Coronavirus update: Unvaccinated New York City workers to be terminated

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The official U.S. death toll is being questioned

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 77,439,456 (77,268,991)

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 915,651 (912,260)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 406,809,841 (404,161,627)

Total ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 5,793,530 (5,780,644)‌

Unvaccinated New York workers get pink slips

About 3,000 New York City employees face termination today if they have not received a COVID-19 vaccination. The mandate was imposed by former Mayor Bill de Blasio, but incumbent Mayor Eric Adams has said he plans to enforce it.

Termination notices went in the mail early in the week and take effect today. Adams said those who aren’t in compliance have essentially quit their jobs.

“We have to be very clear – people must be vaccinated if they are New York City employees,” Adams said. “Everyone understood that.” 

U.S. death toll questioned

As the official U.S. COVID-19 death toll approaches 1 million, some health experts have begun to question its accuracy. They point out that deaths from other causes are sometimes counted as COVID-19 fatalities because the patient also had the virus.

Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says it’s often up to the attending physician to make the call, especially in cases where the cause is not that clear. But he doubts that the death toll is inflated.

“Early on, there was not widespread testing, so we underestimated the deaths,” Schaffner told Medical News Today. “Now, the death data are more reliable. There may be some plus or minus, but death data are pretty accurate.”

California considers financial aid to COVID-19 orphans

Among the nearly 1 million COVID-19 deaths recorded in the U.S. are parents who have left children behind. Now, California lawmakers are considering legislation to provide financial support for these children.

The bill – the Hope, Opportunity, Perseverance, and Empowerment (HOPE) for Children Act – would support children who lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19 and are in the state's foster care system or a low-income household. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 200,000 Americans under the age of 18 have lost a parent or adult caregiver to COVID-19. That’s an increase of 60,000 since October.

Around the nation

  • Maine: Doctors and nurses are breathing a sigh of relief after being pushed to the brink by rising cases of the Omicron variant. State health officials report that the number of people who are hospitalized for COVID-19 has declined nearly 30% since setting a record high of 436 on Jan. 13.

  • Florida: The state legislature has approved a bill that extends liability protection for health care providers, shielding them from COVID-19-related lawsuits. The measure, originally passed in the early days of the pandemic, is expected to be signed into law.

  • Nevada: From now on, gamblers won’t have to wear a mask while visiting Nevada’s casinos. Gov. Steve Sisolak has announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate is being lifted effective immediately. The number of new cases in Nevada has fallen sharply.

  • Arkansas: Gov. Asa Hutchinson is citing progress in the state’s effort to deal with the pandemic. The number of cases rose by 1,825, an increase that was less than half the size of the one that previously occurred on Thursday.

  • Idaho: While many states have dropped their mask mandates, lawmakers in Idaho want to outlaw mask mandates in the future. A bill that would make it illegal to require people to wear masks in public places is headed for a vote in the state House of Representatives.

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