For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is acknowledging that comorbidities are behind a vast majority of deaths from the virus.
“The overwhelming number of deaths – over 75 percent – occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities, so really these are people who were unhealthy to begin with,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, said on “Good Morning America.”
President Joe Biden’s mandate that all businesses with 100 employees or more require employee COVID-19 vaccinations is now with the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus, Ohio-based policy group, became the first to file a motion for an emergency stay with the court, less than an hour after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted the government’s request Friday to dissolve an existing administrative stay previously issued by the Fifth Circuit.
The Liberty Justice Center filed a similar motion Saturday with the high court on behalf of a Louisiana grocery store owner and six Texas employees of CaptiveAire Systems.
Some Virginia universities have started kicking out students who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and other institutions may start following suit.
Virginia Tech disenrolled 134 students this week who did not receive the vaccine. Before that, the University of Virginia disenrolled 288 students, and William & Mary withdrew 42 students for the same reason. All three universities require students be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they receive a medical or religious exemption.
“Of the approximately 37,000 students enrolled at Virginia Tech, 134 students were not in compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, meaning that they did not submit vaccination documentation or receive a medical or religious exemption,” a statement on Virginia Tech’s website read. “These students have been disenrolled. The university does not know whether any of these students were not planning to return for reasons unrelated to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.”
Florida is reporting the lowest number of COVID positive cases and hospitalizations in months. On Wednesday, Florida reported 1,234 new positive cases, which was the lowest 24-hour total since September. Florida also is currently only seeing 1,832 hospitalized patients for COVID.
The number of Floridians hospitalized was the lowest recorded single day number since the metric was initially tracked in July. The average of hospitalizations has declined 19 percent in the last two weeks and approximately 38 percent lower than one month ago.
Select Tennessee prisoners will now receive COVID-19 vaccinations, following a report on officials’ apparent hesitancy to prioritize them initially. The state progressed to Phase 1C of its vaccination plan earlier this week, which extends vaccines to those prisoners who are 65 and older or have eligible health conditions. Others now eligible to receive the vaccine are individuals 16 years old and older that have diabetes, Down syndrome, or any progressive neuromuscular diseases, or live in households with pregnant women.
The announcement to vaccinate these prisoners came shortly after it was discovered that officials determining the order of vaccine priority groups were hesitant to prioritize prisoners due to the optics of placing them ahead of other citizens. The Pandemic Vaccine Planning Stakeholder group, an advisory panel that assists in vaccine rollout decisions and communication with citizens across the state, reportedly stated during one of its meetings that prioritizing prisoners could prove a public relations “nightmare” and, possibly, a state liability. The Associated Press discovered these remarks in an open records request for the group’s meeting notes late last week.
Tennessee has added people living in households with medically fragile children to Phase 1c of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, but doses remain extremely limited for seniors.
The Tennessee Department of Health announced the updated distribution plan Friday.
During a COVID briefing on Wednesday Ohio Governor Mike DeWine rescinded the State of Ohio guidance suggesting students quarantine after being in close contact with other COVID-positive students in school and the classroom.
“Today we are changing our guidance,” said DeWine, who continued “I know that there’s been a great deal of pain – students not being able to do things because they are in quarantine. I fully understand that and I’m sorry that happened, but we had to follow the CDC guidance.”
The Governor said the decision was based on an evaluation of Ohio students, a CDC report involving students in Mississippi, and priority the Governor has given to teachers and staff to receive the COVID vaccine.
A total of 5,850 doses of vaccines arrived in Georgia Monday, as part of a “two-dose series.”
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), “initial COVID-19 vaccine supply is limited, DPH is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and prioritizing healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities for vaccination. Vaccine will be given through closed points of dispensing or PODs. These sites include public health clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, pharmacies, etc., and are only accessible to individuals in defined priority groups.”
Virginia plans on spending nearly $121 million on CARES funding for COVID-19 vaccine equipment and advertisement. This according to a proposal draft, reportedly submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.
Nearly $6 million will be spent on equipment: over $111 million on administration and staffing and $3 million in a “public education campaign.”