Coronavirus News Briefing – Oct. 19: Non-Vaccinated State Workers on East and West Coasts Face Dismissal

By Anna Breuer on 19 October 2021
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Airport Station at Boston Logan International Airport

Non-vaccinated public employees are being fired in Washington State and Massachusetts after the deadline to prove vaccination status had passed. In Washington, Monday was the last day of employment for more than 800,000 workers, including the head football coach at Washington State University as well as employees at state agencies, schools, and health care facilities.  That figure represents more than 10% of the state’s 7.65 million population.

In Massachusetts, some 1,600 executive-branch employees missed the deadline to provide proof of inoculation and do not have the option to submit to regular testing. These workers now face suspension or dismissal.

Officials in South Korea relaxed coronavirus restrictions there after the number of new infections fell 40% over the past two weeks.  Under the updated rules, gatherings of up to four people who are not fully vaccinated are permitted and venues such as theaters and cinemas may stay open until midnight, two hours later than before.

Centner Academy, a Miami private school that made headlines when it told teachers who received the coronavirus vaccine to avoid interacting with students, sent parents an e-mail telling them to hold off any coronavirus vaccination plans for their children until summer or keep them home for 30 days following each dose.  The e-mail cited false and misleading claims that vaccinated individuals could pass on the so-called harmful effects of the jab and therefore have a “potential impact” on non-vaccinated students and staff.

Finally, country music artist Travis Tritt announced he is cancelling concerts in cities where a vaccine passport and/or face mask would be required of the audience. This impacts multiple venues in Muncie, Indiana; Philadelphia, Mississippi; Peoria, Illinois; and Louisville, Kentucky, among others.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 242 million Covid-19 cases and over 4.92 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 219.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 83,341, a -20% change.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,631, a change of -11% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has as of Tuesday recorded almost 45.9 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 746,516. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 34.1 million, and a death toll of 452,485, although experts believe that both numbers are in reality significantly higher.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 603,521, and has seen 21.7 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Tuesday, 218.9 million people in the United States – or 66% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 57%, or 189.3 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 408.8 million. Breaking this down further, 79% of the population over the age of 18 – or 203.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 68.5% of the same group – or 176.9 million people – is fully vaccinated.

More than 3.76 billion people across the globe  have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a figure that roughly equates to 49% of the world’s population, a 0.1 percentage point increase in the past 24 hours. There remains, however, a countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where at least 65% of the population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example, where vaccination rates are in the single digits, if not lower.

Figures from the World Health Organization show that well-off countries are vaccinating people at the rate of one person per second, while the majority of poor countries have yet to give a single dose to its citizens.

It is critical that the world do a better job of sharing vaccines with poorer nations.

Sharing vaccines is not merely a form of charity.  Rather, the equitable distribution of vaccines is in every country’s health and economic interest and no country will be able to move past the pandemic until other countries have recovered as well.

Jonathan Spira contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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