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An Ohio Woman Was Denied a Life-Saving Liver Transplant After Refusing to Get a COVID Vaccine
After years battling stage-four liver cancer and getting treatment at the Cleveland Clinic, Michelle Vitullo was told she couldn’t get a planned liver transplant, her daughter told a local Fox station.
Her daughter, Angela Green, was a match for the life-saving transplant, and the surgery was scheduled for late September.
But two weeks after it was scheduled, the transplantation was postponed indefinitely since neither Vitullo nor Green had received the COVID-19 vaccine.
L.A., San Diego School Districts Are Sued Over Student Vaccination Mandate
California’s two largest school districts — Los Angeles and San Diego — are targeted in lawsuits challenging their student COVID-19 vaccination mandates, alleging the vaccines are too new and that unvaccinated children face discrimination and the denial of their equal right to a public education.
Both school systems were ahead of the state in requiring student vaccines as a measure to make campuses safer and to limit spread of the coronavirus in the community — and their mandates are more comprehensive than the state requirement, which has yet to be codified into law.
The Latest: Vaccine Mandate for Calif. Prison Guards Blocked
A California judge has partially blocked an order taking effect this week that requires state prison employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
A Kern County judge issued a temporary restraining order that prevents enforcement of the vaccination mandate for unionized guards.
Google AI Department Sued for Using the Health Data of 1.6 Million NHS Patients
A class-action lawsuit has been launched against DeepMind, the Google-owned AI research company, over its use of the personal records of 1.6 million patients from the UK’s National Health Service (thanks, AI News). The health data was provided by the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in 2015.
The handing-over of patient records to one of the world’s biggest technology companies was exposed by New Scientist in 2017, in a report showing that DeepMind had access to far more data than had been publicly announced. The UK Information Commission launched an investigation that ruled the Royal Free hospital hadn’t done enough to protect patients’ privacy: following which, DeepMind apologised.
People in Israel and Bahrain Are Losing Their Vaccination Status for Not Taking Boosters
Israel and Bahrain want eligible residents to take their COVID booster shots — and those who don’t do so risk losing their fully-vaccinated status, and the privileges that come with it.
In Israel, vaccinated people are given a so-called “green pass” that allows them to enter hotels, restaurants and many other indoor venues.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 can also be issued a green pass under a different set of guidelines.
Southwest Pilots Union Sues to Block Airline’s Vaccination Mandate
In what appears to be one of the first cases of a union pushing back against the new COVID vaccination requirements handed down by the Biden Administration, a union representing pilots at Southwest Airlines is suing to stop the vaccine requirement from being forced until a lawsuit is resolved.
Bloomberg reports that the union representing Southwest’s pilots has asked a court to grant a temporary stay against the federal vaccination rules until an ongoing lawsuit over what they allege are violations of U.S. labor laws is resolved.
No Unemployment Checks for Health Workers Who Refuse Vaccine
There will be no state unemployment benefits for healthcare workers who are fired for refusing to get employer-mandated vaccinations against COVID-19, state officials said Thursday.
Already, a small number of workers have quit rather than be fully vaccinated ahead of the deadline at month’s end.
“Refusing to comply with an employer’s policies, including a health or safety policy, typically disqualifies a person from being eligible to receive unemployment benefits,” Jessica Picard, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Labor, said Thursday.
Facebook Is Researching AI Systems That See, Hear and Remember Everything You Do
A new research project led by Facebook’s artificial intelligence (AI) team suggests the scope of the company’s ambitions. It imagines AI systems that are constantly analyzing peoples’ lives using first-person video; recording what they see, do, and hear in order to help them with everyday tasks. Facebook’s researchers have outlined a series of skills it wants these systems to develop, including “episodic memory” (answering questions like “where did I leave my keys?”) and “audio-visual diarization” (remembering who said what when).
Such ambitions have huge privacy implications. Privacy experts are already worried about how Facebook’s AR glasses allow wearers to covertly record members of the public. Such concerns will only be exacerbated if future versions of the hardware not only record footage, but analyze and transcribe it, turning wearers into walking surveillance machines.
NBA Star Kyrie Irving Says Refusal to Get COVID Vaccine Is ‘What’s Best for Me’
Kyrie Irving said Wednesday he didn’t want to lose salary or a chance to compete for a championship with the Brooklyn Nets, but was doing “what’s best for me” by refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Nets decided Tuesday that Irving wouldn’t be with the team because he isn’t eligible to play in home games, where a New York mandate requires professional athletes on one of the city’s teams to be vaccinated to practice or play in public venues.
“I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is,” Irving said. “That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.”
U.S. Pastors, Advocacy Groups Mobilize Against COVID Vaccine Mandates
As the Biden administration prepares a federal vaccine mandate and more states and companies impose them to help accelerate the pandemic’s end, letter-writing efforts by religious leaders are being reinforced by legal advocacy groups such as Liberty Counsel.
The organization said it has sent more than 100 letters to companies including United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL.O) and Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N) vowing litigation if they improperly reject religious exemption requests.
Chicago Police Union Head Urges Cops to Defy Vaccine Mandate
The head of the Chicago police officers union has called on its members to defy the city’s requirement to report their COVID-19 vaccination status by Friday or be placed on unpaid leave.
In the video posted online Tuesday and first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara vowed to take Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration to court if it tries to enforce the mandate, which requires city workers to report their vaccine status by the end of the work week. After Friday, unvaccinated workers who won’t submit to semiweekly coronavirus testing will be placed on unpaid leave.
Medical Chaos: Result of Firing Unvaccinated Nurses in Houston
Two months after firing unvaccinated hospital staff, Houston Methodist is one of several area hospitals experiencing a severe shortage of medical personnel. Media reports say hospitals have “reached a breaking point” because of a flood of COVID-19 cases.
Public officials are scrambling to address the shortage, which has created a massive patient backlog throughout the Houston area. More than a week ago, Tex Gov. Greg Abbott requested out of state assistance for the statewide crisis, including 2,500 out of state nurses. LBJ Hospital officials said those nurses have not yet arrived.
What we know is that Houston hospitals that did not abruptly fire 150 employees struggled to deal with the COVID spike, and in some cases people died as a result. So it’s safe to presume that Houston Methodist’s decision to fire 150 employees a few weeks before the Delta variant arrived in force didn’t make the situation any better and probably made it much worse.
Arkansas Governor OKs Bill Allowing Vaccine Mandate Opt-Outs
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday effectively approved a new law that will allow employees to opt-out of COVID-19 vaccine requirements, a move by fellow Republicans to challenge federal vaccine mandates.
Hutchinson allowed the measure to become law without his signature despite his concerns about the impact it will have on businesses in the state. The new law won’t take effect until early next year.