Texas governor orders ban on company vaccine mandates; California death count tops 70K: COVID-19 updates

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Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order Monday barring any organization in Texas from making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for employees or consumers, an extension of an earlier order limited to government entities.

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Abbott also asked lawmakers to tackle the issue during the current special legislative session, asserting that “no institution in Texas can compel anyone to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine.”

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and our best defense against the virus, but it should be voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a statement.

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Abbott, who was previously vaccinated and later tested positive for COVID-19, urged Texans to get vaccinated during the pandemic, but banned school districts, cities, counties and government agencies from requiring shots done. The state legislature passed a law earlier this year banning so-called “vaccine passports,” meaning private businesses can’t require patrons to wear masks, but as of Monday companies will be able to administer vaccines among employees. was allowed to be installed.

Texas has recently seen a decrease in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. But the recent surge in deaths due to the delta variant has led the state to rapidly approach 67,000 total fatalities since the pandemic began in 2020.

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-Madeline Mekelberg, Austin American-Statesman

Also in the news:

Southwest Airlines and its Pilots Association strongly denied That workers left jobs to protest a federal vaccine mandate after thousands of flights were canceled this weekend.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves re-extended the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration on Monday, as the state continues to recover from the pandemic.

Tea Party firebrand Alan West, the Republican nomination for Texas governor, was hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday, but said he is “doing very well.”

Today’s numbers: The US has recorded over 44 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 714,000 deaths, According to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 238 million cases and 4.8 million deaths. More than 187 million Americans – 56% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to CDC.

What we’re reading: Duluth, Minnesota, is hiring a social worker to help people with addictions and mental health problems. Pueblo, Colorado began paying homeless residents to clean city streets. Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, is building a new golf course. From sewers to golf courses, cities look green with new federal COVID-19 relief dollars.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. want more? sign up for USA Today’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter To get updates straight to your inbox and Join our Facebook group.

Moderna has no plans to share its COVID-19 vaccine recipe

The company’s president said on Monday that Moderna has no plans to share the recipe for its COVID-19 vaccine as executives concluded that ramping up the company’s own production is the best way to increase global supplies.

The United Nations health agency has pressured Moderna to share its vaccine formula. Afyan said the company analyzed whether it would be better to share messenger RNA technology and determined it could expand production and deliver billions of additional doses in 2022.

“Within the next six to nine months, the most reliable way to make high-quality vaccines and in an efficient way will be if we make them,” said Moderna chairman Nubar Afyan. Asked about appeals from the World Health Organization and others, he said such arguments conceded that “we may not get enough capacity, but in fact we know we can.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is Moderna’s only commercial product. The company last week announced plans to open a vaccine plant somewhere in Africa. Afyan said that he is hopeful that a decision on the exact location will be taken soon. Even so, it can take years to get the plant up and running.

– The Associated Press

Health workers, teachers see higher vaccination rates with vaccine mandate

Nearly all state health workers in Washington and North Carolina are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 99.99% of Cincinnati public school staff complied with the district’s mandatory vaccination policy.

High vaccination rates are likely the result of vaccination mandates from the federal government, states, and local school districts. The White House released a report last week saying the vaccine mandate would lead to millions more Americans getting vaccinated.

The report found that businesses that have established vaccine mandates have seen their number of fully vaccinated workers drop by more than 90%.

California coronavirus death toll tops 70K as cases drop

California’s coronavirus death toll once reached another unfathomable milestone – 70,000 people – on Monday as the state emerges from the latest infection surge with the lowest rate of new cases among all states.

At this time last year, cases began to emerge in the state, and by January, California was at the worst of the pandemic and the country’s epicenter for the virus. Daily deaths neared 700.

The latest surge began in the summer and was driven by a Delta version that primarily targeted the unaffiliated. In the worst-case scenario during this spike, California’s average daily death count was in the low 100.

Contribution: The Associated Press

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