Police officers and other public safety workers have a responsibility to get vaccinated, the nation’s top infectious disease physician said Sunday.

“I’m not comfortable with telling people what they should do under normal circumstances, but we are not in normal circumstances right now,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in an interview with Fox News. Let’s take the police. We know now the statistics, more police officers die of COVID than they do in other causes of death. So, it doesn’t make any sense to not trying to protect yourself as well as the colleagues that you work with.”

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for American law enforcement officers, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a nonprofit tracking police officer deaths.

Police unions and officers have pushed back on vaccine mandates by filing lawsuits to block them. In Chicago, the head of the police union called on members to defy the city’s deadline for reporting their COVID-19 vaccination status. Seattle’s police department sent detectives and non-patrol officers to emergency calls this week due to a shortage of patrol officers that union leaders fear will become worse because of vaccine mandates.

“Think about the implications of not getting vaccinated when you’re in a position where you have a responsible job and you want to protect yourself because you’re needed at your job, whether you’re a police officer or a pilot or any other of those kinds of occupations,” Fauci said. 

In the news also:

► The Navajo Nation has reported no COVID-19 deaths for the 11th time in the past 17 days. The latest numbers released Saturday pushed the tribe’s totals to 34,814 confirmed COVID cases from the virus since the pandemic began.

► Russia reported its largest daily number of new coronavirus infections, more than 70% up on the number a month ago as the country faces a sustained rise in cases.

📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 44.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 724,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global numbers: There have been more than 240 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and there were 4.8 million deaths. More than 189 million Americans — 57% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘 What we’re reading:  ‘Hours of my life I’m never going to get back’: As many offices reopen after being shuttered during the COVID-19 health crisis, roughly 40% of workers say they want to continue working remotely. And for some, not having to commute on crowded trains, slow-moving buses, or in their cars, is one of the biggest perks of working from home. 

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

Can judges decide whether to force hospitals to administer ivermectin?

Judges are struggling with the question of whether they have the power to order hospitals to give grievously ill COVID-19 patients ivermectin, a drug that hasn’t been approved for use to treat people with the virus. 

James Nutt of the Florida Circuit said that it is not clear what state law means. And allowing judges to countermand doctors’ decisions could set a dangerous precedent, he said.

“So every drug combination cocktail or procedure that is debated as to its efficacy … the hospital is going to be taken to court?” Nutt asked. “It’s problematic where this is going.”

New York, Ohio, and Delaware judged that hospitals cannot be forced to give ivermectin. A Jacksonville, Florida judge, according to Nutt, ordered the hospital to administer ivermectin to COVID-19-patients.

At least two lawsuits have been filed nationwide seeking to force a hospital to administer ivermectin. 

— Jane Musgrave, Palm Beach Post

City officials hope to relax federal aid spending rules

The Loma Verde Rec Center, south of San Diego is undergoing demolition to make way for a $24million project which will reconstruct the building from scratch, including a pool. An hour’s drive to the north, the iconic bridge to the Oceanside pier is deteriorating because the city lacks the money for a roughly $25 million rehabilitation.

A reason one project is moving ahead and the other isn’t revolves around the American Rescue Plan — the sweeping COVID-19 relief law championed by President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats that is pumping billions of dollars to states and local governments.

According to U.S. Treasury Department rules, certain governments are allowed more discretion than others in spending their money the way they choose. That’s why the new swimming pool is a go, and the rehabbed pier — at least for now — is a no.

Similar differences between cities in the United States have led to local officials pushing for Treasury’s loosening of its rules, before the program can move any further.

— Associated Press

Chicago mayor says police won’t be sent home over their COVID vaccine status — yet

Police officers in Chicago will not be ordered to go home if they defy the city’s requirement that they report their COVID-19 vaccination status or be placed on unpaid leave, police leaders and Chicago’s mayor said last Thursday.

“Nobody is going to be turned away,” said police department spokesman Tom Ahern. “Officers will be working their normal shifts this weekend (and) they won’t be turned away or sent home… Officers will continue coming to work until they are told otherwise (and) that they are no longer on pay status.”

Ahern’s comments follow a video posted on the police officers’ union website this week in which the union president urged members not to report their vaccination status by last Friday, the deadline that Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration set for city workers, and suggested such a refusal might result in them being sent home.

— Associated Press

Contributing to the Associated Press

Source: USAToday.com

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