COVID-19 has taken heavy toll on women's workforce; intelligence officers refusing vaccine worries lawmakers: Latest updates

COVID-19 has taken heavy toll on women's workforce;
intelligence officers refusing vaccine worries lawmakers: Latest
updates 1

The COVID-19 pandemic has both laid bare the disproportionate burdens many women shoulder in caring for children or aging parents and highlighted the vital roles they have long played in America’s labor force.

The United States bled tens of millions of jobs when states began shuttering huge swaths of the economy after COVID-19 erupted. But as the economy has swiftly rebounded and employers have posted record-high job openings, many women have delayed a return to the workplace, willingly or otherwise.

A new report, “Women in the Workplace,” by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. illustrates how the pandemic imposed an especially heavy toll on working women. It found that one in three women over the past year had thought about leaving their jobs or “downshifting” their careers. Early in the pandemic, by contrast, the study’s authors said, just one in four women had considered leaving.

Forty-two percent of women said they felt burnt out this year, compared with 32% who said so in 2020. By contrast, a smaller proportion of men — 35% — felt burnt out this year, compared with 28% in 2020.

Even with children back in school, the influx of women into the job market that most analysts had expected has yet to materialize. The number of women either working or looking for work actually fell in September from August. For men, the number rose.

Also in the news:

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►Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers made his first public comments Friday after testing positive for COVID-19, addressing why he told the news media in August that he was “immunized” and why he is not vaccinated.  

► Vaccines.gov began listing pediatric COVID-19 doses Friday morning, making it easy to find shots for kids anywhere in the nation.

► Attorneys general in 11 states filed lawsuits Friday against the Biden administration over a new federal rule that will require large companies to vaccinate their workforce against COVID-19 or implement rigorous testing regimes

► Hawaii will reopen to international travelers who are fully vaccinated starting Nov. 8. Travelers must also show proof of a negative COVID test within three days of entering the U.S.

📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded 44.4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 754,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 249.3 million cases and 5 million deaths. More than 193.4 million Americans – 58.3% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘 What we’re reading: USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour says Aaron Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, is “another lost soul deluded by misinformation.”

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.

Vaccine refusals in intelligence agencies raise GOP concerns

Thousands of intelligence officers could soon face dismissal for failing to comply with the U.S. government’s vaccine mandate, leading Republican lawmakers to raise concerns about removing employees from agencies critical to national security.

Overall, the percentage of intelligence personnel who have been vaccinated is higher than for the American public — 97% at the CIA, for instance. But there are lower percentages in some of the 18-agency intelligence community of approximately 100,000 people, according to Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah.

Citing information that he said had been provided to the House Intelligence Committee but not released publicly, Stewart said several intelligence agencies had at least 20% of their workforce unvaccinated as of late October. In some agencies, as many as 40% are unvaccinated, Stewart said. He declined to identify the agencies because full information on vaccination rates was classified.

While many people will likely still get vaccinated before the administration’s Nov. 22 deadline for civilian workers, resistance to the mandate could leave major agencies responsible for national security without some personnel.

Giving birth while COVID-positive may have impact on baby

A COVID-19 infection during pregnancy can leave an imprint on the fetus, according to a growing body of research, though it’s unclear whether that effect is long-lasting.

Two studies published last month show that the disease, particularly when it’s severe, can affect the immune activity at the time of birth and that boys may be affected differently than girls. 

It’s far too early to know whether babies exposed to COVID-19 during pregnancy will be any different from those born without that exposure, said Dr. Andrea Edlow, a maternal-medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who helped lead one of the studies. Babies are very rarely born infected with COVID-19 and birth defects have fortunately not been associated with the disease, Edlow said.

“Our intent is not to scare people, just to make them aware that (these children) should be followed over time,” said Dr. Karin Nielsen-Saines, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and senior author on one of the papers. “There’s definite evidence that maternal immune activation in pregnancy could be associated with neurodevelopmental or psychiatric problems later in life.”

– Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY

COVID-19 might help end U of Arizona’s 20-game losing streak

The University of Arizona has lost 20 consecutive football games, dating back to Oct. 5, 2019. It is the longest current losing streak in college football and now the longest in major Arizona sports history. Could its skid end on Saturday with an assist to COVID-19?

UC-Berkeley announced on Thursday that “multiple Cal football student athletes are in COVID protocol” and won’t play on Saturday against the Wildcats in Tucson.

It is not known who will be out for California and how many players will be out, potentially making the Golden Bears very shorthanded for the game. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.

Cal issued a release saying that all players traveling to Tucson would be tested and cleared prior to getting on the plane. It said that 99% of the players were fully vaccinated and that it was not able to list who was out for the game because of state and federal student privacy laws.

– Jeremy Cluff, Arizona Republic

Contributing: The Associated Press

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