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Tens of Thousands of New York Healthcare Workers Could Lose Jobs as Soon as Today Over Vaccine: COVID Updates

USA Today reported:

Tens of thousands of healthcare workers across New York state could lose their jobs as soon as today, the state-imposed deadline for them to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

All healthcare workers at hospitals and nursing homes are required to have at least one dose under the mandate issued last month by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Home care, hospice and adult care workers must be vaccinated by Oct. 7 under the rules, which some workers are challenging in the courts.

NYC Reverts to Old Vaccine-or-Test School Policy for Now as Court Blocks Mandate Again

NBC New York reported:

New York City is relying on its previous vaccination or weekly COVID testing policy for Department of Education employees, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday, as a stopgap while the latest temporary injunction against his mandate requiring at least one dose for all those staffers plays out in the court system.

It was the second 11th-hour temporary block of de Blasio’s vaccination mandate as legal battles over the constitutionality of such requirements continue. An attorney representing Department of Education employees says opponents of the mayor’s school mandate just want a weekly test option scribed into the rule for those who, for whatever reason, do not want to be inoculated against COVID.

Thousands of United Workers to Be Fired, Furloughed Over COVID Vaccine Mandates

Newsweek reported:

Today marks the deadline for employees of United Airlines to prove they’ve received their first COVID-19 shot or lose their job.

In early August, the nation’s second-largest airline announced that its 67,000 employees had until October 25 to get fully vaccinated. As of last week, the company said that more than 97 percent of its U.S. employees had taken the shot. However, this figure leaves some 2,000 plus people as holdouts — and it appears these individuals will be putting up a fight.

Facebook Is Hitting the Brakes on Instagram for Kids

CNN reported:

Instagram is pressing pause on plans to develop a version of its service for kids under 13 after facing pressure from lawmakers to back down on the effort and new questions about the impact the photo-sharing service has on teen girls.

The move comes just days before the US Senate was set to hold a hearing entitled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms” to discuss the pressure today’s youth face on social media. That hearing comes after a Wall Street Journal investigation around what Facebook knows about how Instagram affects teen users, including their mental health.

Dozens of Massachusetts State Police Troopers Resigning Over COVID Vaccine Mandate, Union Says

CBS Boston reported:

The State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM) said dozens of troopers have submitted their resignation papers as a result of the state’s COVID vaccine mandate.

The state is requiring all executive department employees to show proof of vaccination by October 17, or risk losing their jobs. About 20% of State Police employees are not vaccinated, the union’s attorney said.

Last week, a judge denied a request from the State Police union to put a hold on Baker’s vaccine mandate for troopers.

Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘Metaverse’ Is a Dystopian Nightmare

Jacobin reported:

In July, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is in the process of transitioning into a “Metaverse” company over the next half decade. The social media giant wants to morph into an all-consuming, all-encompassing platform with relationships, work, commerce, and entertainment commingling under one big tent.

If that’s vague, it’s because the Metaverse is an octopus with a nearly infinite number of arms and no single blueprint, which is why many are calling it the Web 3.0. “You can think about the Metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it.”

‘We Thought It Would Be Normal by Now’: High School Seniors Face Third COVID School Year

Asbury Park Press reported:

While the new school year marks the first time that classrooms have been full and virtual learning all but eliminated, incoming 12th graders still have to wear masks, practice social distancing, and contend with protocols similar to those in place when the pandemic began.

“We thought it would be normal by now and then last year we still thought so,” said McKown. “And now we are getting into it with masks mandated, it is not too exciting. It is not normal, but we will make it as normal as possible.” Normal is a distant memory for the Class of 2022, who are now in their third high school year of COVID-19 dating back to the first outbreak.

Politicians Could Exploit Twitter’s New Safety Tools to Silence Critics, Legal Experts Warn

The Washington Post via MSN reported:

Twitter is testing a host of new features the social network says will boost user safety on the platform, but free speech advocates warn that the tools could be easily exploited by government officials to suppress dissent and limit access to their remarks online.

The rollouts include a “safety mode” tool that when enabled automatically detects and temporarily blocks accounts hurling insults or other “harmful language” at users to “reduce the burden on people dealing with unwelcome interactions.” The company said Friday it’s also testing a setting that lets users automatically “filter” or “limit” unwanted and harmful replies.

But any tool that filters harmful or violent speech can also capture constitutionally protected dissent. The company says it’s aware the features could be used by government leaders to stifle opposing viewpoints, and so it’s excluding politicians initially from tests.

The Nonsensical Loophole in Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

The Atlantic reported:

President Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate for large businesses is a strange one, in that it does not actually make vaccines mandatory for the roughly 80 million Americans it’s aimed at. Tucked plainly into the rule is a singular and obvious opt-out: Unlike federal employees and contractors, those in the private sector can test for the coronavirus on an at-least-weekly basis.

The United States isn’t set up to handle a sharp rise in diagnostic demand, should a big fraction of affected workers go the testing route. What’s more, including the testing clause at all “does undermine, to some degree, the scientific and public-health purpose of the mandate,” Tom Bollyky, the director of the global-health program at the Council on Foreign Relations, told me.