You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Maine Senate President Jackson tests positive for COVID-19; White House lays out new global targets in coronavirus pandemic fight

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 9/15/2021 Globe staff
a man riding on the back of a car: A healthcare worker administered a COVID-19 swab test at a testing site at Tropical Park in Miami, Florida, on Aug. 6, 2021. © Eva Marie Uzcategui A healthcare worker administered a COVID-19 swab test at a testing site at Tropical Park in Miami, Florida, on Aug. 6, 2021.

Coronavirus case counts are once again rising across the US, near and far. Health officials are scrambling to vaccinate as the Delta variant takes hold.

Below, we’re gathering the latest news and updates on coronavirus in New England and beyond.

Click here to refresh this page to see the latest updates.

University of Rhode Island cancels concert over coronavirus concerns - 10:41 a.m.

By The Associated Press

The University of Rhode Island has canceled a rap concert scheduled for later this week as it reassesses school guidelines for large campus events in light of surging coronavirus numbers nationwide.

The general admission show by Polo G was scheduled to take place on Friday at URI’s basketball arena.

“When the concert was booked in June, the outlook was that normal activities such as this concert would resume,” URI said in a statement Tuesday. “Unfortunately, conditions have changed and we find ourselves needing to revisit guidelines for large campus events to reduce risks of infection in our community in light of current data about COVID-19 transmission.”

Ticket holders will receive a refund and the school said whether the concert will be rescheduled is subject to the “future availability” of Polo G, whose real name is Taurus Tremani Bartlett.

The university’s COVID-19 tracker shows 22 confirmed positive cases on campus out of 2,652 tests administered between Sept. 8 and Sept. 14.

Maine Senate President Jackson tests positive for COVID-19 - 9:10 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Maine Senate President Troy Jackson has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the highest-ranking official in state government to contract the virus.

Jackson, who is fully vaccinated, said he is isolating after testing positive in Augusta. He said he is not experiencing symptoms but decided to undergo a rapid test after learning a close contact had the virus.

“While breakthrough COVID-19 infections are far more rare, we know that they are possible. More and more breakthrough infections continue to be reported all across the state and country due to the highly contagious delta variant,” Jackson, D-Allagash, said Tuesday evening in a statement.

He said he was grateful to be vaccinated since vaccines have proven to be effective in preventing severe symptoms and hospitalizations.

Jackson is the highest-ranking state official to contract the virus and is one of several state lawmakers to test positive.

U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine also experienced a breakthrough infection and has since recovered.

Longtime Barrington sergeant dies after contracting COVID-19 - 6:30 a.m.

By Amanda Milkovits, Globe Staff

Police Sgt. Gino Caputo wore a faint smile as a new police chief and a rookie officer were sworn into the department where he’d been serving for 27 years.

Caputo, a member of the honor guard, stood with his fellow officers and their new chief at the Aug. 2 ceremony, and were photographed together for what ended up being the last time.

Three days later, Caputo and several other Barrington officers working the midnight shift tested positive for COVID-19. Caputo became sick enough to be hospitalized. He never returned.

Read more

India’s COVID wave is receding. Now the world wants it to get back to exporting vaccines — 6:01 a.m.

By The Washington Post

India is facing growing pressure to lift its ban on exporting coronavirus vaccines, months after curbs were imposed to tackle a massive domestic outbreak that has since relented.

The world’s second most populous country — and also one of its biggest vaccine manufacturers — imposed the ban this spring as India raced to raise its immunization rate. Now officials in the United States and with Covax, the United Nations-backed vaccine distribution initiative that had counted on India to supply around a billion shots this year, hope a more stable health situation will persuade the country to resume exports. The pressure comes as wealthy nations, including the United States, move to offer booster shots to their own vaccinated residents.

Read more

Putin to self-isolate due to coronavirus among inner circle — 5:32 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin is going into self-isolation because of coronavirus cases in his inner circle, the Kremlin said Tuesday. The announcement came in the Kremlin’s readout of Putin’s phone call with the Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.

Putin has been fully vaccinated with the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V – he received his second shot in April.

Read more

UK’s Johnson to give green light to COVID booster shots — 4:00 a.m.

By Bloomberg

Boris Johnson will confirm Tuesday that booster vaccinations against coronavirus will be rolled out to the most vulnerable people this fall, as he sets out the UK’s new approach to tackling the virus.

The British prime minister will hold a press conference outlining who will be eligible for the booster shot, soon after Health Secretary Sajid Javid gives a statement on the issue to the House of Commons.

More details are also expected on which vaccines will be used for the booster program. The government said Monday that 12- to 15-year-olds in England would be offered a single shot of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine in schools from next week, in a bid to reduce transmission and keep pupils in classrooms.

Cases remain relatively high in Britain but Johnson is keen to move to a new chapter in the pandemic, moving away from the threat of lockdowns and mandatory vaccine passports toward more individual choices and freedoms.

“The pandemic is far from over, but thanks to our phenomenal vaccine program, new treatments and testing we are able to live with the virus without significant restrictions on our freedoms,” Johnson said in an emailed statement late Monday. He vowed to set out a “clear plan” for the fall and winter, when “the virus has a natural advantage, to protect the gains we have made.”

Pakistan announces restrictions on unvaccinated — 3:57 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Pakistan’s planning minister has warned that people who are not vaccinated will not be allowed to work from offices after this month.

In a televised message Tuesday, Asad Umar said unvaccinated people will also not be eligible to enter shopping malls, use public transport or to travel by air after the Sept. 30 deadline.

Umar also asked people to keep social distancing in comments that came hours after Pakistan reported a steady decline in cases of coronavirus.

Umar said about 52% of the adult population in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, had been vaccinated and other cities should also try to vaccinate at least 40% of their eligible population as soon as possible to avoid lockdowns and COVID-19 related restrictions.

Pakistan has reported 1.2 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 27,000 deaths since the pandemic began last year.

Britain prepared for a jobs crisis, just not the one it got — 1:55 a.m.

By The New York Times

Empty beer taps in pubs, supermarkets low on Diet Coke, milkshakes missing at McDonald’s: It seems each new day in Britain brings a new notice of scarce products and services as businesses are waylaid by the country’s shortage of truck drivers and other workers.

The problem extends beyond the most visible parts of the economy. Job vacancies in Britain are about 20% higher than their pre-pandemic levels, and the need for workers has gripped nearly every occupation, including computer programmers, health care assistants and farmworkers.

Read more

Japan overtakes US on vaccination after starting months later — 1:48 a.m.

By Bloomberg

Japan has given first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to 63.6% of its population, surpassing the US in the proportion of those who have had at least one shot of the vaccine despite starting months behind.

The island nation’s progress now puts the US last among Group of Seven nations when it comes to the proportion of the population with at least one dose, after vaccine hesitancy squandered the country’s head start. About 63.1% of the US has had at least their first shot, and 53.8% are fully vaccinated.

Japan has administered a total of 145.8 million shots, and over 51% of its population is fully vaccinated, according to government figures released Tuesday.

The vaccination rollout in Japan started off slow and late compared to other developed nations, but has progressed quickly since early summer. Japan hit a million shots administered per day in mid-June, and has stuck around that pace since then while battling a wave of infections driven by the predominance of the delta variant. The US, meanwhile, got a head start but hasn’t been able to maintain pace.

Japan’s vaccinated population is concentrated among its elderly, who were initially prioritized. Near 90% of those 65 or older have had both jabs. The country is still rushing to inoculate younger people, who have been most affected in the most recent and worst-yet wave of coronavirus infections.

Second Chinese city sees outbreak of Delta variant — 1:46 a.m.

By The Associated Press

A second city in southeastern China has seen a jump in COVID-19 cases in a Delta variant outbreak that started late last week.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that 59 new cases had been identified in the latest 24-hour period, more than doubling the total to 102. All are in Fujian province on China’s east coast.

The port city of Xiamen has confirmed 33 cases in the past two days. Another 59 cases have been found in Putian, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north on the coast, where the outbreak was first detected.

Xiamen locked down affected neighborhoods, closed entertainment and fitness venues and canceled group activities including those for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival holiday. Long-distance bus service to other parts of the province has been suspended.

China has largely stopped the spread of COVID but has sporadic outbreaks. A delta variant outbreak in July and August spread to several provinces, raising concern about new and more contagious variants.

White House lays out new global targets in coronavirus pandemic fight — 1:17 a.m.

By The Washington Post

President Biden plans to call on global leaders to make new commitments to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including fully vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population by next September, according to a list of targets obtained by The Washington Post.

The goals were shared with global health leaders ahead of a virtual summit the White House is scheduled to convene next week, positioning the event as an opportunity to set worldwide objectives to end the pandemic. The targets, which draw on similar goals laid out by the World Health Organization and other global health experts, include providing billions of dollars in tests, oxygen and other supplies to developing countries, and setting up a financing system to pay for the global health response by next year.

Read more

  Sept. 14, 2021  

Australia’s capital extends lockdown until Oct. 15 — 11:09 p.m.

By The Associated Press

Australia’s capital city of Canberra will remain locked down for a second month after the local government reported 22 new coronavirus infections.

The Australian Capital Territory locked down Aug. 12 after a single case linked to a Sydney outbreak of the virus’ delta variant was detected.

Territorial Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Tuesday that Canberra’s lockdown will be extended until Oct. 15.

Canberra is surrounded by New South Wales state, where Australia’s delta outbreak began when a limousine driver tested positive June 16. He was infected while transporting a US cargo flight crew from Sydney’s airport.

Sydney is Australia’s largest city and has been locked since June 26.

Before delta came to Canberra last month, the city of 430,000 people had not recorded a single case of coronavirus community infection since July 10, 2020.

After ICU trek, family urges people to be vaccinated — 10:01 p.m.

By The Associated Press

As hundreds of mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 patients filled Alabama intensive care units, hospital staff in north Alabama contacted 43 hospitals in three states to find a specialty cardiac ICU bed for Ray Martin DeMonia, his family writes in his obituary.

The resident of Cullman, Alabama, was finally transferred to Meridian, Mississippi, about 170 miles (274 kilometers) away. The 73-year-old antiques dealer died Sept. 1 because of the cardiac event he suffered.

Now, his family is making a plea.

“In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies,” his obituary reads. After describing the search for an ICU bed for DeMonia, the obituary adds: “He would not want any other family to go through what his did.”

GOP rhetoric raises worry for all vaccine requirements — 9:41 p.m.

By The Washington Post

Republicans’ sweeping denunciations of President Joe Biden’s plan to force more people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus are raising concerns among public health experts that this heated criticism could help fuel a broader rejection of other vaccine requirements, including those put in place by schools and the military, as the issue of inoculations becomes increasingly political.

Over the weekend, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., declared on Twitter that there should be “NO VACCINE MANDATES.”

More than a dozen other prominent Republicans in Congress and in the states have made similarly defiant statements in recent days, often using inflammatory rhetoric. In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster pledged to fight Biden and Democrats “to the gates of hell” on coronavirus vaccine mandates, while Rep. Elise Stefanik, N.Y., condemned Biden’s recent mandate as “authoritarian” and the work of “a power hungry government.”

Read more

Australia plans digital border pass for vaccinated travelers — 9:13 p.m.


Australia is developing a digital border pass to show the vaccination status of travelers in a step toward further reopening its international border.

The government awarded Accenture Plc the tender to deliver the pass that will replace the current Covid-19 travel declaration form and incoming passenger card.

It “will support the safe re-opening of Australia’s international borders” Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said in a statement. “This will help us to welcome home increasing numbers of Australians, and welcome the tourists, travelers, international students, skilled workers and overseas friends and family we’ve all been missing during the pandemic.”

Australia’s international border has been mostly closed to non-residents since March last year to control the spread of the coronavirus, with anyone returning forced to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine. The government has said it aims to increase travel to and from the nation once 80% of the adult population is fully vaccinated. Currently that rate stands at about 34%, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker.

NYC schools reopen with joy and anxiety on ‘game changer’ first day — 7:26 p.m.

New York Times

New York City’s schools reopened Monday to scenes of joy, relief and trepidation, as roughly 1 million children returned to their classrooms, most of them for the first time since the country’s largest school system closed in March 2020 because of the pandemic.

The day, always chaotic even in normal times, began with many families and educators anxious about what the next few months will hold, as the spread of the highly contagious delta variant has complicated the city’s push to fully reopen schools.

The full reopening of the system represents a crucial moment in the city’s long recovery from the pandemic, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has staked much of his legacy on keeping schools open, even as other districts across the country have faced large-scale quarantines and disruptions. In contrast to last year, and unlike some other major urban districts, the city did not offer a remote option to most students.

Yet it remains to be seen how many parents will decide to keep their children at home anyway — at least initially. Last year, 600,000 children were signed up for remote learning, and while the vast majority of those children seemed to have returned to schools Monday, a small group of parents have petitioned the city to resume online learning.

‘Their crisis’ is ‘our problem’: Washington grapples with Idaho COVID cases — 6:42 p.m.

New York Times

Surgeries to remove brain tumors have been postponed. Patients are backed up in the emergency room. Nurses are working brutal shifts. But at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, the calls keep coming: Can Idaho send another patient across the border?

Washington state is reeling under its own surge of coronavirus cases. But in neighboring Idaho, 20 miles down Interstate 90 from Spokane, unchecked virus transmission has already pushed hospitals beyond their breaking point.

“As they’ve seen increasing COVID volumes, we’ve seen increasing calls for help from all over northern Idaho,” said Dr. Daniel Getz, chief medical officer for Providence Sacred Heart. As he spoke, a medical helicopter descended with a new delivery.

Read more

Brazil travel advisory lowered by CDC — 4:02 p.m.

By Bloomberg

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lowered its Covid-19 travel advisory for Brazil by one notch as the pandemic wanes in Latin America’s largest economy.

Brazil is now ranked as level 3, or “high,” according to an update posted on the agency’s website Monday. Travelers are still advised to avoid nonessential trips to the country, and to make sure they are fully vaccinated if they do visit. The CDC had been recommending travelers avoid Brazil since at least May, according to a Bloomberg analysis.

France cites J&J breakthrough infections — 4:01 p.m.

By Bloomberg

France has experienced what its health regulator ANSM called an “important number” of breakthrough cases among those who received Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. France, which has administered about 1 million doses of J&J’s Janssen vaccine so far, has seen 32 breakthroughs, 29 of which were severe cases, according to a report from ANSM Monday. Four people died of Covid-19 after getting the vaccine, the regulator said. ANSM is conducting further investigations.

Whirlpool offers $1,000 bonus for COVID shots — 4:00 p.m.

By Bloomberg

Whirlpool Corp. is offering employees $1,000 cash bonuses to get vaccinated, increasing its existing incentive as Covid-19 cases continue to climb nationwide.

The Benton Harbor, Michigan-based appliance maker previously offered its 27,000 U.S. workers $200 cash bonuses in May to get the shot. The fivefold increase was announced as vaccination rates lag in Michigan, with only 51% of the population fully inoculated.

DeSantis threatens cities with fines for vaccine mandates — 3:27 p.m.

By The Associated Press

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday threatened local governments with $5,000 fines per violation for requiring their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that has overrun hospitals and killed tens of thousands across the state.

Local municipalities, such as Orange County and the city of Gainesville, potentially face millions of dollars in cumulative fines for implementing a requirement that their employees get a COVID-19 vaccine, the Republican governor said.

“We are not going to let people be fired because of a vaccine mandate,” DeSantis said at a news conference outside Gainesville. “You don’t just cast aside people who have been serving faithfully over this issue, over what is basically a personal choice on their individual health.”

Florida has been a national epicenter for the virus’s spread this summer, with COVID-19 deaths in Florida accounting for more than 20% of the virus-related deaths across the country last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Washington state troopers and other public employees file lawsuit to overturn Governor Inslee vaccine mandate — 2:45 p.m.

By The Associated Press

Washington state troopers, prison correctional officers, ferry workers and other public sector employees have filed a lawsuit to try to overturn Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The Northwest News Network reports the lawsuit filed by more than 90 workers on Friday in Walla Walla County says the mandate is unlawful and unconstitutional. The lawsuit says the penalty of being fired for not getting the vaccine is “arbitrary and capricious,” especially for employees who can work from home or have natural immunity from having previously contracted COVID-19.

An Inslee spokesperson, Mike Faulk, said the office had not yet reviewed the lawsuit.

Inslee issued his vaccine mandate last month. It requires most state employees, on-site contractors and volunteers, as well as private health care and long-term care workers, to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. Inslee later expanded the mandate to include workers in educational settings from preschool through higher education.

While Inslee did not offer a testing alternative in lieu of the vaccine, workers subject to the mandate can apply for religious or medical exemptions.

Students return to school in Romania, face restrictions — 2:02 p.m.

By The Associated Press

Almost 3 million students returned to schools Monday in Romania after a summer break and face restrictions as COVID-19 infections rapidly rise in the country.

Authorities have mandated that children wear protective masks inside schools and implemented social distancing to try to curb the spread of the virus.

”The resumption of the school year takes place, unfortunately, under the spectrum of the pandemic,” President Klaus Iohannis said Monday. “It is important to strictly follow the measures set by the authorities to protect us and our loved ones.”

Throughout the pandemic, Romanian students have faced long, periodic schools closures with lessons moved online. While authorities want to avoid a repeat of remote learning, schools will be forced to move lessons online if an area surpasses an infection rate of 6 per 1,000 residents.

In recent weeks, daily COVID-19 infections in Romania — a country of 19 million, which has the second-lowest vaccination uptake in the European Union at 27% — have risen dramatically from around 300 a day a month ago to more than 2,500 infections a day last week.

Romania’s education ministry says about 61% of education workers have been vaccinated.

Pfizer supplies Jordan, Lebanon with COVID vaccines for refugees — 1:49 p.m.

By Bloomberg

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE are donating hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 vaccine doses to Jordan and Lebanon as a part of a broader push to aid refugees during the pandemic.

On Monday, 100,000 doses of the companies’ coronavirus vaccine arrived at the coastal Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport. There, the donated doses are being loaded into UPS trucks and delivered to nearby warehouses at the Rafic Hariri Hospital, the largest Lebanese public hospital located on the outskirts of Beirut.

That’s not the coveted vaccine’s final destination, however. The Lebanese government will then ship supply across the small country that borders Syria and Israel. Just two-thirds the size of Connecticut, Lebanon hosts the largest number of refugees per capita of any country, according to the United Nations, with an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, as well as refugees from Ethiopia, Iraq and Sudan. The vast majority live in extreme poverty. Those conditions, coupled with the pandemic, have been described as “a crisis within a crisis.”

Vermont hospital adding COVID drive-through testing location — 1:41 p.m.

By The Associated Press

The Northwestern Vermont Medical Center in St. Albans is offering a drive-through option for people seeking to be tested for COVID-19.

The St. Albans COVID-19 Resource Center was to begin offering the drive-through testing on Monday at the Valley Crossroads Building on Fisher Pond Road. Vaccinations will still be done inside.

The St. Albans Messenger reports that while walk-in vaccinations and tests are possible, individuals are encouraged to register beforehand for a test or vaccine on the website of the Vermont Health Department.

Blue Jackets drop assistant coach who won’t get vaccinated — 1:33 p.m.

By The Associated Press

The Columbus Blue Jackets said Monday that the team has replaced an assistant coach who declined to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Sylvain Lefebvre was replaced on coach Brad Larsen’s staff by Steve McCarthy because “Lefebvre has decided not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and thus will not be able to perform the duties required of him given current NHL protocols,” according to a team statement.

NHL coaches and other team staff who closely interact with players are required to be fully vaccinated.

“While we are disappointed, we respect that this decision is a personal one for Sylvain and wish him well,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.

Lefebvre, a former NHL defenseman and longtime coach in the American Hockey League, was added to the staff in July by Larsen, the former Blue Jackets assistant who replaced the fired John Tortorella.

McCarthy is a former NHL defenseman who was promoted from the Cleveland Monsters, the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, for which he was an assistant coach.

“Steve has done a great job working with our young defensemen in Cleveland the past five years and is ready for this opportunity,” Larsen said.

Fauci says he supports vaccine mandates for air travel — 1:20 p.m.

By The Washington Post

Top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci says air travelers should get the coronavirus vaccine to fly.

“I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people, that you should be vaccinated,” he told theSkimm.

The news site tweeted a clip of the interview with Fauci along with the caption: “Would you support vaccine mandates for airline travel?” The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where Fauci is director, did not immediately respond to a question from The Washington Post about his position on vaccine mandates.

Last week, the Biden administration announced widespread new vaccine requirements for businesses with more than 100 workers, certain health care facilities and federal employees. But the mandates do not extend to travelers, The Washington Post reported last week.

Some airlines including United, Frontier and Hawaiian have required employees - but not passengers - to be fully vaccinated. Most cruise lines are going further, with vaccine requirements for crew and the vast majority of passengers.

Australian airline Qantas is expected to become the first carrier to mandate vaccines for passengers after CEO Alan Joyce’s announcement last week.

“Qantas will have a policy that internationally, we will only be carrying vaccinated passengers,” Joyce said.

U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, a Democrat from Virginia, introduced a bill last week that would require domestic air or Amtrak travelers to provide proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test.

Alabama man dies after being turned away from 43 hospitals as COVID packs ICUs, family says — 11:45 a.m.

By The Washington Post

When Ray DeMonia was having a cardiac emergency last month, his Alabama family waited anxiously for a nearby hospital with available space in its intensive care unit.

But in a state where coronavirus infections and unvaccinated patients have overwhelmed hospitals in recent months, finding an available ICU bed was an ordeal. It was so difficult, his family wrote this month, that the hospital in his hometown of Cullman, Ala., contacted 43 others in three states - and all were unable to give him the care he needed.

DeMonia, who was eventually transferred to a Mississippi hospital about 200 miles away, died at 73 on Sept. 1 - three days shy of his birthday.

Read more

Philippines plans perks for vaccinated, smaller lockdowns — 11:23 a.m.

By Bloomberg

The Philippines will provide perks for the vaccinated, while imposing smaller and targeted lockdowns amid a fragile economic recovery and elevated Covid-19 infections.

Metro Manila, which accounts for a third of economic output, will pilot test the Southeast Asian nation’s new virus response strategy from Sept. 16. Cities will be categorized using a five-level alert system, the virus task force said in a statement released late Monday.

In areas under alert level 4, indoor restaurants and beauty salons can operate at 10% capacity and accommodate only the fully-vaccinated.

The changes are being planned even as infections hit more than 2.2 million, following a record 26,303 cases on Saturday, based on Health Department data. Some 15% of the population are fully vaccinated.

Recent lockdowns due to the delta variant have dimmed hopes for an economic recovery, with the government lowering growth outlook for this year to 4% to 5%.

New York hospital will stop delivering babies as workers quit over vaccine mandate — 11:22 a.m.

By Maria Elena Little Endara, Globe Correspondent

An upstate New York hospital’s maternity unit will stop delivering babies after a spate of resignations following the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers, the health system’s CEO said last week.

Lewis County Health System CEO Jerry Cayer announced on Friday that the maternity unit at Lewis County Hospital will “pause” delivering babies starting Sept. 25.

Read more

Springfield indoor mask mandate takes effect — 10:43 a.m.

By The Associated Press

The city of Springfield’s mask mandate takes effect Monday.

Under the directive announced last week by Mayor Domenic Sarno and intended to stem the spread of the coronavirus, everyone regardless of vaccination status is required to wear a face covering in indoor public places, including municipal buildings and businesses.

“We have met with the business community and they have been very understanding and cooperative with this,” Sarno said last week. There are no capacity limits.

Masks are also required at outdoor events where social distancing is not possible. Performers at indoor and outdoor events will not be required to wear masks, but must maintain extra social distance from the crowd while performing, according to the regulations.

Enforcement is up to individual establishments, and violators can face fines of up to $300.

The mask mandate is scheduled to run through Nov. 1, but could be lifted earlier if key metrics improve.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at Baystate Health hospitals is more than 100 now, 11 of whom are in critical care, and has tripled in a month, according to health system officials.

Several other communities in Massachusetts, including Boston, have imposed indoor mask mandates.

Most people don’t need COVID vaccine booster, scientists say — 9:53 a.m.

By Bloomberg

Covid-19 vaccines work so well that most people don’t yet need a booster, an all-star panel of scientists from around the world said in a review that’s likely to fuel the debate over whether to use them.

Governments would be better served to focus on immunizing the unvaccinated and to wait for more data on which boosters, and at what doses, would be most effective, the authors, who included two prominent U.S. Food and Drug Administration experts, argued in the medical journal The Lancet.

Italy students return; teachers need green pass — 9:51 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Some 4 million students in Italy have returned to the classroom after summer break, with the Italian government determined to avoid any replay of remote learning. Schools in 10 of the nation’s 20 regions began the academic year on Monday.

Students in the Alpine Alto Adige region started classes last week, and other regions, including Campania in the Naples area, begin the school year later this week.

Italian students in the last 1 1/2 years have seen relatively little in-classroom time. Starting this month, all teachers and administrative staff must have a Green Pass. That means they received at least one vaccine dose, have recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months or tested negative for the virus in the previous 48 hours.

Education Minister Patrizio Bianchi says school reopening went smoothly on Monday, with 93% of teachers presenting Green Passes, and some others provided certification that they cannot be vaccinated for health reasons.

One critical area is transport. Many regions and cities have warned there aren’t enough buses, including local public transport, to avoid crowding during the trips to and from school.

UK medical chiefs recommend COVID shot for kids as young as 12 — 9:25 a.m.

By Bloomberg

The U.K.’s chief medical officers recommended that the government roll out Covid vaccines to all children as young as 12, saying the benefits of reducing educational disruption from the virus warrant the move.

U.K. medical authorities recommended offering vaccination with a first dose of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine to children ages 12 to 15, according to a statement Monday.

The U.K. has been an outlier over its decision not to vaccinate healthy older children, instead only offering the shots to those under age 16 who have underlying health conditions or live with vulnerable adults. In the U.S., children age 12 and over have been getting the vaccines since May, while most of the European Union opted to vaccinate young people ahead of the school year.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said earlier this month that the benefits of inoculation for healthy children this age was “marginally greater” than the potential known harms, though advised the government to ask the medical officers to weigh in. Concerns have focused on a very rare heart condition that has been linked to the Pfizer shot, one of the only Covid vaccines that has been authorized for use in children.

Maine schools adopting pool testing to beat Delta variant — 9:10 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Maine is starting the week with more than a dozen outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools, and many schools are testing to mitigate the risk.

As of Friday, 384 of Maine’s 720 public and private schools had signed up for pool testing with Concentric, a branch of Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks, spokesperson Joseph Fridman told the Bangor Daily News.

The program calls for student tests to be pooled and sent to a lab in Massachusetts for PCR tests. If there’s a positive test for a school, then individual students will be tested.

The school outbreaks come amid a surge in infections tied to the delta variant, which is spreading in Maine.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 246 new cases per day on Aug. 28 to 349 new cases per day on Saturday.

Deaths of fully vaccinated residents make up only 1.2% of total COVID deaths in England during first half of year — 9:00 a.m.

By Bloomberg

At least 640 vaccinated English people died of coronavirus in the first half of the year.

That’s 1.2% of the total 51,281 Covid-19 deaths in England between Jan. 2 and July 2 recorded by the Office for National Statistics. Some of those who’d been vaccinated received a jab after they were infected.

The figures come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrapped plans for mandatory vaccine certificates in England and prepares the country for a mass booster vaccination program and potential shots for teenagers. The U.K. may also soon drop mandatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for returning travelers who are fully vaccinated.

Some 29,173 new Covid cases were reported in the U.K. on Sunday, along with 56 deaths. Scientists fear cases will rise in England in the coming weeks, as schools fully reopen and more people go back to work. A surge would be exacerbated by the colder weather, as people spend more time indoors and respiratory illnesses spread more easily.

‘Their crisis’ is ‘our problem’: Washington grapples with Idaho COVID cases — 8:43 a.m.

By The New York Times

Washington state is reeling under its own surge of coronavirus cases. But in neighboring Idaho, 20 miles down Interstate 90 from Spokane, unchecked virus transmission has already pushed hospitals beyond their breaking point.

“As they’ve seen increasing COVID volumes, we’ve seen increasing calls for help from all over northern Idaho,” said Dr. Daniel Getz, chief medical officer for Providence Sacred Heart. As he spoke, a medical helicopter descended with a new delivery.

Read more

UK’s Johnson hopes to avoid lockdown in winter virus roadmap — 7:00 a.m.

By The Associated Press

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce how his government plans to control the coronavirus during the fall and winter — hoping vaccinations, rather than restrictions, will keep COVID-19 in check.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Johnson is expected to say that mask-wearing, work-from-home advice and social distancing rules that were lifted in July could return if cases climb.

But his Conservative government is resisting tougher measures, unexpectedly shelving a plan to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and other crowded venues.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Sunday that the passes, which have been introduced in many European countries and were due to start in England at the end of September, were a “huge intrusion into people’s lives.” He said the government would keep the plan “in reserve” but would not proceed with it right now.

Read more

Germany pushes vaccinations in varied locations — 6:22 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Health workers are visiting kebab stalls, hockey games, and hardware stores across Germany in a push to reach people who have yet to get a coronavirus shot as the country’s vaccination sputters.

It is part of a special week-long vaccination drive during which people will be offered the shots without appointments at easily accessible sites listed on a national website and promoted on social media with the hashtag “Hier wird geimpft,” meaning “Vaccinations offered here.”

“It’s never been easier to get a vaccine,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekend video address.

Germany wants 75 percent of the population to be immunized against the coronavirus, but so far only 62.2 percent of the population has received all the necessary shots.

Health Minister Jens Spahn on Monday defended growing pressure on unvaccinated people, including an end to free testing next month and — in some German states — no more sick pay for people in quarantine.

Britain ends contract with French startup for vaccines — 6:00 a.m.

By The Associated Press

A French pharmaceutical startup announced Monday that the British government has abruptly terminated an agreement for it to supply tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccines.

Britain alleged that Valneva was in breach of its obligations under the supply agreement, which the company “strenuously” denied. There was no immediate comment from the British side.

The vaccine, being made at Valneva’s plant in Scotland, is currently in the third phase of trials and not yet approved by regulators.

Britain initially ordered 60 million doses of the vaccine and retained an option for 90 million more. It later added a further 40 million to its order. The total value of the 190 million doses is 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion), Valneva had said.

If the UK exercised all of its options, Valneva’s deliveries would continue through 2025.

At the time of the deal, Britain rolled out the red carpet to the startup, while the more cautious EU dragged its feet. Valneva is clearly startled that the carpet has been pulled out from under its feet.

In its statement, Valneva, headquartered on the banks of the Loire, said it is continuing on all fronts of research and testing and is on schedule.

The VLA2001 vaccine, being made at Valneva’s plant in Scotland, is currently in the third phase of trials and not yet approved by regulators.

Britain initially ordered 60 million doses of the vaccine and retained an option for 90 million more. It later added a further 40 million to its order. The total value of the 190 million doses is 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion), Valneva had said.

If the U.K. exercised all of its options, Valneva’s deliveries would continue through 2025.

At the time of the deal, Britain rolled out the red carpet to the startup, while the more cautious EU dragged its feet. Valneva is clearly startled that the carpet has been pulled out from under its feet.

In its statement, Valneva, headquartered on the banks of the Loire, said it is continuing on all fronts of research and testing and is on schedule.

Greece launches mandatory testing for unvaccinated workers — 5:43 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Greece on Monday introduced mandatory weekly testing for all unvaccinated workers as it struggles to boost vaccination rates that are lagging the European Union average.

Public and private sector employees will have to pay for weekly tests or carry a vaccination certificate to gain access to their place of work, while unvaccinated children at high schools which reopened Monday are being given test kits distributed at government expense.

Similar restrictions will also apply at sports stadiums, museums and archaeological sites, as well as indoor leisure areas like cinemas and restaurants.

Some 56% of Greece’s residents have been fully vaccinated, while the average rate in the EU is just over 60%.

Greece has imposed vaccine mandates for health care workers and allows the vaccination of children starting at age 12.

Lockdowns last year pushed the economy into recession, with 2020 output shrinking by 8.2%. Government officials say the country cannot afford to halt economic activity for a second year.

“At the moment, the pandemic (in Greece) is showing signs of de-escalation, so the measures seem to be working,” Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis told private Skai television.

“Unfortunately this de-escalation is accompanied by the deaths of our fellow citizens who are unvaccinated. It hurts me to know that these people could have lived, but they fell victim to conspiracy theories.”

Delta breaches China less than a month after previous outbreak — 4:52 a.m.

By Bloomberg

China is experiencing yet another COVID-19 outbreak caused by the Delta variant, with dozens of infections detected in the southeastern province of Fujian less than a month after the nation’s last flare-up was contained.

The cluster was detected thanks to routine testing in local schools, where two students tested positive on Friday. Their father, who returned from Singapore in early August, was also found to have been infected. Officials believe he is the likely source of the latest outbreak in the region, a manufacturing hub for sneakers, clothing, and electronic components, which now stretches to more than 60 people in three cities.

Read more

Vietnam speeds up Hanoi vaccine drive; 1 million jabs over weekend — 3:20 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Vietnam is speeding up its vaccination program in an effort to loosen coronavirus lockdown restrictions in major cities by the end of the month, the government said Monday.

Health workers administered vaccines throughout the night in the capital, Hanoi, which has been under lockdown since July.

More than a million vaccine shots were given over the weekend in Hanoi, out of around 5.5 million administered there since vaccinations started in March, the Health Ministry said.

“We have to speed up the vaccination program so we can make a plan to reopen the city,” Hanoi mayor Chu Ngoc Anh said Sunday. More than half of the country’s 98 million population is also under lockdown.

About 80% of the city’s 5.7 million adults have received at least one shot, with authorities aiming for 100% by the end of this week.

However, the country’s overall vaccination rate still remains low at about 28%, and only 4% have been fully vaccinated with both jabs.

Vietnam managed to keep its infection rate relatively low up until April this year, with only 35 deaths. Last year it was praised for keeping the virus under control, an accomplishment generally attributed to the discipline of being a single-party communist state with tight controls at all levels.

But vaccine shortages forced Vietnam to slow down its vaccination program in recent months, even as the delta variant of the virus infected over 600,000 people and killed more than 15,000 in just four months.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the nation’s business hub and most hard-hit by the surge, over 95% of adults have received the first vaccine, but many who need to come in for the second dose aren’t able to get it due to low supplies.

Among measures to cope with the shortage, Vietnam’s health authority has allowed combinations of different two-dose COVID-19 vaccines to speed up the vaccination campaign. Experts say this tactic is likely safe and effective, but researchers are still gathering data to be sure.

Vietnam is currently using AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Sinopharm, a Chinese-made vaccine.

New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown as outbreak persists — 1:58 a.m.

By Bloomberg

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended a strict lockdown in the largest city Auckland as an outbreak of the Delta variant of coronavirus proves difficult to vanquish.

Auckland will remain at Alert Level 4 for at least another week while the rest of the country, which exited lockdown last week, will remain at Level 2, Ardern said Monday in Wellington. There had been hope Auckland’s lockdown could be eased to Level 3, but Ardern said ongoing new cases required a longer period at the highest level of restrictions.

“Alert Level 4 is working. It has helped us get the outbreak under control,” she said. “But as you will have seen in the last few days, we haven’t quite finished the job yet.”

Ardern is persisting with an elimination strategy that has served New Zealand well to date. There are signs the lockdown is succeeding in severing chains of transmission, with daily new case numbers dropping from a peak of 83 to as few as 11. But numbers have picked up in recent days; 33 new cases were reported earlier Monday.

“There is not widespread transmission of the virus in Auckland,” Ardern said. “But the cases are telling us we have more work to do. The next week will be critical in providing us with the additional assurance we need.”

Ardern said cabinet has made an in-principle decision that Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 at midnight on Sept. 21. This is a milder form of lockdown, allowing some businesses to reopen.

Alert Level 2 for the rest of the country requires mask wearing in indoor public spaces, social distancing and some gathering limits, but otherwise normal activity has resumed.

School starts for 1 million NYC kids amid new vaccine rules — 1:52 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Classroom doors swing open for about a million New York City public school students on Monday in the nation’s largest experiment of in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

The start of the school year coincides with several milestones in the city’s pandemic recovery that hinge on vaccine mandates.

Nearly all of the city’s 300,000 employees will be required to be back in their workplaces, in person, Monday as the city ends remote work. Most will either need to be vaccinated, or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing to remain in their jobs.

The city was also set to start enforcing rules requiring workers and patrons to be vaccinated to go indoors at restaurants, museums, gyms and entertainment venues. The vaccination requirement has been in place for weeks, but had not previously been enforced.

Read more

COVID-19 outbreak in southeast China adds 22 cases — 1:48 a.m.

By The Associated Press

A southeastern Chinese province has reported 22 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 43 in a fresh outbreak driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Health authorities said Monday that 15 cases were confirmed in Putian city in the latest 24-hour period. Another six were found in Quanzhou city, and one more in Xiamen, suggesting the virus may be moving south from Putian.

All the infections are in Fujian province, which is across from Taiwan on China’s east coast.

Schools have been closed in Putian and anyone leaving the city must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test in the previous 48 hours. The city suspended bus and train service on Saturday and has closed cinemas, bars and other facilities.

China has largely stopped the spread of COVID-19 but has sporadic outbreaks. One outbreak driven by the delta variant spread to multiple provinces in July and August, raising concern about new and more contagious variants.

  Sept. 13, 2021  

County mandates security at Colorado vaccine clinics after reports of fireworks attack and slashed signs — 11:43 p.m.

By The Washington Post

Roving central Colorado with three vans, pop-up tents, and folding chairs, public health workers in Jefferson County set out this spring to get coronavirus vaccines to the people who were hardest to reach. They brushed off heckling from passersby who sometimes yelled that COVID-19 was a hoax or that the shots were “poison.”

But the harassment grew more frequent, said Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director Dawn Comstock. And more threatening.

One man slashed the mobile clinic signs with a knife, Comstock said, while another person threw lit fireworks into one of the tents. People drove menacingly toward staffers and ran over signs. They hurled insults, trash and liquid, she said, each time fleeing before law enforcement could hold anyone accountable.

Read more

Experts predict vaccines for younger children could be available soon — 10:19 p.m.

By The New York Times

COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11 could be available as soon as the end of October, two experts said Sunday. Some senior officials of the Biden administration have said approval for that age group was unlikely before the end of the year.

At the moment, only children ages 12 and older qualify for vaccination. An earlier approval for younger children would be good news for parents, many of whom are anxious about classroom safety as schools reopen.

Read more

Surgeon general insists government ‘has the legal authority’ to enforce vaccine mandates — 9:49 p.m.

By The New York Times

Dr. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general, made the rounds on Sunday television shows to defend the Biden administration’s new COVID vaccine mandates, portraying them as narrow directives that apply only to specific professions where the federal government “has legal authority to act” — a direct counter to Republican accusations of unconstitutional federal overreach.

Murthy called the plan “ambitious and thoughtful” on the ABC program “This Week,” saying, “These kinds of requirements actually work to improve our vaccination rates.” He said they were part of “a serious of steps that have to be taken in order to protect our country from COVID-19, and help us get through this pandemic.”

He cited Tyson Foods, one of the nation’s top meat processors. In August, the company said it would require COVID vaccinations for its employees. The surgeon general said the company’s vaccination rate had shot up “from 45% to more than 70% in a very short period of time. And they’re not even at their deadline yet.”

Read more

Johnson scraps vaccine passports, readies UK for booster shots — 8:29 p.m.

By Bloomberg

Boris Johnson will unveil the U.K.’s new approach in tackling Covid this week, preparing the country for a mass booster vaccination program and potential shots for teenagers -- but scrapping plans for mandatory vaccine certificates in England.

The prime minister is expected to hold a press conference Tuesday outlining how a beefed-up inoculation program will try to keep the virus under control over the high-risk period of autumn and winter.

Even as cases remain high in Britain, Johnson wants to mark a new stage in the pandemic -- ditching the threat of lockdowns and mandatory vaccine passports in favor of more individual freedoms.

It comes after a revolt from his own Conservative MPs in the House of Commons last week, with many warning that vaccine certificates were illiberal and unworkable. The premier is keen to avoid a long-running fight with his party on the issue, just as he tries to convince them to back a controversial tax hike to fund the National Health Service.

The U.K. may also soon drop mandatory PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests for returning travelers who are fully-vaccinated.

“I want to take that away as soon as I can, but it must be based on the public health advice,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC on Sunday.

Here’s what the next six months of the pandemic will bring — 6:19 p.m.

By Bloomberg

For anyone hoping to see light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel over the next three to six months, scientists have some bad news: Brace for more of what we’ve already been through.

Outbreaks will close schools and cancel classes. Vaccinated nursing home residents will face renewed fears of infection. Workers will weigh the danger of returning to the office as hospitals are overwhelmed, once again.

Almost everyone will be either infected or vaccinated before the pandemic ends, experts agree. Maybe both. An unlucky few will contract the virus more than once. The race between the waves of transmission that lead to new variants and the battle to get the globe inoculated won’t be over until the coronavirus has touched all of us.

“I see these continued surges occurring throughout the world,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and an adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden. “Then it will drop, potentially somewhat precipitously,” he said. “And then I think we very easily could see another surge in the fall and winter” of this year, he added.

Read more

Bollywood seeks to move past COVID with a $135 million film deal — 6:07 p.m.

By Bloomberg

Two of India’s biggest film studios have signed a silver-screen deal for about 10 billion rupees ($135 million), betting on a robust box-office recovery from a devastating COVID-19 wave as cinemas slowly reopen across the country.

Record label and Bollywood major T-Series, along with tycoon Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment Ltd. have agreed to jointly develop more than 10 features, ranging from action thrillers, historic biopics, dramas and comedies over the next 36 months, the heads of both production houses said in an interview. Some of those are set for release as early as next year, they said.

The deal, one of the largest financing efforts in recent Indian film-making history, is a bold gamble at a time when many producers in India are abandoning theatrical releases during the pandemic and turning to over-the-top platforms such as Amazon and Netflix Inc. for premieres. Like in other countries, lockdowns and curbs to contain the spread of coronavirus have caused a surge in demand for digital streaming in India, as people crave entertainment at home.

But big producers say that lavish budgets can’t be recouped without cinemas. “We can’t make such big investments, such big films just keeping OTT in mind,” said Bhushan Kumar, the chairman and managing director of T-Series.

Both Reliance Entertainment and T-Series have delayed the release of a number of potential blockbusters that have been ready since last year, pushing back their debuts multiple times for cinemas to reopen.

Though some of India’s states have started allowing movie halls to resume screenings, the western state of Maharashtra — home to India’s financial capital Mumbai and Bollywood — has been the biggest holdout. That’s not good news for an industry that counts on the state for roughly 30% to 50% of a mainstream Hindi film’s theatrical earnings.

A group of gorillas is being treated for COVID-19. Soon they will get their shots, too, zoo says — 4:32 p.m.

By The Washington Post

Gorillas at Zoo Atlanta are being treated after initial tests showed they were positive for the coronavirus — and the zoo plans to vaccinate them once they recover.

A care team recently noticed telltale signs: Several members of the zoo’s western lowland gorilla population were coughing, had runny noses, and showed minor changes in their appetites.

After nasal, oral, and fecal samples were sent for testing, the zoo received presumptive positive results indicating several gorillas had been infected by the virus that causes COVID-19, the zoo said in a statement Friday.

Zoo officials said in the statement they were waiting for confirmation of the results after samples were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. Zoo Atlanta did not specify how many animals were sick, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that 13 western lowland gorillas had shown presumptive positive results.

Read more

Despite COVID-19 risks, many leaders plan to attend UN General Assembly — 4:19 p.m.

By The New York Times

The cavernous General Assembly hall of the United Nations will have far fewer vacant seats. Corridors of the organization’s iconic New York City headquarters, eerily silent for months, will echo with more voices and footsteps. Motorcades will whisk in dozens of world leaders to deliver speeches in person.

The annual General Assembly, the diplomatic mega-event that was held almost entirely virtually last year because of the pandemic, will be far more physical when it convenes Tuesday for two weeks.

Although strict pandemic rules will be enforced, including mandatory mask-wearing for all participants, required vaccinations for headquarters staff and limited access to its 16-acre campus, the United Nations is aiming for at least a partial restoration of the person-to-person diplomacy that its leaders regard as critical for the organization’s ability to function.

The outgoing annual president of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, a Turkish statesman, told reporters in his farewell news conference recently that at least 83 leaders were planning to attend this year’s event, albeit with slimmed-down entourages compared with pre-pandemic years.

A provisional list of speakers provided by U.N. officials, who said it could change up the last minute, indicated that President Joe Biden would attend, for what would be his first address as president to the 193-member world body.

According to the provisional list, leaders from Brazil, Britain, Canada, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey and Venezuela also plan to personally deliver their speeches, which are scheduled for the second week. China’s speech will be delivered by its deputy prime minister, the list indicated, and Russia’s by its foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

Each delegation in the General Assembly hall will be permitted up to five members, compared with two in 2020, when the speeches of all member-state leaders were delivered via prerecorded video on a large screen to largely empty seats. The lack of spontaneity, physical contact and unscripted encounters created a stilted, artificial ambience that participants want to avoid replicating.

Still, the prospect of hundreds of diplomats converging from overseas at the United Nations has been a persistent source of concern, particularly because of the contagion risks posed by the delta variant of the coronavirus.

England abandons vaccine passport plans — 3:54 p.m.

By The Washington Post

As more countries turn to coronavirus vaccination requirements in a bid to bring the pandemic to heel, England is moving in a different direction.

“I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports,” U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday.

“There’s a lot of defenses... that we need to keep in place because this virus hasn’t gone anywhere, there’s still a pandemic, so of course, we need to remain cautious,” he said. “But we just shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it or because others are doing it.”

The announcement marked a reversal of the government’s plan to require proof of full vaccination to enter nightclubs and other crowded venues in England. Intended to incentivize vaccine uptake, especially among young people, the system had been expected to take effect at the end of the month.

About 65 percent of the population in England is fully immunized. But vaccination rates among young people have lagged behind those of older demographics. Coronavirus cases have dropped since July, though England is still reporting more than 20,000 new cases per day.

Read more

West Virginia, once a vaccination pacesetter, struggles against Delta variant — 3:42 p.m.

By The New York Times

Coronavirus cases are nearing record levels in West Virginia, and the state’s schools are closing and its hospitals are choked with patients stricken by the perniciously infectious delta variant.

Just seven months ago, as the COVID vaccine was being rolled out, the state was a national leader. By late June, the state’s governor, Jim Justice, a Republican, had removed a statewide mask requirement.

But West Virginia has since fallen far behind, and its pandemic status has deteriorated, a situation shared with other states with large unvaccinated populations. Just under 48% of West Virginia’s 18-and-older population is fully vaccinated, the lowest of any state, according to federal data compiled by The New York Times.

President Joe Biden tried to push the roughly 80 million eligible but unvaccinated people in the United States to be inoculated when he announced Thursday a sweeping plan that included vaccine requirements he said would cover some 100 million American workers.

Federally authorized vaccines greatly decrease the risk of hospitalization and death, even from the delta variant, according to three studies released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

West Virginia’s seven-day average of new reported cases has neared record levels for all of September, hovering above 1,500 per day for most of the past week, according to data compiled by The Times. The state recently surpassed a total of 200,000 cases, more than four times the population of Charleston, the capital and largest city.

Hospitalizations are nearing the state’s pandemic high, pushing its understaffed health centers near capacity, and record numbers of COVID patients are being treated in intensive care units. And while deaths are averaging just 12 a day, that is more than 41% of the state’s peak average for the pandemic, reached in January.

In January, when the state faced the worst conditions it had seen up to that point, West Virginia’s vaccine rollout was the envy of other states. But demand for the vaccine fell off, as it did in much of the country. Since then, Justice has turned to a number of incentive programs, including $100 savings bonds for young people and a vaccine sweepstakes.

How outrage over vaccine mandates became a mainstream GOP stance — 3:17 p.m.

By The New York Times

Like other Republican governors around the country, Tate Reeves of Mississippi reacted angrily to the coronavirus vaccine mandates President Joe Biden imposed on private businesses. Declaring the move “terrifying,” he wrote on Twitter, “This is still America, and we still believe in freedom from tyrants.”

There is a deep inconsistency in that argument. Mississippi has some of the strictest vaccine mandates in the nation, which have not drawn opposition from most of its elected officials. Not only does it require children to be vaccinated against measles, mumps and seven other diseases to attend school, but it goes a step further than most states by barring parents from claiming “religious, philosophical or conscientious” exemptions.

Resistance to vaccine mandates was once a fringe position in both parties, more the realm of misinformed celebrities than mainstream political thought. But the fury over Biden’s mandates shows how a once-extreme stance has moved to the center of the Republican Party. The governors’ opposition reflects the anger and fear about the COVID-19 vaccines among constituents now central to their base, while ignoring long-standing policy and legal precedent in favor of similar vaccination requirements.

Read more

Disney backs theatrical releases for remaining 2021 films — 2:21 p.m.

By The Associated Press

After endless disruption due to the pandemic and the super-charged growth of streaming services, moviegoing may be going back to something a little like normal.

The Walt Disney Co. on Friday announced that all of its remaining films this year will open exclusively in theaters. That includes the Marvel release “Eternals” (Nov. 5), Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel” (Oct. 15), the animated release “Ron’s Gone Wrong” (Oct. 22), Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” (Dec. 10), and the Kingsman sequel “The King’s Man” (Dec. 22).

All of the films will have a minimum run of 45 days in theaters before streaming. The animated fantasy “Encanto” (Nov. 24) will head to Disney+ after 30 days.

Read more

Northern Idaho’s anti-government streak hampers COVID fight — 1:02 p.m.

By The Associated Press

Northern Idaho has a long and deep streak of anti-government activism that has confounded attempts to battle a COVID-19 outbreak overwhelming hospitals in the deeply conservative region.

A deadly 1992 standoff with federal agents near the Canadian border helped spark an expansion of radical right-wing groups across the country and the area was for a long time the home of the Aryan Nations, whose leader envisioned a “White Homeland” in the county that is now among the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hospitals in northern Idaho are so packed with COVID-19 patients that authorities announced last week that facilities would be allowed to ration health care.

Read more

Biden to announce new international vaccine aid before UN meeting — 11:51 p.m.

By Bloomberg

President Joe Biden will announce his next steps to boost the global vaccine supply before this year’s United Nations General Assembly begins, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said.

Biden is weighing a multilateral meeting ahead of the UN leaders’ sessions aimed at vaccine supply, and has said he will announce new vaccine measures this month. Murthy told CNN on Sunday that the announcement will precede the UN sessions.

“The president will be making announcements ahead of the UN General Assembly about additional measures that we’re taking to help vaccinate the world,” Murthy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The session at which world leaders address the UN begins on Sept. 21.

Biden said on Thursday that he’d make the announcement, though hasn’t yet signaled what it will be. The U.S. has pledged to donate more than 600 million vaccine doses by mid-2022, though billions will be needed to curb the pandemic.

A New York hospital will no longer deliver babies after staffers resign over vaccine mandate — 10:45 a.m.

By The Washington Post

An Upstate New York hospital announced that it will stop delivering babies this month after several staffers in the maternity department resigned over the hospital system’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.

At least six unvaccinated maternity staffers at Lewis County General Hospital have resigned in recent days and seven others remain undecided on whether to get vaccinated, Gerald Cayer, chief executive officer of the Lewis County Health System, said at a Friday news conference. The staff shortage will result in the hospital being “unable to safely staff” the maternity department beginning Sept. 25, he said.

Cayer said 165 hospital staffers, about 27% of the workforce, remain unvaccinated. Seventy-three percent of those unvaccinated staffers provide clinical services at the hospital.

The Sept. 25 pause is scheduled two days before New York state’s deadline for health-care workers to be vaccinated if they want to continue working.

Cambodia to discuss COVID-19, trade during China minister visit — 7:36 a.m.

By Bloomberg

Cambodia will discuss the fight against COVID-19, and trade and investment with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his visit to the Southeast Asian nation.

Wang -- also a State Councilor -- is visiting the nation Sunday and Monday and will also discuss security and national defense, along with other regional and international issues when he meets Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn, according to a statement from Cambodia’s foreign ministry.

China’s foreign minister is on a six-day, four-nation tour to Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and South Korea through to Sept. 15 following invitations from the countries, according to a previous report from Xinhua News Agency.

In a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son on Saturday, Wang said he hoped the two countries could work together to oppose “politicizing and labeling” the tracing of Covid-19′s origins, Xinhua reported Sunday. The nations should also manage differences on the South China Sea with restraint and refrain from taking any action that could complicate the situation, it said.

Israel preparing for possible fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose — 6:36 a.m.

By Bloomberg

Israel is making preparations to ensure it has a sufficient vaccine supply in case a fourth round of COVID-19 shots is needed, the country’s top health official said on Sunday.

“We don’t know when it will happen; I hope very much that it won’t be within six months, like this time, and that the third dose will last for longer,” Health Ministry Director General Nachman Ash said in an interview with Radio 103FM.

Israel began a drive to administer booster shots at the beginning of August, and has so far inoculated about 2.8 million people with a third dose of coronavirus vaccine. Health officials have said that the effects of the initial shots weaken five months after inoculation, making boosters necessary.

Asked about a report that Israel had promised Pfizer Inc. that it would use the company’s vaccine exclusively, Ash said that the government had made no such undertaking. He said that people over the age of 18 who get their first shot are currently being given the Moderna Inc. vaccine.

UK abandons vaccine passports plans, health minister says — 6:31 a.m.

By Bloomberg

The UK will abandon plans to call for proof of vaccination to enter venues, and may soon drop mandatory testing for returning travelers as part of a further easing of coronavirus restrictions to be announced this week, even as cases surge.

“I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people, ‘You must show your papers’ or something to do what is just an everyday activity,” Health Minister Sajid Javid said in an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday.

“We’ve looked at it properly, and whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”

Read more

Student mocked at school board meeting after sharing that his grandmother died of COVID-19 — 6:00 a.m.

By The Washington Post

Grady Knox stepped to the lectern at the Rutherford County Board of Education meeting Tuesday to share what was at stake with a mask mandate the board was considering that evening.

Knox, a junior at Central Magnet High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn., told the board his grandmother, a former teacher in the district, had died of covid-19 last year because of lax mask rules - and was immediately jeered.

An unmasked woman seen over Knox’s shoulder smirks and shakes her head at his comment as she holds a sign that reads ‘let our kids smile.’ Another person is heard saying “no” as attendees murmur, interrupting Knox. Another voice is heard shouting “shut up,” though it’s unclear whether it was directed at Knox or his hecklers.

Read more

Bangladesh schools open, most staff vaccinated — 4:39 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Bangladesh has reopened schools and other educational institutions after 543 days of closure as its virus situation eases and more people are vaccinated.

Schools were closed on March 17, 2020, after the virus arrived in the nation of over 160 million people. Authorities decided to reopen after almost 97% of the country’s teachers and staff have been vaccinated, the government says.

Wearing masks, students arrived Sunday morning at schools that were decorated with balloons and ribbons. Many schools in the capital, Dhaka, and elsewhere gifted candies and chocolates to children.

Education Minister Dipu Moni on Sunday warned against any lax enforcement of safety measures. Initially, every class will attend once a week, authorities say.

Daily counts of deaths and positive cases have eased in recent weeks. Over last week, on average 55 people have died while daily deaths were around 250 in late July. Bangladesh has recorded 26,880 deaths and more than 1.5 million cases. The government says most Bangladeshi adults will be vaccinated by the end of this year.

Chinese city with coronavirus outbreak stops buses, trains — 2:39 a.m.

By The Associated Press

A city in southern China that is trying to contain a coronavirus outbreak told the public Sunday not to leave, suspended bus and train service, and closed cinemas, bars, and other facilities.

Anyone who needs to leave Putian, a city of 2.9 million people in Fujian province south of Shanghai, for an essential trip must have proof of a negative coronavirus test within the past 48 hours, the city government announced.

China declared the virus under control in early 2020 but has suffered outbreaks of its more contagious Delta variant. Authorities say most are traced to travelers arriving from Russia, Myanmar, and other countries.

Read more

More than 50 percent of Japan’s population vaccinated — 12:54 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Japan’s government says more than 50 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

Japan’s vaccine rollouts began in mid-February, months behind many wealthy countries due to its lengthy clinical testing requirement and approval process. Inoculations for elderly patients, which started in April, were also slowed by supply shortages of imported vaccines, but the pace picked up in late May and has since achieved 1 million doses per day.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is in charge of COVID-19 measures, told NHK public television’s weekly talk show Sunday that about 60% of the population is expected to be fully vaccinated by the end of September, on par with current levels in Europe.

The government is studying a roadmap for easing restrictions around November. That would allow fully vaccinated people and those who test negative to travel, gather for parties or attend mass events.

  Sept. 12, 2021  

New Zealand buys 500K Pfizer doses from Denmark — 10:55 p.m.

By The Associated Press

New Zealand is buying an extra 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from Denmark as it tries to keep its coronavirus vaccination program running at full speed, the government said.

The doses are on top of New Zealand’s regular shipments from Pfizer and come a few days after officials announced a similar deal with Spain for more than 250,000 extra doses. New Zealand was slow to get its vaccination program running but has seen demand spike since an outbreak of the delta variant in Auckland last month.

That had left the country in danger of running out of doses ahead of a large scheduled shipment in October. New Zealand’s government has been attempting to eliminate the virus entirely in Auckland by imposing a lockdown but is finding the delta variant hard to stamp out, with another 20 daily community cases reported on Sunday. About 54% of people in New Zealand have had at least one dose and 28% are fully vaccinated.

University of New Hampshire steps up coronavirus regulations — 10:24 p.m.

By The Associated Press

The University of New Hampshire is increasing restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus as COVID-19 cases rise on campus.

Starting Friday, students, faculty and staff were required to wear masks in all indoor campus locations except when eating, in private offices or in dorm rooms. The new requirement applies to everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated.

The university is also increasing ventilation and air exchange in campus buildings and adding plastic barriers in dining halls.

Additional restrictions are being implemented in Stokes Hall, the residence hall with the highest number of cases.

UK may scrap vaccine passports for winter — 9:11 p.m.

By Bloomberg

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce his plans Tuesday to keep Covid-19 under control over the winter and drop the need for vaccine passports that would be required for entry to nightclubs, cinemas and sports grounds, The Times reported.

Companies that now require vaccination certification will be able to continue with that, but the new “toolbox” of measures will include elements such as masks if rates soar, according to the report.

Some Iowa hospitals limit elective surgeries — 8:06 p.m.

By The Associated Press

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Hospitals in Iowa’s second-largest city are limiting elective procedures because of increased numbers of patients driven partly by a surge in COVID-19 admissions.

The Cedar Falls Gazette reports that both UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital and Mercy Medical Center confirmed Friday their facilities are preserving capacity because of high patient counts in recent weeks. Cedar Rapids hospitals had not delayed or postponed elective surgeries and procedures since last fall.

St. Luke’s is limiting surgeries that require a hospital stay to 10 per day.

Mercy officials confirmed that it also is temporarily reducing the number of elective procedures that require hospital stays after surgery.

Danny Santana tests positive for COVID-19 — 7:05 p.m.

By Amin Touri, Globe Staff

Danny Santana became the 11th Red Sox player to test positive for COVID-19 since Aug. 27 prior to Saturday’s game against the White Sox in Chicago.

The outfielder spent a couple days on the COVID-related injured list last week due to symptoms, but this time will require a longer stay after testing positive. Jack Lopez replaced him on the roster as the Red Sox looked to rebound from Friday night’s loss with Connor Seabold set to make his major league debut.

Read more

New York hospital pauses some services as staff quit over vaccine requirement — 6:13 p.m.

By Associated Press

LOWVILLE, N.Y. — An upstate New York hospital will stop delivering babies later this month, in part because of employee resignations over a requirement they be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Six maternity staff members resigned from Lewis County General Hospital during the past week, worsening an existing staff shortage, the Watertown Daily Times reported. The department has seven other unvaccinated employees who also could decide to leave, hospital officials said.

“The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital,” Chief Executive Gerald Cayer said at a news conference Friday. “It is my hope that the (state) Department of Health will work with us in pausing the service rather than closing the maternity department.”

Services also may have to be curtailed in five other departments if staff members resign rather than be vaccinated by the state’s Sept. 27 deadline for health care workers, authorities said.

Low COVID-19 teen vaccination rates plague many hard-hit Mass. communities as students start school — 4:11 p.m.

By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff

Teenagers in many of the cities and towns hardest hit by COVID-19 are getting vaccinated at alarmingly low rates, according to an analysis from a Harvard University researcher, raising concerns there could be a fresh surge in infections as schools open for in-person classes across Massachusetts.

The analysis, which focused on 42 communities that have had some of the state’s highest infection rates through most of the pandemic, found that 37 of them recorded teen vaccination rates lower, and in some cases dramatically lower, than the state average for teens.

Read more

Mississippi pregnant women hit hard by COVID — 3:46 p.m.

By Bloomberg

Pregnant women make up a third of patients in the intensive care at Mississippi’s largest hospital, the Clarion Ledger reported, quoting doctors. Four of 11 pregnant women with Covid-19 admitted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in the last three weeks died, the newspaper reported, with 10 of the 11 babies born still alive, though premature.

None of the women were vaccinated, said Rachael Morris, the hospital’s maternal-fetal medical specialist, according to the newspaper.

How Biden’s new vaccine mandate affects the NFL, MLB, and other pro sports leagues — 3:07 p.m.

By The Washington Post

Leaders of the country’s major professional sports leagues expressed little consternation over the announcement of President Joe Biden’s new vaccination mandate.

The leagues, with high vaccination rates and strict protocols featuring frequent coronavirus testing, already have enacted policies that put them in compliance with - and beyond - the administration’s new requirements. To them, Biden’s directives amount to an attempt to bring the rest of the nation closer to what the sports leagues implemented long ago to remain operational amid the pandemic.

No major pro league has instituted a vaccination requirement for its players, instead stressing education and incentives. But some leagues and teams have vaccine mandates for staffers.

Read more

Parents of young children desperately seek vaccine trials — 1:56 p.m.

By New York Times

Families are confronting difficult situations, now that most schools have reopened after as many as 13 months of remote teaching. As the highly contagious delta variant has taken hold, dozens of schools around the country have closed classrooms or paused sessions, especially in states with low vaccination rates.

Forty-eight million children in the United States are under 12 and not eligible yet for a vaccine endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration.

And about 252,000 children, including teenagers, tested positive in early September, the largest number of such cases since the start of the pandemic, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics analysis.

There’s no question that this summer has been particularly trying for parents, especially after public health experts warned that the delta variant was highly transmissible — even from vaccinated household members. Although children still are less likely than adults, especially older adults, to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19, nearly 30,000 children were admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 in August, the highest levels to date during the pandemic.

Parental anxiety has fueled the demand for slots in children’s vaccine trials and made appointments scarce. Pfizer, for instance, is fully booked in its clinical trial, a spokesperson said.

Read more

China pledges 3 million COVID vaccine shots to Vietnam — 1:24 p.m.

By Associated Press

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — China plans to donate 3 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to Vietnam, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday as he wrapped up a visit to Hanoi.

Yi’s pledge comes amid a virus lockdown in Vietnam to contain a COVID-19 surge. About 23 million Vietnamese students started a new school year earlier this week, most of them in virtual classrooms.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said Saturday that the two countries should use dialogue to work out any differences, state broadcaster VTV reported.

Vietnam has previously accused China of obstructing its gas exploration activities in the South China Sea, where Beijing has constructed several islands equipped with airstrips and military installations.

Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi was also in Hanoi on Saturday, where he signed a deal allowing Japan to give Vietnam defense equipment and technology.

Japan and Vietnam are stepping up military cooperation amid worries about China’s growing military influence. Tokyo regularly protests the China’s presence near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls Diaoyu.

Vaccine resisters seek religious exemptions. But what counts as religious? — 12:38 p.m.

New York Times

When Crisann Holmes’ employer announced last month that it would require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1, she knew she had to find a way out.

She signed a petition to ask the company to relax its mandate. She joined an informal protest, skipping work with other dissenting employees at the mental health care system where she has worked for two years. And she attempted a solution that many across the country are now exploring: a religious exemption.

“My freedom and my children’s freedom and children’s children’s freedom are at stake,” said Holmes, who lives in Indiana. In August, she submitted an exemption request she wrote herself, bolstered by her own Bible study and language from sources online. Some vaccines were developed using fetal cell lines from aborted fetuses, she wrote, citing a remote connection to a practice she finds abhorrent. She quoted a passage from the New Testament: “Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit.”

Major religious traditions, denominations and institutions are essentially unanimous in their support of the vaccines against COVID-19. But as more employers across the country begin requiring COVID vaccinations for workers, they are butting up against the nation’s sizable population of vaccine holdouts who nonetheless see their resistance in religious terms — or at least see an opportunity. Vaccine-resistant workers are sharing tips online for requesting exemptions to the requirements on religious grounds; others are submitting letters from far-flung religious authorities who have advertised their willingness to help.

COVID-19 infections spread through gorillas at Atlanta zoo — 11:28 a.m.

Associated Press

Atlanta’s zoo says at least 13 western lowland gorillas have tested positive for COVID-19, including 60-year-old Ozzie, the oldest male gorilla in captivity.

Zoo Atlanta said Friday that employees noticed the gorillas had been coughing, had runny noses and showed changes in appetite. A veterinary lab at the University of Georgia returned positive tests for the respiratory illness. Zoo Atlanta says it’s waiting on confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa.

The zoo says it is treating the gorillas at risk of developing complications from SARS-CoV-2 with monoclonal antibodies. The zoo is also testing all 20 of its gorillas, who live in four troops.

Zoo officials say they believe an asymptomatic employee who cares for the gorillas passed on the virus. The employee had been fully vaccinated and was wearing protective equipment such as a mask and gloves.

The zoo says there’s no evidence that the gorillas can pass the virus back to humans and says visitors are too far away to be infected by gorillas.

Biden’s coronavirus vaccine rules ignite instant, hot GOP opposition — 10:19 a.m.

Associated Press

President Joe Biden’s aggressive push to require millions of U.S. workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus is running into a wall of resistance from Republican leaders threatening everything from lawsuits to civil disobedience, plunging the country deeper into culture wars that have festered since the onset of the pandemic.

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster says he will fight “to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian.” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, says she is preparing a lawsuit. And J.D. Vance, a conservative running for a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, is calling on businesses to ignore mandates he describes as Washington’s “attempt to bully and coerce citizens.”

“Only mass civil disobedience will save us from Joe Biden’s naked authoritarianism,” Vance says.

Biden is hardly backing down. In a visit to a school Friday, he accused the governors of being “cavalier” with the health of young Americans, and when asked about foes who would file legal challenges, he retorted, “Have at it.”

Read more

Some federal employee groups embrace Biden’s vaccine mandate, others are lukewarm — 9:32 a.m.

Washington Post

The reaction of federal employee organizations to President Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate demonstrates it is not a simple yea or nay proposition.

A key element in his far-reaching, aggressive assault against covid-19 is a requirement for “all executive branch federal employees to be vaccinated,” he said Thursday, repeating “all” for emphasis. “And I’ve signed another executive order that will require federal contractors to do the same.”

Biden has the authority to order jabs for the 2.1 million civilian feds, noting, despite his repetition, “exceptions only as required by law.” But should he, and how should he, are issues raised by employee groups, whose reactions range from welcoming to flat-out opposing the mandate.

The reaction of federal worker groups, so far, mirrors that of American society. Those representing higher-wage earners - who tend to be more vaccine positive - have come out strongly in favor of the mandate, while organizations of lower-income workers have been less likely to embrace it outright.

Amid talk of boosters, global vaccine disparity gets sharper — 8:13 a.m.

By The Associated Press

Several hundred people line up every morning, starting before dawn, on a grassy area outside Nairobi’s largest hospital hoping to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Sometimes the line moves smoothly, while on other days, the staff tells them there’s nothing available, and they should come back tomorrow.

Halfway around the world, at a church in Atlanta, two workers with plenty of vaccine doses waited hours Wednesday for anyone to show up, whiling away the time by listening to music from a laptop. Over a six-hour period, only one person came through the door.

The dramatic contrast highlights the vast disparity around the world. In richer countries, people can often pick and choose from multiple available vaccines, walk into a site near their homes and get a shot in minutes. Pop-up clinics, such as the one in Atlanta, bring vaccines into rural areas and urban neighborhoods, but it is common for them to get very few takers.

Read more

Crowded stadiums, pandemic create combustible mix this fall — 8:08 a.m.

By The Associated Press

More than 65,000 fans packed a stadium in Tampa to watch Tom Brady lead the Buccaneers to a win in the NFL’s season opener, just hours after President Joe Biden announced a sweeping new plan to slow the latest COVID-19 surge.

Most people at the open-air stadium Thursday night didn’t wear masks. There was no vaccine requirement for fans, something Biden has urged sports and entertainment venues to impose. Many other football stadiums are taking a similarly lax approach to pandemic measures this fall, and that worries health experts.

This fall’s crowded college and professional football stadiums could create ripe conditions for COVID-19 to spread among unvaccinated fans, experts say.

Read more

With more doses, Uganda takes vaccination drive to markets — 3:53 a.m.

By The Associated Press

At a taxi stand by a bustling market in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, traders simply cross a road or two, get a shot in the arm and rush back to their work.

Until this week, vaccination centers were based mostly in hospitals in this East African country that faced a brutal COVID-19 surge earlier this year.

Now, more than a dozen tented sites have been set up in busy areas to make it easier to get inoculated in Kampala as health authorities team up with the Red Cross to administer more than 120,000 doses that will expire at the end of September.

Read more

Unions split on vaccine mandates, complicating Biden push — 12:31 a.m.

By The Associated Press

The National Nurses Union applauded President Joe Biden’s proposal to require that companies with more than 100 employees vaccinate their work force. The American Federation of Teachers once said vaccine mandates weren’t necessary, but now embraces them. In Oregon, police and firefighter unions are suing to block a mask mandate for state workers.

The labor movement is torn over vaccine requirements — much like the country as a whole — wanting to both support its political ally in Biden and protect its members against infection but also not wanting to trample their workers’ rights.

“Labor unions are a microcosm of the society we live in,” said Patricia Campos-Medina, executive director of Cornell University’s The Worker Institute. “The same political divide we have right now exists within the rank and file of unions.”

Read more


More from The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon