In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the federal vaccination mandate hurts efforts to overcome the public’s resistance to taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Ricketts said he is focused on making sure hospitals have enough capacity to handle the surge in COVID-19 cases. The Republican governor has been notable in working to persuade reluctant Arkansas residents to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. But in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Hutchinson said a comprehensive federal vaccination mandate “hardens the resistance.”
In Nebraska, Ricketts has encouraged people to get vaccinated and wear masks but he has resisted mandates to do either. “This is really going to create huge problems for all small businesses and for our American workers,” Ricketts said. “You shouldn’t have to make the choice of keeping your job or getting a jab in the arm.”
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska has risen over the past two weeks from 715.14 new cases per day on Aug. 27 to 822.86 new cases per day on Friday as the highly contagious delta variant of the virus spreads. Ricketts said on Fox News Sunday that Nebraska’s attorney general has been consulting with other attorneys general who believe the federal government is overstepping its authority by mandating that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. The roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.
In the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, will remain in the strictest type of lockdown until Sept. 21 after the government on Monday reported 33 new COVID-19 infections. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said lockdown restrictions were working to eliminate the outbreak of the highly transmissible delta variant. As of early Monday morning, more than 224.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking cases from around the world. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.6 million.
What’s happening across Canada WATCH | School outbreaks hit Alberta as COVID-19 puts strain on health-care system: Hospitals strained as COVID-19 cases increase in Alberta schoolsAs Alberta’s hospitals buckle under the pressure of a COVID-19 surge, some schools say 10 per cent of students are out sick and there’s no sign the province is increasing restrictions or moving to vaccine passports. 2:03 What’s happening around the world People wait in a queue to receive the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination at a zoo in Surabaya in Indonesia. (Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images) -From The Associated Press, last updated at 6:30 a.m. ET
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