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CDC director warns of ‘dire straits’ in Delta-hit areas of US

Army veteran William Craig waited to see if he would have a reaction after he received a COVID-19 booster vaccine and an influenza vaccine at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital on Sept. 24, 2021, in Hines, Illinois.
Army veteran William Craig waited to see if he would have a reaction after he received a COVID-19 booster vaccine and an influenza vaccine at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital on Sept. 24, 2021, in Hines, Illinois.Scott Olson/Getty

Coronavirus case counts are once again rising across the US, near and far. Health officials are scrambling to vaccinate as the Delta variant takes hold.

Below, we’re gathering the latest news and updates on coronavirus in New England and beyond.

Click here to refresh this page to see the latest updates.

Korea cases set to rise after holiday — 1:31 a.m.

By Bloomberg

South Korea reported 2,383 new cases after hitting a record of 3,272 on Saturday. Health authorities expect infections to rise sharply from the middle of this week in the aftermath of the Chuseok holiday.

The government is set to announce a plan Monday afternoon to vaccinate those aged 12 to 17 and to give booster shots for the elderly.


Singapore strategy unchanged, minister says — 1:29 a.m.

By Bloomberg

Singapore is moving on a journey toward living with Covid-19, and right now the country needs to ensure that the health system can handle an increased number of daily cases, Singapore Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Haslinda Amin.

Singapore added 1,939 new cases, almost doubling from a week earlier, the latest in a string of daily records in the past week ahead of new curbs kicking in on Monday. Two more deaths were reported, both elderly with underlying conditions who were not vaccinated, bringing the death toll to 78. A total of 30 people are in the ICU.

Indonesia’s shot progress faces hurdles — 11:48 a.m.

By Bloomberg

A shortage of health-care workers and logistical flaws are hampering Indonesia’s efforts to inoculate its people against COVID-19, leaving the world’s largest archipelago trailing its neighbors despite being among the first in Southeast Asia to start the program.

Only 17.9 percent of Indonesia’s 270 million people are fully vaccinated, behind almost every major economy in the region, according to Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

Japan weighs lifting all coronavirus restrictions — 10:03 p.m.

By Bloomberg

The Japanese government is making final arrangements to lift all coronavirus states of emergency in the nation as scheduled at the end of this month, the Asahi newspaper reported Monday, citing several unidentified officials.


Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga plans to hold a meeting with relevant ministers later today to set the administration’s direction, the report said. The government will then consult an expert panel Tuesday to officially decide an end to the emergencies in all 19 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, according to the Asahi.

Daily coronavirus cases have been steadily coming down in Japan since its peak in mid-August when it saw more than 25,000 cases, according to data compiled by public broadcaster NHK. The cases dropped to 2,134 Sunday.

These health care workers would rather get fired than get vaccinated — 9:16 p.m.

By New York Times

Deborah Conrad, a physician assistant in western New York, and Simmone Leslie, a hospital switchboard operator in Queens, have both worked long, risky hours during the pandemic. But now, both are prepared to lose their jobs rather than meet Monday’s state deadline for health care workers to get vaccinated.

In defying the order, they are resisting a step that public-health experts say is critical to save lives and end the pandemic. While they each cite differing reasons for their decisions — Leslie said her employer rejected her request for a medical exemption; Conrad referenced vaccine side effects she claimed to have seen but that veer from the scientific consensus — their recalcitrance embodies a conundrum facing New York.

Experts have called the mandate a clear-cut way for health care workers to prevent new waves of the virus from spreading, and to persuade doubters to get vaccinated. And health systems say the plan is crucial to keeping patients and staff safe.


By Bloomberg

The World Health Organization is reviving its investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 virus by building a new team of about 20 scientists, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The previous team, which had been disbanded after a visit to Wuhan, had said data provided by Chinese scientists was insufficient to reach a conclusion.

Members of the new team will be chosen by the end of this week, and the team’s “priority needs to be data and access in the country where the first reports were identified,” WHO officials told the Journal.

The Chinese government declined to say if the new team will be allowed to enter the country.

By New York Times

Governor Kathy Hochul of New York is considering calling in the National Guard and recruiting medical professionals from other states to cover looming staff shortages at hospitals and other facilities as the likelihood grows that tens of thousands of health care workers will not meet the state’s deadlines for mandated vaccinations.

In a statement released Saturday, the governor’s office said Hochul was laying plans for an executive order to declare a state of emergency that would “allow qualified health care professionals licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, retired and formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in New York State.”

By Bloomberg

Singapore added 1,939 new cases, almost doubling from a week earlier, the latest in a string of daily records in the past week ahead of new curbs that kick in on Monday.

The new restrictions include working-from-home as the default and tightening rules to allow a maximum of two people to meet in restaurants or other social settings. Most grade school students will also switch to virtual learning.

Two more deaths were reported, both elderly with underlying conditions who were not vaccinated, bringing the death toll to 78. A total of 30 people are in the ICU.

By Bloomberg

Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended Australia’s strict anti-virus measures, including shutting the borders since the start of the pandemic.

“I’ll tell you what shutting those borders did,” Morrison said on CBS’s “Face the Nation. “It saved over 30,000 lives in Australia...About 1,200 Australians have lost their lives to Covid. That is what is lost in a day here in the United States.”

He said measures would ease as Australia continues to vaccinate its population, with three quarters of the nation having received a first shot. In an earlier appearance on Australian television, he said state premiers must not keep internal borders closed once vaccination targets are reached.

By The Associated Press

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says she recognizes there’s some confusion now in the United States about who should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

For starters, the just-approved booster is intended for people originally vaccinated with shots made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.

Last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky sided with most of the recommendations from CDC advisers on giving boosters six months after the last Pfizer dose for certain groups of people.

By New York Times

At the drugstore, a rapid COVID test usually costs less than $20.

Across the country, more than a dozen testing sites owned by startup company GS Labs regularly bill $380.

There is a reason they can. When Congress tried to ensure that Americans would not have to pay for coronavirus testing, it required insurers to pay certain laboratories whatever “cash price” they listed online for the tests, with no limit on what that might be.

GS Labs’ high prices and growing presence — it has performed a half-million rapid tests since the pandemic’s start and still runs thousands daily — show how the government’s long-standing reluctance to play a role in health care prices has hampered its attempt to protect consumers. As a result, Americans could ultimately pay some of the cost of expensive coronavirus tests in the form of higher insurance premiums.

By Bloomberg

Parts of the U.S. health system “are in dire straits,” as the spread of the Covid-19 delta variant forces some states to prepare for rationed medical care, Rochelle Walensky, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said.

“That means that we are talking about who is going to get a ventilator, who is going to get an ICU bed,” Walensky said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “Those are not easy discussions to have, and that is not a place we want our health care system to ever be.”

Associated Press

Pfizer’s CEO says “it’s a question of days, not weeks” before the company and German partner BioNTech submit data to U.S. regulators for federal authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5 to 11.

That would be an important step toward starting vaccinations for those youngsters, especially with kids now back in school and the delta variant resulting in a big jump in pediatric infections.

Pfizer said last week that its vaccine works for that age group and that it tested a much lower dose of the vaccine that’s already available for anyone 12 and older. The company said that after children age 5 to 11 got their second dose during testing, they developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults getting the regular-strength shots

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday that if the Food and Drug Administration approves the company’s application, “we will be ready with our manufacturing to provide this new formulation of the vaccine.”

And when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, he told ABC’s “This Week” that within a year, “I think we will be able to come back to normal life. I don’t think that this means that variants will not be continuing coming. And I don’t think that this means that we should be able to live our lives … without having vaccinations, basically.”

Bourla also said “we will have vaccines that … will last at least a year’' and that “the most likely scenario, it is annual revaccinations.”

Associated Press

Police in Norway on Sunday reported dozens of disturbances and violent clashes including mass brawls in the Nordic country’s big cities after streets, bars, restaurants and nightclubs were filled with people celebrating the end of COVID-19 restrictions that lasted for more than a year.

The Norwegian government abruptly announced Friday that most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions would be scrapped beginning Saturday and that life in the nation of 5.3 million would return to normal.

The unexpected announcement by outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg to drop coronavirus restrictions the next day took many Norwegians by surprise and led to chaotic scenes in the capital, Oslo, and elsewhere in the country.

“It has been 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime,” Solberg said on Friday at a news conference. “Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life.”

Associated Press

With more than 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines available, U.S. health authorities said they’re confident there will be enough for both qualified older Americans seeking booster shots and the young children for whom initial vaccines are expected to be approved in the not-too-distant future.

The spike in demand — expected following last week’s federal recommendation on booster shots — would be the first significant jump in months. More than 70 million Americans remain unvaccinated despite the enticement of lottery prizes, free food or gifts and pleas from exhausted health care workers as the average number of deaths per day climbed to more than 1,900 in recent weeks.

Federal and state health authorities said current supply and steady production of more doses can easily accommodate those seeking boosters or initial vaccination, avoiding a repeat of the frustratingly slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the country early this year.

Robust supply in the U.S enabled President Joe Biden this week to promise an additional 500 million of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shots to share with the world, doubling the United States’ global contribution. Aid groups and health organizations have pushed the U.S. and other countries to improve vaccine access in countries where even the most vulnerable people haven’t had a shot.

By Bloomberg

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said state premiers must not keep borders closed once the 80 percent of eligible Australians are vaccinated, a threshold he expects to reach by the end of the year.

“I can’t see any reason why Australians should be kept from each other,” the leader said on a Sunday television program. “That puts a heavy, heavy responsibility on those who would seek to prevent that from happening.”

On Sunday, Australia’s second most populous state Victoria reported 779 new local cases of COVID-19, down from the pandemic high set a day earlier. New South Wales recorded 961 new infections. Other states, like Queensland and Western Australia, have recorded very few cases recently.

By Bloomberg

French President Emmanuel Macron said France will double the number of vaccine doses it donates to poorer countries to 120 million. “The injustice is that in other continents vaccination is far behind because of us, collectively,” Macron said in a message broadcast during the Global Citizen fundraising concert in Paris.

France will also commit to helping UNICEF and health systems with vaccine distribution, Macron said, noting that only 3% of Africa’s population is vaccinated.

By The Associated Press

Britons are encouraged these days — though in most cases not required — to wear face coverings in crowded indoor spaces. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson regularly appears in the packed, poorly ventilated House of Commons cheek-by-jowl with other maskless conservative lawmakers.

For critics, that image encapsulates the flaw in the government’s strategy, which has abandoned most pandemic restrictions and is banking on voluntary restraint and a high vaccination rate to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

As winter approaches, bringing the threat of a new COVID-19 surge, Britain’s light touch is setting it apart from more cautious nations.

By Bloomberg

New York City’s school system, the largest in the US, has been temporarily blocked from imposing a mandate forcing teachers and other staff from getting vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a ruling from a federal judge. That mandate is scheduled to go into effect on Monday at midnight.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul released a plan to expand the pool of health-care workers after Monday’s deadline for them to receive a first dose of vaccine.

German cases continue to decline while Russian infections hit their highest since mid-August. Macau is stepping up travel restrictions as the city tries to prevent an outbreak that could threaten its gaming industry ahead of a week-long holiday in China.

By Bloomberg

The Australian government will assist in arranging flights home for its citizens stranded overseas once 80% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“The caps at the airports for vaccinated Australians to return will be lifted,” the prime minister said in Washington after talks with leaders from U.S., Japan and India. Morrison said he expects Australia’s biggest airline, Qantas Airways Ltd., to ramp up its number of flights once restrictions are lifted.

“I don’t think Qantas will have to be encouraged to start running those flights and putting people on seats, and I’m looking forward to them getting on with that job, because that’s the business they are in,” the prime minister said. “Once we hit 80% vaccinations, then that means Australians will be able to travel in those states that are opening up. They’ll be able to get on planes and go overseas, and come home.”

By Bloomberg

Universal mask requirements in schools reduced the spread of Covid-19 compared to schools that didn’t have mask requirements, according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After schools opened this fall, counties without mask requirements saw their rates of new pediatric Covid cases rise about twice as fast as counties where schools required masks, according to one CDC analysis. In another study focused on Arizona, schools that didn’t have universal mask rules in place were 3.5 times more likely to have Covid outbreaks than schools that did.

By Bloomberg

Maine, one of the most vaccinated states, reported on Saturday a record 235 Covid-19 patients in the hospital. Since vaccinations became available in December, breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated have made up only about 10% of total hospitalizations, state data show.

Cases have soared since the beginning of August, though they appear to have hit a plateau of roughly 3,000 a week. Almost 74% of people in Maine have received at least one dose of vaccine, compared with national average of 64.1%, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

By The New York Times

Alaska, once a leader in vaccinating its citizens, is now in the throes of its worst coronavirus surge of the pandemic, as the delta variant rips through the state, swamping hospitals with patients.

As of Thursday, the state was averaging 125 new cases a day for every 100,000 people, more than any other state in the nation, according to recent data trends collected by The New York Times. That figure has shot up by 46% in the last two weeks, and by more than twentyfold since early July.

On Wednesday, the state said it had activated “crisis standards of care,” giving hospitals legal protections for triage decisions that force them to give some patients substandard care. The state also announced an $87 million contract to bring in hundreds of temporary health care workers.

By The New York Times

Norway on Saturday lifted social distancing rules, capacity limits on businesses, and other pandemic-era restrictions that have been in place for more than a year.

“It is 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in announcing the moves at a news conference Friday. “Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life.”

In Norway, new daily cases have dropped by 50% over the past two weeks. Sixty-seven percent of the population are fully vaccinated and another 10% have had the first dose, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford.

By Bloomberg

Serious cases of poisoning from the anti-parasite drug ivermectin, generally used on livestock but misused as a treatment for Covid-19, have more than doubled in 2021, the Financial Times reported, quoting data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA has received 49 reports of poisoning and other serious illness from the drug this year so far, and 14 of those people died, the newspaper reported. The FDA could not determine if ivermectin was the direct cause of death.

In 2020, the agency received reports of 23 cases. The drug, approved in smaller doses to treat parasites in human beings, is falsely touted on social media and some more mainstream outlets like Fox News as an alternative to COVID-19 vaccination. Prescriptions for the drug have increased 24 times compared with before the pandemic, the newspaper reported.

By Bloomberg

Erica Ollmann Saphire spent the past year and a half profiling the coronavirus, creating intricate three-dimensional images in her San Diego lab to understand its most problematic features. That information is now revealing the pathogen’s weak spots and ways to exploit them.

Using an 11-foot (3.35 meter) tall microscope, the most powerful commercially available, she’s scoured hundreds of different antibodies against the Covid culprit to identify its salient features. The research at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology led to a study Thursday in Science that gives the most detailed map yet of how to circumvent the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s panoply of mutations and variants.

By Bloomberg

The more infectious nature of the delta mutation of the coronavirus has seen it almost completely displace the beta variant in South Africa, the discovery of which led to widespread travel bans.

A study, released by two South African genomics institutes on Sept. 23, showed that the delta variant, first identified in India, drove a third wave of infections in the country. Excess death data show that about a quarter of million people may have died from the virus.

By The Associated Press

New York City schools have been temporarily blocked from enforcing a vaccine mandate for its teachers and other workers by a federal appeals judge just days before it was to take effect.

The worker mandate for the the nation’s largest school system was set to go into effect Monday. But late Friday, a judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction and referred the case to a three-judge panel an an expedited basis.

A spokeswoman said more than 82% of department employees have been vaccinated.

While most school workers have been vaccinated, unions representing New York City principals and teachers warned that could still leave the 1 million-student school system short of as many as 10,000 teachers, along with other staffers, such as cafeteria workers and school police officers.

By Bloomberg

Public-health researchers seeking new ways to persuade vaccine holdouts to take coronavirus shots are turning to the strategies of the digital marketing industry to figure out how to win over the reluctant.

Companies that use online ads to sell products try out various colors, phrases, typefaces and a whole host of other variables to determine what resonates with consumers. So why not, the thinking goes, apply the same sort of A/B testing to figure out how best to promote vaccines?

To that end, the United Nations Children’s Fund, The Public Good Projects and the Yale Institute for Global Health have partnered to create the Vaccine Demand Observatory, which is working with Facebook Inc. to help nations around the world fine-tune their appeals to better inspire vaccine confidence.The work is critically important as the world grapples with the combined obstacles of the hyper-contagious delta variant, sluggish vaccine rollouts in some nations and plateauing uptake in others, and it’s been given fresh impetus after Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE said this week that their Covid-19 vaccine was safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11, findings that could pave the way to begin vaccinating grade-school kids within months. Medical evidence makes clear that vaccines are safe and effective at both tamping down the spread of the virus and greatly decreasing the risk of hospitalization for those rare vaccinated individuals that do contract Covid. Yet, in the U.S., where vaccines are widely available, about 25% of eligible adults haven’t taken their shots.

By The New York Times

In Buffalo, the Erie County Medical Center plans to suspend elective inpatient surgeries and not take intensive-care patients from other hospitals because it may soon fire about 400 employees who have chosen not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Officials at Northwell Health, New York’s largest provider of health care, estimate that they might have to fire thousands of people who have refused to get vaccinated.

And while the vast majority of staff members at New York City’s largest private hospital network, NewYork-Presbyterian, had been vaccinated as of this past week, more than 200 employees faced termination because they had not.

These are just a fraction of the workers at risk of losing their jobs or being put on unpaid leave after Monday, when a state directive requiring hospital and nursing home employees in the state to have received at least one shot of a virus vaccine takes effect.

By The Associated Press

Billions more in profits are at stake for some vaccine makers as the U.S. moves toward dispensing COVID-19 booster shots to shore up Americans’ protection against the virus.

The Biden administration last month announced plans to give boosters to nearly everybody. But U.S. regulators have rejected the across-the-board approach and instead said third shots of Pfizer’s vaccine should go to people who are 65 and older and certain others at high risk from COVID-19.

Still, the crisis is constantly evolving, and some top U.S. health officials expect boosters will be more broadly authorized in the coming weeks or months. And that, plus continued growth in initial vaccinations, could mean a huge gain in sales and profits for Pfizer and Moderna in particular.

Wall Street is taking notice. The average forecast among analysts for Moderna’s 2022 revenue has jumped 35% since President Joe Biden laid out his booster plan in mid-August.

No one knows yet how many people will get the extra shots. But Morningstar analyst Karen Andersen expects boosters alone to bring in about $26 billion in global sales next year for Pfizer and BioNTech and around $14 billion for Moderna if they are endorsed for nearly all Americans.

By The Washington Post

Coronavirus cases appear to be stabilizing in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia, with early signs of decline in the D.C. metro region - giving health officials hope that the area’s vigorous vaccination campaign has paid off.

More than 10.5 million residents - or about 70% of the total population - has been at least partially vaccinated, exceeding the national rate. With more shots being administered daily, the seven-day average of new infections in the three jurisdictions has plateaued to around 5,000 for three weeks.

Washington’s case rate showed slight declines this week after consistent increases through most of August and September. The Montgomery County, Md., case rate per 100,000 people has hovered just over 10 since the start of the month while in Virginia Fairfax County has averaged a case rate of 16 per 100,000 residents for nearly a week.

Public health officials and experts say they’re increasingly hopeful that the region will come down from this latest wave of the virus without the skyrocketing hospitalizations and deaths that plagued other parts of the country.

They warn it’s still too early to declare victory over the highly contagious delta variant, which has fueled the recent spike - especially while sizable pockets of the unvaccinated persist in rural parts of Maryland and Virginia. But it’s cause for optimism that the region’s twin strategies of vaccinations and encouraging masks appear to be holding the line against the surge.

By The Associated Press

Israel is pressing ahead with its aggressive campaign of offering coronavirus boosters to almost anyone over 12 and says its approach was further vindicated by a US decision to give the shots to older patients or those at higher risk.

Israeli officials credit the booster shot, which has already been delivered to about a third of the population, with helping suppress the country’s latest wave of COVID-19 infections. They say the differing approaches are based on the same realization that the booster is the right way to go, and expect the US and other countries to expand their campaigns in the coming months.

By The New York Times

State health officials Friday rushed to roll out campaigns to provide coronavirus booster shots for millions of vulnerable people who got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and to help a confused public understand who qualifies for the extra shots.

Among their challenges: making sure that recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines know that they are not yet eligible for boosters; reaching isolated elderly people; and informing younger adults with medical conditions or jobs that place them at higher risk that they might be eligible under the broad federal rules.

By The Associated Press

The Washington state Department of Health says it will immediately start offering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to certain people after recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other groups.

State health officials said Friday that at least six months after completing the primary Pfizer vaccine series, people age 65 and older; people age 18 and older living in a long-term care setting; and people age 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions or at increased risk of social inequities, should receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Officials say there are not yet recommendations for people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

By The Associated Press

Alaska reported more than 1,700 resident COVID-19 cases Friday. But state health officials says that includes reports from earlier this month as they work to clear a backlog that has built up during the latest case surge.

Health officials encourage looking at cases by their symptom onset date versus the date they were submitted to the state health department.

The state epidemiologist says Alaska is in the biggest surge that it has experienced during the pandemic.

A weekly report from the department says the state had more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than it did at the peak of a prior surge late last year.

By Bloomberg

South Korea posted a record number of new coronavirus cases, with 3,273 daily infections, after Chuseok Thanksgiving holidays. The total number of confirmed cases stood at 298,402, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency’s website Saturday.

More than 73% of the population have received at least one dose, while almost 45% of have completed their vaccinations. South Korea is currently imposing its strictest level-four social distancing measures in Seoul’s metropolitan area.

By The Washington Post

After a month of dramatic twists and turns more suited to a soap opera than a staid federal health bureaucracy, the White House this week got much of what it hoped for: access to Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for most adults at least six months after completing the standard two-dose regimen.

But the messy process leading to this moment sparked massive confusion about the booster program, critics say and may distract from efforts to get first shots to the unvaccinated.

The reality of who will have access to third shots, experts said, is much starker: Most adults who want a Pfizer-BioNTech booster will be able to get one simply by saying they are in one of the designated groups. Such “self-attestation” does not require a doctor’s note or other verification.

By The Associated Press

A retired Connecticut physician and surgeon had her license suspended Friday by a state medical board for allegedly providing people she had not treated with blank vaccine, mask-wearing and other exemption forms, so long as they sent her a self-addressed stamped envelope in the mail requesting the paperwork.

The state Department of Public Health said it received an anonymous tip in July about Dr. Sue Mcintosh of Durham sending people fraudulent exemption forms. After an investigation, DPH called on the Connecticut Medical Examining Board to hold Friday’s emergency hearing and summarily suspend the doctor, saying she poses a “clear and immediate danger to public health and safety.”

By The Associated Press

Some of the nation’s most aggressive COVID-19 vaccine mandates are scheduled to take effect Monday in New York amid continued resistance from some to the shots, leaving hospitals and nursing homes across the state and schools in New York City bracing for possible staff shortages.

Many health care workers, including support staff such as cleaners, have still not yet received a required first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine days before a Sept. 27 deadline. That’s the same deadline for teachers and school workers in New York City to prove they’ve received at least one shot.

That left the prospect of potentially thousands of health care workers and teachers being forced off the job next week.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

Nursing homes residents and other at-risk populations in Rhode Island can now begin receiving COVID-19 booster shots as early as Friday.

Rhode Islanders 65 and older and residents in long-term care settings, regardless of age, should receive booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTechs COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, according to the state health department.

By Bloomberg

The number of people dying with Covid-19 in U.S. hospitals appears to have peaked, the latest sign of reprieve after the delta variant fueled record spikes in infections in some states.

The seven-day average of U.S. hospital deaths with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 is down 8.9% from the recent peak on Sept. 16, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.

Over the course of the pandemic, hospital deaths have accounted for about 70% of all Covid-19 deaths, and the proportion has been even higher in recent months. The HHS data have proved a reliable leading indicator of the direction in Covid-19 deaths, which are reported with a comparatively large time lag.

The HHS data is based on Covid patients who died with the virus, without direct consideration of the cause of death -- a different standard from the official toll.

By The Associated Press

The Utah Jazz’s home arena announced Friday that it will require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test for all fans over the age of 12.

Vivint Smart Home Arena, located in Salt Lake City, will require fans to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event to enter the venue. Employees who work at the arena are already required to be fully vaccinated.

“As a community gathering place, we have a responsibility to protect our guests by putting health and safety standards in place,” Jim Olson, president of Vivint Arena and the Utah Jazz, said in a statement. “We believe this is the path forward to shut down this pandemic.”

Guests under the age of 12 will be allowed inside the arena if they wear a mask at all times. Other guests are strongly encouraged to wear a face mask, but it is not mandatory.

The National Basketball Players Association has not mandated to players that they be vaccinated, despite the NBA’s hope that would be the case. All others who will be in the vicinity of players during games this season — coaches, team staff, referees, courtside stat-crew workers and more — will be vaccinated.

By The Associated Press

A federal judge on Friday handed down a second blow to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s contentious order allowing parents to opt out of school mask requirements, ruling that Knox County Schools must implement a mask mandate to help protect children with health problems amid the coronavirus pandemic.

By Bloomberg

Searches for Covid-19 tests on Google are surging as the delta variant spreads in the U.S. and more employers and large-scale events require testing.

The number of Americans looking up “at-home Covid test near me” on the platform has doubled in the past month, according to Google Trends, while those asking how long rapid test results take is up by 250%. In the past week, users were also more interested in searches related to tests, rather than vaccines, in most states, with Louisiana and Mississippi as exceptions.

The highly contagious delta variant has kept cases high in the U.S. This is creating the need for more tests as children return to school, workplaces resume activities and consumers head back to concerts and events.

This appears to have taken manufacturers by surprise after months of flagging demand. The Biden administration also recently announced plans to require either vaccination or weekly testing for companies with 100 or more employees. That comes on top of the federal-worker mandate.

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says she’s not surprised that some people need to be persuaded to get coronavirus vaccinations, but she was dismayed by the politicization of the issue.

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that millions of people who have gotten their two shots of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine should get a booster shot. Here’s a quick briefing on who’s eligible and a refresher on how we got to this point:

By The Washington Post

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday offered more evidence that school masks requirements can help keep children healthy and in classrooms, showing lower spikes in pediatric covid cases and fewer school closures in places that require them.

By Bloomberg

The research team behind the messenger RNA technology used in Covid-19 vaccines won a Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman “launched a novel therapeutic technology,” the award panel said in a statement. Kariko leads mRNA therapeutic work at Covid vaccine maker BioNTech SE, and Weissman is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. The two were both based at Penn when they did the research.

By The Associated Press

A live televised interview with Vice President Kamala Harris was delayed on Friday after two hosts of the “The View” learned they tested positive for COVID-19 moments before they were to interview her.

Co-host Sunny Hostin and guest host Ana Navarro both learned they tested positive for breakthrough cases ahead of the interview. Both Navarro and Hostin were at the table for the start of the show, but then were pulled from the set.

By The Associated Press

Vermonters ages 80 and older can now sign up for a Pfizer vaccine booster shot against COVID-19, and eligibility will be expanded in a week to those ages 18 to 64 who have underlying medical conditions, state officials said Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans six months after receiving their second dose.

Vermont has set up a registration schedule for statewide clinics broken down by age groups.

Vermonters ages 75 and older can start signing up for booster shot appointments on Monday, followed by 70 and up on Wednesday and 65 and older next Friday, Oct. 1.

Booster shots are available where Pfizer vaccines are offered, including at a Health Department clinic, pharmacy or health care provider, state officials said. People must make an appointment to get a shot at a state clinic and are asked to bring their vaccine cards with them. Information can be found on the Vermont Health Department website.

By The Associated Press

Dozens of detainees and several staff members at a Rhode Island jail have tested positive for COVID-19 this week, according to the facility’s warden.

Fifty detainees and seven staff members at the publicly-owned but privately-run Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls have tested positive, Warden Daniel Martin said in a statement Thursday.

The outbreak started when one detainee tested positive last week.

In response, the facility has stepped up testing.

“We have been in contact with the RI Department of Health on our existing COVID protocols which include testing and quarantining every incoming detainee for 14 days, mandatory mask usage for staff and detainees, and thorough sanitization of common areas/surfaces,” Martin wrote.

“We have added additional protocols based on RI DOH guidance which include ongoing, mandatory testing of detainees and staff, and not allowing detainees from different pods to come into contact with each other,” he said.

The facility houses many people being detained by federal immigration authorities.

By The Associated Press

President Joe Biden is urging those now eligible for COVID-19 booster shots to get the added protection. His plea comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the doses for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late Thursday. Biden praised the decision and aimed to set aside any unease about the vaccination by saying that he would get his own booster soon.

The advisers say boosters should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The extra dose would be given once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot.

By Bloomberg

Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina tested positive for Covid-19, the second member of President Jair Bolsonaro’s cabinet to be diagnosed with the virus this week.

By The Associated Press

The World Health Organization is recommending a pricey antibody treatment for certain coronavirus patients in the latest update to its guidelines for treating people with COVID-19.

The new guidelines, published Friday in the journal BMJ, say the two antibodies - casirivimab and imdevimab = made by Regeneron should be given to people infected with COVID-19 who are at highest risk of hospitalization and to people whose own immune systems have not mounted a response.

The U.N. health agency said the new advice was based on evidence from experimental trials, including a British-run study that is the world’s largest for testing potential COVID-19 treatments.

In the U.S., the Regeneron treatment is mostly recommended for people with mild to moderate COVID-19, to prevent them from needing hospitalization.

Activists worried that the cost of the treatment - more than $2,000 in the U.S. - means it will mostly be unavailable to people in poorer countries. Doctors Without Borders called for Regeneron to ensure the antibody drugs are accessible to needy patients and for the company to license any proprietary rights and share technological know-how for how to make them.

By Lauran Neergaard and Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans, opening a major new phase in the U.S vaccination drive against COVID-19.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late Thursday.

The advisers said boosters should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The extra dose would be given once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot.

However, Walensky decided to make one recommendation that the panel had rejected.

By Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg says most of the national coronavirus restrictions in the Scandinavian country will be eased.

The restrictions lifted include the requirement for serving patrons in restaurants and the 1-meter (3.3-feet) social distance rule. Eateries, bars and nightclubs will be allowed to remain open after midnight, schools and kindergartens can return to normal and “handshakes will again be allowed,” a smiling Health Minister Bent Hoeie said.

He stressed Norway will have “an increased preparedness” and local restriction will be imposed if there was a flareup.

Norway is the second Scandinavian country to end the restrictions after Denmark did so on Sept. 10.

More than 76% of Norway’s population of 5.3 million have gotten one vaccine, and nearly 70% have gotten both shots, according to official figures.

By Alexa Gagosz and Brian Amaral, Globe Staff

Dr. Cathy Duquette has been a nurse for more than 35 years, and knows what burnout in the industry looks and feels like.

When COVID-19 patients first flooded Rhode Island’s hospitals early last spring, health care workers were able to uplift one another, confident that they’d be able to get the job done. But then the second wave came last fall. And the third wave has been a “constant battering” of the entire health care workforce.

The immense pressure on hospitals is not solely attributable to COVID-19 patients. There were 137 patients with COVID-19 in Rhode Island hospitals on Monday, the last day for which data is available; that number topped 500 in December. But medical professionals say things are as challenging as they’ve been in the past year and a half.

By The Associated Press

Hospitals and nursing homes in New York are bracing for the possibility that a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers could lead to staff shortages when it takes effect Monday.

Doctors and nurses — and also support staff, like food service workers and cleaners — have been given until Sept. 27 to get at least their first vaccine shot in one of the nation’s most aggressive plans to protect patients.

By Nick Stoico, Globe Correspondent

A Suffolk Superior Court judge has rejected the Massachusetts State Police union’s motion to delay Governor Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement that carries an Oct. 17 deadline, according to court documents.

The union had filed its lawsuit last week and sought to put a hold on the vaccination mandate to allow time for it to bargain and negotiate the terms of their employment. The union claimed that troopers would undergo “irreparable harm” if the deadline was not pushed back.

By The Associated Press

Australia’s two largest cities are moving closer to ending lockdowns as vaccination rates climb, but leaders are warning that people should remain cautious with their newfound freedoms and that coronavirus case numbers will inevitably rise.

In New South Wales state, where an outbreak continues to grow in Sydney, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has set a target of reopening on Oct. 11 once vaccination milestones are reached.

But she said Friday it would need to be done “with a degree of caution and responsibility” because otherwise too many people would end up in hospitals. Meanwhile in Victoria State, where there is an outbreak in Melbourne,

Health Minister Martin Foley said there had been a “tremendous” increase in vaccinations and there was “no shortage of enthusiasm” among people wanting to get jabs.

Health officials in New South Wales reported 1,043 new cases and 11 deaths on Friday, while officials in Victoria reported 733 new cases and one death.

By The Washington Post

White House officials prioritized former president Donald Trump’s attempt to challenge the election over the pandemic response last winter, according to emails obtained by the House select subcommittee probing the government’s coronavirus response and shared with The Washington Post.

Steven Hatfill, a virologist who advised White House trade director Peter Navarro and said he was intimately involved in the pandemic response, repeatedly described in the emails how “election stuff” took precedence over coronavirus, even as the outbreak surged to more than 250,000 new coronavirus cases per day in January.

“Now with the elections so close, COVID is taking a back-seat, yet the disease is rearing it[s] ugly head again,” Hatfill wrote to an outside colleague in October 2020. Following the election, which was disputed by former president Donald Trump, Hatfill wrote in another email that he personally “shifted over to the election fraud investigation in November.”

By The Washington Post

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Thursday he supports mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for older teenagers, saying vaccines are critical to keeping students in school.

“I wholeheartedly support it,” he said. “It’s the best tool that we have to safely reopen schools and keep them open. We don’t want to have the yo-yo effect that many districts had last year, and we can prevent that by getting vaccinated.”

Cardona said that in general, he believes governors, not school superintendents, should implement the mandates. “I really want to make sure that governors and health officials are driving the communication around public health measures, which vaccinations are,” he said.

By The Washington Post

The number of Americans receiving their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine has dropped significantly in recent days, according to Centers for Disease Control data released late Wednesday, worrying health officials as flu season approaches.

The seven-day moving average of daily first doses was about 272,000 by the end of last week, according to the CDC, making it the slowest week of first-dose immunizations since mid-July. On Tuesday, fewer than 21,000 individuals were injected with their first shot, tentative figures from the CDC show, potentially making it the slowest day since Christmas 2020.

By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health told nursing home administrators Thursday they should be ready to start administering COVID-19 booster shots to residents and staff as early as next week.

Nursing homes were hit especially hard early in the pandemic, and account for nearly one-third of the state’s COVID deaths. Though residents and staff were among the earliest to be vaccinated, some research suggests that protection from infection and severe illness with the Pfizer vaccine, which was widely used in nursing homes, wanes after six months. And the rise of the contagious Delta variant has senior care leaders on edge.

“We are grateful that the federal government has made COVID-19 booster shots available for our vulnerable residents, which... will further help to keep our residents safe from breakthrough COVID-19 infections,” said Tara Gregorio, president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, which represents nearly 400 senior care facilities.

By Felicia Gans, Globe Staff

More than 2,500 public school students and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, about an 80 percent increase from the first three days of cases tracked by the state earlier this month.

State education leaders on Thursday reported 2,236 new cases among public school students and 318 among staff members for the week that ended Wednesday, releasing the academic year’s first full week of coronavirus data from the state’s schools and districts.

The 2,554 total cases were a significant leap from the state’s first report of 1,420 total cases last week, but the increase was expected. Last week’s report of 1,230 student cases and 190 among staff members included only three days worth of data, while the latest report included a full week.

By The Associated Press

Sporting a mask, Toronto Maple Leaf’s winger William Nylander opened his news conference at the start of training camp by informing reporters he was not yet fully vaccinated.

“Had couple medical things to take care of,” he said. “I’ll be fully vaccinated by the beginning of the season.”

The NHL is counting on it and said last week that 98% of its players will be vaccinated by the time the season begins Oct. 12. That would leave 10-15 players out of 700 on 32 teams lacking the vaccine, including Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

Part of the emergency department at Rhode Island Hospital, the state’s largest hospital, was forced to close Thursday due to a nursing shortage.

The emergency center at Rhode Island Hospital is the only Level I trauma center in southeastern New England, where the department’s frontline workers see some of the area’s most critically injured and severely ill people.

By Bloomberg

Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. rose 2.9% during the week that ended Tuesday, with some counties in New York and Pennsylvania showing increases of 26% or more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

States including Alabama, Georgia and West Virginia had among the most widespread increases in deaths. Deaths as a share of population also are soaring in eastern Texas and central Florida, according to a CDC national data update published Thursday.

Hospitalizations for Covid declined 12.5% during the week through Monday compared with the previous seven days. The pandemic has claimed some 682,000 lives in the U.S., more than the estimated death toll of 675,000 in the 1918 influenza pandemic.

By Bloomberg

The U.S. Department of Education reimbursed a Florida county almost $150,000 after it was fined by the state of Florida for imposing a mask mandate in its schools.

The money is the latest escalation in the fight between the Biden administration and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been withholding money from school districts that defied his ban on mask mandates. The federal government said it would cover those costs, and the $147,719 announced on Thursday is the first payment.

“We should be thanking districts for using proven strategies that will keep schools open and safe, not punishing them,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a press release.

By Bloomberg

In Kansas, public health data show school-based Covid-19 clusters increased by 11 over the past week to total 72, and the state’s education commissioner reported a middle school student died this week, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said: “Those are the types of things we’re working hard to make sure does not happen while we keep schools open — it’s keeping them open and safe.”

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Many people may be wondering whether they will soon be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster to amp up their protection against the deadly virus, which just won’t seem to go away.

Here, compiled from Globe wire and major media reports, is what you need to know:

By The Associated Press

As Portugal closes in on its goal of fully vaccinating 85% of the population against COVID-19 in nine months, other countries in Europe and beyond want to know how it was accomplished.

A lot of the credit is going to Rear Adm. Henrique Gouveia e Melo. With his team from the three branches of the armed forces, the naval officer took charge of the vaccine rollout in February — perhaps the moment of greatest tension in Portugal over the pandemic.

By Bloomberg

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she’s ready for a potential shortage of health-care workers, with the state’s mandatory vaccine deadline set for Monday.

Health-care workers including at nursing homes and hospitals are required to get the first vaccine by Sept. 27 or potentially risk losing their job.

“I will be announcing a whole series of initiatives that we are doing to be prepared for a situation on Monday, which I hope doesn’t happen,” Hochul said at a briefing on Thursday. A group of workers has taken the state to court over the mandate, saying it violates their religious beliefs.

By Bloomberg

As Covid-19 deaths mount in Idaho, where vaccination rates are lagging, funeral directors are running out of room to store the deceased, the Idaho Statesman reports.

One mortuary converted a train car into an external refrigeration unit that’s noisy and smells of diesel fuel. It can hold up to 56 bodies.

The coroner in Ada County, Idaho, reports multiple funeral homes are no longer taking bodies. It has turned to a mobile refrigeration unit with a capacity of 70, the newspaper reported.

By Bloomberg

U.S. schools were counting on widespread vaccinations to help get all students back to in-person classes for the first time since early 2020. Mere weeks into the effort, signs of another taxing year are emerging amid scattershot safety rules and rising Covid-19 among children.

Over the past month, with kindergarten through 12th grade in session, the country has reported almost 1 million cases among those under 18. Though kids typically are less likely than adults to become severely ill with Covid, they increasingly are contracting the highly contagious delta variant. As of Sunday, 2,000 schools nationwide had closed — 18% more than a week earlier, according to the Burbio tracker.

By The Washington Post

Moderna’s chief executive says that the pandemic could be over in a year and that a boost in production will mean enough vaccines for “everyone on this earth” by then.

Producing enough booster shots should be possible, too, to some extent, and even babies will be able to get vaccines, Stéphane Bancel told a Swiss newspaper in an interview published Thursday. Asked whether that could spell “a return to normal” next year, he replied: “As of today, in a year, I assume.”

By Bloomberg

New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, who helped former Governor Andrew Cuomo respond to the coronavirus pandemic, has submitted his resignation.

Governor Kathy Hochul, who replaced Cuomo, announced Zucker’s resignation on Thursday during a virus briefing.

Zucker, who was appointed by Cuomo in 2015, was central to allegations the Cuomo administration covered up Covid nursing-home deaths.

Decisions of the Cuomo administration and health department under Zucker came under fire after Attorney General Letitia James released a report in January showing officials undercounted Covid-related deaths in New York nursing homes by as much as 50%. The report also detailed a lack of compliance with infection-control policies at many nursing homes on Zucker’s watch.

Zucker and Cuomo have denied the allegations.

By The Associated Press

Vermont state officials are attributing the high number of COVID-19 cases in Orleans County in the Northeast Kingdom in part to the lower vaccination rate in the area.

The county is reporting scattered COVID-19 outbreaks and a high degree of community transmission, state officials said Tuesday during the governor’s weekly virus briefing. In the last two weeks, the county has reported 225 cases.

“From my perspective, I think, you have to just look at the vaccination rates around the state and see that there’s a higher population of unvaccinated up in the Northeast Kingdom than there is anywhere else so that would lead me to believe that it’s again a pandemic of the unvaccinated at this point,” Gov. Phil Scott said during the briefing.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said he agreed that the higher population of unvaccinated people is a significant part of the increase in cases.

The Newport City Elementary School has switched to remote classes for the rest of the week to prevent the spread of the virus among unvaccinated children that spreads to adults, WCAX-TV reported. Derby Elementary School decided to go remote a week ago.

“We are not able to definitively determine that cases are being transmitted in school but we started to have situations where we can’t rule it out,” said North Country Supervisory Union Superintendent John Castle.

By The Associated Press

The pharmaceutical company Novavax and the Serum Institute of India say they’ve submitted an application to the World Health Organization for their coronavirus vaccine to be granted an emergency use listing.

That would allow the shot to be used as part of a global vaccine-sharing program. In a statement on Thursday, Novavax and its partner the Serum Institute say their request for the COVID-19 vaccine to the U.N. health agency is based on a previous submission to Indian regulators.

The Novavax shots are easier to store and transport than some other options. They’ve long been expected to play an important role in increasing supplies in poor countries desperate for more vaccine. In June, the company said their vaccine was about 90% effective against symptomatic COVID-19.

Novavax, based in Maryland, signed a deal this year with the vaccine alliance Gavi to provide 350 million doses to the U.N.-backed COVAX program, most of which are intended to be made by the Serum Institute. A previous non-binding agreement said Novavax would provide up to 1 billion vaccines.

By Bloomberg

A group of federal workers and contractors filed suit against the U.S. government over its Covid-19 vaccination mandates.

The lawsuit, filed in Washington Thursday, challenges President Joe Biden’s executive order earlier this month requiring federal workers to be vaccinated and the U.S. Defense Department’s August memorandum that members of the military must be protected against coronavirus.

Among other things, the suit argues that a Christian is required “to refuse a medical intervention, including a vaccination, if his or her informed conscience comes to this sure judgment” and that “naturally acquired immunity provides greater protection than vaccines.”

By Bloomberg

Alaska is now the second place in the U.S. to activate statewide crisis standards of care, amid a Covid surge that’s straining hospital capacity in areas that have most resisted vaccination.

It follows Idaho, which last week extended health care rationing statewide as authorities there said they didn’t have enough resources to adequately treat patients in its hospitals. Some Montana health providers have done the same. A common thread in all three states is that less than half the populations have been fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

By The Associated Press

U.S. athletes trying to make the Winter Olympics will have to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 under a groundbreaking new policy announced Wednesday by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

CEO Sarah Hirshland wrote in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that, starting Nov. 1, the USOPC will require staff, athletes and others utilizing training centers and other USOPC facilities to be vaccinated.

By The Associated Press

A 12-year-old boy has gone to court in the Netherlands to get permission to receive a COVID-19 vaccine so he can visit his grandmother who is battling lung cancer, according to a written court ruling published Thursday.

By The Associated Press

In Maine, the highest rates of coronavirus infections in recent months have been in places with lower vaccination rates, demonstrating a divide between rural and urban centers in the state, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Communities with the lowest vaccination rates have seen the highest rates of new COVID-19 cases over the past 4 1/2 months amid the onset of the delta variant, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Communities where more than 90% of eligible residents are vaccinated experienced nearly 40% lower infections than in communities with inoculation rates below 70%, the newspaper reported.

The highest infection rates were previously centered in ZIP codes containing cities like Portland, Lewiston, Biddeford and Kittery, the newspaper said, but they are now in communities like Guilford, Levant, Houlton and Madison.

Dr. Noah Nesin, chief medical officer at Penobscot Community Health Care in Bangor, said the good news is that more people are getting vaccinated as they see the damage inflicted by the delta variant.

“It is now a choice between getting vaccinated or getting delta,” Nesin said. “They see this as a very serious disease that isn’t just going to go away.”

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

Crooner Dierks Bentley has been forced to cancel his Saturday show at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield after a member of his touring party tested positive for COVID-19, the star confirmed Wednesday.

Bentley made the bummer announcement in a statement posted to his official Twitter and Instagram accounts, which boast a combined 4.6 million followers. The show at the Mansfield venue had been scheduled as part of his Beers on Me Tour, but now the suds will be silent.

He had earlier announced the cancellation of a show in Maryland owing to the positive test.

Then on Wednesday, Bentley tweeted, “Unfortunately, we have to extend our break from the road a few more days and won’t be able to play Jones Beach (9/24) or Boston (9/25) this weekend.” He meant Mansfield when he referred to the Hub.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

Some Rhode Islanders may be able to start getting booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine soon.

The state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee held a meeting Thursday morning, just a day after the US Food and Drug Administration authorized people over 65 who had received Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine to get a booster shot at least six months after their second shot.

The subcommittee, which did not vote regarding the implementation of booster shots during the meeting as scheduled, estimated that based on the eligibility criteria outlined by the FDA, there are about 130,000 Rhode Islanders that are eligible to receive a booster shot.

By Brian MacQuarrie, Globe Staff

Grim COVID-19 numbers from Maine show that nearly 19 months of warnings, struggle, and sickness have served only as a roller-coaster prelude to one of the state’s darkest hours of the pandemic.

Maine set records Wednesday with 226 patients in the hospital for COVID and 88 patients in critical care. New cases reached a seven-day average of 458.6 on Tuesday, compared with 162.3 a month earlier. And in a sprawling state where hospitals are at or near capacity, the COVID death toll topped 1,000 since the start of the pandemic.

By Associated Press

The Nobel Prize ceremonies will be reined in and scaled-down for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic, the foundation behind the coveted prizes said Thursday.

The winners of this year’s prizes in chemistry, literature, physics, medicine and economics, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize, are set to be announced between Oct. 4 and Oct. 11.

“It is now also clear that this year’s Nobel festivities in December − when the laureates are honored in Stockholm and Oslo − will be a mixture of digital and physical events,” the Nobel Foundation said.

By Bianca Vázquez Toness, Globe Staff

Noemy Rodriguez was beyond anxious.

It was almost 8 p.m. on Boston’s first day of school and her fourth-grade son, Wayne Montoya, still had not been dropped off by his bus.

An administrator at the Thomas Edison K-8 in Brighton assured her that her son was on the way. But Wayne, who has special needs, and dozens of other children from across the city piled into the only bus on hand, extending the route and delaying the drop-off. He finally arrived at 8:45 p.m., more than five hours after school let out.

By The Associated Press

A farmers fair that dates to the 1860s will resume in Maine this weekend after taking a year off due to COVID-19.

The Cumberland Fair is scheduled to start on Sunday and run through Oct. 2. The fair was first held in 1868 and is one of the biggest annual agricultural events in the southern part of the state.

The coronavirus pandemic canceled Maine’s 2020 agricultural fair season, but this year many of them have been able to go on. The Common Ground Country Fair, however, which celebrates organic farming, was canceled this year.

The Cumberland Fair is famous for its annual pumpkin and squash weigh-off event. Winning pumpkins sometimes weigh more than 1,000 pounds.

By The Associated Press

The inequity of COVID-19 vaccine distribution will come into sharper focus Thursday as many of the African countries whose populations have little to no access to the life-saving shots step to the podium to speak at the UN’s annual meeting of world leaders.

Already, the struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic has featured prominently in leaders’ speeches — many of them delivered remotely exactly because of the virus. Country after country acknowledged the wide disparity in accessing the vaccine, painting a picture so bleak that a solution has at times seemed impossibly out of reach.

By The Associated Press

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she doesn’t want to use lockdowns in the future and sees vaccinations as the “golden ticket” to navigating the pandemic.

Her remarks came as Auckland remained in a sixth week of lockdown following an outbreak of the coronavirus’ delta variant.

New Zealand has taken an unusual zero-tolerance approach to the virus and is trying to completely eliminate the outbreak in its largest city through drastic measures, at least until vaccination rates improve. Fifteen more local transmissions were reported Thursday.

Ardern says she sees a hopeful path in using vaccinations coupled with public health measures to prevent widespread hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. About 62% of New Zealanders have had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine.

By The New York Times

Alaska, once a leader in vaccinating its citizens, is now in the throes of its worst coronavirus surge of the pandemic, as the Delta variant rips through the state, swamping hospitals with patients.

As of Tuesday, the state was averaging 117 new cases a day for every 100,000 people, more than any other state in the nation, according to recent data trends collected by The New York Times. That figure has shot up by 42% in the last two weeks, and by more than twentyfold since early July.

By The Associated Press

An influential panel of advisers to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention grappled Wednesday with the question of which Americans should get COVID-19 booster shots, with some members wondering if the decision should be put off for a month in hopes of more evidence.

The doubts and uncertainties suggested yet again that the matter of whether to dispense extra doses to shore up Americans’ protection against the coronavirus is more complicated scientifically than the Biden administration may have realized when it outlined plans a month ago for an across-the-board rollout of boosters. The rollout was supposed to have begun this week.

Much of the discussion at the meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices focused on the possibility of a scaled-back booster program targeted to older people or perhaps health care workers. But even then, some of the experts said that the data on whether boosters are actually needed, precisely who should get them and when was not clear-cut.

By Bloomberg

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the police and the military to augment hospital staffing in the capital region as hundreds of health workers have contracted coronavirus.

At least five major hospitals in Metro Manila that are already running at full capacity have to quarantine infected frontliners and couldn’t accept more patients, Duterte said. About 400 workers in those hospitals have been infected, he said.

The Philippines, a global supplier of nurses, is experiencing a “dearth of supply,” according to Duterte. Medical staff in the Southeast Asian nation last month protested low pay, delayed benefits and government neglect as near-record high daily cases overwhelmed hospitals.

By The New York Times

President Joe Biden, declaring the coronavirus an “all-hands-on-deck crisis,” set out ambitious goals Wednesday for ending the pandemic and urged world leaders, drug companies, philanthropies, and nonprofit groups to embrace a target of vaccinating 70% of the world by next year.

But the course that Biden charted, at a virtual COVID-19 summit meeting that he convened on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, may be difficult to turn into reality. And the pressure is mounting on the president to lean harder on US pharmaceutical manufacturers, which are resisting sharing their COVID-19 technology with poorer countries.

The daylong meeting, the largest gathering of heads of state to address the pandemic, was a reflection of Biden’s determination to reestablish the United States as a leader in global health after President Donald Trump severed ties with the World Health Organization last year, at the outset of the coronavirus crisis.

By The Associated Press

The US has moved a step closer to offering booster doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to seniors and others at high risk from the virus.

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday signed off on such shots as a way to shore up protection in those groups.

This is not a done deal yet: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has yet to weigh in on who it believes should get boosters and when.

President Joe Biden’s administration wants to dispense third doses of the vaccine amid the spread of the delta variant, which has driven U.S. deaths and cases back up to levels not seen since last winter.

By The Associated Press

United Airlines says more than 97% of its US-based employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 now that there is less than a week before a deadline to get the shots or get fired.

The airline said Wednesday that the new figure does not include a “small number” of employees who are seeking a medical or religious exemption from vaccination.

By The Associated Press

West Virginia’s coronavirus vaccination figures have been adjusted sharply lower after officials discovered that numbers from a federal contractor had been double counted.

Authorities said Wednesday the revision shows that 63.7% of state residents over age 12 have received at least one dose of vaccine, rather than 74.3% as previously reported. The state’s figures kept the percentage of those 12 and older who are fully vaccinated at 60.1%.

An official says the state discovered a problem with contractor data from the CDC that had led the state to double count vaccination numbers since early in May. A CDC spokesman says the agency is working with the state to address the problem.

Gov. Jim Justice says the state now needs to find even more people who haven’t received their first dose of vaccine.

By The Associated Press

Tampa Bay’s Antonio Brown was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday and could miss this week’s road game against the Los Angeles Rams.

The 33-year-old receiver is the second player from the active roster the defending Super Bowl champions have placed on the COVID-19 list this week, joining reserve linebacker and special teams captain Kevin Minter.

By Bloomberg

New York City’s requirement for teachers to be vaccinated was cleared by a state judge following a legal challenge from labor unions.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Laurence L. Love vacated a temporary restraining order that had stopped the vaccine mandate from being enforced while the case is being litigated.

By The Associated Press

A day after assuming his job, Florida’s newly appointed surgeon general on Wednesday signed new rules allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school after being exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The guidelines signed by Dr. Joseph Ladapo eliminate previous rules requiring students to quarantine for at least four days off campus if they’ve been exposed. Under the new rules, students who have been exposed can continue going to campus, “without restrictions or disparate treatment,” provided they are asymptomatic. They can also quarantine, but no longer than seven days, provided they do not get sick.

“Quarantining healthy students is incredibly damaging for their educational advancement,” Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday at a news conference in Kissimmee. “It’s also disruptive for families. We are going to be following a symptoms-based approach.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people who get infected can spread the virus starting from two days before they have any symptoms. The CDC recommends that a student should quarantine for 14 days if they are unvaccinated. They can shorten the quarantine to seven days by testing negative, according to the CDC.

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

Zoo New England said Wednesday that staff has started vaccinating animals susceptible to COVID-19 at its zoos in Boston and Stoneham.

The nonprofit confirmed the vaccination push at Franklin Park Zoo in the Hub and Stone Zoo in Stoneham in a statement, which said the first round of the initiative’s focused on the “highest risk species” such as primates; cats including lions, tigers, and snow leopards; ferrets; and North American river otters.

By Michael Silverman, Globe Staff

In order to attend a Bruins or Celtics game, concert, or any other event at the arena, fans 12 and older must show proof of vaccination or one of two types of negative COVID-19 test results.

The same rules will apply for players, referees, coaches, band members, vendors, ushers — anyone who sets foot in the arena. TD Garden officials reached a decision late last week to implement the stricter regulations while the Delta variant prolongs the pandemic.

By The Associated Press

Maine’s governor said Wednesday that school employees who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are putting students and communities at risk.

More than three-quarters of school staff in Maine are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, but the percentage varies widely from school to school. Some schools, including Lisbon Community School in Lisbon and Mount View Elementary School in Thorndike, have percentages less than 20%.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills stopped short of calling for a mandate and said she expects school employees to “do the right thing” without one. She said the state is looking into whether President Joe Biden’s requirement that employees in workplaces of more than 100 people get vaccinated or face weekly testing applies to public school workers.

“If you’re taking care of Maine kids and you’re choosing not to get vaccinated, you’re saying that you’re more important than the children who are in your care. Please just get vaccinated,” Mills said.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

The labor union that represents the city’s fire fighters released a statement Wednesday that claimed the department could lose 10 percent of its workforce if the state health department does not reconsider its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

By Bloomberg

Plenty of high-income Americans say they’re having trouble paying the bills during the pandemic, according to new data from the Census Bureau.

Among households earning at least $150,000 a year -- enough to put them in or near the top 10% of the income distribution -- some 4.7% of respondents in the Bureau’s latest survey said they’re finding it somewhat or very difficult to meet their usual household expenses. That’s equivalent to about 1.3 million adults.

The figure rises to almost 9% in Philadelphia, and generally appears higher in northeastern U.S. cities compared with metro areas in the rest of the country.

The data published Wednesday in the Household Pulse survey -- which has been tracking the pandemic’s impact on people’s lives since April last year -- was collected in the first two weeks of September.

By The Associated Press

The official tapped to oversee the state prisons’ response to the coronavirus pandemic has been placed on paid leave following questions about his potential involvement in a wrongful death lawsuit that was settled several years earlier.

Seth Peters was placed Tuesday on paid administrative leave from his position as ombudsman for the Department of Correction, WBUR-FM reported. He was named in a report to lawmakers last week as the first person to hold the newly created position.

The broadcaster asked if Peters was the same Seth Peters who was accused in a lawsuit of falsifying records while working as an EMT for UMass Memorial. When responding to a man having a heart attack in 2008, that Seth Peters allegedly had the man walk down three flights of stairs. He later died and Peters allegedly altered reports and was accused of lying to investigators. UMass settled the suit for $1 million.

The report to lawmakers says Peters previously worked as a public health official in Worcester, which is where the EMT of the same name involved in the lawsuit was also later employed.

The new ombudsman role is independent from the Department of Corrections and is charged with setting standards of care related to the coronavirus pandemic and monitoring compliance with those standards.

By The Associated Press

One desperate California school district is sending flyers home in students’ lunchboxes, telling parents it’s “now hiring.” Elsewhere, principals are filling in as crossing guards, teachers are being offered signing bonuses and schools are moving back to online learning.

By Bloomberg

The top leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Wednesday ordered mandatory use of face masks in its temples around the globe to fight Covid-19 and again called for members to get vaccinated, citing church history in prior pandemics.

Cases in the church’s home state of Utah and neighboring states are on the rise again and hospital capacity is stretched but the order is international.

“We are grateful that in recent months, some level of ordinance work has resumed in every temple,” Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring said in a statement issued in Salt Lake City. “Our desire is to keep temples open.”

“Effective immediately, all temple patrons and workers are asked to wear face masks at all times while in the temple,” they wrote.

The church leaders, known collectively as the First Presidency, also wrote: “Our urging Church members to be vaccinated and to protect themselves and others from the spread of disease has precedent.

“Prior First Presidencies shared similar messages in 1900 about smallpox and in 1957 regarding polio. Please do all you can to protect yourself and others so the work of the Lord on both sides of the veil can move forward.”

By Bloomberg

President Joe Biden called on other nations to help vastly expand production of coronavirus vaccines and treatments in order to end the Covid-19 pandemic in a virtual summit he hosted Wednesday.

Biden said the U.S. will buy another 500 million doses of Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE’s vaccine for donation abroad, pushing the total U.S. donation pledge above 1.1 billion doses.

The summit’s attendees include the leaders of the U.K., Canada, South Africa and Indonesia, private-sector figures and representatives of non-governmental organizations. Biden led one of four sessions, on vaccinating the world, while Vice President Kamala Harris will lead another.

By The Associated Press

The company that owns Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Resort ski area and 33 other resorts across the country is going to require that skiers be masked when indoors at the resorts in the upcoming ski season.

In an email to season pass holders this week, Vail Resorts announced that people ages 12 and over will be required to show proof of vaccination when eating at restaurants at the resorts. All Vail Resorts employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

But unlike last year, skiers and riders will not have to make reservations ahead of time, and lifts and gondolas will operate at normal capacity.

“We are fortunate that the core of our experience takes place outdoors in vast mountain settings,” Rob Katz, Vail chairman and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “However, as we welcome guests from around the world to the indoor experience at our resorts, we feel it’s important to do our part to combat the spread of COVID-19.”

In addition to Stowe, in Vermont, Vail owns the Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow and Mount Snow in West Dover.

Vail owns four ski areas in New Hampshire, Attitash Mountain in Bartlett, Crotched Mountain in Bennington, Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury and Wildcat Mountain in Gorham.

By The Associated Press

United Airlines says more than 97% of its U.S.-based employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 now that there is less than a week before a deadline to get the shots or get fired.

The airline said Wednesday that the new figure does not include a “small number” of employees who are seeking a medical or religious exemption from vaccination.

“Vaccine requirements work,” United said in a memo to employees.

The airline said last month that up to 90% of pilots and nearly 80% of flight attendants were vaccinated, but it did not give a companywide figure at the time.

United said it will start termination proceedings against unvaccinated employees as soon as next Tuesday.

The airline is among a small group of companies that announced they would require vaccinations even before Sept. 9, when President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing employers with more than 100 workers to require vaccinations or weekly testing for the virus.

By The Associated Press

The Rev. Jesse Jackson was released Wednesday from a Chicago facility a month after he was hospitalized for a breakthrough COVID-19 infection and following intensive physical therapy for Parkinson’s disease.

The civil rights leader and his wife, Jacqueline, were first hospitalized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital last month. Jesse Jackson, 79, was vaccinated for COVID-19 but his 77-year-old wife was not. She required oxygen and a brief intensive care unit stay before she was released earlier this month.

Family members said the reverend’s case wasn’t as severe and less than a week after he was first hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment, he was transferred to a nearby in-patient facility for intensive occupational and physical therapy because of Parkinson’s. He was released from The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab on Wednesday, according to Chinta Strausberg, a spokeswoman with Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

By Bloomberg

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it will increase enforcement of its mask-wearing policy as new data show compliance is waning on subway, buses and commuter trains, WABC-TV reported.

Compliance was nearly universal in the early days of the pandemic but has fallen to about 87% on the city’s subways, MTA Chief Safety Officer Pat Warren said, according to the television station.

Riders will get one warning from MTA Police to wear a mask, and if they don’t, they will get a summons, Warren said.

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s top medical adviser, decried the “inexplicable” politicization of COVID-19 vaccines, saying he hoped people would drop their differences and band together to fight their common enemy, the deadly virus, by getting their shots.

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

The head of UMass Memorial Health based in Worcester said Wednesday that all the ICU beds in his four-hospital system in central Massachusetts are taken, owing to COVID-19 and other factors.

Dr. Eric Dickson, president and CEO of the system, which has hospitals in Worcester, Marlborough, Leominster, and Southbridge, said in a phone interview that while patients are getting the care they need, “the situation is still critical.”

By The Associated Press

Influential government advisers are debating which Americans should get an extra dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine once regulators clear the booster shots.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to rule soon on Pfizer’s bid for extra doses, after its advisers last week dramatically scaled back the Biden administrations plans for boosters for everyone. Instead, that panel backed booster shots for seniors and others at high risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the final word on who would qualify and convened its own advisers Wednesday to start deliberations.

The priority remains to vaccinate the unvaccinated, who the CDC says account for the vast majority of COVID-19 cases, now soaring to levels not seen since last winter. About 182 million Americans are fully vaccinated, nearly 55% of the total population.

The government will decide later whether to allow extra doses of Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

By Bloomberg

Afghanistan’s health system is on the “brink of collapse” and the country’s Covid response has worsened, the World Health Organization said after a mission to Kabul. In a statement, the WHO said that only 17% of health facilities linked to the Sehatmandi health project, which provides health services in several provinces, were operational.

Nine of the 37 Covid hospitals had closed, and virus response -- including surveillance, testing and vaccination -- had dropped, the WHO said. About 2.2 million people had been vaccinated prior to August, but rates have slowed in recent weeks with 1.8 million doses remaining unused, the health body said.

“Swift action is needed to use these doses in the coming weeks and work towards reaching the goal of vaccinating at least 20% of the population by the end of the year based on national targets,” the WHO said.

By The Associated Press

Travelers and authorities from India and some African countries are furious — and confused — about Britain’s new COVID-19 travel rules, calling them discriminatory.

The British government announced what it billed as a simplification of the rules last week, including allowing fully vaccinated travelers arriving in England from much of the world to skip quarantine and take fewer tests.

By Bloomberg

The U.K. included Covidshield, the Indian-manufactured version of the shot developed by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford, in its updated list of approved vaccines. Under the new rules, which take effect on Oct. 4, those who were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before traveling to England will no longer have to quarantine after arriving.

By Bloomberg

Pregnant women who get mRNA vaccines pass high levels of antibodies to their babies, according to a study published in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology – Maternal Fetal Medicine on Wednesday.

The study -- one of the first to measure antibody levels in umbilical cord blood to distinguish whether immunity is from infection or vaccines -- found that 36 newborns tested at birth all had antibodies to protect against Covid-19 after their mothers were vaccinated with shots from Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE or Moderna Inc.

By Stephanie Nolen and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, The New York Times

As President Joe Biden convenes heads of state for a COVID-19 summit on Wednesday, pressure is growing on American drug companies — particularly Moderna, the upstart biotech firm that developed its coronavirus vaccine with billions of dollars in taxpayer money — to share their formulas with manufacturers in nations that desperately need more shots.

By The Associated Press

The number of new COVID-19 cases continued to fall last week, with 3.6 million new cases reported globally, down from 4 million new infections the previous week, the World Health Organization said.

Last week’s drop marked the first substantial decline for more than two months, with falling COVID-19 cases in every world region. In its latest update on the pandemic released on Tuesday, WHO said there were major decreases in cases in two regions: a 22% fall in the Middle East and a 16% drop in Southeast Asia.

The U.N. health agency said there were just under 60,000 deaths in the past week, a 7% decline. It said that while Southeast Asia reported a 30% decrease in COVID-19 deaths, the Western Pacific region reported a 7% increase. The most coronavirus cases were seen in the U.S., India, Britain, Turkey and the Philippines. WHO said the faster-spreading delta variant has now been seen in 185 countries and is present in every part of the world.

The organization also revised its list of “variants of interest,” or those that it believes have the potential to cause big outbreaks; WHO said it’s tracking the lambda and mu variants, which both arose in Latin America but have yet to cause widespread epidemics. WHO has previously said that in all countries where the delta variant is circulating, it has become the predominant virus.

By The Associated Press

President Joe Biden is set to announce that the United States is doubling its purchase of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shots to share with the world to 1 billion doses as he embraces the goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population within the next year.

The stepped-up U.S. commitment is to be the cornerstone of the global vaccination summit Biden is convening virtually Wednesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, where he plans to push well-off nations to do more to get the coronavirus under control.

World leaders, aid groups and global health organizations are growing increasingly vocal about the slow pace of global vaccinations and the inequity of access to shots between residents of wealthier and poorer nations.

By The Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — Coronavirus cases are surging to the worst levels of the pandemic in a rebel stronghold in Syria — a particularly devastating development in a region where scores of hospitals have been bombed and that doctors and nurses have fled in droves during a decade of war.

The total number of cases seen in Idlib province — an overcrowded enclave with a population of 4 million, many of them internally displaced — has more than doubled since the beginning of August to more than 61,000. In recent weeks, daily new infections have repeatedly shot past 1,500, and authorities reported 34 deaths on Sunday alone — figures that are still believed to be undercounts because many infected people don’t report to authorities.

The situation has become so dire in the northwestern province that rescue workers known as the White Helmets who became famous for digging through the rubble of bombings to find victims now mostly ferry coronavirus patients to the hospital or the dead to burials.

By The Associated Press

President Joe Biden is set to push well-off nations to do more to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control around the world, as world leaders, aid groups and global health organizations sound the alarm about the slow pace of global vaccinations.

Biden is convening a virtual vaccine summit on Wednesday, timed to coincide with this week’s U.N. General Assembly, to prod more nations to follow the lead of the U.S., which has donated more doses than any other. According to a person familiar with the matter, Biden was set to announce a significant new purchase of vaccines to share with the world, and to set targets for other nations to hit. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview Biden’s remarks.

By The Associated Press

BEIJING — Officials in the northeast China city of Harbin say national level health officials have been sent to the city to deal with what may be a coronavirus outbreak.

The city of 9.5 million people reported three infection cases Wednesday, a day after discovering a first case of community transmission.

After the initial finding, authorities started mass testing and closed schools. The city also ordered businesses like mahjong parlors, cinemas and gyms to shut. City authorities say residents must display a negative virus test to be able to leave for only essential travel. Otherwise, people are being told to stay home.

China has been able to keep the virus from transmitting widely within its borders through a costly and strict strategy that relies on lockdowns and mass testing.

By The Associated Press

A man who helped organize a Hawaii group that opposes coronavirus vaccines and pandemic restrictions says he now has regrets after contracting COVID-19.

Chris Wikoff told Hawaii News Now this week that he helped start the Aloha Freedom Coalition last October. He says he believed government shutdowns and other restrictions were threatening liberties and harming businesses.

But then he and his wife contracted COVID-19, the disease that is sometimes caused by the virus. Wikoff says he thought he was going to die and he still has trouble breathing.

He is now considering getting vaccinated because his family and doctors recommend it.

Wikoff says he no longer wants to be associated with the Aloha Freedom Coalition. He is warning others in the group not to gather.

By The Associated Press

Brazil’s health minister tested positive for the coronavirus in New York after President Jair Bolsonaro spoke at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.

Brazil’s government said in a statement that Marcelo Quiroga was in good health and would remain in isolation in the United States. He got his first shot of coronavirus vaccine in January.

Other members of Brazil’s government in New York tested negative for the virus, the statement said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Bolsonaro spoke at the General Assembly, flouting the requirement for all attendees to be vaccinated against the virus.

Ill last year with COVID-19, the disease that can be caused by the coronavirus, Bolsonaro has said several times over the last week that he remains unvaccinated. He said getting a shot is a personal, medical decision.

Queiroga was photographed side by side with Bolsonaro on several occasions this week. Tuesday morning he tweeted a picture with first lady Michele Bolsonaro.

Queiroga had breakfast Monday with several employees of investment funds in New York.

By The New York Times

In chronic pain, Mary O’Donnell can’t get around much. At most, she manages to walk for a short time in her kitchen or garden before she has to sit down. “It’s just frustrating at this point,” said O’Donnell, 80, who lives in Aloha, Oregon. “I’m really depressed.”

She had been preparing for back surgery scheduled for Aug. 31, hoping the five-hour procedure would allow her to be more active. But a day before the operation, at OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center, she learned it had been canceled. “Nope, you can’t come, our hospital is filling up,” she said she was told.

Faced with a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Oregon, the hospital has not yet rescheduled her surgery. “I don’t know what is going to happen,” O’Donnell said, worrying that her ability to walk might be permanently impaired if she is forced to wait too long.

By The Associated Press

Health care workers are exhausted and angry. Some of Idaho’s coronavirus vaccines are expiring because they have sat unused for so long. And coronavirus case numbers and deaths continue to climb, putting the state among the worst in the nation for the rate of new COVID-19 diagnoses.

Idaho’s public health leaders painted a grim picture — again — during a weekly briefing on the pandemic Tuesday.

The state continues to set record highs with 686 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of Sept. 18, 180 of them in intensive care unit beds and 112 on ventilators, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Dave Jeppesen said.

By The Associated Press

California has the lowest coronavirus transmission rate of any state following a sharp decline in cases and hospitalizations after a summer surge.

The nation’s most populous state is the only one experiencing “substantial” coronavirus transmission, the second-highest level on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s color-coded map. So is Puerto Rico. In all other US states, virus transmission is labeled as “high,” defined as 100 or more cases per 100,000 people in the last week.

California’s rate is 94 cases per 100,000. By comparison, Texas is 386 and Florida is 296.

State health experts say relatively high vaccination rates in California ahead of the arrival of the delta variant made a difference, and additional measures, such as masking, also helped stem the surge. Nearly 70% of eligible Californians are fully vaccinated, and another 8% have received their first shot, state data shows.

By The Associated Press

Students, faculty, and staff at all 15 Massachusetts state community colleges will be required to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by January, the schools’ presidents said.

“While a significant number of students, faculty, and staff are already vaccinated or are in the process of becoming vaccinated, the 15 colleges are seeking to increase the health and safety of the learning and working environment in light of the ongoing public health concerns and current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” they said in a statement released Monday.

By Alexa Gagosz and Brian Amaral, Globe Staff

Rhode Island will allow health care workers who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 to work even after Oct. 1 if there’s a risk to quality of care in their absence, the state Department of Health announced Tuesday.

The state had previously given workers an Oct. 1 deadline to get vaccinated, unless they have an approved medical exemption, or they would not be allowed to work. The announcement Tuesday provided some leeway to that edict in the most dire situations, and comes after leaders of some facilities said they worried the deadline would worsen staffing shortages.

By Maria Elena Little Endara, Globe Staff

The state on Tuesday reported 4,568 more COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated people since last week, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 32,345 cases, or 0.71 percent of all fully vaccinated people.

The Department of Public Health also reported 23 more COVID-19 deaths among fully vaccinated people, bringing the total to 217 deaths among those fully vaccinated.

By The New York Times

The Food and Drug Administration is likely to authorize Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots this week for many Americans at high risk of falling seriously ill from the coronavirus, now that a key advisory committee has voted to recommend the measure.

On Friday, a panel of experts endorsed offering Pfizer booster shots for people 65 and older, and for people 16 and older who are at high risk of getting severe COVID-19 or who work in settings that make them more likely to get infected.

By The Associated Press

San Francisco is requiring all workers at San Francisco International Airport to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing if employees are exempt.

The mandate announced Tuesday applies to all on-site personnel, of which there are about 46,000. Mayor London Breed’s office said the mandate, which goes into effect immediately, is the first for a U.S. airport.

Some airline companies have already announced vaccination mandates for employees. San Francisco also requires municipal workers to be inoculated.

Hawaii requires workers at state facilities, including airports, show proof of vaccination or provide weekly verification that they’ve been tested at least once or twice a week with negative results.

“As SFO prepares for the upcoming holiday travel season, and the return of pre-pandemic passenger levels, we have an obligation to provide a safe airport facility for the traveling public and our on-site employees,” said Ivar C. Satero, the airport’s director.

By Bloomberg

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon called up about 95 members of the state’s National Guard on Tuesday to supplement hospital staff in 17 communities as the coronavirus rages.

“There are approximately 200 people with COVID-19 in Wyoming hospitals today, which is near the peak number the state has seen during the pandemic,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

By The Associated Press

U.S. Rep. Bob Latta is the second member of Congress from Ohio to test positive this week for the coronavirus, despite being vaccinated.

The Republican lawmaker from the 5th Congressional District announced Tuesday he contracted the virus after he was exposed to someone who also tested positive. He says he’s experiencing no symptoms and will work from home.

Latta’s tweet came shortly after U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan announced he had also joined the list of more than 80 members of Congress who have contracted the virus since the start of the pandemic, according to an Associated Press analysis.

A spokeswoman for Latta said Ryan and Latta had not been in close contact.

Ryan, the Democratic frontrunner for Republican Rob Portman’s seat, says he’ll work remotely until he can safely return to Washington.

By The Associated Press

Gov. Brad Little says $10 million in relief funds will be directed to Idaho hospitals, primary care providers, urgent care clinics and skilled nursing facilities because of the surge in COVID-19 patients.

Little announced the additional money on Tuesday, saying the funds will help ease the burden on hospitals and other health care providers. The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus has been steadily increasing, with a record of at least 717 patients reported statewide last week.

With a record number of COVID-19 patients in Idaho’s intensive care units, the state recently entered a “crisis standards of care” designation that allows hospitals to begin health care rationing as needed.

Nearly all new cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been among unvaccinated residents, the governor’s office says. Idaho’s vaccination rate remains one of lowest in the nation, with only about half of the eligible residents fully vaccinated.

By Tonya Alanez, Globe Staff

The Massachusetts State Police union has filed a lawsuit to delay Governor Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, considered one of the toughest in the nation, which requires state employees to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 17 or risk being fired.

By The Associated Press

Families and patients have a new online tool to compare COVID-19 vaccination rates among nursing homes, Medicare announced Tuesday, addressing complaints from consumer groups and lawmakers that the critical data had been too difficult to find.

The information is now being made available through the “Care Compare” feature at Medicare.gov, the online tool for basic research on quality and safety issues at nursing homes. Consumers will be able to compare up to three nursing homes at the same time, and the webpage shows vaccination rates for residents and staff, as well as national and state averages.

“We want to give people a new tool to visualize this data to help them make informed decisions,” Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a statement.

Nursing home residents are a tiny proportion of the U.S. population, but they have borne a crushing burden from the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for more than 150,000 deaths, or roughly 1 in 5. Nationally, about 84% of residents are now vaccinated, which has slowed - but not totally prevented - the spread of the delta variant among frail patients.

Birth decline in pandemic may have turned corner, report finds — 2:03 p.m.

By The Associated Press

While there has been a decline in births in the U.S. during the pandemic, a new report released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau suggests the drop may have turned a corner last March as births started rebounding.

The decline in births was most noticeable at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021. In December 2020, births in the U.S. were down 7.7% from the previous year, and they were down 9.4% last January compared to the previous January.

By Bloomberg

President Joe Biden plans to announce an order of 500 million doses of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine Wednesday, according to two people familiar with the matter, as the president looks to increase donations of shots abroad and ward off criticism about U.S. plans for boosters.

Negotiations between the administration and manufacturers are continuing but a deal is poised to be unveiled at a virtual vaccine summit, said the people, who asked not to be named ahead of the announcement.

The order would double the amount of the Pfizer-BioNTech shots that the U.S. has bought for export. An initial pledge of 500 million doses was made in June and deliveries began in August. About 200 million of those will ship by Dec. 31. Another 300 million are due by the end of June. It’s not clear when the new order of 500 million shots would ship or how much they would cost.

By Bloomberg

The world has passed the science test on the coronavirus but gets an “F in ethics” due to an inequitable vaccine rollout, said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

Addressing the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Guterres told world leaders that the planet “must wake up” as it faces the “greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes,” including Covid.

Guterres said the pandemic had “supersized glaring inequalities” and criticized the inequitable distribution of vaccines, highlighting that wealthier countries had been vaccinated against Covid while 90% of Africans were still waiting for their António Guterres.first dose.

“This is a moral indictment of the state of our world,” said Guterres. “It is an obscenity. We passed the science test, but we are getting an F in ethics.”

By The Associated Press

Several progressive lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill that would reimpose a nationwide eviction moratorium at a time when deaths from COVID-19 are running at their highest levels since early March.