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As fall arrives, academic models are predicting for coronavirus case counts to rise across the US as the virus attacks the unvaccinated, people gather inside in cooler weather, and immunity wanes among those who were vaccinated months ago.

Below, we’re gathering the latest news and updates on coronavirus in New England and beyond.

Pittsfield officials say USPS failed to cooperate with contact tracers after COVID-19 cluster — 10:52 p.m.

By Katie Redefer, Globe Correspondent

Pittsfield officials said Friday that four local post office employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and that the US Postal Service has failed to cooperate with contact tracers and state health officials in their attempts to notify close contacts and mitigate further spread.


The four positive cases were identified at the post office at 212 Fenn St., with exposure dates beginning Sept. 28, the city said in a statement.

By The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Opponents of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers in Maine filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after being dealt another legal defeat on Friday.

The appeal was filed hours after the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston denied a request to stop the mandate from going into effect.

The Supreme Court previously has rejected challenges of vaccine requirements for New York City teachers and Indiana University staff and students.

The vaccine mandate in Maine, announced by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, requires health care workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or risk losing their jobs. The state begins enforcing the mandate on Oct. 29.

Opponents tried to block the mandate, but a federal judge rejected the request earlier this week. A three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit followed with a one-sentence statement on Friday.

By Bloomberg

Governor Tim Walz put Minnesota’s National Guard on alert Friday to help free up space in hospitals increasingly overcrowded by Covid-19 patients. The guard members will help staff long-term facilities that could be used for more than 400 current hospital patients, he said.

“Rising Covid-19 cases have left our hospitals too crowded, and we need action now,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. Guard members will also help expand testing, in state where cases have almost doubled since the start of September, as the delta outbreak moved to the north and west of the U.S.

By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff

Looming deadlines and threats of termination have convinced hundreds of hesitant health care workers to get their COVID-19 shots in recent days, but thousands of holdouts remain, Massachusetts hospital leaders reported Friday.

Already, one major hospital system, Springfield-based Baystate Health, said it terminated 90 workers who remained unvaccinated on Friday after an extensive effort to change their minds.

A pressing deadline also looms at Mass General Brigham, the state’s largest hospital system, where still-unvaccinated employees will be placed on unpaid leave at the end of their shift on Wednesday, the company said. Roughly 1,900 employees — about 3 percent of the 80,000-person workforce — remained unvaccinated Friday, or had failed to submit documentation showing they had received at least one shot, according to the company.

By Nick Stoico, Globe Correspondent

A federal judge on Friday denied a request from the union representing Massachusetts prison guards to delay the Sunday deadline for Governor Charlie Baker’s mandate requiring executive branch state workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or risk termination.

US District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman turned down the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union’s request a day after hearing arguments by the union’s attorney that the governor’s strict mandate deprives prison guards of fundamental constitutional rights.

By The Associated Press

Arizona’s three state universities will comply with federal mandates for government contractors and require their employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Dec. 8 unless granted exemptions, officials announced Friday.

The requirement by the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University includes undergraduate and graduate students who are also university employees, the state Board of Regents said in a statement.

The statement cited President Joe Biden’s executive order regarding on compliance with federal COVID-19 workplace guidance and said the universities have “hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracts, funding critical research, employment and educational efforts.”

“We respect individual opinions regarding the vaccine and will include disability (including medical) and religious accommodations consistent with federal rules,” the statement added.

A regents spokeswoman did not immediately respond when asked what would happen to an employee not complying with the mandate.

The University of Arizona “already has received amended federal contracts that include this requirement,” President Robert Robbins said in statement. “While we respect individual opinions regarding the vaccine, we will continue with these mission-critical endeavors and will be complying with this new requirement.”

By Anissa Gardizy, Globe Staff

An advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously on Friday to recommend a Johnson & Johnson booster for all adults, to be given at least two months after their primary shot.


It’s one of several moving parts in the nation’s vaccination campaign, which involves decisions that are still pending on boosters, mixing and matching vaccines, and shots for children 5 to 11 years old.

Here’s what we know, and what’s still coming.

By The Associated Press

Police departments around the U.S. that are requiring officers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are running up against pockets of resistance that some fear could leave law enforcement shorthanded and undermine public safety.

Police unions and officers are pushing back by filing lawsuits to block the mandates. In Chicago, the head of the police union called on members to defy the city’s Friday deadline for reporting their COVID-19 vaccination status.

By Edward Fitzpatrick, Globe Staff

After 13 community conversations and 500 public comments, Governor Daniel J. McKee and Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos on Friday outlined preliminary recommendations for using federal funding and otherwise responding to the pandemic.

They unveiled a 53-page working document titled “Rhode Island 2030: Charting a Course for the Future of the Ocean State,” and said they will begin holding in-person public input sessions to get feedback beginning Oct. 26.

By The Associated Press

U.S. health officials are setting the stage for a national COVID-19 vaccination campaign for younger children, inviting state officials to order doses before the shots are authorized.

By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff

The federal appeals court in Boston Friday said it would not step in and issue an emergency order blocking the start of a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in Maine.

By Bloomberg

The number of Covid-19 hospital patients in Colorado is at the highest of the year at 982 and intensive care units are 89.9% full with virus and non-virus cases, the state Department of Public Health and Environment reported Friday.

The delta variant accounts for 100% of all Covid-19 cases in the state, said Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, during an online news briefing, with the highest infection rate among children 6-11 years followed by 12-17 years.

The total case count in Colorado is running at a “high and stubborn plateau,” Herlihy said, adding she was unable to determine whether infections are moving in from Wyoming and other westerns state with low vaccination rates.

Colorado’s vaccination rate is about 70%, one of the highest in the U.S.

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

The deadline is Sunday for employees of the state’s executive branch to prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk being suspended or fired.

By The Associated Press

A panel of US Food and Drug Administration experts voted on Thursday to recommend the Johnson & Johnson booster for all adults at least two months after the primary shot.

By The Associated Press

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday that she took her fight with the head of the city’s police officers union to court, arguing that his call for officers to ignore the order to report their COVID-19 vaccination status was illegal.

The mayor said in a statement that the city’s law department filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court for injunctive relief against Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara, whom she accused of “engaging in, supporting and encouraging work stoppage or strike.”

Lightfoot asked the court to prohibit the union and its officers from “engaging in any concerted refusal to submit vaccination status information” to the city’s portal. She also asked it to order Catanzara to stop urging members to refuse to provide their vaccination status information and to “issue a retraction and disavowal of his ... directives to FOP members that they refuse to submit vaccination status information.”

By Bloomberg

Covid-19 has cut more than two years from life expectancy in 16 U.S. states in the past year, with the worst damage concentrated in the Sun Belt and the Great Plains.

By The Associated Press

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotechnology company BioNTech said Friday they have requested to have their coronavirus vaccine licensed for children ages 5 to 11 across the European Union. If EU regulators agree, it would be the first opportunity for younger children in Europe to get immunized against COVID-19.

Pfizer and BioNTech said they submitted data to the European Medicines Agency, including late-stage results from a study testing their COVID-19 vaccine in more than 2,200 children ages 6 months to 11 years. The children received a lower dose than what’s normally given to adults.

The companies said in a statement that the results showed a “strong immune response” in the children and that the vaccine was also found to be safe. There are currently no COVID-19 vaccines licensed for use in children younger than 12 in Europe or North America; the ones made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are authorized for children 12 and older in the European Union.

By The Washington Post

The covid patient in Room 107 was bleeding internally and near death.

So Robin Pressley, transfer coordinator at Stillwater Medical Center, was working fast to try to find an ICU bed at a larger hospital for Johnnie Novotny, a 69-year-old retired gas plant operator who had developed a hematoma and needed more specialized care than doctors at this modest rural hospital could provide.

By Maria Elena Little Endara, Globe Correspondent

On Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington announced that starting November 15, large events in Washington state will be required to verify that all attendees are either fully vaccinated or received a negative test within the last 72 hours. The state reported 2,853 new daily COVID cases on Thursday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins.

FDA panel is meeting on Johnson & Johnson boosters — 9:50 a.m.

By The New York Times

The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel is meeting Friday to discuss and vote on whether to recommend authorizing booster shots of Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose coronavirus vaccine.

By Bloomberg

The U.S. will open its borders to vaccinated foreign travelers on Nov. 8, a White House official said, a move that will expand travel options for those who’ve gotten their shots and clamp down on those who haven’t.

By Bloomberg

Texas Governor Greg Abbott scored a quick victory over a school district in the state’s second-biggest city after it tried to implement a vaccine mandate despite his recent executive order banning such rules.

The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday sided with Abbott over the San Antonio Independent School District, which for months has been trying to mandate vaccines to protect students and staff from the deadly coronavirus.

The decision comes days after the outspoken Republican governor barred all government entities and companies in Texas from requiring employees to get inoculated. The court held that keeping the ban on mandates in place would preserve the status quo. It didn’t weigh in on the merits of the fight.

“This decision should serve as a reminder to all Texas school districts that they should be using their limited funds on educating children and equipping teachers, not defending unlawful vaccine mandates,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

The school district said in a statement on Friday that it will continue to fight for the vaccine mandate in a lower appeals court.

“We are extremely proud of our efforts in providing abundant access to this life-saving protocol to all of our employees,” the school district said. “Based on the science, we continue to feel strongly that these vaccines help us keep our staff and students as healthy as possible and in the classroom.”

By The New York Times

Italy set a new bar Friday for major Western democracies seeking to move beyond the pandemic by putting in place a sweeping law that requires the nation’s entire workforce — public and private — to have government-issued health passes.

By The Associated Press

British health officials said Friday that 43,000 people may have been wrongly told they don’t have the coronavirus because of problems at a private laboratory.

The U.K. Health Security Agency said the Immensa Health Clinic Ltd. lab in the central England city of Wolverhampton has been suspended from processing swabs after the false negatives.

Will Welfare, the agency’s public health incident director, said it was working “to determine the laboratory technical issues” behind the inaccurate tests.

The issue was uncovered after some people who were positive for COVID-19 when they took rapid tests went on to show up as negative on more accurate PCR tests.

The health agency said that “around 400,000 samples have been processed through the lab, the vast majority of which will have been negative results, but an estimated 43,000 people may have been given incorrect negative PCR test results,” mostly in southwest England. The incorrect results were given between Sept. 8 and Oct. 12.

The agency said it was “an isolated incident attributed to one laboratory” and people affected would be contacted and advised to get another test.

By The Associated Press

COVID-19 tests in France are no longer free for unvaccinated adults unless they are prescribed by a doctor.

While tests remain free for vaccinated adults and all children under 18, adults who have not gotten their shots will have to pay 22-45 euros ($25-$52) to get tested as of Friday.

The government introduced the change as a complement to the COVID-19 passes that have been required in France since the summer. To get a pass, people need to show proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or recent recovery from the virus.

The passes are required to visit tourist sites, for hospital visits and on domestic train trips and flights. The pass requirement, announced in July, helped boost France’s vaccination rate.

Over 49 million people, or about 74% of the population, are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in France. Everyone age 12 and older are eligible for shots.

By The Associated Press

India reopened to fully vaccinated foreign tourists traveling on chartered flights on Friday in the latest easing of its coronavirus restrictions as infection numbers decline.

Foreign tourists on regular flights will be able to enter India starting Nov. 15.

It is the first time India has allowed foreign tourists to enter the country since March 2020 when it imposed its first nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

It is unclear whether arriving tourists will have to quarantine but they must be fully vaccinated and test negative for the virus within 72 hours of their flight.

The decision, announced earlier this month by India’s home ministry, comes as the country’s daily infections have dropped below 20,000 from a peak of 400,000 in May and more people have been vaccinated.

By Bloomberg

The Democratic Republic of Congo, a nation of 100 million people, is stepping up its coronavirus inoculation campaign amid concern that populations that aren’t immunized could spawn mutations that evade vaccines and spread more rapidly.

Congo has vaccinated the lowest proportion of its population out of more than 200 countries and regions tracked by Bloomberg, with just 140,000 shots administered as of Oct. 8. The World Health Organization attributed the slow take-up to hesitancy, which was fueled by the government’s initial rejection of the AstraZeneca Plc inoculation in July, and apathy by its politicians in advocating for vaccines.

While the government has increased vaccine imports and senior politicians are now advocating their use, there’s still a mountain to climb. Congo is the size of Western Europe with poor infrastructure, making any inoculation campaign logistically difficult and expensive. And despite its vast mineral riches, the country is deeply impoverished and reliant on foreign aid to fund a large part of its health-care spending.