A drugmaker backed by the company that owns Marlboro cigarettes plans to launch the world's first plant-based COVID-19 vaccine

Health

Yahoo News 13 October, 2021 - 10:30am

The union had said its members would walk off the job if no deal has been reached by 11:59 p.m. The vast majority of the union rejected a contract offer earlier this week that would have delivered 5 percent raises to some workers and 6 percent raises to others.

“The almost one million UAW retirees and active members who stand in solidarity with the striking UAW members at John Deere," UAW President Ray Curry said.

Thirty-five years have passed since the last major Deere strike, but workers were emboldened to demand more this year after working long hours throughout the pandemic and because companies are facing worker shortages.

“Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” said Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department. “We stay committed to bargaining until our members’ goals are achieved.”

Chris Laursen, who works as a painter at Deere, told the Des Moines Register that he thought a strike was imminent and could make a significant difference.

“The whole nation’s going to be watching us,” Laursen said to the newspaper. “If we take a stand here for ourselves, our families, for basic human prosperity, it’s going to make a difference for the whole manufacturing industry. Let’s do it. Let’s not be intimidated.”

Earlier this year, another group of UAW-represented workers went on strike at a Volvo Trucks plant in Virginia and wound up with better pay and lower-cost health benefits after rejecting three tentative contract offers.

The contracts under negotiation covered 14 Deere plants across the United States, including seven in Iowa, four in Illinois and one each in Kansas, Colorado and Georgia.

The contract talks at the Moline, Illinois-based company were unfolding as Deere is expecting to report record profits between $5.7 billion and $5.9 billion this year. The company has been reporting strong sales of its agricultural and construction equipment this year.

The Deere production plants are an important contributors to the economy, so local officials hope any strike will be short-lived.

“We definitely want to see our economy stabilize and grow after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati said to the Quad-Cities Times. “Hopefully, these parties can come to a resolution soon.”

Read full article at Yahoo News

COVID-19's retreat in Oklahoma continues

KOCO 5 News 14 October, 2021 - 09:12am

Oklahoma's COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations in decline, health leaders say

KOCO Oklahoma City 14 October, 2021 - 09:12am

KOCO 5 is learning more about when you and your children can get your first vaccination.

KOCO 5 is learning more about when you and your children can get your first vaccination.

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KOCO 5 is learning more about when you and your children can get your first vaccination.

Although case numbers and hospitalizations are still high in Oklahoma, health leaders say they are dropping fast.

At the same time, KOCO 5 is learning more about when you and your children can get your first vaccination shot.

Just a month ago, there were about 1,500 COVID-19 patients across the state. That was down by half Tuesday, to about 700.

While cases fall across Oklahoma, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still has nearly all of Oklahoma in the "high risk" category. Among our neighbors, the Sooner State still has the second-highest COVID-19 cases behind Colorado, where its outbreak is getting worse.

Health officials believe that even after this wave and even if Oklahoma gets through another one, COVID-19 is likely to be here as a lesser threat for years.

"We do expect this is going to be an endemic at some point," said Dr. Mary Clarke, president of the Oklahoma Medical Association. "Unless we know some new technology, we are not going to be able to stop the virus from mutating into variants that are going to be slightly different from the wild-type and even the delta variant."

With so many wondering about booster shots, and with some people who got the Pfizer vaccine now eligible, an FDA advisory panel is expected to make a decision for people who got the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots.

Health officials hope the decision comes down in the next month to a month and a half.

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OU Chief COVID Officer stresses steady presence of virus in youth populations, potential approval of further booster options

The Oklahoma Daily 14 October, 2021 - 09:12am

The state currently ranks 27th in the U.S. in daily case averages, with 31 cases per 100,000 people, according to the New York Times. The seven-day case average sits at 1,222 cases, which is 56 cases lower than the Oct. 8 1,278 seven-day average.

Although cases remain stagnant, Bratzler said the seven-day average was three cases per 100,000 people on June 7, according to the New York Times. He said Oklahoma’s case average is still ten times higher than it was in June.

Colors beyond bright red — which depict high transmission rates — are returning to Oklahoma’s counties on the CDC COVID Data Tracker. Bratzler said, if cases go down, Oklahomans might experience reduced masking recommendations in some settings.

Nationwide, child COVID-19 cases remain exceptionally high, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as the U.S. experienced over 148,000 new cases in the past week, as of Oct. 11. Bratzler said, last month, children accounted for 25 percent of the nation’s COVID-19 cases

“Children are still at risk and, while they tend to have fewer complications of the disease, they do at times develop long haul symptoms, and some do end up in the hospital,” Bratzler said.

A CDC study conducted on Arizona school systems notes that COVID-19 outbreaks were 3.5 times higher in schools with no masking requirement than those with a mandate. A nationwide study also found that universal mask usage in school environments decreases infectivity by 50 percent. 

Secondary COVID-19 cases — which occur through transmission — were also proven to be reduced by masks, according to a study from the Iowa Department of Health. Exposure rates can be reduced from 26.5 percent to 12.5 percent if both parties wear masks. The 12.5 percent can also be avoided by quarantining, according to the study. 

“I know it's politically charged, but I also know that the data (is) very clear now, and (it) continues to grow that masks are very effective at preventing the transmission of COVID-19,” Bratzler said.

As Oklahomans consider getting COVID-19 booster shots, Bratzler said, “You shouldn’t be surprised that you will need another dose.” Bratzler used the example of the hepatitis vaccine, which required an initial dose, a second dose a month later and the third dose after three months. He said the COVID-19 vaccine is no different. 

“The two doses primed your system, but it's very likely that you'll need a booster to actually enhance protection,” Bratzler said. 

Although the Pfizer booster shot is available to individuals who are 65 and older, 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19 or whose jobs put them at risk of infection, Moderna has yet to receive clearance on its additional shot. The FDA will meet on Thursday and Friday to discuss Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s booster shots.

Drugmaker Merck also requested FDA approval for its antiviral pill to combat COVID-19. Bratzler said, if you tested positive for COVID-19, you could take one pill twice a day for five days. A study conducted by the pharmaceutical company found the pill resulted in a 50 percent decrease in hospitalizations. 

Bratzler said this “sounds very good” but, in the U.S., people would rather have a “magic bullet” to treat someone with when they are infected versus preventing the infection. 

“I simply want to highlight (that) vaccinations of all people, right now, 12 and over, is recommended to prevent the transmission of COVID-19,” Bratzler said. “We know that the vaccines are very effective at preventing the complications of disease. If you get COVID, you have a substantial risk of getting long haul symptoms.” 

As Oklahoma enters its flu season, Bratzler reminded that although influenza death rates are lower than COVID-19 rates, around 36,000 people die each year. He said he attributes lower influenza death rates from 2020 to masking in indoor spaces. He said he is concerned about what the rates will look like this year. 

“COVID is not gone yet. We do still have quite a few people in the hospital with COVID, and if we saw a big outbreak of influenza, it could make it very, very difficult for the hospitals again,” Bratzler said.

Jillian Taylor is a journalism junior and assistant news managing editor at The Daily. Previously, she served as a summer editor-in-chief, news editor, senior culture reporter and senior news reporter.

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More than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers on strike after failed deal with union

KFOR Oklahoma City 14 October, 2021 - 06:21am

The union had said its members would walk off the job if no deal has been reached by 11:59 p.m. The vast majority of the union rejected a contract offer earlier this week that would have delivered 5 percent raises to some workers and 6 percent raises to others.

“The almost one million UAW retirees and active members who stand in solidarity with the striking UAW members at John Deere," UAW President Ray Curry said.

Thirty-five years have passed since the last major Deere strike, but workers were emboldened to demand more this year after working long hours throughout the pandemic and because companies are facing worker shortages.

“Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” said Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department. “We stay committed to bargaining until our members’ goals are achieved.”

Chris Laursen, who works as a painter at Deere, told the Des Moines Register that he thought a strike was imminent and could make a significant difference.

“The whole nation’s going to be watching us,” Laursen said to the newspaper. “If we take a stand here for ourselves, our families, for basic human prosperity, it’s going to make a difference for the whole manufacturing industry. Let’s do it. Let’s not be intimidated.”

Earlier this year, another group of UAW-represented workers went on strike at a Volvo Trucks plant in Virginia and wound up with better pay and lower-cost health benefits after rejecting three tentative contract offers.

The contracts under negotiation covered 14 Deere plants across the United States, including seven in Iowa, four in Illinois and one each in Kansas, Colorado and Georgia.

The contract talks at the Moline, Illinois-based company were unfolding as Deere is expecting to report record profits between $5.7 billion and $5.9 billion this year. The company has been reporting strong sales of its agricultural and construction equipment this year.

The Deere production plants are an important contributors to the economy, so local officials hope any strike will be short-lived.

“We definitely want to see our economy stabilize and grow after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati said to the Quad-Cities Times. “Hopefully, these parties can come to a resolution soon.”

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