Registrations for the vaccine are now open for Hoosiers 12 and older through the Indiana State Department of Health. This story will be updated over the course of the day with more news on the COVID-19 pandemic.
State reports 3,482 new COVID-19 cases, 31 additional deaths
The Indiana State Department of Health reported Thursday that 3,482 more Hoosiers have tested positive for COVID-19. That brings the total confirmed case count in the state to 962,808 since March 2020.
ISDH also reported 31 new deaths from the period of Sept. 21-29. Indiana has lost 15,165 residents since the pandemic began.
The state also reported that 2,467 more Indiana residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Thursday morning. The total number of Hoosiers now considered fully vaccinated is 3,266,854.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 43.34 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3:30 a.m. Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 695,100 deaths recorded in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 233.27 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 4.77 million deaths. More than 6.2 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness like pneumonia, or death.
AT&T requiring frontline union workers to be fully vaccinated by February 2022
AT&T has become one of the largest employers in the U.S. to mandate vaccines for a significant number of frontline workers.
The telecom company said Wednesday that its employees in the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union will be required to be fully vaccinated by Feb. 1, “unless they get an approved job accommodation.”
CWA represents about 90,000 AT&T workers, the union said. It is the largest union at the company listing about 230,000 employees as of late January.
The Dallas company said it is extending a vaccination policy that it set for managers in August that required them to be vaccinated by Oct. 11. Unlike the federal government's vaccine mandate for large employers, AT&T is not offering employees the option to take a weekly test instead of getting inoculated.
The CWA workers at AT&T can request an exemption for religious or medical reasons, and employees who are not vaccinated by Feb. 1 get a 60-day unpaid “reconsideration period” to change their minds, according to union spokesperson Beth Allen.
The policy applies to employees who work in stores, customers’ homes and other worksites, as well as people who are temporarily working from home. AT&T's union employees include workers at cellphone stores, call centers and technicians.
CDC issues advisory urging pregnant people to get COVID-19 vaccine
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory Wednesday, urging pregnant people and those who are trying to get pregnant to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The CDC updated its vaccine guidance at the beginning of August, recommending the shot for all pregnant people and those planning to become pregnant. Pregnant people are at an increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus, and the CDC found pregnant people with COVID-19 are at an increased risk of pre-term birth and might be at an increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes.
The CDC also said Wednesday that there were 22 COVID-19-related deaths in pregnant people in August, the most for any single month of the pandemic. The CDC also found that 97% of pregnant people who were hospitalized because of COVID-19 were unvaccinated.
There has been some vaccine hesitancy among pregnant people, partly due to misinformation about potential impacts on fertility.
“Somehow out there the rumors have spread that it affects fertility and affects pregnancy when, in fact, really, the reverse is the case,” infectious disease expert Dr. Steve Threlkeld said.
Foreign spectators banned from Beijing Winter Olympics
Restrictions imposed to control the COVID-19 pandemic at the next Winter Games in February were announced Wednesday by the International Olympic Committee.
Those restrictions include a 21-day quarantine for non-fully vaccinated athletes, officials and workers at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. The IOC also called for daily testing for vaccinated people, and no tickets sold to anyone living outside China as Olympic venues open their doors again.
While not imposing a vaccine mandate, organizers in Beijing plan stricter rules than those applied at the Tokyo Olympics, where vaccination was advised though not demanded within a strict regime of testing.
Olympic athletes can ask to avoid quarantine, the IOC said, for a “justified medical exemption” — a phrase that appears to exclude ideological objections to vaccines.
It will be the second consecutive Olympics during the pandemic where families of athletes cannot visit the host country to watch the events.