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Several people reportedly wound up in the ICU after a ‘Get COVID’ party in Canada

ventilator hospital
SEATTLE, WA - MAY 07: Nurses Karen Hayes (L) and Nurse Nick Brideau administer care to a patient in the acute care COVID unit at Harborview Medical Center on May 7, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The patient was transferred out of the ICU COVID unit because she no longer needs to be on a ventilator. Today there are 25 patients at Harborview Medical Center, 10 of whom are on this floor. Currently in the UW Medicine System, 66 patients testing positive for COVID-19 are receiving care, around half of what it was at its peak.

Several people were hospitalized after a "Get COVID-19" party in Canada, sources told City News Edmonton.

The sources told the media site that the party in Edson, Alberta, happened about two weeks ago, and an undisclosed number of attendees wound up in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Edmonton.

A "Get COVID" party is similar to "chickenpox party," in which people gather to intentionally expose their unvaccinated children to the virus in hopes of gaining natural immunity - a practice pediatricians call a gamble.

Edson Mayor Kevin Zahara has not confirmed reports of the party, he did say that many Edson residents were hospitalized in the ICU with COVID-19.

He called news of gatherings like that "troubling" in a statement on Twitter.

"These types of events would be highly dangerous and needlessly endanger lives," he said.

Health Minister Jason Copping told Vice News that indoor gatherings are banned for unvaccinated people and has urged residents to get vaccinated.

"People who are hosting or attending these parties not only put themselves at risk of serious illness or death, but are adding stress to the health care system, which in turn may prevent other Albertans from getting the care they need," he said.

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Fauci says he’d support requiring all US flight passengers to get vaccinated

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said he supports the idea of mandating vaccinations for air travel, according to an upcoming interview with The Skimm.
  • Fauci's comments come less than a week after President Biden announced a vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees.
  • About 54% of all Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he would support a vaccine mandate for air travel within the United States.

"I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people then you should be vaccinated," he said in a podcast interview with The Skimm, which is set to air later this week.

Fauci's suggestion is not unheard of: Requiring a vaccine for air travel is supported by the majority of Americans. A Gallup poll taken in August found that 61% of respondents supported vaccines for flying.

The director of the NIAID also noted in The Skimm interview that the US is likely to reach "herd immunity" status if the "overwhelming proportion of the population" gets vaccinated. His comments come less than one week after President Joe Biden announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees, healthcare workers, and companies with over 100 employees.

Biden's vaccination mandate drew the ire of GOP officials who accused the president of overstepping the government's authority. Several Republican governors said they plan to sue the Biden administration over the new requirements.

About 54% of all Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Biden will require vaccines at any health facility that gets government funding. That’s nearly all of them.

COVID 19 vaccine

President Joe Biden is requiring COVID-19 vaccines for staff at all healthcare facilities that receive federal funding - more than 17,000 employees in total, the White House announced on Thursday. These employees will not have the option to get routinely tested as an alternative to being vaccinated.

The move is part of a larger plan to stop the spread of COVID-19, which Biden unveiled Thursday afternoon.

The new policy implements a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding - around 50,000 healthcare providers in total. Biden's plan also involves an emergency requirement that private companies with more than 100 employees require workers to be vaccinated or get tested weekly. Federal employees and contractors of federal agencies, meanwhile, will be required to get vaccinated.

The US Government Accountability Office estimates that tens of thousands of healthcare facilities participate in Medicare and Medicaid. Very few hospitals elect not to, since it would mean turning away the majority of patients seeking care. Non-profit hospitals also receive a federal tax exemption for treating Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Biden's new mandate, therefore, could significantly raise vaccination rates among US healthcare workers. These rates remain surprisingly low, despite the fact that hospital workers were among the first to become eligible for COVID-19 shots during the winter.

By the end of May, 1 in 4 hospital workers who have direct contact with patients had not received a single vaccine dose, according to a recent analysis of data collected by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The analysis also found that 1 in 3 healthcare workers at the nation's 50 largest hospitals were unvaccinated.

"You just get tired of this after a while," Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told Insider last month. "You shouldn't have to convince people who work around a vulnerable population of hospitalized patients that part of that means that you don't get to catch and transmit a potentially fatal infection."

Low vaccination rates also present a continued health risk at long-term care facilities. Just 46% of aides and 57% of nurses at these facilities were vaccinated as of early April, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Biden announced last month that he would require nursing home staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Hilary Brueck contributed reporting.

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A bankruptcy court granted the Sacklers immunity from all future opioid lawsuits, and the family agreed to pay a $4.3 billion settlement

oxycontin
In this Aug. 17, 2018, file photo, family and friends who have lost loved ones to OxyContin and opioid overdoses leave pill bottles in protest outside the headquarters of Sackler-owned Purdue Pharma, in Stamford, Conn.

Members of the Sackler family, which owns OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, have been granted immunity from future opioid lawsuits in a stunning bankruptcy settlement that was approved on Wednesday.

The bankruptcy plan, approved by Federal Judge Robert Drain, grants Sacklers freedom from liability in cases involving harm caused by Oxycontin, according to NPR.

In return, the Sackler family has to pay a $4.3 billion settlement and will give up ownership of the company.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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The US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating 5 states over mask bans

A sign reads 'Please wear a face mask' in a classroom.
A sign reads 'Please wear a face mask' in a classroom.
  • The US Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights is investigating five states over indoor mask bans.
  • The office is investigating mask bans in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.
  • Officials are looking into whether or not the mask bans prevent students with disabilities who are at a heightened risk for COVID-19. from "safely accessing in-person education."
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The US Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights is investigating whether or not indoor mask bans in five states prevent students with disabilities who are at a heightened risk for COVID-19 from "safely accessing in-person education."

State education leaders in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah were sent letters from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights to inform them their state mask bans were being investigated.

"National data also show that children with some underlying medical conditions, including those with certain disabilities, are at higher risk than other children for experiencing severe illness from COVID-19," Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Suzanne Goldberg wrote to each of the five states. "At the same time, extensive evidence supports the universal use of masks over the nose and mouth to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission."

US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement that his department had heard from concerned parents who feared their students with disabilities or underlying health conditions weren't receiving equal access to learning.

"It's simply unacceptable that state leaders are putting politics over the health and education of the students they took an oath to serve," he said in the statement. "The Department will fight to protect every student's right to access in-person learning safely and the rights of local educators to put in place policies that allow all students to return to the classroom full-time in-person safely this fall."

The US Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights said that it was not launching investigations into Florida, Texas, Arkansas or Arizona because state-ordered mask bans are not being enforced because of court orders "or other state actions."

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RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan granted parole by a California board after 2 of RFK’s sons offer support for his release

RFK Sirhan Sirhan
This June 1968 file photo shows Sirhan Sirhan, right, accused assassin of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy with his attorney Russell E. Parsons in Los Angeles.
  • Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, was granted parole.
  • This was the 16th time Sirhan, who has been in prison for 53 years, sought parole.
  • This was the first time prosecutors didn't oppose his release at the parole hearing.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

After 16 attempts in the past five decades, Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, was granted parole by a California board on Friday, after two of Kennedy's sons offered support for his release.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón's office did not attend the 77-year-old's parole hearing on Friday, marking the first time no prosecutor opposed his release, The Washington Post reported.

Sirhan, who was convicted of first-degree murder, has been in prison for 53 years after initially being sentenced to death.

His sentence was reduced to life with the possibility of parole after California abolished the death penalty in the early 1970s. The state later reinstated the death penalty, but has a complex appeals process that leads to very few executions anymore.

Parole for the convicted assassin must still be approved by the full parole board and California Gov. Gavin Newsom before Sirhan is officially released.

According to the Post, Kennedy's family made a last-minute decision to attend Friday's hearing, where son Douglas H. Kennedy spoke in favor of Sirhan's release.

"I really do believe any prisoner who is found to be not a threat to themselves or the world should be released," Douglas Kennedy said, according to the Associated Press. "I believe that applies to everyone, every human being, including Mr. Sirhan...I was very deeply moved by Mr. Sirhan's expression of remorse and at times it brought tears to my eyes and affected me very deeply."

One of Kennedy's other sons sent a letter to the parole board expressing support for Sirhan's parole as well, The Post reported.

Sirhan confessed to killing Kennedy in the assassination but has since said he doesn't remember the shooting.

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Haunting photos in Kabul show hundreds crowded at the airport gate waving their papers to be saved before the bombs went off

Hundreds of people gather on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.
Hundreds of people gather on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.
Moments before explosions near Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport killed dozens of people, hundreds of Afghans lined up outside gates in hopes of being evacuated from the country.
Afghan people who want to leave the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021. Afghan people who want to leave the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.
Afghan people who want to leave the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 26, 2021.

Thursday's attack killed 13 US military members and dozens of Afghans and the Pentagon said it was likely carried out by the Islamic State.

But photos from outside the airport earlier on Thursday show what people were experiencing before the blast.

Carrying just what they could hold in their arms, hopeful evacuees spent hours trying to get on planes to escape the Taliban, which took control of Kabul earlier this month.

Images show people waving documents at guards, gathering under razor wired fences, and standing in and around garbage outside Kabul's airport.

Thousands of people were eligible for visas for other countries, but evacuation flights were limited, making it difficult for countries, including the US, to bring all hopeful evacuees to safety.

Many refugees waited outside the airport near a sewage-filled canal.
Men and children wait wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.
Men and children wait wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.

On one side of the airport, evacuees waited near a knee-deep, sewage-filled canal, Sky News reported.

Due to the heat, which hit a high temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, the canal created a stench that could be smelled by surrounding crowds.

Refugees waved their documents in the air in hopes of being chosen for flights out of Afghanistan.
People hold documents in the air while waiting around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021
People hold documents in the air while waiting around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021

It was so chaotic that soldiers stood on the wall and held up their country's flag to show refugees where to go, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Thousands of Afghans who worked with the US hadn't been evacuated before Thursday's blast.
Hundreds of people gather, some holding documents, near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.
Hundreds of people gather, some holding documents, near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.

On Thursday, an estimated 250,000 Afghans who worked with the US hadn't been evacuated, according to The New York Times.

The UK has also left Afghans behind, while Germany, Canada, Spain, and New Zealand ended their evacuation efforts this week.

By Friday,more than 100,000 people had been evacuated from Kabul, but thousands more Afghans who helped the US military or are vulnerable to the militant group's strict rule are in danger of being left behind if they can't catch a flight out before the August 31 deadline for the US to leave.

Most people who tried to evacuate didn't bring anything with them.
People stand on a ledge outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.
People stand on a ledge outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.

Many people pictured at Hamid Karzai International Airport this week have had few belongings with them.

Military troops told refugees they could only bring one suitcase and the clothes they were wearing on board evacuation planes, according to the BBC.

The US State Department issued a depressing missive on Friday: "There are efforts underway to develop a system that will enable travelers from Hamid Karzai International Airport to recover baggage that was lost in transit."

The airport has had issues with "heaps of garbage" around its gates because of the mass number of people traveling to the site.
Garbage and clothing were seen strewn across the ground outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.
Garbage and clothing were seen strewn across the ground outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.

Source: Newsweek

Some Afghans went hours without food or water while waiting for escape flights.
People wait near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.
People wait near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.

A source working on getting people out told NBC News that she was telling evacuees to bring enough food and water to last them up to 24 hours waiting at the airport.

An Afghan man told the BBC earlier this week that some people had been waiting for 14 or 15 hours without food and water.

Thousands of people have traveled to the airport in recent days with hopes of evacuating Afghanistan.
An overview of crowds at the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 23.
An overview of crowds at the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 23.

An aerial photo from August 23 shows throngs of people waiting outside the airport.

This map of the airport shows you the choke points that made people waiting so vulnerable to attacks:

 

The explosions on Thursday delayed some evacuations out of Kabul, but President Joe Biden has promised evacuations will be completed.
A close-up of crowds near the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan August 23, 2021.
A close-up of crowds near the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan August 23, 2021.

Biden said in a speech on Thursday that the terror attacks would not deter the US from completing its evacuation mission to help refugees stuck in Kabul.

"We will rescue the Americans. We will get our Afghan allies out. And our mission will go on," Biden said in his speech.

Flights resumed on Friday.

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COVID-19 patients on ventilators at a hospital in the Ozarks say they should have taken the virus more seriously and gotten vaccinated

COVID 19 vaccine

COVID-19 patients on ventilators hospitalized in the Ozark Mountains have voiced regret about not getting vaccinated against the virus.

In a video published on The New York Times over the weekend, patients at a hospital in Mountain Home, Arkansas, spoke of their experience with COVID-19 and their decision not to get vaccinated.

Christopher Green, 53, told The Times that he opted not to get vaccinated to protect his individual freedoms.

"I probably should have had a little healthier fear," he said. "It needs to be taken more seriously. I mean, I don't know how close I am to being a lot worse."

Green died nine days after he was interviewed by The Times.

Another woman, who was not identified, said she was upset at herself for not getting vaccinated.

"I've never hurt like I've hurt," she said. "It's made a believer out of me."

Mountain Home's Baxter County has a vaccination rate of 37%, compared to the nation's 51.5% of people being fully vaccinated, according to The Times.

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10,000 people are reportedly waiting to evacuate Kabul but US flights haven’t departed in over 8 hours

kabul airport crowd
A crowd of mostly men gathers on the tarmac of Kabul airport on August 16, 2021.
  • Some 10,000 Afghans are waiting to be evacuated from the Kabul airport, according to a CNN reporter there.
  • The Afghans are "processed and ready to go," but Qatar is not accepting any more people from Kabul.
  • No flights have taken off from the airport in at least eight hours, according to CNN.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Some 10,000 people are waiting for flights out Afghanistan at Kabul airport, but flights haven't departed for hours, CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward reported on Friday.

Ward said on Twitter that soldiers told her 10,000 people had been processed for evacuation, but Qatar has hit its capacity for Afghan refugees, and new flights haven't taken off.

As of 11:30 a.m. EST, Ward said, per CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins, that no flights had left Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport for at least eight hours.

As of 1:40 p.m. EST, flights resumed, a defense official told Politico reporter Lara Seligman.

In a speech about troop withdrawal and ensuing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan on Friday, President Joe Biden acknowledged the pause of flights, saying there was a backlog of processing refugees at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, where US flights from Kabul over the past week have been heading.

"We paused flights in Kabul [for] a few hours this morning to make sure we could process the arriving evacuees at the transit points," he said.

In previous remarks, Biden blamed Afghan leaders and said their military trained by US troops lacked the "will to fight."

There are also questions over the ability of remaining US troops to safely evacuate Americans outside of the Kabul airport, which is behind a perimeter established by the Taliban.

Over 20,000 Afghans qualifying for visas to come to the United States are estimated to still be in Afghanistan, while some 6,000 have already been flown out.

More chaotic scenes have emerged from the rush to flee Afghanistan as the Taliban takes over, including one of a child being lifted over a wall at the Kabul airport and handed to American soldiers.

The Taliban has declared Afghanistan as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the same name they used when ruling the country under their brutal regime in the 1990s.

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Capitol Police apprehend a man who said he had explosives in a truck outside the Library of Congress; no injuries reported

police car parked in front of us capitol building
A Metropolitan Police Department cruiser blocks a street near the Capitol and a Library of Congress building in Washington, DC, on Thursday.
  • Capitol Police responded to a bomb threat near the Library of Congress in Washington on Thursday.
  • Officials apprehended a man in a truck who said he had an explosive device, the police said.
  • Congressional staffers were asked to shelter in their offices, and police evacuated the area.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Capitol Police investigated a report of an explosive device outside the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, on Thursday. A suspect surrendered to law-enforcement officials at about 2:20 p.m. and was taken into custody after an hours-long standoff, the police said.

Officers evacuated the area around the building, near the US Capitol and the Supreme Court, shortly after 9 a.m. in response to what they said was a suspicious device in a pickup truck.

"This is an active bomb threat investigation," the Capitol Police tweeted at about 10:30 a.m. "Please continue to avoid the area around the Library of Congress."

The Metropolitan Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the FBI assisted. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she'd been briefed on the situation and advised people to avoid the area.

Law-enforcement officials had told The Associated Press they were determining whether the device in the truck was an "operable explosive" and whether the man was holding a detonator.

Officials told NBC News they had not identified anything resembling an explosive device in the truck. They told NBC the driver had said he had explosives and was writing on a dry-erase board to communicate with officials.

"Around 9:15 this morning, a man in a black pickup truck drove onto the sidewalk in front of the Library of Congress," Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said in a news conference at about noon.

"We responded to a disturbance call," Manger said. "The driver of the truck told the responding officer on the scene that he had a bomb and what appeared, the officer said, appeared to be a detonator in the man's hand."

Manger added: "We're trying to get as much information as we can to find a way to peacefully resolve this. We are in communication with the suspect."

Manger said officials had not determined a motive. Law-enforcement officials identified the suspect as Floyd Ray Roseberry, 49, believed to be from Grover, North Carolina.

The man had livestreamed himself on Facebook expressing anti-government views, officials and reporters said, but the video and his account appeared to have been taken down on Thursday. "I'm ready to die for the cause," he said in a clip that HuffPost's Ryan Reilly tweeted.

Capitol Police set up a perimeter around the Capitol, and congressional staffers were asked to shelter in their offices. The Cannon House Office Building and the Library of Congress' Jefferson and Madison buildings were evacuated, Capitol Hill reporters said.

Congress is not in session this week, meaning most lawmakers are not in the city, though people are still working in the buildings.

"Due to the nature of the incident, this will likely be a prolonged law enforcement response," the House's sergeant-at-arms, William Walker, told staffers.

The Republican National Committee building near the Capitol was evacuated as well, The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey reported. The Supreme Court was evacuated, CNN said.

Washington, DC, has been on high alert since rioters stormed the Capitol complex on January 6, resulting in numerous injuries and several deaths.

That day, two pipe bombs were found outside the offices of the Republican and Democratic national committees. No one got hurt, though the identity of the person who planted the devices remains unknown, and the FBI has called on the public to come forward with details.

This story is developing and will continue to be updated.

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