The Latest: Oklahoma City Thunder requires proof of vaccine
OKLAHOMA CITY — Fans of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder will be required to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative coronavirus test to attend games in person, the team announced Tuesday.
“As we continue to face serious health challenges from COVID-19, we must remain committed to protecting the health and safety of our community,” Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett said.
The policy will be in effect for the first 12 games of the preseason and continuing into the start of the regular season.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Tuesday reported 484 new virus cases and a seven-day average of 1,834 new cases daily, down from a seven-day average of 2,114 new daily cases one week ago.
The number of hospitalizations has declined from a three-day average of nearly 1,600 on Sept. 1 to 1,327 on Tuesday, according to the health department, which announced a virtual career day on Sept. 29 in an effort to hire 70 nurses statewide.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— Johnson & Johnson: Booster dose provides strong response
— China keeps virus at bay, at high cost, ahead of Olympics
— U.S. ramping up rapid COVID-19 tests for home, school
— Q&A: America’s new COVID-19 rules for international travel
— See AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
NEW YORK — A new study of Texas prison inmates provides more evidence that coronavirus can spread even in groups where most people are vaccinated.
A COVID-19 outbreak at a federal prison in July and August infected 172 male inmates in two prison housing units, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Tuesday.
About 80% of the inmates in the units had been vaccinated. More than 90% of the unvaccinated inmates wound up being infected, as did 70% of the fully vaccinated prisoners.
Severe illness, however, was more common among the unvaccinated. The hospitalization rate was almost 10 times higher for them compared with those who got the shots.
It echoes research into a July outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where several hundred people were infected — about three-quarters of whom were fully vaccinated.
Such reports have prompted a renewed push by health officials for even vaccinated people to wear masks and take other precautions. They believe the delta variant, a version of coronavirus that spreads more easily, and possibly waning immunity may be playing a role.
The authors did not identify the prison, but media reports in July detailed a similar-sized outbreak at the federal prison in Texarkana.
SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Tuesday the city’s eviction moratoriums will remain in place through Jan. 15, 2022, rather than expiring at the end of September.
The Seattle Times reports Durkan extended the moratoriums with an executive order. She cited the spread of COVID-19’s delta variant and an ongoing effort to distribute rent assistance to tenants who are behind on their payments.
As many as 60,000 Seattle-area residents are in households with rental debt, according to a survey last month.
Seattle’s moratoriums on most residential evictions and some commercial evictions have been extended six times since they were established in March 2020.
The city’s moratoriums apply to residential, nonprofit and small-business tenants, with small businesses defined as those with 50 or fewer employees.
Most evictions are prohibited for those tenants, including evictions for nonpayment of rent, though tenants remain legally obligated to pay rent and can accumulate
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday painted a picture of a very different pandemic than the one Ohio saw in the fall of last year at the peak.
The data now shows younger patients being hospitalized and put on ventilators in nearly every corner of the state. From September 5 through September 11. data shows 230 Ohioans 39 years of age and younger were admitted to the hospital.
“This is the highest number of admissions for COVID in this age group during the entire pandemic, even higher than during the winter surge levels when no one was vaccinated,” DeWine told reporters during a press briefing.
The overwhelming majority, around 97%, of hospitalization are among patients who have not been vaccinated. Preliminary data also shows the death rate among the unvaccinated, younger patients is also hitting record highs.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio has also risen over the past two weeks from 6,022 new cases per day on Sept. 5 to 6,844 new cases per day on Sept. 19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
As of Tuesday, more than 62% of Ohioans 12 years and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But that rate, according to DeWine and medical professionals, is not high enough to defeat the delta surge as misinformation about the vaccine and vaccine hesitancy continues to rise.
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco is requiring all workers at San Francisco International Airport to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees who are exempt must undergo weekly testing.
The mandate announced Tuesday applies to roughly 46,000 on-site personnel, including employees of contractors and retail tenants.
Mayor London Breed’s office said the mandate is the first for a U.S. airport and goes into effect immediately.
Some airlines have already announced vaccination mandates for employees.
San Francisco also requires its municipal workers to be inoculated.
LONDON — Bishops of the Church of England have joined calls for world leaders to fulfill promises made to reduce global vaccine inequality.
The bishops voted unanimously Tuesday to endorse a statement made by two Church of England bodies demanding an emergency meeting of the G7, the club of wealthy democracies including Canada, the US and the UK, to commit to fulfilling vaccine equity promises.
G7 leaders promised in June to donate over one billion vaccine doses to lower-income countries. Only 15% of this promised figure has so far been administered.
World leaders currently attending the UN General Assembly in New York are expected to decide Wednesday on whether to call an emergency G7 meeting to address the issue.
Vaccination coverage in Africa remains at 5%, while 80% of the world’s 5.5 billion vaccine doses were administered in high and upper-middle-income countries.
“Rich nations are still on track to amass an excess of one billion vaccines by the end of the year,” the statement said. “Rich nations must not hoard the surpluses amassed.”
BEAVER DAM, Wis. — A Beaver Dam Unified School Board member has resigned, citing safety concerns over his support for mandating masks for students in the district’s schools.
Tony Klatt has twice voted in favor of the mask mandate for Beaver Dam school and says he still feels strongly that it was the right decision based on “facts at hand.”
Klatt, who has been on the board since April 2019, posted on his Facebook page last week that decisions made because COVID-19 have definitely been challenging, but the decisions were not made lightly and were based on feedback and information.
About his resignation, Klatt wrote that “when there is talk of protesting my house and someone later pulls in front and takes a picture of my address while my daughter is home alone, she does not feel safe.”
He said his family doesn’t feel safe when a car sits idling in front of his house late at night, the State Journal reported.
Recently, several dozens parents demonstrated against the mandate outside of the Beaver Dam Unified School District Educational Service Center.
BOISE, Idaho — 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.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — 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.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is betting on millions more rapid, at-home tests to help curb the latest deadly wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Surging infections are overloading hospitals and threatening to shutter some classrooms. However, the tests are quickly disappearing from pharmacy shelves in many parts of the U.S., and manufacturers say it will take them weeks to ramp up production. Production was decreased after demand for the tests plummeted in early summer.
The large commercial labs that process most tests performed at hospitals and testing sites report plenty of capacity. LabCorp, one of the biggest laboratory chains, said last week it was delivering results for 150,000 tests daily, with the ability to double that number.
Rapid tests can be done anywhere and have a 20-minute turnaround time, but most school testing programs still rely on tests processed in labs, which return results in a day or two.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced a $2 billion plan to purchase rapid tests. For now, retail chains like CVS and Walgreens have placed limits on how many at-home tests customers can buy.
Abbott Laboratories, the country’s largest rapid test maker, says it is currently producing “tens of millions” of its BinaxNOW tests per month and working to increase capacity in the coming weeks.
BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania’s chief vaccination coordinator says vulnerable people likely will start receiving third vaccine doses against COVID-19 next week.
Romania reported 6,789 new daily cases on Tuesday, the highest number since December. The increased cases and waning vaccinations are putting a strain on the health care system.
“The focus must remain on increasing rate vaccination coverage,” chief vaccination coordinator Valeriu Gheorghita says, “while enhancing the immune response of vulnerable people who have already received the first vaccination.”
The boosters will target people at risk of developing severe forms of disease from COVID-19, as well as critical workers such as medical staff. A decision on the third shots will be made in the coming days, he says.
Romania has recorded more than 1.1 million confirmed infections and 35,721 confirmed deaths.
BEIJING — 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.
NEW DELHI — India says the British government’s decision not to recognize coronavirus vaccine certificates issued by Indian authorities is a “discriminatory policy” that will impact its citizens who want to travel to that country.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla says the new rules could force India to “impose reciprocal measures” if the matter is not resolved.
The new rules require Indians visiting the U.K to quarantine themselves for 10 days and undergo COVID-19 tests even if they are fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccines made under license in India.
The rules take effect next month. India’s Serum Institute, which makes the AstraZeneca vaccine, has not applied for its approval by the European Union.
Most people in India have been vaccinated with the Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine. Others have received COVAXIN, which is not used in Britain.
India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, said Monday it will resume exports and donations of surplus coronavirus vaccines in October after a several-month freeze due to a massive surge in domestic infections.