U.S. companies can mandate that staff have to be vaccinated towards COVID-19, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission introduced in a Friday statement.
Federal EEO legal guidelines don’t stop employers from requiring that each one staff bodily coming into a office be vaccinated so long as employers adjust to the affordable lodging provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and different legal guidelines, based on the assertion.
Employers may additionally supply incentives to staff to get vaccinated, “as long as the incentives are not coercive,” the assertion stated.
“Because vaccinations require employees to answer pre-vaccination disability-related screening questions, a very large incentive could make employees feel pressured to disclose protected medical information,” based on the assertion.
“The updated technical assistance released today addresses frequently asked questions concerning vaccinations in the employment context,” EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows stated within the assertion. “The EEOC will continue to clarify and update our COVID-19 technical assistance to ensure that we are providing the public with clear, easy to understand, and helpful information.”
Also in the news:
► Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corp.’s flagship line, may soon be able to set sail with passengers on board. The cruise line is the latest to receive the green light from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on portions of its restart plans as it prepares to set sail in U.S. waters after forming agreements with three home ports.
► CVS is offering a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl, a Bermuda vacation, or cash prizes to bring in more customers for COVID-19 vaccinations. Kroger is also offering customers, workers, or individuals who get the shot the chance to win $1 million or free groceries for a year.
► President Joe Biden started the Memorial Day weekend by visiting a rock climbing gym in northern Virginia as the state lifted all COVID-19 distancing and capacity restrictions at private businesses.
► The Department of Veterans Affairs lifted all restrictions on gathering sizes, as well as mask and social distancing requirements, for fully vaccinated people at national veterans cemeteries ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 593,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: Over 169.5 million cases and 3.5 million deaths. More than 133.5 million Americans have been fully vaccinated — 40% of the population.
📘 What we’re reading: A year after experiencing one of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation, Navajo Nation leaders are keeping mask restrictions and social distancing despite a high COVID-19 vaccination rate and CDC recommendations. Read the full story.
Vietnam has detected a new coronavirus variant that lab tests say might spread more easily than other virus variants, Vietnamese Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said Saturday.
Scientists who examined the genetic makeup of the virus say the variant is a hybrid of strains first found in India and the UK, Long said.
Long said the new variant may be responsible for a surge in cases in Vietnam as the country has confirmed more than 3,500 new cases and 12 deaths in the last few weeks. The surge has prompted nationwide bans on religious events and other large gatherings, as well as the closing of public parks and non-essential businesses such as restaurants, bars, clubs and spas.
It is common for viruses to develop small genetic changes as they reproduce. The World Health Organization has listed four global “variants of concern” – the 2 first discovered within the U.Ok. and India, plus ones recognized in South Africa and Brazil.
Vaccinations help fuel Memorial Day travel spike
Americans hit the road in near-record numbers at the start of the Memorial Day weekend, as their eagerness to break free from coronavirus confinement overcame higher prices for flights, gasoline and hotels.
More than 1.8 million people went through U.S. airports Thursday, and the daily number was widely expected to cross 2 million at least once over the long holiday weekend, which would be the highest mark since early March 2020.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned people to expect long lines at airports and appealed for travelers to be patient.
The rise in travel appears to be fueled by an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations as well as an improving economy. The U.S. Commerce Department said consumer spending increased in April, although not as much as in March, showing how consumers are driving a recovery from last year’s pandemic recession.
— Associated Press
South Dakota conference could undermine vaccine efforts, experts fear
The Advanced Medicine Conference opened Friday on the Sioux Falls Convention Center in South Dakota – and the state’s medical professionals aren’t happy about it.
Here’s why: The four-day convention features social media health influencers who critics say are responsible for peddling pseudoscience and COVID-19 conspiracy theories that could further jeopardize virus control measures.
“We are on the edge of probably transferring ahead and going again to our normalcy with COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Santiago Lopez of Immunize South Dakota, a coalition of health care professionals, advocates, scientists, parents and community members. “So some of these conferences and conferences the place they make false statements concerning the security and efficacy of vaccine can lead towards folks not getting vaccinated … and never getting herd immunity.”
The conference, expected to draw about 1,200 attendees, features dozens of speakers who have been identified as originating sources for various myths and untruths about the coronavirus pandemic and the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
The AMC had previously hosted its annual event in Charlotte, North Carolina, but moved this year to South Dakota “which does NOT oppose our perception programs, philosophies and talent suppose and can permit us to have an occasion freed from political rhetoric, medical myths, unscientific extrapolations and biased conclusions,” according to its website. Tickets range from $120 to $2,300.
Biopharmaceutical firm Humanigen submitted their drug Lenzilumab to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization to deal with hospitalized sufferers with COVID-19, the company announced Friday.
If authorized, the drug will join a growing list of treatments authorized by the FDA for COVID-19. Lenzilumab focuses on preventing and treating an overactive immune response commonly known as a “cytokine storm,” which causes the immune system to kill both healthy and diseased tissue.
In a Phase 3 study, the drug improved the likelihood of survival without ventilation by 54% in newly hospitalized patients. Survival improved by 92% in patients who also took certain steroids and remdesivir.
“There is a need for hospitalized patients who require supplementary oxygen,” said Dr. Cameron Durrant, Humanigen’s chief executive officer. “Treatments can be lifesaving; despite vaccinations, infections and significant breakthrough disease will continue.”
– Adrianna Rodriguez
Return to normalcy means colds and sore throats are back
There’s a draw back to returning to pre-COVID-19 hygiene habits. Normalcy has additionally introduced the return of colds, sore throats and the sniffles, doctors say.
“People are taking off their masks, they’re now not socially distancing, they don’t seem to be washing their arms as a lot, and so they’re getting sick once more,” said Dr. Aaron Glatt, CEO of Mount Sinai hospital in South Nassau, New York.
Getting back to normal “comes at a worth,” said Glatt, who is also a fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
After a year of almost no colds, no runny noses and no watery eyes, the minor viruses kept in control by COVID-19 restrictions are making a comeback.
Of most importance was influenza, which was at an all-time low this year. The flu season ends in April or May, so it’s not likely to rear up during the summer. But other annoying, though less dangerous viruses, are still out there.
— Elizabeth Weise
Contributing: Joe Sneve, Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader; The Associated Press