Taking a cruise from Florida? Appeals court blocks order lifting CDC COVID-19 rules on ships
A federal appeals court panel sided with the CDC in its legal battle with Florida over COVID-19 guidelines for cruise lines. The 2-1 decision handed down late Saturday by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals judges stays a U.S. district judge's decision – minutes before it would have gone into effect – that the CDC could not enforce its framework for the return of cruises.Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning. Florida had been granted a preliminary injunction that could render CDC restrictions on cruising to and from the state as optional guidance starting this month.
Follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8.
Today: Florida is asking the Supreme Court to block the CDC's restrictions on the cruise ship industry. Tennessee is resuming vaccine outreach to adolescents, St. Louis is mandating masks indoors again, and a new study shows how vaccines will help keep students safe this fall.
Goats got milk, Winnebago Tribe, New Mexico quake : News from around our 50 states
Minnesota’s most populous county boosts incentives for COVID-19 vaccine, oil production is flat in North Dakota because of a workforce shortage, and moreStart the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.
We'll start with masks:
St. Louis County and city reimpose mask mandate as COVID-19 cases surge
Both the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County are reimposing an indoor mask mandate in an effort to fight the spread of the delta coronavirus variant and a rise in hospitalizations.
Effective on Monday, the city and county will require all residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks inside public places and on transportation. The rule will apply to everyone ages 5 and older.
Wearing masks outside will be encouraged but not required.
"We've lost more than 500 St. Louisans to COVID-19, and if our region doesn't work together to protect one another, we could see spikes that overwhelm our hospital and public health systems," Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the city of St. Louis, said in a statement.
Federal court lifts CDC rules for Florida-based cruise ships
MIAMI (AP) — Pandemic restrictions on Florida-based cruise ships are no longer in place under a ruling Friday by a federal appeals court, while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seek to fight a Florida lawsuit challenging the regulations. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had temporarily blocked a previous ruling last Saturday that sided with Florida officials, but the court reversed that decision on Friday, explaining that the CDC failed to demonstrate an entitlement to a stay pending appeal.
Delta rising: The move comes three weeks after the county and city recommended people wear masks indoors. The escalation is a sign people did not heed the recommendation, and cases did not decrease as hoped. St. Louis joins Los Angeles County, which reimposed its indoor mask mandate earlier this month as infections from the delta variant rise. The danger is mostly to unvaccinated people, especially in states like Missouri where the vaccination rate is extremely low.
Read more here.
Tennessee resuming nearly all adolescent vaccine advocacy
Tennessee is resuming almost all of its adolescent vaccine advocacy efforts, a top health official announced on Friday, following backlash for the state's reported plans to suspend outreach.
Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey told reporters that the state will return to promoting all vaccines for children and hosting vaccination events on school property, including some next week, after a "pause."
The Mask Mandate Debate Is Back. Here’s What to Know.
Amid the Delta-fueled wave of U.S. COVID cases, universal mask mandates are back on the table and as politically fraught as ever.A week ago, Los Angeles County became the first major metropolitan area to reinstate a mask mandate in indoor public spaces for both unvaccinated and vaccinated residents. And amid a nationwide surge of new COVID-19 fueled by the more transmissible Delta variant, America’s largest county isn’t the only place where universal mask mandates are back on the table. The Delta wave has thus reignited the already politically charged debate over face mask mandates.
"I want to assure you that the department's commitment to immunization is completely unchanged," she added.
The Tennessean reported earlier this month that the Tennessee Department of Health planned to stop its outreach advocating for vaccines for adolescents against all diseases, including COVID-19, sparking nationwide outrage.
More controversy: Tennessee's health department also came under fire this month when the state's top vaccination official told the newspaper that she was terminated after she sent a letter to providers about a doctrine that allows minors aged 14 and older to get vaccinated without a parent's permission.
The state has one of the lower COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country, with 38.5 percent of the population fully vaccinated. At the same time, cases have more than tripled in the past 14 weeks, according to data from The New York Times.
Read more here.
Florida asks Supreme Court to block CDC's limits on cruise ship industry
Florida's attorney general on Friday asked the Supreme Court to block federal health restrictions placed on the cruise ship industry amid the pandemic.
The CDC is recommending masks for vaccinated people in high transmission areas. What does that mean?
Should you wear a mask if you're fully vaccinated? If you're in an area with high COVID transmissibility, the CDC says yes. Here's what that means.The guidance also recommends that people with underlying conditions that may make them more susceptible to the coronavirus wear masks, along with anyone residing with vulnerable people. Teachers, school staff, students and visitors inside schools from kindergarten to 12th grade also fall under new guidance recommending universal mask-wearking.
In a 31-page brief, Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) argued that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) limits exceed the agency's authority under federal law.
Video: Should Health Care Facilities Mandate Vaccine? (CBS Pittsburgh)
"The statute grants the CDC limited powers to enact traditional quarantine measures," the brief states. "It does not permit the agency to remake the entire cruise-ship industry."
The request was filed to Justice Clarence Thomas, who handles emergency matters arising from Florida and surrounding states and who can act on the application alone or refer the matter to the rest of the justices.
Backstory: A federal judge in Tampa last month sided with Florida, finding that the CDC's measure amounted to an unlawful government overreach. But last week a divided federal appeals court panel agreed to halt enforcement of that ruling while the CDC appeals, prompting Florida to ask the Supreme Court on Friday to lift the stay.
Read more here.
Alabama governor on rising COVID-19 cases: 'Time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks'
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) declared that it's "time to start blaming the unvaccinated" for the surge in coronavirus infections in her state.
The governor, visibly exasperated while discussing the need to get a COVID-19 vaccination shot, was asked by local reporters Thursday what more can be done to boost vaccination rates.
Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time'
Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. Add Disney and Walmart to the employers requiring employees to be vaccinated. If you have any tips, email us at [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] Follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8. Today: The CDC released data on a Massachusetts COVID-19 outbreak that triggered its updated mask recommendations. The White House said it is not considering a national vaccine requirement "at this time," and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged to sign an executive order permitting parents to defy school mask mandates.
"I don't know, you tell me!" Ivey said. "Folks supposed to have common sense."
"But it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down," she continued.
By the numbers: Ivey's comments come as her state grapples with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
Only 48.7 percent of the population age 12 and up has received one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 39.6 percent have been fully inoculated,
Meanwhile, the state has seen its average daily new cases quadruple in the past two weeks, reaching 1,133 on Thursday, according to data from The New York Times.
Ivey said it should be "crystal clear" that the new cases and hospitalizations are being reported among the unvaccinated.
"These folks are choosing a horrible lifestyle and self-inflicted pain," Ivey told reporters. "You know we've got to get folks to take the shot. The vaccine is the greatest weapon we have to fight COVID, there's not question about that, the data proves it."
Read more here.
Related: White House on Alabama governor's comments about unvaccinated Americans: Our role is not to 'place blame'
Study finds COVID-19 is 95 percent lower in vaccinated Philadelphia school employees
A study published Friday found the portion of positive COVID-19 tests among vaccinated school employees in Philadelphia was 95 percent lower than among unvaccinated workers.
The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) reported that weekly tests among School District of Philadelphia employees working in-person earlier this year returned 0.09 percent positive results among those vaccinated with two doses.
Biden’s fight to de-Trumpify the courts, explained
Biden is the president liberal court watchers have been waiting for, but he may be five years too late.A longtime member and former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden oversaw hundreds of judicial confirmations. He chaired the 1987 hearing that successfully convinced the Senate to reject Judge Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court; then presided over a far less successful hearing that preceded Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation in 1991.
Comparatively, 1.21 percent of workers who had one dose and 1.76 percent of employees who had zero shots tested positive for COVID-19, showing the effectiveness of the vaccine.
The research included the mandatory screening tests for employees during the first five weeks of in-person work. In total, 0.7 percent of the 34,048 COVID-19 tests returned positive results among about 12,300 employees between March 21 and April 23.
Takeaway: The research comes as the back-to-school season is approaching and as communities aim to start this school year with full-time in-person learning after the pandemic disrupted traditional education.
While all adults are authorized to get the vaccine, only children older than 12 years old are eligible.
"Vaccination of school staff members has been highlighted as an important strategy to maximize the safety of in-person education," the MMWR reads.
Read more here.
What we're reading
Facing headwinds on new Alzheimer's drug, Biogen launches controversial campaign (Kaiser Health News)
How 3 counties reached the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in their states (ABC News)
Why is Delta such a big deal? And other burning questions about the next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic (Stat News)
Contraception is free to women, except when it's not (Kaiser Health News)
State by state
'Hugely disappointing': Iowa may have to toss out tens of thousands of expiring COVID vaccine doses (Des Moines Register)
Alaska leads nation with steepest climb in coronavirus hospitalizations (Alaska Public Media)
'This is not a hoax': Personal COVID-19 loss spurs Alabama family to urge others to vaccinate (Montgomery Advertiser)
Six Royal Caribbean cruise ship passengers test positive for COVID-19 .
Six passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise that departed the Bahamas last weekend have tested positive for COVID-19, including four guests who were fully vaccinated, the cruise line confirmed to The Hill. Royal Caribbean said in a statement that "four of the guests" on its Adventure of the Seas ship who were not part of the same party are vaccinated, while "three are asymptomatic and one has mild symptoms." "Two of the guests, who are in the same traveling party, are unvaccinated minors and asymptomatic," the company added, noting that all of the infected guests "were immediately quarantined" and all close contacts were traced and tested negative for the