• February 28, 2024

U.S. Education Department opens civil-rights probe of school face-mask bans in latest clash between Republican governors and Biden administration

The U.S. Department of Education has launched civil rights investigations into five states in the recent dispute between Republican governors and President Joe Biden’s administration that have banned school districts from requiring face masks for their unvaccinated children when they return to school in person.

Letters have been sent to education officials in Iowa, South Carolina, Utah, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, all aimed at preventing local school districts from requiring students to wear masks. reported the Washington Post. The letters claim that these measures discriminate against students with disabilities who are at higher risk of serious illness if they contract the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The move does not include Florida for now, where Governor Ron DeSantis has pushed ahead with his threat to cut funding for schools trying to enforce mandates. as reported by the news site Orlando.com. It also doesn’t include Texas, Arkansas, or Arizona, which have also requested bans. This is because these guidelines are not enforced by court order or other government action, the Post reported.

Biden has pledged to use the Department of Education to step in as the highly transmissible delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to spread in the U.S., and hospital admissions and deaths return to levels last seen in the winter months.

See also: With more than 150,000 Americans contracting COVID-19 every day, the price of not vaccinating is rising

For the time being, the vaccine program is not open to children under the age of 12 as the Food and Drug Administration is waiting for the data required to include this age group. Hospitals in states with high rates of unvaccinated people keep reporting that patients are getting younger and needing lots of ventilators and other interventions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that face masks are one of the most effective ways to prevent the virus from spreading.

The U.S. seven-day average of new cases was 158,946 as of Monday. According to a New York Times tracker, 12% more than two weeks ago. The number of hospital admissions hit 100,663, topping 100,000 for the first time since winter, while the average death rate averaged 1,348 per day and topped 1,000 per day for the first time since March.

See: WHO warns of a possible 236,000 new COVID-19 deaths in Europe by December, and Fauci says the US could see an additional 100,000

the Vaccine tracker from CDC shows 173.8 million Americans are fully vaccinated, which is 52.4% of the total population. That means they received two vaccinations of the two-dose vaccines developed by Pfizer
PFE, -1.51%
with German partner BioNTech
BNTX, -4.17%
or Moderna
MRNA, +1.89%,
or a shot from Johnson & Johnson’s
JNJ, -0.55%
Single dose regimen.

About 61.7% of Americans have received at least one dose. Of adults aged 18 years and over, 63.4% are fully vaccinated, while 74.1% have received at least one dose.

Read: Generation Z students overwhelmingly support strict COVID-19 guidelines when they return to school

A study comparing individual immune responses to two key COVID-19 vaccines found that Modernas generated more than twice as many antibodies than those of Pfizer and BioNTech. The study of 2,499 Belgian health care workers who were vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine from both companies was conducted on Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study suggested a number of reasons for the differences in antibody levels between the vaccines, including a longer interval between vaccinations for Moderna’s vaccine – four weeks – compared to Pfizer’s three weeks. The researchers said the Moderna shot had a higher concentration of the main active ingredient used in both vaccines.

Read: WHO warns of a possible 236,000 new COVID-19 deaths in Europe by December, and Fauci says the US could see an additional 100,000

Elsewhere, the European Union said 70% of its adult population is now fully vaccinated, a target set earlier this year. However, rates vary widely between member countries, with the poorer countries of the trading bloc, mostly in Eastern Europe, lagging behind the curve.

As the Delta variant hits the globe, scientists are learning more about why new versions of the coronavirus are spreading faster and what that could mean for vaccine efforts. The key could be the spike protein that gives the virus its distinctive shape. Picture: Nick Collingwood / WSJ

Israel set a new record for new cases every day at nearly 11,000. reported the Times of Israel, as the tests start before returning to school. Israel counted 10,900 new cases on Monday, and more of those who tested positive were children.

Canada was added to the US State Department’s “do not travel” list as it struggles with COVID-19. Reuters reported. The department and the CDC also warned against traveling to Switzerland because of the increasing cases there.

Japan’s Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said foreign objects found on the Moderna COVID vaccine needles appeared when the needles were inserted into vials. Reuters reported separately. The ministry said over the weekend that needles may have been inserted incorrectly into vials and parts of the vial’s rubber stoppers had broken off.

“For whatever reason [for the foreign matter identified] We heard there were no security or other issues, ”Tamura told reporters. “We will continue to collect information and report back on it,” he added.

See also: Doctors question the optics and scientific rationale of the plan for COVID-19 booster vaccinations in the US

Journal Editorial Report: Paul Gigot interviews Dr. Marty Makary from Johns Hopkins. Image: Bloomberg

Latest numbers

The global number of coronavirus-borne diseases rose to over 217.2 million on Tuesday, while the global death toll rose to 4.51 million, according to data Data aggregated from Johns Hopkins University.

The US leads the world with a total of 39 million cases and 638,865 deaths.

India has the second highest death toll after the US at 438,560 and ranks third with 32.8 million cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

Brazil has the second highest death toll and 20.8 million cases at 579,574. In Europe, Russia has 180,009 deaths, followed by the UK with 132,808.

China, where the virus was first discovered at the end of 2019, According to official figures, has 107,054 confirmed cases and 4,848 deaths, which are widely reported as massively under-reported.

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