New York to become first major US city to require vaccination proof for indoor activities: COVID-19 updates
New York City will soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for people to enter indoor restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues, a move endorsed by President Joe Biden, who on Tuesday continued to push for more Americans to get vaccinated.
New York's new requirement, the first of its kind in a major U.S. city, will go into effect Aug. 16, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
“The goal here is to convince everyone that this is the time,'' de Blasio said. "If we’re going to stop the delta variant, the time is now.''
Later in the day, Biden pointed out infections in the U.S. will continue to rise in the coming weeks because of the delta variant, which he said "is moving like wildfire through the unvaccinated community,'' calling the development a "largely preventable tragedy.''
The U.S. reported 599,334 new cases in the week ending Sunday. A week earlier, cases numbered 364,123. The country is now recording about 2,500 deaths per week.
The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Florida rose to an all-time high of 11,515 patients in one day, according to from data the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And Texas now has more total statewide deaths than New York, the early epicenter of the pandemic in the nation.
Florida and Texas accounted for one-third of all the COVID-19 cases reported last week, according to the White House.
Biden also announced Tuesday that the U.S. has donated more than 110 million vaccine doses to over 60 countries. He assured Americans there's plenty of supply available for them and said helping fight off the virus in the rest of the world is in the nation's best interests.
"The virus knows no boundaries,'' Biden said. "There's no wall high enough or ocean wide enough to keep us safe from COVID-19 in other countries.''
Also in the news:
►Meat processor Tyson Foods said it will mandate all of its 120,000 U.S. employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, becoming one of the first major employers of front-line workers to do so. In addition, Microsoft said it will require proof of vaccination for all employees, vendors and visitors to its U.S. offices starting in September.
►Israel will require all people arriving from the United States and 17 other countries, regardless of vaccination status, to quarantine for two weeks starting Aug. 11.
►McDonald’s said it will require employees and customers to resume wearing masks inside some U.S. restaurants regardless of vaccination status. Home Depot, Lowes and Target have also put in place mask mandates for workers.
►Japan is now publicly shaming people who violate COVID-19 rules. The health ministry shared the names of three people who officials said clearly acted to avoid contact with authorities after returning to the country.
►Sixteen destinations – Andorra, Curaçao, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Iran, Ireland, Isle of Man, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Libya, Malta, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands – were added to the CDC's "Level 4: COVID-19 Very High" travel list.
📈Today's numbers: The U.S. has had more than 35.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 614,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 199.3 million cases and 4.24 million deaths. More than 165 million Americans – 49.7% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘What we're reading: After more than 18 months of a pandemic, with 1 of every 545 Americans killed by COVID-19, a substantial chunk of the population continues to assert their own individual liberties over the common good. Read the full story.
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US reports 620,226 new coronavirus cases in a week, one case every second
The United States is again reporting more than one new coronavirus case every second, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The new data released through Tuesday night shows at least 620,226 new coronavirus cases reported in the latest week, much more than the 604,800 seconds in that week. The U.S. hadn't hit that mark since Feb. 14, Valentine's Day.
At its worst, the country was reporting nearly 3 cases every second on average in mid-January.
- Mike Stucka
Targeted moratorium bans evictions in areas of high virus transmission
President Joe Biden's administration on Tuesday issued a targeted moratorium on evictions in areas hardest hit by the coronavirus, replacing a nationwide evictions freeze that expired Saturday.
Biden said at a Tuesday news briefing that he hoped the moratorium would apply to about 90% of American renters, but he left the details up to the CDC, which had issued the action that expired at the end of July.
The new action, which Biden called a "safety valve,'' will last 60 days and figures to buy time before previously approved federal rental assistance funds start to flow.
Mandates by Texas jurisdictions clash with governor's anti-mask order
A mask mandate imposed on Houston city workers while they're on the job may run afoul of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s most recent executive order banning such requirements.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner issued the mandate Monday because of a “recent uptick in positive COVID-19 cases in our community and in our workplace linked to the new delta variant.”
Hospitalizations have been rising across Texas – they were up to 6,853 Monday, the highest figure since Feb. 22 – as the delta variant continues to spread.
In Dallas County, an administrative court judge decreed that anyone entering a county courthouse must be wearing a mask to be admitted.
However, Abbott last month repeated his executive order banning mask mandates by any state, county or local government entity. He has previously said that local governments attempting to impose mask mandates could be fined up to $1,000.
Florida public schools say they can’t require students to wear masks
Florida school districts can't legally enforce a mask requirement because of Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order forbidding it, officials said Monday, despite calls by many parents and doctors to have all students on district campuses wear facial coverings when classes begin next month.
Florida hit 11,515 hospitalized patients Tuesday, breaking last year’s record for the third straight day, but DeSantis reiterated his vow not to impose a mask mandate or any business restrictions.
The Republican governor signed an order empowering the state’s Board of Education to withhold funding from districts that enforce a mask mandate. Palm Beach County School Board attorneys concluded that DeSantis’ executive order last week makes it impossible to enforce a mask mandate for students, the school board’s chairman said.
While the governor’s order doesn’t stop a school district from putting a requirement in place, “what it does do, however, is authorize parents to disregard any Board action requiring mandatory masking of their children,” School Board Chairman Frank Barbieri said in a statement.
– Andrew Marra, Palm Beach Post
US shares its vaccine bounty with dozens of countries
The 110 million-plus vaccine doses the U.S. is donating to more than 60 countries, part of an effort to halt the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, came from surplus vaccine stock as domestic demand slowed. Most of the shots were distributed through a global vaccine program called COVAX.
President Joe Biden pledged to ship more than 80 million doses overseas by the end of June but had only been able to share a fraction of that because of logistical and regulatory hurdles in recipient countries. At the end of this month, the U.S. will begin shipping 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine that are pledged to nearly 100 low- and middle-income countries by June 2022, according to a White House statement.
"Vaccinating America and helping vaccinate the world, that's how we're going to beat this thing,'' Biden said at a Tuesday briefing.
Domestically, the U.S. reports nearly 347 million vaccine doses have been administered. Of those, 468,000 were given Monday, including 320,000 first-time shots, COVID-19 Data Director Cyrus Shahpar said on Twitter. The seven-day average of newly vaccinated Americans was the highest since July 4.
Mask opponents at risk after virus case at Missouri meeting
Many people were maskless as they expressed their displeasure with a mask mandate during a boisterous, four-hour-long St. Louis County Council meeting last week, and now contact tracers are trying to determine whether anyone picked up the coronavirus after someone at the meeting tested positive for COVID-19.
The delta variant of the coronavirus that emerged in rural areas of Missouri has made its way to urban areas, prompting new mask mandates in St. Louis city and county last month and one that began Monday in Kansas City. The St. Louis County mandate was the subject of a turbulent meeting last Tuesday. Democratic County Executive Sam Page said Monday that many of those who spoke and attended ignored the mandate that requires masks in indoor public places.
"Yes, it's unfortunate that many of those Tuesday night ignored the law, but that's what happened," Page said during a live-streamed video from his home. "As a result, this is where we are, wondering how many people were exposed to the virus and how many will become sick from the virus."
Contributing: The Associated Press.