Vaccine rule halted for now. A federal appeals court temporarily halted the Biden administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule that requires most workers to be vaccinated or submit to regular Covid-19 testing. The court said it would expedite its review of the lawsuit brought by states and private businesses challenging the rule, which is supposed to go into effect January 4.
Republicans interested in running for President are falling over themselves to join the lawsuit. More than half of US states — 26 — have objected to the rule.
Source: State and local health agencies. Daily cases are the number of new cases reported each day. The seven-day average is the average of a day and the previous six days of data.
Vermont is testing for Covid more than most states, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Last week, its Republican governor, Phil Scott, said in a statement that while testing had increased and the state’s positivity rate had stayed roughly the same, Vermonters needed to take all precautions they could. He also warned that if cases remain as high as they are, it “would be a significant strain” on the state’s hospitals.
At Saint Michael’s College, a liberal-arts school north of Burlington, 77 students tested positive for the virus this week and last week, according to the college’s Covid-19 dashboard. In letters to the school, Lorraine Sterritt, the college president, said that Halloween parties had fueled the outbreak.
“We were doing really well as a community up to the point where there were numerous Halloween parties where students were unmasked and in close contact,” she said in the letter on Sunday.
Before the post-Halloween surge, the college had reported 11 cases from Aug. 27 to Oct. 22, according to the dashboard. Saint Michael’s has about 1,700 students.
“To be in this situation after such a well-managed semester is heartbreaking,” Ms. Sterritt said in a letter on Friday. “It is imperative that everyone make wise choices.”
The college on Sunday suspended “in-person student social gatherings” through Thanksgiving and asked that students limit off-campus travel. The school moved its classes online on Friday amid the outbreak, but Ms. Sterritt said that in-person classes would continue this week.
The outbreak at Saint Michael’s comes as Vermont grapples with its highest number of new cases since the pandemic began, according to a New York Times database, even though Vermont has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country.
“We have repeatedly expressed our serious concerns about the arbitrary nature of her detention and her mistreatment during it,” a State Department spokesman, Ned Price, told reporters.
China has worked aggressively to silence any critics of its early response to the coronavirus, when it played down the virus’s spread and punished whistle-blowers. It has promoted a triumphant, nationalistic narrative of Chinese superiority, focusing on later success in containing new cases.
Ms. Zhang, 38, was one of several self-styled citizen journalists who traveled to the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged, early last year. As the chaos of the initial outbreak, followed by strict government controls on information, made it difficult for outsiders to know what was happening in Wuhan, those citizen journalists posted videos and blog posts to social media to share what they were seeing.
Ms. Zhang visited a hospital, where she filmed beds crowding the hallway, and a crematory. She interviewed residents on the street about their livelihood concerns and asked how they viewed the government’s response.
In May 2020, after several months of dispatches, she disappeared. Her family was later told that she had been arrested and accused of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a catchall term that the Chinese authorities use to silence critics. In December, she was sentenced to four years in prison.
Not long after being arrested, Ms. Zhang began a hunger strike, according to her lawyers. One of her lawyers, Zhang Keke, said last year that her hands had been bound during one of his visits; she told him that it was to prevent her from pulling out tubes for force-feeding.
Ms. Zhang has continued t
Some people will not be convinced. Rodgers bought into the false and viral fear that the vaccine could affect fertility. He’s getting advice from the anti-vaccine podcast host Joe Rogan, who is not a doctor but who debated vaccines for more than three hours with CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta last month.
Room for debate. The vast majority of doctors and the public health community is on board with vaccines. But support is not unanimous. It is not completely settled within the National Institutes of Health, which includes Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to a Sunday report in the Wall Street Journal.
The paper profiles the NIH’s Dr. Matthew Memoli, a senior researcher who disagrees with the country’s current all-in approach on vaccines. He’s applied for a religious exemption for himself and feels the country should be pushing the vaccine to at-risk communities like seniors rather than giving it to as many people as possible.
He’ll take part in a debate streamed to NIH employees, according to the Journal, and he is apparently willing to leave his job rather than get the Covid-19 shot.
US borders reopen. While debates continue, travel policies are evolving. See: fully booked flights from Europe and traffic stretching for miles into Mexico. US borders opened up to vaccinated international travelers Monday, ending an 18-month moratorium and marking a welcome change to the pandemic lifestyle as cases drop in the US. But this comes just as the virus reemerges in Europe.
Here are some of the takeaways from CNN’s report:
Who can enter the US? Fully vaccinated travelers from 33 countries — including the United Kingdom and much of Europe — can now enter the US without needing to quarantine, provided they have proof of vaccination and a negative viral test.
Where is the virus surging? Large swathes of Europe are battling to beat back surges of the Delta variant, amid the relaxation of restrictions and stuttering vaccine rollouts in some countries, with the WHO warning half a million Europeans could die with Covid-19 in a potentially devastating winter.
Germany on Monday recorded its highest seven-day incidence rate since the pandemic began…
…neighboring Austria banned unvaccinated people from restaurants and hotels amid a surge in cases.
Iceland has also reintroduced masks and social distancing rules following a rise. And cases are hovering at record levels in Russia, Ukraine and Greece.
Going from pandemic to endemic. I liked this phrasing in a CNN report since, with borders opening, schools in session and young kids getting the shot, it feels like we’re in a new place. Maybe that’s the “endemic” part of it.