AA Co..: New Vaccine Policy for County Employees, Reimplements Mask Requirement in County-Owned Buildings;

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Annapolis, MD (August 2, 2021) Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced today that effective Monday, September 13, County employees who are not vaccinated will be required to provide a negative COVID test result each week in order to report to work. Additionally, effective Thursday, August 5, all County employees and the general public will be required to wear masks inside all County-owned buildings.

Click here to view the press conference from this morning and click here to download a one-pager.

“I have spoken to many of our department heads and union leaders about this, and while we understand that there will be some resistance, we expect that most of our employees will welcome this news,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said. “We are fully capable of vaccinating everyone who is currently not vaccinated before the fall weather comes, before flu season, before COVID surge season.”

The changes in County policy reflect new guidance and requirements put in place by President Biden and the CDC, as the Delta variant presents new dangers to unvaccinated residents. Under the new County policy, employees who are not vaccinated will need to provide their supervisor with a negative test for COVID on a weekly basis in order to report to work. The County Department of Health’s testing and vaccination clinics are free of charge to employees and additional pop up clinics, conveniently located for county employees, will be available throughout August and September.

“We’ve known that the Delta variant is easier to transmit and causes more severe disease in people who are not vaccinated. In the past few weeks, we learned that vaccinated people can also transmit the Delta variant at higher rates than for other variants,” Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman said. “The vaccines offer strong protection against the Delta variant, but we are seeing more breakthrough infections. The good news is that the vaccines continue to offer a high level of protection against hospitalization and death.”

Last week, the CDC issued updated guidance on masking, noting that areas with substantial or high community transmission - where the daily case rate exceeds 7 per 100,000 people per day - vaccinated individuals should wear masks indoors. After dropping to a case rate as low as 0.7 per 100,000 residents on July 1, Anne Arundel County’s case rate passed 7 on Thursday, July 29, and now stands at 7.6 per 100,000 residents per day.

“The health and welfare of our County workforce is central to our ability to provide programs and services for our residents,” Chief Administrative Officer Matt Power said. “From our libraries and senior centers to our police and paramedics, we need our staff healthy and safe to do their jobs effectively.”

"For the health and safety of our County workforce, this is a needed step," IAFF Local 1563 President Joe Addivinola said. "The new Delta variant shows what we're facing - more contagious, more deadly versions of COVID circulating, presenting a new threat to our employees and their loved ones. If you haven't yet, now's the time to get your shot."

"County Executive Pittman's decision today will protect our workforce and the general public who come into our buildings on a daily basis," Anne Arundel County Council Chairwoman Sarah Lacey said. "We need all of our employees and residents to understand the danger this disease presents, and to get vaccinated as soon as possible, to help us bring an end to this pandemic."
 

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New mask guidelines trigger backlash

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new mask guidance is spurring confusion and backlash as the country tries to respond to the shifting threat of the delta variant.

Many public health experts called the CDC prudent for recommending that even fully vaccinated Americans should wear masks in indoor public places in areas of the country with high amounts of transmission.

 

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Obama's mask-less ball: Ex-president risks super-spreader event by inviting 500 people to his 60th at $12m Martha's Vineyard mansion

  • Former President Barack Obama is planning to celebrate his 60th birthday with nearly 500 guests and 200 staff members on Martha's Vineyard
  • It would be held next weekend outside of his 7,000-square-foot mansion in Edgarton he and Michelle bought for nearly $12 million in 2019
  • All guests will have to be COVID tested and vaccinated
  • There will also be a 'COVID coordinator' on hand to ensure people follow COVID precautions
  • It comes amid a rise in coronavirus cases from the delta variant
  • Last week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recommended that even vaccinated people wear face masks
  • Now, Obama is being criticized online for holding the soiree in a pandemic

 

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Vaccinated people with rare breakthrough cases may spread the virus as much as the unvaccinated, the C.D.C. said, citing a Provincetown, Mass., outbreak.
Friday, July 30, 2021 1:37 PM EST
Even the vaccinated carry high virus levels if they become infected, the agency concluded, making it likely they can transmit the virus as often as the unvaccinated. If so, they may be contributing to increases in new infections — although probably to a far lesser degree than the unvaccinated.

subTitle: The agency cited an outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., in which most of the infected were immunized. An internal C.D.C. document paints an even more harrowing picture.


Note how the subTitle quoted above conflicts with the latter part of the title.
 

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From Pfizer to Moderna: who's making billions from Covid-19 vaccines?

The companies in line for the biggest gains – and the shareholders who have already made fortunes

The arrival of Covid-19 vaccines promises a return to more normal life – and has created a global market worth tens of billions of dollars in annual sales for some pharmaceutical companies.

Among the biggest winners will be Moderna and Pfizer – two very different US pharma firms which are both charging more than $30 per person for the protection of their two-dose vaccines. While Moderna was founded just 11 years ago, has never made a profit and employed just 830 staff pre-pandemic, Pfizer traces its roots back to 1849, made a net profit of $9.6bn last year and employs nearly 80,000 staff.

But other drugmakers, such as the British-Swedish AstraZeneca and the US pharma Johnson & Johnson, have pledged to provide their vaccines on a not-for-profit basis until the pandemic comes to an end.

 

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Unlike Pfizer Inc. PFE, +2.69%, a traditional pharmaceutical company with a wide-ranging portfolio of commercialized medicines that last week received emergency authorization from the FDA for the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with German biotech BioNTech BNTX, +3.61%, Moderna has never had one of its products make it as far along in the regulatory process as mRNA-1273.

The company, which has no FDA-approved or authorized products, has seen its market capitalization increase to about $54.3 billion in recent trading from just $6.6 billion at the end of 2019, according to FactSet data. In comparison, Pfizer’s market cap was $211.1 billion.

 
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