COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
Brazilians take to the streets demanding Bolsonaro's impeachment and better vaccine access
Tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets Saturday to voice their frustrations with President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the Covid-19 crisis, in what appeared to be the largest protests the country has seen since the pandemic began last year.

Demonstrators in some of the country's largest cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, called for the president's impeachment and for better access to Covid-19 vaccines. Many protesters did not appear to be practicing social distancing, although most wore masks. The demonstrations come as the country faces a possible third wave of the virus. Less than 10% of Brazil’s population has been fully vaccinated.
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Employers can legally offer incentives to employees to get vaccinated
Companies administering vaccines to employees also may offer incentives as long as the incentives are not "coercive," the EEOC said.

In December the EEOC said that companies can legally mandate that all employees re-entering the workplace and new hires be vaccinated for Covid-19. But there are two exemptions companies must allow for, according to the EEOC: a disability or religious reasons.

In its updated guidance released Friday, the EEOC now says employers are permitted to offer incentives to employees who voluntarily provide information they've been vaccinated by a third party — and that there is no limit to the size of those incentives.

For example, workers at both McDonalds corporate headquarters and restaurants will get up to four hours of paid time off to get vaccinated. Employees at Bolthouse Farms will get a $500 bonus if vaccinated. And at Kroger (KR), employees will get a one-time payment of $100 if they show proof of vaccination.

However, the EEOC's guidance says that if employers obtain employee vaccination information, they "must keep vaccination information confidential."

If the employer plans to administer the vaccine itself, the EEOC says incentives must not be large enough to be considered "coercive."

"Because vaccinations require employees to answer pre-vaccination disability-related screening questions, a very large incentive could make employees feel pressured to disclose protected medical information," the EEOC's guidance stated.

Employers are legally permitted to provide employees and their family members with educational information about Covid-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits, and address common questions and concerns, the EEOC said.
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Peru Revises Covid-19 Death Total to Triple Official Figures
Peru has struggled to contain the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and its official death toll before the revised estimate was already the ninth-highest per capita in the world. As early as last June, it was clear that far more deaths were occurring in Peru than would be expected in a normal year, and the gap was much larger than the number of deaths officially attributed to Covid-19, according to New York Times data. That was a warning sign to experts that Covid deaths were being undercounted.

The change in Peru’s death toll was announced a week before the second round of the country’s presidential election, scheduled for June 6.

The World Health Organization said earlier this month that deaths from Covid-19 globally were probably much higher than had been recorded.

South America is now the continent where the virus is spreading fastest, with five nations among the top 10 globally for new cases reported per 100,000 population.
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The US economy is set to grow at the fastest pace since 1984 thanks to stimulus and the rapid vaccine rollout, the OECD said
  • The US economy is set to grow at the fastest pace since 1984 this year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has said.
  • US gross domestic product would grow 6.9% in 2021, after contracting 3.5% in 2020, it said.
  • The organization said the US' huge stimulus and speedy vaccine rollout was boosting growth.
The OECD's new US forecast was an upgrade from March's prediction of 6.5% growth, which was itself a sharp improvement on a December estimate of 3.2%.

The successive upgrades reflect the impact of both President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus bill and of vaccines, which are allowing states to reopen their economies. More than half of the US population has now had at least one shot.

"Substantial additional fiscal stimulus and a rapid vaccination campaign have given a boost to the economic recovery," the OECD analysts wrote in their report.

The authors said the recovery had picked up speed: "Indicators of consumption activity have risen, with strong household income growth and a gradual relaxation of containment measures boosting spending."

They added: "The reopening of the economy due to widespread vaccination of the population will enable activity in more sectors to return to normal."

The OECD is a global organization that promotes growth and trade, with 38 member countries. Its economic forecasts are closely watched.
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First International Athletes Arrive in Japan for the Olympics
Australia’s national women’s softball team on Tuesday became the first international competitors to arrive in Japan ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, a show of confidence in a beleaguered event that is struggling against a coronavirus outbreak and growing public opposition.

The 23 players and 10 staff members, all of whom have been vaccinated against Covid-19, landed at Narita International Airport outside Tokyo and were traveling to the city of Ota, where they will train before moving into the Olympic Village on July 17.

The team, known as the Aussie Spirit, must strictly limit its movements as Japan tries to contain a prolonged fourth wave of the coronavirus. On Friday, the Japanese government extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and eight other prefectures until June 20. In other prefectures — including Gunma, where the Australian players will train — emergency measures curtailing businesses’ operating hours and capacity at certain venues are set to expire on June 13.

New daily infections have declined more than 40 percent in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database, but Japan is still recording more than 3,500 cases per day, the most since January.
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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has since spread worldwide, leading to an ongoing pandemic.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are variable, but often include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell and taste. Symptoms begin one to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. Most people (81%) develop mild to moderate symptoms (up to mild pneumonia), while 14% develop severe symptoms (dyspnea, hypoxia, or more than 50% lung involvement on imaging) and 5% of patients suffer critical symptoms (respiratory failure, shock, or multiorgan dysfunction). At least a third of the people who are infected with the virus remain asymptomatic and do not develop noticeable symptoms at any point in time, but can spread the disease. Some patients continue to experience a range of effects—known as long COVID—for months after recovery and damage to organs has been observed. Multi-year studies are underway to further investigate the long term effects of the disease.

Source: Coronavirus disease 2019 - Wikipedia