The board of the Houston Independent School District, the seventh-largest U.S. school system, voted to require masks for students and teachers in class and on buses when classes begin Aug. 23.
Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest U.S. school district, will require all employees who do not have a medical or religious exemption to get Covid-19 vaccinations and provide proof by Oct. 15. Three teachers and a teacher’s assistant in Florida’s Broward County died of Covid-19 this week, NBC 6 reported, citing the teachers’ union president.
The Belize Tourism Board said that 27 people, all vaccinated, tested positive this week on Carnival Corp.’s Carnival Vista, which sailed from Galveston, Texas. Austria reported the most daily infections since May, prompting the government to consider mandating masks in all indoor areas. Moscow hit record deaths in July.
- Global Tracker: Cases top 205.6 million; deaths pass 4.3 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 4.6 billion doses administered
- NYC region confronts patchwork of virus rules as delta spikes
- Japan confronts lockdown taboo with virus at ‘disaster level’
- B-School over Zoom got better during the pandemic, students say
- Understanding the debate over booster shots: QuickTake
Judge Rules In Favor of Evictions Ban
A federal judge in Washington ruled that a temporary U.S. ban on evictions in parts of the country hit hardest by the coronavirus can continue, a major victory for the Biden administration’s efforts to extend protections as the Delta variant spreads.
In a ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich rejected a plea by two landlord groups to block a moratorium by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was set to last until Oct. 3. The decision extends protections against eviction that expired July 31 and were in doubt after the Supreme Court indicated in June that only Congress could continue the policy.
Outbreak on Carnival Cruise in Belize
The Belize Tourism Board said that 27 people tested positive for Covid-19 on Carnival Corp.’s Carnival Vista this week, according to a statement on its website.
They were all vaccinated and were mostly asymptomatic or had “mild” symptoms, according to the statement, which said that 99.98% of crew and 96.5% of passengers were vaccinated on the vessel with 2,895 guests and 1,141 crew. The Carnival Vista sailed from Galveston, Texas, a coastal city near Houston.
The most recent surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows at least 25 cruise ships have recently reported Covid-19 cases.
Chicago Schools Require Shots for Employees
Chicago Public Schools will require all employees who do not have a medical or religious exemption to get Covid-19 vaccinations and provide proof by Oct. 15, the third-largest U.S. school district said in a statement Friday. Students are due back full-time in-person on Aug. 30 and testing will continue during the school year for staff with a documented exemption, according to the statement.
“This new policy enhances the district’s comprehensive reopening plan and ensures that students and staff can confidently learn in-person,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in the statement. “Taking this step will further our citywide vaccination efforts and build on our progress in slowing and stopping the spread of Covid-19.”
Moscow Hit Record Deaths in July
Moscow reported a record 6,583 deaths linked to the coronavirus, according to the Russian capital’s Health Department.
The city’s Covid-19 mortality rate as of Aug. 1 was 4% when accounting for all fatalities where the virus was detected, it said.Even so, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin dropped restrictions limiting the number of workers allowed in offices Friday, saying the number of hospitalizations has dropped by more than half since peaking in late June.
Health Workers Strike in Morocco Amid Spike (10:55 a.m. NY)
Thousands of nurses and health workers went on strike Friday in Morocco, forcing several vaccination centers to halt one of Africa’s most advanced vaccination drives. The National Health Workers Federation said the strike was mainly a reaction to an “assault” on a nurse and a trainee nurse earlier this week by a security official inside a vaccination facility in Casablanca and also to secure better terms for the sector’s employees. The stoppage coincides with a spike in deaths and new cases in the north African kingdom.
Alabama Hospital Reports Record Sick Kids
An Alabama children’s hospital reported 22 Covid-19 inpatients, the most since the pandemic began, including five on ventilators. Children’s of Alabama said its previous peak was 13 virus patients, during the last surge in January.
“This marked increase is due to the community spread of the delta variant that is impacting younger people, including children,” the Birmingham hospital said in a statement on Thursday. “The threat to Alabamians is serious.”
Alabama has the lowest rate of vaccination in the U.S. after Mississippi, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.
Houston Schools Vote for Masks
The board of the Houston Independent School District, the seventh-largest U.S. school system with nearly 200,000 students, voted Thursday to require masks for students and teachers in class and on buses when classes begin Aug. 23. The vote came in defiance of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order that governments not require masks.
“There are teachers out there who go home every day and think, ‘What are we bringing home to our families?’” school board member Elizabeth Santos said.
About three dozen people lined up outside the meeting with signs both protesting and supporting the mandate. One sign said, “Stop Tyranny,” and a person dressed as the Grim Reaper appeared with a sign saying, “Unmask Your Kids.”
Four Florida Educators Die in a Week
Three teachers and a teacher’s assistant in Florida’s Broward County have died of Covid-19 this week, South Florida’s NBC 6 reported, citing teachers’ union president Anna Fusco. They were infected over summer break and at least three of the four were not vaccinated.
The news comes as Broward is defying Governor Ron DeSantis to require masks in schools and as the district prepares for the start of classes next week. Fusco didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
England R Number Range 0.8 to 1.0
England’s estimate for its Covid-19 reproduction number is 0.8 to 1.0, according to data from the U.K. government dated Aug. 13. An R value between 0.8 and 1.0 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between eight and 10 other people.
News from China
About 777 million people have been fully vaccinated in the country, National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng says at a briefing in Beijing. China faces challenge in controlling the outbreak stemming from multiple sources in a short period of time, Mi says.
The World Health Organization’s plan for a further inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus is not based on the findings of earlier joint research between China and the agency, and it is opposed by more than 30 countries, vice foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu told diplomats in Beijing on Friday morning, China News Service reported.
“We’re are against politicizing the virus origin tracing,” Ma said. “We against virus origin tracing that’s abandoning results of the joint research.”
Tokyo Faces Disaster-Level Crisis on Virus
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said the spread of the virus is at disaster levels comparable with the heavy rains and flooding hitting western regions of Japan and urged residents to avoid going out and get vaccinated.
Koike spoke to reporters a day after an expert adviser to the Tokyo government said the virus was out of control. Tokyo reported just under 5,000 new cases Thursday, close to a record marked last week; national case numbers also leaped to a new high of almost 19,000.
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