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Pandemic

Five times as many police officers have died from Covid-19 as from gunfire since start of pandemic

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“The commercial just came with a box on TV that said, take Covid seriously … Be considerate of those of us who struggle for every breath,” wrote Stephen Desfosses in a series of conversations that began last Christmas Eve when himself his condition steadily deteriorated in a Massachusetts hospital.

“Your husband will [be] has changed forever, no matter what … my life flashed before my eyes and man, it’s scary, “he wrote in another message his wife posted on Facebook last summer.

There were 245 law enforcement deaths from Covid-19 in 2020, according to ODMP.

Coronavirus has become the leading cause of death for officials, although law enforcement will be among the first groups to receive the vaccine in late 2020. That’s 476 Covid-19-related deaths since the pandemic began, compared with 93 from gunshots in the same period.

“If you are serious about your commitment to protecting the public … and if you are serious about your personal obligations to your family, then that should be enough,” said Jessica Desfosses, urging the police officers to get vaccinated.

Their appeal comes as law enforcement officials and their unions across the country have opposed vaccine mandates despite the delta-fueled resurgence of Covid-19 and the effectiveness of the gunfire in preventing serious cases and death.

The reasons given for vaccine resistance among law enforcement officers include disinformation and even distrust of the science of vaccines.

The debate reflects growing tensions between unions and employers at the national level as cities and companies try to enforce vaccine mandates.

“You’re not being drafted for this job. That’s what you volunteer for,” said Charles Ramsey, a former Washington, DC police chief and CNN law enforcement analyst. “You understand, if you take the job, you have to make sacrifices in many different ways.”

Police unions challenge Covid mandates

In Chicago, up to half of ordinary officers at the country’s second-largest police department are taking unpaid leave as their union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot argue over a city requirement that officers disclose their vaccination status.

Lightfoot on Friday accused police union president John Catanzara of attempting to “stir up a riot” by asking officials to ignore a deadline to report vaccine status.

The city filed a complaint alleging that the union “encourages a work stoppage or strike”. A Cook County Circuit judge ruled Friday night that Catanzara should not make public statements urging members not to adhere to vaccination guidelines.

Catanzara “never participated in, supported or encouraged a work stoppage,” the union said in a statement on Friday.

The gun influx is “ground zero for violence” at the end of a bloody summer in Chicago.

Chicago officials had midnight Thursday to disclose their vaccine status or go on unpaid leave, Catanzara said earlier this week.

Lightfoot said the city will take time over the weekend to check with officials who have failed to comply. She said officers should report to duty until their superiors told them they were on leave.

Earlier this month, the former union president died of Covid-19 from 2014 to 2017.

In Miami, officials oppose a vaccination mandate. In Pittsburgh, the police chief sent emails urging officers to protect themselves as the Delta variant drove Covid-19 cases soaring.

In Seattle, police had “all non-patrolling sworn personnel, detectives, training and support personnel” ready to respond to emergency calls ahead of Monday’s vaccination mandate deadline, said Sgt. Randy Huserik, a spokesman.

The Seattle Mayor’s office said nearly 140 officials were unvaccinated or had not requested an exception. Huserik said that around 320 officials had left the force since early 2020.

Police union president Mike Sloan said Seattle could begin the process of separating officers from the department after the deadline.

“If we seem to lose over 300 people to this mandate, this public safety crisis we are experiencing will look like a no-brainer,” Sloan said.

The loss of an “outstanding officer” occurs

Law enforcement agencies across the US have pleaded with officials who are reluctant to get the shot. Yet many unions and their members continue to push back.

“It is a right to be vaccinated naturally. It is an individual right, and I still firmly believe in it,” said Dan Yancey, chief of police in Owasso, Oklahoma. “But I would certainly encourage people to do that.”

In Baker, Louisiana, outside Baton Rouge, the Covid-19 death of Lt. DeMarcus Dunn last August, according to Police Chief Carl Dunn many colleagues to get vaccinated.

Up to half of Chicago police officers could be given unpaid leave because of vaccination disputes

“He lost his father at a very young age and it was a village that raised him,” Chief Dunn said of the officer.

“And when you talk about an outstanding officer, an outstanding citizen, an outstanding person who has always given something back, that struck us. It was a big void in this department to lose such an outstanding officer.”

Before the lieutenant’s death on August 13, about 70% of the police force were unvaccinated. Now 95% of the city’s 40 officials have received the shot, the chief said.

“The point I’m trying to get across is that this pandemic is replacing any kind of policy, any kind of belief, anything you have that makes you hesitant to get vaccinated,” said Chief Dunn.

The national police union promotes vaccinations but rejects mandates.

Catanzara has called the issue a labor dispute.

The Miami City Commission unanimously votes for the dismissal of Police Chief Acevedo

“We will continue to fight this mandate and this dictatorship,” said Catanzara, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, echoing the sentiments of union leaders across the country.

“You’d think there’s no crime to worry about in this city.

Late last month, hundreds of Washington State Patrol employees applied for religious and medical vaccination exemptions the day after the agency announced the death of a soldier from Covid-19.

Washington state employees must be fully vaccinated by Monday. The mandate covers 60,000 civil servants and 40,000 healthcare workers.

“We invest quite a bit in the screening and training of these people. We don’t want to lose them as friends or because of Covid,” said Chris Loftis, spokesman for the Washington State Patrol.

Widow receives copies of vaccination cards

Michael Weiskopf, 52, a St. Petersburg, Florida police officer died on August 27 after battling Covid-19 for about a month. He was an 18 year old law enforcement veteran.

“That was terrible and it didn’t have to happen,” said his widow Karen Weiskopf. “He was so strong. He was so healthy … He was my best friend. Perfect husband.”

Karen Weiskopf said she was vaccinated, but her husband hesitated. She tried several times to convince him.

His father, a police officer, died of Covid-19.  Colleagues accompanied him on his first day of school

“He wasn’t sure what was in the vaccine … I got a feeling that Mike wasn’t vaccinated because he didn’t have all the facts,” she said. “There’s a lot of information that just moves … Science leaves the picture. It’s just gossip.”

Karen Weiskopf believes that her husband’s death served as a warning to other officials unwilling to vaccinate.

“I still get letters to this day. I get calls,” she said. “I’ll get copies of vaccination cards in the mailboxes from people I don’t know.”

Jessica Desfosses wants to turn her untold loss into an opportunity to save lives.

“It’s absolutely as bad as you can imagine raising two little girls without their father,” she said of late husband Stephen, who “wanted to be first in line for this vaccine” but was never given the chance.

“And if he had had the choice of giving himself this extra protection so that he could continue serving the public and still be able to return to his family, he definitely would have done it.”

This story was told by CNN’s Ryan Young, Jason Morris, Priya Krishnakumar, Peter Nickeas, Claudia Dominguez, and Ray Sanchez. It was written by Sanchez.

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Pandemic

Utah’s COVID-19 death toll is nearly 3,600

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More than 3,400 new cases have been reported in the past three days.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Nurse Ashley Hafer fills syringes with the Moderna vaccine for people waiting in line on Thursday, March 18, 2021.

Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune offers free access to critical stories about the coronavirus. Sign up for our Top Stories newsletter sent to your inbox every morning. To support journalism like this, please donate or become a subscriber.

The Utah Department of Health reported 32 more COVID-19 deaths on Monday, bringing the state’s death toll since the pandemic started to 3,595.

Twenty-one of the deaths occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; 11 occurred before November 1 and was only recently confirmed to be caused by COVID-19 after further testing.

16 of the deceased were under 65 years of age. Of these, three were between 25 and 44 years old and 13 were between 45 and 64 years old.

The Ministry of Health reported 3,457 new coronavirus cases in the past three days – 912 on Friday, 1,166 on Saturday and 1,452 on Sunday, an average of just over 1,152 per day. The 7-day rolling average of the new positive cases is 1,550.

The number of children being vaccinated continues to rise – 74,363 children ages 5-11 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since it was approved; That’s 20.4% of children that age in Utah, according to the Department of Health.

The intensive care units in the state remain almost fully utilized. UDOH reported Monday that 95.4% of all ICU beds in Utah and 97.5% of ICU beds in major medical centers in the state are occupied. (Hospitals consider anything above 85% functional). Of all intensive care patients, 42% are being treated for COVID-19.

Vaccine Doses Delivered / Total Doses Delivered In Last 3 Days • 41,000 / 4,237,422.

Number of Utahns Fully Vaccinated • 1,834,977 – 56.1% of the total Utah population. That’s an increase of 17,425 in the last three days.

Cases reported in the last three days • 3,457.

Cases in School-Age Children • K-12 children accounted for 653 of the new cases reported Monday – 18.9% of the total. In children aged 5 to 10 years, 361 cases were reported; 132 cases in children 11-13; and 160 cases in children between the ages of 14 and 18.

Tests Reported in Last Three Days • 23,888 people were tested for the first time. A total of 49,052 people were tested.

Deaths reported in the past three days • 32.

Six of the dead were Salt Lake County residents – men between the ages of 25 and 44; a man and a woman 45-64; a man and a woman 65-84; and a man over 85.

Weber County also reported six deaths – one man and two women between the ages of 45 and 64; a man 65-84; and two women over 85.

Five Davis County residents died – two women 45-64; a man and a woman 65-84; and one woman over 85. And there have been four deaths in Utah County – a woman between the ages of 25 and 44; a man 45-64; and a man and a woman 65-84.

Three Washington County residents also died – a woman 64-84 and a man and woman 85-plus. And two Sanpete County residents died – a woman 45-64 and a woman over 85.

Four counties each reported a single death – a Box Elder County man aged 45 to 64; a man from Cache County 25-44; a man from Iron County 65-84; and a man from Sevier County 45-64.

Two men between the ages of 45 and 64, whose whereabouts were unknown, also died.

Hospital stays reported on the last day • 502. That is 11 fewer than reported on Friday. Of the current hospital admissions, 204 are in the intensive care unit, five more than reported on Friday. And 41% of patients in intensive care units are being treated for COVID-19.

Percentage of positive tests • According to the original state method, the rate over the past three days is 14.5%. That’s less than the 7-day average of 15.3%.

The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests on the same person. On Monday, the rate was 7%, below the seven-day average of 10%.

[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Here’s what that means.]

Risk Rates • In the past four weeks, unvaccinated Utahners were 14 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to an analysis by the Utah Department of Health. Unvaccinated people were nine times more likely to be hospitalized and 3.6 times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus.

Total numbers so far • 605,409 cases; 3,595 deaths; 26,268 hospital stays; 4,030,046 people tested.

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Pandemic

Innovative Testing Gives Virginia Department of Corrections a Jump on COVID-19 — Virginia Department of Corrections

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Press release

Innovative testing gives the Virginia Department of Corrections a leap on COVID-19

December 06, 2021

RICHMOND – Last year, as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) used an innovative method: examining wastewater samples at 40 of its facilities.

VADOC facilities offer unique tracking benefits as they provide small, controlled, relatively immutable populations that can quickly and clearly identify trends.

“Wastewater testing provides a highly reliable snapshot of a facility’s health for COVID. If someone has COVID-19, sewage tests tell us immediately, ”said Meghan Mayfield, VADOC’s energy and environmental administrator.

Under normal circumstances, patients may not show symptoms of COVID-19 for eight to ten days after exposure. Regular wastewater testing gives health officials a potential head start in fighting an outbreak and greatly improves their ability to monitor infection rates in the facility.

“The program is designed to detect COVID as early as possible to prevent the spread and suffering among inmates, employees and the public,” said Robert Tolbert, VADOC plant administrator.

The department was among the first state prison systems to conduct wastewater tests. It began testing last October and worked with the Hampton Roads Sanitation District and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to conduct and monitor Virginia prison facilities on a weekly basis.

“We are always ready to work with our community partners to keep everyone in our community and our world safe,” said Harold Clarke, director of the Virginia Department of Corrections. “This is in line with our public safety mission to help people get better.”

Wastewater testing is also significantly more cost-effective than many other types of testing. Prior to its launch, health officials relied on point prevalence testing, an expensive, labor-intensive nasal swab measure that can cost up to $ 180,000 for a one-time test of all inmates and staff in an average-sized facility. For comparison, wastewater tests for a similar facility cost about $ 200.

“We have abolished the planned point prevalence tests at VADOC. Sewage tests are a much cheaper and extremely accurate predictor, ”Mayfield said. “We can use this data as a preliminary indicator of the presence of COVID-19 in a facility. By taking into account other factors such as community prevalence and existing COVID infections in the facility, we can use these results to make better decisions about running targeted point prevalence tests in each facility. “

The sewage process was developed after the pandemic broke out and may be used to track other viruses in the future.

VADOC’s approach worked so well that the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked VADOC to help validate the results of a new one biological diagnostic test device. This device, LuminUltra, is being tested in five state prison facilities across the Commonwealth and will help other state prisons and smaller rural communities monitor wastewater for COVID-19.

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S.Korea’s COVID-19 rules put some vaccinated foreigners in limbo

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A woman wearing a mask to prevent contracting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) takes a nap at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea on November 30, 2021. REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji

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SEOUL, Dec 6 (Reuters) – South Korea on Monday imposed stricter measures to curb the growing coronavirus infections and the Omicron variant, effectively banning some foreign residents who have been vaccinated abroad from places like restaurants, cafes and movie theaters are.

South Korea recognizes the vaccination status of Korean citizens who have been vaccinated abroad, but not foreign nationals unless they entered the country under quarantine.

Some foreign residents, particularly those from Europe and the United States, were vaccinated earlier this year, when South Korea had not yet made vaccines available and not eligible for the quarantine exemptions granted to certain individuals in business, education, or humanitarian reasons became.

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How many people are affected is unclear, but the problem has caught the attention of several foreign embassies, which have been campaigning for a change for weeks without success.

“We continue to advocate an urgent review of the guidelines to ensure fair treatment of foreign and Korean citizens who have been vaccinated abroad,” Stephen Burns, a spokesman for the UK embassy in Seoul, told Reuters.

The Australian embassy is in constant contact with the South Korean government on this matter and continues to advocate a change in its policy, said Ambassador Catherine Raper in a post on Twitter on Monday.

The Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency says the directive affects a small number of people and is necessary in the face of rising COVID-19 cases.

“A cautious approach is needed at this point as there are locally and globally confirmed cases of the Omicron variant and the possibility of further spread in the community,” a spokesman said, adding that officials are reviewing the rules depending on the domestic outbreak situation will.

The KDCA reported 4,325 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, a total of 477,358 since the pandemic began, with a total of 3,893 deaths. The country has discovered 24 cases of the new variant of Omicron.

In response to the daily growing number of cases, South Korea has suspended previous efforts to “live with COVID-19”, instead imposing new vaccination record requirements and ending quarantine exemptions for all travelers arriving from overseas.

The problem for foreigners with unregistered vaccines will be exacerbated as previous rules that required a state vaccination certificate or a negative COVID-19 test to enter gyms, saunas and bars now apply to cafes, restaurants, cinemas and other public places Rooms were expanded.

Unvaccinated people or people without proof of vaccination can still dine in restaurants, but only if they are sitting alone.

“An example that South Korea is not yet a truly global, international country,” tweeted Jean Lee, Korean affairs analyst at the US Wilson Center.

In March, authorities sparked a riot in several major cities, including Seoul, by ordering that all foreign workers be tested for coronavirus. Some of these measures were dropped following complaints from embassies and a human rights investigation.

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Editing by Jacqueline Wong

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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