Parents can safely allow their children to trick-or-treat outdoors this Halloween, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.
“You can get out there,” the nation’s premier infectious diseases expert said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “You’re outdoors for the most part … (so) enjoy it.”
Kids who can get vaccinated for the coronavirus should do so for an “extra degree of protection,” he added. The vaccines have been authorized for kids 12 and up by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA could provide similar emergency authorization for children ages 5 through 11 in the days before Halloween.
“It’s a good time to reflect on why it’s important to get vaccinated,” Fauci said. “Go out there and enjoy Halloween as well as the other holidays that will be coming up.”
Last year, Fauci advised parents not to allow their children to go door-to-door.
Also in the news:
► Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich has confirmed a USA TODAY Sports report that said he was seeking a religious exemption from the university’s vaccination mandate. Rolovich comes from a Catholic family and attended a Catholic high school. Pope Francis has described vaccination as an “act of love.”
►The Louisiana Book Festival will be held virtually, with programs planned each weekend from Oct. 30 through Nov. 14. Recordings for the Mississippi Book Festival, which had been scheduled for Aug. 21, are also being presented remotely.
► More than 20,000 runners will gather Monday for the 125th Boston Marathon, delayed from April due to the pandemic.
► Malaysian officials say 90% of adults are now fully vaccinated and that outbound international travel restrictions will be eased for vaccinated residents starting Monday. About 68% of American adults are fully vaccinated.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 44.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 712,900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 237.5 million cases and 4.8 million deaths. More than 187.2 million Americans – 56.4% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘 What we’re reading: From Cambodia to Canada, dozens of other nations are beating the United States in COVID-19 vaccinations. The differences are stark: Fifty million more Americans would need to be vaccinated now to match Canada’s enthusiasm. What happened here?
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Tea Party favorite Allen West hospitalized with COVIDTea Party favorite and Texas gubernatorial candidate Allen West said Sunday that he was hospitalized in Plano with COVID-19 and has undergone monoclonal antibody infusion therapy.
“The results were almost immediate,” tweeted West, who is not vaccinated. “I can attest that, after this experience, I am even more dedicated to fighting against vaccine mandates (that fill) the pockets of Big Pharma and corrupt bureaucrats and politicians.”
West, 60, instead advocated his therapies of choice, which are mostly developed by large companies such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. His position drew an outcry of Twitter responses questioning why people should pay hundreds of dollars for an experimental therapy – plus hospital costs – after they become ill when they can get a free vaccine and decrease their chances of getting sick in the first place.
“Our bodies are our last sanctuary of liberty and freedom, I will defend that for everyone, even the progressive socialist jackasses who must be saved from themselves,” West tweeted.
Among the replies: “Does this protection apply to women’s bodies, too, or not?” tweeted D Villella.
Day care centers struggle to find, retain staffHistoric, pandemic-fueled worker shortages are constraining virtually all industries, but child care has been hit harder than most. The sector laid off or furloughed 373,000 employees, or 36% of its workforce, as day care centers closed in the early days of the pandemic, Labor Department figures show. About 70% of those jobs have come back, meaning child care is still missing 109,000 workers. By contrast, the economy overall has recovered 78% of the jobs wiped out in spring of last year, while restaurants and bars – which lost nearly half their workforce – have recouped 84% of those positions.
The situation has forced providers already running on tight margins to turn away children or increase costs on parents.
“You feel like you’re juggling five, 50-pound lead balls at the same time, trying to keep them all in the air,” said Marc McMurphy, executive director of the White Birch Child Care Center in Henniker, New Hampshire. Read more here.
– Courtney Subramanian and Paul Davidson
COVID rates are falling – but winter and human error could erase gainsCOVID-19 rates are finally falling again after a wave nearly as bad as the one last winter. But experts warn that if we start acting as if COVID-19 is over, another surge is possible. If people stop taking precautions, start gathering indoors in large numbers and shrug off vaccines or boosters, another wave could strike this winter.
“A lot of it depends on human behavior, and human behavior in this pandemic hasn’t served us very well,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a recent call with reporters. “We are battling with ourselves, not with the common foe.”
– Karen Weintraub
Pandemic depression, anxiety rose and fell with surgesA new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that anxiety and depression levels rose late last year at a pandemic peak time, and fell after vaccines became widespread and restrictions eased. Anxiety scores increased 13% from August to December in 2020, and then decreased 26.8% between then and late May to early June. Similarly, depression levels increased 14.8% and then decreased 24.8%. The analysis was conducted based on Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey data.
“Across the entire study period, the frequency of anxiety and depression symptoms was positively correlated with the average number of daily COVID-19 cases,” the study said. “Mental health services and resources, including telehealth behavioral services, are critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Iowa schools can keep requiring masks after preliminary injunctionIowa school districts with facial covering requirements can keep them in place for now after a federal judge extended the pause on the state’s ban on school mask mandates. Judge Robert Pratt — who had issued a temporary restraining order against the law on Sept. 13 in response to a lawsuit filed by parents of students with disabilities — granted a preliminary injunction against the state law Friday.
Pratt’s temporary restraining order was set to expire Monday, but now the injunction means the law could be blocked for the duration of the lawsuit. In Friday’s filing, Pratt cited the trajectory of pediatric COVID-19 cases in the state since the beginning of the school year and “the irreparable harm that could befall the children involved in this case.”
-Ian Richardson, The Des Moines Register
Contributing: The Associated Press