Coronavirus update: Disney employees to get vaccinated, new treatments are being tested

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Conservatives are becoming increasingly hostile about vaccines and masks

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 37,954,406 (37,725,260)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 629,739 (628,580)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 212,802,557 (212,073,519)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,446,164 (4,435,581)‌

Disney and unions agree on vaccine mandate

The Disney Company has reached an agreement with its Disney World employee unions. It requires that all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 22.

After extensive negotiations with the company, the Service Trades Council Union, which represents six affiliate groups, said it is fully on board.

“Vaccines are safe, effective, and free,” the union said in a memo to members. “The Pfizer vaccine is FDA approved and is being offered by the company. Getting vaccinated is the best way for workers to protect themselves from this deadly virus.”

WHO to test new drug treatments

As some vaccinated people get the coronavirus -- along with those who refused to be vaccinated -- health experts say effective treatments against the virus will be extremely important. The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has restarted clinical trials to test the effectiveness of three more potential treatments.

In the previous Solidarity trial, WHO researchers tested four COVID-19 treatments. It reported that none of them achieved an acceptable rate of efficacy.

The rebooted Solidarity trial will investigate three potential treatments: artesunate, imatinib, and infliximab. A panel of WHO experts selected the three drugs because they had demonstrated positive results in previous observational studies. Last week, AstraZeneca said recently completed clinical trials of an antibody drug showed that it was effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms.

Conservatives harden their stance against vaccines and masks

Former President Donald Trump was no doubt shocked over the weekend when he received a round of boos after telling a rally in Alabama that they should be vaccinated against COVID-19. Recovering quickly, Trump said people are free to do what they want, but he said he was glad he got the shot.

While polls show there is vaccine hesitancy among all political stripes, there is little doubt that it has become a political badge of honor among some conservatives. While many of them increasingly resist wearing masks in public, there was one recent case in which voluntary masking was banned.

During a Sunday sermon at Global Vision Bible Church in Nashville, Pastor Greg Locke threatened to deny entry to any of his flock who show up wearing a mask. “ start showing up with all these masks and all this nonsense, I will ask you to leave,” he warned.

Around the nation

  • Arkansas: Arkansas has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the nation, and it’s setting dubious records in other areas as well. Health officials say the number of patients on ventilators has reached its highest level, with the addition of 12 patients in the last 24 hours. That increases the number to 349.

  • Florida: A state court judge is holding hearings this week on a lawsuit from parents that is challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order prohibiting school districts from requiring students to wear masks in the classroom. It comes as a growing number of Florida school districts have defied the governor’s order.

  • New Jersey: The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is endorsing Gov. Phil Murphy’s requirement that public employees, including teachers, show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or undergo regular testing for COVID-19 during the upcoming school year. The union said it will continue to urge everyone who is eligible and able to get vaccinated. 

  • Oregon: Although it was one of the early states to achieve a high rate of vaccination, Oregon is now struggling to contain the coronavirus. The Oregon Health Authority reports a three-day total of 4,701 new cases and 24 deaths. The average number of daily cases and hospitalizations continue to set records throughout the state.

  • Ohio: With cases surging within the state, even backers of an anti-vaccination bill are having second thoughts. Republican leaders in the legislature are holding a one-day hearing on the bill today but are taking no action. 

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