Texas Gov. Abbott, other mask mandate critics test positive for COVID

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who banned masking requirements in schools despite opposition from several school districts, has contracted the coronavirus.

Abbott’s office said the Republican governor, who is fully vaccinated and tested daily, got a positive result Tuesday.

“Governor Abbott is in constant communication with his staff, officers and government officials to ensure that the state government continues to operate smoothly and efficiently,” said communications director Mark Miner in a statement. “The governor will isolate himself in the governor’s mansion and continue testing daily. Governor Abbott will receive monoclonal antibody treatment from Regeneron. ”

This is the same treatment that helped President Donald Trump overcome his fight against COVID-19 last October.

Abbott belongs to a group of Republican politicians who recently caught the virus and who speak out against vaccination and mask mandates.

Abbott’s stance on measures to contain the virus has drawn the ire of parent and activist groups, and one of the latter, Marked by COVID, released a statement Tuesday that said:

“Our governor worked harder to keep masks out of schools than he worked to keep guns out of schools. In his relentless and cruel pursuit of control mandates in the name of physical autonomy, he has contracted COVID himself and uses every available HIM resource, but refuses to allow local governments to use their own resources to save lives. ”

At least four school districts in Texas have closed campuses due to coronavirus outbreaks at the start of the new academic year.

Abbott spoke at an event in Collin County on Monday, and photos on social media show him mingling with the mostly unmasked crowd to shake hands and pose for pictures.

Miner said Abbott, 63, was “in good health and currently has no symptoms”.

In July Abbott signed an executive order banning government agencies from requiring “vaccine passports” and then went further by extending the ban to the private sector.

Also on the news:

► In preparation for further dire developments, Texas has requested five hearses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Texas only follows Florida among the states with the highest number of COVID deaths per day, both averaging over 160. No other state is above 50.

►If the Dodgers host playoff games in October, their fans will likely have to cover their faces. Starting Friday, Los Angeles County will require those attending outdoor events with more than 10,000 people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask.

►Chicago has reintroduced a mask requirement for everyone in public indoor spaces, regardless of their vaccination status.

► Moderna’s COVID vaccine was the second coronavirus vaccine approved in the UK for use in children aged 12-17, after Pfizer’s.

►Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said large indoor venues in cities like Las Vegas and Reno are allowed to opt out of state masking requirements when verifying their guests are vaccinated.

📈 Today’s numbers: In the United States, there have been more than 37 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 623,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global totals: More than 208.4 million cases and 4.38 million deaths. More than 168.6 million Americans – 50.8% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘 What we read: Some who have received the J&J vaccine are looking for mRNA boosters. Is it safe to mix? Continue reading.

Keep updating this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates straight to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

State legislators who refused vaccines, mask mandates test positive, go to the hospital

Two Republican lawmakers who spoke out against mask and vaccine mandates were treated in hospital after contracting the coronavirus.

De Pere’s Wisconsin Senator Andre Jacque said Monday that he and some family members tested positive late last week and that he was in a hospital with pneumonia. He did not say whether he was accepted.

Jacque, who testified at the Wisconsin State Capitol on Wednesday without wearing a mask in at least one hearing, has spoken out in contempt for vaccine mandates and voted against the governor’s mask requirement.

In North Carolina, Craven County’s house member Keith Kidwell, who has called vaccine campaigns “manipulation”, was hospitalized with his wife last week after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

In a message his colleague Larry Pittman read on the House floor the Thursday before hospitalization, Kidwell said, “Going to the bathroom alone is exhausting.”

– Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Todd Wetherington, New Bern Sun Journal

Mask requirement for travel will be extended

Air, rail and bus travelers must mask the rest of the year and through mid-January.

According to several reports, the Biden government is expected to extend this requirement again until January 18, 2022. The federal requirement, which began February 1, was originally due to expire on May 11, but was extended to September 13 in April.

The airlines had been pushing for the unpopular mandate to expire with some passengers, but that was before the delta variant of the coronavirus caused infections of over 100,000 a day in the US.

– Morgan Hines and Bailey Schulz

Death toll rises in 38 states

Forty-four states are reporting rising coronavirus numbers, the lowest total in more than a month, but 38 states reported rising deaths again, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada and Vermont reported fewer new COVID-19 cases in the week ended Monday compared to the previous week. Nonetheless, Hawaii, Mississippi and Oregon again set new records for the number of cases on Monday amid the surge fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant.

With so much data suggesting the pandemic is far from over, the Biden Administration health officials are expected to inform all Americans who have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines eight months after their second COVID vaccination. 19 booster vaccinations, regardless of age, recommend a source familiar with the plans confirmed to the US TODAY.

The booster will begin as early as mid to late September once the FDA officially approves the vaccines.

Florida’s school districts defy Governor Ron DeSantis and plan to demand masks

Florida’s largest school district in Miami-Dade County is likely to require students to wear face masks when classrooms open next week after a task force of medical experts was recommended and governed by Governor Ron DeSantis’ ban on mandatory masking rules.

The Miami-Dade County School Board is expected to approve the measure on Wednesday. “My determination is on the way forward,” said Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

Students in neighboring Broward County will be wearing masks on their return for the fall semester Wednesday. And in the Tampa area, the Hillsborough County School Board, which did not require masks, has scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday to discuss additional measures against COVID-19.

Feds continue to fund emergency response costs

Biden’s government will continue to fully reimburse states for some COVID-19 emergency response costs through the end of the year, USA TODAY has learned. According to a White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity, administration officials will announce the extension during their weekly phone call with governors. The services covered include emergency medical care, vaccinations and housing for high-risk groups such as the homeless.

“We will continue to … make decisions like this based on your needs,” said Charlie Anderson, the director of economic and fiscal policy for the government’s COVID-19 response team. “There are many people on the front lines doing all they can, including state governments … And it is critical to continue to be a strong partner in that effort, given what they are up against.”

– Maureen Bullhead

Infections, deaths related to forest fires in the west

Thousands of COVID-19 cases and hundreds of deaths in California, Oregon and Washington state from March to December 2020 could be linked to forest fire smoke, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances.

Researchers at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health used a statistical model to measure the relationship between high levels of particulate matter from forest fires and the number of infections and deaths in 92 counties. In the three states studied, researchers found nearly 19,700 cases and 750 deaths were attributable to the fires.

“This tiny particle is small enough to bury itself in the lungs, making it suitable for any respiratory disease,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, lung specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

– Adrianna Rodriguez

New Zealand banned after a new infection

The 5 million people in New Zealand launched a strict lockdown Tuesday that will last at least three days after a case of coronavirus is found. Auckland, where the infected man lives, and Coromandel, where he was visiting, face a seven-day lockdown. Schools and almost all workplaces closed. When people leave their homes, they are encouraged to wear a mask pending a possible mandate that could come as early as Wednesday. New Zealand has reported only 26 virus deaths since the pandemic began.

“We know this strategy is working, we know that we are a strong team of 5 million and we know that life will be easier, we just have to move on,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Vaccine mandates scheduled for this week: NYC, New Orleans, San Francisco

New York, the first major city in the country to require at least partial vaccination for indoor activities such as eating and using the gym, has been requiring proof since Tuesday. Mayor Bill de Blasio added the demand on Monday to the list of public venues: “If we stop the Delta variant, now is the time,” he said.

New Orleans’ vaccination mandate for all indoor venues and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people went into effect Monday. San Francisco’s full vaccination requirement for indoor activities begins Friday.

New York State and DC are both the newest areas to mandate vaccinations for medical personnel, with both announcing mandates on Monday. Similar moves were previously announced in California and Washington state.

Featuring: Mike Stucka, Courtney Subramanian and Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY; Brandon Mulder, Austin American-Statesman; Associated Press

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