Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, January 14: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

The conservative-majority Supreme Court has suspended the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate to require employees of large private companies to wear masks at work, get vaccinated or be tested regularly for COVID-19, concluding that the administration has “overstepped” his authority. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimated that the mandate would save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over a six-month period.

Three liberal judges dissented and wrote that the court “went too far in substituting its judgment for that of health experts.” At the same time, the court authorized advancement of the administration’s immunization mandate for healthcare workers in facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid.

Meanwhile, health officials in Washington continue to report record hospitalizations for COVID-19, largely due to omicron. Hospitals are grappling with high rates of hospitalizations, staff shortages and scarce testing supplies. The Washington National Guard will assist staff at hospitals and testing sites across the state in an effort to alleviate stress on the healthcare system.

We are updating this page with the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the United States, and the world. Click here to see live updates from previous days and all of our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we’re tracking the daily spread across Washington.

German medical students praised for standing up to protesters

German officials praised a group of medical students who held a silent vigil outside a Dresden hospital on Thursday evening to protest a rally of far-right vaccine skeptics.

Saxony Governor Michael Kretschmer thanked the students on Twitter on Friday, saying they had made a “clear and important statement”.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told reporters in Berlin that the student’s call for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 had his “categorical support.”

Lauterbach said it was “disturbing” that some medical students were being fined after police identified them for allegedly violating pandemic restrictions, but added that he did not have enough information. information to properly assess what had happened.

The German Doctors’ Association Marburger Bund has expressed “full support” for the students and called for no negative consequences, claiming that the police have put an end to the silent protest by the doctors “for no obvious reason” .

Police in Saxony have been repeatedly accused of failing to crack down on far-right protests, including those that break pandemic rules.

Read the story here.

3 women accused of beating an aviation security officer in JFK

Three women face federal charges for attacking an airline security guard who tried to prevent them from boarding a flight to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City in September because of what prosecutors called the behavior problematic, including the refusal to properly wear a face mask.

Prosecutors said in court documents the women ordered a total of about nine alcoholic drinks in four hours from airport bars while awaiting a delayed departure to San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 22.

When the three arrived at the departure gate, they were acting belligerently, one was not wearing her mask as required by federal regulations, and another appeared disoriented and struggling to walk, prosecutors said. .

When the airline crew told the women they couldn’t get on the plane, one hit the security guard on the head with her two-way radio, another hit an officer door to face and the third stepped in the face of the security guard as the three kicked him. and hit him after he fell to the ground, prosecutors said.

Read the story here.

-The Associated Press

Djokovic risks deportation as Australia revokes visa again

Novak Djokovic faces deportation again after the Australian government revoked his visa for the second time, the latest twist in the ongoing saga over whether the No.1-ranked tennis player will be allowed to participate in the Australian Open although he has not been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said on Friday he had used his discretion to revoke the 34-year-old Serbian’s visa on public policy grounds – just three days before play started at the Open Australia, where Djokovic won a record nine of his 20 Grand Slam titles. .

Djokovic’s lawyers were due to appeal to the Federal Circuit and Family Court, which they did successfully last week on procedural grounds after his visa was first canceled when he landed at a Melbourne airport.

Deportation from Australia usually results in a three-year ban on re-entry. That would make Djokovic 37 the next time he was allowed to compete in the Australian Open.

Read the story here.

—Rod McGuirk and John Pye, The Associated Press

Faced with a severe staff shortage, some American schools are asking parents to intervene

Some schools in desperate need of substitute teachers and other staff turn to an unusual group of applicants: parents.

At the Jewish Academy in Austin, principal Chris Aguero said he relied exclusively on parents to replace him as teachers call in sick during latest wave of coronavirus cases and the pool of replacements grows. dries up.

“These are the people who are re-prioritizing what they want to do with their time,” Aguero said. “So if they’re not afraid to be in a building full of kids, then they have to decide: is this how they want to spend their time? “

The Texas school is not alone.

Read the full story here.

– Marisa Iati, The Washington Post

Washington hospitals in ‘worst situation’ since start of COVID, official warns

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to climb to record levels in Washington as the omicron variant crosses the state – a worrying trend as the shortage of healthcare workers in the region also fades, testing supplies ‘are exhausting and medical procedures continue to be postponed or canceled.

“It’s the worst situation [that] Washington State hospitals have compared to any point before the pandemic, ”Taya Briley, vice president of the Washington State Hospital Association, said at a press conference Thursday.

As of Thursday, COVID-related hospitalizations had averaged about 1,800 over the past week, surpassing the state’s latest record of around 1,700 hospitalizations per week in mid-September. Of those, about 149 patients are on ventilators – a 16% increase from last week, Briley said.

In King County, coronavirus infections and hospitalizations continued to rise to record highs as the omicron variant persists. Public Health – Seattle & King County on Thursday reported a daily average of 5,896 new cases and 63 daily hospitalizations.

Read the full story here.

—Elise Takahama

Catch up in the last 24 hours

Gov. Jay Inslee deploys the National Guard to help overwhelmed Washington hospitals and COVID-19 test sites. He also asks for help from anyone who can help with vaccinations, tests or work in the hospital. But that will not solve the deep, long-term problems; complaints from Washington hospital workers have more than tripled since 2019, unions say.

Now it’s up to big business to decide vaccine mandates for their workers. The Supreme Court yesterday suspended a demand by President Joe Biden that would have affected more than 80 million workers, leaving many companies to chart their own course through a tangle of security concerns and staff shortages. Here’s what we know so far about their plans.

King County jails must close and quarantine everyone for two weeks, the head of the prison union warned yesterday, citing a huge increase in coronavirus cases there. The county says that can’t happen, but its prosecutors are considering making changes.

Unvaccinated women with COVID-19 are more likely to lose their babies until stillbirth or within the first month of life, Scottish researchers reported yesterday.

The Marine Corps became the first military branch grant religious exemptions from the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate. It is also the branch with the greatest number of vaccine refractories.

COVID patient spent 322 days on a ventilator, unable to speak for months as she battled one setback after another. Then she heard that her father was dead – and it started a fire under her. Finally, Gwen Starkey has some good news.

—Kris Higginson

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