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GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization called Wednesday for a moratorium on administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines as a way to help ensure that doses are available in countries where few people have received their first shots.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the appeal mostly to wealthier countries that have far outpaced the developing world in numbers of vaccinations. He said richer countries have administered about 100 doses of coronavirus vaccines for every 100 people on average, while low-income countries — hampered by short supplies — have provided only about 1.5 doses per 100 people.

WHO officials say the science is unproven about whether giving booster shots to people who have already received two vaccine doses is effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

The U.N. health agency has repeatedly called for rich countries to do more to help improve access to vaccines in the developing world. It has argued that no one is safe until everyone is safe because the longer and more widely the coronavirus circulates, the greater the chance that new variants could emerge — and prolong a global crisis in fighting the pandemic.

The agency has no power to require countries to act, and many in the past have ignored its appeals on issues like donating vaccines, limiting cross-border travel and taking steps to boost production of vaccines in developing countries.

Tedros pointed to a WHO target he had announced in May seeking to ensure that 10% of the populations in all countries receive vaccines against the coronavirus.

“Accordingly, WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September to enable at least 10% of the population of every country to be vaccinated,” he told a news conference.

To help take the heat out of the pandemic, WHO has been focusing on getting vaccines to older adults, health care workers and other target populations in many countries before booster shot campaigns are carried out.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, a special adviser to Tedros, said the moratorium was about an appeal to countries considering booster doses to “put a hold” on such policies “until and unless we get the rest of the world caught up” in the fight against the pandemic.

”As we’ve seen from the emergence of variant after variant, we cannot get out of it unless the whole world gets out of it together. And with the huge disparity in vaccination coverage, we’re simply not going to be able to achieve that,” Aylward said.

Israel, France, Germany and many Middle Eastern countries have already started administering boosters, and other nations, including the United States and Britain, are considering plans to do so in the wake of the emergence of the highly transmissible delta variant.

Dr. Katherine O’Brien, WHO’s vaccines chief, noted that a “very limited number” of countries were giving booster doses though a larger number were contemplating it.

“The evidence is evolving. It’s moving. We don’t have a full set of evidence around whether this is needed or not,” O’Brien said, adding that the main message was that “we need instead to focus on those people who are most vulnerable.”

Asked about the WHO position, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called it a “false choice” and suggested the United States could both donate vaccines abroad and provide boosters at home.

“We announced just yesterday that we hit an important milestone of over 110 million vaccines donated to the world. That is more than any other country has shared combined,” she said. “We also, in this country, have enough supply, to ensure that every American has access to a vaccine. We will have enough supply to ensure, if the FDA decides that boosters are recommended for a portion of the population, to provide those as well.”

WHO officials reiterated their call for global “solidarity” to help battle the coronavirus pandemic and appealed to wealthy countries and corporations to help.

“We need everyone’s cooperation, especially the handful of countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines,” Tedros said, appealing in particular to the influential Group of 20 large economies. “The G-20 has a vital leadership role to play as the countries that are the biggest producers, the biggest consumers and the biggest donors of COVID-19 vaccines.”

He urged the G-20, which currently is chaired by Italy, to make “concrete commitments to support global vaccination targets.”

“We call on everyone with influence — Olympic athletes, investors, business leaders, faith leaders and every individual in their own family and community — to support our call for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September,” Tedros said.



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Georgia is second to last among states in conducting comprehensive inspections of its nursing homes, according to a federal report.

More than 90 percent of Georgia nursing homes had gone without a thorough inspection for at least 16 months as of May 31, the report found.

Federal health agencies require these “standard surveys’’ to be done at least every 15 months to make sure the nursing homes are meeting federal requirements.

Stock photo

Georgia’s inspection backlog is 93 percent of facilities, and only Connecticut’s is worse, according to the report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.

States are required to send survey teams into nursing homes on behalf of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Recertification inspections are thorough reviews of a nursing home’s operations by trained teams. They are typically conducted over a four-day period.

“The longer that facilities don’t have surveys, the more residents are at risk for abuse and neglect,’’ Melanie McNeil, state long-term care ombudsman, said Tuesday. “No one is holding facilities accountable. It’s easier for bad things to happen.’’

If wound care is not done properly, McNeil added, “residents physically suffer.’’

Georgia’s fiscal year 2022 budget, which went into effect at the beginning of July, contains more than $12 million to beef up the inspection workforce and conduct more timely reviews of nursing homes.

The state’s Department of Community Health (DCH), which regulates nursing homes, said this week in a statement that the agency is using current staff inspectors, as well as outside vendors, to reduce the backlog of nursing home surveys.

DCH said it’s also “implementing recruitment and retention strategies to assist in filling vacant survey positions in the program.’’

Kathy Floyd, executive director of the Georgia Council on Aging, pointed out that state lawmakers have required reports on inspection progress twice a year.

“The first report due at the end of this year should be made public so advocates and families can see if the improvements are being made,’’ Floyd said. “The [inspector general] report shows that upgrades are urgent.’’

The disruption caused by COVID

States’ backlogs grew substantially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said.

National Guard members disinfect a room at a Terrell County nursing home after a COVID-19 outbreak. Photo credit: Georgia Army National Guard

In March 2020, to protect public health amid the pandemic, CMS suspended standard surveys in nursing homes. The federal agency authorized states to resume the inspections that August.

But the inspection backlogs grew even after the suspension was lifted, the report said.

Nationally, 71 percent of nursing homes had gone at least 16 months without a standard survey as of May 31, according to the report.

The pandemic clearly devastated long-term care facilities. In Georgia, more than 4,000 residents of such facilities died from COVID-19.

Devon Barill of the Georgia Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes, said it’s understandable that it would take some time for the state to return to a pre-pandemic schedule of surveys.

She added that the state has conducted infection control surveys since March 2020, focusing on COVID.

The state’s health care facility division “has not been immune to the pandemic’s significant impact on workforce and capacity, and their ability to conduct standard surveys has been impacted,’’ Barill said.



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ALPENA–The Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance is urging northern Michigan residents to take cautionary measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 across the region. The Alliance said the Delta variant is much more contagious than past versions of the virus.

Because the number of cases continue to increase, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all people, regardless of vaccination status, in areas of substantial of high transmission should:

∫ Get vaccinated

∫ Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

∫ Get tested three to five days following a known exposure to someone either suspected of or confirmed to have COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result

∫ Isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

Wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission

The Alliance reported the highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates and that the vaccination is the most effective prevention measure against the virus.

Josh Meyerson, District Health Department No. 4 medical director, noted the status of COVID-19 in one county to another is a moving target and will change frequently.

“Individuals need to take personal responsibility to protect themselves, their families and friends, and their community,” Meyerson said. “We all need to be together on this and get vaccinated, get tested if you’re not feeling well or been exposed, and isolate if you test positive for COVID-19.” Anyone 12 and older is urged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

VACCINES

NOTE: The chart shows the percent of Northeast Michiganders 16 and older fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, meaning they’d received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The “target” line above reflects that many public health experts say we can consider the coronavirus pandemic “over” once 70% of the adult population is fully vaccinated.

INFECTIONS, RECOVERIES, AND DEATHS

NOTE: Northeast Michigan public health agencies have reported confirmed and suspected infections as one number since Feb. 18, 2021. A suspected infection represents a person who’d been in close contact with an infected person but hadn’t been tested themselves, such as a person who lives with a person confirmed infected.

Those agencies also stopped tracking recoveries after vaccine rollouts began in earnest in early 2021. The number of recoveries represents a News estimate based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition of “recovered” as an infected person still living 30 days after infection.

ACTIVE CASES

NOTE: “Active cases” is a News estimate of the number of currently infected — and potentially contagious — Northeast Michiganders representing cumulative cases minus recoveries and deaths.

HOSPITAL OCCUPANCY

NOTE: One of the primary goals of state-mandated coronavirus restrictions has been to prevent hospitals from being overrun with COVID-19-infected patients, so hospital occupancy rates are a key metric state officials use when deciding whether new restrictions are necessary.

TIMELINE: THE FIRST YEAR

Click through the interactive timeline below for a look at how the coronavirus spread throughout Northeast Michigan in its first year.



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It’s no secret that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, healthy routines and habits suffered. With closed gyms, limited group fitness and decreases in day-to-day movement, maintaining activity levels has been a challenge for many.

This lack of exercise not only impacts our physical bodies, but it can also greatly impact our mental well-being. With lockdowns a thing of the past (at least for now) and other restrictions easing, it is now more important than ever to get moving, says exercise and public health expert Dr. Patricia Doyle-Baker, DrPH, associate dean (graduate) in the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Kinesiology. She says exercise and mental wellness are key as we inch our way out of the pandemic.

“Emotions elicited during the COVID-19 pandemic, like fear, have resulted in less healthy habits in students which we’ve seen take effect through increases in alcohol intake, substance use and being less active in a recent study completed by KNES grad Madison Grande (BSc’21),” says Doyle-Baker, referring to the yet-to-be published Fear of COVID-19 Effect on University Behaviours (FRESH) study.

How does exercise impact brain health?

“Physical activity works wonders for our health, but particularly our brain,” says Doyle-Baker. “Something as little as going for a walk after work or a bicycle ride around your neighbourhood can increase mental wellness substantially.” She adds there is a boost in blood flow to our brain when we exercise, which increases dopamine levels, subsequently helping to regulate our mood, which can include supporting positive feelings.

Physical activity can also be a useful strategy to reduce our anxiety and fearful thoughts. According to Doyle-Baker, “physical activity requires us to use our brains differently, and this helps us move away from irrational thoughts to clearer thinking and that helps overcome our fears.”

In fact, much of the research shows that dopamine is linked to a class of brain chemicals called endocannabinoids. These brain chemicals are responsible for reducing anxiety and increasing our contentment. Exercise provides a positive way for us to anticipate pleasure and increases our feelings of motivation.

Getting back into exercise routines

With all this good news linking exercise to mental wellness, how does Doyle-Baker suggest those who have become more sedentary re-enter or introduce exercise into their routines?

“The best way to start is to put more activity into your typical day,” she says. “If you can, take the stairs on campus or at home, where you might normally take an elevator. Walk outside instead of inside when moving from classes or meetings, or around the block at the start or end of a workday — breathing in fresh air is an added bonus for our health.”

Doyle-Baker suggests that, after more activity has been introduced, start looking into adding more strenuous exercise such as cardio, followed by increasing the duration of workouts, incorporating some resistance training, and maybe considering a local or on-campus group fitness class.

Doyle-Baker says there are benefits to working out with other people: “Remember that happy feeling related to exercise, a.k.a. the dopamine response? This neurotransmitter might further increase our need to connect with others, so finding a friend or co-worker to stay active (with) might not only help us stay active, but further improve our well-being and sense of connection.”

There are many ways to get your body moving on campus. UCalgary has one of the largest recreational programs in North America. With resources such as the Outdoor Centre and Fitness Centre, it makes it a lot easier to return to — or start — a healthy lifestyle.

To learn more about what activities the University of Calgary has to offer, please visit active-living.ucalgary.ca



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By Robin Foster and Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

TUESDAY, Aug. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Booster COVID-19 shots will be offered to 32 million people in Britain starting early next month because of fears that the power of vaccines may be starting to wane.

They’ll be offered to adults aged 50 and older and those with weakened immune systems, with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable from variants of concern before winter arrives, according to The Telegraph. The highly contagious Delta variant is now the predominant strain in the country, creating a greater sense of urgency about vaccine protection.

Up to 2,000 pharmacies will be enlisted to deliver the booster shots so that the health care system can focus on the backlog of patients waiting for other treatments.

The booster campaign could begin as soon as Sept. 6, deliver an average of nearly 2.5 million booster doses a week, and be completed by early December, The Telegraph reported.

Based on research suggesting that mixing vaccines could provide a stronger immune response, officials are considering giving people a different vaccine for their booster shot than the vaccine they received for their first and second dose.

The government said Sunday that 88% of adults had received their first dose and 72% had gotten both doses, The Telegraph reported.

Public Health England data shows that two doses provide over 90% protection against hospitalization from the Delta variant, The Telegraph reported.

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID vaccines.

Copyright © 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.



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More than 400 health workers are among thousands currently in isolation in Queensland, placing pressure on hospitals as the state’s Covid-19 outbreak grows.

Queensland recorded 16 new locally acquired cases of the infectious Delta strain on Tuesday. All were linked, bringing the number of cases to 47 in a cluster involving exposure sites at several schools and at least three major Brisbane hospitals.

The state’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said a large number of critical health workers were in quarantine, including all cardiac surgeons at the Queensland Children’s hospital.

“We worked through how we could allow one of them to operate on an urgent case,” she said. “No Queenslander will be denied any care because the health workers they need are in quarantine.

“Unfortunately we have had to delay some surgery and some outpatient work.”

Many health workers have been forced into isolation as parents or close contacts of students at Brisbane Grammar School, Brisbane Girls Grammar and Ironside state school.

Venues at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s hospital, the Princess Alexandra hospital and the University of Queensland have been listed as high-risk exposure sites.

Young said she was still concerned about the missing cases linking infections in two returned overseas travellers to an Indooroopilly state high school student and her family. “We don’t know how this outbreak has happened.”

Nine of the new Covid cases are school students, Queensland’s health minister, Yvette D’Ath, said.

In addition to the 16 confirmed cases, a person has returned a positive Covid-19 test in Cairns. A Queensland Health spokesperson said the case was under investigation to determine whether it was an active or historical case.

So far 7,995 Queenslanders are in quarantine in relation to the outbreak, of whom at least 4,089 are isolating at home.

Millions of Queenslanders in 11 local government areas remain in lockdown as the state recorded 34,718 Covid tests in past 24 hours.

“There are concerns of exposure not just in Brisbane but also on the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast,” the deputy premier, Steven Miles, said.

A total of 18.47% of eligible Queensland adults are fully vaccinated, while 36.97% have had their first dose.

A health worker walks outside a Covid-19 testing clinic in Brisbane on Tuesday.
A health worker walks outside a Covid-19 testing clinic in Brisbane on Tuesday. Photograph: Dan Peled/EPA

Young said anyone under 60 who wanted to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine should speak to their GP, denying a suggestion that her earlier warnings about young people receiving the vaccine may have contributed to vaccine hesitancy.

“The Atagi advice is when we reach a large outbreak, which I think we’re on the verge of – I hope it doesn’t become any larger but I suspect it will – then that is the time to go and have that discussion with your GP,” Young said.

The federal government will provide Queensland with an additional 150,000 AstraZeneca doses, to be administered by pharmacies.



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Zurich: FIFA and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have joined forces to launch #ReachOut, a campaign designed to promote healthy lifestyles to help combat the symptoms of mental health conditions, and to encourage people to seek help when they need it.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be more challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as getting regular exercise, eating healthily, getting enough sleep and keeping in touch with friends and family. As the players from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam reinforce – all these good habits help to keep our minds healthy, as well as our bodies.

In launching the campaign, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “Looking after your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health. A listening ear can make a huge difference to someone who may be struggling. FIFA is proud to launch this campaign, in partnership with ASEAN and supported by the World Health Organization, to encourage people to #ReachOut.”

Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi said, “Mental health and well-being are just as important as physical health and safety. Under the Chairmanship of Brunei Darussalam, ASEAN is taking steps to advance cooperation with external partners on mental health, in order to provide the ASEAN community with the necessary and appropriate mental health and psychosocial support services.”

Beyond the ASEAN sports sector, mental health promotion has always been one of the strategic priorities of the ASEAN health sector, through regional advocacy, capacity building, or guidelines development for various settings, including emergencies. Strengthening mental health services is also a component of ASEAN’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and future public health emergencies through the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is as important as ever to look after our mental and physical health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “WHO is delighted to support the #ReachOut campaign, spearheaded by FIFA and the ASEAN sports sector, to encourage people to talk about their mental health and to provide practical advice for good mental health.”



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The Choose Home Care Act of 2021 was introduced in the U.S. Senate less than 72 hours ago, but it’s already creating major buzz in the senior care world.

In a nutshell, Choose Home is bipartisan legislation that seeks to create an add-on payment for home health providers taking care of certain patients otherwise eligible for nursing home-level care following a hospital stay.

If enacted, the add-on payment would help in-home care providers offer things like meals, transportation and other services targeting activities of daily living (ADLs) and the social determinants of health.

When positioned alongside hospital-at-home programs, community-based palliative care initiatives and similarly successful care delivery models, Choose Home has the ability to completely reshape the U.S. health care system for seniors, Bill Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) told Home Health Care News.

“The home health industry has long felt that care in the home should be the center of health care,” Dombi said. “And this is a step in that direction.”

Not everyone is as bullish on the newly introduced legislation, however.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), a group that represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, said it “adamantly” opposes Choose Home because it believes it would “supplant existing benefits.”

“AHCA/NCAL strongly supports rational population health framework approaches to offer beneficiaries preferred care options,” the lobbying organization wrote. “We need proposals that add options for Medicare beneficiaries, not limit them.”

So far, AHCA/NCAL is largely alone in its public criticism of Choose Home.

In addition to NAHC, the bill’s supporters include the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, National Council on Aging, LeadingAge and AARP, the latter of which is entirely dedicated to “empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age.”

“The bill is about patients, not providers,” Dombi said. “What we’re asking people to do is to stand back and not listen to rhetoric from people who are concerned about their business. Instead, look at those voices that have come in on behalf of the beneficiary population. That should be the test that’s applied to evaluate this program.”

Mechanically, Choose Home would give home health providers an add-on payment for home-based extended care services delivered on top of traditional home health services

Medicare beneficiaries eligible for Choose Home could be able to receive a maximum of 360 hours of extended care services under the benefit. The add-on payment would be structured as a flat rate falling into one of four categories, depending on total number of hours.

If Choose Home participants needed more than 360 hours of extended care services, they could supplement the benefit with family-caregiver support or services paid for by other means, Dombi explained.

“There are people in nursing homes today who bring in supplemental services,” he said. “It’s not like they’re barred from having more. It’s just that the services under the benefit wouldn’t be any greater than the 360 [hours].”

Based on its ability to mirror post-hospital skilled nursing facility (SNF) care in the home, Choose Home would generate as much as $247 million in annual savings to the Medicare system, according to health economics firm Dobson DaVanzo & Associates.

Those savings take into account new costs to the Medicare program for the add-on payments to home health providers, Dombi noted.

“Dobson DaVanzo & Associates considered the spend on the extended health care services when calculating those savings,” he said. “It wasn’t simply the reduction in skilled nursing facility [expenses]. It was a combination of a reduction in SNF spending and the increase in spending in the home setting.”

Despite the positives highlighted in the analysis, some senior care experts have privately expressed concerns about Choose Home’s potential price tag to HHCN.

One source, for example, predicted that many home health providers already taking care of patients outside of SNFs would try to also access the model’s add-on payments. Another speculated that home health providers would possibly over-deliver on hours of extender services to jump from a lower-paying category to a higher-paying one.

It’s important to note that Choose Home would be for Medicare beneficiaries who come onto home health services following a hospital stay. That’s currently a minority of home health patients, as most are referred to agencies from the community.

In 2019, 8.6% of fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare beneficiaries used home health services, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). In comparison, 4% of beneficiaries enrolled in FFS Medicare used SNF services.

Aggregate FFS spending on post-acute care has remained stable since 2012, in part because of expanded enrollment in managed care under Medicare Advantage (MA).

The Medicare Trustees and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) project that overall spending for Medicare between 2019 and 2029 will grow at an average annual rate of 6.8%. Medicare spending will reach $1 trillion in 2022 under both sets of projections.

Most of that spending growth is due to America’s aging population, as the total number of people enrolled in the Medicare program is projected to increase from about 62 million in 2020 to about 78 million in 2030. That “silver tsunami” just makes Choose Home all the more important, Dombi said, noting that the legislation could create opportunities for SNF and home health operators alike.

“[SNFs] have the option to do this themselves, too,” Dombi said. “They could become an integrated provider service, as many of today’s skilled nursing facilities already have home care arm. I think this is an opportunity they really should be looking at seriously.”



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ROME — The Italian region that includes Rome says its website has been hacked, making it temporarily impossible for residents to sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Lazio regional Health Commissioner Alessio D’Amato told state TV that the ”very powerful” hacking attack began just after midnight and that by early Sunday evening it was still crippling the website. He said those scheduled to receive the vaccine on Sunday would still get the injection, but that the process would be slow since all data for now must be recorded by hand.

So far, some 70% of Lazio residents 12 years or older and eligible for the vaccine have been vaccinated. Nationally, 60% of Italy’s residents have been vaccinated.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Eviction crisis in pandemic leads to greater tenant protections

— Europe’s vaccine passes reveal some pockets of resistance

— A pandemic Olympics, without all the crowds: What gets lost?

— U.S. memorials to victims of COVID-19 are taking shape

— In West Africa, rising cases finally brings demand for vaccinations

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— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

WASHINGTON — The director of the National Institutes of Health says federal guidance urging vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in communities of high COVID-19 spread is aimed at mostly protecting the unvaccinated and immunocompromised.

Dr. Francis Collins tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that mask mandates can help as virus infections spike higher in parts of the U.S. because studies show vaccinated people can spread the virus to others.

But he stressed Sunday that masks are no substitute for getting a shot, which work “extremely well” and reduce a person’s risk of serious illness and hospitalization by “25-fold,” including the delta variant.

Collins warns that right now the virus is “having a pretty big party in the middle of the country” but the silver lining is that more people are now getting the shot.

He says businesses may need to step up to require vaccinations, and that a case can be made for airlines to consider them as well for passengers. In recent days, Disney and Walmart have asked their employees to be vaccinated.

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WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, is warning of “some pain and suffering in the future” as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Fauci, speaking on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, said he doesn’t foresee more lockdowns in the U.S., but warned that the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic will continue to get worse because so many Americans are still unvaccinated. While this week the nation saw a surge in Americans getting the shot, as coronavirus cases rise driven largely by the more infectious delta variant, still only about 60% of Americans are fully vaccinated.

Fauci argued that the unvaccinated are affecting others because they’re “allowing the propagation and the spread of the outbreak,” and pushed back against critics who say whether to get the shot is an individual decision. Fauci said that those who choose not to get vaccinated are actually impacting the rights of Americans particularly prone to infection because they’re “encroaching on their individual rights” by “making them vulnerable.”

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BERLIN — Germany’s government will recommend offering the coronavirus vaccine for all 12- to 17-year-olds on Monday, according to a draft resolution ahead of a planned meeting of state-level health ministers. They also plan to offer boosters to high-risk individuals starting in September.

The draft report from the Ministry of Health, obtained by the German press agency dpa and first reported by the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, said all states will begin offering appointments at vaccination centers for youths.

The European Medicines Agency approved the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year olds in May, and Moderna’s vaccine in late July. Still, Germany’s vaccine commission had thus far only recommended high-risk youths under 18 be vaccinated, citing a lack of data on vaccine safety in this age group.

The high-level report would put pressure on the vaccine commission to formally recommend shots for those under 18. The commission recently has been criticized for delaying such a step.

In addition, German states will expand their “low-threshold” vaccination opportunities for young adults at universities and training centers. “This can make a significant contribution to a safe start for teaching and learning after the summer holidays,” the draft says.

For high-risk individuals, including immunocompromised people and the elderly, a third vaccine dose will be available beginning this fall.

More than 61% of the German population has received at least one dose of vaccine and 52% are fully vaccinated.

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LONDON — Restaurants, ride-hailing apps and food delivery services are backing Britain’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, offering discounts and even free slices of pizza to persuade young people to roll up their sleeves and get the shot.

The program, announced Sunday by the Department of Health and Social Care, is designed to boost the vaccination rate among adults under 30 as Britain races to inoculate as many people as possible before colder weather arrives.

While more than 90% of adults in Britain have received at least one dose of vaccine, the rate for people between the ages of 18 and 30 is about 60%, according to government statistics.

As he thanked businesses for helping out, Health Secretary Sajid Javid urged people to “take advantage of the discounts.” Uber, Bolt, Deliveroo and Pizza Pilgrims are among the brands to offer incentives.

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ROME — Sixty percent of those in Italy 12 years of age and older and thus eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine were vaccinated by the end of July, according to government figures on Sunday.

An army general specializing in logistics, Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, who was tapped by the Italian premier to lead the country’s vaccination program, has set a goal of vaccinating 80% of those eligible by the end of September.

Italy is particularly trying to encourage young people to receive the jab. On Saturday night, an ice cream parlor in Ostia, a popular beach town near Rome, paired the debut of a new flavor with the possibility to receive the vaccine without making a reservation. State radio said many people stepped up to take the injection. As a reward, they received a free “coffee-beer” flavored gelato.

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodia has started a nationwide drive to vaccinate minors against the coronavirus.

The country aims to inoculate about 2 million people aged 12 to 17 before November, beginning in the capital Phnom Penh and three nearby provinces.

Among the first to be vaccinated Sunday were the grandchildren of Prime Minister Hun Sen and grandchildren of other government ministers. The prime minister urged all parents to have their children vaccinated as the only sure way to protect them from COVID-19 and to reduce the number of infections and deaths. He said he expects schools to reopen once the vaccination drive has been completed.

Like its neighbors in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is struggling with a surge in cases. The Health Ministry reported 671 new cases on Sunday and another 23 deaths. It has confirmed a total of 77,914 cases and 1,420 deaths.

Nearly 50% of the population has now had at least one shot. Cambodia plans to vaccinate at least 12 million of its approximately 17 million people.

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation has reported 25 additional COVID-19 cases and officials say some tribal members are foregoing needed precautions to ward off spread of the coronavirus.

“A lot of the new cases we are seeing on the Navajo Nation are due to family and social gatherings where people let their guard down and don’t wear masks,″ tribal President Jonathan Nez said in a statement Saturday.

Nez noted that the virus’ highly contagious delta variant is spreading quickly in many states and said people visiting other households should wear masks and encourage others to do so.

The three additional deaths reported Saturday increased the pandemic’s toll to 1,377.

The Navajo Nation’s sprawling reservation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to federal health data released Saturday, as its theme park resorts again started asking visitors to wear masks indoors.

The state has become the new national epicenter for the virus, accounting for around a fifth of all new cases in the U.S. as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements, and along with the state Legislature, has limited local officials’ ability to impose restrictions meant to stop the spread of COVID-19. DeSantis on Friday barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes resume next month.

The latest numbers were recorded on Friday and released on Saturday on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. The figures show how quickly the number of cases is rising in the Sunshine State: only a day earlier, Florida reported 17,093 new daily cases. The previous peak in Florida had been 19,334 cases reported on Jan. 7, before the availability of vaccinations became widespread.



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