upon arrival, according to the ministry.
According to the ministry, all passengers would be asked to provide evidence of being completely vaccinated within the preceding six months or proof of a booster injection with a vaccine authorized by the FDA or the European Medicines Union. Those from a list of “red” nations, which presently includes Bulgaria, Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey, will not be eligible for the scheme.
This will be Israel’s second effort at reopening to visitors, as revealed on Sunday. An previous attempt started in May but was stopped in August when the emergence of the highly infectious Delta strain resulted in an increase in illnesses.
Mr. Shani highlighted that the virus had only been acquired by three to four individuals out of the 2,800 who had come during the last trial program.
The chief financial officer and co-founder of the tour company Alma-Israel, George Horesh, expressed concerns about the “bureaucratic complications” of requiring travelers to undergo several tests upon arrival, particularly serological tests that require drawing blood, but added that he believed the authorities would find a way to make the process go more smoothly.
“During the epidemic, our company was almost wiped out,” he added, “but we believe things are now recovering and moving in the right direction.”
On Tuesday, students at Skyview High School in Vancouver, Washington, showed their support for masks. The school was put on lockdown last week after an anti-mask demonstration. Credit… Associated Press/Amanda Cowan/The Columbian
After anti-mask protests at a high school in the Washington city of Vancouver led in a lockdown, a state court issued an injunction banning disruptive rallies near school grounds on Wednesday.
The injunction requires that “protests, rallies, and gatherings on or near school premises that disrupt educational services, immediately cease and desist, and not be allowed to convene on or within a one-mile radius of any Vancouver School District building or grounds,” according to a statement from the Vancouver School District. The order remains in force as long as state-issued mask requirements are in place, according to a judge in Clark County Superior Court.
Protests at Skyview High School, one of the district’s schools, prompted the injunction. This month, groups including some members of the far-right Proud Boys gathered there twice to oppose the state’s school mask requirement.
The school was placed on lockdown on Sept. 3 after the second demonstration, during which protesters fled the sidewalk and entered the campus, according to the district’s statement. As a precaution, the nearby Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary School were also shut down. This week had been set aside for further demonstrations.
In a statement, the superintendent of the Vancouver district, Jeff Snell, stated, “Our district recognizes and supports free speech and the right for individuals to participate in peaceful demonstrations.” “However, our primary goal is to guarantee the safety of students and employees, as well as a disruption-free teaching environment. We were compelled to submit our concerns to the court as a result of this responsibility.”
According to a New York Times database, the seven-day average of new cases in Washington State was 3,431 per day as of Wednesday, a small rise over the previous two weeks. Over the same time period, hospitalizations have increased by 3%, reaching a daily average of 1,598. Approximately 61 percent of the population in the state has been completely immunized.
On Tuesday, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro addressed his fans at the country’s Independence Day festivities in So Paulo. Credit… The New York Times’ Victor Moriyama
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is temporarily prohibiting social media companies from removing certain content, including his claims that the only way he can lose next year’s elections is if the vote is rigged — one of the most significant steps taken by a democratically elected leader to limit what can be said on the internet.
According to internet law experts and tech company executives, the new social media regulations, which were announced this week and are effective immediately, seem to be the first time a national government has prevented internet firms from removing material that violates their standards. And they arrive at a critical juncture for Brazil.
Tech firms may delete postings only if they include specific subjects listed in the legislation, including as nudity, drugs, and violence, or if they promote crime or infringe copyrights, according to the new policy, which will expire after 120 days unless Mr. Bolsonaro can win Senate approval for it. They need a court order to take down others.
That means that internet firms in Brazil might quickly delete a nude picture but not falsehoods about the coronavirus. Under Mr. Bolsonaro, the epidemic has been a significant source of misinformation, with videos of him promoting untested medicines as coronavirus treatments being deleted from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
“Imagine how difficult it would be for a large platform to get a court injunction for every single piece of misinformation they uncover,” said Carlos Affonso Souza, a law professor at Rio de Janeiro State University.
Mr. Bolsonaro has utilized social media as a platform for his political movement to grow and reach the presidency. Now, with polls indicating he would lose the presidential election if it were conducted today, he is attempting to undermine the validity of the vote by utilizing social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, following in the footsteps of his close friend, former President Donald J. Trump.
Brazil’s new internet regulations are the latest in a long-running battle between conservatives and Silicon Valley. Right-wing politicians and commentators have claimed that internet firms are suppressing conservative views, and they have increasingly advocated for legislation that makes it more difficult for social media companies to delete content or accounts from their platforms.
On Thursday, Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, talks at Holyrood in Edinburgh. Credit… Agence France-Presse/Russell Cheyne, via Pool/Afp courtesy of Getty Images
Members of the Scottish Parliament agreed on Thursday to establish a vaccine passport system as of Oct. 1, requiring evidence of vaccination to attend crowded venues and certain big events. This comes as areas of Scotland are seeing some of the highest coronavirus rates in Europe.
After the country’s National Party and the Green Party voted in support of the proposal, it was officially adopted in the Parliament, or Holyrood.
People over the age of 18 will be required to provide proof of vaccination before entering crowded areas at adult entertainment facilities such as nightclubs, music festivals, certain sports fields, some live concerts, and any event anticipated to attract more than 10,000 people under the new regulations. In Scotland, everyone aged 16 and above is eligible for immunization.
Following the decision, Scotland’s health minister, Humza Yousaf, stated in a statement that vaccine certification “shall only be used in specific higher risk situations,” and that “we hope this will enable companies to stay open and avoid any additional limitations as we go into fall and winter.”
In these conditions, Scotland’s leader, Nicola Sturgeon, told the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday that asking individuals to show vaccination certificates was a “fair answer to a very difficult issue.”
Ms. Sturgeon said, “Fundamentally, we think that certification may help us minimize the total damages caused by the epidemic.” “It will aid in the reduction of transmission in certain high-risk areas while also maximizing protection against severe illness.”
Anyone over the age of 18 who has had two vaccinations may download or get a paper copy of a coronavirus pass confirming their vaccination status throughout the United Kingdom.
Vaccine passports are gaining popularity in a number of nations. For indoor eating, long-distance travel, and certain cultural events, Italy, for example, demands evidence of immunization. Vaccine passports were originally characterized by the British government’s vaccinations minister, Nadhim Zahawi, as “discriminatory,” but he now believes they should be used in nightclubs and large-capacity events.
Mr. Zahawi stated in the British Parliament on Wednesday that “we are living in tough and unusual times.”
The Obama administration backed a proposal Thursday that would require two-thirds of American workers to be vaccinated or face a fine from the government. The proposal would require all but a few jobs to offer medical-insurance coverage for vaccines. Most people would be covered, but religious and conscientious-objector exemptions would be allowed. The plan would leave a large number of businesses and charities exempt.. Read more about osha new guidelines and let us know what you think.
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