Coronavirus update: One-third of health care workers aren’t vaccinated

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OSHA says it will not enforce the government’s vaccine mandate

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 47,423,960 (47,331,191)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 767,450 (766,232)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 255,235,906 ( 254,723,729)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 5,128,223 (5,120,194)‌

One-third of U.S. health care workers not vaccinated

American health care professionals are among the biggest holdouts against the COVID-19 vaccines. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that nearly one-third of hospital workers, who face a vaccination mandate, have refused to be inoculated.

The study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, shows that as of September 15, 70% of health care workers were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The highest percentage of vaccinated medical professionals work at children’s hospitals.

The lowest percentage of vaccinated workers was found at critical access hospitals and medical facilities in rural areas of the U.S.

OSHA suspends enforcement of vaccine mandate

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has suspended enforcement of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate in light of adverse court rulings. A federal appeals court recently blocked rules forcing companies with 100 or more employees to require COVID-19 vaccinations or regular testing for a coronavirus infection.

OSHA, which is the federal agency that regulates workplaces, said it is only suspending its activities. It says it expects to ultimately enforce the White House mandate.

“While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation,” the agency said in a statement.

Study backs the effectiveness of masks

Of all the virus mitigation measures, wearing face coverings has met the most resistance in some quarters, with a handful of states passing measures blocking their required use. But another study has confirmed their effectiveness at reducing transmission of COVID-19.

Researchers in Australia carried out a meta-analysis of 72 previous studies to assess the effectiveness of prevention measures that don’t involve drugs. They concluded that wearing masks in public, practicing social distancing, and washing hands frequently reduced transmission rates by 53%.

“It is likely that further control of the covid-19 pandemic depends not only on high vaccination coverage and its effectiveness but also on ongoing adherence to effective and sustainable public health measures,” the researchers wrote in the British Medical Journal.

Around the nation

  • Michigan: State health officials are voicing concerns about the rising number of children who have been hospitalized due to the coronavirus. The number of cases requiring hospital treatment are up 54% since Nov. 3. 

  • Maryland: State officials are investigating how 98 children received the wrong COVID-19 vaccine. The students at South Lake Elementary School, in Montgomery County, were apparently given doses of the Pfizer vaccine that were not as strong as they were supposed to be.

  • Texas: Dr. Mary Bowden, a physician practicing at Methodist Hospital Houston, has resigned. She was previously suspended by the hospital for allegedly spreading “dangerous misinformation.” Bowden is an advocate of using ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

  • Iowa: A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows that 52% of state residents support a newly enacted law that requires employers who require COVID-19 vaccinations to allow exemptions for workers who cite religious or medical reasons.

  • Idaho: Hospital officials around the state are breathing a little easier this week after a sharp rise in hospitalizations appears to have peaked and cases have begun to decline. Now, state health officials are concerned about the number of surgeries that were put off during the surge, with one official saying “thousands” of patients now need an operation.

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