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Politics Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time'

02:49  31 july  2021
02:49  31 july  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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  Goats got milk, Winnebago Tribe, New Mexico quake : News from around our 50 states Minnesota’s most populous county boosts incentives for COVID-19 vaccine, oil production is flat in North Dakota because of a workforce shortage, and moreStart the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. Add Disney and Walmart to the employers requiring employees to be vaccinated.

a person is walking down the street: Pedestrians walk down Commercial Street in Provincetown, Mass. © Getty Images Pedestrians walk down Commercial Street in Provincetown, Mass.

If you have any tips, email us at nweixel@thehill.com, psullivan@thehill.com and jcoleman@thehill.com.

Follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8.

Today: The CDC released data on a Massachusetts COVID-19 outbreak that triggered its updated mask recommendations. The White House said it is not considering a national vaccine requirement "at this time," and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged to sign an executive order permitting parents to defy school mask mandates.

The Mask Mandate Debate Is Back. Here’s What to Know.

  The Mask Mandate Debate Is Back. Here’s What to Know. Amid the Delta-fueled wave of U.S. COVID cases, universal mask mandates are back on the table and as politically fraught as ever.A week ago, Los Angeles County became the first major metropolitan area to reinstate a mask mandate in indoor public spaces for both unvaccinated and vaccinated residents. And amid a nationwide surge of new COVID-19 fueled by the more transmissible Delta variant, America’s largest county isn’t the only place where universal mask mandates are back on the table. The Delta wave has thus reignited the already politically charged debate over face mask mandates.

We'll start with the data behind the mask update:

CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update

The CDC released data Friday on the Cape Cod coronavirus outbreak that pushed the agency to update its mask guidance, showing that nearly three-quarters of confirmed cases were among the fully vaccinated.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health's analysis of COVID-19 samples from the outbreak determined that fully vaccinated patients carried similar amounts of the virus as unvaccinated patients.

The results from the mostly delta variant samples indicate that fully vaccinated people can potentially transmit and spread the strain, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Overnight Health Care: New round of vaccine mandates | Health groups call for mandates for all health workers | Rising case count reignites debate over restrictions

  Overnight Health Care: New round of vaccine mandates | Health groups call for mandates for all health workers | Rising case count reignites debate over restrictions Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. A snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo has COVID-19, but appears to be doing ok! If you have any tips, email us at nweixel@thehill.com psullivan@thehill.com jcoleman@thehill.comFollow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8. Today: Vaccine mandates are gaining traction, including with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dozens of health care groups requested vaccine mandates for health care workers, and the Biden administration released guidance saying long COVID-19 could count as a disability.

The report noted that microbiological studies are needed to confirm that similarity in the viral load to determine whether fully vaccinated people can transmit the virus.

By the numbers: The state health department identified 469 COVID-19 cases among Massachusetts residents who went to Provincetown, a popular vacation destination in Barnstable County, in the month of July, including 346 fully vaccinated people.

A total of 79 percent of the breakthrough cases were symptomatic. Five patients were hospitalized, four of whom were fully vaccinated, and no deaths were reported. Two of the fully vaccinated hospitalized patients had "underlying medical conditions."

Why it matters: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky cited this data Tuesday when announcing the new mask recommendations for even fully vaccinated people to cover their faces in indoor public settings in counties with "substantial" and "high" COVID-19 transmission.

The CDC is recommending masks for vaccinated people in high transmission areas. What does that mean?

  The CDC is recommending masks for vaccinated people in high transmission areas. What does that mean? Should you wear a mask if you're fully vaccinated? If you're in an area with high COVID transmissibility, the CDC says yes. Here's what that means.The guidance also recommends that people with underlying conditions that may make them more susceptible to the coronavirus wear masks, along with anyone residing with vulnerable people. Teachers, school staff, students and visitors inside schools from kindergarten to 12th grade also fall under new guidance recommending universal mask-wearking.

"This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC's updated mask recommendation," she said in a Friday statement.

Read more here.

White House: National vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time'

The White House is not presently considering a national requirement for the COVID-19 vaccine, principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Friday.

"A national vaccine requirement is not under consideration at this time. That's where we are with that," Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing.

Flashback to yesterday: The possibility was raised by Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy after President Biden said a day earlier said it was "still a question" whether the federal government can mandate the vaccine for the entire country.

"I don't know that yet," Biden said Thursday, adding that the Justice Department had determined that local communities could legally require the shot.

Ongoing debate: Public health experts and lawmakers have debated in recent weeks the usefulness of vaccine mandates and whether the country will need to reimpose certain restrictions on businesses as coronavirus cases rise nationwide due to the highly contagious delta variant.

Overnight Health Care: Biden tells federal workers to get vaccinated or submit to testing | President calls on states to offer $100 vaccine incentives | DC brings back indoor mask mandate starting Saturday

  Overnight Health Care: Biden tells federal workers to get vaccinated or submit to testing | President calls on states to offer $100 vaccine incentives | DC brings back indoor mask mandate starting Saturday Welcome to Thursday's Overnight Health Care. Masks are back in Walt Disney World and Disneyland, with both resorts requiring face coverings for those aged 2 and older in indoor portions of the parks.If you have any tips, email us at nweixel@thehill.com, psullivan@thehill.com and jcoleman@thehill.com.Follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4 and @JustineColeman8.Today: President Biden is stepping up the push to get people vaccinated, including federal workers, masks are coming back in D.C. and Democrats consider cutting back on new pandemic preparedness funds.


Video: Vaccine mandates "up to individual institutions," Surgeon General says (CNBC)

Republicans have warned against any type of national mandate, arguing it would be a gross overreach by the federal government, particularly since the Food and Drug Administration has not given full authorization to the shots, despite their administration to millions of Americans.

The White House has been adamant that lockdowns like the ones implemented when the virus was at its peak last winter should not be necessary because of the effectiveness of vaccines, and they have pleaded with Americans who are still holding out to get the shot.

"The way we see this is that we have the tools in our tool belt to fight this variant," Jean-Pierre said Friday. "And we are not going to head towards a lockdown."

Read more here.

Biden rolls dice by getting more aggressive on vaccines

President Biden's new, more aggressive approach to pressure reluctant or unwilling people to get vaccinated is a risky political play for a president who put defeating the coronavirus at the center of his agenda - though it could also come with a big payoff.

It's a decision the White House appeared reluctant to make for months, and it opens Biden up to fresh attacks from Republicans angling to paint the White House as overreaching and putting the government at too central a position in people's lives.

45% of Republicans support a universal vaccine mandate, as do a strong majority of Americans, a new poll shows

  45% of Republicans support a universal vaccine mandate, as do a strong majority of Americans, a new poll shows A universal mandate has not been proposed by state or federal leaders, but requirements have been issued at various levels.The survey also found that a strong majority of Americans (64%) would support a universal vaccine mandate across the US. Most Americans (70%) supported a vaccine requirement for getting on a plane, as well as requiring one for allowing children to go back to school (61%), and mandating one for college students to go back to university (66%).

Read more here.

DeSantis to sign executive order allowing parents to defy school mask mandates

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday said he will sign an executive order to "protect the rights of parents" and allow them to choose whether their children should wear masks even if their school requires them to do so.

"In Florida, there will be no lockdowns, there will be no school closures, there will be no restrictions and no mandates in the state of Florida," DeSantis said.

The governor cited a Brown University study that found no connection between case rates and mask mandates at schools. Critics have said that study was centered on schools in smaller communities that reopened earlier in the pandemic and is now outdated, WPLG reported.

Follows: DeSantis's announcement follows Broward County's decision to require students in their public schools to wear masks going into the 2021-22 school year.

This week, the CDC also recommended all adults and students wear masks in K-12 schools, regardless of their vaccination status.

Read more here.

If we want kids back in school and the economy to prosper, more of the US needs to get vaccinated, expert says

  If we want kids back in school and the economy to prosper, more of the US needs to get vaccinated, expert says The United States is facing a pivotal moment in the coronavirus pandemic, given that the Delta variant is spurring surges in cases and hospitalizations: It must increase vaccinations or risk magnifying the impact, the surgeon general said. © Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images First grade student Daniel Cano, 5, and his mom, Sonia Cano, walk past Covid-19 safety precaution, social distancing and hand washing signs at a L.A. Unified "meet and greet" with its medical advisers.

Former Trump official says 'just a matter of time' before unvaccinated get delta variant

Brett Giroir, former President Trump's coronavirus testing czar, on Thursday urged anyone who has not yet gotten vaccinated against COVID-19 to quickly do so, arguing that it is "just a matter of time" before all unvaccinated individuals become infected with the delta variant of the virus.

The ex-Trump official, in an interview on Fox News's "America Reports," emphasized health guidance that the potential side effects of the coronavirus vaccine "pale in comparison to what you will get if you get the COVID infection," adding that the highly transmissible delta variant poses an even greater risk.

Overnight Health Care: Study finds unvaccinated more than twice as likely to get COVID-19 reinfection | Half of total US population fully vaccinated | Federal workers who lie about vaccination status could be fined, removed

  Overnight Health Care: Study finds unvaccinated more than twice as likely to get COVID-19 reinfection | Half of total US population fully vaccinated | Federal workers who lie about vaccination status could be fined, removed Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. President Biden paid homage to his former boss by sporting a tan suit during former President Obama's birthday week. Flashback to 2014 when Obama sparked controversy for wearing a tan suit during an address about Russia and ISIS.If you have any tips, email us at nweixel@thehill.com, psullivan@thehill.com and jcoleman@thehill.com.Follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8.Today: Half of the entire U.S. population is now vaccinated. New CDC research shows that previous COVID infection is not nearly as protective as vaccination and federal employees' vaccine requirement comes with teeth.

"If you have not been vaccinated, and you have not had COVID before, you will get the delta variant," Giroir argued. "This is so infectious that you will get it."

He went on to say that while a previous COVID-19 infection may give some natural immunity, it is not clear how long this protection lasts, adding, "The evidence is mounting that even natural immunity will not protect you against delta."

"It is just a matter of time," he argued. "Remember, you can get the flu every year. It's not because your immunity isn't good, it's because the flu changes, and delta is really a new strain that is different than everything we've seen."

Read more here.

What we're reading

'The war has changed': Internal CDC document urges new messaging, warns delta infections likely more severe (The Washington Post)

FDA, under pressure, plans 'sprint' to accelerate review of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine for full approval (Stat News)

CDC scaled back hunt for breakthrough cases just as the delta variant grew​​​​​​ (Bloomberg News)

U.S. Covid vaccination rates rise as Americans in hard-hit states rush to get shots amid delta fears (CNBC)

State by state

Mississippi ICUs have only 10% of beds available as COVID-19 delta variant surges, none at UMMC (Clarion Ledger)

Arizona reports nearly 2K more virus cases, most since March (The Associated Press)

Facing recall, Newsom draws support from health care allies (Kaiser Health News)

Overnight Health Care: Study finds unvaccinated more than twice as likely to get COVID-19 reinfection | Half of total US population fully vaccinated | Federal workers who lie about vaccination status could be fined, removed .
Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. President Biden paid homage to his former boss by sporting a tan suit during former President Obama's birthday week. Flashback to 2014 when Obama sparked controversy for wearing a tan suit during an address about Russia and ISIS.If you have any tips, email us at nweixel@thehill.com, psullivan@thehill.com and jcoleman@thehill.com.Follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8.Today: Half of the entire U.S. population is now vaccinated. New CDC research shows that previous COVID infection is not nearly as protective as vaccination and federal employees' vaccine requirement comes with teeth.

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