COVID Vaccine Updates: Houston Methodist Hospital can force workers to get vaccinated, judge rules

NEW YORK (WABC) — Last weekend it was reported that more than 100 employees at a Houston hospital had filed a lawsuit after they were ordered to get vaccinated.

A federal court judge has sided with Houston Methodist, saying that claims made by lawyers representing the employees were false.

The hospital mandated the workers get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs.

A district court judge added if the plaintiffs didn’t get vaccinated, they jeopardized their own health and that of doctors, nurses, support staff and patients.

Here are more of today’s headlines:

New York’s single-day positivity rate drops to record low
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State’s single-day COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 0.35 percent, a record low, and that New York’s 7-day average positivity rate was 0.42 percent yesterday and remains the lowest in the country, tied with Massachusetts.

“New York’s COVID-19 numbers continue to hit record lows and New Yorkers are ready to return to normal, and that’s why we’re reducing restrictions and providing vaccination incentives across New York State,” Governor Cuomo said. “Vaccination is the key to our success, and New Yorkers who get vaccinated improve the public health and protect their families and friends. We can move forward into a bright future together, but we need anyone who hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet to make an appointment or simply walk into a site today.”

G-7 talks yield decision on vaccine sharing
The presidents and prime ministers committed to sharing at least 1 billion vaccine shots with struggling countries over the next year, with deliveries starting in August. U.S. President Joe Biden pledged 500 million doses. Britain and Canada committed to 100 million shots each, and France said it would pitch in with 60 million doses.

However, the World Health Organization has said that 11 billion doses are needed to truly end the pandemic. Public health advocates also argue that promising vaccine doses isn’t enough, and that money and logistical help are needed to get shots into the arms of people in poorer countries.

Delta variant: What to know about COVID strain first detected in India
The delta variant, which was first detected in India and which now makes up 6% of sequenced COVID-19 cases in the United States, has prompted recent calls from President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci for more Americans to get vaccinated.

While prevalence of the variant, also known as B.1.617.2, is still low in the U.S., its prevalence has doubled since last week, rising from 3% to 6%, according to a report from HHS.

Bolsonaro fined for flouting mask order at motorcycle rally
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has led thousands of motorcyclist supporters through the streets of Sao Paulo – and got hit with a fine for failure to wear a mask, in violation of local pandemic restrictions.

The conservative president waved to the crowd from his motorcycle and later from atop a sound truck, where helmeted but largely maskless backers cheered and chanted Saturday as he insisted that masks were useless for those already vaccinated. That’s an assertion disputed by most public health experts. Sao Paulo’s state government press office said a fine would be imposed for violation of a mask requirement.

Virus infections are rising sharply in Moscow
The tally of new coronavirus infections in the Russian capital rose more than 1,000 from the previous day as Moscow heads into a week in which many businesses will be closed under a mayoral order. The national coronavirus taskforce said Sunday that 7,704 new infection cases were recorded, continuing a steep spike that has alarmed city officials. At the beginning of June, Moscow was recording about 2900 new cases a day.

Japanese airline begins vaccinating workers
Japanese airline All Nippon Airways has begun vaccinating its pilots and cabin attendants on international flights. That makes it one of the first companies to launch workplace vaccinations in Japan, one of the world’s least-vaccinated nations. Japan is desperately pushing to accelerate the pace of inoculations before the Tokyo Olympics start in about 40 days.

Chinese city deploys fleet of drones to remind residents of COVID restrictions
A fleet of 60 drones has been deployed in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to keep people indoors and remind those going out to wear masks. China has largely stamped out cases of local COVID-19 transmission, but Guangzhou has seen a flare-up of the more infectious delta variant of the virus, initially discovered in India.


Mask guidance in the Tri-State area
New York City COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

New Jersey COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
How to get the vaccine in NYC, Tri-State area
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

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