22 states in total challenge health worker vaccine mandate after second lawsuit: COVID-19 updates

22 states in total challenge health worker vaccine mandate
after second lawsuit: COVID-19 updates 1

A second set of states have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers.

The most recent suit, dated Monday, was filed in Louisiana on behalf of 12 states and comes less than a week after another lawsuit challenging the rule was filed in Missouri representing 10 states. 

In addition to Louisiana, the more recent suit covers Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia. The Missouri suit includes Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

“The federal government will not impose medical tyranny on Louisiana’s people without my best fight,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a news release announcing the lawsuit.

Both lawsuits say the vaccine mandate threatens to drive away health care workers who don’t want to get vaccinated at a time when such workers are badly needed. They also contend the rule issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services violates federal law and unconstitutionally encroaches on states’ powers.

On Friday, the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a broader Biden administration vaccine mandate that businesses with more than 100 workers require employees to be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or wear masks and be tested weekly for COVID-19. 

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Borrowing language from the 5th Circuit order, the Louisiana lawsuit calls the health care worker vaccine requirement a “one-size-fits-all” sledgehammer.

The Biden administration has not yet filed responses in either of the suits.

Also in the news:

►The CDC urged travelers to ‘avoid’ several European destinations, including Iceland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, due to COVID-19 levels.

►”Dancing With The Stars” judge Derek Hough has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the show’s finale. 

►A Northern California health clinic gave 14 children the wrong dose when administering pediatric COVID-19 vaccines over the weekend.

📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 47 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 765,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 254 million cases and 5.1 million deaths. More than 195 million Americans — 58.9% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘 What we’re reading: It’s time to reassess expectations for reading skills of children whose early learning was disrupted by the pandemic. And that’s okay, experts say.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox, and join our Facebook group.

Michigan is now the worst COVID hot spot in nation

Michigan catapulted Tuesday to the worst COVID-19 hot spot in the nation, as the seven-day case rate rose to 503.8 per 100,000 residents, according to the CDC.

Cases are rising in 31 states, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. Cases for the week ending Monday were at 584,449, up 15% from a recent low in the week ending Oct. 26.

Michigan hospitals say they’re feeling the pressure as the number of COVID-19 patients has climbed nearly 50% in the last month — from 2,097 patients admitted with confirmed cases of the virus on Oct. 18 to 3,082 on Monday, according to state data. 

“The current growth in COVID-19 hospitalizations is very concerning,” said John Karasinski, a spokesman for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, which represents all 133 community hospitals in the state. 

“They’re seeing a stark increase in hospitalizations in just the past few days, he said, adding: “We have both this stark surge of COVID-19 patients, but we also have hospitals that have been dealing with staffing challenges and staffing shortages, as well as high volumes of non-COVID patients.

That means potentially long waits at emergency rooms, hospitals that have to postpone nonemergency medical procedures and some that can’t accept new patient transfers, he said. 

Most COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths both in Michigan and nationwide are among the unvaccinated.

— Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press

Contributing: The Associated Press

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