80% of Americans 12 and over have first dose; Michigan is nation’s hot spot as infections rise in 33 states: COVID-19 updates – USA TODAY

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Republican governors have threatened lawsuits, but the employers affected by the mandate hold the most ground to sue.

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The U.S. reached an encouraging milestoneWednesday with 80% of Americans ages 12 and older having received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, President Joe Biden'scoronavirus response coordinator said.

Jeff Zients, speaking at a White House briefing,estimated that in the last 10 days at least 2.6 million kids ages 5-11 have received their first shot, about 10% of the children that age in the country. He said it took about 50 days to reach 10% of adults, who make up a much larger number.

"We know there is more work to do," Zients said. "But these milestones represent critical progress and shows we are on the right track in our fight against the virus."

The U.S. will invest billions of dollars into vaccine manufacturing capacity with the goal of producing at least one billion doses a year, Zients said.The goal is to be prepared to roll out a vaccine for future pathogens within nine months of an outbreak, hesaid. The investment, first reported in the New York Times,calls for the government to partner with industry to address immediate vaccine needs at home and abroad and to prepare for future pandemics.

Zients said the U.S. alreadyhas provided 250 million vaccine doses to 110 countries "for free, no strings attached."

Also in the news:

A Los Angeles County couple who cut off their tracking bracelets and fled after being convicted of stealing $20 million in COVID-19 relief funds were sentenced in absentiato years in federal prison.Richard Ayvazyan, 43, was sentenced to 17 years and his wife, Marietta Terabelian, 37, got six years, according to a statement from the U.S. attorneys office. They remain fugitives.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said on its website that it has "suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement'' of President Joe Biden's mandate that companies with 100 employees or more require COVID vaccination or testing. Biden's order has been stayed by a U.S. court of appeals.

"Dancing With The Stars"judgeDerek Houghhas tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the show's finale.

A health clinic in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Antioch gave 14 children under age 12 the wrong dose of the COVID-19 vaccineover the weekend, raising a furor among parents.

Today's numbers:The U.S. has recorded more than 47 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than767,000 deaths,accordingtoJohns Hopkins Universitydata. Global totals: More than 254.8million cases and 5.1 million deaths. More than 195.6 million Americans 58.9% of the populationare fully vaccinated,according to theCDC.

What we're reading:Its time to reassess expectations for reading skills of children whose early learning was disrupted by the pandemic. And thats OK, expertssay.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more?Sign up forUSA TODAY's Coronavirus Watch newsletterto receive updates directly to your inbox, andjoin ourFacebook group.

For much of the pandemic, some Americans fearful of contracting COVID-19 have steered clear of elevators and opted for the stairs. Arecent report suggests elevators likely aren't a high source of coronavirus transmission.

Purdue University researchers simulated airborne particle exposure for people riding a typical elevator with a person who is infected with COVID-19, according to the study published last week in the peer-reviewed journal Building and Environment and commissioned by Otis Elevator.

Researchers ran seven simulations that analyzed different airflow directions and ventilation rates.In each simulation, the elevator began at the ground floor with six passengers and made two stops at the 10th and 20th floors before reaching the 35th floor. The person infected with COVID-19 made the whole trip to the top floor, but in one simulation, the individualcoughed upon entering the elevator.

Researchers determined that due to the short trip duration and high ventilation rate, there is low risk of COVID-19 transmission in elevators. Although the study analyzed particle concentration, air flow and exposure, study authors say more research is needed to account for other factors and one should not neglect the impact of exposure.

Adrianna Rodriguez

Michigan catapulted Tuesday to theworst COVID-19 hot spot in the nation, as the seven-day case rate rose to 503.8 per 100,000 residents, according to the CDC.Cases are rising in 33 states, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. Cases for the week ending Monday were at 584,449, up 15% from a recent low in the week ending Oct. 26.

Michigan hospitals say they're feeling the pressure as the number of COVID-19 patients has climbed nearly 50% in the last month from 2,097 admitted Oct. 18 to 3,082 on Monday,according to state data.

"We have both this stark surge of COVID-19 patients, but we also have hospitals that have been dealing with staffing challenges and staffing shortages, as well as high volumes of non-COVID patients,"said John Karasinski, a spokesman for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, which represents all 133 community hospitals in the state.

That means potentially long waits at emergency rooms, hospitals that have to postpone non-emergency medical procedures and some that can't accept new patient transfers, he said.Most COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths both in Michigan and nationwide are among the unvaccinated.

Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press

Moderna has once again asked the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of itsCOVID-19 booster shot for all U.S. adults, just as Pfizer is expected to get such clearance this week.

As Moderna noted in a statement Wednesday, the FDA has already granted its booster authorization for seniors 65 and older, for the immunocompromised andfor those whose living or work conditions may put them at high risk of exposure to the virus. But the agency has yet to clear the Moderna booster for everybody ages 18 and older.

Also Wednesday, Moderna requested authorization fromHealth Canada for its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6-11.

A physician has resigned from Houston Methodistdays after the hospital suspended her and accused her ofspreading misinformation about COVID-19 on social media.

The hospital temporarily revoked Dr. Mary Bowdens hospital privileges Friday, citing unprofessional behavior" after Bowden repeatedly decried vaccine mandates and promoted ivermectin, the anti-parasitic drug that federal health officials have not approved for treatingthe virus.

In her resignation letter she describedvaccination as an "important tool" in the pandemic fight. Bowden, an ears, nose and throat specialist,denies spreading misinformationbut said doctors "should pay more attention to medications such as ivermectin."

The FDA in a September notice wrote that "currently available data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19." The agency said it hadreceived "multiple reports" of patients who have required medical attention after self-medicating with ivermectin. Clinical trials were ongoing.

A second set of states has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers.The most recent suit, dated Monday, was filed in Louisiana on behalf of 12 states and comes less than a week after another lawsuit challenging the rule wasfiled in Missourirepresenting 10 states.

Both lawsuits say the vaccine mandate threatens to drive away health care workers who don't want toget vaccinated at a time when such workers are badly needed. They also contend the rule issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services violates federal law and unconstitutionally encroaches on states' powers.The Biden administration has not yet filed responses in either of the suits.

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Fridayblocked a broader Biden administration vaccine mandate that businesses with more than 100 workers require employees to be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or wear masks and be tested weekly for COVID-19.

The pandemic has spurred many workers to reevaluate their livesand the role work plays in them, leading some to set fresh boundaries,find new jobs or maintain the side gigs that got them through the shutdowns and layoffs.Nearly sixin 10 American workersin an October survey by job search site LinkedInsaid they had gone through acareer awakening during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it was a desire for better work-life balance, deciding to pursue apromotion or redefining their meaning of success.

The survey also found a majority of American workers who say the pandemic has altered the way they feel about their career.

"Were seeing that lack of fulfillment, motivating people to make changes, whether theyre looking for a new job, a new career or picking up a side hustle,'' says Catherine Fisher, LinkedIn's career expert.

Charisse Jones

Federal authorities are charging a Texas woman with interfering with an aircraft after a clash over a mask duringa flight from Alaska to San Francisco. Debby Dutton faces up to20 years if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, Dutton and her husband were passengers on board aUnited Airlines flight June 29 whena flight attendant noticed the face mask being worn by Dutton's husband, who was asleep, had fallen off. When the flight attendant tapped the man's shoulder and asked him to put his mask back on, authorities say Dutton began shouting and pushing the flight attendant.

Dutton is being charged with one count of interference of a flight crew or attendants by assault,threator intimidation.

Jordan Mendoza

Contributing: The Associated Press

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80% of Americans 12 and over have first dose; Michigan is nation's hot spot as infections rise in 33 states: COVID-19 updates - USA TODAY

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