Goldman Sachs Mandates Vaccines; Fauci on Boosters: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- The effectiveness of vaccines among front-line workers declined to 66% after the delta variant became dominant, compared with 91% before it arose, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To fight the spread of delta, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is requiring masks and vaccines at its U.S. offices.
White House Covid adviser Anthony Fauci said a third vaccine dose from Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE or Moderna Inc. could lead to lasting protection. The U.S. will increase payments for health-care providers to deliver vaccines at home.
Israel lowered the minimum age for boosters to 30 from 40. The number of U.K. workers going to the office is increasing.
NRA Cancels Houston Annual Meeting (4:30 p.m. NY)
The National Rifle Association has cancelled what is usually the largest event on its annual calendar for the second year in a row because of the pandemic.
The annual meeting, was scheduled to take place in Houston, Texas, over the Labor Day weekend. Last year’s meeting was supposed to be in Nashville until it too was scrapped over health concerns. In the past the annual meetings have been heavily promoted to the NRA’s roughly 5 million members, filling large convention centers with attendees and exhibitors.
This year’s cancellation follows pressure to scrap the event from gun manufacturers who had signed up to exhibit at the event, the Daily Beast reported.
Goldman Sachs Mandates Masks, Vaccines (4:25 p.m. NY)
Two months after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. led Wall Street’s return to the office, it’s copying pages from the pandemic playbooks of its more cautious rivals, requiring employees to don masks and prove they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter the U.S. workplaces.
The more stringent safety measures, announced to staff on Tuesday, signals escalating caution at Goldman, which greeted the return of employees in June with live music and food trucks. Masks will be required starting Wednesday regardless of vaccination status, a company spokeswoman said. People who aren’t fully vaccinated by Sept. 7 will be expected to work from home, she said.
Goldman’s decision means all six U.S. banking giants have now instituted some sort of broad mandate that employees get shots or don masks inside buildings -- or in some cases do both. The move was reported earlier by the New York Times.
New N.Y. Governor Orders School Masks (3:30 p.m. NY)
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Monday she would institute a mask mandate for students at schools in the state and require staff to be vaccinated against Covid or tested weekly.
Hochul, in her first address after being sworn in at midnight, said she would make her first priority the safety of New Yorkers, especially children.
The 62-year-old Democrat said she would issue updated guidelines for Covid-19, particularly for schools, expedite aid to New Yorkers in need of rental assistance, and work to reform ethics in Albany.
Vaccine Efficacy Wanes From Delta, CDC Says (1 p.m. NY)
The effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines among front-line workers declined to 66% after the delta variant became dominant, compared with 91% before it arose, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The vaccines are still protective, the CDC said. The finding must be interpreted with caution, as vaccine effectiveness might wane over time and the estimates of efficacy were imprecise.
U.S. Boosts Pay for In-Home Shots (11:30 a.m. NY)
The U.S. will increase payments for health-care providers to deliver Covid-19 vaccines at home. Medicare will pay $75 per dose, up from $40, for at-home vaccinations, the agency said Tuesday. The policy is intended to boost vaccinations “including second and third doses” for homebound Medicare beneficiaries, including those in group homes, assisted living, and other settings.
Greece Posts Biggest 1-Day Case Jump (11 a.m. NY)
Greece reported 4,608 new coronavirus cases, the biggest one-day jump since the beginning of the pandemic. Earlier, the country’s health minister announced measures for the upcoming autumn/winter period that target unvaccinated people, including a ban on entering indoor areas of eateries and entertainment venues, as well as all sports fields or stadiums. The Greek authorities fear a further increase in cases as people return to mainland urban areas from summer vacations on islands such as Crete, where the virus has spread throughout the holiday period.
Deloitte to Require Staff Vaccinations (11 a.m. NY)
Professional services firm Deloitte will require vaccination against Covid-19 for employees to enter its office beginning Oct. 11.
The requirement will go into effect seven weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine, the company said in a statement. Workers will have to disclose their vaccination status on a secure Deloitte website, Joe Ucuzoglu, chief executive officer of Deloitte US, said in an email to staff.
Occidental Extends Work-From-Home Plan (10:20 a.m. NY)
Occidental Petroleum Corp. is extending the work-from-home option through at least the end of October amid surging Covid-19 infections across the U.S. South.
U.S.-based employees that need to go into offices must be vaccinated or take weekly virus tests, the company said in an email. Occidental is headquartered in Houston, and it also has large offices in The Woodlands, a suburb north of the city.
Israel Lowers Minimum Age for Booster Jab (9:28 a.m. NY)
Israel expanded its coronavirus booster drive, lowering the minimum age for the shot to 30 from 40 previously, the health ministry said.
Israel started inoculations with third vaccine dose at the beginning of the month, starting with people over the age of 60, and has now administered the booster to more than 1.5 million people.
Swiss Hospitalizations Surge, Vaccinations Lag (9:25 a.m. NY)
The number of hospitalizations has surged 30-fold since the beginning of July, said Patrick Mathys of the Federal Office of Public Health. Nine out of 10 hospitalizations could have been avoided with a vaccine, officials said. The fourth wave is coming two months early and patients are much younger.
Officials urged the public to get vaccinated. Switzerland has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, with less than 57% having received at least one shot. The country recommends giving young adults from the age of 12 an mRNA jab. The situation has changed with the delta variant, which is as contagious as chickenpox, one official said.
Mauritius Eases Travel Restrictions (9:17 a.m. NY)
The tourism-dependent Indian Ocean island of Mauritius will ease travel restrictions starting Sept. 1 as 56% of its population has been vaccinated. Inoculated visitors with a negative PCR test on arrival will have to spend seven days in a special resort bubble hotel, down from the current 14 days, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority said. A full reopening of the borders is envisaged for Oct. 1.
Third Virus Shot May Bring Lasting Protection (7:30 a.m. NY)
Anthony Fauci said a third vaccine dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine could lead to lasting levels of protection against the virus. Speaking on MSNBC, he said that “it’s entirely conceivable” that a third dose “very well may allow for a rather prolonged period of protection.” He added that this means booster shots may not be needed “indefinitely.”
Scotland May Reimpose Restrictions (7:23 a.m. NY)
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her government could reimpose coronavirus restrictions amid a record number of new daily cases. The country of 5.5 million people reported 4,323 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest daily number since the start of the pandemic.
Singapore’s Infected Workers Fully Vaccinated (6:42 a.m. NY)
Migrant workers who recently tested positive for the coronavirus in a dormitory in Singapore were all fully vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Manpower.
All the 62 individuals were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. They’ve been moved to a health-care facility for further treatment and care.
France Recommends Extra Shot for Elderly (6:26 a.m. NY)
A French health body recommended administering an extra vaccine shot 65-year-olds and above, as well as for those with health conditions. It recommended giving the booster shots from the end of October. The extra jab will likely to become necessary for other parts of population, it said, but it’s too early to say for whom or when.
Iran Virus Casualties at Record (6:03 a.m. NY)
Iran’s death toll rose by 709 over the last 24 hours, the highest on record and up from the previous peak of 684 fatalities reported on Sunday. The number of new infections rose by 40,623 overnight, up from 38,657 yesterday. The country has suffered 103,357 deaths from Covid-19 and registered a total of 4.76 million cases.
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