Reversing a decision made just two months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to recommend on Tuesday that people vaccinated for the coronavirus resume wearing masks indoors in certain areas of the country.
The change follows reports of rising breakthrough infections with the Delta variant of the virus in people who were fully immunized. But the new guidance would mark a sharp turnabout from the agency’s position since May that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most indoor spaces.
(J. Harris: Excellent NYT summary article regarding “Breakthrough Covid.” I’d have to advise wearing a mask in a crowd in areas where most of the population is unvaccinated.)
MOST OF THE NEW CASES ARE DELTA, YESTERDAYS COUNT:
1. Changes in Influenza and Other Respiratory Virus Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, 2020–2021 (CDC MMWR) Influenza viruses and human metapneumovirus circulated at historic lows through May 2021. In April 2021, respiratory syncytial virus activity increased. Common human coronaviruses, parainfluenza viruses, and respiratory adenoviruses have been increasing since January or February 2021. Rhinoviruses and enteroviruses began to increase in June 2020. Clinicians should be aware of increased circulation, sometimes off season, of some respiratory viruses and consider multipathogen testing. In addition to recommended preventive actions, fall influenza vaccination campaigns are important as schools and workplaces resume in-person activities with relaxed COVID-19 mitigation practices.
2. Government Affairs & National Security:
Democrats Want To Hold Social Media Companies Responsible For Health Misinformation (NPR) Democratic senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would hold Facebook, YouTube and other social media companies responsible for the proliferation of falsehoods about vaccines, fake cures and other harmful health-related claims on their sites. Co-sponsored by Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, the Health Misinformation Act targets a provision in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects platforms from being held liable for what their users post in most cases.
3. VACCINE MANDATES As SARS-CoV-2 vaccines become more widely available, some organizations, schools, and businesses are considering making them mandatory. This week, a US federal judge ruled to uphold a mandatory vaccination policy implemented by Indiana University, which would require SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for students, faculty, and staff before returning to campus this fall. The ruling acknowledges that the university has the authority under the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution to pursue reasonable measures to protect the “public health for its students, faculty, and staff.” The students who filed the original suit are reportedly appealing the judge’s ruling.
On July 22, the American Hospital Association, the country’s largest association of hospitals and health systems, issued a statement in support of mandatory SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for healthcare workers. The statement argues that the vaccines have been demonstrated to be both safe and effective, and they play a critical role in protecting the health of both healthcare workers and their patients, many of whom are at elevated risk of severe COVID-19 disease. There have been several notable examples of hospitals firing employees who refused the vaccine, and the issue will certainly receive ongoing attention, especially until the vaccines receive full FDA approval.
TWO EXCELLENT ARTICLES ABOUT VACCINE FROM THE ATLANTIC:
“…Unvaccinated individuals are efficient fuel [just] like dry wood for the fire of future outbreaks. Vaccinated individuals are like soaked wood—while it can’t easily catch fire, [but] if it’s surrounded by dry wood, the chances are much higher.” In other words, low vaccination rates in the South make this moment less safe for everyone there, and over time could jeopardize the country’s hope of ever getting the novel coronavirus more under control.
”….Experts list many reasons for the vaccine slump, but one big reason stands out: vaccine resistance among conservative, evangelical, and rural Americans. Pro-Trump America has decided that vaccine refusal is a statement of identity and a test of loyalty.
…many in the vaccinated majority must be thinking: Yes, I’m very sorry that so many of the unvaccinated are suffering the consequences of their bad decisions. I’m also very sorry that the responsible rest of us are suffering the consequences of their bad decisions…More than a dozen conservative states have legislated drug testing for people who seek cash welfare. It is bizarre that Florida and other states would put such an onus on the poorest people in society—while allowing other people to impose a much more intimate and immediate harm on everybody else…Compassion should always be the first reaction to vaccine hesitation.[?] Maybe some unvaccinated people have trouble getting time off work to deal with side effects, maybe they are disorganized, maybe they are just irrationally anxious. But there’s no getting around the truth that some considerable number of the unvaccinated are also behaving willfully and spitefully. Yes, they have been deceived and manipulated by garbage TV, toxic Facebook content, and craven or crazy politicians. But these are the same people who keep talking about “personal responsibility.” In the end, the unvaccinated person himself or herself has decided to inflict a preventable and unjustifiable harm upon family, friends, neighbors, community, country, and planet…Will Blue America ever decide it’s had enough of being put medically at risk by people and places whose bills it pays? Check yourself: Have you?”
MORE HOPKINS RE FRANCE AND AUSTRALIA:
1. Thousands Of People Protest Coronavirus Lockdowns In Australia (NPR) Thousands of people took to the streets of Sydney and other Australian cities on Saturday to protest lockdown restrictions amid another surge in cases, and police made several arrests after crowds broke through barriers and threw plastic bottles and plants. The unmasked participants marched from Sydney’s Victoria Park to Town Hall in the central business district, carrying signs calling for “freedom” and “the truth.”
2. France Passes Law That Makes A Coronavirus Health Pass Required For Dining And Travel (NPR) France’s parliament approved a law early Monday requiring special virus passes for all restaurants and domestic travel and mandating vaccinations for all health workers. Both measures have prompted protests and political tensions. President Emmanuel Macron and his government say they are needed to protect vulnerable populations and hospitals as infections rebound and to avoid new lockdowns. The law requires all workers in the health care sector to start getting vaccinated by Sept. 15, or risk suspension. It also requires a “health pass” to enter all restaurants, trains, planes and some other public venues. It initially applies to all adults, but will apply to everyone 12 and older starting Sept. 30.
“…As coronavirus cases surge again across the United States, many inoculated people are losing patience with vaccine holdouts who they say are neglecting a civic duty or clinging to misinformation even as new patients arrive in emergency rooms and the nation renews mask advisories…The mounting anger is contributing to political support for more coercive measures. Scientists, business leaders and government officials are calling for vaccine mandates — if not by the federal government, then by local jurisdictions, schools, employers and businesses…And frustration is straining relations even within closely knit families…”
AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED:
I’M GOING TO START COLLECTING HIGHLIGHTERS.
MARK MY WORD!