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Pandemic

Coronavirus latest: No plan to redirect vaccines to Covid hotspots in north-west England, minister says

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Joe Biden’s administration has taken the first step in easing pandemic-related travel bans in America by setting up working groups to discuss how to ease restrictions with the UK, EU, Mexico and Canada.

The White House said Tuesday it is assembling political teams made up of officials from five different parts of the U.S. government to decide when and how to allow non-citizens from the UK and the Schengen areas to enter and reopen the country borders on its immediate neighbors.

The restrictions have been in place since the early stages of the pandemic, but have come under fire from overseas governments and the travel industry as case numbers have declined in many countries and vaccination rates have increased.

A White House official said: “Recognizing the importance of travel to our citizens and their families, and the critical role trade relations and our transportation sectors play in our economies, the Biden administration is launching a series of expert working groups with four key partners: Canada , Mexico, the European Union and the UK to determine how best to safely reopen trips. “

American and Canadian flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit to Windsor, Ontario © Cole Burston / Bloomberg

The Trump administration imposed a series of travel bans early last year to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

According to these rules, any non-American who has been in the UK, Ireland, the Schengen area (which includes most of the EU members plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland), China, South Africa, Iran or Brazil in the past 14 days is not allowed to enter the USA.

As one of his final acts, Donald Trump dropped these rules, but they were reinstated by Biden almost immediately after he became US President.

Biden also added India to the list of prohibited countries.

The land borders with Canada and Mexico are also closed to anyone who does not undertake essential travel.

The travel rules are some of the last remaining restrictions related to Covid-19 in the US, where a quick vaccination campaign has brought the number of cases down to around 15,000 a day – a level not seen since March last year.

A passenger walks through a terminal at John F Kennedy Airport in New YorkA passenger walks through a terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York © Spencer Platt / Getty Images

British officials, in particular, have been pushing for measures to be relaxed, pointing out that their country’s per capita mortality rate has been lower than that of the US since February. British officials told the Financial Times last week that they were hoping to take advantage of this weekend’s G7 summit in Cornwall as an opportunity to advance their cause.

The global travel industry has also put pressure on the Biden administration to reopen the US borders, and demands from the White House have resisted, not least because Americans can still travel far outside the US, albeit in compliance with local quarantine restrictions.

Tuesday’s announcement was the first sign that rules could be relaxed this summer – although such cross-agency groups often take weeks to come up with specific proposals.

The five branches of government involved in the working groups are the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State, Homeland Security, Health, and Transportation departments.

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Pandemic

Tri-County Health prepares to transition COVID-19 services to Douglas County

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The Tri-County’s Department of Health is preparing to switch COVID-19 services in Douglas County earlier than expected after the Public Health Department and the county government agreed last month to continue a partnership through the end of next year.

Douglas County split from Tri-County in September after a decades-long partnership after repeatedly arguing with the agency over COVID-19 public health regulations that their commissioners found too far-reaching. However, the two bodies have signed an intergovernmental agreement that Tri-County will continue to provide healthcare services through the end of 2022

But pandemic health services management could change hands much sooner.

Written minutes of a staff meeting in Tri-County on Tuesday, reviewed by The Denver Post, show that while the agency is still negotiating with Douglas County, “DougCo may” cease COVID-related services (investigations, testing). ” “. November 1, 2021. “

Douglas County Commissioner George Teal confirmed in a text message to The Post that the county is working to provide services related to COVID-19, but asked how soon that will happen.

“Tri-County has claimed in discussions with Douglas County that we are working together to ensure that responsibility for COVID disease control begins November 8 here in the county,” Teal wrote. “Any other date used by the Tri-County Health Department would be an example of their lack of professionalism and dishonesty in dealing with the people of Douglas County.”

Tri-County spokeswoman Becky O’Guin said the agency was “committed to the (intergovernmental agreement) we signed with Douglas County.”

“We are committed to ensuring that there is no gap in major public health services, including COVID vaccine and testing in Douglas County,” she added.

A Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spokesman said in a statement that the state agency “will work with both the Tri-County Health Department and Douglas Counties to determine how the COVID is currently covered by the Tri-County Health Department 19 Response Activities “Transition in Douglas County.”

The final straw for Douglas County came in late August after a Tri-County ordinance required all students, staff, and visitors in Douglas, Adams, and Arapahoe Counties to wear masks at school. The Tri-County Board of Health at the same meeting overturned a policy that would allow counties to opt out of their public health orders.

The new Douglas County Department’s first public health ordinance gave parents the ability to prevent their children from wearing masks in schools. However, a federal judge temporarily stopped this mask exemption on Tuesday, ruling that it violates the rights of students with disabilities.

Douglas County’s exit from the public health partnership sparked a knock-on effect for the rest of the agency. Adams County announced last week that it intends to leave Tri-County as well, leaving Arapahoe County as the only remaining member.

A report released earlier this month showed that the formation of separate public health authorities would cost Adams and Arapahoe counties millions more dollars annually than their current Tri-County agreement.

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House committee passes measure to bar moral exemptions for COVID-19 vaccine refusal

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Nearly 50,000 people have opposed a proposal to discourage employees from citing their moral beliefs as a reason for refusing to adhere to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the workplace.

The sponsor of the measure said she received a “gazillion” response – some obscene, some threatening, some “kind of terrifying”.

One man even threatened sexual violence, warning that Governor JB Pritzker and “every single lawmaker” supporting the measure would suffer “needle rape”.

This was just a move that emerged from a committee of the General Assembly on Tuesday when lawmakers returned to Springfield for the second week of their fall veto session.

Members of the House Executive Committee – as well as representatives from the Governor’s Office and Attorney General of Illinois Kwame Raoul – argued heatedly during the hearing on the proposed amendment to the 1998 Remedial Remedies for Health Act.

This change, sponsored by State Representative Robyn Gabel, is intended to clarify that officials and private companies can impose COVID-19 requirements as a condition of employment – and fire those who refuse to abide by them.

Your amendment would continue to allow exemptions based on religious and health concerns. Gabel said she spoke with Pritzker’s office and lawmakers about possibly changing the language to make this clearer, although “we think the language is pretty clear and we’re doing everything we can to let people know. “

State MP Robyn Gabel (left) and State MP Robert Rita (right) attend a House Executive Committee hearing on Zoom Tuesday. Blue Room Stream

The Evanston Democrat said she was not trying to change the intent of the original law but “was trying to make it clear that the way the health conscience law is used in relation to pandemic causes was never intended than the law.” was originally enacted ”. created.”

The law was originally intended to protect doctors, nurses, and other health care providers who refused to perform medical procedures – such as abortions – that they refuse. However, state officials say the law needs clarification as Illinois residents are denying compliance with COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Tens of thousands of Illinois people said they want to leave it alone.

As of Tuesday evening, 49,598 people on the General Assembly website filed testimony papers against the clear-up, while a further 680 submitted testimony certificates to show their support for a change. Another 490 submitted documents do not comment.

State Representative Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, said the response shows he is hearing from people.

“I mean, how often do we get an invoice with 45,000 testimonials? Practically never.

State Representative Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, asks questions during a House Executive Committee hearing about Zoom on Tuesday.

State Representative Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, asks questions during a House Executive Committee hearing about Zoom on Tuesday. Blue Room Stream

“This law hit a nerve because so many are concerned that they are losing their opportunity to exercise their own consciences about their bodies, their health and their families,” said Wheeler, adding that the committee was “doing nothing … to allay these concerns. “

Other Republicans argued that the change was too broad and violated people’s right to make choices.

“You’re forcing people to do something against their will – forcing them to take a vaccine against their will because it makes some people more comfortable,” CD Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville Rep. Told the committee. “This is her life.”

State Rep. CD Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, speaks during a House Executive Committee hearing on Zoom Tuesday.

State Rep. CD Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, speaks during a House Executive Committee hearing on Zoom Tuesday. Blue Room Stream

The House Committee also heard from others, including Bob Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, who said, “We are concerned that if you curtail the rights of conscience for COVID. Well what’s next … The power transferred to the government is seldom returned. “

Gabel told the Sun-Times that since the amendment was filed on Monday, she has received a “gazillion” of comments ranging from calls from people verbally abusing her or telling her to “go” herself or other rude comments Threat.

While carrying controversial bills in the past, Gabel said she had “never received these kinds of threats before”.

State Representative Robyn Gabel will meet with the Sun-Times editorial board in 2018.

State Representative Robyn Gabel will meet with the Sun-Times editorial board in 2018. Rich Hein / Sun Times file

That includes one she received from a man on social media who said that when the measure is passed, Illinois citizens “are waiting to meet you, the governor, and every single state legislature in charge of the.” Adoption of the amended law voted to give a medical procedure ”. Your own consent. “

“What is good for the goose is good for the gander, isn’t it?” wrote the man. “They’re pushing for Rape by Needle.”

Gabel said the threats and calls were “kind of terrifying”. She blamed an “organized effort to disseminate this misinformation”.

“Sometimes people forget the context of this whole bill and what we are talking about and I really want people to understand that we are still very much in a deadly pandemic and that a small minority of people shouldn’t be allowed to have a loophole that was never meant to stifle efforts to fight a global pandemic, “said Gabel.

Despite the split, the measure was passed by committees nine to six and entered the House of Representatives Chamber.

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Food and Beverage Industries’ COVID-19 Vulnerability Index goes live; experts available

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The US is experiencing supply chain disruptions as the holiday season begins, and the impact extends well beyond the supply of gifts and ingredients for traditional meals. Purdue University experts will be available to discuss supply chain disruptions and the new COVID-19 vulnerability index in the food and beverage industry.

COVID-19 vulnerability index

Two new online dashboards show the vulnerability of food and beverage manufacturing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic importance of these industries across the country.

Jayson Lusk, a nationally recognized food and agricultural economist and Director and Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, led the team that developed the interactive dashboards. They are part of a portfolio of public dashboards created by the Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability at Purdue University.

The Food and Beverage Industry COVID-19 Vulnerability Index by US States and Counties quantifies the risks associated with the delivery of these products. It estimates the production value that industrial workers could lose due to COVID-19 disease. The dates can be reconciled from the US grand total to a single county. A user can also select and view data for specific food and beverage sectors, such as dairy manufacturing, sugar and confectionary manufacturing, and animal processing. The dashboard is updated daily and adjusts its estimates based on the number of reported COVID cases in an area.

The Food and Beverage Industry Value Added Dashboard by U.S. State shows the total revenue of these industries, as well as their contribution to the state’s gross domestic product and the number of employees. It also shows the cost of materials, labor, and capital for each industry, so you can see the relative importance of each to the supply chain.

Ahmad Zia Wahdat, Postdoc at the Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability, developed the online dashboards with Lusk.

“One goal of the center is to take dispersed and difficult-to-process data and turn it into useful information that is easily accessible,” said Wahdat. “The first COVID vulnerability dashboard was focused on agriculture and we wanted to add the food and beverage industry to get a more complete picture of food security.”

Jayson Lusk

Lusk is a leader in developing online dashboards that can track, report, and visualize the factors that cause supply chain disruptions in national and global emergencies. His team was the first to create an online dashboard to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a food supply chain when the team worked with Microsoft to develop the Purdue Food and Agriculture Vulnerability Index. The index quantifies the potential risk to the supply of agricultural products as a result of COVID-19 disease for agricultural and farm workers.

Lusk leads one of the country’s leading agricultural programs and directs the Purdue Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability. The centre’s mission is to bring together and present data in new ways to support the decisions of consumers, farmers, businesses, scientists and policy makers. He is also an expert on food and consumer preferences and has authored several books on the economics of food consumption.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the complexities of food supply chains and underscored the need to understand how food gets from farm to table,” Lusk said. “For consumers, supply chain disruptions have contributed to rising food costs. Our center is designed to help consumers, farmers and agribusinesses predict rising inflation and cope with it. “

Joseph Balagtas

Joseph Balagtas, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue, was a senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers at the White House at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. From that point on until the end of Balagtas’ tenure, the council focused on the economic impact of the pandemic and related supply chain issues.

Balagtas is the co-author of an Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 2021 volume devoted to the impact of the pandemic on U.S. agriculture. His post focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. meat and livestock markets.

He conducts research on the economics of agricultural markets, including agricultural and food policy, the industrial organization of agricultural markets, and poverty and food security. One of his current research projects deals with supply chain issues in the livestock and meat supply chain.

“The current interruptions in the supply chain are complex and varied,” said Balagtas. “Political solutions that do not take complexity into account can be ineffective or even exacerbate existing problems or create new ones.”

Media contact: To schedule an interview with Lusk, Balagtas or Wahdat, please contact Maureen way, mmanier@purdue.edu

You can find high-resolution images at this link: Ag Econ Dashboards – Google Drive

Agricultural communication: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Head of Department, mmanier@purdue.edu

Agriculture news site

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