Walt Disney World has paused its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a series of restrictive laws last week punishing companies that don’t let workers opt out of vaccine requirements.

Disney stated that over 90% of Disney World’s “cast members” were vaccinated.

“We believe that our approach to mandatory vaccines has been the right one as we’ve continued to focus on the safety and well-being of our cast members and guests,” Disney said in an email. We will respond to legal developments when appropriate.”

DeSantis office cheered this decision and added that “we believe all Florida companies will follow the law”.

Not doing so could be costly: Fines are possible up to $50,000 per violation for large companies and $10,000 for smaller businesses if an employee is fired. Disney World had more than 70k employees before the COVID-19 epidemic.

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►Mississippi’s state of emergency order related to the coronavirus expired as Republican Gov. Tate Reeves cited increased vaccine numbers and declining hospitalizations.

►Nearly 6,100 people a day are now testing positive for COVID-19 in New York state, up 22% from earlier this month. 

►A federal judge in Rhode Island could rule this week on a request from some health care workers to block the state’s requirement that people working in the medical profession be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

►Vaccine protections starts to fade at around six months, data shows. The good news is that COVID-19 booster shots are now available to all adults in the U.S. Here is what you should know about boosters.

📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 47.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 771,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 257 million cases and 5.1 million deaths. More than 195.9 million Americans – 59% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘We’re looking at: A testing option is an alternative to mandatory vaccination. This creates safety and allows employees who are hesitant about the idea to choose not to get the vaccine. It is however, expensive.

This page is updated regularly so you don’t miss any new information. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch free newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Buttigieg – TSA Staff will not be cut by the mandate during the Thanksgiving rush

About 4 million federal workers must be vaccinated by Monday under the president’s executive order aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Transportation Security Administration workers will be required to vaccinate all federal employees in the country for the Thanksgiving rush. But Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that won’t be a problem; close to 99% of the workers are either fully vaccinated, in the process of doing so, or have applied for an exemption. People who have not fulfilled the requirement aren’t immediately being pulled off their posts, Buttigieg added.

Buttiegied explained that “from a federal standpoint, you know the deadline tomorrow, it’s not an cliff.” It’s part of the process to ensure that all federal employees are safe.

New infections rise ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday

Americans are preparing for the second pandemic coronavirus pandemic. USA TODAY’s analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University shows that cases are increasing in 38 states each week. The Veterans Day disruptions to testing may make this number a little fuzzy. However, 36 states’ hospitals are reporting more COVID-19 cases than the previous week. 30 states admitting more COVID-19 victims during this week. 29 states also have more ICU patients. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that 2364 counties or approximately three-quarters are at high risk of communicable diseases. Low levels are found in only 92 counties.

Another encouraging sign? The United States last year reported approximately 1.2 Million cases during the week that ended Nov. 20. The number of cases is now 650,000.

Mike Stucka

Tennessee’s new COVID law is back in court

Tennessee is still claiming that masks don’t work. According to federal court arguments, the task of protecting kids from COVID-19 in schools and in their homes is one-to-one. Judge Waverly Crenshaw is deciding whether he will issue a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of a new state law’s provision prohibiting schools from implementing mask mandates except in extremely rare circumstances. It comes on the heels of three other cases across the state – one in Crenshaw’s court – over the state’s approach to masking in schools. 

The state argues that with the advent of vaccines, the increased availability of at-home tests and some promising treatment options, parents have the option to find a way to send their kids to school – or not – without impacting others. Parents of eight children with disabilities, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, argue school isn’t equivalent to deciding whether to stay home from a birthday party. Learn more.

– Mariah Timms, The Nashville Tennessean 

The Defense Department sent nurses to northern Colorado

The Colorado COVID-related worker shortage is so severe at UCHealth that a medical response team of about 20 nurses, providers, respiratory therapists and administrators from the Department of Defense will be deployed to Poudre Valley Hospital beginning this week. The team will stay for about a month and to support hospital staff and patients and ease capacity and staffing challenges, according to a news release. As of Thursday, UCHealth had 373 hospitalized COVID-19 patients across the state; 99 were in UCHealth hospitals in northern Colorado, according to the health system. 

“We are so grateful that this team will assist us in providing exceptional care in northern Colorado,” Kevin Unger, chief executive officer of UCHealth in Northern Colorado, said in the release. “We anticipate this additional support and other plans we already have in the works will help make a significant difference.” 

– Pat Ferrier, The Fort Collins Coloradoan

Contributing to The Associated Press

Source: USAToday.com

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