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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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A healthcare worker registers a patient at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-thru Covid-19 vaccination and testing site in Austin, Texas on Thursday. Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Austin, Texas, issued an emergency alert this weekend over the "severely worsening COVID-19 situation," which has reached a "critical" point, officials said.

Why it matters: The Warn Central Texas alert system was designed to be activated during a disaster. "Our hospitals are severely stressed and there is little we can do to alleviate their burden with the surging cases," Austin-Travis County Health Authority's Desmar Walkes said in a statement.

"The public has to act now and help our we will face a catastrophe in our community that could have been avoided."
— Walkes
  • "Hospital bed availability and critical care is extremely limited in our hospital systems, not just for COVID-19 patients, but for anyone who may need treatment," Walkes added. "The community has to come together again and stave off disaster."

The big picture: The alert, sent via text message, phone call and email to City of Austin and Travis County residents on Saturday, comes as the Delta variant drives a spike in COVID-19 cases across Texas.

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a state-wide ban on mask and vaccine mandates on July 29, saying "the path forward relies on personal responsibility."
  • On the same day, he blocked the ground transportation of undocumented migrants detained by Customs Border Patrol, citing the surge in coronavirus cases as the basis for that order.

Go deeper: Texas schools not required to do contact tracing, new guidance says

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - Health

Supreme Court declines to block Maine health care workers vaccine mandate

A Maine health care worker prepares vaccine dose. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an emergency appeal of a vaccine mandate for Maine health care workers.

The big picture: The mandate, which was announced in August by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, says that Maine health care workers need to be vaccinated by Oct. 29 or risk losing their jobs and not qualifying for unemployment benefits.

Oct 19, 2021 - Health

J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year

J&J's COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson registered $502 million of global revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date vaccine sales to $766 million.

The big picture: J&J, which is selling the vaccine at a not-for-profit price of $7.50 per dose, still expects to generate $2.5 billion of COVID vaccine sales this year, executives said Tuesday. But that total will still dwarf the use and sales of the vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

Oct 19, 2021 - Health

Virginia governor has had long COVID for more than a year

Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam still has long COVID-19 symptoms more than a year after his initial infection, he said in an interview with the Virginian-Pilot.

Why it matters: The Democratic governor is one of millions of Americans suffering from symptoms of long COVID, which could have serious implications for employers and social programs if enough people can no longer work because of it, per Axios' Caitlin Owens.

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