Matt Hancock Resigns After COVID Rule Violation; State NC disqualified

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Proof of vaccination requirements could be the key to allowing hard-hit businesses across the United States to fully reopen. However, many companies have been reluctant to require proof of vaccination from customers, as the public and politicians in many places have made it clear that they don’t care about the idea.

In fact, many more states have banned proof of vaccination policies than have smartphone programs that allow people to display their vaccination status digitally.

Hawaii is the only state to impose a version of a vaccination passport, requiring travelers to upload a photo or PDF of their Hawaii vaccination document or take a COVID-19 test before arrival to avoid having to quarantine for 10 days.

In contrast, at least 18 Republican-led states ban the creation of so-called vaccine passports or prohibit public entities from requiring proof of vaccination. Several of them – including Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota and Texas – also prevent most companies from denying service to those who are not vaccinated.

Also in the news:

► AMC Theaters continues to return to business as usual. AMC Stubs A-List, the movie theater chain’s membership program, should be reactivated on July 1 after being suspended in March 2020.

► Bakery-café chain Panera Bread is the latest company to roll out a free ticket for the COVID-19 vaccine. From July 2 to 4, the chain offers free bagels clients vaccinated at participating facilities nationwide – without proof of vaccination.

Even though 40% of Americans said they prefer to work from home full time last month, large companies nationwide are encouraging or requiring that their staff return to the office before Labor Day.

Russia reported its highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths of the year – 619 people – as the country grapples with a sharp rise in infections that has resulted in further restrictions in some areas.

Finland is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases that have been attributed to football fans returning from neighboring Russia, after European Championship games in St. Petersburg.

As the Houston Methodist hospital system remains in national limelight for forcing 153 employees who refused to be vaccinated, dozens of hospitals quietly began to follow Texas hospital’s lead to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for their employees.

Southwest Airlines plans to raise minimum wage to $ 15 an hour for about 7,000 employees, citing the need to attract and retain workers as the airline industry continues to recover from the pandemic.

What we read: American tourists will soon be able to travel to Sweden, as the country plans to reopen its borders with the United States on June 30.

The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 33.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 603,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 181 million cases and over 3.92 million deaths. More than 153 million Americans have been fully immunized – nearly 46% of the population, According to the CDC.

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Deleted gene sequences confirm coronavirus circulated before Wuhan seafood market

The virus that causes COVID-19 is not native to the Wuhan seafood market, a new study confirms the genetic sequences deleted in the early days of the virus.

The footage had been posted on a website maintained by the National Institutes of Health, but was removed for unknown reasons.

Jesse Bloom, who studies viral evolution at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, does not offer an answer to whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus passed directly from animals to humans or was accidentally disclosed from a research laboratory in Wuhan, China in his new report, which has not yet been peer reviewed.

But by studying how viral genes mutate over time, researchers like Bloom can reconstruct their history, determine which cases appeared first, and how the virus changed as it moved through the population.

“These sequences are instructive in understanding the early spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan,” Bloom said. “They’re not transformative, but they fill some really important gaps.”

Bloom knows the removal of the footage will raise public suspicion, but he says there are many reasons a researcher might request that material be taken offline, including the fact that the week the study was published, the Chinese government instituted a requirement that it review all scientific information related to SARS-CoV-2 before publication. Read more.

– Karen Weintraub and Elizabeth Weise

UK Health Minister resigns after breaking coronavirus rules

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has led the country’s response to the coronavirus, resigned on Saturday, a day after apologizing for breaking social distancing rules with an aide he allegedly had an affair with.

Hancock has been under increasing pressure since the tabloid Sun published images showing him with his senior assistant Gina Coladangelo kissing in a Ministry of Health office. The Sun said the CCTV footage was taken from May 6 to 11, days before lockdown rules were relaxed to allow hugs and other physical contact with people outside of its own home.

In a resignation letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Hancock said the government owes it “to the people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we let them down.”

Hancock is the latest in a series of UK officials to be accused of breaking restrictions they have placed on the rest of the population to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Dominic Cummings, who was once a key Johnson collaborator, was accused of undermining the government’s ‘stay home’ message when he drove 250 miles across England to the home of his parents during the spring 2020 lockdown.

Johnson said he was sorry to receive Hancock’s resignation and that he “should step down very proud of what you have accomplished – not only in the fight against the pandemic, but even before COVID-19 brought us down. hit”.

“The last thing I want is my privacy to distract from the purposeful goal that gets us out of this crisis,” Hancock said in his letter. Read more.

– The Associated Press

Massachusetts announces details of million dollar vaccine lottery

The first of five draws for the Massachusetts coronavirus vaccine lottery is scheduled for July 26, state officials said on Friday.

Additional draws for a $ 1 million prize or a $ 300,000 college scholarship will take place on four Mondays after that date through the end of August, according to a statement from Gov. Charlie Baker’s office.

The winners will be announced three days after each draw. The state is using federal coronavirus relief funds to pay the winners.

Residents must be fully immunized before registering, but if they are not immunized by the registration date for a certain draw, they can still complete the immunization and register for subsequent draws. Residents will only need to register once to qualify for all draws after their registration date.

Residents aged 18 and over are eligible for the $ 1 million prizes, while residents aged 12 to 17 are eligible for the scholarships, which take the form of grants through a 529 University Savings Plan. managed by the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority.

The lottery is designed to get more people getting vaccinated, Baker said. Already more than 4 million residents of the state have been fully immunized.

– The Associated Press

Contribution: The Associated Press

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