Police officers and others responsible for public safety should view vaccination against Covid-19 as a key part of their role, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, said during an interview on Fox News Sunday.
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“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,” said Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Police unions in cities across the country are urging members to resist Covid vaccine requirements for their jobs. In Chicago, the head of the police union told officers to ignore a city order to report their vaccination status by the end of the day Oct. 15. Vaccinations are not required for city workers, but employees who are not vaccinated will be subject to twice-weekly testing. John Catanzara, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago, released a video last week predicting that Chicago police officers would not report to work because of the vaccination policy.
In Seattle, the union said that the city’s shortage of police officers would worsen because of a vaccine mandate. On Sunday, Dr. Fauci said that employees in public service who resisted vaccination were misguided.
“I’m not comfortable with telling people what they should do under normal circumstances, but we are not in normal circumstances right now,” Dr. Fauci said. “Take the police: We now know the statistics, more police officers die of Covid than they do any other causes of death. So it doesn’t make any sense to not try to protect yourself, as well as the colleagues that you work with.”
More than 460 American law enforcement officers have died of Covid, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, making the virus by far the most common cause of duty-related deaths this year and last. More than four times as many officers have died from the virus as from gunfire in that period.
“Things like mandating, be they masks or vaccinations, they’re very important,” Dr. Fauci said. “We’re not living in a vacuum as individuals. We’re living in a society, and society needs to be protected. And you do that by not only protecting yourself but by protecting the people around you, by getting vaccinated.”
In many cities across the country, there is friction between governments and law enforcement unions over requirements that officers get vaccinated against the coronavirus or prove their vaccination status, leading to contentious public clashes.
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Even though the shots have proven to be largely effective in preventing severe disease and death, many police officers and their unions have pushed back, threatening resignations and lawsuits.
John Catanzara, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago, has urged police officers there to ignore requirements by the mayor, Lori Lightfoot, that city employees report their vaccination status. Employees who are not vaccinated will be subject to twice-weekly testing, but vaccinations are not mandatory.
In Baltimore, a police union leader told officers not to disclose their vaccination status to city officials amid negotiations over a mandate scheduled to take effect there next week, The Baltimore Sun and other local news outlets reported.
City leaders in San Jose, Calif., decided just as a vaccine mandate was taking effect at the end of last month to allow unvaccinated officers to remain employed through the end of the year, with incremental discipline and testing requirements.
Officials in Ann Arbor, Mich., reiterated their commitment this week to a vaccine mandate for city employees, despite pushback from the police union there.
And in Seattle, a police union has expressed fears that the city’s shortage of officers will worsen because of vaccine mandates, The Associated Press reported.
More than 460 American law enforcement officers have died from Covid infections, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, making the coronavirus by far the most common cause of duty-related deaths in 2020 and 2021. More than four times as many officers have died from Covid-19 as from gunfire in that period.
Some elected officials say police officers have a higher responsibility to get vaccinated because they regularly interact with the public and could unknowingly spread the virus.
Ms. Lightfoot said in a statement this week that she “cannot and will not stand idly by while the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists threatens the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and first responders.”
Robert A. Durst, a former real estate mogul, is on a ventilator in a Los Angeles hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, days after being sentenced to life in prison for the 2000 murder of his confidante.
“We were notified that he tested positive for Covid,” his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said on Saturday.
Mr. Durst, 78, was admitted Friday night to LAC+USC Medical Center, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s inmate locator. The district attorney’s office said it could not comment because of medical privacy laws.
At a sentencing hearing on Thursday, Mr. Durst sat slumped in a wheelchair. He wore a brown prison jumper and a mask. At times, his breathing appeared labored. He pulled down his mask, only to raise it again moments later.
“His health deteriorated over the weeks of the trial,” Mr. DeGuerin said. “On Thursday, he looked like death warmed over.”
Mr. Durst was frail and had numerous health problems but was alert during the four-month trial that ended on Sept. 17 with a first-degree murder conviction. Mr. Durst, whose life story inspired a Hollywood movie and an HBO documentary, will not be eligible for parole.
The jury that convicted him in Los Angeles found that the prosecution had proven special circumstances – namely, that Mr. Durst shot Susan Berman, a journalist and screenwriter, because he feared she was about to tell investigators what she had learned as his spokeswoman to the news media after the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathie McCormack Durst.
Mr. Durst faces a possible murder indictment in New York in connection with the disappearance of Kathie Durst. Miriam E. Rocah, the district attorney of Westchester County, N.Y., reopened the investigation earlier this year and planned to put numerous witnesses in front of a grand jury.
Mr. Durst acknowledged to filmmakers that before Ms. Durst disappeared, his marriage included “half arguments, fighting, slapping, pushing” and “wrestling.” But, he insisted, he did not kill her.
Nearly a year after the first Covid-19 vaccination campaigns began, the vast majority of the shots have gone to people in wealthy nations, with no clear path toward resolving the disparity.
News this month that an antiviral medication had proved effective against the coronavirus in a large clinical trial has brought new hope of a turning point in the pandemic: a not-too-distant future when a simple pill could keep infected people from dying or falling severely ill.
The drug, molnupiravir, made by Merck, is easy to distribute and can be taken at home. The trial results showed it halved the risk of hospitalization and death among high-risk people early in their infections. The company has applied for emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration; a decision could come in early December.
Unlike the vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, which have resisted calls for license agreements to let overseas manufacturers make their shots, Merck will allow generic manufacturers in India to sell the pills at a far lower price in more than 100 poorer countries. Most nations in sub-Saharan Africa, where vaccination rates are as low as 3 percent, are covered by the deal.
Drug-access advocates say the Merck licensing deal is an encouraging start but only a small step toward equity. Merck has begun production of the drug, but it is unclear how much of the generic product will be available next year. The agreements leave out many undervaccinated nations, such as Ukraine, that have been hit hard by Covid. And an antiviral must be combined with reliable, affordable testing, which is also limited in many places.
Several other drug makers, including Pfizer, are expected to announce efficacy data from trials of similar medications; the companies said it was too soon to comment on whether they would enter similar agreements.
All this means that treatments could remain largely with nations able to pay for early access, as they have done with vaccines.
The economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has worsened already high levels of homelessness across the country. And in New York City, where nearly 12,000 restaurants have been approved to offer outdoor dining, reports of diners being approached for money have become increasingly widespread.
Incidents involving people believed to be homeless and restaurant-goers aren’t tracked as such by the New York Police Department. But many restaurant owners, their employees and homeless-advocacy organizations said in interviews that such disputes have increased as more people have become homeless and thousands of restaurants have expanded dining to the streets and sidewalks.
Many of these encounters between the haves and have-nots are brief and amiable. But others become contentious, and restaurants are trying various ways to defuse them, including hiring security guards, regularly calling the police, and relying on employees to handle the situation.
Several restaurateurs said the soliciting has recently become more frequent and insistent, and the resulting disputes more fierce. And they agreed that the city should do more to address the issue.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said his administration has increased the number of beds for homeless people and tripled the ranks of outreach workers since 2014, to more than 600.
But he concluded after a couple of months the strategy wasn’t working and found a different solution: He gives the panhandlers meals, letting them order whatever they want.
“It’s created more of a community relationship with homeless people and the panhandlers, rather than an adversarial one,” he said.
Mental health is heavily stigmatized among Asian Americans, whose older generations, like the older generations of other cultures, tend to see therapy as undignified or a sign of weakness, experts say.
But the pandemic and the specter of hate crimes by those who tied the coronavirus to China have prompted a growing number of Asian Americans to overcome the stigma and turn to therapy for help, according to more than a dozen therapists, psychiatrists and psychology professors.
“People were just stuck in their homes with their thoughts and their worries, and there wasn’t an outlet,” said Lia Huynh, a psychotherapist in Milpitas, Calif.
More than 40 percent of Asian Americans were anxious or depressed during the pandemic, up from less than 10 percent before the virus struck, according to the Asian American Psychological Association. The Kaiser Family Foundation found similar rates for all adult Americans, but experts said the figures for Asian Americans were most likely higher than reported because some Asian Americans are uncomfortable talking about mental health.
Take Julian Sarafian. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, life was not as easy as it looked for him. Though he was his high school’s valedictorian, a White House intern and later a Harvard Law School graduate, he also had a yearslong battle with anxiety.
Then, in November of last year, he came down with symptoms of Covid-19 and his girlfriend tested positive for the virus. The illness, on top of his anxiety, months of social isolation and his fear for the safety of his Asian family members, made him depressed.
“It was just kind of the icing on the cake that was, like, the middle finger of 2020,” he said.
Mr. Sarafian, 27, who is from Sacramento, went to therapy a month later, but it was not as simple as making a phone call. He had to explain to his parents, including his Vietnamese mother, the reasons he needed extra care.
After a few months of therapy, he said, he “hit a point where it’s looking a lot brighter than ever before.”
Princess François-Estévez, 32, an assistant principal at a Brooklyn high school, was recently planning a bachelorette party and trying to choose a location. She and her friends calculated the cost of airfare and lodging for a party in Antigua and were set to go.
Then they learned that the cost of a coronavirus test at the affordable hotel they had found would be $200 per person.
“You can have a cheaper flight and hotel, but then if the Covid test is so expensive, then you’re like, ‘Does it actually balance itself out?’” she said.
They ended up going to Jamaica, staying at a resort that provided free testing.
It is unclear to what extent American travelers have been deterred by the cost of testing, but a recent survey of 1,200 British adults by YouGov, a research data and analytics group, found that 47 percent named coronavirus testing prices as a main barrier to international travel.
Gerald Kominski, a professor of health policy and management at the University of California, Los Angeles, said there are vast differences in pricing for coronavirus testing, in part, because of a lack of government oversight, which “creates an opportunity for a company to, in some cases, exploit the fact that prices are not regulated.”
In New York City, residents can get a free polymerase chain reaction, or P.C.R. test, at one of the city’s Express Covid-19 testing centers, with results promised within 24 hours or less. P.C.R. tests are considered the gold standard for detecting the virus.
But many clinics offer the tests at a cost in exchange for expedited results.
ProHealth Pharmacy, in Manhattan, charges $100 for a 24- to 48-hour turnaround for a P.C.R. test, or $200 to get results in 15 minutes.
Adams Health Services offers express P.C.R. testing in Terminal One of Kennedy International Airport for $220, with results delivered within a couple of hours.
Clear-19 Rapid Testing, which has a location in Midtown Manhattan and is opening another in Downtown Manhattan, charges $389 to deliver P.C.R. results in two hours, or $175 for a 24-hour turnaround.
In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the use of self-administered “at-home” tests to meet travel requirements.
At-home antigen tests that can be processed within minutes are cheaper but less reliable than P.C.R. tests, which are handled by a laboratory and include amplifying genetic material many times, allowing for detection of even small traces of the virus. Both are accepted for travel to the United States, but some countries require a P.C.R. test for entry.
Allison Brown, 71, who is retired and lives in Portland, Maine, said she and her husband spent $475 on coronavirus tests to enter Scotland and visit their adult children living there.
“If I was just going on a leisure vacation, I wouldn’t go,” said Ms. Brown, “but I want to see my children.”