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Coronavirus update: More ‘breakthrough’ cases, experts say law may back mandates

WHO study finds the Delta variant may be producing new symptoms

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 42,416,012 (42,294,019)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 678,522 (676,347)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 229,665,913 (229,222,879)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,711.253 (4,702,936)‌

‘Breakthrough’ cases becoming more common

Data show being vaccinated greatly reduces the chances of getting COVID-19, but the variants of the virus, particularly the Delta variant, have resulted in an increasing number of “breakthrough cases” of vaccinated people being infected.

But there’s good news. Most of these breakthrough cases produce only mild symptoms — and no symptoms at all in some cases. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) correctly notes that severe illness and death are “rare,” state-level data show that milder breakthrough cases are on the rise and may keep rising.

“It’s likely that everybody will probably get infected with COVID-19 [at some point] because it’s an endemic respiratory virus,” Amesh Adalja, a doctor and infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Roll Call. “The goal is to make sure that at that time, that infection occurs after you’ve been vaccinated so it’s mild.” 

Legal experts suggest vaccination mandates will stand up in court

The U.S. government and large private employers have issued vaccination mandates for employees, producing threats of lawsuits from people who refused to be vaccinated against the virus. But many legal experts say the law may back the employers.

In one case, it already has. In June, a federal judge ruled in favor of Methodist Hospital in Houston after more than 100 of its employees sued to overturn the vaccination mandate. The judge ruled the mandate did not violate anyone’s rights or amount to coercion. 

That may not stop future lawsuits. Anti-vaccination groups have said their legal challenges will be based on a claim that mandates to be vaccinated violate the right to bodily integrity under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Employers counter that it is simply a requirement for employment. 

WHO study finds Delta may be changing symptoms

From the beginning of the pandemic, health experts told health care providers to watch for a certain set of symptoms. COVID-19 was likely to be present if a patient had a dry cough, a fever, a loss of smell or taste, or fatigue.

With the rapid spread of the Delta variant, a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized a new set of common symptoms. It said the virus among the vaccinated population now causes headaches, a runny nose, sneezing, or loss of smell.

For the unvaccinated, the study found the most common Delta variant symptoms are headache, sore throat, runny nose, fever, and a persistent cough.

Around the nation

  • Florida: The COVID-19 news is slightly better in Florida this week. Federal health officials released the latest data, showing 6,904 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and 6,297 new cases on Sunday. It’s the first time the state’s case count has been below 7,000 on consecutive days since mid-July.

  • New Jersey: The pandemic-related worker shortage isn’t just hitting fast-food restaurants. Many independent restaurants in the state report employees are hard to find. "These people find other jobs like Uber and GrubHub," restaurant owner Ralph Magliocchetti told WABC-TV. "They work whenever they want. They don't have to punch in or punch out."

  • Kentucky: The family of a 29-year old woman who died this month from COVID-19 says “misinformation killed her.” Samantha Wendell of Grand Rivers, Kentucky, was engaged to be married this month. In a Facebook post, her cousin said she wasn’t vaccinated because she feared infertility. There is no evidence any vaccines cause infertility.

  • Nevada: The epicenter of outbreaks in the state has always been Las Vegas and Clark County, and health officials say an improvement there in recent days has brought down numbers for the entire state. Hospitalizations have declined in Clark County but remain elevated in rural counties.

  • Oregon: About 24,000 state employees represented by the Service Employees International Union will have an extra six weeks to become fully vaccinated. The union has negotiated an extension to Gov. Kate Brown’s mandate that all state employees be vaccinated by October 18.

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