COVID-19 News and Discussions

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CDC says nearly 67% of U.S. counties have substantial, high COVID-19 transmission
Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday that 66.6% of U.S. counties had transmission rates of COVID-19 high enough to warrant indoor masking and should immediately resume the policy.

The transmission rate was up from 63.4% as of Tuesday. In total, 49.9% of U.S. counties have high COVID-19 community transmission rates and 16.7% have substantial rates, the CDC said. The CDC reversed its mask guidance policy for vaccinated Americans on Tuesday.

Substantial transmission means at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, while high transmission is more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over the last week.

In a toughening of guidance issued earlier this month, the CDC also recommended all students, teachers and staff at schools for kindergarten through 12th grade wear masks regardless of whether they were vaccinated.
Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/cdc-s ... li=BBnb7Kz
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"Take it easy, nothing matters in the end."
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"Take it easy, nothing matters in the end."
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"Take it easy, nothing matters in the end."
– William Shatner
weatheriscool
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Biden announces federal workers must be vaccinated or face regular tests.
Source: New York Times

President Biden on Thursday announced that all civilian federal employees must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or be forced to submit to regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel.

“We all want our lives to get back to normal, and fully vaccinated workplaces will make that happen more quickly and more successfully,” Mr. Biden said, speaking in the East Room. “We all know that in our gut. With incentives and mandates, we can make a huge difference and save a lot of lives.”

The federal government employs more than 4 million Americans, all of whom will need to attest to being fully vaccinated in order to avoid wearing a mask on the job, regardless of where in the country they work, and comply with screening tests once or twice a week.

The president also directed the Defense Department to study how and when to add the coronavirus vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for all members of the military. The announcement marked the first time he has suggested that a mandate could come for active-duty members of the military before any of the three federally authorized vaccines receives full approval from the Food and Drug Administration. And he called on states, territories and local governments to pay $100 to Americans who remain unvaccinated to get their shots.
Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/bi ... li=BBnb7Kz
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Arkansas governor declares public health emergency, announces special session on mask law
Source: KATV
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday declared a public health emergency amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and announced a special legislative session to change a law that prevents public schools from requiring masks.

Hutchinson said the declaration will allow the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management to seek staffing assistance from health workers outside the state. It also eases the process for retired health workers to re-enter the workforce and for medical students to become licensed.

The Republican governor said the White House is sending federal assistance at his request.

A previous emergency declaration expired May 30 as cases declined and vaccinations increased. But vaccinations have since reached a plateau, leaving the state with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation. The low vaccination rate and the spread of the highly-transmissible Delta variant have driven a surge in new cases and hospitalizations.

Read more: https://katv.com/news/local/arkansas-go ... ases-surge
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Internal CDC document urges new messaging, warns delta infections likely more severe

Source: Washington Post

The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document that argues officials must “acknowledge the war has changed.” The document is an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slide presentation, shared within the CDC and obtained by The Washington Post. It captures the struggle of the nation’s top public health agency to persuade the public to embrace vaccination and prevention measures, including mask-wearing, as cases surge across the United States and new research suggests vaccinated people can spread the virus.

The document strikes an urgent note, revealing the agency knows it must revamp its public messaging to emphasize vaccination as the best defense against a variant so contagious that it acts almost like a different novel virus, leaping from target to target more swiftly than Ebola or the common cold. It cites a combination of recently obtained, still-unpublished data from outbreak investigations and outside studies showing that vaccinated individuals infected with delta may be able to transmit the virus as easily as those who are unvaccinated.

Vaccinated people infected with delta have measurable viral loads similar to those who are unvaccinated and infected with the variant. “I finished reading it significantly more concerned than when I began,” Robert Wachter, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, wrote in an email. CDC scientists were so alarmed by the new research that the agency earlier this week significantly changed guidance for vaccinated people even before making new data public.

The data and studies cited in the document played a key role in revamped recommendations that call for everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear masks indoors in public settings in certain circumstances, a federal health official said. That official told The Post that the data will be published in full on Friday. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky privately briefed members of Congress on Thursday, drawing on much of the material in the document.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2 ... -guidance/
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The COVID-19 Delta variant is more contagious than we feared—even among the vaccinated

By Rachel Feltman | Published Jul 30, 2021 5:12 PM

When it comes to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “the war has changed.” Data released by the agency on Friday demonstrates that while vaccines are still likely to be highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death due to COVID-19, even immunized individuals are capable of catching and spreading the potent new Delta variant.

This comes just days after the agency changed its official recommendations on masking. On a Tuesday press call, CDC director Rochelle Walensky advised school-age children to mask up, and suggested people living in areas with significant COVID-19 transmission wear masks indoors even if they’re vaccinated. That accounts for some two-thirds of the US.

On Thursday, The Washington Post obtained an internally-distributed CDC slideshow summarizing some of the data behind that pivot. Most crucially, the CDC now considers the Delta variant to be more contagious than the common cold and Ebola—perhaps as contagious as chicken pox, with each infected individual giving the virus to another 8 or 9 people, on average—and more likely to cause severe illness than previous strains.

“It’s one of the most transmissible viruses we know about,” Walensky told CNN.

https://www.popsci.com/health/covid-19- ... -expected/
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Those who flout COVID recommendations are less agreeable, have lower intellect, and tend to be more extroverted than those who adhere to recommendations.

COVID non-conformists also prioritise self-interest and personal freedom and show greater tolerance for social deviance, a new study reports.

https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/ ... liers.html
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Walmart & Disney Impose COVID Vaccine Mandates
| National Review
https://www.nationalreview.com/news/wal ... employees/
Walmart and Disney, two of the largest private employers in the United States, imposed COVID vaccine mandates on their employees Friday.

The superstore’s requirement applies to home-office associates, as well as market, regional, and divisional workers, who have a deadline of October 4 to receive the shot, according to a memo obtained by CNBC.

“We want to get to a place where we can use our offices and be together safely,” Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon wrote in the memo. “It’s important for our business, our culture, our speed and our innovation.”

Disney’s directive applies to all salaried and nonunion hourly employees, who are obligated to get both doses in the next 60 days if they are still unvaccinated, according to a company statement acquired by CNN Business. Staff members still working remotely must show verification of vaccination before they come back to the office.
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