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Booster side effects mostly mild, CDC says; Judge blocks R.I. firefighters union’s challenge of vaccine mandate

Staff at Brooklyn Science & Engineering Academy prepared for the reopening of school in New York, Sept. 9, 2021. The city's vaccine mandate for nearly all adults working in its public schools can proceed as scheduled, a federal appeals panel ruled on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, reversing a decision made over the weekend that paused enforcement of the mandate until later this week at the earliest.
Staff at Brooklyn Science & Engineering Academy prepared for the reopening of school in New York, Sept. 9, 2021. The city's vaccine mandate for nearly all adults working in its public schools can proceed as scheduled, a federal appeals panel ruled on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, reversing a decision made over the weekend that paused enforcement of the mandate until later this week at the earliest.GABBY JONES/NYT

Coronavirus case counts are once again rising across the US, near and far. Health officials are scrambling to vaccinate as the Delta variant takes hold.

Below, we’re gathering the latest news and updates on coronavirus in New England and beyond.

Click here to refresh this page to see the latest updates.

Booster side effects mostly mild, CDC says — 1:14 p.m.

By Bloomberg

People who got Covid-19 vaccine boosters after the shots were cleared for people with weakened immune systems had mostly mild to moderate reactions, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some 22,191 booster recipients registered with a federal monitoring system starting Aug. 12, when the doses were first authorized on an emergency basis by U.S. regulators, to Sept. 19, the CDC said in a report on Tuesday. The data were reported by the shot recipients 0 to 7 days after getting the third dose.

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Judge blocks R.I. firefighters union’s challenge of COVID-19 vaccine mandate — 12:27 p.m.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

A Rhode Island Superior Court judge is blocking local firefighters attempts to challenge the state health department’s mandate for all health care workers, including EMTs, to be vaccinated by Oct. 1 or risk losing their jobs and licenses.

By Bloomberg

New York Governor Kathy Hochul says a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for health workers that went into effect this week is working to boost vaccination rates, providing a road map to other states that are trying to fight the highly transmissible delta variant.

By The New York Times

The delta variant was the main reason that people decided to get vaccinated against COVID-19 this summer and why most say they will get boosters when eligible, according to the latest monthly survey on vaccine attitudes by the Kaiser Family Foundation, released on Tuesday morning. But the survey indicated that nearly three-quarters of unvaccinated Americans view boosters very differently, saying that the need for them shows that the vaccines are not working.

By Bloomberg

Public-health researchers seeking new ways to persuade vaccine holdouts to take coronavirus shots are turning to the strategies of the digital marketing industry to figure out how to win over the reluctant.

By The Washington Post

A North Carolina-based hospital system announced Monday that roughly 175 unvaccinated employees were fired for failing to comply with the organization’s mandatory coronavirus vaccination policy, the latest in a series of health-care dismissals over coronavirus immunization.

By The Associated Press

Thousands of health care workers in New York faced with either getting the COVID-19 vaccine or losing their jobs received at least one dose as the statewide mandate neared, according to state figures.

By The Associated Press

The superintendent of a private school who previously referred to COVID-19 restrictions as “twisted and sick” has tested positive for the virus as infections remain high across Maine.

Kevin Wood, superintendent at Temple Academy, is recovering at home with his wife, who also contracted the virus, the Morning Sentinel reported.

Phone and email messages left for Kevin Wood at the school were not immediately returned. He was critical of restrictions aimed at protecting people from the coronavirus, which has killed more than 1,000 in Maine.

“When you comply, you teach your children this is ok. It is not. It’s not ok. Keeping kids from school, gymnastics, karate, dance, athletics … for what? To protect a few elderly adults … with a minuscule chance they die? Really?” he posted last year on Facebook.

He said people who support the guidelines set by public health experts are the same as those who “would push a child in front of harm’s way to save themselves. Twisted and sick!”

By Bloomberg

Demand for airplane seat coverings that repel viruses and bacteria has soared during the pandemic, as carriers look to cut the time and cost of cleaning cabins.

“The stakes are high for airlines,” said Quentin Munier, head of strategy and innovation at the seat division of aircraft-parts giant Safran SA. Tenders for new orders increasingly call for fabrics with virus-killing properties, he said.

By The New York Times

Facebook has become more aggressive at enforcing its coronavirus misinformation policies in the past year. But the platform remains a popular destination for people discussing how to acquire and use ivermectin, a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms, even though the Food and Drug Administration has warned people against taking it to treat COVID-19.

By Bloomberg

Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE said they have submitted initial data to U.S. regulators about the use of their Covid-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11, one step closer to bringing shots to school-age kids.

By Bloomberg

European nations dominate the top rungs of Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking for a third month, and Ireland has taken over pole position after a steady recovery from the worst outbreak at the start of 2021. With more than 90% of the adult population fully vaccinated, the country has been scrapping restrictions this month.

Ireland used a strategy common across Europe that’s emerging as a global model of success: largely limiting quarantine-free international travel to the immunized helps hold down serious illness and death even as infections spread; allowing some domestic freedoms only for inoculated people drives up the local vaccination rate. The U.S. dropped three spots to No. 28 in September as unfettered normalization, regardless of vaccination status, drove a surge in cases and deaths. Inoculation has hit a wall, with places that started shots later than the U.S. now overtaking it. Southeast Asian economies continue to populate the Ranking’s bottom rungs in September, with Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines the last five.

By The Associated Press

Coronavirus confirmed deaths in Russia hit another record at 852 on Tuesday.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported the increase from the previous record of 828 on Friday.

Daily coronavirus infections in Russia have fallen from more than 20,000 in late August to about 18,000 in mid-September. However, the numbers have started creeping up again. Since last Thursday, the state coronavirus task force has been reporting more than 21,000 new cases a day. On Tuesday, 21,559 new infections were registered.

Despite the increase, there are few restrictions in place in Russia, which had one, six-week lockdown last spring. Vaccination rates have remained low, too, with only 32% of the country’s 146 million population having received at least one shot of a vaccine and only 28% fully vaccinated.

Russian authorities have reported a total of about 7.4 million confirmed infections and more than 205,000 confirmed deaths. However, reports by the government’s statistical service Rosstat indicates the tally of coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively reveal much higher mortality numbers.

By The Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s government announced Tuesday that the coronavirus state of emergency will end this week to help rejuvenate the economy as infections slow.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the emergency will end Thursday and virus restrictions will be eased gradually “in order to resume daily lives despite the presence of the virus.” He said the government will create more temporary COVID-19 treatment facilities and continue vaccinations to prepare for any future resurgence.

Government officials are also instituting other plans such as vaccine passports and virus tests, Suga said.

With the lifting, Japan will be free of emergency requirements for the first time in more than six months.

By The Associated Press

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s planning minister says the government will begin a drive to vaccinate children aged 12 or above to protect them from coronavirus.

The announcement on Tuesday by Asad Umar comes amid a steady decline in fatalities from coronavirus across the country.

Umar in a tweet said Pakistan will launch a campaign soon to vaccinate children at schools. He did not say exactly when it will begin.

Currently Pakistan is offering free jabs to teens and adults.

The latest development comes hours after Pakistan reported 41 deaths from coronavirus and 1,400 new cases in the past 24 hours.

It is the first time since July that Pakistan reported less than 1,500 single-day confirmed cases amid the fourth wave which authorities believe has subsided.

By The Associated Press

Days before Germany’s federal elections, Facebook took what it called an unprecedented step: the removal of a series of accounts that worked together to spread COVID-19 misinformation and encourage violent responses to COVID restrictions.

The crackdown, announced Sept. 16, was the first use of Facebook’s new “coordinated social harm” policy aimed at stopping not state-sponsored disinformation campaigns but otherwise typical users who have mounted an increasingly sophisticated effort to sidestep rules on hate speech or misinformation.

In the case of the German network, the nearly 150 accounts, pages and groups were linked to the so-called Querdenken movement, a loose coalition that has protested lockdown measures in Germany and includes vaccine and mask opponents, conspiracy theorists and some far-right extremists.

By The Associated Press

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — In a packed intensive care unit for coronavirus patients in Romania’s capital, Bucharest, 55-year-old Adrian Pica sits on his bed receiving supplementary oxygen to help him breathe. “I didn’t want to get vaccinated because I was afraid,” he said.

Around 72% of adults in the 27-nation European Union have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but a stubbornly low uptake of the shots in some eastern EU nations now risks overwhelming hospitals amid a surge of infections due to the more contagious delta variant.

“Until now I didn’t believe in COVID-19,” Pica, who said his early symptoms left him sweating and feeling suffocated, told The Associated Press. “I thought it was just like the flu. But now I’m sick and hospitalized. I want to get a vaccine.”

By The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — The World Bank on Tuesday cut its economic growth forecast for developing countries in East Asia due to the impact of the coronavirus’s delta variant and called on governments to help the poor and small businesses avoid long-term damage.

Excluding China’s unexpectedly strong growth, developing countries in East Asia should grow by 2.5% this year, down from a forecast of 4.4% in April, the Washington-based lender said in a report. It said China, the region’s biggest economy, should expand by 8.5%.

The region is “suffering a reversal of fortune” after China, Vietnam and other governments contained coronavirus outbreaks last year, the bank said. It said business activity in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and other economies was improving but now is “showing signs of slowing down.”

“The region is being hit hard by the COVID-19 Delta variant while many advanced economies are on a path to economic recovery,” the World Bank said. “COVID-19 will reduce growth and increase inequality unless the scars are addressed and the opportunities grasped.”

The region must increase vaccine production due to the unreliability of imports and high demand, the bank said. It said governments also need to use testing, tracing and isolation to contain infections and strengthen their health systems.

To prevent long-term economic damage, the bank said governments need to support productive companies and encourage new competitors, promote technology development and reduce trade barriers.

Countries also need to improve “social protection” by expanding access to “need-based assistance” for the poor, the bank said.


By The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With a statewide eviction moratorium ending Friday, officials in California are rushing to make sure tenants with unpaid rent know they can still stay in their homes after that date — but only if they have applied for assistance from the state.

California is using billions of federal dollars to pay off up to 18 months of most people’s rent dating back to April 2020, the first full month of the state’s stay-at-home order because of the coronavirus. To qualify, people must earn 80% or less of their area’s median income and must have been affected by the pandemic — a nondescript requirement nearly everyone can meet.

Through Thursday of this week, state law automatically bans landlords from evicting people for unpaid rent. But beginning Friday, tenants with unpaid rent can only be protected from evictions if they have applied for assistance.

New York Times

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s proudly unvaccinated president, is contending with more fallout from his visit to New York last week to speak at the United Nations: A fourth member of his entourage has tested positive for COVID-19, and his wife, Michelle, opted to get vaccinated before they returned home.

Pedro Duarte Guimaraes, an economist who is the chief executive of Caixa Economica Federal, a leading Brazilian banking institution, disclosed Sunday that he had tested positive, joining Brazil’s health minister, Marcelo Queiroga, Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo and a Brazilian diplomat. Queiroga, who was diagnosed during the visit, remained in isolation in a New York hotel.

Guimaraes and Queiroga have said they were fully vaccinated. Bolsonaro, whose insistence on downplaying the pandemic has been widely criticized, has declined to be vaccinated, contending that his own recovery from a COVID infection last year gave him resistance to a recurrence.

Defying a U.N. honor system requiring proof of vaccination, Bolsonaro was the first leader to address the General Assembly last Tuesday when it commenced the annual high-level week of speeches by representatives of its 193 members.

The potentially infectious Brazilians prompted U.N. officials to notify all diplomats at the organization who may have been in contact with them. As of Monday, none had reported testing positive, said Stéphane Dujarric, the U.N.’s chief spokesman.

Michelle Bolsonaro’s vaccination, disclosed by Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday after their return home, generated more adverse publicity, apparently revealing the couple’s lack of solidarity on that subject and — to some Brazilians — a disrespect by the Brazilian first lady for her country’s own health system.

Bloomberg

The U.S. said trips to Singapore and Hong Kong have become more dangerous because of the coronavirus, raising its travel health advice for the Asian financial hubs by one level.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated should avoid non-essential trips to Singapore, citing a “high level” of Covid-19. “All travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid variants,” the CDC said, increasing its travel advice for Singapore by one notch to Level 3.

The CDC also raised its advice to Hong Kong one rung to Level 2, citing a “moderate level” of coronavirus. The CDC said unvaccinated travelers with a higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19 should avoid non-essential travel to Hong Kong. The CDC’s highest travel health notice is Level 4.

While Singapore has reported almost daily coronavirus caseloads of more than 1,000 since mid-September, the advice is puzzling for Hong Kong. The city has seen fewer than 10 cases a day since late August, and there hasn’t been a locally transmitted infection in Hong Kong since mid-August, data show. The hub is also yet to experience an outbreak of the delta variant.

New York Times

New York City’s vaccine mandate for nearly all adults working in its public schools can proceed as scheduled, a federal appeals panel ruled Monday, reversing a decision made over the weekend that paused enforcement of the mandate until later this week at the earliest.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had originally ordered well over 150,000 educators and staff in the nation’s largest school system to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by midnight Monday. That deadline was put on hold late Friday by a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. The three-judge panel was scheduled to take up the issue Wednesday, but it appears to have ruled early.

It’s not yet clear if the city will decide to implement the mandate at midnight Monday as originally scheduled or wait until later in the week.

The vaccine mandate for city educators and school staff has been upheld twice in state and federal courts in recent weeks. The Department of Education mandate is the first strict vaccine requirement for any group of city workers, and it could clear the path for a much broader mandate for all city employees in the coming weeks.

By The Associated Press

Faculty at Iowa’s public universities are demanding the right to require masks in their classrooms regardless of state law or policies against them.

Biology professor Steve O’Kane Jr. has pushed a resolution among colleagues at the University of Northern Iowa saying faculty should be allowed to manage their classrooms. O’Kane told The Cedar Rapids Gazette that he has already imposed a mask mandate for his students and lowers their lab grades if they refuse to comply.

Northern Iowa, the University of Iowa and Iowa State University sent petitions last month to the state Board of Regents signed by hundreds of faculty asking for the ability to require masks and vaccines.

Board of Regents President Mike Richards in May barred administrators from requiring masks or vaccines.

By The Associated Press

Seventy-nine-year-old Mitch McConnell got his booster shot Monday, and the Republican Senate leader urged Americans across the political spectrum to get vaccinated or plus up with boosters when eligible for the extra dose of protection.

Nearly 25% of eligible Americans aged 12 and older haven’t received a single dose of the vaccines. They are bearing the brunt of a months-long surge in cases and deaths brought about by the more transmissible delta variant of the virus that has killed 688,000 in the U.S. since the pandemic began.

“Like I’ve been saying for months, these safe and effective vaccines are the way to defend ourselves and our families from this terrible virus,” said McConnell, a polio survivor.

Kansas governor orders flags flown at half-staff to honor COVID victims — 5:28 p.m.

By The Associated Press

Gov. Laura Kelly has ordered flags throughout the state to be flown at half-staff to honor COVID-19 victims as Kansas exceeded 6,000 reported deaths.

Kelly’s order Monday applied immediately and directed that flags remain lowered until sunset Wednesday. The governor has issued such an order every time Kansas reports another 1,000 COVID-19 deaths.

According to Kansas health department data, the state averaged 15 additional reported COVID-19 deaths a day for the seven days ending Monday. The number of reported deaths rose 43 since Friday, making the total 6,024.

The state also reported an average of 1,012 new cases and 37 additional hospitalizations a day for the seven days ending Monday.

Federal mandate allows travelers to visit Hawaii — 5:17 p.m.

By The Associated Press

New federal rules for international travelers are expected to help Hawaii’s crippled tourism industry.

The state’s international market has been nearly nonexistent since the pandemic largely shut down travel.

Last week, the White House loosened rules that previously prohibited some foreign travelers from coming to the U.S. Now foreign visitors can come if they can show proof of vaccination and produce a negative COVID-19 test.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that the changes could bring back international travel to the islands. It is down 97% compared to before the pandemic.

Hawaii currently only requires proof of vaccination or a single pre-flight COVID-19 test for mainland and some international travelers.

Some see the new rules as more restrictive for Japanese travelers, a major component of Hawaii’s tourism industry. Japan and other key markets for Hawaii tourism have high vaccination rates and officials expect that trend to continue in the coming months.

Hospitals around the US fear staffing shortages as COVID-19 vaccine deadlines loom — 4:56 p.m.

By The Associated Press

Hospitals and nursing homes around the U.S. are bracing for worsening staff shortages as state deadlines arrive for health care workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

With ultimatums taking effect this week in states like New York, California, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the fear is that some employees will quit or let themselves be fired or suspended rather than get the vaccine.

“How this is going to play out, we don’t know. We are concerned about how it will exacerbate an already quite serious staffing problem,” said California Hospital Association spokesperson Jan Emerson-Shea, adding that the organization “absolutely” supports the state’s vaccination requirement.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

Coventry school officials announced the high school will hold remote classes through Tuesday and shift to an early release schedule Thursday due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

There have been 37 new positive cases identified at Coventry High School among students, faculty and staff since the beginning of the school year, including 21 reported over the last two weeks, assistant superintendent Don Cowart wrote in a statement posted on the district’s website Monday.

“Many of these cases have just been brought to the school’s attention over the last few days and case investigation/contact tracing has not been completed,” wrote Cowart.

By Tom Westerholm, Boston.com Staff

Kyrie Irving refused to answer questions about his COVID-19 vaccine status on Nets media day at Monday, although his situation left little room for interpretation.

By The Associated Press

A North Carolina-based hospital system announced Monday that more than 175 of its workers have been fired for failing to comply with its COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

Last week, Novant Health announced 375 employees had been suspended and given five days to comply with the mandate. The deadline was Friday.

Nearly 200 of those employees came into compliance, Spokesperson Megan Rivers said in an email Monday. Rivers didn’t provide specific numbers on how many out of the 375 were in compliance and how many lost their jobs.

More than 99% of Novant Health’s 35,000-plus employees are now compliant with the vaccine mandate, including employees who have submitted an approved religious or medical vaccine exemption, according to a statement.

The Winston-Salem-based system includes 15 hospitals, 800 clinics and hundreds of outpatient facilities.

By Bloomberg

United Airlines Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby said Monday that 98.5% of its U.S.-based employees have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The carrier expects to see vaccine totals “north of 99%” when it tallies final figures for how many employees have complied with its mandate to be vaccinated or face termination.

United had set a Sept. 27 deadline for all U.S.-based workers to receive at least an initial dose of one of the two-shot, U.S.-approved Covid-19 vaccines or the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Kirby says the airline has banned 700 passengers to date for not wearing a mask in airports and in flight as required by federal rules.

By The Associated Press

Connecticut lawmakers returned to the state Capitol on Monday to vote on extending Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic for the sixth time, an issue that has become more contentious with every extension.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

The state is asking health care providers to file online complaints if they know of any unvaccinated providers in violation of the mandated Oct. 1 deadline.

By Bloomberg

Visiting Brazil’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue now requires proof of a Covid-19 vaccine, as Rio de Janeiro joins a growing list of Brazilian cities in cracking down on the unimmunized.

Rio now requires residents and visitors to present so-called vaccine passports -- certification of having obtained at least one dose -- to enter gyms, theaters and many popular tourist destinations.

The measures were pulled into the spotlight this weekend when a councilman from neighboring Minas Gerais state complained in a viral video that he was prevented from visiting the city’s most famous statue.

“Only vaccinated can you reach Christ!” Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Paes responded in a tweet on Saturday.

By The Associated Press

State Department spokesman Ned Price has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be self-quarantining for the next 10 days.

By The Associated Press

Facing a Justice Department lawsuit over Alabama’s notoriously violent prisons, state lawmakers on Monday began a special session on a $1.3 billion construction plan that would use federal pandemic relief funds to pay part of the cost of building massive new lockups.

By Martin Finucane and Daigo Fujiwara, Globe Staff

State officials say about 600,000 Massachusetts residents are now eligible for a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine booster shot, and the shots will be available at more than 460 locations, including more than 450 retail pharmacies.

By The Associated Press

Cuba has begun commercial exports of its homegrown COVID-19 vaccines, sending shipments of the three-dose Abdala vaccine to Vietnam and Venezuela.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel announced the arrival in Vietnam on his Twitter feed Sunday. The official Cubadebate news website said the shipment included 900,000 doses purchased by Hanoi and 150,000 more donated by Cuba.

Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Cuba last week and toured the laboratory that produces the vaccine, announcing an agreement to buy at least 5 million doses.

Cuba’s Center of Genetic Immunology and Biotechnology also announced that initial shipments of the Abdala shots were sent to Venezuela over the weekend.

That country’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, announced in June that Venezuela had agreed to buy $12 million worth of the Cuban vaccine, though officials have declined to say how many doses were involved.

By The Associated Press

A Kaiser Permanente analysis of more than 100,000 pregnancies in Northern California found a 25% increase in the rate of cannabis use early in pregnancy after the pandemic began in spring 2020.

The analysis was reported in a research letter in the September 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. The study found that in the year before the pandemic, 6.75% of pregnant women were using cannabis in early pregnancy, and during the pandemic, that rate rose to 8.14% of pregnant women.

By The New York Times

With nearly 1.6 million workers, Walmart is the largest private employer in the country. COVID appears to have been good for the bottom line: During fiscal 2020, the company generated $559 billion in revenue, up $35 billion from the previous year. But labor activists say too little of that money has gone toward workforce protections, which in turn has prolonged the pandemic.

By Sahar Fatima, Globe Staff

The mask mandate in Massachusetts public schools has been extended to Nov. 1, the state announced Monday.

By Adam Himmelsbach, Globe Staff

Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said Monday that he is hopeful that the team will be “as close to 100 percent vaccinated” against COVID-19 as quickly as possible, but he emphasized that ultimately the final decision will rest with the players.

By Bloomberg

A crowdsourced effort to design a Covid-19 pill won 8 million pounds ($11 million) in funding from the Wellcome Trust. About 250 people submitted to the Covid Moonshot effort more than 4,500 potential molecular designs intended to block a key protein that helps the virus replicate.

“It is a way of working that none of us realized was possible,” said University of Oxford Professor Frank von Delft, a leader of the project. It has been “an express train on tracks we have had to lay down as we go.”

The Wellcome funding will help pay for the expensive last step of research needed to bring the project into human clinical trials but is unlikely to beat big pharmaceutical companies. Pfizer Inc. is in late-stage trials on an oral antiviral.

By The Associated Press

The two co-hosts of “The View” whose COVID-19 tests derailed a planned interview with Vice President Kamala Harris last week said Monday that their results turned out to be false positives.

Sunny Hostin and Ana Navarro were pulled off the air Friday in a startling moment of live television that forced an abbreviated Harris interview to be conducted remotely.

By The Associated Press

President Joe Biden will receive his COVID-19 booster shot on Monday, days after federal regulators recommended a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for Americans age 65 or older and approved them for others with preexisting medical conditions and high-risk work environments.

By The Associated Press

A Maine organization has scheduled an event designed to help residents talk to their family members and neighbors about the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Maine Community Action Partnership has slated the “Encouraging Vaccination” online event for Thursday at 6 p.m. Participants in the event will include Todd Phillips, an infection preventionist at Millinocket Regional Hospital; Elisabeth Marnik, a professor of molecular biochemistry at Husson University; and Dr. Gavin Ducker, co-president of the system medical group at Northern Light Health.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the event will be about strategies for communicating accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines with unvaccinated people.

It’s important to spread the message that vaccines protect everyone in the community, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said.

“And if enough people get vaccinated, even if the virus finds its way into a community, it’s really hard for it to spread onto people who haven’t been vaccinated,” Shah said.

By Bloomberg

New York City officials will continue to press for a vaccination mandate covering all school workers, which was set to begin Monday at midnight until it was delayed by a court challenge, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

By Adam Himmelsbach, Globe Staff

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka tested positive for COVID-19 10 days ago, a team spokesman said Monday, and is in his final day of isolation.

By Bloomberg

Pfizer Inc. advanced testing of an experimental oral antiviral drug. The medicine, PF-07321332, is intended to be given at the first sign of exposure or infection, without requiring patients to be hospitalized first.

Pfizer’s new trial is enrolling as many as 2,660 adults who live in the same household as someone with a confirmed infection. Participants will get either a placebo or a combination of the experimental drug plus ritonavir twice daily for five or 10 days, the company said.

Monoclonal antibodies from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co. are authorized in the U.S. for preventing Covid-19 in high-risk individuals who have been exposed, but no oral drugs have been approved yet.

By Bloomberg

Slow delivery of Johnson & Johnson vaccinations is hampering South Africa’s inoculation drive, Business Day reported, citing Nicholas Crisp, acting director-general of the country’s health department. While South Africa has ample supply of Pfizer Inc. vaccines, it needs J&J’s for people in remote areas, since those shots can be stored with normal refrigeration and only one dose is needed.

“We don’t have plenty of J&J vaccines, and that is a problem for us because there are communities that are very hard to get back to a second time,” Crisp said. No doses were delivered in May and June and only 1.5 million were in July, Crisp said. South Africa has agreed to buy 31 million.

By Bloomberg

Harvard Business School moved its first-year MBA students and some in their second year to remote learning this week amid a “steady rise” in breakthrough Covid-19 infections despite high vaccination rates and frequent testing.

By Bloomberg

Authorities in Pakistan arrested more than 40 people for issuing fake vaccination certificates. The arrests took place over the past month and a half, said Sanaullah Abbasi, director general at Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency.

By Bloomberg

A combination of the AstraZeneca Plc and Sputnik Light vaccines provides “strong” protection against COVID-19, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, AstraZeneca and R-Pharm said in a joint statement, citing a study conducted in Azerbaijan.

Neutralizing antibodies to the spike protein of the coronavirus increased by at least fourfold in 85% of the volunteers on the 57th day of the study, according to the statement. It cited an interim analysis based on data collected from the first 20 participants in the study.

By The Associated Press

The deadline for hospital and nursing home workers in New York state to be vaccinated against COVID-19 arrived Monday with the prospect of severe staff shortages fueled by workers getting suspended or fired for refusing to be inoculated.

With thousands of workers still thought to be holding out, hospital administrators prepared contingency plans that included cutting back on noncritical services and limiting admissions at nursing homes.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said this weekend she was prepared to call in medically trained National Guard members and retirees, or vaccinated workers from outside the state, to fill any gaps. The governor has held firm on the mandate in the face of pleas to delay it and multiple lawsuits challenging its constitutionality.

All health care workers in New York state at hospitals and nursing homes are required to be vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Monday. Employees who refuse the shots face suspensions and termination.

The rules apply not just to people like doctors and nurses, but also to others who work in health care institutions, like food service workers, administrators and cleaners.

By The Washington Post

The United States announced last week that it would soon open its doors to foreign travelers vaccinated against covid-19, loosening restrictions for broad swaths of global visitors for the first time since the pandemic began.

By The Associated Press

Registration opened Monday for Vermonters ages 75 and older to get the Pfizer vaccine booster. On Wednesday, people 70 and older can start signing up followed by the 65 and older age group on Friday.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans six months after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Booster shots are available where Pfizer vaccines are offered, including at a Health Department clinic, pharmacy or health care provider, state officials said. People must make an appointment to get a shot at a state clinic and are asked to bring their vaccine cards with them. Information can be found on the Vermont Health Department website.

By The Associated Press

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Tuesday finally meet with members of the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaigning group, who for more than a year have sharply criticized his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

By The Associated Press

As the nation returns to in-person workplaces and schools amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, the American Red Cross faces an emergency blood and platelet shortage. Donor turnout has reached the lowest levels of the year, decreasing by about 10% since August. Those who are eligible to donate are urged to do so now to help overcome this current shortage.

By Bloomberg

American men lost 2.2 years of life expectancy last year because of COVID-19, the biggest decline among 29 nations in a study of the pandemic’s impact on longevity.

Deaths among working-age men contributed the most to declining lifespans in the U.S., according to research led by demographers at the U.K.’s University of Oxford. Only Denmark and Norway, who have excelled at controlling their outbreaks, avoided drops in life expectancy across both sexes, the study published Sunday in the International Journal of Epidemiology found.


By Bloomberg

South Africa has officially exited its third wave of coronavirus infections, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases said. New infections fell to below 1,000 on Sunday and the positivity rate of tests was 5 percent, the institute said in a statement.

With almost 2.9 million confirmed infections and over 87,000 deaths, South Africa has been worse hit by the virus than any other country in Africa.

By Bloomberg

China reported 16 infections on Monday, as the spread of delta variant appears to be tailing off. The cluster in southeastern province Fujian dwindled to two cases, all in Xiamen, a city of 5.2 million and a manufacturing hub for electric components that was placed under lockdown following detection of cases in early September.

The Northeastern city of Harbin reported 13 infections, including two asymptomatic cases, while a smaller city in the north called Suihua reported one infection, raising concern that the virus is spreading within the broader Heilongjiang Province.

By Bloomberg

South Korea reported 2,383 new cases after hitting a record of 3,272 on Saturday. Health authorities expect infections to rise sharply from the middle of this week in the aftermath of the Chuseok holiday.

The government is set to announce a plan Monday afternoon to vaccinate those aged 12 to 17 and to give booster shots for the elderly.

By Bloomberg

Singapore is moving on a journey toward living with Covid-19, and right now the country needs to ensure that the health system can handle an increased number of daily cases, Singapore Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Haslinda Amin.

Singapore added 1,939 new cases, almost doubling from a week earlier, the latest in a string of daily records in the past week ahead of new curbs kicking in on Monday. Two more deaths were reported, both elderly with underlying conditions who were not vaccinated, bringing the death toll to 78. A total of 30 people are in the ICU.

By Bloomberg

A shortage of health-care workers and logistical flaws are hampering Indonesia’s efforts to inoculate its people against COVID-19, leaving the world’s largest archipelago trailing its neighbors despite being among the first in Southeast Asia to start the program.

Only 17.9 percent of Indonesia’s 270 million people are fully vaccinated, behind almost every major economy in the region, according to Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

By Bloomberg

The Japanese government is making final arrangements to lift all coronavirus states of emergency in the nation as scheduled at the end of this month, the Asahi newspaper reported Monday, citing several unidentified officials.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga plans to hold a meeting with relevant ministers later today to set the administration’s direction, the report said. The government will then consult an expert panel Tuesday to officially decide an end to the emergencies in all 19 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, according to the Asahi.

Daily coronavirus cases have been steadily coming down in Japan since its peak in mid-August when it saw more than 25,000 cases, according to data compiled by public broadcaster NHK. The cases dropped to 2,134 Sunday.

By New York Times

Deborah Conrad, a physician assistant in western New York, and Simmone Leslie, a hospital switchboard operator in Queens, have both worked long, risky hours during the pandemic. But now, both are prepared to lose their jobs rather than meet Monday’s state deadline for health care workers to get vaccinated.

In defying the order, they are resisting a step that public-health experts say is critical to save lives and end the pandemic. While they each cite differing reasons for their decisions — Leslie said her employer rejected her request for a medical exemption; Conrad referenced vaccine side effects she claimed to have seen but that veer from the scientific consensus — their recalcitrance embodies a conundrum facing New York.

Experts have called the mandate a clear-cut way for health care workers to prevent new waves of the virus from spreading, and to persuade doubters to get vaccinated. And health systems say the plan is crucial to keeping patients and staff safe.

By Bloomberg

The World Health Organization is reviving its investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 virus by building a new team of about 20 scientists, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The previous team, which had been disbanded after a visit to Wuhan, had said data provided by Chinese scientists was insufficient to reach a conclusion.

Members of the new team will be chosen by the end of this week, and the team’s “priority needs to be data and access in the country where the first reports were identified,” WHO officials told the Journal.

The Chinese government declined to say if the new team will be allowed to enter the country.

By New York Times

Governor Kathy Hochul of New York is considering calling in the National Guard and recruiting medical professionals from other states to cover looming staff shortages at hospitals and other facilities as the likelihood grows that tens of thousands of health care workers will not meet the state’s deadlines for mandated vaccinations.

In a statement released Saturday, the governor’s office said Hochul was laying plans for an executive order to declare a state of emergency that would “allow qualified health care professionals licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, retired and formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in New York State.”

By Bloomberg

Singapore added 1,939 new cases, almost doubling from a week earlier, the latest in a string of daily records in the past week ahead of new curbs that kick in on Monday.

The new restrictions include working-from-home as the default and tightening rules to allow a maximum of two people to meet in restaurants or other social settings. Most grade school students will also switch to virtual learning.

Two more deaths were reported, both elderly with underlying conditions who were not vaccinated, bringing the death toll to 78. A total of 30 people are in the ICU.

By Bloomberg

Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended Australia’s strict anti-virus measures, including shutting the borders since the start of the pandemic.

“I’ll tell you what shutting those borders did,” Morrison said on CBS’s “Face the Nation. “It saved over 30,000 lives in Australia...About 1,200 Australians have lost their lives to Covid. That is what is lost in a day here in the United States.”

He said measures would ease as Australia continues to vaccinate its population, with three quarters of the nation having received a first shot. In an earlier appearance on Australian television, he said state premiers must not keep internal borders closed once vaccination targets are reached.

By The Associated Press

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says she recognizes there’s some confusion now in the United States about who should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

For starters, the just-approved booster is intended for people originally vaccinated with shots made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.

Last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky sided with most of the recommendations from CDC advisers on giving boosters six months after the last Pfizer dose for certain groups of people.

By New York Times

At the drugstore, a rapid COVID test usually costs less than $20.

Across the country, more than a dozen testing sites owned by startup company GS Labs regularly bill $380.

There is a reason they can. When Congress tried to ensure that Americans would not have to pay for coronavirus testing, it required insurers to pay certain laboratories whatever “cash price” they listed online for the tests, with no limit on what that might be.

GS Labs’ high prices and growing presence — it has performed a half-million rapid tests since the pandemic’s start and still runs thousands daily — show how the government’s long-standing reluctance to play a role in health care prices has hampered its attempt to protect consumers. As a result, Americans could ultimately pay some of the cost of expensive coronavirus tests in the form of higher insurance premiums.

By Bloomberg

Parts of the U.S. health system “are in dire straits,” as the spread of the Covid-19 delta variant forces some states to prepare for rationed medical care, Rochelle Walensky, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said.

“That means that we are talking about who is going to get a ventilator, who is going to get an ICU bed,” Walensky said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “Those are not easy discussions to have, and that is not a place we want our health care system to ever be.”

Associated Press

Pfizer’s CEO says “it’s a question of days, not weeks” before the company and German partner BioNTech submit data to U.S. regulators for federal authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5 to 11.

That would be an important step toward starting vaccinations for those youngsters, especially with kids now back in school and the delta variant resulting in a big jump in pediatric infections.

Pfizer said last week that its vaccine works for that age group and that it tested a much lower dose of the vaccine that’s already available for anyone 12 and older. The company said that after children age 5 to 11 got their second dose during testing, they developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults getting the regular-strength shots

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday that if the Food and Drug Administration approves the company’s application, “we will be ready with our manufacturing to provide this new formulation of the vaccine.”

And when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, he told ABC’s “This Week” that within a year, “I think we will be able to come back to normal life. I don’t think that this means that variants will not be continuing coming. And I don’t think that this means that we should be able to live our lives … without having vaccinations, basically.”

Bourla also said “we will have vaccines that … will last at least a year’' and that “the most likely scenario, it is annual revaccinations.”

Associated Press

Police in Norway on Sunday reported dozens of disturbances and violent clashes including mass brawls in the Nordic country’s big cities after streets, bars, restaurants and nightclubs were filled with people celebrating the end of COVID-19 restrictions that lasted for more than a year.

The Norwegian government abruptly announced Friday that most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions would be scrapped beginning Saturday and that life in the nation of 5.3 million would return to normal.

The unexpected announcement by outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg to drop coronavirus restrictions the next day took many Norwegians by surprise and led to chaotic scenes in the capital, Oslo, and elsewhere in the country.

“It has been 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime,” Solberg said on Friday at a news conference. “Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life.”

Associated Press

With more than 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines available, U.S. health authorities said they’re confident there will be enough for both qualified older Americans seeking booster shots and the young children for whom initial vaccines are expected to be approved in the not-too-distant future.

The spike in demand — expected following last week’s federal recommendation on booster shots — would be the first significant jump in months. More than 70 million Americans remain unvaccinated despite the enticement of lottery prizes, free food or gifts and pleas from exhausted health care workers as the average number of deaths per day climbed to more than 1,900 in recent weeks.

Federal and state health authorities said current supply and steady production of more doses can easily accommodate those seeking boosters or initial vaccination, avoiding a repeat of the frustratingly slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the country early this year.

Robust supply in the U.S enabled President Joe Biden this week to promise an additional 500 million of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shots to share with the world, doubling the United States’ global contribution. Aid groups and health organizations have pushed the U.S. and other countries to improve vaccine access in countries where even the most vulnerable people haven’t had a shot.

By Bloomberg

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said state premiers must not keep borders closed once the 80 percent of eligible Australians are vaccinated, a threshold he expects to reach by the end of the year.

“I can’t see any reason why Australians should be kept from each other,” the leader said on a Sunday television program. “That puts a heavy, heavy responsibility on those who would seek to prevent that from happening.”

On Sunday, Australia’s second most populous state Victoria reported 779 new local cases of COVID-19, down from the pandemic high set a day earlier. New South Wales recorded 961 new infections. Other states, like Queensland and Western Australia, have recorded very few cases recently.

By Bloomberg

French President Emmanuel Macron said France will double the number of vaccine doses it donates to poorer countries to 120 million. “The injustice is that in other continents vaccination is far behind because of us, collectively,” Macron said in a message broadcast during the Global Citizen fundraising concert in Paris.

France will also commit to helping UNICEF and health systems with vaccine distribution, Macron said, noting that only 3% of Africa’s population is vaccinated.

By The Associated Press

Britons are encouraged these days — though in most cases not required — to wear face coverings in crowded indoor spaces. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson regularly appears in the packed, poorly ventilated House of Commons cheek-by-jowl with other maskless conservative lawmakers.

For critics, that image encapsulates the flaw in the government’s strategy, which has abandoned most pandemic restrictions and is banking on voluntary restraint and a high vaccination rate to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

As winter approaches, bringing the threat of a new COVID-19 surge, Britain’s light touch is setting it apart from more cautious nations.


By Bloomberg

New York City’s school system, the largest in the US, has been temporarily blocked from imposing a mandate forcing teachers and other staff from getting vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a ruling from a federal judge. That mandate is scheduled to go into effect on Monday at midnight.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul released a plan to expand the pool of health-care workers after Monday’s deadline for them to receive a first dose of vaccine.

German cases continue to decline while Russian infections hit their highest since mid-August. Macau is stepping up travel restrictions as the city tries to prevent an outbreak that could threaten its gaming industry ahead of a week-long holiday in China.

By Bloomberg

The Australian government will assist in arranging flights home for its citizens stranded overseas once 80% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“The caps at the airports for vaccinated Australians to return will be lifted,” the prime minister said in Washington after talks with leaders from U.S., Japan and India. Morrison said he expects Australia’s biggest airline, Qantas Airways Ltd., to ramp up its number of flights once restrictions are lifted.

“I don’t think Qantas will have to be encouraged to start running those flights and putting people on seats, and I’m looking forward to them getting on with that job, because that’s the business they are in,” the prime minister said. “Once we hit 80% vaccinations, then that means Australians will be able to travel in those states that are opening up. They’ll be able to get on planes and go overseas, and come home.”

By Bloomberg

Universal mask requirements in schools reduced the spread of Covid-19 compared to schools that didn’t have mask requirements, according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After schools opened this fall, counties without mask requirements saw their rates of new pediatric Covid cases rise about twice as fast as counties where schools required masks, according to one CDC analysis. In another study focused on Arizona, schools that didn’t have universal mask rules in place were 3.5 times more likely to have Covid outbreaks than schools that did.

By Bloomberg

Maine, one of the most vaccinated states, reported on Saturday a record 235 Covid-19 patients in the hospital. Since vaccinations became available in December, breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated have made up only about 10% of total hospitalizations, state data show.

Cases have soared since the beginning of August, though they appear to have hit a plateau of roughly 3,000 a week. Almost 74% of people in Maine have received at least one dose of vaccine, compared with national average of 64.1%, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

By The New York Times

Alaska, once a leader in vaccinating its citizens, is now in the throes of its worst coronavirus surge of the pandemic, as the delta variant rips through the state, swamping hospitals with patients.

As of Thursday, the state was averaging 125 new cases a day for every 100,000 people, more than any other state in the nation, according to recent data trends collected by The New York Times. That figure has shot up by 46% in the last two weeks, and by more than twentyfold since early July.

On Wednesday, the state said it had activated “crisis standards of care,” giving hospitals legal protections for triage decisions that force them to give some patients substandard care. The state also announced an $87 million contract to bring in hundreds of temporary health care workers.

By The New York Times

Norway on Saturday lifted social distancing rules, capacity limits on businesses, and other pandemic-era restrictions that have been in place for more than a year.

“It is 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in announcing the moves at a news conference Friday. “Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life.”

In Norway, new daily cases have dropped by 50% over the past two weeks. Sixty-seven percent of the population are fully vaccinated and another 10% have had the first dose, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford.

By Bloomberg

Serious cases of poisoning from the anti-parasite drug ivermectin, generally used on livestock but misused as a treatment for Covid-19, have more than doubled in 2021, the Financial Times reported, quoting data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA has received 49 reports of poisoning and other serious illness from the drug this year so far, and 14 of those people died, the newspaper reported. The FDA could not determine if ivermectin was the direct cause of death.

In 2020, the agency received reports of 23 cases. The drug, approved in smaller doses to treat parasites in human beings, is falsely touted on social media and some more mainstream outlets like Fox News as an alternative to COVID-19 vaccination. Prescriptions for the drug have increased 24 times compared with before the pandemic, the newspaper reported.

By Bloomberg

Erica Ollmann Saphire spent the past year and a half profiling the coronavirus, creating intricate three-dimensional images in her San Diego lab to understand its most problematic features. That information is now revealing the pathogen’s weak spots and ways to exploit them.

Using an 11-foot (3.35 meter) tall microscope, the most powerful commercially available, she’s scoured hundreds of different antibodies against the Covid culprit to identify its salient features. The research at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology led to a study Thursday in Science that gives the most detailed map yet of how to circumvent the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s panoply of mutations and variants.

By Bloomberg

The more infectious nature of the delta mutation of the coronavirus has seen it almost completely displace the beta variant in South Africa, the discovery of which led to widespread travel bans.

A study, released by two South African genomics institutes on Sept. 23, showed that the delta variant, first identified in India, drove a third wave of infections in the country. Excess death data show that about a quarter of million people may have died from the virus.

By The Associated Press

New York City schools have been temporarily blocked from enforcing a vaccine mandate for its teachers and other workers by a federal appeals judge just days before it was to take effect.

The worker mandate for the the nation’s largest school system was set to go into effect Monday. But late Friday, a judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction and referred the case to a three-judge panel an an expedited basis.

A spokeswoman said more than 82% of department employees have been vaccinated.

While most school workers have been vaccinated, unions representing New York City principals and teachers warned that could still leave the 1 million-student school system short of as many as 10,000 teachers, along with other staffers, such as cafeteria workers and school police officers.

By Bloomberg

Public-health researchers seeking new ways to persuade vaccine holdouts to take coronavirus shots are turning to the strategies of the digital marketing industry to figure out how to win over the reluctant.

Companies that use online ads to sell products try out various colors, phrases, typefaces and a whole host of other variables to determine what resonates with consumers. So why not, the thinking goes, apply the same sort of A/B testing to figure out how best to promote vaccines?

To that end, the United Nations Children’s Fund, The Public Good Projects and the Yale Institute for Global Health have partnered to create the Vaccine Demand Observatory, which is working with Facebook Inc. to help nations around the world fine-tune their appeals to better inspire vaccine confidence.The work is critically important as the world grapples with the combined obstacles of the hyper-contagious delta variant, sluggish vaccine rollouts in some nations and plateauing uptake in others, and it’s been given fresh impetus after Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE said this week that their Covid-19 vaccine was safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11, findings that could pave the way to begin vaccinating grade-school kids within months. Medical evidence makes clear that vaccines are safe and effective at both tamping down the spread of the virus and greatly decreasing the risk of hospitalization for those rare vaccinated individuals that do contract Covid. Yet, in the U.S., where vaccines are widely available, about 25% of eligible adults haven’t taken their shots.

By The New York Times

In Buffalo, the Erie County Medical Center plans to suspend elective inpatient surgeries and not take intensive-care patients from other hospitals because it may soon fire about 400 employees who have chosen not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Officials at Northwell Health, New York’s largest provider of health care, estimate that they might have to fire thousands of people who have refused to get vaccinated.

And while the vast majority of staff members at New York City’s largest private hospital network, NewYork-Presbyterian, had been vaccinated as of this past week, more than 200 employees faced termination because they had not.

These are just a fraction of the workers at risk of losing their jobs or being put on unpaid leave after Monday, when a state directive requiring hospital and nursing home employees in the state to have received at least one shot of a virus vaccine takes effect.

By The Associated Press

Billions more in profits are at stake for some vaccine makers as the U.S. moves toward dispensing COVID-19 booster shots to shore up Americans’ protection against the virus.

The Biden administration last month announced plans to give boosters to nearly everybody. But U.S. regulators have rejected the across-the-board approach and instead said third shots of Pfizer’s vaccine should go to people who are 65 and older and certain others at high risk from COVID-19.

Still, the crisis is constantly evolving, and some top U.S. health officials expect boosters will be more broadly authorized in the coming weeks or months. And that, plus continued growth in initial vaccinations, could mean a huge gain in sales and profits for Pfizer and Moderna in particular.

Wall Street is taking notice. The average forecast among analysts for Moderna’s 2022 revenue has jumped 35% since President Joe Biden laid out his booster plan in mid-August.

No one knows yet how many people will get the extra shots. But Morningstar analyst Karen Andersen expects boosters alone to bring in about $26 billion in global sales next year for Pfizer and BioNTech and around $14 billion for Moderna if they are endorsed for nearly all Americans.

By The Washington Post

Coronavirus cases appear to be stabilizing in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia, with early signs of decline in the D.C. metro region - giving health officials hope that the area’s vigorous vaccination campaign has paid off.

More than 10.5 million residents - or about 70% of the total population - has been at least partially vaccinated, exceeding the national rate. With more shots being administered daily, the seven-day average of new infections in the three jurisdictions has plateaued to around 5,000 for three weeks.

Washington’s case rate showed slight declines this week after consistent increases through most of August and September. The Montgomery County, Md., case rate per 100,000 people has hovered just over 10 since the start of the month while in Virginia Fairfax County has averaged a case rate of 16 per 100,000 residents for nearly a week.

Public health officials and experts say they’re increasingly hopeful that the region will come down from this latest wave of the virus without the skyrocketing hospitalizations and deaths that plagued other parts of the country.

They warn it’s still too early to declare victory over the highly contagious delta variant, which has fueled the recent spike - especially while sizable pockets of the unvaccinated persist in rural parts of Maryland and Virginia. But it’s cause for optimism that the region’s twin strategies of vaccinations and encouraging masks appear to be holding the line against the surge.

By The Associated Press

Israel is pressing ahead with its aggressive campaign of offering coronavirus boosters to almost anyone over 12 and says its approach was further vindicated by a US decision to give the shots to older patients or those at higher risk.

Israeli officials credit the booster shot, which has already been delivered to about a third of the population, with helping suppress the country’s latest wave of COVID-19 infections. They say the differing approaches are based on the same realization that the booster is the right way to go, and expect the US and other countries to expand their campaigns in the coming months.

By The New York Times

State health officials Friday rushed to roll out campaigns to provide coronavirus booster shots for millions of vulnerable people who got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and to help a confused public understand who qualifies for the extra shots.

Among their challenges: making sure that recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines know that they are not yet eligible for boosters; reaching isolated elderly people; and informing younger adults with medical conditions or jobs that place them at higher risk that they might be eligible under the broad federal rules.

By The Associated Press

The Washington state Department of Health says it will immediately start offering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to certain people after recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other groups.

State health officials said Friday that at least six months after completing the primary Pfizer vaccine series, people age 65 and older; people age 18 and older living in a long-term care setting; and people age 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions or at increased risk of social inequities, should receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Officials say there are not yet recommendations for people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

By The Associated Press

Alaska reported more than 1,700 resident COVID-19 cases Friday. But state health officials says that includes reports from earlier this month as they work to clear a backlog that has built up during the latest case surge.

Health officials encourage looking at cases by their symptom onset date versus the date they were submitted to the state health department.

The state epidemiologist says Alaska is in the biggest surge that it has experienced during the pandemic.

A weekly report from the department says the state had more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than it did at the peak of a prior surge late last year.

By Bloomberg

South Korea posted a record number of new coronavirus cases, with 3,273 daily infections, after Chuseok Thanksgiving holidays. The total number of confirmed cases stood at 298,402, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency’s website Saturday.

More than 73% of the population have received at least one dose, while almost 45% of have completed their vaccinations. South Korea is currently imposing its strictest level-four social distancing measures in Seoul’s metropolitan area.

By The Washington Post

After a month of dramatic twists and turns more suited to a soap opera than a staid federal health bureaucracy, the White House this week got much of what it hoped for: access to Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for most adults at least six months after completing the standard two-dose regimen.

But the messy process leading to this moment sparked massive confusion about the booster program, critics say and may distract from efforts to get first shots to the unvaccinated.

The reality of who will have access to third shots, experts said, is much starker: Most adults who want a Pfizer-BioNTech booster will be able to get one simply by saying they are in one of the designated groups. Such “self-attestation” does not require a doctor’s note or other verification.

By The Associated Press

A retired Connecticut physician and surgeon had her license suspended Friday by a state medical board for allegedly providing people she had not treated with blank vaccine, mask-wearing and other exemption forms, so long as they sent her a self-addressed stamped envelope in the mail requesting the paperwork.

The state Department of Public Health said it received an anonymous tip in July about Dr. Sue Mcintosh of Durham sending people fraudulent exemption forms. After an investigation, DPH called on the Connecticut Medical Examining Board to hold Friday’s emergency hearing and summarily suspend the doctor, saying she poses a “clear and immediate danger to public health and safety.”

By The Associated Press

Some of the nation’s most aggressive COVID-19 vaccine mandates are scheduled to take effect Monday in New York amid continued resistance from some to the shots, leaving hospitals and nursing homes across the state and schools in New York City bracing for possible staff shortages.

Many health care workers, including support staff such as cleaners, have still not yet received a required first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine days before a Sept. 27 deadline. That’s the same deadline for teachers and school workers in New York City to prove they’ve received at least one shot.

That left the prospect of potentially thousands of health care workers and teachers being forced off the job next week.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

Nursing homes residents and other at-risk populations in Rhode Island can now begin receiving COVID-19 booster shots as early as Friday.

Rhode Islanders 65 and older and residents in long-term care settings, regardless of age, should receive booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTechs COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, according to the state health department.

By Bloomberg

The number of people dying with Covid-19 in U.S. hospitals appears to have peaked, the latest sign of reprieve after the delta variant fueled record spikes in infections in some states.

The seven-day average of U.S. hospital deaths with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 is down 8.9% from the recent peak on Sept. 16, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.

Over the course of the pandemic, hospital deaths have accounted for about 70% of all Covid-19 deaths, and the proportion has been even higher in recent months. The HHS data have proved a reliable leading indicator of the direction in Covid-19 deaths, which are reported with a comparatively large time lag.

The HHS data is based on Covid patients who died with the virus, without direct consideration of the cause of death -- a different standard from the official toll.

By The Associated Press

The Utah Jazz’s home arena announced Friday that it will require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test for all fans over the age of 12.

Vivint Smart Home Arena, located in Salt Lake City, will require fans to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event to enter the venue. Employees who work at the arena are already required to be fully vaccinated.

“As a community gathering place, we have a responsibility to protect our guests by putting health and safety standards in place,” Jim Olson, president of Vivint Arena and the Utah Jazz, said in a statement. “We believe this is the path forward to shut down this pandemic.”

Guests under the age of 12 will be allowed inside the arena if they wear a mask at all times. Other guests are strongly encouraged to wear a face mask, but it is not mandatory.

The National Basketball Players Association has not mandated to players that they be vaccinated, despite the NBA’s hope that would be the case. All others who will be in the vicinity of players during games this season — coaches, team staff, referees, courtside stat-crew workers and more — will be vaccinated.

By The Associated Press

A federal judge on Friday handed down a second blow to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s contentious order allowing parents to opt out of school mask requirements, ruling that Knox County Schools must implement a mask mandate to help protect children with health problems amid the coronavirus pandemic.

By Bloomberg

Searches for Covid-19 tests on Google are surging as the delta variant spreads in the U.S. and more employers and large-scale events require testing.

The number of Americans looking up “at-home Covid test near me” on the platform has doubled in the past month, according to Google Trends, while those asking how long rapid test results take is up by 250%. In the past week, users were also more interested in searches related to tests, rather than vaccines, in most states, with Louisiana and Mississippi as exceptions.

The highly contagious delta variant has kept cases high in the U.S. This is creating the need for more tests as children return to school, workplaces resume activities and consumers head back to concerts and events.

This appears to have taken manufacturers by surprise after months of flagging demand. The Biden administration also recently announced plans to require either vaccination or weekly testing for companies with 100 or more employees. That comes on top of the federal-worker mandate.

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says she’s not surprised that some people need to be persuaded to get coronavirus vaccinations, but she was dismayed by the politicization of the issue.

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that millions of people who have gotten their two shots of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine should get a booster shot. Here’s a quick briefing on who’s eligible and a refresher on how we got to this point:

By The Washington Post

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday offered more evidence that school masks requirements can help keep children healthy and in classrooms, showing lower spikes in pediatric covid cases and fewer school closures in places that require them.

By Bloomberg

The research team behind the messenger RNA technology used in Covid-19 vaccines won a Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman “launched a novel therapeutic technology,” the award panel said in a statement. Kariko leads mRNA therapeutic work at Covid vaccine maker BioNTech SE, and Weissman is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. The two were both based at Penn when they did the research.

By The Associated Press

A live televised interview with Vice President Kamala Harris was delayed on Friday after two hosts of the “The View” learned they tested positive for COVID-19 moments before they were to interview her.

Co-host Sunny Hostin and guest host Ana Navarro both learned they tested positive for breakthrough cases ahead of the interview. Both Navarro and Hostin were at the table for the start of the show, but then were pulled from the set.

By The Associated Press

Vermonters ages 80 and older can now sign up for a Pfizer vaccine booster shot against COVID-19, and eligibility will be expanded in a week to those ages 18 to 64 who have underlying medical conditions, state officials said Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans six months after receiving their second dose.

Vermont has set up a registration schedule for statewide clinics broken down by age groups.

Vermonters ages 75 and older can start signing up for booster shot appointments on Monday, followed by 70 and up on Wednesday and 65 and older next Friday, Oct. 1.

Booster shots are available where Pfizer vaccines are offered, including at a Health Department clinic, pharmacy or health care provider, state officials said. People must make an appointment to get a shot at a state clinic and are asked to bring their vaccine cards with them. Information can be found on the Vermont Health Department website.

By The Associated Press

Dozens of detainees and several staff members at a Rhode Island jail have tested positive for COVID-19 this week, according to the facility’s warden.

Fifty detainees and seven staff members at the publicly-owned but privately-run Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls have tested positive, Warden Daniel Martin said in a statement Thursday.

The outbreak started when one detainee tested positive last week.

In response, the facility has stepped up testing.

“We have been in contact with the RI Department of Health on our existing COVID protocols which include testing and quarantining every incoming detainee for 14 days, mandatory mask usage for staff and detainees, and thorough sanitization of common areas/surfaces,” Martin wrote.

“We have added additional protocols based on RI DOH guidance which include ongoing, mandatory testing of detainees and staff, and not allowing detainees from different pods to come into contact with each other,” he said.

The facility houses many people being detained by federal immigration authorities.

By The Associated Press

President Joe Biden is urging those now eligible for COVID-19 booster shots to get the added protection. His plea comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the doses for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late Thursday. Biden praised the decision and aimed to set aside any unease about the vaccination by saying that he would get his own booster soon.

The advisers say boosters should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The extra dose would be given once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot.

By Bloomberg

Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina tested positive for Covid-19, the second member of President Jair Bolsonaro’s cabinet to be diagnosed with the virus this week.

By The Associated Press

The World Health Organization is recommending a pricey antibody treatment for certain coronavirus patients in the latest update to its guidelines for treating people with COVID-19.

The new guidelines, published Friday in the journal BMJ, say the two antibodies - casirivimab and imdevimab = made by Regeneron should be given to people infected with COVID-19 who are at highest risk of hospitalization and to people whose own immune systems have not mounted a response.

The U.N. health agency said the new advice was based on evidence from experimental trials, including a British-run study that is the world’s largest for testing potential COVID-19 treatments.

In the U.S., the Regeneron treatment is mostly recommended for people with mild to moderate COVID-19, to prevent them from needing hospitalization.

Activists worried that the cost of the treatment - more than $2,000 in the U.S. - means it will mostly be unavailable to people in poorer countries. Doctors Without Borders called for Regeneron to ensure the antibody drugs are accessible to needy patients and for the company to license any proprietary rights and share technological know-how for how to make them.

By Lauran Neergaard and Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans, opening a major new phase in the U.S vaccination drive against COVID-19.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late Thursday.

The advisers said boosters should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The extra dose would be given once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot.

However, Walensky decided to make one recommendation that the panel had rejected.

By Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg says most of the national coronavirus restrictions in the Scandinavian country will be eased.

The restrictions lifted include the requirement for serving patrons in restaurants and the 1-meter (3.3-feet) social distance rule. Eateries, bars and nightclubs will be allowed to remain open after midnight, schools and kindergartens can return to normal and “handshakes will again be allowed,” a smiling Health Minister Bent Hoeie said.

He stressed Norway will have “an increased preparedness” and local restriction will be imposed if there was a flareup.

Norway is the second Scandinavian country to end the restrictions after Denmark did so on Sept. 10.

More than 76% of Norway’s population of 5.3 million have gotten one vaccine, and nearly 70% have gotten both shots, according to official figures.

By Alexa Gagosz and Brian Amaral, Globe Staff

Dr. Cathy Duquette has been a nurse for more than 35 years, and knows what burnout in the industry looks and feels like.

When COVID-19 patients first flooded Rhode Island’s hospitals early last spring, health care workers were able to uplift one another, confident that they’d be able to get the job done. But then the second wave came last fall. And the third wave has been a “constant battering” of the entire health care workforce.

The immense pressure on hospitals is not solely attributable to COVID-19 patients. There were 137 patients with COVID-19 in Rhode Island hospitals on Monday, the last day for which data is available; that number topped 500 in December. But medical professionals say things are as challenging as they’ve been in the past year and a half.

By The Associated Press

Hospitals and nursing homes in New York are bracing for the possibility that a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers could lead to staff shortages when it takes effect Monday.

Doctors and nurses — and also support staff, like food service workers and cleaners — have been given until Sept. 27 to get at least their first vaccine shot in one of the nation’s most aggressive plans to protect patients.

By Nick Stoico, Globe Correspondent

A Suffolk Superior Court judge has rejected the Massachusetts State Police union’s motion to delay Governor Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement that carries an Oct. 17 deadline, according to court documents.

The union had filed its lawsuit last week and sought to put a hold on the vaccination mandate to allow time for it to bargain and negotiate the terms of their employment. The union claimed that troopers would undergo “irreparable harm” if the deadline was not pushed back.

By The Associated Press

Australia’s two largest cities are moving closer to ending lockdowns as vaccination rates climb, but leaders are warning that people should remain cautious with their newfound freedoms and that coronavirus case numbers will inevitably rise.

In New South Wales state, where an outbreak continues to grow in Sydney, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has set a target of reopening on Oct. 11 once vaccination milestones are reached.

But she said Friday it would need to be done “with a degree of caution and responsibility” because otherwise too many people would end up in hospitals. Meanwhile in Victoria State, where there is an outbreak in Melbourne,

Health Minister Martin Foley said there had been a “tremendous” increase in vaccinations and there was “no shortage of enthusiasm” among people wanting to get jabs.

Health officials in New South Wales reported 1,043 new cases and 11 deaths on Friday, while officials in Victoria reported 733 new cases and one death.

By The Washington Post

White House officials prioritized former president Donald Trump’s attempt to challenge the election over the pandemic response last winter, according to emails obtained by the House select subcommittee probing the government’s coronavirus response and shared with The Washington Post.

Steven Hatfill, a virologist who advised White House trade director Peter Navarro and said he was intimately involved in the pandemic response, repeatedly described in the emails how “election stuff” took precedence over coronavirus, even as the outbreak surged to more than 250,000 new coronavirus cases per day in January.

“Now with the elections so close, COVID is taking a back-seat, yet the disease is rearing it[s] ugly head again,” Hatfill wrote to an outside colleague in October 2020. Following the election, which was disputed by former president Donald Trump, Hatfill wrote in another email that he personally “shifted over to the election fraud investigation in November.”

By The Washington Post

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Thursday he supports mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for older teenagers, saying vaccines are critical to keeping students in school.

“I wholeheartedly support it,” he said. “It’s the best tool that we have to safely reopen schools and keep them open. We don’t want to have the yo-yo effect that many districts had last year, and we can prevent that by getting vaccinated.”

Cardona said that in general, he believes governors, not school superintendents, should implement the mandates. “I really want to make sure that governors and health officials are driving the communication around public health measures, which vaccinations are,” he said.

By The Washington Post

The number of Americans receiving their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine has dropped significantly in recent days, according to Centers for Disease Control data released late Wednesday, worrying health officials as flu season approaches.

The seven-day moving average of daily first doses was about 272,000 by the end of last week, according to the CDC, making it the slowest week of first-dose immunizations since mid-July. On Tuesday, fewer than 21,000 individuals were injected with their first shot, tentative figures from the CDC show, potentially making it the slowest day since Christmas 2020.

By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health told nursing home administrators Thursday they should be ready to start administering COVID-19 booster shots to residents and staff as early as next week.

Nursing homes were hit especially hard early in the pandemic, and account for nearly one-third of the state’s COVID deaths. Though residents and staff were among the earliest to be vaccinated, some research suggests that protection from infection and severe illness with the Pfizer vaccine, which was widely used in nursing homes, wanes after six months. And the rise of the contagious Delta variant has senior care leaders on edge.

“We are grateful that the federal government has made COVID-19 booster shots available for our vulnerable residents, which... will further help to keep our residents safe from breakthrough COVID-19 infections,” said Tara Gregorio, president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, which represents nearly 400 senior care facilities.

By Felicia Gans, Globe Staff

More than 2,500 public school students and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, about an 80 percent increase from the first three days of cases tracked by the state earlier this month.

State education leaders on Thursday reported 2,236 new cases among public school students and 318 among staff members for the week that ended Wednesday, releasing the academic year’s first full week of coronavirus data from the state’s schools and districts.

The 2,554 total cases were a significant leap from the state’s first report of 1,420 total cases last week, but the increase was expected. Last week’s report of 1,230 student cases and 190 among staff members included only three days worth of data, while the latest report included a full week.

By The Associated Press

Sporting a mask, Toronto Maple Leaf’s winger William Nylander opened his news conference at the start of training camp by informing reporters he was not yet fully vaccinated.

“Had couple medical things to take care of,” he said. “I’ll be fully vaccinated by the beginning of the season.”

The NHL is counting on it and said last week that 98% of its players will be vaccinated by the time the season begins Oct. 12. That would leave 10-15 players out of 700 on 32 teams lacking the vaccine, including Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

Part of the emergency department at Rhode Island Hospital, the state’s largest hospital, was forced to close Thursday due to a nursing shortage.

The emergency center at Rhode Island Hospital is the only Level I trauma center in southeastern New England, where the department’s frontline workers see some of the area’s most critically injured and severely ill people.

By Bloomberg

Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. rose 2.9% during the week that ended Tuesday, with some counties in New York and Pennsylvania showing increases of 26% or more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

States including Alabama, Georgia and West Virginia had among the most widespread increases in deaths. Deaths as a share of population also are soaring in eastern Texas and central Florida, according to a CDC national data update published Thursday.

Hospitalizations for Covid declined 12.5% during the week through Monday compared with the previous seven days. The pandemic has claimed some 682,000 lives in the U.S., more than the estimated death toll of 675,000 in the 1918 influenza pandemic.

By Bloomberg

The U.S. Department of Education reimbursed a Florida county almost $150,000 after it was fined by the state of Florida for imposing a mask mandate in its schools.

The money is the latest escalation in the fight between the Biden administration and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been withholding money from school districts that defied his ban on mask mandates. The federal government said it would cover those costs, and the $147,719 announced on Thursday is the first payment.

“We should be thanking districts for using proven strategies that will keep schools open and safe, not punishing them,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a press release.

By Bloomberg

In Kansas, public health data show school-based Covid-19 clusters increased by 11 over the past week to total 72, and the state’s education commissioner reported a middle school student died this week, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said: “Those are the types of things we’re working hard to make sure does not happen while we keep schools open — it’s keeping them open and safe.”

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Many people may be wondering whether they will soon be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster to amp up their protection against the deadly virus, which just won’t seem to go away.

Here, compiled from Globe wire and major media reports, is what you need to know:

By The Associated Press

As Portugal closes in on its goal of fully vaccinating 85% of the population against COVID-19 in nine months, other countries in Europe and beyond want to know how it was accomplished.

A lot of the credit is going to Rear Adm. Henrique Gouveia e Melo. With his team from the three branches of the armed forces, the naval officer took charge of the vaccine rollout in February — perhaps the moment of greatest tension in Portugal over the pandemic.

By Bloomberg

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she’s ready for a potential shortage of health-care workers, with the state’s mandatory vaccine deadline set for Monday.

Health-care workers including at nursing homes and hospitals are required to get the first vaccine by Sept. 27 or potentially risk losing their job.

“I will be announcing a whole series of initiatives that we are doing to be prepared for a situation on Monday, which I hope doesn’t happen,” Hochul said at a briefing on Thursday. A group of workers has taken the state to court over the mandate, saying it violates their religious beliefs.

By Bloomberg

As Covid-19 deaths mount in Idaho, where vaccination rates are lagging, funeral directors are running out of room to store the deceased, the Idaho Statesman reports.

One mortuary converted a train car into an external refrigeration unit that’s noisy and smells of diesel fuel. It can hold up to 56 bodies.

The coroner in Ada County, Idaho, reports multiple funeral homes are no longer taking bodies. It has turned to a mobile refrigeration unit with a capacity of 70, the newspaper reported.

By Bloomberg

U.S. schools were counting on widespread vaccinations to help get all students back to in-person classes for the first time since early 2020. Mere weeks into the effort, signs of another taxing year are emerging amid scattershot safety rules and rising Covid-19 among children.

Over the past month, with kindergarten through 12th grade in session, the country has reported almost 1 million cases among those under 18. Though kids typically are less likely than adults to become severely ill with Covid, they increasingly are contracting the highly contagious delta variant. As of Sunday, 2,000 schools nationwide had closed — 18% more than a week earlier, according to the Burbio tracker.

By The Washington Post

Moderna’s chief executive says that the pandemic could be over in a year and that a boost in production will mean enough vaccines for “everyone on this earth” by then.

Producing enough booster shots should be possible, too, to some extent, and even babies will be able to get vaccines, Stéphane Bancel told a Swiss newspaper in an interview published Thursday. Asked whether that could spell “a return to normal” next year, he replied: “As of today, in a year, I assume.”

By Bloomberg

New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, who helped former Governor Andrew Cuomo respond to the coronavirus pandemic, has submitted his resignation.

Governor Kathy Hochul, who replaced Cuomo, announced Zucker’s resignation on Thursday during a virus briefing.

Zucker, who was appointed by Cuomo in 2015, was central to allegations the Cuomo administration covered up Covid nursing-home deaths.

Decisions of the Cuomo administration and health department under Zucker came under fire after Attorney General Letitia James released a report in January showing officials undercounted Covid-related deaths in New York nursing homes by as much as 50%. The report also detailed a lack of compliance with infection-control policies at many nursing homes on Zucker’s watch.

Zucker and Cuomo have denied the allegations.

By The Associated Press

Vermont state officials are attributing the high number of COVID-19 cases in Orleans County in the Northeast Kingdom in part to the lower vaccination rate in the area.

The county is reporting scattered COVID-19 outbreaks and a high degree of community transmission, state officials said Tuesday during the governor’s weekly virus briefing. In the last two weeks, the county has reported 225 cases.

“From my perspective, I think, you have to just look at the vaccination rates around the state and see that there’s a higher population of unvaccinated up in the Northeast Kingdom than there is anywhere else so that would lead me to believe that it’s again a pandemic of the unvaccinated at this point,” Gov. Phil Scott said during the briefing.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said he agreed that the higher population of unvaccinated people is a significant part of the increase in cases.

The Newport City Elementary School has switched to remote classes for the rest of the week to prevent the spread of the virus among unvaccinated children that spreads to adults, WCAX-TV reported. Derby Elementary School decided to go remote a week ago.

“We are not able to definitively determine that cases are being transmitted in school but we started to have situations where we can’t rule it out,” said North Country Supervisory Union Superintendent John Castle.

By The Associated Press

The pharmaceutical company Novavax and the Serum Institute of India say they’ve submitted an application to the World Health Organization for their coronavirus vaccine to be granted an emergency use listing.

That would allow the shot to be used as part of a global vaccine-sharing program. In a statement on Thursday, Novavax and its partner the Serum Institute say their request for the COVID-19 vaccine to the U.N. health agency is based on a previous submission to Indian regulators.

The Novavax shots are easier to store and transport than some other options. They’ve long been expected to play an important role in increasing supplies in poor countries desperate for more vaccine. In June, the company said their vaccine was about 90% effective against symptomatic COVID-19.

Novavax, based in Maryland, signed a deal this year with the vaccine alliance Gavi to provide 350 million doses to the U.N.-backed COVAX program, most of which are intended to be made by the Serum Institute. A previous non-binding agreement said Novavax would provide up to 1 billion vaccines.

By Bloomberg

A group of federal workers and contractors filed suit against the U.S. government over its Covid-19 vaccination mandates.

The lawsuit, filed in Washington Thursday, challenges President Joe Biden’s executive order earlier this month requiring federal workers to be vaccinated and the U.S. Defense Department’s August memorandum that members of the military must be protected against coronavirus.

Among other things, the suit argues that a Christian is required “to refuse a medical intervention, including a vaccination, if his or her informed conscience comes to this sure judgment” and that “naturally acquired immunity provides greater protection than vaccines.”

By Bloomberg

Alaska is now the second place in the U.S. to activate statewide crisis standards of care, amid a Covid surge that’s straining hospital capacity in areas that have most resisted vaccination.

It follows Idaho, which last week extended health care rationing statewide as authorities there said they didn’t have enough resources to adequately treat patients in its hospitals. Some Montana health providers have done the same. A common thread in all three states is that less than half the populations have been fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

By The Associated Press

U.S. athletes trying to make the Winter Olympics will have to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 under a groundbreaking new policy announced Wednesday by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

CEO Sarah Hirshland wrote in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that, starting Nov. 1, the USOPC will require staff, athletes and others utilizing training centers and other USOPC facilities to be vaccinated.

By The Associated Press

A 12-year-old boy has gone to court in the Netherlands to get permission to receive a COVID-19 vaccine so he can visit his grandmother who is battling lung cancer, according to a written court ruling published Thursday.

By The Associated Press

In Maine, the highest rates of coronavirus infections in recent months have been in places with lower vaccination rates, demonstrating a divide between rural and urban centers in the state, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Communities with the lowest vaccination rates have seen the highest rates of new COVID-19 cases over the past 4 1/2 months amid the onset of the delta variant, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Communities where more than 90% of eligible residents are vaccinated experienced nearly 40% lower infections than in communities with inoculation rates below 70%, the newspaper reported.

The highest infection rates were previously centered in ZIP codes containing cities like Portland, Lewiston, Biddeford and Kittery, the newspaper said, but they are now in communities like Guilford, Levant, Houlton and Madison.

Dr. Noah Nesin, chief medical officer at Penobscot Community Health Care in Bangor, said the good news is that more people are getting vaccinated as they see the damage inflicted by the delta variant.

“It is now a choice between getting vaccinated or getting delta,” Nesin said. “They see this as a very serious disease that isn’t just going to go away.”

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

Crooner Dierks Bentley has been forced to cancel his Saturday show at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield after a member of his touring party tested positive for COVID-19, the star confirmed Wednesday.

Bentley made the bummer announcement in a statement posted to his official Twitter and Instagram accounts, which boast a combined 4.6 million followers. The show at the Mansfield venue had been scheduled as part of his Beers on Me Tour, but now the suds will be silent.

He had earlier announced the cancellation of a show in Maryland owing to the positive test.

Then on Wednesday, Bentley tweeted, “Unfortunately, we have to extend our break from the road a few more days and won’t be able to play Jones Beach (9/24) or Boston (9/25) this weekend.” He meant Mansfield when he referred to the Hub.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

Some Rhode Islanders may be able to start getting booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine soon.

The state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee held a meeting Thursday morning, just a day after the US Food and Drug Administration authorized people over 65 who had received Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine to get a booster shot at least six months after their second shot.

The subcommittee, which did not vote regarding the implementation of booster shots during the meeting as scheduled, estimated that based on the eligibility criteria outlined by the FDA, there are about 130,000 Rhode Islanders that are eligible to receive a booster shot.

By Brian MacQuarrie, Globe Staff

Grim COVID-19 numbers from Maine show that nearly 19 months of warnings, struggle, and sickness have served only as a roller-coaster prelude to one of the state’s darkest hours of the pandemic.

Maine set records Wednesday with 226 patients in the hospital for COVID and 88 patients in critical care. New cases reached a seven-day average of 458.6 on Tuesday, compared with 162.3 a month earlier. And in a sprawling state where hospitals are at or near capacity, the COVID death toll topped 1,000 since the start of the pandemic.

By Associated Press

The Nobel Prize ceremonies will be reined in and scaled-down for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic, the foundation behind the coveted prizes said Thursday.

The winners of this year’s prizes in chemistry, literature, physics, medicine and economics, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize, are set to be announced between Oct. 4 and Oct. 11.

“It is now also clear that this year’s Nobel festivities in December − when the laureates are honored in Stockholm and Oslo − will be a mixture of digital and physical events,” the Nobel Foundation said.

By Bianca Vázquez Toness, Globe Staff

Noemy Rodriguez was beyond anxious.

It was almost 8 p.m. on Boston’s first day of school and her fourth-grade son, Wayne Montoya, still had not been dropped off by his bus.

An administrator at the Thomas Edison K-8 in Brighton assured her that her son was on the way. But Wayne, who has special needs, and dozens of other children from across the city piled into the only bus on hand, extending the route and delaying the drop-off. He finally arrived at 8:45 p.m., more than five hours after school let out.

By The Associated Press

A farmers fair that dates to the 1860s will resume in Maine this weekend after taking a year off due to COVID-19.

The Cumberland Fair is scheduled to start on Sunday and run through Oct. 2. The fair was first held in 1868 and is one of the biggest annual agricultural events in the southern part of the state.

The coronavirus pandemic canceled Maine’s 2020 agricultural fair season, but this year many of them have been able to go on. The Common Ground Country Fair, however, which celebrates organic farming, was canceled this year.

The Cumberland Fair is famous for its annual pumpkin and squash weigh-off event. Winning pumpkins sometimes weigh more than 1,000 pounds.

By The Associated Press

The inequity of COVID-19 vaccine distribution will come into sharper focus Thursday as many of the African countries whose populations have little to no access to the life-saving shots step to the podium to speak at the UN’s annual meeting of world leaders.

Already, the struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic has featured prominently in leaders’ speeches — many of them delivered remotely exactly because of the virus. Country after country acknowledged the wide disparity in accessing the vaccine, painting a picture so bleak that a solution has at times seemed impossibly out of reach.

By The Associated Press

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she doesn’t want to use lockdowns in the future and sees vaccinations as the “golden ticket” to navigating the pandemic.

Her remarks came as Auckland remained in a sixth week of lockdown following an outbreak of the coronavirus’ delta variant.

New Zealand has taken an unusual zero-tolerance approach to the virus and is trying to completely eliminate the outbreak in its largest city through drastic measures, at least until vaccination rates improve. Fifteen more local transmissions were reported Thursday.

Ardern says she sees a hopeful path in using vaccinations coupled with public health measures to prevent widespread hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. About 62% of New Zealanders have had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine.