New York City will require teachers, police officers and the rest of the 340,000 city employees to get coronavirus vaccines by mid-September or face weekly testing, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday. The state of California also unveiled a vaccine verification program Monday for all state and health care employees. The state will require evidence of vaccination from employees by Aug. 2 or will mandate testing.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs announced an even stricter order, saying vaccines would be mandatory for its health care workers because of concerns about the delta variant. VA Secretary Denis McDonough said the announcement followed four employees dying of COVID-19 in recent weeks along with an outbreak of the virus in one of its facilities. In New York, the plan immediately drew qualified criticism from Henry Garrido, head of the city’s largest municipal employees union with 150,000 members, who acknowledged that his union encourages vaccination. “Weekly testing is clearly subject to mandatory bargaining,” Garrido said in a statement. “New York City is a union town and that cannot be ignored.”
Variants ‘Cause for Concern’ as NY Virus Cases Nearly Double in Past Week
Positive COVID-19 cases have nearly doubled throughout New York in the past week as vaccinations slow, the highly contagious delta variant spreads and public officials look at the possibility of requiring masks indoors again, even for the fully vaccinated.
The daily coronavirus metrics released Sunday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo show an alarming trend in new infections, especially in the growing number of new daily cases. That figure was shy of crossing 2,000 for the first time since mid-May and reflected a doubling of the daily tests counted one week earlier, according to the state’s reports. New York’s percentage of positive cases has followed the rising trend as well, climbing an entire percentage point from last Sunday. The percent of positive cases reported Sunday was 2.23% with the state’s 7-day average up to 1.76%.