Those famous shops on Rodeo Drive are not only expensive, they’ll soon be unavailable to the unvaccinated. The same goes for indoor restaurants, coffee shops and malls in Los Angeles.
The L.A. City Council on Wednesday approved one of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates, requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination starting Nov. 4 for admittance into a host of indoor businesses and facilities. The vote was 11-2 in favor.
Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed his support for a vaccine measure last week, saying: “I don’t want to bury another city employee, police officer, firefighter.”
The ordinance would require those 12 and older to be fully vaccinated to enter indoor public venues such as shopping centers, movie theaters, restaurants, bars, sports arenas, museums, city facilities and other locales. People with religious or medical exemptions would have to present a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours to gain entry.
COVID-19 cases have been dwindling across the nation, and 69% of the 10 million residents of Los Angeles County — whose vaccination rules are not as strict as the city’s — are fully vaccinated.
But City Council members who support the ordinance said it is aimed at reducing the risk of new COVID-19 surges. The country’s second-most populous city faced a huge rise in infections and hospitalizations last winter and a smaller surge this summer linked to the delta variant.
Also in the news:
►Health care giant Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, has put more than 2,200 employees nationwide — a little over 1% of its workforce — on unpaid leave after they chose not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. The employees have until Dec. 1 to get vaccinated to be able to return to work.
►An Indiana man who taped a video urging others to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after he fell ill has died. Mark Green, 58, said he didn’t get the vaccine because he was afraid of its long-term effects. “Once I got sick, I kind of realized it didn’t matter what happens down the road,” he told the Indianapolis Star. “It matters what happens now.”
►Sweden and Denmark said Wednesday that they were suspending use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children as a precautionary measure because of rare cases of heart inflammation occurring after vaccination. Sweden’s decision extends to all people born in 1991 and later.
►In a memo to the FBI and state attorneys general, Attorney General Merrick said the “disturbing spike” in harassment, intimidation and threats against school board members and staff should be discouraged and prosecuted when appropriate. The clashes have centered on COVID-19 protocols as well as how classrooms address race and equity.
►New York City’s vaccination mandate for school staff survived a court challenge Tuesday while hospitals across the state reported few disruptions to their services because of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 43 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 705,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 236 million cases and 4.8 million deaths. More than 186 million Americans – 56.4% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘What we’re reading: For over a year, the pandemic has forced parents to do full-time child care and house chores alongside their regular jobs. While most of this extra workload has fallen on women, an unprecedented number of men are spending more time at home than ever before, sometimes taking on full-time childcare because they lost their jobs or earned less than their partners. Read more here.
Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
The Biden administration is betting big on rapid home tests as a valuable weapon against the pandemic, announcing a $1 billion commitment Wednesday to quadruple the nation’s supply of these tests by early December.
The administration has secured commitments from manufacturers to supply up to 200 million home tests per month by December, said Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.
These inexpensive tests, which have been in short supply, are not as accurate as PCR tests but can help people quickly determine whether they have been infected with the coronavirus, especially when they’re most contagious.
Last month, the Biden administration announced it would spend nearly $2 billion to purchase about 280 million coronavirus home tests to supply long-term-care facilities, community testing sites, homeless shelters, prisons, jails and other centers that serve vulnerable populations.
— Ken Alltucker
A Maryland man charged in three murders allegedly killed his brother, a pharmacist, because he was administering COVID-19 vaccines, the Baltimore Sun reports.
The newspaper says Jeffrey Burnham believed his older brother, Brian Robinette, was poisoning people with the vaccines. Police say Burnham stabbed a woman to death Sept. 29 and stole her car, driving it to Robinette’s house in Ellicott City and killing him and his wife, Kelly Sue Robinette, the next day.
Burnham, 46, is being held without bond in Allegany County on first- and second-degree murder charges.
Children make up 22% of the U.S. population but account for 27% of coronavirus cases nationwide, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Monday.
The organization said the number of children receiving their first COVID-19 vaccines this week was the lowest since vaccines became available and has been trending downward for almost two months.
Kids make up less than 1% of COVID-19 deaths, the AAP said, but there isn’t much data about the long-term effects of the coronavirus on children. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 5.9 million children have tested positive for COVID-19, and less than half of eligible children have been fully inoculated.
Children ages 5 to 11 – making up 14.5% of the U.S. population – are not yet approved to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but recent action by the Food and Drug Administration suggests that may change soon. The FDA scheduled a meeting of the independent committee that advises the administration on vaccine and drug approvals for the end of October.
The U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Monday asking why his agency hasn’t submitted a plan for $7 billion in federal aid for local schools.
The state received the two-thirds of the money but failed to provide a plan by the June 1 deadline and also blew past July and August submission timelines after talking with state Department of Education staff. Upon approval of the plan, the state would receive the remaining $2.3 billion.
Florida is the only state that hasn’t filed a plan for that money. Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis, said “no district has articulated a need for funding that cannot be met with currently available resources.”
But districts around the state need billions to cover COVID-19 leave to pay employees to stay home, install air purifiers and upgrade HVAC systems to improve air quality because of COVID, said Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Educators Association, the state’s teachers union and largest association of professional employees.
– Jeffrey Schweers, Florida Capital Bureau
As the academic year is underway, schools and parents are still burdened by COVID-19 cases, contact tracing and quarantines. Remote learning has returned in some cases. In others, kids are back to sitting at home without work. Unlike last year, most classrooms are open, but they’re operating amid shifting health recommendations and, often, fights over masks.
When will school be normal again? Many educators, parents and students are looking past the health hurdles and saying: Never.
While the pandemic has worsened inequities in many ways, schools of all kinds have seen “some terrific adaptations during the pandemic that previously we’d been unwilling to embrace,” said Paul Reville, a professor at Harvard University who directs the Education Redesign Lab.
Experts believe some of the 2020-spurred jolts to the system will stick permanently, thrusting education into a more personalized, modernized, responsive space that sets up more students for success through high school and beyond. Read more here.
– Erin Richards
An Australia-based company is recalling hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests after discovering some Ellume COVID-19 home tests deliver higher-than-anticipated false positive results.
Ellume became the first company to gain FDA authorization to sell consumers kits at major retailers such as Walmart, CVS, Target and Amazon. The kits don’t require a prescription and deliver results in minutes.
But the company discovered false positive results at higher rates than its original clinical studies showed and “isolated the cause and confirmed that this incidence of false positives is limited to specific lots.”
Ellume has recalled 43 lots shipped from April through August to retailers, distributors and the Department of Defense. The company said affected customers will be notified through the Ellume COVID-19 home test app. Within two weeks, the company will email consumers who tested positive with a recalled product, the company said.
– Ken Alltucker
Gov. Doug Ducey’s programs that reward school districts for not imposing COVID-19- related mandates violate federal rules, and Treasury officials warned Tuesday that they may claw back federal stimulus dollars unless the state makes changes.
Before Arizona received an initial $2 billion payment from the American Rescue Plan, the state agreed to follow spending terms that included combatting “fiscal effects stemming from the COVID-19 public health emergency, including by supporting efforts to stop the spread of the virus,” the Treasury Department’s second-in-command wrote in a letter to Ducey on Tuesday.
But two programs announced by Ducey in August “undermine evidence-based efforts” to stop the coronavirus and are “not a permissible use” of the money, the letter reads. At least $173 million was set aside for those programs.
Federal Treasury officials gave Ducey 30 days to “remediate the issues” with those programs. The penalty for not doing so could include Arizona having to repay federal dollars it received, according to the Treasury letter signed by Deputy Secretary Adewale “Wally” O. Adeyemo.
– Stacey Barchenger, Arizona Republic
Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, who had become a face of vaccine resistance in the sports world, explained why he got the COVID-19 vaccine, saying he felt “forced” to receive the shot. Wiggins had declined to take the shot and risked forfeiting half his $31.5 million salary for the 2021-22 season if he didn’t.
The city of San Francisco, where the Warriors play their home games, mandates that anyone over 12 years old must be vaccinated to attend indoor events. At the Chase Center, Golden State players will need proof of vaccination to enter the building.
“The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA,” Wiggins said Monday. “It was a tough decision. Hopefully, it works out in the long run and in 10 years I’m still healthy.”
Wiggins said he got the Johnson & Johnson shot and added he is the only one in his family who is vaccinated.
– Scooby Axson, USA TODAY
New Jersey’s largest health care system, Hackensack Meridian Health, said Tuesday that more than 99% of its 36,000 employees now are either fully vaccinated or have received their first of two shots for COVID-19.
In the largest example of the effectiveness of employer vaccine requirements in New Jersey, that represents a 28% increase since the system informed employees of the requirement in July. An additional 10,080 people have become at least partially vaccinated.
Hackensack Meridian provides care at 17 hospitals, 12 nursing homes, three assisted living facilities and hundreds of other sites from Bergen to Atlantic counties. Everyone from janitors to heart surgeons, per diem employees to full-time staff, was required to comply with the vaccine requirement. One shot was required by Oct.1, and Nov. 15 is the deadline for full vaccination.
– Lindy Washburn, The Bergen Record