Stimulated by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, new cases of COVID-19 have increased 170% in the United States over the past two weeks. Along with this increase, which is expected to continue to worsen as fall approaches, a host of new vaccine mandates are being enacted across the country.
The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it will require 115,000 of its frontline healthcare workers to be vaccinated over the next two months.
“Yes, Veterans Affairs is actually going to demand that all doctors working in facilities be vaccinated,” President Biden told reporters Monday in the Oval Office.
With less than 50% of the U.S. population having been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, several hospital systems nationwide have instituted similar policies requiring employees to be vaccinated or to be terminated.
Many of the recent policy changes have been driven by local governments at the city, county, and state levels.
Earlier this month, San Francisco released a new policy requiring city employees to be vaccinated.
“To protect the health and safety of all City employees and the public, the City has implemented a new vaccination policy,” the policy says.
“The policy requires that all City employees: 1. Report their immunization status, including verification documents, by July 29, 2021. 2. Be fully immunized and report this immunization status to the City no later than 10 weeks after The Administration (FDA) gives final approval to at least one COVID-19 vaccine. According to the July 8, 2021 health ordinance, city employees working in high-risk environments must be fully immunized by September 15, 2021, whether or not the FDA has given final vaccine approval by that date. “
San Francisco Mayor London Breed has also been pushing local businesses to issue their own vaccination requirements.
The state of California followed San Francisco’s lead on Monday, issuing a new policy that requires state employees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or undergo weekly tests for the virus. from August 2.
Since early July, the number of new daily reported cases of COVID-19 has exploded in the country’s largest state, from 700 new cases on July 3 to nearly 9,000 reported last Friday.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a similar policy for his city on Monday that requires all New York City municipal workers to be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 tests. The policy will affect around 300,000 workers in New York City and go into effect on September 13.
While it is largely up to private businesses to decide whether to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from customers, more businesses and business owners are now grappling with the issue. the decision to impose restrictions following the outbreak of new infections with the Delta variant.
Yet a political divide has grown across America, with Republican-led states like Florida instituting policies banning “vaccine passports” offering proof of vaccination, as well as mask warrants. Florida led the country in new COVID-19 cases last week, reporting 73,181 over a seven-day period. Florida also reported 319 deaths from the disease last week, the highest number of any state. Hospitalizations are also on the rise.
Orange County, Florida, Mayor Jerry Demings told reporters Monday his county is now back in the same dire state it was at the height of the pandemic last fall.
“These are the numbers we saw at the highest peak last year. A thousand a day is extraordinary. We are now in crisis mode, ”he said.
Dr Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, noted that not all people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the county on Friday were not vaccinated.
“Friday, [there] was 1,031 cases. On Friday, no one was vaccinated in those cases – not a single person, ”Pino said.
Public health experts estimate that at least 70 percent of the population would need to develop antibodies against COVID-19 either by vaccination or by previous infection in order for the population to obtain herd immunity. If that were to happen, those who could not be vaccinated due to pre-existing health conditions could be protected against the virus.
But as the virus remains widespread, it continues to mutate. One of these mutations, the Delta variant, is found to be about twice as transmissible as the original strain. The more these changes are allowed to multiply, health experts say, the greater the risk that existing vaccines will prove to be less effective.
Learn more about Yahoo News: