Florida filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government seeking to block its new vaccine rule which was set to go into effect on July 1st, 2018
A day after President Donald Trump announced the United States would not be resuming its National Day of Prayer, Florida’s governor sued the US government in federal court saying they are violating state law by forcing vaccination on American citizens.
Gov. Ron DeSantis talked about his state’s lawsuit against the Biden administration’s Covid vaccination requirement for federal contractors on Thursday at the Florida Air Museum in Lakeland, Fla. Credit… WESH
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida stated on Thursday that his administration was suing the federal government to overturn a law requiring federal contractors to produce evidence of Covid-19 immunization or subject to weekly testing.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, seeks to halt the execution of the Biden administration’s December 8 deadline for government contractors to get vaccinated.
According to legal experts, the federal government has extensive jurisdiction to respond to a public health catastrophe like the pandemic with measures like vaccination requirements, and such lawsuits have little chance of prevailing. Legal challenges to vaccination requirements at Indiana University and for health care employees in Maine have been dismissed by the Supreme Court.
In a gesture to the state’s aerospace contractors, Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, addressed during a press conference at the Florida Air Museum in Lakeland. NASA and its administrator, Bill Nelson, a former Florida senator, are listed as defendants in the complaint.
Mr. DeSantis said of his state, “We have a very large footprint of enterprises that undertake contractual work for the federal government.” “There will be a lot of people in the crosshairs on this.”
At the press conference, Mr. DeSantis was joined by the state’s attorney general, Ashley Moody, as well as many contractors and their family. One vendor who supplies vending machines to federal and state facilities claimed he had yet to have a vaccine because he was “waiting for further information” on immunizations.
Vaccine manufacturers, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a number of news media have all released information regarding Covid vaccines.
After announcing his vaccination proposal in September, Mr. Biden invited would-be lawsuits to “go at it.” Several Republican governors have stated their intention to do so.
“DeSantis will very probably lose this action,” stated Lawrence O. Gostin, a Georgetown University law professor who specializes in public health, in an email.
Mr. Gostin predicted that Biden’s order to vaccinate federal employees and contractors would be upheld, even in states that have barred vaccination requirements, since federal regulations preempt state and local laws under the Constitution’s supremacy clause.
Mr. Gostin wrote, “The president is the head of the federal employees.” “He has the unambiguous ability, just like any other company or employer, to establish reasonable, evidence-based standards to maintain a safe and productive workforce.”
Mr. DeSantis’ lawsuit is politically driven, and it is harmful because it feeds public skepticism about immunization, according to Mr. Gostin.
Mr. Gostin believes that regulations that do not allow religious exemptions, such as one in New York State for health care employees, may be more legally susceptible.
“I believe there is no legal duty to provide religious exemptions,” Mr. Gostin said, “but the Supreme Court is quite sympathetic to religious arguments.”
Mr. DeSantis is up for re-election next year, and in the absence of a campaign by former President Donald J. Trump, who carried the state in the past two elections, he is seen as a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Mr. DeSantis has been a vocal opponent of all Covid vaccination regulations for months.
The Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis banned companies from forcing consumers to provide evidence of immunization this year. Mr. DeSantis has said that he plans to convene a special legislative session to prohibit companies from demanding vaccinations of their workers. On Thursday, he also promised that Florida, which mandates kids in both public and private schools to get at least six types of vaccines, including those for diphtheria, measles, and hepatitis B, will not need Covid injections.
Mr. DeSantis stood behind a podium in Lakeland on Thursday, holding a placard that said “Protect Florida Jobs,” and warned of a flood of job losses if federal vaccination requirements are allowed to take effect.
“We’re not going to take away people’s capacity to earn a livelihood because of their choice to get an injection,” he added.
The inclusion of mental health disorders to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of high risks for Covid has increased the number of persons who are eligible for booster doses. Last spring, a nurse in Los Angeles. Credit… The New York Times’ Allison Zaucha
Mental diseases, including as depression and schizophrenia, have been added to the list of health problems that make individuals of any age more likely to get very sick with Covid-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to Dr. Paul Offit, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory council, the change, which took effect on Oct. 14, makes nearly 85 percent of the adult U.S. population eligible for booster injections.
He responded, “The door just keeps becoming wider and wider.”
Boosters are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for persons aged 18 and up who have certain underlying health conditions. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, around one out of every five American people suffers from mental illness each year.
According to preliminary studies, there is a link between mental health difficulties, hospitalization, and severe Covid illness. Covid patients with schizophrenia were almost three times more likely to die from the virus, according to a research published in JAMA Psychiatry in January. People with mood and anxiety disorders were not at an elevated risk of mortality from coronavirus infection.
According to a study published last November in The Lancet Psychiatry, “a psychiatric diagnosis could be an independent risk factor” for catching the virus.
“Not only would it raise the likelihood of Covid, but it would also increase the severity of Covid once you had it,” said Maxime Taquet, the study’s principal author and a psychiatry researcher at Oxford University.
According to Dr. Christine Crawford, an associate medical director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, chronic mental health disorders may take a physical toll and “wreak havoc on the body’s immune system,” leaving those who suffer from them more prone to illnesses like Covid.
“They’re at a higher risk,” Dr. Crawford said, “simply because of the effect the stress reaction has on the body.”
Even before the epidemic, those with mental illnesses were at a higher risk of negative health consequences, according to Dr. Arthur C. Evans Jr., the American Psychological Association’s chief executive.
“If you have a significant mental disease, you have a 10 to 25-year shorter life expectancy than individuals who don’t,” he added. “We need to think about mental disorders in the same way we think about physical illnesses and treat them accordingly.”
The Vaccine Mandate in New York City is being protested by city workers.
City employees must acquire at least one coronavirus vaccination or face unpaid leave, according to the law. When the law goes into force, officials expect personnel difficulties.
“We, the people, will not go along with it.” “We, the people, are not going to cooperate.” “That choice is made by a single individual. Despite our accomplishment, one individual is enforcing this order on the Fire Department. Bill de Blasio is the mayor of New York City. Our mayor is intimidating.” “Curtis [Sliwa], Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis
City employees must acquire at least one coronavirus vaccination or face unpaid leave, according to the law. When the law goes into force, officials expect personnel difficulties. CreditCredit… Reuters/Mike Segar
Thousands of vital workers, including police officers, firemen, and sanitation workers, might be put on unpaid leave beginning Monday, when the city’s broad requirement demanding that practically all municipal workers obtain at least one dosage of a coronavirus vaccination goes into effect.
As of Thursday morning, just over one-third of the Fire and Sanitation Department employees, as well as one-quarter of the police force, had yet to show proof of vaccination. As a result, city agencies were putting in place a variety of contingency plans, including mandating overtime for vaccinated employees and canceling vacations to fill staffing gaps.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat in his second term who imposed the requirement, predicted on Thursday that many municipal workers will be given shots at the last minute, as occurred shortly before similar regulations for health care workers and school employees went into force in recent months.
Mr. de Blasio said, “I am not having second thoughts,” and expressed confidence that the city will be spared major delays. “We anticipated that a large number of vaccines would take place around the deadline’s expiration.”
However, some employees are refusing to comply with the order. Many protestors donned sweatshirts and shirts carrying Fire Department engine and ladder company numbers from throughout the city during a demonstration outside the mayor’s mansion, Gracie Mansion, on Thursday. Union officials chanted “Hold the line!” and chastised Mr. de Blasio for mandating vaccines on a “very short” timeframe, according to them.
New York is one of the first big American cities to mandate the immunization for its entire workforce, with no choice to opt for regular coronavirus testing instead. San Francisco has imposed a similar vaccination requirement for its 35,000 municipal employees, which will take effect on Monday, and Los Angeles and Chicago have been pressuring public employees to be vaccinated. Washington and Massachusetts are among the states that require all state workers to be completely immunized.
Each of the last two vaccine mandates — one for tens of thousands of Department of Education employees, which went into effect on Oct. 4, and another for over a million health care workers across the state, which went into effect around the same time — was accompanied by dire predictions of job loss.
Thousands more holdouts showed up for vaccinations at the last minute — and in some instances, after the deadlines had passed — increasing vaccination rates among health-care and education workers to nearly 95%, according to the city.
Mayor de Blasio predicted that the city’s remaining unvaccinated employees, who totaled 46,000 as of last week, will face the same fate. Unvaccinated personnel may work over the weekend before being placed on unpaid leave on Monday, according to the statutory deadline of Friday at 5 p.m.
Some early coronavirus hotspots were found in meatpacking factories. In May 2020, workers queued to enter Tyson Foods’ pork processing factory in Logansport, Indiana. Credit… Associated Press/Michael Conroy
Meatpacking factory employees are considered vital workers in the United States, thus while others went home early in the epidemic, they continued to work, frequently standing elbow to elbow in processing lines with little place for social distance. Workers in the meatpacking industry have been recognized to be among the most afflicted by the coronavirus of any industry.
However, parliamentarians now claim that the pandemic had a significantly greater effect than previously thought, with three times the number of illnesses and fatalities at five of the country’s top meatpacking corporations, where several key plants became major hot spots early in the epidemic.
According to a congressional report based on newly obtained documents from the nation’s five largest meat processing companies, nearly 59,000 workers contracted the coronavirus between March 1, 2020, and February 1, 2021, nearly three times the 22,700 infections estimated by the Food and Environment Reporting Network, a nonprofit news organization, over a longer period, between April 2020 and September 2021.
The study, released on Wednesday by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, said that 269 fatalities were registered among plant employees during that period, more than tripling the original estimates of the reporting network.
JBS USA, Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, Cargill, and National Beef based their data on publicly available information from the five companies that control more than 80% of the beef market and more than 60% of the pork market in the United States: JBS USA, Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, Cargill, and National Beef.
According to the MPs, the corporations should have done more to prevent coronavirus infections and fatalities in their factories.
“Instead of responding to clear evidence that workers were contracting the coronavirus at alarming rates as a result of conditions in meatpacking facilities,” the report stated, “meatpacking companies prioritized profits and production over worker safety, continuing to employ practices that resulted in overcrowding and easy virus spread.”
In the first year of the pandemic, the committee identified facilities where the virus spread the greatest, including a JBS factory in Hyrum, Utah, where 54 percent of workers got Covid-19. According to the research, half of the employees at Tyson’s factory in Amarillo, Texas, and 44 percent of workers at the National Beef facility in Tama, Iowa, contracted Covid-19.
The sector is predominantly based in rural regions, and the low-wage job of cutting, deboning, and packaging the chicken, beef, and pig that reaches American dinner tables is overwhelmingly performed by Black and Latino immigrants.
Last year, meat manufacturers were chastised for their lack of labor safeguards. As the virus spread across the processing factories, several employees perished, and others were forced to shut temporarily. Workers staged walkouts because they felt they weren’t being adequately safeguarded.
To increase the spacing between employees, several firms constructed separators between work stations and slowed their manufacturing processes. A few businesses also provided monetary incentives to retain employees on the job.
Tyson claimed it has spent more than $700 million on Covid safety measures and on-site medical services at its facilities. This week, the corporation stated that 96 percent of its employees had been vaccinated.
In September, California Governor Gavin Newsom paid a visit to Melrose Leadership Academy, a public school in Oakland. Credit… The New York Times/Jim Wilson
According to a proposal passed by the district’s Board of Education on Wednesday, public school children in Oakland, Calif., who are 12 or older and have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 by January would be sent to an independent-study school or dismissed from enrollment completely.
According to a document issued by Oakland education authorities on Wednesday, students who are not vaccinated by the Jan. 1 deadline and do not have a legal exemption will be given a transfer to Sojourner Truth, the district’s “long-term independent study school.”
Unvaccinated pupils who refuse to be moved to that school will be dismissed “after ample information and opportunity to get the Covid-19 vaccination, as well as progressive warnings,” according to the memorandum.
On Sept. 22, the Oakland Board of Education agreed to mandate coronavirus vaccination for kids aged 12 and above who attend school in person. According to the memorandum, the rule provides for exclusions for medical grounds, personal beliefs, and other legal reasons. Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Tramell was obliged by the board to offer suggestions on how to execute the directive by the end of October.
After more than a year of remote and hybrid learning, educators throughout the nation are ready to restore in-person teaching and school activities as health authorities increase vaccine eligibility for children.
According to the memorandum, educators in Los Angeles, Piedmont, San Diego, and Berkeley have approved vaccination requirements for children aged 12 and above since September. California Governor Gavin Newsom stated this month that kids of all ages throughout the state may be forced to get vaccinated in order to attend school next autumn, provided the Food and Drug Administration provides complete permission.
In California, some parents and kids have praised vaccination regulations, claiming that they would make schools safer. Other parents have claimed that kids and their families should be able to choose whether or not to get vaccinated on their own, and that mandates would be detrimental to unvaccinated pupils.
The Oakland Unified School District has more than 35,000 pupils. According to the district’s website, more than 44% of students are Latino, 22% are Black, and 6% are mixed.
According to the Oakland memorandum, African American, Latino, and multiracial kids are more likely than others to be unenrolled due to the vaccine policy, based on existing vaccination rates.
Based on state statistics from mid-October, the district assessed that around 60% of its pupils aged 12 and older were partly or completely vaccinated in a letter released on Monday.
“We are currently reaching out to each family with a student who is at least 12 years old and whose vaccination status has not been confirmed by the state so that we can share information about where they can get vaccinated and update our records about students’ vaccination statuses,” according to the letter.
After examining two alternative choices, the district chose the enforcement strategy. Unvaccinated kids may attend school, but they couldn’t participate in extracurricular activities like sports, field excursions, proms, or in-person graduation ceremonies. The other would have essentially postponed the student immunization deadline until August 2022.
a worldwide overview
Last month, a lady sat near an outdoor café in Seoul. Despite the fact that the number of daily new Covid-19 cases has reached an all-time high in over three weeks, South Korea wants to proceed with a gradual reopening. Credit… Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji
South Korea has registered 2,111 daily new cases in the last three weeks, just days before it prepares to launch its staged recovery plan to “live with Covid.” Some locals are concerned about the rise of several hundred, but an increase in available hospital beds for extremely sick patients compared to earlier this year suggests that the government is still on the right track in combating the epidemic.
While local instances have grown, hospital critical care units are substantially less crowded than they were before, according to Jerome Kim, director general of the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, who noted that virtually all ICU beds were occupied earlier this year. “They aren’t now.”
“The medical response system remains reasonably steady,” Lee Gi-il of the Korean Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters said in a news conference earlier this month, adding that 52 percent of hospital beds were available to treat critically sick patients.
President Moon Jae-in stated earlier this week that the country had surpassed its 70 percent immunization objective and that the gradual restoration to regular life will begin “in earnest” next month, allowing companies to function until 10 p.m. and individuals to meet in groups of up to ten in some places.
While a spike of a few hundred cases might not have gotten much attention in the United States, where the virus has claimed the lives of over 740,000 people compared to 2,808 in South Korea, such an increase in cases could potentially shift quarantine and social distancing regulations, as it has in the past.
“South Korea has taken a very cautious approach to the coronavirus,” Dr. Kim said. He also said that the government has adjusted its social distancing policies in response to population fluctuations. He went on to say that these figures have an effect on South Koreans since changes in legislation have a direct influence on their everyday life.
Since the beginning of last year, the country has seen four waves of the virus, the most recent of which began in July. Despite this, Dr. Kim claims that the government has handled the epidemic “exceptionally effectively,” citing the country’s low mortality rate and capacity to build its economy over the last year. According to the Bank of Korea, the country’s central bank, the South Korean economy grew by 4% year over year this month.
While loosening limitations may benefit company owners and consumers by allowing the economy to expand, health care professionals advise the public to exercise caution in order to avoid new outbreaks. “Living with Covid is going to be difficult,” Dr. Kim said. “There isn’t a single correct answer.”
Here’s what’s going on in the rest of the world:
Athletes flying to China for the Winter Olympics will be permitted to escape quarantine if they are fully vaccinated, but they will still be subjected to rules that seem to be more stringent than those in place for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Beginning Nov. 14, visitors to New Zealand will only be required to spend one week in quarantine instead of two, freeing up 1,500 rooms each month in the country’s quarantine hotels and allowing more New Zealanders to come home from abroad. Non-citizens who enter the nation after November 1 will be required to get vaccinated.
Coronavirus cases in Japan have dropped from a summer high of over 20,000 a day to only 310 on Wednesday. Experts are uncertain what caused the sharp decrease in incidence, but they believe that high immunization rates and widespread masking are likely the most crucial factors in keeping the virus at bay.
The intended outcomes of an intensive vaccination program targeting the majority of residents of a small Ukrainian town were achieved: extremely low infection rates and no hospitalizations for Covid-19. It required extensive outreach to overcome vaccine hesitancy and inoculate 72 percent of the town’s inhabitants in two months, significantly above Ukraine’s national average of 16 percent, which is among the lowest in Europe.
Last year, a little child in Depok, Indonesia, got a vaccination against illnesses such as measles and diphtheria at an elementary school. Credit… Shutterstock, Adi Weda/EPA
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pandemic has hampered global attempts to immunize children against illnesses like as measles and polio, decreasing global coverage for certain vaccinations to levels not seen in more than a decade.
In 2020, coverage with the third dose of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccination, known as DTP3, declined to 83 percent from 86 percent the year before. Measles vaccination coverage fell marginally from 86 percent in 2019 to 84 percent last year.
Millions of youngsters missed out on normal vaccines during the pandemic as a result of these failures, putting them and their communities at danger.
According to the C.D.C., approximately 23 million children worldwide were not vaccinated against DTP3 in 2020, compared to 19 million in 2019. The great majority have never gotten a single dose of diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis vaccination. That vaccine’s coverage has been at an all-time low since 2009.
The experts participating in the research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advocated for action to be made to address the immunization gaps of avoidable illnesses in nations currently dealing with Covid outbreaks. The research also included co-authors from the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
The drop in vaccines comes after a decade of immunization levels being unchanged. As a result of what public health experts characterized as poor vaccine coverage, measles mortality soared to their highest levels in 23 years in 2019. The epidemic, according to scientists, has made it difficult to trace measles outbreaks.
The epidemic also affected vaccination efforts, according to the C.D.C. study, disrupting the availability of basic vaccines and making their administration more difficult.
According to the research, vaccination rates for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and measles were lowest throughout most of Africa. Only five of Africa’s 54 countries are anticipated to fulfill a year-end target of vaccinating 40% of their population against Covid, according to the World Health Organization. UNICEF, a UN organization that distributes coronavirus vaccines, has warned that syringes for both Covid and regular immunizations would be in limited supply next year.
On Monday, a queue formed for a virus test in Beijing. At least 11 provinces and regions in China are battling a fresh epidemic. Credit… Getty Images/Kevin Frayer
China closed down a metropolis of four million people, as well as many smaller towns and sections of Beijing, last week after following the movements of a handful of seniors who tested positive after visiting Gansu Province, Inner Mongolia, and Xi’an. The goal was to stop a fresh epidemic that has infected over 240 persons across 11 provinces and regions.
The no-holds-barred reaction is reminiscent of China’s “zero Covid” policy, which has served the nation admirably well: since the epidemic started, China has recorded less than 5,000 fatalities. While the latest epidemic is little in comparison to many other nations, it is significant in China.
China has become an outlier as a result of its policies. The rest of the globe, including New Zealand and Australia, which formerly practiced zero tolerance, is reopening.
At a press conference on Sunday, Mi Feng, a spokeswoman for the National Health Commission, stated, “Every location should resolutely adhere to the principle of ‘Defend internationally against importation, defend domestically against rebound.” “It is not possible to loosen the present control measures.”
The rigorous approach is the result of a series of computations that are unique to China. Exports have aided in keeping the economy afloat. Lockdowns and testing can be carried out with astounding efficiency because to the Communist Party’s tight grasp on power. In February, Beijing will host the Winter Olympics.
The low case numbers have become a source of national pride for many Chinese. Experts in China and abroad, however, have cautioned that the strategy is unsustainable.
“To retain its legitimacy, the government believes it has to maintain a ‘zero Covid’ policy,” said Lynette Ong, a political scientist at the University of Toronto. “However, at a colossal price.”
In September, a vaccination station in Kigali, Rwanda. The nation is one of several on the continent that is experiencing a shortage of syringes. Credit… The New York Times’ Jacques Nkinzingabo
As African governments strive to vaccinate 1.3 billion people, the continent confronts another challenge: the growing threat of a syringe shortage.
“Covid-19 vaccinations will start streaming into Africa early next year, but a shortage of syringes might stymie efforts,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa, during a press conference. “Immediate action is required to increase syringe production. Thousands of African lives are at stake.”
According to the World Health Organization, Rwanda, South Africa, and Kenya have already experienced delays in acquiring syringe supplies.
Covax, a worldwide vaccine-sharing program that is striving to give doses to several African nations, is now looking for agreements with syringe producers and attempting to prepare to prevent vaccine delivery from surpassing needle availability.
Africa has the lowest vaccination rate of any continent, and the World Health Organization believes that 59 million Africans have been infected with the coronavirus since the outbreak began, despite the fact that only approximately eight million cases have been formally registered.
Only five African countries are expected to fulfill the W.H.O.’s aim of completely vaccinating 40% of their people by the end of the year unless “dramatic steps” are taken to speed vaccines, according to the organization. By the end of September, most of Africa’s more than 50 nations had already failed the World Health Organization’s aim of vaccinating 10% of their populations.
Vaccine supply have been monopolized by wealthy nations, resulting in worldwide distribution disparities. Those imbalances are only expected to worsen if richer countries, including as the United States, launch booster campaigns.
Vaccine supply through Covax, on the other hand, came to a standstill as India implemented dosage export limitations as part of its own revival this year. Regional health experts noted in September that the uncertainty of the limited quantity of dosages reaching African countries increased to the challenges. They said that some shipments were about to expire in two or three months – a shelf life that certain health systems couldn’t rely on, and that many ordinary people mistook for an indication of low quality, adding to vaccination hesitation.
Yasir al-Rumayyan, who was last seen at a conference in January, was absent from this week’s Saudi Arabian investment conference. Credit… Reuters/Ahmed Yosri
The great mystery this week was what happened to the host of Saudi Arabia’s annual investment conference in Riyadh, a noisy gathering that gathers corporate titans and government figures from across the globe.
Yasir al-Rumayyan, the public face of the kingdom’s growing worldwide network of assets, was conspicuously absent from the annual conference he usually chairs.
He did not make his planned opening comments in the conference ballroom, and he did not attend a panel discussion with the CEOs of Goldman Sachs and BlackRock.
Even the week’s hallmark nighttime event, a lavish supper for hundreds of event speakers at his residence in Riyadh, the capital, was without him.
The Future Investment Initiative, which organized the event, forwarded inquiries regarding Mr. al-absence Rumayyan’s to the Saudi authorities. A request for comment from Kevin Foster, the Public Investment Fund’s worldwide head of communications, was not returned.
There’s a reasonable explanation. Mr. al-Rumayyan was diagnosed with Covid-19, according to four participants with close links to him, an allegation that was widely talked about in sideline chats at the conference. The New York Times was unable to verify such claims.
However, the absence of an official explanation unwittingly exposed one of the kingdom’s $450 billion sovereign wealth fund’s main worries.
By failing to acknowledge Mr. al-abrupt Rumayyan’s disappearance, the fund merely served as a reminder to investors that it still follows its own set of rules, which do not necessarily prioritize openness.