Florida’s top health official was asked to leave a meeting after refusing to wear a mask at the office of a state senator who had cancer.
Tina Polsky, a Florida senator, recently received a breast cancer diagnosis and asked state surgeon general Joseph Ladapo to wear a mask when he arrived for a Wednesday meeting. He refused to wear one.
Ladapo had asked to meet with Polsky as he seeks confirmation in the Senate after being named to the post by Gov. Ron DeSantis last month. DeSantis has been steadfast in his opposition to COVID-19 vaccination mandates, calling them unfair and discriminatory.
“It was so shocking to me that he treated me in this manner,” Polsky said. “If he is a surgeon general for the next several years, I am really concerned about a future public health emergency and not being able to rely on him for necessary guidance and proper scientific leadership.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cancer patients are at a higher risk to get severely ill from COVID-19 and may not build the same immunity to vaccines.
Ladapo offered to go outside, but the senator said she did not want to sit on the metal picnic tables on a warm day when her office was nice and spacious. She said she asked whether there was a reason why he couldn’t wear a mask, but he wouldn’t answer.
Democrats have opposed the appointment of Ladapo, criticizing him for comments and actions related to the pandemic. A day into his job, Ladapo signed new rules allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school after being exposed to people who tested positive for COVID-19.
Also in the news:
►U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson was released from the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. The 62-year-old is vaccinated against the coronavirus and was treated at the Walter Reed National Military Center “out of an abundance of caution.”
►Ukraine’s coronavirus infections and deaths reached all-time highs for a second straight day Friday, in a growing challenge for the country with one of Europe’s lowest shares of vaccinated people.
►Ed Sheeran tested positive for COVID-19 and canceled his in-person commitments. The “Shape of You” singer, 30, said he will quarantine and give interviews and performances from home in an Instagram post on Sunday.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 45 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 735,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 243 million cases and 4.9 million deaths. More than 190 million Americans — 57.4% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: Research during the pandemic has shown those with mental health disorders are more vulnerable to COVID-19, but it wasn’t until last week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added them to the list of underlying medical conditions associated with a higher risk of severe disease.
Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
How’s the economy doing? Just check the parking lot at your local mall or big-box store to find out.
That old maxim is being turned into a science of sorts with a new “road to recovery index.” A tech company hopes a tool that takes the pulse of the parking industry will also serve as a larger economic indicator for a nation still digging itself out of the COVID-19 recession.
FlashParking, a technology supplier to top parking garage operators, has started surveying its clients in eight metro areas — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Miami and Atlanta — about their financial performance.
Parking revenue plunged to 44% of its pre-pandemic level last year and returned to just 50% of its pre-crisis mark by mid-2021. That’s a dimmer snapshot of the economy’s health than other measures.
– Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto is urging others to get vaccinated after testing positive for COVID-19.
In his first interview since his diagnosis Wednesday, the “Your World with Neil Cavuto” host shared a health update during his appearance on “MediaBuzz” Sunday.
“I’m feeling better,” he said. “(My wife) tested positive for COVID as well soon after I did. I feel bad about that. The dog’s OK, so hopefully that remains the case,” Cavuto quipped.
While discussing the “hyper-politicized” nature of vaccines, Cavuto, who was previously diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and is fully vaccinated, acknowledged that taking the jab is a “private decision.” However, he still implored viewers to get vaccinated to protect others at risk.
“Half the cases on the breakthrough front are among the immunocompromised, people like me who have had and have MS or prior heart situations or cancer,” he said.
Cavuto faced cancer in the 1980s and underwent open-heart surgery in 2016.
– Jenna Ryu, USA TODAY
The largest county correctional facility in New Hampshire is experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19.
New Hampshire Public Radio reports that recently released state data show there are 120 cases within the Hillsborough County jail, plus six cases among staff. The jail in Manchester housed about 250 people last month. Most are now quarantining.
Last winter, 108 incarcerated people and about 40 staff tested positive there. The jail superintendent said the COVID vaccine was offered a few weeks ago, but only a dozen people got it.
The number of state and federal prisoners in the United States testing positive for the coronavirus nationwide has been much higher than the general population. Last year, one in every five state and federal prisoners in the United States tested positive for the coronavirus, a rate more than four times as high as the general population.
In some states, more than half of prisoners have been infected, according to data collected by The Associated Press and The Marshall Project.
– Associated Press
Contributing: The Associated Press