The White House released a report early Thursday on the effects of vaccination requirements in the U.S., contending that mandating vaccines will lead to millions more Americans getting shots in the arm.

The report, released ahead of President Joe Biden’s trip to Chicago where he will meet leaders who implemented vaccination requirements in public and private sectors, analyzed health care systems, educational institutions, public-sector agencies and private businesses. Businesses that have implemented vaccination requirements for their employees have had their numbers rise to over 90%. Nationally, 63% are fully vaccinated for adults between 18 and 64.

“Without vaccination requirements, we face endless months of chaos in our hospitals, further detrimental impacts on our economy, and anxiety in our schools,” the report reads. White House analysis shows that vaccination requirements are popularly supported and will boost the economy, according to its findings.

However, many Republican-led countries have been firm in their opposition to such requirements and go so far as to punish areas that try to comply with such directives.

The White House report follows Biden’s orders from mid-September that all employers with 100 or more workers either mandate vaccines or employ weekly COVID-19 testing. United Airlines and Disney are two of the largest American corporations that have mandated vaccines.

According to the report, vaccination requirements are required at 25% of companies, 40% of hospitals and 37% of colleges and universities that serve undergraduate and graduate students across the country. In the next few weeks, thousands more companies will impose vaccine requirements.

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►High school weight rooms are being renovated and new football fields are getting built. The money for these high school sports was part of a $123 billion infusion intended to help schools reopen and recover from the pandemic. Some districts, however, have used significant amounts to fund athletic projects that were not possible before.

► A Texas man who posted on Facebook that he paid someone sick with COVID-19 to intentionally spread the virus was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. Two counts were filed against him for violating federal laws that criminalize false information or hoaxes related biological weapons. He pretended to be spreading COVID-19 in a San Antonio grocery shop.

►In New York, a statewide vaccination mandate for all hospital and nursing home workers will be expanded Thursday to home care and hospice employees.

►The World Health Organization is working to ship COVID-19 medical supplies into North Korea, a possible sign that the North is easing one of the world’s strictest pandemic border closures to receive outside help.

📈The numbers today: The U.S. has recorded more than 44 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 707,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global sum: Over 236,000,000 cases, 4.8 Million deaths. More than 186 million Americans — 56.1% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘This is what we are reading Schools and parents are still burdened by COVID-19 cases, contact tracing and quarantines. Remote learning has returned in some cases. Others see children returning to their homes and not having to work. Unlike last year, most classrooms are open, but they operate amid shifting health recommendations and frequent fights over masks. What is the future of school? Many educators, parents and students look past the health hurdles and say: Never. Learn more. 

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.

Pediatric hospitalizations high as some Mississippi schools drop mask mandate 

As coronavirus cases drop in Mississippi schools, doctors warn children infected with COVID-19 are still filling up the state’s only pediatric hospital as some schools are again doing away with mask requirements.

Of 740 schools reporting from 73 of Mississippi’s 82 counties, there were more than 800 new COVID-19 cases in Mississippi students statewide from Sept. 27 through Oct. 1, according to the health department’s Tuesday report.

As community case numbers have declined, some Mississippi schools are easing their mask requirements. American Academy of Pediatrics Mississippi Chapter issued a Thursday memo to parents and school officials advising that the wearing of masks in schools is essential to reduce COVID-19 transmission.

“Acute COVID hospitalizations are increasing again it seems and it is timed exactly with schools dropping mask requirements,” Charlotte Hobbs, M.D. and professor of pediatric infectious disease at Children’s of Mississippi states, said in the memo.

— Sarah Haselhorst, The Clarion Ledger

Biden continues to spend $1 billion on COVID-19 home testing

Officials announced Wednesday that the Biden administration will invest $1 billion in home coronavirus testing. This investment will triple the supply by December 1. 

The administration has secured commitments from test manufacturers to supply up to 200 million home tests per month by December, said Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. 

Last month, the Biden administration announced it would spend nearly $2 billion to purchase about 280 million coronavirus home tests to supply long-term-care facilities, community testing sites, homeless shelters, prisons, jails and other centers that serve vulnerable populations. 

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized ACON Laboratories’ Flowflex COVID-19 home test, a move that would add tens of millions of home tests within weeks, an FDA official said.

— Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY

Woman who died after J&J vaccine was opposed to vaccinations

A 37-year-old woman died on Sept. 7 from a rare and severe condition causing blood clots that have been linked to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

According to Jessica Berg Wilson’s obituary, Jessica Berg Wilson was a mother to two children and opposed COVID-19 vaccines. During the last weeks of her life, “the world turned dark with heavy-handed vaccine mandates,” it reads. “Local and state governments were determined to strip away her right to consult her wisdom and enjoy her freedom.”

There have been three additional deaths due to blood clots in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paused the J&J vaccine in the spring to investigate, but ultimately lifted the pause and resumed use of the vaccine soon after.

Contributing to The Associated Press

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