granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and up, paving the way for mandates in both the public and private sectors. Such mandates are legally allowed and have been upheld in court challenges.

  • College and universities. More than 400 colleges and universities are requiring students to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Almost all are in states that voted for President Biden.
  • Schools. California became the first state to issue a vaccine mandate for all educators and to announce plans to add the Covid-19 vaccine as a requirement to attend school, which could start as early as next fall. Los Angeles already has a vaccine mandate for public school students 12 and older that begins Nov. 21. New York City’s mandate for teachers and staff, which went into effect Oct. 4 after delays due to legal challenges, appears to have prompted thousands of last-minute shots.
  • Hospitals and medical centers. Many hospitals and major health systems are requiring employees to get vaccinated. Mandates for health care workers in California and New York State appear to have compelled thousands of holdouts to receive shots.
  • Indoor activities. New York City requires workers and customers to show proof of at least one dose of the Covid-19 for indoor dining, gyms, entertainment and performances. Starting Nov. 4, Los Angeles will require most people to provide proof of full vaccination to enter a range of indoor businesses, including restaurants, gyms, museums, movie theaters and salons, in one of the nation’s strictest vaccine rules.
  • At the federal level. On Sept. 9, President Biden announced a vaccine mandate for the vast majority of federal workers. This mandate will apply to employees of the executive branch, including the White House and all federal agencies and members of the armed services.
  • In the private sector. Mr. Biden has mandated that all companies with more than 100 workers require vaccination or weekly testing, helping propel new corporate vaccination policies. Some companies, like United Airlines and Tyson Foods, had mandates in place before Mr. Biden’s announcement.
  • “I think a lot of times we are so focused on wanting to get good results that we just have tunnel vision,” she said.

    Ms. Ng lives across from a testing center. Almost daily, she watched a constant stream of people go in for tests, a strategy that many public health experts say is a waste of resources in such a highly vaccinated country.

    “Freedom Day — as our ministers have said — is not the Singapore style,” said Jeremy Lim, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore and an expert on health policy, referring to England’s reopening in the summer. But moving too cautiously over the potential disadvantages of restrictions is a “bad public health” strategy, he said.

    The government should not wait for perfect conditions to reopen, “because the world will never be perfect. It’s so frustrating that the politicians are almost like waiting for better circumstances,” Dr. Lim said.

    Sarah Chan, a deputy director at Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research, said she had a fleeting taste of what normal life was like when she arrived in Italy last month to visit her husband’s family.

    No masks were required outdoors, vaccinated people could gather in groups, and Dr. Chan and her son could bop their heads to music in restaurants. In Singapore, music inside restaurants has been banned based on the notion that it could encourage the spread of the virus.

    Dr. Chan said she was so moved by her time in Italy that she cried.

    “It’s almost normal. You forget what that’s like,” she said. “I really miss that.”

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    From the Heart to Higher Education: The 2021 College Essays on Money

    Despite the loud busking music, arcade lights and swarms of people, it was hard to be distracted from the corner street stall serving steaming cupfuls of tteokbokki — a medley of rice cake and fish cake covered in a concoction of hot sweet sauce. I gulped when I felt my friend tugging on the sleeve of my jacket, anticipating that he wanted to try it. After all, I promised to treat him out if he visited me in Korea over winter break.

    The cups of tteokbokki, garnished with sesame leaves and tempura, was a high-end variant of the street food, nothing like the kind from my childhood. Its price of 3,500 Korean won was also nothing like I recalled, either, simply charged more for being sold on a busy street. If I denied the purchase, I could console my friend and brother by purchasing more substantial meals elsewhere. Or we could spend on overpriced food now to indulge in the immediate gratification of a convenient but ephemeral snack.

    At every seemingly inconsequential expenditure, I weigh the pros and cons of possible purchases as if I held my entire fate in my hands. To be generously hospitable, but recklessly drain the travel allowance we needed to stretch across two weeks? Or to be budgetarily shrewd, but possibly risk being classified as stingy? That is the question, and a calculus I so dearly detest.

    Unable to secure subsequent employment and saddled by alimony complications, there was no room in my dad’s household to be embarrassed by austerity or scraping for crumbs. Ever since I was taught to dilute shampoo with water, I’ve revised my formula to reduce irritation to the eye. Every visit to a fast-food chain included asking for a sheet of discount coupons — the parameters of all future menu choice — and a past receipt containing the code of a completed survey to redeem for a free cheeseburger. Exploiting combinations of multiple promotions to maximize savings at such establishments felt as thrilling as cracking war cryptography, critical for minimizing cash casualties.

    However, while disciplined restriction of expenses may be virtuous in private, at outings, even those amongst friends, spending less — when it comes to status — paradoxically costs more. In Asian family-style eating customs, a dish ordered is typically available to everyone, and the total bill, regardless of what you did or did not consume, is divided evenly. Too ashamed to ask for myself to be excluded from paying for dishes I did not order or partake in, I’ve opted out of invitations to meals altogether. I am wary even of meals where the inviting host has offered to treat everyone, fearful that if I only attended “free meals” I would be pinned as a parasite.

    Although I can now conduct t-tests to extract correlations between multiple variables, calculate marginal propensities to import and assess whether a developing country elsewhere in the world is at risk of becoming stuck in the middle-income trap, my day-to-day decisions still revolve around elementary arithmetic. I feel haunted, cursed by the compulsion to diligently subtract pennies from purchases hoping it will eventually pile up into a mere dollar, as if the slightest misjudgment in a single buy would tip my family’s balance sheet into irrecoverable poverty.

    Will I ever stop stressing over overspending?

    I’m not sure I ever will.

    But I do know this. As I handed over 7,000 won in exchange for two cups of tteokbokki to share amongst the three of us — my friend, my brother and myself — I am reminded that even if we are not swimming in splendor, we can still uphold our dignity through the generosity of sharing. Restricting one’s conscience only around ruminating which roads will lead to riches risks blindness toward rarer wealth: friends and family who do not measure one’s worth based on their net worth. Maybe one day, such rigorous monitoring of financial activity won’t be necessary, but even if not, this is still enough.

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    Capri — First Choice of the Jet Set — Gets First Dibs on Vaccines

    CAPRI, Italy — The ferry docked next to the blue “Capri a Covid Free Island” billboard and the residents and workers disembarked, carrying luggage and antibodies.

    Among them was Mario Petraroli, 37, freshly vaccinated and ready for the grand reopening of the luxurious hotel where he works as director of marketing.

    “The big day,” he said as he rode a funicular up above turquoise waters, terraced gardens dripping with lemons and winding cliff-side footpaths.

    He reached the summit and stepped out onto a glamorous town famous for its Jackie O and J Lo sightings, exorbitantly priced Caprese salads, and reputation as a billionaire’s playground. Everyone around him — the shopkeepers unpacking the Pucci, Gucci and Missoni garments from plastic bags, the bartenders sliding ice into Spritzes, the carpenters hammering finishing touches on the underground Anema e Core Taverna dance club — had been vaccinated.

    Mr. De Luca came to Capri’s famous piazzetta in the center of town to declare Mission Accomplished and to urge tourists to book their vacations on the islands.

    Mr. Petraroli, the hotel marketing director, now crossed the same square, past copper-toned Capri enthusiasts who sipped and smoked, their faces pointed at the sun. He entered a warren of narrow streets, lined with Rolex outlets, brand name boutiques and Hangout, a popular pub in town owned by Simone Aversa.

    Capri Tiberio Palace, which Kylie Jenner repaired to in a recent summer after, workers at the port told him, she felt unwell on her yacht.

    The hotel is named for Tiberius, who ran the Roman Empire from Capri, throwing people off cliffs and training Caligula how to have a good time. Many here call him Capri’s first tourist.

    Mr. Petraroli said modern hedonists were already calling, sending scouts to make sure that the vaccine situation, and vibe, is what they want.

    “The real issue for them is once they are here, do they have something to do,” he said as workers carried an espresso machine and dusted the blinds.

    Upstairs, Mr. Petraroli opened the Suite Bellevue, booked mostly by “sheikhs and sultans and very famous guys.” It leads to a terrace tiled with hand-painted ceramics, topped with a Jacuzzi plunge pool. Mr. Petraroli said the late basketball star Kobe Bryant had such a “special bond with our top suite” that he named his daughter Capri after staying there.

    Outside the room, Alessandro De Simone, 23, dusted crystal decanters filled with cognac and whiskey. Mr. De Simone, who is also vaccinated, said none of his friends back home in Naples had been.

    oldest cooperative of motorboat owners (“All our skippers and staff have been completely vaccinated!” reads their website) sped uninhibited around the island. He navigated through the island’s trademark Faraglione rock formations (“This is where Heidi Klum got married on a yacht”) and by La Fontelina beach club where three sunbathers, their knees bent and gleaming, laid under the cliff.

    He lamented the “hysterical polemics about us getting vaccinated,” arguing that without a hospital, “if there was a cluster here, we had nothing to save our lives.”

    He moored the boat back at the dock where more ferries brought a trickle of tourists, but also returning residents. Dario Portale, a local greengrocer, and his family, were among them.

    The day after getting their shot, the couple left for Milan, in the country’s hard hit region of Lombardy, to introduce their 10-month-old son to his mother. She is 62, works in a post office and is not vaccinated.

    “She’s still waiting,” Mr. Portale said.

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    The State of the Pandemic

    A few months ago, there was widespread talk about the possibility of a “fourth wave” of Covid-19 in the U.S. this spring. Many states were relaxing restrictions, and many Americans, tired of sitting at home, were beginning to expose themselves to greater Covid risk even though they weren’t yet vaccinated.

    Fortunately, however, the fourth wave has not arrived.

    Cases and hospitalizations rose only modestly in late March and early April, and they have since begun falling again. Deaths have not risen in months.

    natural immunity by already having had Covid. The vaccination program expanded rapidly. And even as some Americans behaved recklessly, others continued to wear masks indoors. (Outdoor masks, as regular Morning readers know by now, seem to make little difference in most circumstances).

    by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 13 percent of adults said they would definitely not get a shot; 6 percent said they would do so only if required by their employer, their school or another group; and 15 percent said they were waiting to see how the vaccines affected others.

    (Related: A new Times story focuses on the millions of Americans who say they are open to getting the vaccine but have not yet managed to do so.)

    politically conservative communities, for the most part — are also hesitant about the vaccine. So long as a large number of Americans over 40 remain unvaccinated, Covid deaths are unlikely to fall near zero anytime soon.

    The second major Covid problem is outside the U.S.: Vaccination rates remain extremely low in most of the world, especially in poorer countries.

    Worldwide, there are still some encouraging signs. Global cases have been falling over the past two weeks. Africa and much of Asia continue to report low levels of Covid, for reasons that are not entirely clear. Even in India, the site of a dire outbreak, caseloads have declined slightly in the past few days.

    has been horrific. Cases have also been rising in Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand. Brazil and much of South America are struggling, too. All of these countries serve as reminders that the world remains vulnerable to new waves.

    The biggest Covid issue for the rest of 2021 is probably the speed of vaccinations in lower-income countries. It will determine both the future death toll and the likelihood that dangerous new variants take hold, in all countries. Roughly 90 percent of the world’s population has not yet received a shot.

    Peggy Noonan argues. It will also hurt Republican electoral prospects, says Commentary’s Noah Rothman.

  • Cheney’s focus on Trump’s flaws, rather than on Democrats, puts her out of step with the rest of her party’s leadership, Eliana Johnson counters in Politico.

  • “It is because she is such a partisan, conservative Republican that her dissent is so significant,” New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait has written. But Maureen Dowd argues that Cheney deserves some blame for Republicans’ comfort with lies.

  • where you can find “bulk bins of fish balls, live lobsters brooding in blue tanks, a library of tofu.”

    Dunbar’s number: Can you have more than 150 friends?

    A Times classic: Why songs of the summer sound the same (and you may want to turn up the volume).

    Lives Lived: Pat Bond was a foundational figure in the B.D.S.M. community. Two people showed up for the first meeting of the Eulenspiegel Society, which Bond started in the early 1970s; membership eventually grew to more than a thousand. He died at 94.

    letter-of-recommendation feature. And he explains why you might like them, too. “The check mark is more important than whatever comes of the daily work whose completion you’re marking,” he argues. “The first represents actual living; the second, merely a life.”

    Related: Atul Gawande’s 2007 piece in The New Yorker on the power of checklists. — Claire Moses, a Morning writer

    Here are recipes, including namoura, a syrup-soaked Lebanese cake.

    play online.

    Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Pack of cards (four letters).

    If you’re in the mood to play more, find all our games here.


    Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

    P.S. Nineteen years ago today, Jimmy Carter became the first U.S. president, in or out of office, to visit Cuba since the 1959 revolution. He delivered part of his address in Spanish, The Times reported.

    You can see today’s print front page here.

    Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about Liz Cheney. On “The Argument,” a debate over D.C. statehood.

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    To Vaccinate Younger Teens, States and Cities Look to Schools, Camps, Even Beaches

    Not all teenagers long for the vaccine. Many hate getting shots. Others say that because young people often get milder cases of Covid, why risk a new vaccine?

    Patsy Stinchfield, a nurse practitioner who oversees vaccination for Children’s Minnesota, has stark evidence that some cases in young people can be serious. Not only have more children with Covid been admitted to the hospital recently, but its intensive care unit also has Covid patients who are 13, 15, 16 and 17 years old.

    The F.D.A.’s new authorization means all those patients would be eligible for the shots, she noted. “If you can prevent your child ending up in the I.C.U. with a safe vaccine, why wouldn’t you ?” she said.

    Mr. Quesnel, the East Hartford, Conn., superintendent, said the most powerful message for reaching older adolescents would probably appeal just as much to younger ones. Rather than focusing on the fact that the shot will protect them, he said, they seize on the idea that it will keep them from having to quarantine if they are exposed.

    “They’re not so afraid of the health care dangers from Covid but the social losses that come along with it,” he said, adding that 60 percent of his district’s seniors, or about 300 students, got their first dose at a mass vaccination site run by Community Health Center on April 26. “Some of our greatest leverage right now is that social component — ‘You won’t be quarantined.’”

    Michael Jackson of North Port, Fla., can’t wait for his 14-year-old son, Devin, to get the vaccine. During the past year, he said, his son’s beloved Little League games went on hiatus and the family had to suspend their regular Sunday suppers with grandparents And Devin, an eighth grader, had to quarantine three times after being exposed to Covid.

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    Social Media as ‘Godsend’: In India, Cries for Help Get Results

    NEW DELHI — Rajni Gill woke up with a slight fever in mid-April, the first warning that she had Covid-19. Within a few days, she was breathless and nearly unconscious in a hospital.

    Desperate to arrange plasma treatment for Ms. Gill, a gynecologist in the city of Noida, her family called doctors, friends, anyone they thought could help. Then her sister posted a plea on Facebook: “I am looking for a plasma donor for my sister who is hospitalized in Noida. She is B positive and is 43.”

    The message, quickly amplified on Twitter, flashed across the phone of Srinivas B.V., an opposition politician in nearby Delhi, who was just then securing plasma for a college student. He deputized a volunteer donor to rush to the blood bank for Ms. Gill.

    “The administration and systems have collapsed,” Mr. Srinivas said. “I have never seen so many people dying at the same time.”

    tuk-tuk drivers, who have mobilized online to help the sick, some of them hundreds of miles away. Collectively, they have formed grass-roots networks that are stepping in where state and national governments have failed.

    It is a role that Mr. Srinivas, 38, has played before in times of crisis.

    As the president of the opposition Indian National Congress party’s youth league, he has provided support after natural disasters, including earthquakes and floods. He has worked to get textbooks to underprivileged children and medicine to people who couldn’t afford it.

    India locked down, Mr. Srinivas galvanized young volunteers across the country who distributed food for stranded migrants, along with more than 10 million masks. He now heads a team of 1,000 people, including 100 in Delhi, the center of the current outbreak.

    84-second video explaining his techniques so that others can use them.

    got a lot of attention, given the intense criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the pandemic. (The commission said its appeal had been “misinterpreted, for which we are sorry.”)

    Mr. Srinivas’s volunteers use direct messaging to collect data on people needing help, then classify them by risk profile. They work with people on the ground to arrange hospital beds and plasma donations for the most serious cases. Others are put in touch with doctors who can provide remote consultations.

    Often, the system’s deficiencies are too great to overcome.

    Mahua Ray Chaudhuri frantically tagged Mr. Srinivas looking for oxygen for her sick father. His team found some, but that wasn’t enough: No I.C.U. beds were available.

    “At least I could get him oxygen, and he died breathing,” Ms. Chaudhuri said by telephone, breaking down. “This help from strangers on Twitter was like a balm for our disturbed minds and souls.”

    But Mr. Srinivas’s team was able to get plasma for Ms. Gill, the gynecologist, just in time. She is now recuperating in a hospital on the outskirts of Delhi.

    “I feel choked with emotions,” she said. “Coming out of such a fatal time, I realize I have been helped selflessly by complete strangers.”

    She recently called Mr. Srinivas to thank him. “Though I have never met her, it was a humbling experience hearing her voice,” he said. “I am so relieved she made it.”

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    Lucha Libre, Yoga, Dancing: Welcome to Mexico City’s Vaccination Sites

    MEXICO CITY — Someone in a Charlie Brown costume frantically waves hello. A person dressed as a monkey pretends to take photos with a stuffed camera. An elderly man who just got his second shot of the Pfizer vaccine grabs a microphone and starts singing very loudly.

    “I’m 78, but they tell me I look 75 and a half,” the man said gleefully, the assessment supported by his apparent lung strength as he belted out a ranchera song with abandon.

    In a bid to improve their customer service, vaccination centers in Mexico’s capital now come with a slate of entertainment options, including dancing, yoga, live operatic performances and the chance to watch large, bare-chested Lucha Libre wrestlers do the limbo.

    The goal is to make the process as appealing as possible, said a woman leading a singing and dancing performance for people waiting for a shot at a military parade ground in Mexico City on a recent Wednesday.

    virus in Latin America and the sputtering vaccination efforts in many of its countries. Concerns have been compounded recently by the rapid spread of a virus variant first discovered in Brazil.

    At the vaccination center in Mexico City, women in white shirts led the crowd in various yoga poses that could be done in wheelchairs. Men performed tricks with a surprising number of soccer balls. A professional opera singer congratulated everyone.

    the third highest coronavirus death toll worldwide, where the government resisted imposing strict lockdowns, fearing damage to the economy, and which has not tested widely, arguing it is a waste of money.

    Many believe that the only escape from this nightmare is mass vaccination, but the campaign had been moving glacially. By mid-April, though, the pace has picked up nationally — and after some messiness in the beginning, the nation’s capital has gotten better at efficiently getting shots into arms.

    “We quickly realized that with the strategy we had in place, we couldn’t attend to seniors with the level of service they deserved,” said Eduardo Clark, who helps coordinate the city’s vaccination program.

    Lucha Libre wrestlers, named Gravity, Bandido, Guerrero Olímpico, Hijo de Pirata Morgan and Ciclón Ramírez Jr.

    “It’s a little bit of joy,” Ms. Silva shouted over the live band playing a few feet away, nodding to the beat. “It reanimates what you have inside.”

    With the pandemic closing wrestling arenas, the government has put the Lucha Libre fighters to creative use, enlisting them to enforce mask wearing by pretending to accost people and now this.

    “I’m glad they are here cooperating, in solidarity with people,” said Francisca Rodríguez, whose husband’s wheelchair had momentarily been commandeered by a sweating Ciclón Ramírez Jr.

    Ms. Rodríguez said Mr. López Obrador, had done an “excellent” job of managing the pandemic, though she acknowledged that the president had taken a beating for refusing to vaccinate some workers in private hospitals, who say they’re being made to wait longer than those at public hospitals.

    “There is a media war against President López Obrador right now,” she said, pointedly. “Even American newspapers are attacking the president.”

    As people were vaccinated and filed into the area where they would be observed for adverse reactions, the Lucha Libre wrestlers broke out into a “yes you could!” chant.

    “My children are going to ask me how it was, so I’m going to bring them evidence,” said Luis González, 68, recording the performance on his cellphone.

    When Mr. González’s wife got the coronavirus four months ago, he sat by her side, fanning her with a piece of cardboard to try to make more air available to breathe. After 38 years of marriage, he watched her die in their home, waiting for an ambulance.

    Mr. González sat in the front row long after his observation period had passed, alone, watching the wrestlers dance.

    “You feel the emptiness, especially at night,” he said. “During the days, it’s easier to distract myself.”

    Alejandro Cegarra contributed reporting.

    View Source

    Chloé Zhao and ‘Nomadland’ Win at 2021 Oscars

    LOS ANGELES — A surreal 93rd Academy Awards, a stage show broadcast on television about films mostly distributed on the internet, got underway on Sunday with Regina King, a former Oscar winner and the director of “One Night in Miami,” strutting into a supper-club set.

    “It has been quite a year, and we are still smack dab in the middle of it,” she said, referencing the pandemic and the guilty verdict in the George Floyd murder trial. “Our love of movies helped to get us through.”

    With little more preamble, Oscar statuettes were handed out, with Emerald Fennell, a first-time nominee, winning best original screenplay for “Promising Young Woman,” a startling revenge drama. The last woman to win solo in the category had been Diablo Cody (“Juno”) in 2007.

    “He’s so heavy and so cold,” Fennell said about the gold-plated Oscar statuette in an impromptu speech that revisited one she wrote when she was 10 and loved Zack Morris in the television series “Saved By the Bell.” “They said write a speech. I’m going to be in trouble with Steven Soderbergh,” she said.

    overwhelmingly white and male, but the organization has invited more women and people of color into its ranks following the intense #OscarsSoWhite outcries in 2015 and 2016, when the acting nominees were all white. This year, nine of the 20 acting nominations went to people of color.

    As expected, Daniel Kaluuya was named supporting actor for playing the Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

    “Bro, we out here!” Kaluuya shouted in celebration before growing serious and crediting Hampton (“what a man, what a man”) and ending with the cri de coeur, “When they played divide and conquer, we say unite and ascend.”

    Hollywood wanted the producers of the telecast to pull off an almost-impossible hat trick. First and foremost, they were asked to design a show that prevented the TV ratings from plunging to an alarming low — while celebrating movies that, for the most part, have not connected widely with audiences. The producing team, which included the Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”), also hope to use the telecast to jump-start theatergoing, no small task when most of the world has been out of the box office habit for more than a year. Lastly, the producers needed to integrate live camera feeds from more than 20 locations to comply with coronavirus safety restrictions.

    red carpet had to be radically downsized and the extravagant parties canceled.

    For the first time, the academy nominated two women for best director, recognizing Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland,” a bittersweet meditation on grief and the American dream, and Fennell for “Promising Young Woman,” about the aftermath of a sexual assault. The other nominated directors were David Fincher for “Mank,” a black-and-white love letter to Old Hollywood; Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari,” a semi-autobiographical tale about a Korean-American family; and, in a surprise, Vinterberg for “Another Round.”

    Zhao had already been feted for her “Nomadland” direction by nearly 60 other organizations, including the Directors Guild of America and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. In 93 years of the Academy Awards, only one woman, Kathryn Bigelow, has ever won. (Bigelow was celebrated in 2010 for directing “The Hurt Locker.”) The directing category has also been dominated over the decades by white men, giving the nomination of Zhao, who is Chinese, even greater meaning.

    sharp-elbowed awards campaigners keep whiffing in the end.

    Last year, the company’s best-picture hopes rested on “The Irishman.” It failed to convert even one of its 10 nominations into a win. In 2019, Netflix pushed “Roma.” It won three Oscars, including one for Alfonso Cuarón’s direction, but lost the big prize.

    ending his popular, nine-film “Madea” series in 2019, Perry has focused on making television shows like “Bruh,” “Sistahs” and “The Oval” for BET. He owns a studio in Atlanta.

    The Dolby Theater, which holds more than 3,000 people and has been the home of the Academy Awards since 2001, was not the epicenter of the telecast. This year, with just the nominees and their guests in attendance, an Art Deco, Mission Revival train station in downtown Los Angeles served as the main venue.

    View Source

    Biden Takes On Sagging Safety Net With Plan to Fix Long-Term Care

    President Biden’s $400 billion proposal to improve long-term care for older adults and those with disabilities was received as either a long overdue expansion of the social safety net or an example of misguided government overreach.

    Republicans ridiculed including elder care in a program dedicated to infrastructure. Others derided it as a gift to the Service Employees International Union, which wants to organize care workers. It was also faulted for omitting child care.

    For Ai-jen Poo, co-director of Caring Across Generations, a coalition of advocacy groups working to strengthen the long-term care system, it was an answer to years of hard work.

    “Even though I have been fighting for this for years,” she said, “if you would have told me 10 years ago that the president of the United States would make a speech committing $400 billion to increase access to these services and strengthen this work force, I wouldn’t have believed it would happen.”

    knocking millions of women out of the labor force — or deplete their resources until they qualify for Medicaid.

    Whatever the limits of the Biden proposal, advocates for its main constituencies — those needing care, and those providing it — are solidly behind it. This would be, after all, the biggest expansion of long-term care support since the 1960s.

    “The two big issues, waiting lists and work force, are interrelated,” said Nicole Jorwic, senior director of public policy at the Arc, which promotes the interests of people with disabilities. “We are confident we can turn this in a way that we get over the conflicts that have stopped progress in past.”

    And yet the tussle over resources could reopen past conflicts. For instance, when President Barack Obama proposed extending the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to home care workers, which would cover them with minimum-wage and overtime rules, advocates for beneficiaries and their families objected because they feared that states with budget pressures would cut off services at 40 hours a week.

    “We have a long road ahead of passing this into law and to implementation,” Haeyoung Yoon, senior policy director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said of the Biden proposal. Along the way, she said, supporters must stick together.

    half of adults would need “a high level of personal assistance” at some point, typically for two years, at an average cost of $140,000. Today, some six million people need these sorts of services, a number the group expects to swell to 16 million in less than 50 years.

    In 2019, the National Academy of Social Insurance published a report suggesting statewide insurance programs, paid for by a dedicated tax, to cover a bundle of services, from early child care to family leave and long-term care and support for older adults and the disabled.

    This could be structured in a variety of ways. One option for seniors, a catastrophic insurance plan that would cover expenses up to $110 a day (in 2014 dollars) after a waiting period determined by the beneficiary’s income, could be funded by raising the Medicare tax one percentage point.

    Mr. Biden’s plan doesn’t include much detail. Mr. Gleckman of the Urban Institute notes that it has grown vaguer since Mr. Biden proposed it on the campaign trail — perhaps because he realized the tensions it would raise. In any event, a deeper overhaul of the system may eventually be needed.

    “This is a significant, historic investment,” Mr. Espinoza said. “But when you take into account the magnitude of the crisis in front of us, it’s clear that this is only a first step.”

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    Greg Abbott Speculates Texas Has Herd Immunity

    Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas may have been overly optimistic on Sunday when he said on Fox News that his state could be “very close” to herd immunity — the point where so much of the population is immune to Covid-19, either from being vaccinated or previously infected, that the virus can no longer spread.

    “When you look at the senior population, for example, more than 70 percent of our seniors have received a vaccine shot, more than 50 percent of those who are 50 to 65 have received a vaccine shot,” Mr. Abbott, a Republican, told Chris Wallace. Mr. Wallace had asked why statewide infection, hospitalization and death rates were more under control than in other states, in spite of Texas reopening many activities and eliminating mask mandates.

    The governor added, “I don’t know what herd immunity is, but when you add that to the people who have immunity, it looks like it could be very close to herd immunity.”

    Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said, “There is no way on God’s green earth that Texas is anywhere even close to herd immunity.”

    Michigan has 22 percent and Minnesota has 24 percent.

    Estimates of what it would take to reach herd immunity have edged up since the pandemic began, ranging from requiring immunity in 60 percent to more than 90 percent of the population to halt transmission.

    What the level really is, “We don’t know,” Dr. Osterholm said. “Anybody who will tell you exactly what the level of herd immunity is, is also likely to want to sell you a bridge.”

    He predicted that within a few weeks or a month, Texas and other parts of the U.S. south and west would see rising case rates like the levels now occurring in the Upper Midwest and Northeast.

    the coronavirus variant first identified in Britain and known as B.1.1.7, which is more contagious than the form of the virus that first emerged.

    That variant “surely resets the meter” and makes herd immunity harder to achieve, Dr. Osterholm said. Additional variants could further complicate the forecast.

    “These variants are game changers,” he said. “They really are. It’s really remarkable.”

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