While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for October 21


INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic that you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

Distribution plan. The state will take a three-phase approach to distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to Hoosiers once it’s available.

The Indiana State Department of Health’s draft plan will provide the vaccine first to workers in the healthcare field and vulnerable Hoosiers who are at higher risk of severe illness.

The second wave of vaccine would go to people who are at higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 because of where they live or work. This would include fire and police personnel, workers in food service and retail, teachers, correctional facility and group home workers and essential workers.

Once the first two phases are complete and the vaccine becomes widely available, the general public will receive the vaccine.

The state has submitted its plan to the CDC.

Unemployment effects. For the first time in nearly 50 years, older workers face higher unemployment than their midcareer counterparts, according to a study released Tuesday by the New School university in New York City.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on employment for people of all ages. But researchers found that during its course, workers 55 and older lost jobs sooner, were rehired slower and continue to face higher job losses than their counterparts ages 35 to 54.

It is the first time since 1973 that such a severe unemployment gap has persisted for six months or longer.

AARP said the study bolstered concerns about the economic impact of the virus on on older workers. When people over 50 lose their jobs, it typically takes them twice as long to find work as it does for younger workers, the organization representing the interests of older Americans estimates.

The pandemic “may be something that is pushing people out of the workforce and they may never get back in,” said Susan Weinstock, AARP’s vice president of financial resilience programing.

In every recession since the 1970s, older workers had persistently lower unemployment rates than midcareer workers — partly because of seniority benefits.

But in the current recession, older workers experienced higher unemployment rates than midcareer workers in each month since the onset of the pandemic.

The older workers’ unemployment rates from April through September were 1.1 percentage points higher than mid-career workers — at 9.7% versus 8.6%. The rates were compiled using a six-month rolling average and were far worse for older workers who are black, female or lack college degrees.

Health experts weigh in. Experts have warned about a second wave of coronavirus cases in the fall.

NewsNation sat down at the White House complex for an in-depth interview with three of the top officials on the front lines of America’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic: Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

This is the first time these top health three health leaders fighting the coronavirus pandemic have sat down for an interview together.The latest coronavirus headlines from NewsNation 

In the interview, Secretary Azar addressed the safety of the vaccine and also the process to distribute it in the months ahead.

Hughes also asked the three about the conflicting guidelines coming out of the White House and other top health organizations and how the U.S. mitigates the spread of COVID-19.

Eight months into the pandemic and the U.S. is seeing a strong increase in new cases, with levels approaching those the country recorded over the summer.

Infections and hospitalizations are on the rise across the country with the death toll now approaching 221,000, the highest in the world. America’s number of infected people leads the world as well.

The disease has disrupted life for all of us since the spring, with fears that the fall and winter could be even worse. Health officials reported more than 58,000 cases on Tuesday.

“Unworkable” plan. California will allow large theme parks to reopen with modifications when the counties where they’re located move into the state’s least-restrictive “yellow” tier, a change that likely puts Disneyland, Legoland and other major theme parks at least weeks — and potentially months — away from resuming operations.

The announcement was made Tuesday by California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, who released the state’s much-anticipated reopening protocols for theme parks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines had been expected earlier this month but were delayed.

When theme parks do welcome back guests, larger locations will have to limit capacity to 25% and must require advance reservations, Ghaly said. Visitors will also have to wear face masks while in the parks, except when eating and drinking.

The county tier requirement means it’s unlikely that any of the popular Southern California theme parks will be open anytime soon.

Orange and San Diego counties — homes to the Disneyland Resort, Knott’s Berry Farm, Legoland and SeaWorld — remain in the state’s “red” tier, which is the second most-restrictive tier and indicates “substantial” risk of COVID-19 spread.

The new rules were unveiled as Disney officials, Orange County lawmakers and — most recently — unions representing Disneyland workers have all increased pressure on the state to issue guidance for the ailing sector, which has effectively been shut down since mid-March.

Disneyland responded within an hour of the release, slamming the guidelines as “arbitrary” and “unworkable, and saying California is holding the theme park sector “to a standard vastly different” from other businesses and facilities operated by the state.

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