Florida School Fight Raises Back-to-Normal Stakes: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- Florida is set to start withholding state funding from two school districts that have instituted mask mandates for students, as politicians, judges and parents around the nation battle over how children should return to school.
Two U.S. courts have issued preliminary wins for mask-wearing advocates, but the underlying legal issues remain unresolved. Salt Lake City’s mayor defied a Utah state law and mandated masks in schools, saying a public health issue had become “politicized.”
Israel will offer a third vaccine dose to people aged 40 and above as new cases remain stubbornly high. AstraZeneca Plc’s antibody cocktail was found to be 77% effective in preventing symptomatic illness in high-risk people.
- Global Tracker: Cases top 210.4 million; deaths pass 4.4 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 4.85 billion doses administered
- U.S. Spotlight: Delta wave in U.S. northeast may be nearing peak
- Biden ‘warning shot’ on mask-mandate bans hints at fights ahead
- As Covid lingers, Mastercard revamps NYC offices for a new era
- Surging delta cases reverse the world’s march back to the office
Mississippi Hits Record (4:20 p.m. NY)
Earlier this week, Mississippi reported a record for deaths, and health officials said 20,000 students have been quarantined with the virus or for exposure to it.
Salt Lake City Mayor Mandates School Masking (3:49 p.m. NY)
Salt Lake City’s mayor issued a mask mandate for all school students, defying a Utah state law that bans mandatory masking rules unless approved by local bodies.
“As Mayor, it is my responsibility to do everything I can to keep our City, and our school district, from going down the tragic and dangerous path many others are on,” Erin Mendenhall wrote in a statement. She said the issue had become “politicized,” after the local school board refused to back her request for a mandate.
Boston Mandates Masks (2:06 p.m. NY)
Boston issued a mask mandate for public places indoors, as 50,000 college students arrive in the city and another 50,000 public school students return to the classrooms.
Evictions Fight May Go to Supreme Court (1:55 p.m. NY)
A U.S. appeals court rejected an emergency motion to halt the national ban on evictions, clearing the way for the case to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A trio of judges denied a bid by the Alabama Association of Realtors to suspend an earlier court ruling that allowed the eviction moratorium to continue. The ruling comes one week after U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich rejected their plea to block the new eviction moratorium established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even as she voiced concerns over the legality of the policy. The ban was extended by the Biden administration until Oct. 3.
Ireland Cases Surge (1:16 p.m. NY)
Ireland reported 2,098 new infections on Friday, the second time in a week that cases have risen above 2000 and the highest since late January. More than 250 patients were in the hospital, with 52 in intensive care.
More Canadian Banks Mandate Vaccines (12:55 p.m. NY)
Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bank of Montreal joined other major financial firms in requiring staff to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before returning to the office.
All employees of the Toronto-based TD Bank will be asked to register their vaccination status by Sept. 30, according to a memo sent to staff Friday. As of Nov. 1, full vaccination will be required of TD employees working in all company locations globally, a spokesman said.
Florida to Withhold Funds Over Mask Fight (12:51 p.m. NY)
Florida is set to start withholding state funding from two school districts that have instituted mask-mandates for students in defiance of an executive order signed by Governor Ron DeSantis barring the requirement of facial coverings, according to a statement from the Florida Department of Education.
“It is important to remember that this issue is about ensuring local school board members, elected politicians, follow the law,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran in a statement. “We cannot have government officials pick and choose what laws they want to follow.”
U.S. Shots Reach 1 Million for Second Day (12:44 p.m. NY)
Slightly more than 1 million doses were reported administered in the U.S. for the second consecutive day as vaccinations increase amid the delta variant surge.
About half of the people getting shots, or 534,000, were newly vaccinated, Cyrus Shahpar, the White House’s Covid-19 data director, said on Twitter.
Health Experts Oppose Montana Vaccine Law (12:37 p.m. NY)
The Montana Medical Association is calling on the Republican-controlled state legislature to reverse a law that blocks employers from requiring Covid-19 vaccinations, the Associated Press reports. “This is against everything we’ve ever known or believed about public health,” said Dr. Pamela Cutler, president of the association. The law is unique to Montana, AP reports.
NYC Requires Shots for Student Sports (11:30 a.m. NY)
New York City will require all student athletes and coaching staff to be vaccinated by the time they begin practicing, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.
The order will apply to all of the city’s Public School Athletic Leagues, including competitive bowling, the mayor said during an interview on WNYC radio.
India Approves First DNA-Based Covid Shot (11:20 a.m. NY)
India granted emergency-use approval to its first DNA-based vaccine against Covid-19 as the world’s second-worst-hit nation seeks to bolster its immunization drive to ward off a possible third wave of infections.
A three-dose vaccine developed by Ahmedabad-based Cadila Healthcare Ltd., which had reported 67% efficacy against symptomatic Covid in clinical trials in July, was given the go ahead on Friday, the government said in a statement. It’s the second indigenously-developed shot to receive approval.
School Mask Push Wins Early U.S. Court Battles (8:50 a.m. NY)
Courts in two U.S. states issued preliminary wins to advocates pushing for requirements that students wear masks in school, but the underlying issue is set for further legal review.
The Texas Supreme Court in a one-sentence order Thursday rejected Governor Greg Abbott’s request for quick action to stop localities from imposing mask mandates in schools.
In Florida, another state where the governor is seeking to stop school mask mandates, a judge on Thursday denied a request to throw out a lawsuit challenging that ban.
Immunocompromised Danes Set for Third Shot (8:16 a.m. NY)
Denmark plans to recommend a third dose starting next week to its citizens with weaker immune systems, the country’s health authority said in a statement. The country has one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe with about 68% of its population being fully vaccinated and 75% having received the first shot.
Israel Expands Third Doses to Over 40s (7:42 a.m. NY)
Israel has approved offering a third dose of vaccine to people aged 40 and above as the number of daily new cases remains stubbornly high. The broader age bracket allowed 49-year-old Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to receive a booster shot on Friday morning.
“We’re seeing profound effectiveness, efficacy of the vaccines,” Bennett said. “It’s working, it’s safe and it’s the way to defeat this virus.”
Earlier this week, a top Israeli health care provider said initial results of a study have shown that a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine given to Israelis over 60 has been 86% effective. More than 1.2 million people have already received a third dose out of a population of more than 9 million.
Works for High-Risk Groups (2:38 p.m. HK)
AstraZeneca’s antibody cocktail was found to be 77% effective in preventing symptoms in high-risk people in a key trial that could expand the range of drugs available to vulnerable groups.
Results from Astra’s study found no one in the trial who received the cocktail became severely ill or died in relation to the disease, the company said in a statement Friday. The trial of 5,197 participants was looking at whether the drug could prevent infection in at-risk groups.
The outcome will be a big relief for Astra after another study testing whether the cocktail could prevent symptoms in people explicitly exposed to the virus failed in June.
Apple Delays Office Return (12:54 p.m. HK)
Apple Inc. is delaying its return to corporate offices until January at the earliest because of surging Covid-19 cases, according to a memo sent to employees on Thursday.
Apple is the latest among U.S. companies announcing plans to keep workers at home. Charles Schwab Corp. said Thursday it has delayed a full return to the office until at least January. International Business Machines Corp. is temporarily closing its offices in New York City, saying current conditions don’t meet its health and safety protocols. PwC said it will postpone its reopening of U.S. offices until at least Nov. 1.
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