* Lisa Donovan…
U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh says the disappointing jobs report released in recent days points not only to fears among eligible workers about COVID-19′s highly contagious delta variant, but also an attitude shift in the American workforce.
“I think that we’re seeing people still living with the concern and maybe fear of the pandemic. Maybe their health is not necessarily the best and then they’re worried about their personal health,” Walsh said in a phone interview with the Tribune. The former Boston mayor, whose political star began to rise as a labor leader, said he’s also hearing from employers ranging from health care to financial institutions to construction who say some employees have reconsidered their professional path amid the pandemic and “have just left the job market because of their work-life balance.”
The U.S. logged 194,000 new jobs in September, according to monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday. That’s less than half the 500,000 jobs economists were predicting would be added to the economy as enhanced federal unemployment benefits expired and a new school year brought the promise of a raft of teacher and support staff hires, which typically boost fall jobs numbers.
Neither scenario played out. Walsh said it’s clear to him the special federal unemployment benefits, which ended early last month, weren’t keeping people out of the workforce — an argument that picked up political steam as the pandemic wore on — or “we would have seen different numbers” in the recent jobs report.
A group of parents are suing a school district in southern Illinois over who has the right to issue a mask mandate. The suit, in the Triad district, hopes to overturn mask mandates in schools, arguing that the State Board of Education doesn’t have the right to issue one.
Governor JB Pritzker says groups like those are working against the best interests of everyone connected to a school.
There are people who are irresponsible, extraordinarily irresponsible, who are going around the state suing because they basically want to make schools less safe. That’s not right. I mean, we are not at a moment when this pandemic is over.
The Delta variant and its limited impact on Illinois children
Response from the governor’s office…
Misinformation is killing people and putting the wellbeing and safety of communities at risk. The administration, the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Illinois Department of Public Health have worked closely with school districts to require masks, establish a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff, and ensure students have access to learning. The pandemic is still here, and it will be irresponsibly prolonged by those twisting data and spreading misinformation.
The CDC found that the odds of a school-associated COVID-19 outbreak in schools without a mask requirement were 3.5 times higher than those in schools with an early mask requirement.
* Meanwhile, to the north of us…
Minnesota on Tuesday reported a COVID-19 test positivity rate of 8.3% that is the highest in the vaccine era and a level of hospitalizations that hasn’t been seen since the first shots against the coronavirus were administered in mid-December.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Minnesota reached 960 on Monday and included 254 people needing intensive care because of breathing problems or other complications. While that is below the record 1,864 hospitalizations on Nov. 29, it is the highest in 2021 and combines with patients with trauma and other illnesses to fill up 96% of available intensive care beds and 93% of non-ICU beds. […]
Minnesota hospitals continue to report observational findings about COVID-19 patients that match recent vaccine research.
While vaccines might be losing some effectiveness at preventing any infections, studies show they remain protective against severe illness, hospitalization and death.
* COVID-19 update: 2,913 new cases, 39 additional deaths, 1,615 hospitalizations: The state’s positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 2.1% based on a seven-day average, up a notch from 2% on Tuesday.
* New COVID-19 cases drop by 27% on average in October, yes to mingling flu and COVID shots
* Downtown office vacancy hits new record as delta variant slows leasing
* Illinois Told to Prepare to Vaccinate Young Children by November, White House Says
* Who Can Get a COVID Booster Shot Right Now? A Breakdown of Who is Eligible
* With a booster vaccine, should we expect the same kind of side effects?: Dr. John Segreti, medical director of infection control and prevention at Rush University Medical Center, said this is something we will continue to study, and it’s possible that side effects might be similar to initial vaccinations.
* Former Mass Vaccination Center to Reopen in DuPage County for Booster Shots
* 2 Peoria TV stations tell employees to get vaccinated against COVID or get terminated: However, at WEEK-TV and HOIC ABC, all union employees complied to the vaccination edict, Collins said. Further, he said, the company demand does not violate the union contract.
* Do We Really Need to Meet In Person? Videoconferencing is flawed, but it’s still better than the alternative.
* ADDED: Danville Veterans Administration nursing home where 11 residents died didn’t follow COVID guidelines, report finds