Coronavirus update: Court suspends vaccination mandate

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The U.S. has lifted international travel restrictions

Coronavirus (COVID-19) ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 46,490,680 (46,466,504)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 754,474 (754,311)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 250,056,541 (249,696,436)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 5,052,620 (5,047,698)‌

Appeals court suspends vaccination mandate

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a stay against the Biden administration’s vaccination mandate for private companies with 100 or more employees. The justices concluded that there was “cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the mandate.”

The issuance of a stay prevents the mandates from being enforced. However, it left room for the order to be reinstated after the court assesses it in more depth.

The Labor Department, which issued the order through the Occupational Safety and Health Act, issued a statement after the court’s action expressing confidence that the mandate will ultimately be upheld.

U.S. lifts international travel restrictions

The U.S. government formally removed travel restrictions from a number of countries, including Canada and Mexico. The change removes travel barriers that have been in place during most of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective today, fully vaccinated foreign travelers may pass through U.S. airports and border crossings. Surface travel between the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada will require proof of vaccination but no test.

The move could be a major boost for airlines since increased travel from Europe and other destinations is likely. However, it could be a mixed blessing because most airlines are struggling with staffing issues.

Biden administration kicks off campaign to vaccinate children

Now that government health agencies have cleared the Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11, the Biden administration has launched a nationwide effort to vaccinate children against the coronavirus.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra sent letters to school superintendents and elementary school principals across the U.S. today that encourage them to share information with families about COVID-19 vaccines for children. 

"Today, we reach out to you with encouragement for you to actively support the vaccination process for children in your state, territories, county, tribes, communities, and schools," the letter said. "This is a very exciting development and a significant opportunity to protect some of our youngest learners and our communities."

Around the nation

  • New York: New York City public schools are conducting a week-long campaign to urge parents to vaccinate their children. Mayor Bill de Blasio said about 200 school sites are open daily for the vaccination drive that will continue until Nov. 15.

  • Texas: While cases of the virus are declining in many areas of the state, Texas reportedly leads the nation in the number of COVID-19 cases at jails and prisons. According to the COVID Prison Project, there are more than 800 active cases among Texas inmates and nearly 500 among Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees.

  • Iowa: A study has found that up to 80% of white-tailed deer in Iowa may be infected with COVID-19. There is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted from deer to humans, but the Penn State researchers who authored the report are advising deer hunters in Iowa to take precautions.

  • Maine: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has expressed concern about the surge of COVID-19 cases and recently pressed health experts for answers. “Maine ranks in the top five states in the [percentage] of people…who have been vaccinated,” Collins said at a Senate hearing, questioning why so many of her constituents are getting sick.

  • California: Health experts are expressing concern about the rapid rise in cases in the state, where recent data suggested that the virus was in retreat. "We are seeing an increase,” said Dr. George Rutherford, UCSF professor of epidemiology. “Cases are about 20% of where they were two weeks ago. Hospitalizations are up about 6%.”

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