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Health, Pandemics

Latest: Largest colleges offer mix of vaccine requirements

The World Health Organization says there were about 4 million coronavirus cases reported globally last week.

9/15/2021 7:17:00 PM

The World Health Organization says there were about 4 million coronavirus cases reported globally last week.

There’s been a mix of coronavirus requirements at universities and colleges in the U.S. At most of the largest public universities, students aren’t obligated to be vaccinated against COVID-19

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:ST. LOUIS — A child has died of COVID-19 in Missouri as the coronavirus sickens record numbers of youths in the state.According to officials with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, the child died last week in the St. Louis area. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports task force officials wouldn’t reveal more information, such as the child’s age, citing privacy concerns.

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The death brings the total number of Missouri children younger than 18 who have died from COVID-19 to six, according to state health department spokeswoman Lisa Cox.On Sept. 7, there were a record 1,133 positive test results for Missouri children younger than 18, topping 940 set on Nov. 9, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Missouri Hospital Association.

Some local health departments in the St. Louis area have reported up to a third of new cases are among children.Dr. Clay Dunagan, chief clinical officer for BJC HealthCare, cited the more infectious delta variant and schools not taking steps to reduce spread, such as requiring masks. Children younger than 12 aren’t eligible for vaccines, and vaccination rates among teens lags that of adults. headtopics.com

———WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has invited CEOs and business leaders to the White House to discuss COVID-19 mandates.The meeting Wednesday follows Biden’s announcement last week that the Labor Department is working to require that businesses with 100 or more employees order their workers to be fully vaccinated or submit a negative COVID-19 test at least weekly. Biden said 100 million workers would be subject to the requirement.

Some business groups, including the Business Roundtable, welcomed the president’s announcement.“America’s business leaders know how critical vaccination and testing are in defeating the pandemic,” Josh Bolten, president and CEO of the Business Roundtable, said in a statement.

Numerous corporations, including Amtrak, Microsoft, United Airlines and Walt Disney issued vaccine mandates for their workforces before Biden’s announcement last week.Some Republicans accused Biden of overstepping his authority and have threatened to sue the administration over the vaccine mandate.

———BRUSSELS — The European Union is committing 200 million more vaccine doses to Africa.European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the donation comes on top of 250 million already committed and underscores the EU resolve to boost global vaccination. headtopics.com

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Von der Leyen called it an “investment in solidarity and it is an investment also in global health.”African health officials have said they need about 800 million doses to vaccinate 60% of the continent’s population. As of last week, 145 million doses had been procured, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Only 3.5% of the continent of 1.3 billion people have been fully vaccinated, the CDC says, amid frustration over distribution, export controls and the rollout of booster shots in richer countries.Von der Leyen says on top of delivering 700 million doses to Europeans and meeting the goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated this summer, the 27-nation bloc had sent the same number of doses to a combined 130 nations.

“With less than 1% of global doses administered to lower income countries, the scale of injustice and the level of urgency is obvious,” says Von der Leyen, adding the bloc is investing 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to boost vaccine production capacity in Africa.

———GENEVA — The World Health Organization says there were about 4 million coronavirus cases reported globally last week, the first major drop in new infections in more than two months. In recent weeks, there were about 4.4 million cases.In its weekly update released on Tuesday, the U.N. health agency says every region in the world saw a drop in cases compared to the previous week. headtopics.com

Although the worldwide number of deaths decreased to about 62,000, with the sharpest decline in Southeast Asia, there was a 7% increase in deaths in Africa. The highest numbers of cases were seen in the U.S., Britain, India, Iran and Turkey. The highly contagious delta variant has been reported in 180 countries.

WHO says children and teenagers continue to be less affected by COVID-19 compared to adults, adding that deaths of people under 24 due to the disease account for fewer than 0.5% of global deaths.WHO has previously said children should not be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations given the extreme global vaccine shortages.

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———PARIS — Health care workers in France face suspension from their jobs starting Wednesday if they haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19. With about 300,000 workers still not vaccinated, some hospitals fear staff shortages will add to their strain.

Vaccines are compulsory for medical care, home care and emergency workers in France. Nearly 90% of such workers are already vaccinated.The deadline Wednesday is for such staff to have at least one shot. Failing that, they face suspended pay or not working. However, a top court has forbidden staff to be fired outright.

The mandate was approved by France’s parliament this summer to protect patients and the public from new surges of the coronavirus. More than 113,000 people have died in France from the virus.———PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodia will launch a campaign Friday to begin giving COVID-19 vaccinations to children between ages 6 and 11.

Prime Minister Hun Sen says it will allow children to return safely to school after a long absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.In an audio message to province and municipality chiefs posted on his Facebook page, he says more than 1.8 million children were expected to get their jabs under the program, which will use Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine.

He's also considering having children ages 3 to 5 be vaccinated soon. Cambodia began vaccinating children ages 12 to 17 at the start of August.On Wednesday, Cambodia’s Health Ministry reported 653 new cases and another nine deaths.Nearly 72% of Cambodia’s almost 17 million people have received at least one COVID-19 shot since vaccinations began in February. China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines account for most inoculations.

Cambodia has registered 101,443 confirmed cases and 2,067 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.———SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported a record daily increase in coronavirus infections in the Seoul region just days before the nation enters its biggest holiday of the year.

Officials say 2,080 new cases were confirmed nationwide, exceeding 2,000 for the eighth time in a span of a month. The 1,663 cases reported in the capital and nearby areas were the most since the start of the pandemic.Officials are concerned transmissions could worsen nationwide during the Chuseok holidays, the Korean version of Thanksgiving that begins this weekend. Millions usually travel across the country to meet relatives.

Health officials are urging residents in the Seoul region not to travel to other areas during the holidays and to avoid relatives who aren’t fully vaccinated. About 40% of a population of more than 51 million was fully vaccinated as of Wednesday.———ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska’s largest hospital has begun rationing care, saying it has been overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

Providence Alaska Medical Center sats it will prioritize resources and treatment to those patients who have the potential to benefit the most.Dr. Kristen Solana Walkinshaw is chief of staff at the hospital and says “we are no longer able to provide the standard of care to each and every patient who needs our help,”

Providence is one of only three hospitals in Anchorage, a city of 300,000 people. Walkinshaw says Providence’s emergency room is overflowing because of the delta variant. Patients have to wait for hours in their cars to see a doctor for emergency care.

———SYDNEY — Australia’s New South Wales state has hit a coronavirus vaccination milestone, with 80% of the target population receiving a shot. The government says a curfew will be lifted in the worst-affected parts of Sydney.Australia intends to open its borders and no longer resort to lockdowns once 80% of the population aged 16 and older is fully vaccinated.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian says infection rates have plateaued in the 12 worst-affected local areas in Sydney and the curfew will end for those areas Wednesday night.Australia’s outbreak of the delta variant began in Sydney in June and New South Wales leads the rest of the country in vaccinating its population.

———UNITED NATIONS — The new president of the U.N. General Assembly says his top priority is the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and getting every person in the world vaccinated by the end of 2022.After taking his oath of office Tuesday, Abdulla Shahid said: “I believe that we can do it, and I call upon leaders of all countries to come together and get this done.”

Shahid says he plans to hold a high-level meeting in early 2022 with government leaders, vaccine producers, the scientific community, civil society, and others to work on closing the gap to vaccine access.The former foreign minister of the Indian Ocean island nation of The Maldives says “we cannot accept that only 3% of Africa has yet been immunized.”

———BOISE, Idaho — Public health officials in Idaho say crisis standards of care are imminent for the state’s most populated region as hospitals continue to be overrun with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.Dave Jeppesen, the director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, says southern Idaho including the Boise metropolitan area could join northern Idaho in rationing health care at any moment.

Last week, the state formally enacted “crisis standards of care” in northern Idaho, giving overwhelmed hospitals permission to direct scarce resources like intensive care unit beds to the patients most likely to survive. At Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene, some COVID-19 patients are treated at a field hospital in a conference center.

Read more: ABC News »

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How many deaths out of the 4 million is what's important.

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