Overnight Health Care: Battle over masks in Florida escalates as two school districts given 48 hours to comply

Overnight Health Care: Battle over masks in Florida escalates as two school districts given 48 hours to comply
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Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. State of play: The city where former President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE is scheduled to hold a rally Saturday has declared a state of emergency because of its rising number of COVID-19 cases.

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Today: The U.S. is keeping the border with Canada and Mexico closed for non-essential travel, Florida is stepping up its threats against school districts that require masks and AstraZeneca has an antibody treatment.


We'll start in Florida:

Florida gives two school districts 48 hours to comply with mask rule or lose funding

Florida is escalating its war against school districts that require masks in defiance of Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisDeSantis proposes civilian Florida State Guard military force he would control Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills MORE's (R) directive against them.

The Florida Board of Education is ordering Alachua and Broward County school districts to comply with an order allowing parents to opt out of local mask mandates, with state officials giving the districts 48 hours to comply before they move to withhold funding.

The state is requesting a list of the annual salaries of all school board members in the counties, and the BOE will then begin withholding 1/12th of that amount each month from the district's funds, as an initial step.

Both Alachua and Broward have instituted mask requirements for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, in defiance of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), whose "Bill of Rights" order has effectively prevented schools from requiring masks.

The state requires public schools to allow for a parent or legal guardian of the student to opt-out of any mask requirements without any reason. Alachua and Broward require doctors' notes.


The state: “It is important to remember that this issue is about ensuring local school board members, elected politicians, follow the law," Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said in a statement. “These are the initial consequences to their intentional refusal to follow state law and state rule to purposefully and willingly violate the rights of parents. This is simply unacceptable behavior."

Federal support for schools: The White House on Friday said Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaHillicon Valley — Immigrants being put in surveillance programs Senate Democrats urge government to do more to protect K-12 schools against hackers Democrats call on Education secretary to address 'stealthing' at federal level MORE has spoken with officials in Broward and Alachua counties, telling them to hold the line, and assuring them that any financial penalties imposed by the state can be addressed using federal funds.

Read more here.


AstraZeneca antibody cocktail considered effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 among the high-risk

AstraZeneca scored a win on Friday as data showed its antibody cocktail is 77 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in high-risk populations.

The research found no one who took AstraZeneca’s combination, called AZD7442, developed severe COVID-19 or died due to the virus. In comparison, three participants who received the placebo endured serious illness, with two fatalities. 

AstraZencea called the treatment, involving the antibodies ixagevimab and cilgavimab, the first “long-acting antibody combination to prevent COVID-19” in a release

Overall, 25 positive coronavirus infections were confirmed in the Provent study involving more than 5,100 patients across sites in the ​​U.S., U.K., Belgium, France and Spain. The participants were unvaccinated at the time and had a negative test. 

Significance: Drug manufacturers have been testing different antibody treatments for COVID-19 to provide a way to help those who may not have adequate vaccine protection, including cancer patients, fight the virus.

“With these exciting results, AZD7442 could be an important tool in our arsenal to help people who may need more than a vaccine to return to their normal lives,” Myron Levin, principal investigator in the study, said in a statement.

What’s next: The study is expected to be sent to a peer-reviewed medical journal to be published, as well as to regulators for an emergency use authorization or conditional approval.

Read more here



Biden administration moves to replace Trump public charge rule

The Biden administration on Friday moved forward to formally replace the Trump administration's public charge rule, which barred many prospective immigrants from using social services.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a request for public comments on a new regulation to define how immigration officers can determine whether green card applicants are likely to become a public charge.

The move is the latest in a series of reforms that the Biden administration has taken to dismantle former President Trump's immigration policies.

Among those policies, DHS under Trump tightened the definition of public charge so that immigration officers could reject applicants who had used, or could potentially use, services like food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers or Medicaid.

The Trump-era policy has not been in place since March, when DHS halted implementation of the rule and the Department of Justice announced it would no longer defend the rule against an array of lawsuits challenging it.

Critics of Trump's public charge rule are pushing the Biden administration to move quickly on its formal replacement, as immigrants continue to shy away from services they could be legally entitled to.


The new rule sought by DHS officials would essentially codify current practice — the public charge process that was in effect before Trump's rule — which DHS returned to after nixing the Trump-era rule in March.

Read more here.


Poll: Majority favor vaccine mandates for certain workplaces, crowded events

A majority of Americans say they favor vaccine requirements for participating in crowded events or airplane travel, in addition to mandates for certain professions.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Friday found that 56 percent of respondents said they were strongly or somewhat in favor of requiring Americans to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend crowded events such as movies or concerts. Twenty-seven percent said they were strongly or somewhat opposed to it.

Just over half of people were in favor of those requirements for going to a restaurant or bar, while 57 percent were in favor of it when it came to airplane travel.


The highest percentage of respondents said that they were in favor of requiring health care and hospital workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19: 62 percent, compared to 19 percent who opposed it.

The poll found that 58 percent of respondents were in favor of requiring people who interact with the public to be fully vaccinated. Over half of those polled were also in favor of requiring members of the military and government workers to be fully vaccinated — 56 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

Read more here


US extending travel restrictions with Mexico, Canada

The U.S. is extending the nonessential closure of its borders with Canada and Mexico to at least Sept. 21 due to the delta variant of the coronavirus, the Department of Homeland Security announced Friday.

"In coordination with public health and medical experts, DHS continues working closely with its partners across the United States and internationally to determine how to safely and sustainably resume normal travel," the agency tweeted.

The extraordinary closures have been extended monthly since they were put in place at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. 

Canada began letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into the country on Aug. 9, but Canadians still can't travel into the U.S. unless it is for an essential purpose.

Read more here.


What we’re reading

School or ‘Russian roulette’? amid delta variant and lax mask rules, some parents see no difference (Kaiser Health News)

Biden team tries to get ahead of the virus — and maybe the science — with decision on booster shots (The Washington Post)

Long-term care facilities are using the pandemic as a shield, even in lawsuits unrelated to covid-19 (Washington Post)


State by state

Orlando urges reduced water usage as liquid oxygen used to purify water goes to COVID patients (Orlando Sentinel)

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blames Democrats for low vaccinations among Black residents, but more white Texans are unvaccinated (Texas Tribune)

Most of Chicago aldermen report being vaccinated as city’s COVID-19 cases keep rising (WBEZ)