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State says nursing homes should be ready to give COVID-19 booster shots next week

A healthcare worker administered a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a senior living facility in Pennsylvania, on Aug. 25.
A healthcare worker administered a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a senior living facility in Pennsylvania, on Aug. 25.Hannah Beier/Bloomberg

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.

Hospitals in R.I. are struggling with burnout and staffing issues — and the problems are bigger than COVID — 6:13 a.m.

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.

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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.

By Bloomberg

Uganda plans to start offering the Pfizer Inc. coronavirus vaccine starting next week after receiving 1.67 million doses from the U.S.

The shots also developed by BioNTech SE will be available only in the Kampala Metropolitan region because of a lack of adequate cold-storage capacity in districts far from the capital, Ministry of Health spokesman Emmanuel Ainebyoona said by phone on Tuesday.

Uganda, with a population of about 42 million people, has so far administered about 1.8 million doses and the government plans to inoculate half of its people before fully reopening the economy. The East African nation has so far received about 4.5 million Covid-19 vaccines, mostly AstraZeneca Plc doses via the Covax initiative.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

Hasbro Children’s Hospital is joining a nationwide study to research the long-term effects that COVID-19 infection has on children.

With more than 30 percent of new COVID-19 cases occurring among children in the US, many of whom have not been eligible to receive a vaccine, researchers across the country are setting out to understand the long-term impact of the virus and its impact on children’s health, development and well-being.

By The Washington Post

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was the first world leader to speak at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, creating a defiantly awkward opener for an event expected to focus largely on the global response to the covid-19 pandemic.

Bolsonaro has been accused of stoking anti-vaccine sentiment and says he does not need to get vaccinated because he recovered from a mild case of covid-19 last July.

By The Associated Press

Maine topped 1,000 COVID-19 deaths as the delta variant continues to fill the state’s hospital beds, and Gov. Janet Mills used the “grim and unwelcome milestone” to press Tuesday for residents to get vaccinated.

An additional 18 deaths recorded in the state since Saturday pushed the total to 1,002 since the pandemic began nearly 19 months ago, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

Behind the numbers are “parents, grandparents, siblings, children, loved ones and friends, all valued members of our Maine community,” Mills said.

“We mourn their passing and grieve for the moments they are no longer able to share with us,” she said, urging people to “please get vaccinated today” to protect loved ones and give health care workers a break.

According to the Maine CDC, 214 people are currently hospitalized, including 73 who are in critical care, which is the highest total since the pandemic began. There are currently 58 available critical care beds.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from 384 on Sept. 5 to 485 on Sept. 19.

By Bloomberg

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide as soon as Wednesday on a recommendation for Covid-19 boosters made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, two people familiar with the matter said, the latest step in a process that could open the door to extra shots in the coming days.

By The Washington Post

Mark Dougherty, an infectious-disease physician in Lexington, Ky., sees the toll the state’s most severe coronavirus wave is inflicting on communities with the school year back in session: The teacher placed on a ventilator, the bus driver nearing intubation, the critically ill custodian.

He feared their cases would be the “tip of the iceberg” after the mostly Republican state legislature during a special session earlier this month repealed a statewide school mask mandate unilaterally put in place by the Democratic governor. But most Kentucky school districts made a different choice: They kept mask mandates in place.

By The Associated Press

China’s “zero tolerance” strategy of trying to isolate every case and stop transmission of the coronavirus has kept the country of 1.4 billion people largely free of the disease.

But the public and businesses are paying a steep price. The government has renewed city lockdowns and travel controls in some areas to quash outbreaks that began in July. Most of China is open for travel, but tourists are reluctant to risk getting caught in a lockdown. That led to a slump in August consumer spending.

International athletes are due to compete in the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February, but authorities haven’t said if spectators from abroad will be allowed into the country.

China has reported 4,636 confirmed deaths -- none since February -- and 95,577 confirmed cases since early 2020. The total reported cases is smaller than one-day new infections in the United States, India and some other countries.

By The Associated Press

Administrators in the Weare, New Hampshire, school district are covering for school staff members who contracted COVID-19

Superintendent Jacqueline Coe on Monday cited two clusters at Center Woods Elementary School, where at least 10 people tested positive for COVID-19 while in the building last week, WMUR-TV reported.

“At this point, very few people in the Weare School District are wearing masks in the building, even though many individuals have been notified that they are confirmed close contacts,” Coe said in a letter to the school community. “Based on our plan and mandates from the Department of Education, we have no intention to shift to remote learning.”

In Bedford, Memorial Elementary School is just emerging from a COVID-19 outbreak. Officials said they have been using targeted masking and plan asymptomatic testing soon, starting with staff members.

“Once we do that, we will open it up to other groups,” Superintendent Mike Fournier said. “So, sports teams, grade levels, classrooms.”

By Bloomberg

Finland’s government proposed establishing a Covid-19 passport for people as young as 12 as an alternative to some restrictions. Restaurants, gyms, museums and nightclubs could require patrons to present a passport showing they have been inoculated, have a recent negative test result or have recovered from the virus.

By Bloomberg

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said he wants to extend the statewide school mask mandate from its Sept. 30 expiration date as delta continues to drive up Covid rates.

“We’re going to do that a little bit longer,” Lamont said in a Tuesday interview on Bloomberg Television. “I got to work with my friends in the legislature on that.”

By The Associated Press

President Joe Biden is betting on millions more rapid, at-home tests to help curb the latest deadly wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is overloading hospitals and threatening to shutter classrooms around the country.

But the tests have already disappeared from pharmacy shelves in many parts of the U.S., and manufacturers warn it will take them weeks to ramp up production, after scaling it back amid plummeting demand over the summer.

By Jonathan Saltzman, Globe staff

Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that people who receive a booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine two months after the first shot had significantly higher protection against symptomatic illness in a closely watched clinical trial.

The one-dose vaccine, which licensed technology from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, had been found to be 66 percent effective in preventing moderate and severe disease worldwide and 72 percent effective against such cases in the US, robust protection but well below the performance of the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

By The Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — Police in Germany say a 49-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the shooting dead of a gas station clerk following a dispute over face masks.

Authorities in the western city of Trier said late Monday that the suspect told officers he acted “out of anger” after he went to a gas station in Idar-Oberstein on Saturday to buy beer and the 20-year-old clerk asked him to put on a mask before being served.

“He further stated during interrogation that he rejected the measures against the coronavirus,” police said in a statement.

A requirement to wear masks is among the measures in place in Germany to stop the spread of the virus.

By The Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — Hundreds of demonstrators have marched in the streets of Australia’s second-largest city to protest against mandatory coronavirus vaccine rules in the construction industry.,

The protest Tuesday in Melbourne was aimed at a Victoria state government mandate requiring all construction workers to get vaccinated.

The march came a day after riot police were called in to disperse about 500 protesters who smashed the door at the offices of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, which represents construction workers.

On Monday night, the state government announced that the construction industry would be shut down from Tuesday for two weeks in metropolitan Melbourne and some regional areas.

Officials say all worksites will need to demonstrate compliance with health directions prior to reopening, including that staff have had at least one dose of a vaccine before they return to work Oct. 5.

Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff

Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine safely protects children ages 5 to 11 and it will ask federal regulators to clear it for use in that age group soon, a significant potential milestone in the fight against a disease that has infected more than 42 million people and killed over 673,000 in the United States.

The vaccine made by the New York-based drug giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is already available for anyone 12 and older. But with children back in school and the highly contagious Delta variant causing pediatric infections to surge, many parents and teachers are eager to get younger kids vaccinated — to protect them and others who have contact with them.

If regulators authorize the vaccine for emergency use, children ages 5 to 11 would get two shots three weeks apart, the same as other Pfizer vaccine recipients. But each dose would contain 10 micrograms of the messenger RNA vaccine, one-third of the current dose. Despite the smaller amounts given in the trial of 2,268 participants, Pfizer executives said, the shots resulted in coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as robust as those in teenagers and young adults. (The company picked the smallest dose that elicits robust protection while causing the fewest side effects.)

New York Times

Already grappling with divisions in his own country over vaccine mandates and questions about the ethics and efficacy of booster shots, President Joe Biden is facing another front of discord: a split among world leaders over how to eradicate the coronavirus globally, as the highly infectious delta variant leaves a trail of death in its wake.

At a virtual summit Wednesday, while the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting is underway, Biden will try to persuade other vaccine-producing countries to balance their domestic needs with a renewed focus on manufacturing and distributing doses to poor nations in desperate need of them.

COVAX, the U.N.-backed vaccine program, is so far behind schedule that not even 10% of the population in poor nations — and less than 4% of Africa’s population — is fully vaccinated, experts said. Millions of health care workers around the world have not had their shots.

The push, which White House officials say seeks to inject urgency into vaccine diplomacy, will test Biden’s doctrine of furthering American interests by building global coalitions. Coming on the heels of the United States’ calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan last month that drew condemnation from allies and adversaries alike, the effort to rally world leaders will be closely watched by public health experts and advocates who say Biden is not living up to his pledges to make the U.S. the “arsenal of vaccines” for the world.

Matt Murphy, State House News Service

Despite receiving at least one call from a truancy officer, Treasure Houston said Monday she is “standing her ground,” refusing to send her three children, including one with chronic asthma, back to school in Boston.

And she’s not alone.

Priyanka Rajoria made a similar choice for her second-grader, opting for home-schooling rather than sending him back to Quincy Public Schools. While she acknowledged evidence suggesting he might not get that sick from COVID-19, she’s worried about him bringing it home where she also has a 2-year-old and elderly parents to worry about.

And Nelly Medina said her 5-year-old son with asthma would have to go back to a poorly ventilated school in their Worcester neighborhood where there are more than 30 kids in a classroom and no distancing requirements.

By The Associated Press

Washington state’s governor is asking the federal government to provide military personnel to help in staffing hospitals and long-term care facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter made public Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee says that “in Washington State, our hospitals are currently at or beyond capacity, and we need additional assistance at this time.”

The letter was sent Friday to Jeffrey Zients, the White House pandemic coordinator.

Inslee notes the state Department of Health has requested 1,200 clinical and non-clinical staff and says he is requesting deployment of military medical personnel “to assist with the current hospital crisis.”

By Bloomberg

President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser said that a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 will likely be available before Halloween.

“There’s a really good chance it will be” available before the Oct. 31 holiday, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, said during an interview on MSNBC. He also said he would be in favor of schools mandating shots for kids once they are fully approved.

Fauci’s comments came after Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said their shot safely produced strong antibody responses in younger children.

By Bloomberg

Nebraska is re-activating an online dashboard tracking Covid-19 cases amid an increase in hospitalizations, the Omaha World-Herald reported Monday.

Republican Governor Pete Ricketts has been criticized by the medical community for closing the site when the state’s Covid-19 emergency declaration expired in June, saying the data is vital to stopping the pandemic, according to the newspaper.

By The Associated Press

Republican candidate for Wisconsin governor Rebecca Kleefisch tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed at church earlier this month, her campaign said Monday.

Kleefisch is a cancer survivor and a former two-term lieutenant governor. She is seeking to take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers next year. Kleefisch launched her campaign on Sept. 9 and has been on the campaign trail since.

Kleefisch spokesman Alec Zimmerman said she was informed of the exposure on Sept. 16, took a test and the next day received a positive result. She was vaccinated earlier this spring, Zimmerman said.

“She is feeling fine,” Zimmerman said. “We have canceled all upcoming events and are notifying recent close contacts.”

Kleefisch’s positive test was first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Kleefisch is the latest in a growing number of office holders in Wisconsin who have tested positive, including U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and state Sen. Andre Jacque, who was intubated and put on a ventilator Aug. 23. His office has not provided updates on his condition in nearly a month.

By Bloomberg

A member of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s delegation to the United Nations was put in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 in New York, adding to concerns that the general assembly this week could trigger a spike in coronavirus cases in the host city.

The diplomat, part of a mission that preceded Bolsonaro’s arrival, had tested negative before leaving Brazil, according to a person familiar with the situation at the Brazilian foreign ministry. The person, who requested anonymity and isn’t authorized to discuss the matter in public, said the diplomat didn’t have contact with president.

Brazil’s foreign ministry is now tracking dozens of people with whom the person has been in touch in New York, the Brazilian press reported, citing unnamed diplomatic sources. Bolsonaro himself has refused to get a Covid shot, saying he still has antibodies from a previous infection last year.

By The Associated Press

Olympic gold medal swimmer Madison Wilson of Australia has been hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19.

Wilson, who is fully vaccinated, was forced to withdraw from the International Swim League competition in Naples, Italy because of the diagnosis.

By The Associated Press

Community providers are asking Vermont to extend emergency housing in hotels for some of the homeless population, including people with health issues, domestic violence survivors and pregnant women, as they say about 600 households are likely to lose the benefit this week.

In July, the state extended the hotel voucher program 84 days for families with children, the disabled, pregnant women and other vulnerable people, and gave $2,500 checks to those no longer eligible. Families with children and some disabled households may be able to stay longer.

The groups sent a letter to the Vermont Department for Children and Families commissioner last week, asking the state to continue to provide the benefits to as many households as possible, in light of the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus and a lack of immediate additional shelter beds or rental units.

“With rooms still available and FEMA funding available to pay for them, we cannot support the termination of benefits for immunocompromised persons whose health is still very much at risk due to the ongoing pandemic, domestic violence survivors who may feel forced to return to abusive homes rather than sleep unsheltered, pregnant women who will become more likely to have less healthy preterm babies as a result of being unsheltered, and so forth,” the letter stated.

By The Washington Post

Attempts to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 in the form of nasal spray are underway to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Currently available vaccines are highly effective in preventing the disease from becoming serious, but they don’t offer absolute protection.

By Bloomberg

The U.S. capital will require vaccines for all adults who regularly enter schools and child-care facilities by Nov. 1, according to an update Monday from Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. There will be no testing opt-out. Student-athletes 12 and older will also be required to get the shots to participate in school-based sports.

By Bloomberg

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed the importance of coronavirus vaccines during a meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who says he has not been inoculated.

The two men met Monday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. As journalists were ushered out of the room at the start of the bilateral meeting, Johnson said: “Thanks everybody, get AstraZeneca vaccines.”

Johnson told Bolsonaro: “I’ve had it twice,” referring to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed at Oxford University.

The Brazilian leader pointed at himself and said “not yet,” then laughed.

In a statement after the meeting, Johnson’s office said the prime minister had “underlined the importance of vaccines as our best tool to fight the virus and save lives around the world, and emphasized the important role the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has played in the U.K, Brazil and elsewhere.”

By Bloomberg

Mortality rates among adult Covid-19 patients in U.S. hospitals rose in July from all-time lows, a slight setback in what has generally been a trend of steadily improving outcomes.

Among all age groups 18 and older, patients hospitalized with Covid-19 in July were slightly more likely to die than they were in June, according to Premier Applied Sciences data distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those 65-74 died 12.3% of the time, up from 10% in June. About 14.9% of patients 75 and over died, up from 13.2%. Among those 18-24, the youngest cohort for whom data was available, the mortality rate rose to 1.4% from 0.6% a month earlier.

The U.S. has seen massive improvements in care since the early days of the pandemic, but the data suggest that outcomes tend to worsen somewhat at moments of acute stress for hospitals -- including December 2020 and now July, when the fast-spreading delta variant began to drive patients into emergency departments.

The Premier Healthcare Database draws on submissions from more than 800 facilities nationwide.

By The New York Times

The average U.S. daily death toll from COVID-19 over the past seven days surpassed 2,000 this weekend, the first time since March 1 that deaths have been so high, according to a New York Times database.

Texas and Florida, two of the hardest-hit states in the country, account for more than 30% of those deaths: Florida, where 56% of the population is vaccinated, averages about 353 deaths a day, and Texas, where 50% of the population is vaccinated, averages about 286 deaths a day. In the United States as a whole, 54% of all people are vaccinated.

Hot spots continue to speckle the map of the country, many of them in line with low vaccination rates but others in areas where vaccinations are among the highest. Vermont, for example, has a vaccination rate of 69% and reported more coronavirus cases in the past week than in any other seven-day period, thought it still has the fewest cases in the country.

By Bloomberg

Fears about a possible spike in Covid-19 cases are making people in the host city less enthusiastic about the UN gathering.

New Yorkers, aware of the extra traffic and maze of street closures prompted by hosting more than 100 world leaders and their entourages, might normally embrace the economic boost provided by the event, more than 18 months after the pandemic prompted the city’s shutdown.

But this year’s UNGA won’t be an economic lifeline, and the delta variant is still raging.

By The New York Times

India’s health minister said on Monday that the country would resume exports of COVID-19 vaccines, five months after halting shipments during its own devastating wave of infections.

The health minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, said that exports would resume starting next month, and that the vaccines would help fulfill India’s commitment to COVAX, the United Nations-backed vaccine sharing initiative.

He said that India would produce more than 300 million vaccine doses in October and a total of at least 1 billion over the final three months of 2021.

“We will help the world and also fulfill our commitment toward COVAX,” Mandaviya said.

The minister did not specify which vaccines India would supply to COVAX, or how many doses. Before halting exports in April, the country exported 66.4 million doses, a combination of commercial sales, grants and shipments to COVAX, which is designed mainly to help low- and middle- income countries.

By The Associated Press

More than half of Maine’s youngest residents who qualify to get the COVID-19 vaccine are now fully vaccinated.

About 53% of people age 12 to 15 in the state have had their final dose of vaccine, the office of Democratic Gov. Janet Mills reported on Monday. That percentage trails the state’s overall percentage among eligible people, which is 74%.

Many children are still in the process of getting vaccinated, though, as the percentage that has had at least a first dose is more than 60%.

The state has exceeded 50% vaccination of 12 year olds and early teens as vaccines for younger people might soon become available. Pfizer said on Monday that it will seek U.S. authorization for children ages 5 to 11.

By Bloomberg

The US’s COVID-19 pandemic could surpass the number of dead in the 1918 influenza pandemic as soon as Monday, a milestone many experts say was avoidable after the arrival of vaccines.

The U.S. has reported 673,768 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University data -- just shy of the 675,000 that are estimated to have died a century earlier. The toll has increased by an average of 1,970 a day over the past week.

By Bloomberg

New York City will increase its frequency of student testing to once a week instead of its current two-week interval, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. The city’s powerful teachers union on Sunday called for weekly testing.

The union demand came after the city was forced to shut down P.S. 79, a special education school in Manhattan. All of the positive cases were among staff members, city officials said Friday, with 16 confirmed cases as of Sept. 16. Citywide, 77 classrooms were closed and 60 more are partially closed, according to the city Education Department. Since schools opened Sept. 13, 445 classrooms have been closed, according to the Department of Education.

By The Associated Press

President Biden will ease foreign travel restrictions into the US beginning in November, when his administration will require all foreign nationals flying into the country to be fully vaccinated.

All foreign travelers flying to the US will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of flight, said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, who announced the new policy on Monday. Biden will also tighten testing rules for unvaccinated American citizens, who will need to be tested within a day before departure to the US, as well as on their return.

By Anissa Gardizy, Globe Staff

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be safe an effective in a trial of children ages 5 to 11 years old, the companies announced Monday, saying they would use the data to apply for emergency use authorization.

A panel of advisors to the US Food and Drug Administration voted on Sept. 17 to recommend Pfizer booster shots for people over 65 or at high risk of severe COVID-19, largely scaling back the company’s proposal that would have covered anyone 16 and older. The recommendation now awaits an OK from the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Preventing, expected by the end of the week.

Moderna has also applied for approval of a booster shot, but Pfizer is farther along in the process.

By The New York Times

The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been shown to be safe and highly effective in young children ages 5 to 11 years, the companies announced early Monday morning. The news should help ease months of anxiety among parents and teachers about when children, and their close contacts, might be shielded from the coronavirus.

The need is urgent: Children now account for more than 1 in 5 new cases, and the highly contagious delta variant has sent more children into hospitals and intensive care units in the past few weeks than at any other time in the pandemic. Massachusetts officials say there are 884,000 children under the age of 12 in the state, including 515,000 who are 5 to 11.

Pfizer and BioNTech plan to apply to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the month for authorization to use the vaccine in these children. If the regulatory review goes as smoothly as it did for older children and adults, millions of elementary school students could be inoculated before Halloween.

By Anissa Gardizy, Globe Staff

Back-to-office plans are playing out much differently than anyone expected.

Anticipation for a momentous post-Labor Day return has come and gone, but now a growing number of employers are repopulating their offices gradually and on a voluntary basis, rather than pinning all their hopes — and anxieties — onto one date.

By Bloomberg

President Biden’s chief medical adviser said booster shots for more of the US population remain a possibility soon, as additional data on the still-widening outbreak come in.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke two days after an advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration rejected a national rollout of boosters for all ages, approving them only for people 65 and older and those who are medically vulnerable.

“The story is not over because more and more data is coming in and will be coming in,” Fauci said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Last month, Biden said a broad booster plan would begin on Monday. The panel’s narrower recommendation on Friday was seen as rebuke to a president whose policy was getting ahead of the science.

Fauci said he did not believe the panel “made a mistake.”

By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff

In the wake of President Biden’s recent order mandating COVID shots for roughly 80 million Americans, the push to vaccinate has grown more fervent. So, too, has the pushback by people who insist the shots violate their religious beliefs.

By The New York Times

“In America: Remember” is an art installation of hundreds of thousands of flags planted along the mall that honor the more than 670,000 people in the United States who have died from the coronavirus.