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Fauci urges police officers to get vaccinated as union protests heat up

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 10/18/2021 Bryan Pietsch, Annabelle Timsit, Lateshia Beachum
NYPD officers stand guard during a St. Patrick's Day Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan on March 17, 2021 in New York City. © Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images NYPD officers stand guard during a St. Patrick's Day Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan on March 17, 2021 in New York City.

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Anthony S. Fauci, the United States’ top infectious-disease expert, is urging police officers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus — saying the resistance “doesn’t make any sense” as “more police officers die of covid than they do in other causes of death.”

Police departments are facing an infection crisis, as departments around the country seeking to mandate vaccines clash with police unions and officers who oppose the requirements.

Law enforcement officers are considered to be at higher risk because they are exposed to more people in the line of duty. Fauci urged Americans in critical jobs to consider “the implications of not getting vaccinated.” He added: “I’m not comfortable with telling people what they should do under normal circumstances, but we are not in normal circumstances right now.”

Hundreds of police officers have died of covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. The disease caused by the coronavirus was the leading cause of death for officers in 2020 and 2021; five times as many died of covid-19 than of gunfire in the same period, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks the on-duty deaths of U.S. police officers.

Meanwhile, some police unions and officers are filing lawsuits to block mandates. In Chicago, a deadline for police officers to report their vaccination status passed Friday as the head of the police union urged officers not to comply — and the city’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot (D), vowed to put noncompliant officers on unpaid leave starting this week. The department is preparing for possible shortages by restricting time off for the rest of the police force, local television station WLS reported.

U.S. coronavirus cases tracker and map

Here’s what to know

  • Former U.S. secretary of state Gen. Colin L. Powell died of covid-19 complications, his family said.
  • The number of people suffering anxiety and major depression rose sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent study.
  • Months after many U.S. health-care systems began requiring coronavirus vaccines, administrators at some of the nation’s largest hospital systems said in interviews that the mandates have worked.
  • Millions of people in the United States are eligible for booster shots. Does that include you? Find out here.

4:46 PM: Key coronavirus updates from around the world

Here’s what to know about the top coronavirus stories around the globe from news service reports.

  • Mexico City on Monday went back to the lowest level of its pandemic warning system for the first time since June.
  • Belarus on Monday ordered routine medical care at state clinics to stop so they can devote more resources to coronavirus patients. About 2,000 new coronavirus cases are reported daily in the country of 9.3 million.
  • Slovenia’s prime minister, Janez Jansa, on Monday blamed a rise in coronavirus infections on clashes earlier this month between police and those who oppose vaccinations and coronavirus restrictions.
  • The European Union has exported more than 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to over 150 countries since the start of the pandemic, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said on Twitter.
  • Some children in Sydney began returning to school as restrictions were eased after 106 days of lockdown. In neighboring New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended the lockdown in Auckland by two weeks because of an outbreak linked to the delta variant.
Sydney starts to live with covid after 106-day lockdown. First stop: The pub.

By: Annabelle Timsit

4:42 PM: Analysis: Covid has killed more active-duty police officers than 9/11 did

Over the weekend, President Biden attended an event at the Capitol paying tribute to law-enforcement officers who had been killed in the line of duty.

“Tragically, in the past two years,” he said, “covid-19 has caused more deaths in the line of duty than all the other causes combined.”

That is true. The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) tallies the deaths of law enforcement officers in the line of duty each year and has counted nearly 500 deaths from the disease caused by the coronavirus. That’s not just more than other causes of death combined, it’s more than all other deaths for the past three years.

Read the full story

By: Philip Bump

4:08 PM: Analysis: Republicans like Delta’s vaccine policy — even though it’s tougher than Biden’s

For the second time in a week, Republicans who have criticized President Biden’s vaccine-or-testing mandate are favorably citing a policy that looks suspiciously like it — and is actually tougher.

Last week, it was Fox News’s Tucker Carlson pointing out that Fox’s own policy wasn’t technically a vaccine mandate, in that it allowed for a testing alternative. (Nevermind that he had attacked Biden’s similar policy and called it a vaccine mandate.)

Now, it involves conservatives praising Delta Air Lines.

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By: Aaron Blake

3:27 PM: Why so many teachers are thinking of quitting

One in four American teachers reported considering leaving their job by the end of the last academic year, in a survey taken in January and February by the Rand Corp., a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization. That’s “more than in a typical pre-pandemic year and at a higher rate than employed adults nationally,” the report explained.

Teachers, in general, “were more likely to report experiencing frequent job-related stress and symptoms of depression than the general population.” The study also noted that Black teachers were particularly affected. And a National Education Association survey of 2,690 members released in June found that 32 percent of respondents said the pandemic had led them to plan to leave the profession earlier than anticipated.

Whoever said “those who can’t do, teach” obviously never experienced the modern educational system, where teachers do everything. They’re more than the people who give math and science lessons: They might find themselves makeshift social workers to troubled students, surrogate parents checking if children eat, security guards breaking up fights and funders of the most basic of classroom supplies from their own shallow pockets.

Teachers aren’t the only American workers taking part in the so-called “Great Resignation,” which has seen many people in many industries leave their jobs since the start of the pandemic to find better pay and satisfaction.

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By: Leslie Gray Streeter

3:08 PM: 76 million more people globally suffered from anxiety brought on by the pandemic

The number of people suffering anxiety and major depression rose sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent study published in the Lancet.

Researchers found that an additional 76 million more people endured anxiety throughout the pandemic, an increase of 26 percent from 2019 to 2020. Some 374 million people reported enduring anxiety, according to researchers who combed through data from 48 studies encompassing 204 countries and territories.

The number of people coping with major depression also increased, by 27 percent, with 53 million more people with major depressive disorder across the world, according to the report.

Researchers found that women were affected with anxiety and depression more than men and that younger people were impacted more than older people.

Countries hit hardest with covid-19 cases and strict prevention measures that decreased mobility had the greatest increases in prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders, according to the report.

The findings show a need for strengthened mental health systems in most countries, researchers wrote.

By: Lateshia Beachum

2:47 PM: Cam Newton says he’s vaccinated, waiting for ‘the right opportunity’ to return to the NFL

Saying, “Hell yeah, I still want to play football,” free agent quarterback Cam Newton announced that he so badly wants to do so that he has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, something he had initially been reluctant to do.

“I still get that urge to go out and perform and do something that I’ve been doing since I was 7 years old,” Newton said in a video posted Sunday to his YouTube channel. “But also, it’s like, man, I’m so much more than just a football player. Respect me as such.”

Newton, the NFL’s MVP six years ago, said he has been contacted by teams but added that the ideal situation has yet to present itself. Another factor may be the injuries that have diminished his numbers over the past few years.

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By: Cindy Boren

1:26 PM: Coronavirus numbers are dropping. More vaccinations can prevent a winter surge, Fauci says.

Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said it’s “within our capability to prevent” yet another surge from hitting the country, as long as more people get vaccinated.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Sunday that even as the most recent pandemic surge wanes, and case and hospitalization numbers drop, any progress could plateau if vaccination numbers don not improve and the virus continues to circulate.

Asked in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” whether indoor gatherings during the colder months and upcoming holiday travel could lead to another surge, Fauci said, “It’s going to be within our capability to prevent that from happening.”

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By: Paulina Firozi and Jacqueline Dupree

12:29 PM: Pandemic-fueled deregulation makes it easier to sell home-cooked food

Martha Rabello is ready to start baking again. The mother of three from Fanwood, N.J., had seen her dream of someday owning a storefront bakery slip away.

Rabello started a cookie company a few years back, and then the rent for the commercial kitchen she needed to legally produce the treats she once sold to neighbors and friends eventually became too much for her to justify.

Cooks like her across the country are increasingly taking advantage of loosening laws allowing them to make and sell baked goods — from cupcakes to cocoa bombs — from their homes. While every state has dropped its outright ban on such businesses, many still have varying levels of restrictions. Some require permits or food-safety training, and many set caps on how much income a home cook can bring in.

The pandemic accelerated the trend toward deregulation of all kinds of homemade-food sales. Amid lockdowns, many people were out of work, particularly in the restaurant business, and looking for ways to make a little cash. And consumers, wary of supermarkets and restaurants, embraced delivery and takeout like never before.

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By: Emily Heil

11:41 AM: Miami private school cites discredited information in vaccination policy

In April, a Miami private school made national headlines for barring teachers who got a coronavirus vaccine from interacting with students. Last week, the school made another startling declaration, but this time to the parents: If you vaccinate your child, they’ll have to stay home for 30 days after each shot.

The email from Centner Academy leadership, first reported by WSVN, repeated misleading and false claims that vaccinated people could pass on so-called harmful effects of the shot and have a “potential impact” on unvaccinated students and staff.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has debunked claims that the coronavirus vaccine can “shed or release any of their components” through the air or skin contact. The coronavirus vaccines do not contain a live virus, so their components can’t be transmitted to others.


Video: Chicago police union urges officers to ‘hold the line’ over vaccine mandate (The Washington Post)

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By: Jaclyn Peiser

10:57 AM: D.C. to hire more substitute teachers, contact tracers to help understaffed schools

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D). © Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D).

The District plans to spend nearly $40 million to hire additional contact tracers, substitute teachers and workers who would handle coronavirus logistics in schools to try to address staffing shortages that have hampered the reopening of campuses.

In all, the school system will spend $22 million to hire nearly 250 new employees as part of the pandemic-related hiring spree. There’s also funding for each of the 120 campuses to hire an additional coronavirus-related staff member.

The new positions highlight the complexities and steep costs required to operate schools during the pandemic. Positive cases in classrooms and subsequent quarantines require more communication with families, putting extra administrative duties on educators. And frequent testing of students necessitates more staff members to watch children outside the classroom and conduct tests.

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By: Perry Stein

10:05 AM: Analysis: Colin Powell’s death shows need to tamp down on coronavirus cases broadly to help protect those most at risk

Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell died Monday morning from complications related to covid-19. Powell’s disease resulted from a breakthrough infection; he was fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

But instead of demonstrating that the vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective in preventing death, which was known, his death better serves to show the need to tamp down on coronavirus cases more broadly to help protect those most at risk.

That group included Powell. He was 84 years old when he died, well into the elderly age group that has been most ravaged by the virus. He had also been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which can reduce the body’s ability to fight infections.

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By: Philip Bump

9:09 AM: Allison Williams to leave ESPN over coronavirus vaccine mandate: ‘I cannot put a paycheck over principle’

A week before ESPN’s vaccine mandate goes into effect, veteran reporter Allison Williams announced she is parting ways with the network over her decision not to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Citing conversations with her doctor and a fertility specialist, Williams said the vaccine is not in her “best interest” as she and her husband try to conceive a second child.

“I’ve had to really dig deep and analyze my values and my morals — ultimately I need to put them first,” Williams, who joined ESPN in 2011, said in a video posted to her Instagram account on Friday.

Read the full story

By: Andrea Salcedo

9:02 AM: Russia crosses threshold of 8 million covid-19 cases as region suffers from new surge

More than 8 million covid-19 cases have been reported in Russia since the pandemic began, the Associated Press said Monday, citing national coronavirus task force figures, as the wider region experiences a surge fueled by low vaccination rates and the more contagious delta variant.

Russia also reported a record daily infection rate, with 34,325 new cases, compared to 20,174 around the same time last month. Experts said the unprecedented figures could actually underestimate the true toll of this “fourth wave” in a country where only 35 percent of the population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Northern, eastern and central European countries are battling similar dynamics as fragile health-care systems begin to buckle under the pressure of rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Romania, Moldova, Armenia, Lithuania and Latvia have all seen covid-19 deaths jump between 21 and 41 percent over the past seven days, according to a Washington Post tracker. In Slovenia, cases have risen by 197 percent in the last week; in Georgia, by 67 percent.

On Oct. 11, Latvia declared a three-month state of emergency and limited private gatherings, asked those who could to work from home and closed nonessential shops in some places on weekends.

In Romania, a nonprofit representing physicians in the capital, Bucharest, issued an open letter this month warning that the medical system has “reached the limit.”

“We are desperate because every day we lose hundreds of patients who die in Romanian hospitals,” they wrote. “We are desperate, because, unfortunately, we have heard too many times: I can’t breathe.… I’m not vaccinated.”

Trends in Western Europe are generally more positive, with near-mandates and some of the highest vaccination coverage in the world. A notable exception is the United Kingdom, which reported more than 300,000 new cases in the past seven days, a jump of 15 percent week-on-week, and where deaths and hospitalizations are also climbing but have remained relatively low due to high vaccination rates.

On Monday, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said the European Union has exported more than 1 billion coronavirus vaccine doses to more than 150 countries since the start of the pandemic.

By: Annabelle Timsit

8:39 AM: National Zoo vaccinates primates with ‘animal-specific’ shots

They are our relatives, cousins to us all, to old and young, to those who have been vaccinated and those who refuse. Last week, all seven of the orangutans at the National Zoo got their coronavirus shots, the zoo said.

The jab went also to other zoo creatures sharing genes with us — a western lowland gorilla, a white-eared titi monkey and two emperor tamarins.

Close as their kinship may be to us, they apparently did not get the same vaccine that we do. On Wednesday, the zoo said, staff members wielded needles to give “animal-specific” vaccines.

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By: Martin Weil

8:01 AM: What to know about the covid-19 treatment molnupiravir

Merck has asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize an antiviral covid-19 pill for emergency use. © Handout/Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp./EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock Merck has asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize an antiviral covid-19 pill for emergency use.

The world could soon be armed with another tool to fight the coronavirus pandemic: a twice-daily pill that has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death among people who have been infected with the coronavirus.

The drug, molnupiravir, offers another tool alongside vaccines for countries to manage the pandemic. Here’s what you need to know about it.

Read the full story

By: Bryan Pietsch

7:23 AM: Vaccine mandates stoked fears of labor shortages. But hospitals say they’re working.

At Houston Methodist — one of the first American health-care institutions to require workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus — the backlash was short-lived.

More than 150 employees were fired. There were legal battles and protests. But President and CEO Marc Boom has no regrets: 98 percent of staff have been vaccinated, and they and patients are safer as a result, he said.

“I can unequivocally say [it was] the best decision we ever made,” Boom said in an interview.

Houston Methodist is not alone in requiring its employees to be vaccinated. About 41 percent of hospitals nationwide — roughly 2,570 facilities — have some sort of vaccine mandate, according to data collected by the American Hospital Association, a trade group.

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By: Meryl Kornfield and Annabelle Timsit

6:42 AM: Antibody tests can’t give answers you want about covid-19 immunity

A graduate student handles a swab and specimen vial last year in an on-campus coronavirus testing lab in Boston. © Charles Krupa/AP A graduate student handles a swab and specimen vial last year in an on-campus coronavirus testing lab in Boston.

Talk of the need for coronavirus booster shots has prompted many Americans to seek antibody tests.

In most cases, however, getting an antibody test to determine immunity is a fool’s errand, infectious-disease doctors agree. The tests for antibodies, also known as serology tests, do not provide the answers that most people are seeking.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration advise against using antibody tests to determine one’s level of immunity against covid-19. So does the Infectious Disease Society of America, which represents infectious-disease specialists.

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By: Michael Ollove

6:12 AM: Fauci says his critics ‘deny reality’ and the ‘inconvenient’ truths he tells

Anthony S. Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, said Sunday that his critics “deny reality that’s looking them straight in the eye” as they traffic in conspiracy theories and spread misinformation about masks and vaccines.

Fauci, asked by “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace why he thought he had become “so controversial,” said he has been “guided by the truth”: scientific data and evidence.

“Sometimes, the truth becomes inconvenient for some people, so they react against me,” he said. “That just is what it is.”

During the Trump administration, Fauci became one of the federal government’s most authoritative voices on the coronavirus pandemic. But his perch as the point person on the pandemic also made him a target for some on the far right, as well as President Donald Trump himself, who attempted to blame Fauci for the United States’ handling of the pandemic as he spread misinformation about the virus.

Trump in 2020, also speaking on Fox News, said incorrectly that Fauci had said early in the pandemic that the virus “will pass.” Trump himself had made comments that the pandemic would “disappear” one day “like a miracle.”

And former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was one of several Republican figures to attack Fauci this spring, calling him “a sociopath and a liar” who “had nothing to do with the vaccine.”

Fauci responded at the time, saying, “How bizarre is that? Think about it for a second. Isn’t that a little weird? I mean, come on,” he said.

Wallace on Sunday also asked about the similarly politically charged issue of vaccine mandates. Fauci said that he was “not comfortable with telling people what they should do under normal circumstances.”

“But,” he added, “we are not in normal circumstances right now.” The United States is averaging more than 80,000 coronavirus cases each day and recently surpassed 700,000 deaths, despite widespread access to vaccines.

Fauci endorsed vaccine requirements, responding to recent resistance from police and pilot unions. “Think about the implications of not getting vaccinated when you’re in a position where you have a responsible job,” he said. “You want to protect yourself because you’re needed at your job, whether you’re a police officer or a pilot.”

By: Bryan Pietsch

4:31 AM: Am I eligible for a coronavirus booster shot?

Boxes containing the Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine sit next to vials in the National Jewish Hospital. © David Zalubowski/AP Boxes containing the Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine sit next to vials in the National Jewish Hospital.

Millions of people in the United States are eligible to get a coronavirus vaccine booster shot, but the confusing regulatory process can make it hard to figure out if you are one of them.

Now that most U.S. adults are vaccinated and children under 12 will probably be eligible soon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has begun to recommend a booster dose for high-risk adults to supercharge the immune system’s ability to fight off the coronavirus and protect against its most serious effects.

Whether the CDC recommends you get one depends on your age, health, living situation, job, how long ago you were originally vaccinated and which vaccine you received. Not every jurisdiction or health-care provider follows CDC recommendations, so some may use different criteria to determine who can get a booster and which one they should get.

Read the full story to find out if you qualify for a booster according to the CDC

By: Madison Dong and Bonnie Berkowitz

4:20 AM: In Russia, experts are challenging official pandemic figures as too low. They refuse to be silenced.

Medical workers transfer a patient from an ambulance at an area reserved for coronavirus cases at the Kommunarka Hospital outside Moscow on Oct. 15, 2021. © Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images Medical workers transfer a patient from an ambulance at an area reserved for coronavirus cases at the Kommunarka Hospital outside Moscow on Oct. 15, 2021.

MOSCOW — Unshaven and puffy faced, with tubes in his nose, a patient in a hospital’s coronavirus “red zone” recorded a desperate message for Russians.

“I turned my life and my health into a disaster,” said Innokenty Sheremet, 55, who is from the Ural Mountain region city of Yekaterinburg and came down with covid-19 after forgoing vaccination.

In Russia, a “fourth wave” of coronavirus is setting records in daily infection and death numbers, according to official statistics.

But the truth is far worse, say independent demographers and data analysts who are challenging the pandemic data issued by President Vladimir Putin’s government and who, in turn, are facing retribution from authorities. At least three top researchers have been dismissed or have resigned from their posts in government or at state universities amid pressure from bosses.

Read the full story

By: Robyn Dixon

4:20 AM: Fully vaccinated travelers can come to the U.S. even if their doses are mixed, authorities say

International travelers who are fully vaccinated with mixed doses of approved coronavirus vaccines will be allowed into the United States after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance.

The White House said U.S. travel restrictions will be lifted Nov. 8 for fully vaccinated international travelers, a policy that will in part require foreign travelers to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight. According to a Friday update to CDC guidance, individuals will be considered fully vaccinated if they receive vaccines that are fully or emergency approved by the Food and Drug Administration or by the World Health Organization — including combinations of such shots.

That means international travelers will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive an FDA- or WHO-authorized single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson shot, or “any combination of two doses of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 two-dose series,” such as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

While the CDC said it has not recommended mixing and matching vaccines, it acknowledged that “use of such strategies (including mixing of mRNA, adenoviral, and mRNA plus adenoviral products) is increasingly common in many countries outside of the United States.”

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By: Paulina Firozi

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