Canada surpasses the U.S. vaccination rate, after lagging for months.

Health

The New York Times 18 July, 2021 - 08:58am 19 views

Is there a bomb threat on Mackinac Bridge?

The iconic Mackinac Bridge in northern Michigan was closed for several hours Sunday after law enforcement received a bomb threat, officials said. According to the Mackinac Bridge Authority, the bridge was closed at approximately 2:15 p.m. after authorities learned of a bomb threat involving the bridge. NBC ChicagoMackinac Bridge Reopens After Closure Due to Bomb Threat, Michigan Officials Say

Over 49 percent of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, and 70 percent had received at least one dose as of Saturday, according to the most recent figures available through the Our World in Data project.

The United States now trails Canada by about one percentage point among the fully vaccinated, who account for over 48 percent of its population, while only 55.5 percent have received at least one dose.

The European Union has also been catching up to the United States after lagging far behind until recently, with 55.7 percent of its citizens at least partly vaccinated. The E.U. still lags in its fully vaccinated rate, at under 43 percent.

As vaccinations even out in many Western countries, wealthy nations are leaving the rest of the world far behind. Only about 1 percent of people in low-income countries are even partly vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.

After steady growth through the winter and spring, the pace of U.S. vaccinations has remained relatively flat. President Biden, in a renewed push, called last week for employers to set up clinics at work and to offer paid time off for workers.

Vaccinations have plateaued in the United States as concerns have grown over the spread of the highly contagious Delta virus variant. After a sharp drop in virus cases, the average number of new daily cases across the United States seems to have leveled off, though they remain a fraction of their peak. Outbreaks have erupted in some parts of Texas, Arkansas and Missouri.

Canada’s vaccine uptick could be welcome news for travelers on both sides of the border. On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signaled that the country could be ready to accept fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents across its border for nonessential travel as of mid-August, according to a readout of his call with provincial leaders.

Mr. Trudeau also said Canada could open to fully vaccinated travelers across the world by early September if conditions continue to improve.

Canada’s vaccination rate has revved up after supply disruptions marred the early rollout, leading to a drop in poll-based public approval ratings for Mr. Trudeau in February.

After an early start, production issues at Pfizer and Moderna led to reduced shipments in winter — including some weeks in which no vaccine doses arrived at all.

Experts said that Canada’s start was always going to be sluggish because of several key factors, notably its decision last year to spread its 414 million orders among seven different companies to reduce risk rather than bet on a single vaccine in exchange for early delivery.

And Canada faced inherent disadvantages, too: primarily the lack of an established vaccine producer with headquarters in the country and its relatively limited production capacity to make the vaccines developed by foreign companies.

Canada’s northern Yukon and Northwest Territories are leading the country with the highest proportion of fully vaccinated residents, at over 59 percent, with two Atlantic provinces, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, lagging behind the others at about 30 percent, according to data from Canada’s public health agency.

On Sunday, the surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, reiterated warnings that false stories about the vaccines had become a dangerous health hazard. “These platforms have to recognize they’ve played a major role in the increase in speed and scale with which misinformation is spreading,” Mr. Murthy said on the CNN program “State of the Union.”

In a blog post on Saturday, Facebook called on the administration to stop “finger-pointing” and laid out what it had done to encourage users to get vaccinated. The social network also detailed how it had clamped down on lies about the vaccines, which officials have said led people to refuse to be vaccinated.

“The Biden administration has chosen to blame a handful of American social media companies,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said in the post. “The fact is that vaccine acceptance among Facebook users in the U.S. has increased.”

Mr. Rosen said that the company’s data showed that 85 percent of its U.S. users had been or wanted to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The country fell short of meeting President Biden’s target of having 70 percent of American adults vaccinated by July 4, but, Mr. Rosen said, “Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed.”

Mr. Biden had forcefully condemned Facebook on Friday. Asked about the role of social media in influencing vaccinations, Mr. Biden declared in unusually strong language that the platforms were “killing people.”

“Look,” he added, “the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that — and they’re killing people.”

Misinformation and conspiracy theories about Covid treatments and vaccines is rampant across the world. Although misinformation most likely plays a role in some people’s choice not to get vaccinated, those decisions are complex and difficult to quantify.

Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform, and its reach is profound. In the United States, Pew surveys show that seven out of 10 adults use the platform.

On Sunday morning, Mr. Murthy also responded to accusations by a Facebook official who spoke anonymously to CNN, saying the administration was “looking for scapegoats for missing their vaccine goals.”

The company official told CNN ahead of Mr. Murthy’s appearance on the news network that in private conversations, Mr. Murthy has “praised our work” while publicly criticizing the company.

“I’ve been very consistent in what I’ve said to the technology companies,” Mr. Murthy said on CNN on Sunday morning. “When we see steps that are good, we should acknowledge those,” he said, adding: “But what I’ve also said is that it’s not enough. We are still seeing a proliferation of misinformation online.”

There is no such thing as zero risk, and that we all agree. At the same time, the mingling and crossing of population is incredibly limited, incredibly limited. And we can ensure that transmission between the various groups is almost impossible. I’m qualifying almost. [The] screening program, since 1st of July has already delivered more than 30,000 results. So that’s how diligent we are in terms of monitoring the population which is here, and will continue to do so. This is probably the most controlled population at this point in time, anywhere in the world. We want to be really impeccable games participants and that is something we are relaying constantly. And we do that to achieve these goals of safe games for participants, safe games for the Japanese population.

The teenage American tennis star Coco Gauff said Sunday that she had tested positive for the coronavirus and would not be competing in the Tokyo Olympics. Her withdrawal was the latest sign that the pandemic would disrupt the Games with the opening ceremony just days away and the virus continuing to infect athletes and others involved.

“I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for Covid and won’t be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Gauff, 17, wrote on Twitter. “It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future.”

🙏🏾❤️🤍💙 pic.twitter.com/lT0LoEV3eO

Gauff was supposed to lead an American team of 12 players. Serena Williams, another American star, had already said she would not be at the Games, because of restrictions that would prevent her from traveling with her 3-year-old daughter.

It is unclear whether Gauff was vaccinated, but her busy tour schedule would have made getting jabbed a challenge. Covid vaccines were approved in December for people ages 16 and over in the European Union and the United States. In Britain they are approved only for ages 18 and over.

Public opinion polls in Japan have shown tepid support for going ahead with the Games, which were already postponed by a year, and a nationwide surge in cases has cast a further pall over the event. After barring international spectators in March, organizers said this month that domestic spectators would be barred as well.

Anxiety over the Olympics has intensified as the highly contagious Delta virus variant has been spreading in Asia. The variant is driving new outbreaks in places where transmission was once kept relatively low, but where the pace of vaccination has lagged, like Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia. That has led to everyday activities again being restricted in countries around the region, just as they were in the anxious, early days of the pandemic.

Organizers reported more than two dozen positive coronavirus tests this weekend among people who have traveled to Japan for the event, including the first cases inside the athletes’ village.

On Saturday, officials reported the first positive test — for an organizer — inside the village, where thousands of people will be staying. On Sunday, they reported that two athletes had tested positive inside the village. A third athlete tested positive while in quarantine. Other cases were reported outside the village this weekend, involving officials, contractors and members of the news media.

In a statement on Sunday, the South African Football Association confirmed that three people associated with the men’s Olympic soccer team had tested positive: one official and two players, Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi. It was unclear whether those were the cases reported by Olympic officials, who did not disclose any names or nationalities.

In addition, the British Olympics Association confirmed on Sunday that six British track and field athletes and two staff members are in quarantine at the team’s preparation camp after being identified as close contacts of an individual who tested positive on their flight to Japan. “The group all tested negative at the airport and have continued to test negative upon arrival into the country,” the association said.

Olympic officials defended their safety protocols on Sunday, saying a strict testing regimen minimized the risk of outbreaks. At a news conference, Pierre Ducrey, operations director for the Olympic Games, said that since July 1, more than 18,000 participants had arrived in Japan from overseas and more than 30,000 tests had been conducted.

“This is probably the most controlled population at this point in time anywhere in the world,” he said.

Tokyo is now under its fourth state of emergency since the pandemic began, with this one set to last until after the Games end on Aug. 8. The city is seeing its highest case numbers in months, reporting more than 1,000 new cases for a fifth consecutive day on Sunday.

New precautionary measures continue to be announced in the days leading up to the Games. They include changes to the medal ceremony, announced last week, that require athletes to place their gold, silver or bronze medals around their own necks rather than accept them from presenters.

The podium will also be larger this year to ensure social distancing among medalists. Olympic officials had previously announced that masks would be mandatory for both medalists and presenters.

Some athletes have decided to stay away from the Games. They include two Australians: the tennis player Nick Kyrgios, who cited misgivings about the lack of spectators, and the basketball player Liz Cambage, who said she worried about the effect that being confined to the Olympic “bubble” would have on her mental health.

The abrupt reversal by Mr. Johnson and Mr. Sunak, Britain’s top two government officials, came after a swift and ferocious public backlash over their initial plans enter a special N.H.S. program that would have allowed them to continue to work in the office with daily testing.

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Sunak were notified, or “pinged,” by the National Health Service after face-to-face meetings with the health secretary, Sajid Javid, who said on Saturday that he had tested positive and had mild symptoms of Covid-19.

The news of the testing arrangement brought immediate criticism, with some pointing out that it was only the latest example of senior officials playing by different rules. “How about the school teachers, transport workers and health workers getting a chance to be part of this test pilot or is it only for the privileged few?” Ed Davey, leader of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, posted on Twitter.

By 11 a.m. in London, three hours after the original statement, both men had backed off.

The prime minister was at his country residence, Chequers, when he was notified by the N.H.S. and will now stay there. “He will not be taking part in the pilot program,” a spokesman said in a statement.

Mr. Sunak said on Twitter that “whilst the test and trace pilot is fairly restrictive, allowing only essential government business, I recognise that even the sense that the rules aren’t the same for everyone is wrong.”

The situation has raised further questions about the government’s plan to lift restrictions on Monday, even as cases have surged to more than 50,000 a day, largely because of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The county’s daily average of new cases has more than doubled in each of the past two weeks, reaching almost 1,400 as of Saturday, and Covid hospitalizations are up by 27 percent, according to a New York Times database. Still, the numbers are far smaller than during the county’s winter peak, and daily deaths have remained in the single digits.

“When you look back at the last seven days obviously a whole lot has changed,” Hilda Solis, the chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, said on Sunday on the ABC program “This Week.” Ms. Solis called the past week’s increase in coronavirus cases — from an average of 761 to 1,389 — “very disturbing.”

“I am not pleased that we have to go back to using the mask in this manner, but it’s going to save lives,” she said.

Under the new mandate, both unvaccinated and vaccinated people will be required to wear masks. Including vaccinated people, Ms. Solis said, was “not punishment, it’s prevention.”

The mask requirement was reintroduced, according to the county health department, because the area’s surge of the highly infectious Delta variant presents risks that earlier versions of the virus did not.

“People with only one vaccine are not as well protected, and there is evidence that a very small number of fully vaccinated individuals can become infected and may be able to infect others,” the department said in a statement on Thursday.

County public health officials had been urging residents for weeks to wear masks indoors as the Delta variant spread in the state, as it is doing across the country.

But with California fully reopened and pandemic restrictions lifted, it remains unclear how willing the public will be to pick up their masks again.

On Sunday morning in Beverly Hills, hospitality workers were faced with the challenge of reinforcing the masking mandate as people streamed into cafes, patisseries and brunch spots — some compliant, but others oblivious or even resistant.

“We’re prepared; we have extra masks,” said Emmi Perez, 19, a barista at Starbucks. But a lot of people, she added, had refused to put them on, claiming they were either vaccinated or simply did not want to wear one. “We did get in a couple of arguments already,” she said.

Wherever they lie, as Covid-19 steals their breath away, their families engage in a frantic, daily hunt for scarce supplies of life-giving oxygen.

Indonesia has become the new epicenter of the pandemic, surpassing India and Brazil to become the country with the world’s highest known count of new infections. ​ The surge is part of a wave across Southeast Asia, where vaccination rates are low but countries had until recently contained the virus relatively well​. Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand are also facing their largest outbreaks yet and have imposed new restrictions, including lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.

In Indonesia, cases and deaths have skyrocketed in the past month as the highly contagious Delta variant sweeps through densely populated Java island, as well as Bali. In some regions, the coronavirus has pushed the medical system past its limits, though hospitals are taking emergency steps to expand capacity.

Bekasi Regional Public Hospital, where some Covid patients have waited days for treatment, has erected large tents on its grounds, with beds for up to 150 people. Nearby in Jakarta, the capital, a long line of people waited for hours outside a small dispensary, hoping to fill their portable tanks with oxygen.

Among them was Nyimas Siti Nadia, 28, who had been searching for oxygen for her aunt’s family, all sick with Covid.

“She is a doctor and she is afraid to go to a hospital because she knows the situation,” Ms. Nyimas said. “There are many instances where patients do not get beds or oxygen.”

On Thursday, the Indonesian authorities reported nearly 57,000 new cases, the highest daily total yet. On Friday, they reported a record 1,205 deaths, bringing the country’s official toll from the pandemic to more than 71,000. But some health experts say those figures vastly understate the situation.

The one-paragraph decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit was filed at 11:50 p.m. Saturday, just minutes before a Tampa judge’s previous ruling on restrictions set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was set to take effect.

The temporary stay keeps the C.D.C. regulations regarding Florida-based cruise ships in place while the agency appeals the earlier decision on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, championed by the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, a Republican, claims that the C.D.C.’s multiple-step process to allow cruising from Florida is overly burdensome, harming both a multibillion-dollar industry that provides some 159,000 jobs and revenue collected by the state.

A spokeswoman for Mr. DeSantis did not immediately respond on Sunday to an email and a text message seeking comment.

The C.D.C. argues that keeping the rules in place will prevent coronavirus outbreaks on ships, which are vulnerable to the spread of the virus because of their close quarters and frequent stops at foreign ports.

The C.D.C. halted cruise ships from sailing in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which had affected passengers and crews on numerous ships.

On Oct. 30, 2020, the agency imposed a four-phase conditional framework that it said would allow the industry to gradually resume operations if certain thresholds were met. Those included virus mitigation procedures and a simulated cruise to test them before embarking regular passengers.

The earlier ruling, from U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday, concluded that the C.D.C.’s rules should be considered nonbinding recommendations or guidelines. Several cruise lines have begun preliminary cruises under those guidelines, which the Tampa judge agreed with Florida are too onerous.

“Florida persuasively claims that the conditional sailing order will shut down most cruises through the summer and perhaps much longer,” Judge Merryday wrote in his decision, adding that Florida “faces an increasingly threatening and imminent prospect that the cruise industry will depart the state.”

The 11th Circuit’s brief decision did not include any opinions from the judges, which the panel said would be released later. The decision noted that one appeals judge dissented.

Disney Cruise Line held its first simulated sailing under C.D.C. rules on Saturday when the Disney Dream departed from Port Canaveral in Florida. The passengers were volunteer Disney employees.

In a series of videos posted to Instagram on Friday, Cambage said that once she made the decision to withdraw from Australia’s women’s basketball team, “I felt a world of anxiety and pressure and heaviness I had been carrying lift straight off me.”

“I had been having breakdowns in the car park at Whole Foods, nonstop panic attacks, hyperventilating at the thought of going into one of the most pressure situations, which is already in a bubble, with no fans, no friends,” Cambage said.

Cambage, 29, who also plays for the W.N.B.A.’s Las Vegas Aces, shot the videos from her hotel room in Las Vegas, where the Australian team has been practicing. The team will travel later this month to Tokyo, where the Olympics are scheduled to begin on Friday despite rising infections in the city and among people involved in the Games.

With spectators barred from most events and athletes confined to the Olympic Village, training facilities and competition venues, Cambage said that after arriving in Tokyo, there would be “definitely no escape.” The reason she sat out last year’s pandemic-delayed W.N.B.A. season, she added, was that she was “not OK in a bubble” and did not want to play games without fans in attendance.

In announcing her withdrawal from the Olympics on Thursday, she said that she was taking medication to manage her anxiety, and was “a long way from” the mental and physical shape needed to compete.

“This Olympics ain’t gonna be easy, and it’s gonna be survival of the fittest, and there ain’t no point dragging someone over there that’s already feeling mentally weak,” she said in a video.

Cambage’s departure is a blow to the Australian team’s medal hopes. She was Australia’s leading scorer at the 2016 Games, when the team made the quarterfinals. She also holds the W.N.B.A.’s single-game scoring record, with 53 points.

The head of the Australian Olympic delegation, Ian Chesterman, said in a statement: “We respect her decision and wish her the best in returning to full health.”

More than 1,000 people in Bangkok, the capital, gathered in the afternoon at the Democracy Monument, a Thai icon that has been a focus of activism for decades, and then marched or drove to Government House, which contains the offices of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. They demanded the resignation of Mr. Prayuth, who took power in a 2014 military coup, as well as more funding to fight the virus and the distribution of an mRNA vaccine, like the highly effective ones developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Smaller demonstrations took place in provinces around the country on Sunday, the one-year anniversary of the first of a wave of student-led pro-democracy protests that drew hundreds of thousands of people into the nation’s streets until a government crackdown and an increase in infections.

The Sunday protests came two days after the government, citing the pandemic, announced a nationwide ban on public gatherings of more than five people. Violations are punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of about $1,200.

After keeping virus cases to a minimum for all of last year, Thailand is now facing its worst outbreak of the pandemic, fueled by the highly transmissible Alpha and Delta variants of the virus. On Sunday, the country reported a record 11,397 new infections, one day after it reported 141 deaths, a national record.

Protesters carried 141 mock body bags to mark the deaths, some of which were laid on a picture of Mr. Prayuth on the ground. Police officers tried to deter protesters with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. At 6 p.m., one of two times per day when the national anthem is broadcast on radio and television, some people instead sang “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from the musical “Les Misérables.” Shortly afterward, organizers announced that the protest had ended.

Public frustration has grown over the economic impact of pandemic restrictions as well as the slow pace of vaccinations, with less than 5 percent of Thailand’s 70 million people fully inoculated, according to a New York Times database. Although Thailand has approved a number of vaccines for emergency use and is producing its own doses of the AstraZeneca shot, up to this point it has mainly administered the Sinovac vaccine developed in China, whose effectiveness against the variants appears to be weak.

Officials said last week that health care workers who had received Sinovac would also be inoculated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech shots to give them greater protection after hundreds of them became infected despite being fully vaccinated.

In other developments around the world:

Vietnam’s southern region, including its economic center, Ho Chi Minh City, began a two-week lockdown on Sunday because of rising coronavirus cases. About 97 million people live in Vietnam, but only around 4 million have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

The prime minister of South Korea said on Sunday that across the country, private gatherings would be limited to four people until Aug. 1. South Korea is seeing record numbers of coronavirus cases, and just 30 percent of its population has received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Ukraine and Bangladesh: Through the Covax program, the United States sent 2 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Ukraine on Friday, and planned to send 3.5 million doses to Bangladesh this weekend.

Notices shared by some municipalities in the southern region of Guangxi said that the requirements would apply to family members registered to the same household as any student from preschool through high school.

“We request that the masses of unvaccinated people hurry up and get vaccinated, and avoid affecting your child’s schooling,” a notice in the city of Beiliu said.

School officials in various regions around the world have made vaccination a requirement for returning to in-person classes. Still, the extension of the requirement to family members underscored the urgency with which China is pressing to reach herd immunity, even as some residents — as in the rest of the world — question the concept of compulsory vaccination.

In addition to the schooling requirements, local governments have said that unvaccinated people will soon be barred from nursing homes, museums, libraries and other public venues. A county in Jiangxi Province said that people without at least one shot of the vaccine would not be allowed in supermarkets. The Beiliu notice said that unvaccinated farmers would not be allowed to operate stalls.

China’s vaccination campaign got off to a slow start, partly because of skepticism about the vaccines as well as a lack of urgency, as the number of cases there remains very low. But the government, through a mix of carrot and stick measures, has greatly accelerated uptake, and the National Health Commission said last week that more than 1.4 billion doses had been administered, covering about half of the population.

Still, the new requirements prompted some backlash online. A local government in the eastern province of Zhejiang retracted a ban on unvaccinated people in certain public venues after pushback; an official in Jiangxi told the state news media that the ban was only “in principle” and was intended to motivate people.

On one side are those who have called on their peers to encourage vaccination as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical authorities. In a 2013 paper in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, for example, four chiropractors wrote that by recommending vaccines, “the chiropractic profession would promote the public good and, by doing so, would be in a better position to be embraced by the broader health care community.”

That paper, said one of its authors, Brian Gleberzon, a professor at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, “is still relevant.”

On the other side are those who dismiss the overwhelming medical consensus that the vaccines are effective and safe. These chiropractors closely follow the ideas espoused more than a century ago by the profession’s founder, Daniel David Palmer, who believed that diseases were caused by spinal misalignments that disrupted an innate life force.

Many fields of alternative medicine are home to anti-vaccination sentiment, and chiropractic is one of the most popular of those fields. More than 35 million Americans visit a chiropractor each year, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

Professor Timothy Caulfield, the Canada research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta, has found that people who are attracted to alternative therapies like chiropractic are “also the people who are likely to be susceptible to misinformation,” he said. “If you’re open to alternative medicine, you’re also more likely to be attracted to anti-vaccination rhetoric, so the ideas cluster.”

I’m in a gigantic newsroom in a 52-story tower in the busiest neighborhood of one of the busiest cities in the world and … nothing. Not a sound. A sweeping look around reveals a barren landscape of empty desks and empty seats. A glance over the railings reveals two more floors in a similar state of nothingness.

Such is life on a recent Thursday night at The New York Times, where I and a few other intrepid souls have started to resurface after over a year of working from home. On most Thursdays on the fourth floor, I see a few colleagues from the Print Hub, the department responsible for producing the daily newspaper. On the third floor, there are two or three senior editors. Walking around, you spot a few faces. But not many.

“I found it to be a refreshing change of pace,” said Alan Robertazzi, editor of print production, who has been coming in a couple of days a week since September. “For me, working from home blurred the line between work life and personal life, and I like having those clear boundaries.”

My reasons for coming in are roughly the same, even though it sometimes feels silly to schlep all the way in from Long Island.

There is something of a Macaulay Culkin “Home Alone” vibe here in our virtually empty tower, an intoxicating sense of having the house to yourself to run down the hallway, play loud music or, I don’t know, sit in the executive editor’s chair and pretend you’re running the place.

And yet, there also is a kind of Charlton Heston “Omega Man” eeriness in wandering through a civilization seemingly frozen, like Pompeii, in a post-apocalyptic moment, especially when our fast-paced jobs entail keeping up with every piece of breaking news, 24/7.

“The entire department was a time capsule of our sudden departure,” said my fellow Print Hub editor Dan Adkison. “The calendar on my desk was still set to March 10, 2020, and my handwritten notes for the March 11, 2020, issue were still lying next to my keyboard.”

The Metropolitan Opera is planning a September return, but only if its musicians agree to pay cuts.

And New York’s dance clubs and live music clubs, which give the city its reputation for never sleeping, have been stymied by the slow, glitchy rollout of a federal aid program that mistakenly declared some of the city’s best-known nightclub impresarios to be dead.

Adding to the complications are rapidly shifting protocols for preventing the spread of the coronavirus as the economy reopens. Since Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo lifted most of the state’s Covid-19 restrictions last month, masking and social distancing policies are mostly up to venue operators. Their differing approaches have resulted in what some arts officials said has been head-spinning confusion.

The return of arts and entertainment is crucial to New York’s economy. The industry employed some 93,500 people before the pandemic and paid them $7.4 billion in wages, according to the state comptroller’s office.

But culture is also part of the city’s lifeblood — a magnet for visitors and residents alike in an era when exurbs are booming and big employers are rethinking the need to stay in central business districts.

“What is a city without social, cultural and creative synergies?” Governor Cuomo asked earlier this year in an address on the importance of the arts to the city’s recovery.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who could seem indifferent to the arts earlier in his terms, has become a cultural cheerleader, starting a $25 million program to put artists back to work, creating a vaccination site for theater workers and planning a “homecoming concert” in Central Park next month.

Eli Dvorkin, the editorial and policy director at the Center for an Urban Future, said “there is not going to be a strong recovery for New York City without the performing arts’ leading the way.”

There are signs of hope. The Whitney and the Brooklyn Museum are crowded again. Bruce Springsteen is playing to sold-out crowds on Broadway, and Foo Fighters rocked Madison Square Garden.

Shakespeare in the Park and the Classical Theater of Harlem are staging contemporary adaptations of classic plays, and a number of commercial Off Broadway theaters have been presenting productions indoors.

But some of the greatest tests for the city’s cultural scene lie ahead. Cutting staff and slashing programming turned out to be a brutal but effective survival strategy. Arts workers faced record unemployment, and some have yet to return to work. Many cultural leaders are worried: Can they thrive with fewer tourists and commuters? How much will safety protocols cost?

“Next year may prove to be our most financially challenging,” said Bernie Telsey, one of the three artistic directors at MCC Theater, an Off Broadway nonprofit. “In many ways, it’s like a start-up now — it’s not just turning the lights on. Everything is a little uncertain. It’s like starting all over again.”

With legislative packages worth trillions of dollars, the federal government wove a temporary safety net that provided help for people dealing with lockdowns, job losses and worse. But many of the most far-reaching protections, including eviction moratoriums and expanded unemployment benefits, are about to expire. Provisions affecting student loans, food stamps and more are scheduled to follow in the coming months.

It’s not all bad: This month, millions of households are receiving the first of six monthly payments that are part of an expanded child tax credit. But if you rely on any of the programs that are going away, this is an anxious time.

Fortunately, there’s still help out there — and here’s how you can find it.

Read full article at The New York Times

Mackinac Bridge reopens after closure due to bomb threat

Click On Detroit | Local 4 | WDIV 19 July, 2021 - 06:10am

Mackinac Bridge reopens after bomb threat

13 ON YOUR SIDE 19 July, 2021 - 06:10am

Michigan bridge reopens after brief closure due to bomb threat

Yahoo! Voices 18 July, 2021 - 06:40pm

The Mackinac Bridge, which connects Michigan's two peninsulas, was closed to traffic in both directions by authorities at 2:15 p.m. after the Michigan Bridge Authority was notified of a bomb threat, a Twitter account for the bridge wrote Sunday evening.

After an extensive search, nothing was found, and the bridge reopened two and a half hours later, the Twitter account added.

A representative for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.

Tags: News, Michigan, Infrastructure, Bombs, Bomb, Car

Original Author: Carly Roman

Original Location: Michigan bridge reopens after brief closure due to bomb threat

The Mackinac Bridge, located north of Detroit, was closed for several hours on Sunday after Michigan police received a bomb threat.

An American Psychological Association analysis of body camera footage from more than 100 police officers found that during traffic stops, officers tended to speak to Black men in a less respectful and less friendly tone than they typically did with white men.

Jasmine Crockett, a Black civil rights lawyer and one of the youngest lawmakers in Texas, was just a few months into her first term in the Legislature when Republicans were on the cusp of passing new limits on when and how Texans could vote. When Texas Democrats bolted for Washington in a dramatic gambit to block the bill, it was a significant strategic victory for Crockett and a group of newer Texas lawmakers, including Black and Latino members, whose instincts are more inclined to confrontational politics. If their long-suffering party is to find a way out of the wilderness in Texas, Democrats need to sharpen their message and their elbows, they argue.

Congressional Democrats are exploring ways to include financial incentives for states to expand voting access as part of a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure bill, a key senator said Sunday. Democrats have been struggling to get their marquee election reform bill passed in an evenly split Senate, where Republicans remain unified in their opposition and rules require 60 votes to advance most pieces of legislation. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota who chairs the powerful Senate Rules Committee, said in an interview that the priority continues to be passing the legislation known as the For the People Act, which would usher in minimum voting standards in the U.S. such as automatic and same-day voter registration, early voting and no-excuse absentee voting.

A Florida man who breached the U.S. Senate chamber carrying a Trump campaign flag is scheduled to become the first Jan. 6 rioter sentenced for a felony, in a hearing that will help set a benchmark for punishment in similar cases. Prosecutors want Paul Allard Hodgkins to serve 18 months behind bars, saying in a recent filing that he, “like each rioter, contributed to the collective threat to democracy” by forcing lawmakers to temporarily abandon their certification of Joe Biden’s election victory and to scramble for shelter from incoming mobs. Hodgkins and others are accused of serious crimes but were not indicted, as other were, for roles in larger conspiracies.

When Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel spoke at the Republican National Convention, he made a policy-laden case for Donald Trump.

A reader originally from Britain recalls gun violence being nonexistent in his birth country and scolds the U.S. for being an outlier.

Detroit Tigers left-hander Tyler Alexander will enter the starting rotation this week after injuries to Matthew Boyd, Jose Urena and Spencer Turnbull.

Jon Rahm made an eagle and four consecutive back-nine birdies on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to secure his second major title.

The 2020 US PGA champion held his nerve superbly on the closing stretch to become the first player to win two different majors at their first attempt.

One student has filed a $5 million libel claim against the university president.

Gov. Henry McMaster and the General Assembly are holding the state back. | Opinion

"It's the best I could do with what I got," Officer Ronald Kennedy said.

Bernie Sanders moving out of 'gadfly role' in Senate, former Obama adviser says

2022 4-star ATH Jaden Mangham will choose between Michigan State, Michigan, West Virginia, Illinois, Nebraska and Georgia Tech

From running low on time and money to not understanding permits, here are the setbacks I've experienced as a 20-something building my dream house.

19-year-old Brittany was brutally murdered while she slept at her boyfriend’s house in Winnsboro, Texas on May 4, 2007.

Three straight birdies from the seventh put the American in the driving seat.

Just a few years before structural engineer Sergio Breiterman signed off on the construction work at Champlain Towers South Condominium, he vouched for a new municipal building in Coral Gables that, within months of completion, “leaked like a sieve”, “smelled like wet dog,” and developed cracks in the garage due to a dangerous construction flaw, records from the city and newspaper articles from the time show.

As top health officials warn that COVID-19 has become a "pandemic of the unvaccinated," recent figures from states and cities throughout the United States reveal the extent to which the virus is impacting people who are not fully inoculated. New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations were also predominantly among unvaccinated people, the state said, at 95% and 93% respectively. In Louisiana, 97% of the state's COVID-19 cases and deaths since February have been in unvaccinated people, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday.

Mackinac Bridge reopens following bomb threat

WDIV ClickOnDetroit 18 July, 2021 - 04:27pm

Michigan State Police were assisting Mackinaw City Police as they investigated a bomb threat on the bridge connecting Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas. The bridge was closed in both directions at 2:15 p.m. Sunday, and has reopened as of 5:10 p.m. Sunday.

Bridge officials say nothing was found on the bridge following an “extensive search.” No additional details have been released at this time.

More: Michigan news

Copyright 2021 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2021 ClickOnDetroit.com is managed by Graham Digital and pubished by Graham Media Group, a division of Graham Holdings.

Mackinac Bridge OPEN After Bomb Threat - 9 & 10 News

9&10 News 18 July, 2021 - 04:20pm

The Mackinac Bridge is now re-opened after being shutdown for nearly three hours Sunday afternoon due to a bomb threat.

There is no information right now on how the threat was made or what specifically was said.

Expect heavy traffic while crossing the bridge in either direction for the rest of the evening.

© 2021 9 & 10 News.

Mackinac Bridge CLOSED for Active Bomb Situation - 9 & 10 News

9&10 News 18 July, 2021 - 03:00pm

The Michigan State Police confirm there is an active bomb threat on the Mackinac Bridge.

Traffic has been diverted off the bridge in both directions.

The initial closure came just before 2:30 PM Sunday.

No further details are available at this time but a bomb squad and K-9 unit are on the way to the scene to sweep the bridge.

The Coast Guard is halting traffic underneath the bridge as well.

We have a crew on the scene collecting more information. Stay with 9&10 News for more details on this developing situation.

© 2021 9 & 10 News.

Mackinac Bridge reopens to traffic after bomb threat

WOODTV.com 18 July, 2021 - 02:55pm

ST. IGNACE, Mich. (WOOD) — The Mackinac Bridge closed to traffic for several hours Sunday afternoon due to a bomb threat.

The Mackinac Bridge Authority said in a tweet that it was notified by law enforcement of a bomb threat on the bridge. MBA then closed the bridge around 2:15 p.m., and people were asked to avoid the area.

After thoroughly searching the area, authorities said nothing was found.

A bomb squad was called to the scene, and the Department of Homeland Security is assisting with the investigation, Michigan State Police told News 8. Mackinaw City police are also assisting in the investigation.

At 5:10 p.m., MBA provided an update saying the Mackinac Bridge was clear and back open to the public.

The bridge, previously closed, is now open and clear for traffic. Have a safe crossing. https://t.co/jdG1EmcNi8

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A series of attacks Sunday afternoon in Arizona have ended with five people shot, including one fatality, and two or three children missing, Tucson police said. The suspect in the attacks was critically wounded by an officer.

A 35-year-old man is accused of opening fire on an ambulance crew around 3:45 p.m. Sunday, Tucson police Chief Chris Magnus told news outlets. The driver of the ambulance, a 20-year-old man, was shot in the head, and a paramedic in the passengers seat, a 21-year-old woman, was shot in the chest and arm. The man was in critical condition and the woman was stable.

Noting that nearly all coronavirus deaths now are among the tens of millions of people who haven't received shots, despite widespread vaccine availability, Dr. Vivek Murthy painted an unsettling picture of what the future could hold.

The destructive Bootleg Fire, one of the largest in modern Oregon history, has already burned more than 476 square miles (1,210 square kilometers), an area about the size of Los Angeles. The blaze just north of the California state line was 25% contained.

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

UPDATE: Mackinac Bridge now open after bomb threat scare

WILX-TV 18 July, 2021 - 02:26pm

The threat was discovered around 2:30 Sunday afternoon, however after an extensive search police found no threat to the public.

Traffic was closed both ways while police investigated the incident. The investigation lasted just under three hours.

All clear on the #MackinacBridge. Please drive with care. Have a safe and pleasant trip!

We’ll provide more updates as they become available.

Mackinac Bridge back open after bomb threat

UpperMichigansSource.com 18 July, 2021 - 01:43pm

According to the Michigan State Police the Mackinac Bridge is closed to all traffic due to a bomb threat around 2:30 in the afternoon Sunday.

The Mackinac Bridge Authority is asking people to stay clear of the area.

TV6 will continue updates as new information becomes available.

Health Stories