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Disney World halts vaccine mandate; cases, hospitalizations rising in Michigan

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Disney World halts vaccine mandate; cases, hospitalizations rising in Michigan
Disney World halted its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for workers in response to a series of recently-signed Florida laws barring such restrictiosn. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Disney has suspended its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for workers at its Disney World park after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week signed a law barring such workplace restrictions.

The company said it still believes its "approach to mandatory vaccines has been the right one," but added that it will address legal developments as appropriate," in a statement to The Washington Post.

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Disney had previously announced it would require its employees to be fully vaccinated by the fall.

Under the legislation passed in a special session of Florida's state legislature last week, COVID-19 vaccine mandates for government and public education employees as well as private businesses. It also prohibits mask mandates in public schools, protects unvaccinated employees from losing their jobs to federal mandates and repeals the surgeon general's authority to mandate vaccinations.

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Disney's decision to halt its mandate comes as a federal mandate requiring millions of federal employees, government contractors and healthcare workers to get vaccinated against the virus is set to take effect on Monday. An emergency order by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration affecting companies with more than 100 workers remains in limbo after being put on hold by a federal appeals court.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that 229,837,421 people, or 69.2% of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 196,128,496 people, or 59.1% of the population, have completed a full vaccine regimen, as children aged 5-11 were made eligible to receive Pfizer's vaccine on Nov. 8.

Also, 34,503,462 people, or 17.6% of fully vaccinated people have received an additional booster dose. The FDA has approved booster doses for all individuals aged 18 and older, after they had previously been available to those 65 and older and adults at severe risk of the virus.

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The United States continues to lead the world with a total of 47,723,605 cases and 771,106 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.

Cases have been surging in some parts of the nation with Michigan reporting 61,555 in the past seven days -- the most in the nation -- followed by California at 41,959, Pennsylvania with 40,170 and 37,309, according to the CDC.

Michigan has also seen the highest increase in hospitalizations in the past week 3,724 new patients hospitalized, followed by California with 3,531, Pennsylvania at 3,494, Ohio with 3,406t and Texas at 3,348.

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