(Bloomberg) -- Nearly a third of New York Police Department cops -- 10,000 people -- are unvaccinated, with a deadline to get a first dose by Friday. The city said it will temporarily outlaw days off for sanitation workers ahead of anticipated employee shortages stemming from a vaccine requirement that goes into effect next week. 

Florida sued the Biden administration over vaccine mandates for federal contractors, the latest in a wave of Republican pushback against the president’s orders to fight the pandemic. Missouri joined states barring the mandates’ enforcement. 

Citigroup Inc. will require all U.S. employees be vaccinated as a condition of their employment. 

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: Cases top 245.3 million; deaths surpass 4.97 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 6.96 billion shots given
  • Philadelphia recruits Black doctors to boost Covid vaccine rate
  • The best and worst places to be as reopening picks up: Resilience Ranking
  • Maori slam New Zealand’s plan to open up at 90% vaccination rate
  • Fortress Australia reopens for some travelers after 19 months

Missouri Fights U.S. Vaccine Mandate (4:41 p.m. NY)

Missouri joined several Republican-led states in opposing President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, calling it unconstitutional and barring state enforcement against businesses or individuals who refuse. 

“The Biden administration’s vaccine mandates undermine and deny Missourians’ their right to make personal health decisions and to speak through their elected representatives,” Governor Mike Parson said in press statement. He issued an executive order defying the mandates and has pledged to challenge them in court. 

Biden Rule Could Make Workers Pay for Testing (4:29 p.m. NY)

The Biden administration’s highly anticipated vaccine mandate rule for private-sector employers will allow businesses to force workers who refuse to get the Covid-19 shot to pay for required weekly tests and masks, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The emergency rule, which will apply to companies with at least 100 employees and is expected to be released next week, will give employers the option of paying for testing and masks for unvaccinated workers or compelling those employees to foot the bill themselves, according to the sources, who requested anonymity because they didn’t have approval to discuss the rulemaking.

Fifth in Wyoming’s Prisons Had Covid (4:13 p.m. NY)

About a fifth of Wyoming’s state prison population has now contracted Covid-19, the Casper-Star Tribune reported. Half those cases were asymptomatic but about 65% of people testing positive are fully vaccinated, the newspaper reported, citing the state Department of Corrections. Prisons cases hit a record earlier this month, with 222 people testing positive in one week. 

Wyoming is facing one of the U.S. worst outbreaks, as the delta variant continues its spread through the northwest. The state also has one lowest rates of vaccination, with 50.6% of people receiving at least one dose compared with the U.S. average of 66.5%, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. 

NYC Has 10,000 Unvaccinated Cops (3:40 p.m. NY)

Nearly a third of New York Police Department cops are unvaccinated against Covid-19 ahead of the city’s Friday deadline.

The Police Benevolent Association, which represents 24,000 cops in the most populous U.S. city, said 10,000 of the roughly 35,000 uniformed NYPD officers have not gotten the shot. Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio eliminated the test-out option and said all city employees must receive their first vaccine dose by Oct. 29 or face unpaid leave. 

The union is fighting the mandate in court, but a judge has refused to block it in the meantime. It’s not clear what effect the drop in staff will have on the operations of the nation’s largest police force, but de Blasio on Thursday sought to assure New Yorkers they will be safe. 

Citi Requires Vaccines for All U.S. Workers (1:02 p.m. NY)

Citigroup Inc. will require all U.S. employees be vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of their employment, citing new orders from President Joe Biden. 

The Wall Street giant asked staffers to submit proof of vaccination by Dec. 8, and said those who comply will receive $200 as a “thank you,” according to a memo to staff Thursday seen by Bloomberg News. Citigroup set Jan. 14 as the final cut-off for workers to upload vaccine cards, to give unvaccinated staff more time to get shots.

Citigroup told employees in August that anyone returning to offices in the New York area and other major U.S. cities would have to be vaccinated. The new policy expands that requirement to all workers in the U.S. 

U.K. Removes All Countries From Red List (12:20 p.m. NY)

The U.K. removed all seven remaining countries from its Covid-19 red list, effectively ending a mandatory hotel quarantine requirement for any arriving travelers.

The highest-risk category will remain in place to protect public health, and U.K. officials are prepared to add countries back if necessary, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Thursday on Twitter. 

The seven countries -- Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Haiti, Panama, Ecuador and Peru, will be removed on Nov. 1, Shapps said.

Florida Sues U.S. Over Vaccine Mandates (12:15 p.m. NY)

Florida sued the Biden administration over vaccine mandates for federal contractors, the latest in a wave of Republican pushback against the president’s orders to fight the pandemic.

In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday in Tampa, the state called vaccination requirements for government contractors a “radical intrusion on the personal autonomy of American workers.” It alleges that the administration issued the mandate based on a law that doesn’t give it such power.

Among the defendants is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, which has a large presence in the state through the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island. 

Vaccination Doesn’t Stop Spread (12 p.m. NY)

People inoculated against Covid-19 are just as likely to spread the delta variant of the virus to contacts in their household as those who haven’t had shots, according to new research.

In a yearlong study of 621 people in the U.K. with mild Covid-19, scientists found that their peak viral load was similar regardless of vaccination status, according to a paper published Thursday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal. The analysis also found that 25% of vaccinated household contacts still contracted the disease from an index case, while 38% of those who hadn’t had shots became infected.

NYC Bans Time Off for Sanitation Workers (11:49 a.m. NY)

New York City said it will temporarily outlaw days off for sanitation workers as needed ahead of anticipated employee shortages stemming from a vaccine mandate that goes into effect next week.

The sanitation department also will require Sunday shifts and move to a 12-hour schedule for workers to “create additional capacity,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a briefing Thursday.

The city last week said it would require all municipal workers to be vaccinated by 5 p.m. Friday and eliminate a test-out option. Those who aren’t vaccinated will be put on unpaid leave. So far, 67% of sanitation workers are vaccinated.

Singapore Cases Fall From Record (11:35 a.m. NY)

Singapore recorded a total of 3,432 new cases as of noon on Oct. 28, including nine imported infections, down from the record number of 5,324 on the day before, according to the Ministry of Health. 

WHO Says G-20 Faces Test on Vaccines (11:25 a.m. NY)

Some 82 countries at risk of not being able to vaccinate at least 40% of their population by the end of this year -- a goal the World Health Organization has set -- only because of a lack of supply, WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward said.

Those 82 countries only need an additional 550 million doses to hit that target. Between now and the end of 2021, about 3 billion doses of vaccine will be manufactured, he added.

“The big question to the G-20 is, are they going to say, ‘here’s where those 550 million doses are going to come from’ because those 20 countries control the global vaccine supply,” Aylward said at a briefing on Thursday. “This is a very solvable problem. The numbers are not daunting. It’s an issue of the will and the manufacturers cooperating to make sure doses go where they’re needed.”

U.S. Buys More Kids’ Doses (11:19 a.m. NY)

The U.S. government has purchased an additional 50 million doses of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine in a push to secure supply for kids, the companies said in a statement on Thursday. All the doses will be delivered by April 30, 2022.

To date, the U.S. has cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those 12 and older. The Food and Drug Administration is poised to clear the shot at a lower dose for those ages 5 through 11 imminently, paving the way for a pediatric vaccination campaign in early November. The latest supply agreement includes doses for children under 5, who are not yet eligible for vaccination. Pfizer and BioNTech aim to read out data on the cohort before the end of the year.

Merck’s Antiviral Drug Plans (9:11 a.m. NY)

Merck & Co. is planning to make at least 20 million treatment courses of its Covid-19 antiviral next year, on top of 10 million it expects to make by the end of 2021. The company and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP are seeking U.S. authorization of molnupiravir.

Molnupiravir has become one of the most highly anticipated coronavirus medications, as the pill is relatively cheap to make and easy to transport. Merck said the treatment could bring in as much as $7 billion in global sales through 2022, including as much as $1 billion in revenue this year if it’s authorized in December.

Hungary Allows Vaccine Mandates (5:27 p.m. HK)

Hungary will allow companies to enforce Covid vaccines on staff as a condition of employment, as the number of cases surges and the vaccination program stalls. The government will also demand that public-sector workers receive a shot, while compulsory mask-wearing will be re-introduced on public transport from next week.

Israel Needs More Shots, Tourist Safeguards (5 p.m. HK)

Israel must do more to break down vaccine resistance and implement tougher safeguards as foreign tourists start returning next month, or risk a fifth Covid wave, public health experts are warning. 

“What we did last time was open and then we were passive and did almost nothing  -- no enforcement, no good genetic surveillance -- and gradually we lost control,” said Nadav Davidovitch, head of Ben-Gurion University’s School of Public Health and a member of the expert panel advising the Israeli government. 

Tourists tentatively are to start returning on Monday, pending final government approval, but guidelines the government has released so far apply only to vaccination and testing requirements. 

Germany Urges Elderly to Get Boosters (2:58 p.m. HK)

Germany needs to press ahead with providing booster shots to the elderly to prevent more sickness and deaths amid a new surge in cases, according to the head of the country’s vaccine commission.

“It certainly won’t be as dramatic as the start of the pandemic, because the protection from vaccination won’t disappear from one day to the next,” Thomas Mertens, the chairman of the government’s standing committee on vaccination, said on DLF radio.

Germany recorded more than 28,000 new cases on Wednesday, the biggest daily increase since April. Deaths exceeded 100 for a third straight day, taking the total to 95,485. Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that she’s concerned about the latest surge and its potential to overload the nation’s hospitals.


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