U.S. Belatedly Hits Biden 70% Goal; Bay Area Masks: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- Seventy percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a key milestone in the fight against the pandemic that comes almost a month later than President Joe Biden’s original goal.
San Francisco and its surrounding counties are reinstating mask requirements in indoor public spaces for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. New York City ‘strongly’ recommended wearing masks indoors, though no mandate was issued.
China is confronting its broadest coronavirus outbreak since the pathogen emerged in late 2019, with cases now in 14 of 32 provinces. India is likely to see a new, though smaller, wave of infections, according to the forecaster who accurately predicted India’s Covid peak earlier this year. Pakistan will tighten curbs in major cities.
- Global Tracker: Cases top 198.5 million; deaths pass 4.2 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 4.13 billion doses administered
- Hospital staffing shortages rise sharply in Florida as beds fill
- In Provincetown, Covid hits 14 friends in show of delta’s might
- Are Covid shots working? What the real world tells us: QuickTake
- Here’s what major U.S. companies have said about latest policies
FDA Reviewing Vaccine ‘With Speed and Urgency’ (5:25 p.m. NY)
Peter Marks, head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration division reviewing Pfizer Inc.’s application for full approval of its vaccine, said in an interview that the agency is moving with urgency to reach a decision on the matter.
“I hope not to disappoint the president,” Marks said when asked if he will meet President Joe Biden’s timeline for approval by September or October. “Everyone here understands the need to do this with the same care and rigor that we always do, and also with speed and urgency, given that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.”
Marks said the U.S. is experiencing a “very real fourth wave” and also spoke about how the FDA will decide whether booster shots are needed.
Cases Jump in Africa’s Biggest City (4:13 p.m. NY)
A jump in Covid-19 deaths over the past week in Lagos, Africa’s biggest city, is a “worrying trend” and steps need to be taken to reverse rising infection rates, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Nigeria’s Lagos State, said. The positivity rate of those tested has risen eightfold to 8.9% over the past month and six people are dying on average every day at isolation centers in the city, he said in a statement on Monday. “The situation at hand should rightly alarm all of us,” he said.
Louisiana Reinstates Indoor Mark Mandate (4:10 p.m. NY)
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards reinstated an indoor mask mandate for everyone in the state age 5 and older.
“Louisiana is currently in the worst surge of the Covid-19 pandemic so far in terms of case growth rate, percent positivity and hospitalizations,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. The new mask mandate will stay in effect until at least Sept. 1.
Biden Asks CDC to Consider Evictions Moratorium (4 p.m. NY)
President Joe Biden asked the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention to consider another extension of an evictions moratorium, but the agency’s leaders haven’t been able to legally justify it, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Biden made the request Sunday, after a ban on evictions the CDC imposed during the pandemic expired the day before.
GOP Senator Graham Tests Positive (3:25 p.m. NY)
Senator Lindsey Graham said he tested positive for Covid-19 despite being vaccinated, becoming at least the third member of Congress to recently report an infection.
The South Carolina Repubican said in a statement that he began having “flu-like” symptoms on Saturday and that he will quarantine for 10 days.
Bay Area Reinstates Mask Mandate (3:14 p.m. NY)
San Francisco and its surrounding counties are reinstating mask requirements in indoor public spaces for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, after a surge in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.
Seven counties in the Bay Area adopted the new orders, including Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara and San Mateo, along with the city of Berkeley. The mandate takes effect Tuesday at 12:01 a.m., health officials said in a statement Monday.
Related Makes Vaccines Mandatory for Staff (2:40 p.m. NY)
Related Cos., the developer of the Hudson Yards mega-project on Manhattan’s West Side, will fire employees that haven’t had at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot by the end of the month.
In April, Related told employees that they intended to make vaccines mandatory once there was enough supply, according to Jon Weinstein, a spokesman for the firm. Corporate staff were required to get to their first shot by June 1, and the new mandate applies to site and building staff. There are exceptions for medical or religious reasons.
Denver Mayor Orders Shots for City Workers (2:10 p.m. NY)
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock ordered all of the city’s 10,000 municipal workers to be vaccinated by the end of September as Covid-19 delta variant infections accelerate. “No one wants to relive the horrors of last year,” Hancock said at a news conference Monday. The order also applies to private sector workers in hospitals, nursing homes and related institutions, Hancock said.
Facebook to Require Workers to Wear Masks (2:03 p.m. NY)
Facebook will require all people working at its U.S. campuses to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status effective Aug. 3.
“The health and safety of our employees and neighbors in the community remains our top priority. Given the rising numbers of Covid cases, the newest data on Covid variants, and an increasing number of local requirements, we are reinstating our mask requirement in all of Facebook’s U.S. offices, regardless of an employee’s vaccination status,” said Chloe Meyere, a company spokesperson.
Pakistan to Tighten Restrictions (2:02 p.m. NY)
Pakistan plans to tighten rules in bigger cities this month to avert a likely fourth coronavirus wave as the delta variant spreads. Curbs include closing markets at 8 p.m. and halving in-office attendance, Planning Minister Asad Umar said at a news conference Monday. The new rules run Aug. 3 to Aug. 31.
N.J. Orders Hospital, Jail Staff to Vaccinate (2 p.m. NY)
People who work in New Jersey state hospitals, nursing homes and jails must be vaccinated or face mandatory Covid-19 testing, Governor Phil Murphy announced.
Full compliance is required by Sept. 7, Murphy said Monday at a press briefing. Private employers are encouraged to implement tougher standards, he said.
Equinox, SoulCycle in NYC to Require Proof (1:10 p.m. NY)
The owner of Equinox gyms and SoulCycle studios will require employees and members to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination beginning next month.
The effort will begin with New York City locations before similar policies are rolled out in all of its markets, Equinox Group said Monday in a statement. The company will require one-time proof in the form of a physical immunization card, a photo of such a card or a digital vaccine card. Equinox said it will work to find alternative solutions for individuals who require medical or religious accommodations.
U.S. Hits Biden 70% Goal a Month Late (1 p.m. NY)
Seventy percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a key milestone in the fight against the pandemic that the country hit nearly a month later than President Joe Biden had hoped.
After falling dramatically since April, the pace of U.S. vaccinations has recently accelerated due to the rapid spread of the delta variant of coronavirus. The U.S. was averaging more than 72,000 new infections a day in a delta-fueled resurgence of the virus as of Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
NYC Stops Short of Mask Mandate (10:55 a.m. NY)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is “strongly” recommending that even those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 wear masks indoors, stopping short of mandating such face coverings.
The mayor’s suggestion Monday comes as the nation deals with a new wave of coronavirus cases due to the delta variant.
The mayor has focused heavily on the vaccination effort as a way to fight the surge and said newly hired city workers will now have to be vaccinated before they can start on the job.
N.Y. Tightens Vaccine, Testing Policy (10:11 a.m. NY)
Governor Cuomo wants workers at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to be vaccinated or get tested regularly in an effort to stem a surge of cases linked to the delta variant.
At a press briefing on Monday, Cuomo urged city and town leaders to follow revised masking guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying the state can’t do so without a new law.
Cuomo also urged private businesses, including bars and restaurants, to only allow vaccinated people.
“I believe it is in your business interest to run a vaccine-only admission,” the governor said.
Kenya OKs Two Vaccines for Emergency Use (9:19 a.m. NY)
Kenya approved the emergency use of Johnson & Johnson and the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines.
The East African nation expects to receive 13 million J&J doses starting this month. Kenya’s plan to inoculate its entire adult population of 26 million people by end of 2022 is reliant on J&J vaccines.
About 10 million people will be vaccinated by the end of December, President Uhuru Kenyatta said last month. Kenya has so far inoculated less than 2.5% of its population of approximately 53 million people, using mostly doses from AstraZeneca.
Slovakia Starts Vaccine Incentive Lottery (6:28 a.m. NY)
The Slovak Finance Ministry started a vaccine lottery. A weekly draw among those who are fully vaccinated will have the highest prize of 100,000 euros ($119,000) and the total budget allocated for the program amounts to 10 million euros. Slovakia has vaccinated 39% of its population, less than the EU average.
Germany Looks to Vaccinate Teens (6:17 a.m. NY)
The German government’s desire to make the vaccine available to a younger set of the population goes beyond advice published by the government’s independent vaccine commission. The authority, known as STIKO, recommends inoculating 12- to 17-year-olds whose pre-existing conditions put them at heightened risk from the coronavirus -- or those who are in regular contact with people who are in particular danger.
Germany’s weekly case average of 2,195 was the highest since July 12, the Robert Koch-Institut said. The seven-day incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants rose to 17.5, the 26th consecutive gain.
As of Friday, 52% of the German population was fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and just under 62% had received at least one shot, according to the latest health ministry data.
Iran Daily Cases Rise to Record (6:10 a.m. NY)
Iran reported 37,189 new Covid-19 cases over the last 24 hours, the country’s highest case count since the start of the pandemic.
The death toll rose by 411 overnight, the highest since April 28, bringing the country’s coronavirus fatalities to 91,407, with more than 3.9 million infections.
France Optimistic About Collective Immunity (6:08 a.m. NY)
The head of France’s vaccination strategy council said collective immunity, representing as many as 90% of French who are older than 12 and are vaccinated, could be reached by early fall.
Speaking in an interview with French radio RTL on Monday, Alain Fischer called the current vaccination pace “very fast” and that those who are still reluctant to get the shot must be convinced. Fischer said a third injection might be possible for those who are immuno-depressed and those above the age of 75 to 80.
As of Aug. 1, as many as 63.2% of the French had received one vaccine shot, while 52.6% are fully vaccinated, according to the French health ministry.
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