Most American workers want their jobs to require the COVID vaccine

workers in an office looking at a computer screen together
  • A new Gallup poll asked employed US adults whether there should be a vaccine mandate at their work.
  • Fifty-two percent of respondents favor or strongly favor this, while 38% are opposed or strongly opposed.
  • It can be challenging for some workers, especially in service jobs, to take time off to get vaccinated.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

While companies are figuring out whether they should require workers to get vaccinated and what exactly is the plan for employees returning to the office, a new poll found that over half of workers are in favor of their work requiring all employees get the jab.

A Gallup poll of over 1,800 employed US adults found that 16% are in favor and 36% are in strong favor of their employer requiring coronavirus vaccinations for all workers except for those who are medically exempt.

On the other hand, 9% are opposed to it and 29% are strongly opposed.

The share who strongly favor this has gone up slightly, from 29% in May 2021 and 33% in June 2021. Those who are strongly opposed has only gone down slightly, from 31% in May and 30% in June.

Gallup notes that this poll taken between July 19 and July 26 is before new CDC guidance following the spread of the Delta variant, including a recommendation for fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in “substantial or high transmission” places. Nine percent said their employer had a vaccine requirement and 62% encouraged it.

“This guidance has led to several prominent companies delaying back-to-work plans, requiring employees to be vaccinated or requiring employees to wear face masks at work,” Gallup wrote. Many companies have already issued vaccine mandates for some or all employees. This includes Microsoft, Google, and United Airlines.

Americans not currently working but on the job hunt may also need to be vaccinated for their desired new position. Per reporting from Insider’s Juliana Kaplan, Indeed job posting data for the week ending August 7 shows more are mentioning a requirement. The share of job postings per million that noted specifically a coronavirus vaccination was up 34% from a month earlier. However, the share of job postings with this requirement is still small.

It can be difficult for some workers to take time away from work to get the shot or to recover from side effects

In the US, 72.3% of adults as of August 19 have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 61.9% are fully vaccinated. Employees aren’t opposed to receiving cash and other incentives for getting the shot.

In a June poll of employed US adults, Gallup found 24% of those not vaccinated against coronavirus indicated a “payroll bonus or other direct cash incentive for receiving COVID-19 vaccination” would make them more likely to get the shot, followed by 21% who said time off for vaccine side effects would.

Amazon, which has held on-site vaccination events but doesn’t require coronavirus vaccinations, is one company offering an incentive. It has a contest giving out up to 18 prizes, including two $500,000 cash prizes for the company’s frontline employees who are vaccinated.

But stepping away from work may be tough for some workers. As Insider’s Juliana Kaplan reported, Harvard’s Shift Project found that around half of service workers in a survey were not vaccinated as of June 2021. Additionally, many of the 78% who haven’t tried to schedule a time to get vaccinated said it’s because they’re worried about side effects.

The survey found higher shares of respondents were vaccinated if they have time off to recover from side effects or to get the shot than the share who had no employer support.

“I think it’s something that more advantaged workers take for granted,” Kristen Harknett, a professor at University of California, San Francisco and one of the report’s authors, told Kaplan. “If I spike a fever the day after I get my second vaccine, I know that I have the flexibility to shift my work or to take a paid day off. Most of these service sector workers don’t have that luxury.”

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Trump dismisses COVID-19 booster shots as a ‘money-making operation’ for Pfizer

Trump
Former President Donald Trump.

  • Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested that COVID-19 vaccine booster shots aren’t medically necessary.
  • Trump said the boosters are being pushed as “a money-making operation” for pharma companies.
  • The US government announced on Wednesday it will begin offering booster shots in late September.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested that vaccine booster shots aren’t medically necessary and instead are being pushed by pharmaceutical companies purely for profit.

“That sounds to me like a money-making operation for Pfizer,” Trump, who was secretly vaccinated last January at the White House, told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo. “Think of the money involved. An extra shot … How good a business is that? If you’re a pure businessman, you’d say, ‘you know what, let’s give them another shot,’ that’s another $10 billion of money coming in – the whole thing is crazy.”

On Wednesday, the US government announced it will begin offering booster shots in late September and recommend that most people take a third shot 8 months after their second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

Trump, who also told Bartiromo he is “very proud” of the vaccines, suggested that scientists’ and pharmaceutical companies’ guidance on vaccines hasn’t been informed by science. And he falsely claimed that Pfizer and BioNTech announced it had developed its vaccine one day after the 2020 presidential election. In reality, Pfizer announced its vaccine candidate was effective almost a week after the election. Its CEO has insisted that the timing of the company’s announcement was unrelated to politics.

“You wouldn’t think you would need a booster,” Trump said. “You know, when these first came out, they were good for life. Then they were good for a year or two. And I could see the writing on the wall, I could see the dollar signs in their eyes of that guy that runs Pfizer. You know, the guy that announced the day after the election that he had the vaccine.”

US health officials said on Wednesday that they’ve concluded booster shots are necessary to maximize and prolong immunity to the virus as the delta variant spreads.

“Around the six-month mark in the data, you start to see increases in mild to moderate infection,” US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said during a Wednesday briefing. He added, “Our anticipation is that if the trajectory that we are seeing continues, that we will likely see in the future an increase in breakthrough hospitalizations and breakthrough deaths.”

Trump also took the opportunity on Wednesday to falsely claim that COVID-19 “was virtually gone” and “over” when he left office, but is surging back because President Joe Biden is doing a “lousy job.”

The ex-president and his administration took credit for developing the COVID-19 vaccines through its “Operation Warp Speed,” which helped fund the development of the vaccines. But Pfizer didn’t participate in Operation Warp Speed and only took government funding for the delivery of its vaccine after it was developed.

Trump and former first lady Melania Trump didn’t inform the public when they were vaccinated before leaving the White House last January. The news of their vaccinations was first reported by The New York Times in March.

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Illinois’ new vaccine-verification portal is glitchy and uses a credit reporting agency with past security breaches to verify people’s identities

A health workers administer doses of CoronaVac vaccine to people at a vaccination center in Bangkok.
Illinois’ vaccine portal is often unreliable.

  • Illinois’ new vaccination portal allows people to look up their vaccine records online.
  • The website isn’t entirely accurate and has shown people incorrect vaccination records.
  • Experian, which has exposed millions of personal data of millions, will help verify identities.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Illinois’ new vaccine portal, which is supposed to let people look up their vaccine records online, often gives inaccurate information about vaccination statuses and uses Experian, a credit reporting agency with a history of security breaches, to verify people’s identities.

With an increasing number of social events and employers requiring proof of vaccination, from Chicago Public Schools to the Illinois State Fair, Illinois Department of Health director Ngozi Ezike said the portal could help people prove their vaccination status when they need to.

But the portal’s helpfulness is doubtful so far, since the website often gives people inaccurate information about their vaccination status.

When I tried to access my vaccination records (I got two doses of the Moderna vaccine in Illinois), the website showed that I had only received a single dose. Others vaccinated in Illinois experienced similar problems, with CBS Chicago reporting that the vaccine portal indicated for many people that they had received no COVID-19 vaccines when they were actually fully vaccinated.

The IDPH website noted that human error, such as providers typing in a name or address wrong, can prevent vaccination records from showing up properly on the site.

“At this time, it does not appear to be effective,” William Kresse, a fraud expert at Governors State University, said. “However, given some time to make complete data entry, testing and verification, it could be a safe way for people to look up their vaccine records.”

Experian, the credit reporting agency that the website uses to verify people’s identities, has had several security breaches, including one in Brazil that resulted in millions of people’s personal data being offered for sale online and another in South Africa leaked data of 24 million people and was caused by Experian giving personal information to a fraudster posing as a client.

Kresse said third parties are always at risk of mishandling data, which could make people’s private information susceptible to theft or hacking attempts.

“Since 2017 all of the credit bureaus have added greater rigor to their systems. So I would not say that Experian’s record – in and of itself – should be of any major concern.”

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Royal Caribbean bars passengers not vaccinated for COVID-19 from cruise to Alaska

Royal Caribbean cruise.
Royal Caribbean cruise.

  • At least six passengers who haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 were not allowed to board their cruise from Seattle to Alaska.
  • All Royal Caribbean passengers departing from all US ports except Florida must be fully vaccinated, the company says.
  • After not sailing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Royal Caribbean’s first ship in over a year set sail in June.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

At least six Royal Caribbean passengers were left on the dock in Seattle, Washington, because they did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, KIRO 7 News reported.

The barred passengers on the Ovation of the Seas liner to Alaska thought they only needed to show a negative COVID test from within 72 hours, they told KIRO 7.

Some passengers, like Marilyn Sylver, had the trip planned for two years. She and the other passengers that were not allowed to board the ship on Friday say Royal Caribbean did not make them feel welcome.

“They’re not talking like they are going to help us in any kind of way,” Sylver told KIRO 7 over the phone. It was reported that she was expecting to be allowed onto the ship with limited access once on board.

Royal Caribbean did not respond to Insider’s request to comment before publishing. However, a Royal Caribbean spokesperson told KIRO 7 that passengers should have known about the policy.

According to Royal Caribbean International’s vaccine policy that was updated on August 1, all passengers on cruises departing from all US ports except Florida must be fully vaccinated against coronavirus. Younger passengers who are not yet eligible for vaccination must show proof of a negative COVID test.

Unvaccinated passengers traveling out of Florida are subject to regular testing and additional health protocols at their own expense, the policy reads.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set health guidelines and restrictions for cruise lines to follow in order to set sail more than a year after being sidelined in the US as the coronavirus pandemic raged. Florida officials have claimed the CDC rules are too restrictive and could prevent most cruises from ever hitting the water.

In June, Royal Caribbean launched its first cruise ship out of a US port after 15 months.

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3 questions to ask to keep employees safe before reopening the office

reopening covid office employees business workers face masks
When bringing employees back into the office, it’s important to make safety habits stick.

  • As the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads, office safety protocols are more important than ever.
  • Test your HVAC systems and prioritize having enhanced ventilation and filtration systems.
  • Check in with your employees regularly to see if they’re taking care of themselves and how you can help.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Early on in the summer, no one would fault you for exuberantly plotting your back-to-the-office plan. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 were waning and it suddenly seemed like life was once again approaching normal. However, with the more contagious Delta variant now spreading across the US, you’ll want to assess the potential health risks of opening up the office.

Read more: I spoke with over 2,000 companies about remote-work plans going forward. Here are 21 key themes and predictions of what will happen before 2030.

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before bring employees back:

How safe is your physical workspace?

Your office or physical space may have been suitable for work prior to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it will be moving forward. One major example is air quality.

Business owners need to focus on having enhanced ventilation and filtration, said Dr. Joseph Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings program and an associate professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Breathing and talking constantly admit respiratory aerosols that can build up indoors unless diluted out of the air or cleaned out of the air through filtration. And most buildings are designed to a minimum standard that was never intended to be protection against infectious diseases.

Before fixing anything, though, you have to know what your system is doing. Dr. Allen recommends every company “commission” their building, a process by which the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems of a building are tested for performance and functionality. “It’s the equivalent of giving your car a tune-up every year, and it’s not done enough,” Dr. Allen said.

There are also many ways to measure and verify the performance of your building, he adds. You can hire a mechanical engineer to determine how much air flow you’re getting. Low-cost real-time sensors can be used to verify ventilation rates. In a typical building, carbon dioxide concentrations are going to be about 1,000 parts per million, and ideally to slow the rate of infection levels, they should be under 800 parts per million.

And fixes don’t have to be laborious or expensive. Bringing a bit more outdoor air in can be as easy as opening windows or spending a couple of dollars to upgrade to quality air filters such as MERV 13 filters. Portable air filters are a bit more expensive at roughly $100 a piece, but they can greatly improve air quality.

How many employees are vaccinated?

You can absolutely ask employees whether they’re vaccinated, and if you’re bringing people back, or considering doing so, it’s not a bad idea. Northwell Health has done numerous surveys to assess their 15,000-person workforce to determine who is vaccinated and the reasons why those who have not gotten the vaccine are hesitant.

“When we started evaluating metrics around why people weren’t getting vaccinated, we got better insight into how to communicate with them and manage our concern,” said Joseph Moscola, executive vice president of enterprise services at Northwell Health.

One survey revealed that 7% of Northwell’s workforce didn’t get vaccinated because they were scared of needles. So the company crafted safe environments with music and comfortable chairs to help make the experience more inviting for those employees. Moscola said Northwell is aiming for a vaccination rate of 90% or higher before it considers its space safe. Currently 77% of Northwell’s 75,000 employees are fully vaccinated.

Also remind people of the risks of not getting a jab. While a vaccinated individual may still get COVID-19, they’re significantly less likely to have severe symptoms or be at risk of hospitalization than unvaccinated folks. That’s why it’s crucial to continue to encourage workers with any symptoms to stay home and get tested, as well as follow CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) directives in the workplace. It’s also crucial to educate employees and your community on the advantages of vaccination.

Are employees taking care of themselves?

One way to stay abreast of the physical health of employees is to check in and see if they’re taking care of themselves. This can be done through surveys, asking people if they describe themselves as healthy and well, and also how often they take advantage of any medical benefits. Self-insured employers also have access to claims data through their third-party administrator that can share general information like what percentage of employees had a primary care visit in the past 12 months, or what percentage of people have been seriously hospitalized, said Dr. Shantanu Nundy, chief medical officer at Accolade, a benefit provider for health care workers.

Consider also assessing how employees are doing mentally, he added. You can ask employees to take surveys such as the Maslach Burnout Inventory, a psychological assessment comprising 22 symptom items pertaining to occupational burnout; the PHQ-9, a nine-question questionnaire measuring depression; and the GAD seven, a seven-item questionnaire measuring anxiety. Employees may not feel comfortable sharing this information, so it’s best to make it optional and tell employees that results are kept confidential.

“While a lot of people are dealing with clinical depression or clinical anxiety, many are dealing with a new kind of emotional stress due to the pandemic, which can include not feeling safe or heard or included in the workplace,” said Dr. Nundy. “These surveys can offer a comprehensive clinical health and environmental view of how your workforce is doing.”

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Sens. Cruz, Cramer introduce No Mask and No Vaccine Mandate Acts, aiming to end Biden administration’s CDC mask mandate for all Americans

Sen. Ted Cruz, left, and Sen. Kevin Cramer, right.
Sen. Ted Cruz, left, and Sen. Kevin Cramer, right.

  • Texas and North Dakota, which are represented by Cruz and Cramer, are both experiencing increases in new COVID-19 cases.
  • CDC guidance was reversed on July 27 to recommend that people wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
  • Under one of the bills, patients under 18 would need a legal guardian’s consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On Monday, US Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced two bills that would ban mask and vaccine mandates.

“Thanks to vaccinations and the natural immunity of Americans who have recovered from COVID-19, America is reopening. America is recovering, our kids are going back to school, and small businesses are returning as our nation’s economic heartbeat. At the same time, President Biden is imposing unscientific and burdensome mandates to control Americans’ lives,” Cruz said in a press release.

Cruz introduced the No Mask Mandates Act, which would end all current and future mask mandates, as well as prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to enforce any federal mask mandate in response to COVID-19. He added that he introduced the bill to protect employees from discrimination based on their vaccination status and to protect the “freedom to exercise personal choice.”

New guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on July 27 recommended that people wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status, reversing its previous guidance that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks indoors. The change was made in response to the highly transmissible delta variant and rising COVID-19 hospitalizations and case numbers around the country, according to the CDC.

During the last week of July, a third of new US COVID-19 cases were from Florida and Texas, the state that Cruz represents. Cruz himself is vaccinated, despite calling the vaccine mandate for federal employees “authoritarian.” Today, the Texas Tribune reported that hospitalizations in the state are increasing quicker than any other point in the pandemic.

Under the No Vaccine Mandates Act, any individual who vaccinates a patient against COVID-19 without their consent would face civil penalties. The bill would also require people administering COVID-19 vaccines to obtain patient’s informed consent beforehand. If the patient is a child, a legal guardians’ permission would be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

“When it comes to handling COVID-19, Americans are self-governed people who have more than enough information available to them on how to talk to their doctor and figure out what is best for themselves and their families,” Cramer said in a press release. “Efforts by the Biden Administration and its allies to bully or force people to comply with mask and vaccine mandates – even though their guidance has been inconsistent and haphazard throughout the pandemic – will only succeed at infringing upon the rights of the American people.”

Confirmed cases of the delta variant in North Dakota, which Cramer represents in Congress, have quadrupled in the past week, the Bismarck Tribune reported on Tuesday. Since August 2, active cases have increased by 40%, according to data from the North Dakota Department of Health.

While there is no current federal requirement for informed consent relating to immunization, vaccine information statements (VISs) provided to patients fulfill the information requirements of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, according to the CDC. However, VISs provide information on both the benefits and risks associated with vaccinations, so any patient reading them should be adequately informed, the CDC said.

Insider has reached out to Sens. Cruz and Cramer for comment.

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An unvaccinated father is urging others to get the COVID-19 jab while hooked up to a supplemental oxygen machine at a hospital

A vertical video posted to Facebook with a man wearing a blue cap and hooked up to supplemental oxygen.
A screenshot of one of Travis Campbell’s several videos posted to Facebook that urge others to get vaccinated.

  • A man hospitalized for COVID-19 and struggling to breathe has turned to social media to urge others to avoid the same fate.
  • Travis Campbell did not get a COVID-19 vaccine. Now, in videos posted to Facebook, he’s pleading that others do.
  • “I can’t breathe. I’m drowning. I feel like I’m a fish out of water,” Campbell told CNN.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A father from Virginia who contracted the coronavirus is spending his days in the hospital urging people to get vaccinated.

Travis Campbell has been in the hospital since late July, CNN reported. Since then, he turned his personal Facebook account into an advocacy page for vaccines against COVID-19.

As Campbell endures the symptoms brought on by the coronavirus, he posts videos of himself in oxygen masks, spreading the message through at times labored breathing.

“I messed up big time, guys. I didn’t get the vaccine,” Campbell, while wearing an oxygen mask, said on Wednesday. I made a mistake, I admit it.”

When asked why he didn’t get vaccinated, Campbell said he and his family live in a rural part of Virginia and he didn’t feel like he had interacted with enough people to get infected.

Campbell also said he and his family believed they had gotten infected with the coronavirus last year. “We just thought we had beat our odds” of contracting the coronavirus again, he told CNN. It’s not clear whether he or his family members ever got tested or confirmed that they had COVID-19.

Still, even individuals who’ve had the coronavirus should get vaccinated against it, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But now, Campbell is struggling to manage the symptoms.

“I can’t breathe. I’m drowning. I feel like I’m a fish out of water,” Campbell told CNN.

“It was my fault,” he said. “I should have took (sic) my kids and my wife and went ahead and got vaccinated anyway. But I’m paying the price.”And I just tell everybody and anybody: If you’re on the fence, I want you to take a very sharp evaluation of what your life means to you. And go get vaccinated, please, please.”

In his most recent video posted on Saturday, Campbell posted a live video to Facebook saying he feels “a little bit better” and has more strength.

“I’m nobody special and I’m not trying to portray that I am. I’m not trying to gain any type of anything from this, other than friends and love and to let people know really how bad it is and how bad I messed up,” he said.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene encouraged Alabama residents to greet vaccination promoters with guns

Marjorie Taylor Greene
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

  • Marjorie Taylor Greene told a crowd in Alabama to greet officials asking about vaccine status with guns.
  • Alabama has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
  • Greene also lashed out against Dr. Fauci, who she accused of funding COVID-19.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene encouraged Alabama residents to use their guns to scare off officials if they came to their homes to ask about their vaccine status.

The Georgia politician made the comments while speaking to a crowd in Alabama.

“You lucky people here in Alabama might get a knock on your door because I hear Alabama might be one of the most unvaccinated states in the nation,” she said.

She warned them that Joe Biden would send his “police state friends” to their homes to enquire about their vaccine status.

“He’s going to be sending one of his police-state friends to your front door, to knock on the door, take down your name, your address, your family members’ names, your phone numbers, your cellphone numbers, probably ask for your social security number, and whether you’ve taken the vaccine or not.”

“What they don’t know is that in the South, we love our Second Amendment rights and we’re not real big on strangers showing up on our front door, are we?” she said, to raucous cheers from the crowd.

“They might not like the welcome they get.”

Alabama has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country and is one of just two states with less than 35% of the population fully vaccinated.

The state has recently seen a sharp rise in cases, and on Friday State Health Officer Scott Harris said that nearly all COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations in Alabama were among the unvaccinated.

Since the pandemic began, only 26 of the 11,600 people in Alabama who have died of COVID-19 were fully vaccinated, Harris said, and most of the nearly 2,000 COVID-19 patients currently in state hospitals are also unvaccinated.

Greene has previously come under fire for making controversial comments about COVID-19, including comparing vaccine passports and mask mandates to the Holocaust.

Greene then criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci, who she said was a president that “no one elected.”.

She accused Dr. Fauci of orchestrating COVID-19 by funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan.

“Dr. Tony Fauci funded, with your tax dollars, he funded it in the Wuhan lab, didn’t he? He funded COVID-19,” she said.

In May, Dr. Fauci said that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

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People worried that cases would spike when England ended restrictions on July 19. The opposite happened.

people queueing at night in front of a nightclub
People queue to get in to the Egg London nightclub in the early hours of July 19, 2021 in London, England.

  • Almost all restrictions were lifted in England on July 19. A large drop in COVID-19 cases followed.
  • Experts suggest that warm weather, school closures, and the end of Euro 2020 might explain the drop.
  • But as students return to school and cold weather hits, cases might rise again, say experts.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he would be lifting almost all remaining restrictions in England on July 19 even as COVID-19 cases continued to rise in the country, he drew some fierce criticism.

“We must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from COVID,” Boris Johnson warned. The others nations of the UK – which have separate public-health regimes – took pointedly slower schedules.

But at about the same time as England’s unlocking, new daily cases started to plummet. It was the opposite of what many experts expected.

“This is a remarkably rapid decline and one that few anticipated,” said Martin McKee, professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Bloomberg.

“Overall, it is a bit of a mystery.”

A graph of new daily cases in the UK with an arrow pointing out July 19
New daily COVID-19 cases in the UK, the arrow points to July 19

Soccer might have played a role in the spike

Although it is “really difficult” to know what drove the sharp rise in cases, “there does seem to have been a spike associated with the Euros,” McKee told Insider on Tuesday.

The England soccer team went all the way to the finals in the much-awaited championship. From June 11 to July 11, large crowds of supporters celebrated their teams in stadiums and pubs, a breeding ground for infections, prompting WHO experts to express concern.

The end of the championship allowed cases to fall, McKee said.

people wearing England football colours are lifted over a packed crowd celebrating a their team at the Euro 2020 championships
England football fans celebrate outside Wembley Stadium, London, ahead of England match against Italy in the final of Euro 2020 Championship on July 11, 2021 in England.

Summer, warm weather, and individual nerves about unlocking likely contributed to the rapid fall

The effects of lifting the restrictions might also not have been felt yet. A heatwave his the UK in July. The consequence is that there were likely fewer people drinking indoors, McKee said.

People also seem uncertain about going back to pre-pandemic habits.

In a survey on 3,784 adults from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), 60% said they would continue to avoid crowded places.

School closures for the holidays likely also helped bring down cases, McKee said. “It seems likely that schools played a much greater role in transmission than some people were willing to accept.”

Has herd immunity been reached? Unlikely

Some experts posit that the UK might have reached herd immunity, which is when enough people have immunity against infection that the virus is incapable of spreading.

Almost 60% of the UK’s population have been fully vaccinated, and many have developed immunity from being infected.

“You can run some very simple models to see if the case numbers that we saw earlier this month are consistent with effective herd immunity,” Prof Mark Woolhouse of Edinburgh University, told the Observer.

“There are some big caveats but the bottom line is that those figures are consistent with the impact of herd immunity,” he said.

McKee thinks that this is “unlikely.” Cases are still rising in Israel, where vaccination levels are even higher, he noted.

Also vaccinated people can be reinfected, although at a substantially reduced risk of severe disease, per McKee.

A yellow sign shows the UK's public health messaging "hands, face, space". In the background and circus performers.
A ‘Pop Up’ vaccination centre is opened in the Big Top of Circus Extreme in Shibden Park on July 31, 2021 in Halifax, England.

Some experts aren’t yet convinced

Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London, expressed suspicion about how representative the figures are.

“The drop is much faster than we’ve ever seen in previous waves,” he told the BBC. “Even after full national lockdowns, leaving the accuracy of the official tally in doubt.”

Spector leads the Zoe COVID study, which tracks symptoms for 4 million people globally. Although there has been a drop in cases among the study participants in the UK, it is not as sharp as in the government stats.

Experts worry that problems will surface again in the fall, as children come back to school and the UK winter weather forces people indoors again.

But all in all, it is very difficult to know at this point what the future holds for the UK.

“At this point, I think it’s really hard to understand what has happened and what is going to happen in the long term,” John Edmunds, a professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told the Observer.

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Apple removes anti-vaxx dating app Unjected from the App Store for ‘inappropriately’ referring to the pandemic. The app’s owners say it’s censorship.

Apple store
Apple reportedly removed the app after being contacted by a journalist.

  • Apple on Saturday removed Unjected, a dating app for the unvaccinated, from its App Store.
  • Apple told the app it “inappropriately refers to the COVID-19 pandemic in its concept or theme.”
  • Unjected said on Instagram that the app offered medical autonomy and freedom of choice.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple on Saturday removed Unjected, a dating-and-community app for unvaccinated people, from its App Store, in a move that the app’s owners likened to censorship.

“Apparently, we’re considered ‘too much’ for sharing our medical autonomy and freedom of choice,” the company said in a video posted on Instagram on Saturday. “So, of course, Apple removed us.”

Bloomberg News on Saturday reported that Apple removed the app after being contacted by a reporter.

Unjected posted a screenshot of the Bloomberg News story, saying: “We must use our voices. We are fighting the censorship of our freedoms and we won’t stop.”

Unjected launched in May as a dating app – one Twitter user called it “OK Q-Pid” – but had recently rolled out additional features. One was a list of businesses that “respect our autonomy and promote freedom.”

The company posted a screenshot of Apple’s take-down message, which read in part: “Specifically, your social networking app inappropriately refers to the COVID-19 pandemic in its concept or theme.”

Unjected said on Instagram, where it has about 25,000 followers, that it had deleted features, including a social feed and “blood bank,” in an attempt to stay on the App Store.

“We are looking into ways to get off of Apple and Google,” the company said. “But the easiest transition for us might be to make the website as great as possible since they can’t shut that down like the app.”

Insider has reached out to Unjected, Apple, and Instagram for comment.

The app on Sunday was still available on the Google Play store, where users mostly gave it middling reviews, including: “Amazing concept but holy $%^& this app is practically unusable.”

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