9 employees of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office have died of COVID

November 10, 2021
9 employees of the Broward County Sheriff's Office have died of COVID
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A bell solemnly tolled nine times in Broward County, Florida, at a memorial service Tuesday for sheriff’s department employees who died from the coronavirus.

Sheriff Gregory Tony was flanked by an honor guard as American flags were placed in the hands of the victims’ relatives.

“We didn’t lose one, two, three – we lost nine,” the sheriff said.

Tony said more than half the the department’s 5,600 employees have been exposed, and 32% – 1,800 employees – have contracted the disease that has killed more than 60,000 Floridians and more than 750,000 Americans.

The county does not require employees to be vaccinated, but offers a $500 bonus for those who provide proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated employees face a biweekly surcharge of $20 toward the additional cost of health insurance as well as weekly COVID testing. 

Tony didn’t mention vaccines, but he urged the memorial crowd of several hundred that the pandemic is not over and to remain vigilant.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has banned vaccine mandates and has called a special legislative session for next week to tighten rules against requiring vaccines and masks.

“We must protect the jobs of Floridians and preserve the ability of Floridians to make their own decisions regarding what shots to take,” he said last month.

Also in the news:

►Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that given the widespread availability of vaccines and improved treatment against COVID-19, there “should be no need for remote or hybrid learning.”

►The NFL fined Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers for violating COVID-19 protocols. The league conducted a review of Rodgers’ and the Packers’ activities related to protocol after the quarterback tested positive for COVID last week.

📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 46.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 757,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 251 million cases and 5 million deaths. More than 194.1 million Americans – 58.5% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘 What we’re reading: Are you vaxxed? Some families face fraught divide over jabs.

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.

Pfizer CEO labels those who spread vaccine misinformation as ‘criminals’

“Professionals” who purposely spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines are criminals, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla says. In an interview with the Atlantic Council think tank, Bourla said the world has become divided into two groups: those who are vaccinated and those who are not. Both groups, he said, are driven by fear – vaccinated people are afraid of contracting COVID-19 and unvaccinated people are “skeptical” of the vaccine and “mad that people are pressing them to get it. Those I understand. They are very good people, decent people.”

But Bourla has less empathy or understanding for what he said are the “small” number of people who have knowingly circulated misinformation. Those people can’t be qualified just bad people, he said, adding: “They are criminals. They have literally cost millions of lives.”

The interview was live-streamed online and the replay is available to watch here.

3,158 people claimed damages from COVID treatment. None got paid.

More than 3,100 claims alleging injuries from COVID-19 vaccines and treatments have been filed with the federal Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program during the pandemic. Of the 3,158 claims, 1,357 allege injuries or deaths from the COVID-19 vaccine. So far, none of the claims have been paid, and only two vaccine cases have been rejected. Just one COVID-19 claim has been deemed eligible for compensation, but program staffers are reviewing allowable expenses. That leaves more than 3,000 cases still under review. Read more here.

“We work to process claims as expeditiously as possible,” said Christy Choi, a spokeswoman for the Health Resources and Services Administration, which runs the compensation program. “About 90% of claims are awaiting medical records for review.”

Ken Alltucker

Fox News viewers more likely to believe misinformation, study says

People who trust Fox News Channel and other media outlets that appeal to conservatives are more likely to believe misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines than those who primarily go elsewhere for news, a study has found. Viewers who trust information from CNN, MSNBC, NPR, network news and local TV news were less likely to be misled, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation study released this week. But the study took no stand on whether the coverage was responsible for viewer beliefs.

“It may be because the people who are self-selecting these organizations believe (the misinformation) going in,” said Liz Hamel, vice president and director of public opinion and survey research at Kaiser.

San Francisco police officer dies while on leave after failing to get vaccinated

A police officer who was placed on leave for missing San Francisco’s deadline to be inoculated has died after being stricken by COVID-19, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Officer Jack Nyce, 46, tested positive on Nov. 2 and died Saturday at a hospital in Manteca, his wife, Melissa Nyce, told the newspaper. The Chronicle said Melissa Nyce declined to say whether her husband was vaccinated. However, the vice president of the Police Officers Association, Lt. Tracy McCray, said Jack Nyce was on a 30-day stint of paid administrative leave because he had not received the vaccination required by the city.

The Police Department said last week that as many as 70 sworn and civilian workers had been placed on leave for not meeting a Nov. 1 vaccination deadline. As of Nov. 2, 97.5% of department employees were fully vaccinated.

Honesty is best: Tips for talking to your children about getting vaccinated

If you’re taking your child to get vaccinated against COVID-19, experts say there are approaches that can make it easier for you both you and your child. It starts with maybe the oldest rule in the book: Honesty is the best policy. Adam Keating, a general pediatrician with Cleveland Clinic Children’s, told USA TODAY that parents can form a “strategy” to talk about the COVID-19 vaccine – and vaccines in general – with their children.  

“Anytime you’re doing a vaccine with a kid, it’s worth having a conversation beforehand and a strategy before they get the vaccine,” Keating said.  

“In general, my preference is that this is a conversation that the kid has time to prepare for beforehand, and they don’t learn about it 30 seconds before it happens,” he said. “That doesn’t give the kid control over the vaccine. And so much of the worry and the pain that happens with vaccines is about the lack of control and the lack of time to prepare.”   Read more here.

– Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY

GOP wants Kansas to move against vaccine mandates this month

Republican lawmakers in Kansas are pushing to enact new state laws before Thanksgiving to protect workers financially if they refuse to comply with federal mandates to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Top GOP legislative leaders called Tuesday for lawmakers to have a special session to consider proposals making it easier for workers to claim religious exemptions from vaccine mandates and providing unemployment benefits to workers who are fired for refusing to get inoculated. Both proposals emerged from a legislative committee meeting Tuesday and come in response to vaccine mandates announced in September by President Joe Biden.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly last week went public with her opposition to the Democratic president’s mandates, but she also said she didn’t think a special session is warranted. Lawmakers can force one if two-thirds of them sign a petition, and Republicans have big enough majorities. Lawmakers adjourned for the year in May and aren’t scheduled to reconvene until January.

NFL clarifies COVID protocols after Aaron Rodgers ordeal

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to modifications to the COVID-19 protocols and informed teams in a memo, but there were no changes to the requirements about mask use for unvaccinated players. Instead, the memo included a reminder that such players are required to adhere to those requirements in all cases inside of facilities.

“Clubs are reminded that any individual who is not fully vaccinated is required to wear a mask at all times when inside the club facility. This includes while giving media interviews or participating in media briefings conducted indoors either at the club facility or at the stadium on game day,” the memo read.

It added: “Individuals who are not fully vaccinated may conduct media interviews outdoors or in the practice bubble without wearing a mask, provided that physical distancing is maintained at all times.”

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ lack of mask use at news conferences made this a renewed topic of scrutiny last week after he tested positive for COVID-19.

– Mike Jones, USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press

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