Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) is “awaiting an decision” from the Defense secretary, Mancino wrote in the memo dated Thursday
Unvaccinated adolescents have been the driving force behind a stubbornly persistent Delta surge in Britain, a potential warning sign for California if inoculation rates don’t improve considerably among this age group, health experts warn.
Dr. George Rutherford, a UC San Francisco epidemiologist and infectious-disease expert, said unvaccinated 10- to 14-year-olds are driving the pandemic in the United Kingdom, with case rates among these ages significantly higher than any other group.
Rutherford was citing data from a New York Times analysis, which said that in mid-October, school-age children in England were 15 times as likely to be infected with the coronavirus as 80-year-olds. The analysis noted that England ended mandatory mask-wearing in mid-July, and officials did not recommend vaccinations for 12- to 15-year-olds until mid-September, four months after they were available for those ages in the U.S.
The U.K.’s surge in coronavirus cases has been uneven — climbing rapidly from mid-June to mid-July, then decreasing sharply before yo-yoing into a second peak in mid-October. There have been some signs of waning since the middle of last month, but cases remain well above the pre-Delta levels.
A lack of vaccinations among wide swaths of adolescents as COVID restrictions were lifted has resulted in the virus continuing to spread in the U.K., Rutherford said at a recent UC San Francisco campus forum.
“This is a consequence of failure to vaccinate. And the population that they failed to vaccinate are young adolescents,” Rutherford said. “This is being driven by younger adolescents largely, and they’ve just started a new campaign to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds. And only 21% of them are currently fully vaccinated.”
The urgency to vaccinate children comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations have started to increase in parts of California. Health officials have long expected that uptick as the weather cools and more people gather indoors.
“Unfortunately, what we were predicting, as people go indoors — that [hospitalization] rates may go up — was actually a reality,” said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, a deputy health officer in Orange County. “And even though we do have good vaccination rates, we need more people who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated.”
The U.K.’s challenges demonstrate how its overall vaccination efforts — while better than California’s — are still not high enough for herd immunity, when sustained coronavirus transmission is interrupted.
In the U.K., 67% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data; California has 62% of its population fully vaccinated. Across the U.S., that rate is 59%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Children and teenagers have become major sources of coronavirus infection in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Last week, during an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Roethlisberger announced he was fully vaccinated against Covid-19 after being asked what protocols he must follow in the locker room.
“I think you’re supposed to have your mask on if you’re not vaccinated. I don’t know who on our team is and isn’t. I know I am, so I don’t have to have my mask on, but you still have to live your life,” Roethlisberger said.
The reserve/Covid-19 list is for players who either test positive for the Covid or who have been in close contact with someone who is infected.
Roethlisberger has started all eight games this season, throwing for 1,986 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Roethlisberger becomes the second starting quarterback this month to be ruled out of a game after being placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed the team’s Week 9 game against the Kansas City Chiefs due to Covid-19 protocols. Rodgers was activated off the list before the team’s week 10 tilt against the Seattle Seahawks, the Packers announced earlier Saturday.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) — California’s COVID-19 transmission rate is currently higher than much of the Deep South, including states with fewer pandemic restrictions, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
California’s level of community transmission as of Thursday is in the red “high” level of the CDC’s four-tiered system, while nearly all southern states are faring better. Several states along the Gulf Coast are at the orange “substantial” transmission level.
Florida, a state whose governor has spoken out against mask mandates and vaccine requirements, boasts an even lower case rate and is at the “moderate” level of transmission.
California’s seven-day case rate – roughly 112 per 100,000 – is more than twice that of Florida. And the Golden State’s seven-day death rate per 1 million people is 11 times higher than Florida’s.
California has embraced a stricter approach in tackling the pandemic and it’s among the nation’s leaders with about 74% of eligible people with at least one dose of the vaccine.
California earlier this fall had the nation’s lowest case rate but is now 16th, Gov. Gavin Newsom said, while the positivity rate for those tested is 2.3% after falling below 1% in June.
While statewide hospitalizations have fallen by about half since a summer peak at the end of August, they have started creeping up in some areas, particularly the Central Valley and portions of Southern California including Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
“We’ve seen some signs that suggest concerns,” Newsom said.
Although Florida has shown better numbers recently, Dr. Michael Ben-Aderet says California’s masking and vaccination protocols are paying off when the entirety of the pandemic is considered.
“We’ve had surges here in California, but even with the density of population in our state, with the number of people, with the big cities that we have, our mortality is significantly lower than these other places,” said Ben-Aderet, the associate medical director of hospital epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
The latest CDC statistics show Florida’s overall death rate is the eighth worst in the country – 54% higher than California’s.
Meanwhile, the last three school districts in Florida that required at least some students to wear masks are dropping their mandates for student facial coverings.
The Department of Defense will respond “appropriately” to a decision this week by the Oklahoma National Guard to rescind the Pentagon’s requirement for service members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Driving the news: “We are aware of the memo issued by the Oklahoma Adjutant General regarding COVID vaccination for Guardsmen and the governor’s letter requesting exemption. We will respond to the governor appropriately,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Axios in a statement.
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“That said, Secretary Austin believes that a vaccinated force is a more ready force. That is why he has ordered mandatory vaccines for the total force, and that includes our National Guard, who contribute significantly to national missions at home and abroad,” Kirby added.
State of play: The Pentagon’s statement comes after Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino, who now oversees the Oklahoma National Guard, “rescinded” the requirement.
Mancino cited a written request from the governor to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asking DOD to “immediately consider suspending the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for national guardsmen in Oklahoma.”
“No negative administrative or legal action will be taken against Guardsmen who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine,” according to the memo.
The big picture: Mancino earlier this week was selected by Stitt to replace Gen. Michael Thompson, who had supported COVID-19 vaccinations and said that members who do not receive the vaccine would be advised on alternative options.
Thompson told reporters on Thursday that he learned he’d been relieved of duty via social media.
A spokesperson for Stitt, who has vocally opposed the vaccine requirement for Oklahoma National Guard members, told AP that Mancino’s hire was not due to the vaccination policy.
“The governor had been exploring making a change for a number of months, and Thompson had submitted his resignation” in October to take effect in January, spokesperson Carly Atchison said, per AP.
Thompson told the Tulsa World that the governor had asked him to resign in October but that they agreed he would remain in place until January.
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