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Students, teachers don't need masks if they are vaccinated, CDC says

Vaccinated teachers and students don't need masks, CDC says

The changes to the CDC's guidelines regarding mask-wearing in schools come amid a national vaccination campaign in which children as young as 12 are eligible to get shots, as well as a general decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

"We're at a new point in the pandemic that we're all really excited about," and so it's time to update the guidance, said Erin Sauber-Schatz, who leads the CDC task force that prepares recommendations designed to keep Americans safe from COVID-19.

The nation's top public health agency is not advising schools to require shots for teachers and vaccine-eligible kids. And it's not offering guidance on how teachers can know which students are vaccinated or how parents will know which teachers are immunized.

That's probably going to make for some challenging school environments, said Elizabeth Stuart, a Johns Hopkins University public health professor who has children in elementary and middle schools.

"It would be a very weird dynamic, socially, to have some kids wearing masks and some not. And tracking that? Teachers shouldn't need to be keeping track of which kids should have masks on," she said.

Another potential headache: Schools should continue to space kids — and their desks — 3 feet apart in classrooms, the CDC says.

Read more about this breaking news.

The number of new positives reported today: 68 in Nassau, 55 in Suffolk, 496 in New York City and 817 statewide.

The chart below shows what percentage of coronavirus tests were positive for the virus on average each day over a seven-day period.

Search a map of new cases and view charts showing the latest local trends in vaccinations, testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Pfizer to seek OK for 3rd vaccine dose

Pfizer is about to seek U.S. authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, saying Thursday that another shot within 12 months could dramatically boost immunity and maybe help ward off the latest worrisome coronavirus mutant.

Research from multiple countries shows the Pfizer shot and other widely used COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant, which is spreading rapidly around the world and now accounts for most new U.S. infections.

Two doses of most vaccines are critical to develop high levels of virus-fighting antibodies against all versions of the coronavirus, not just the delta variant — and most of the world still is desperate to get those initial protective doses as the pandemic continues to rage.

But antibodies naturally wane over time, so studies also are underway to tell if and when boosters might be needed.

On Thursday, Pfizer’s Dr. Mikael Dolsten told The Associated Press that early data from the company's booster study suggests people’s antibody levels jump five- to 10-fold after a third dose, compared to their second dose months earlier.

'I don't want my son to have to move away'

Securing federal money to help Long Island's economy recover from the pandemic and working to make the region more affordable for young people are among the top priorities of the Long Island Association's new president and CEO.

Matthew Cohen, 39, is believed to be the business group's youngest leader in its 95-year history. He joined the LIA in 2011 as vice president of government affairs and communications under then-CEO Kevin Law, who stepped down in April after 10 1/2 years.

Cohen, who lives in Commack, discussed his plans last week with Newsday. Here is a snippet of the interview:

'What's the biggest challenge facing Long Island?'

"Helping our region recover from this pandemic. We have a federal infrastructure bill that looks like it's going to happen, and we have to be doing everything we can to ensure that Long Island gets its fair share of funding. In terms of a long-term challenge, we need to make sure Long Island is affordable. What we at the LIA can do is push for investments in not just our traditional infrastructure, but also child care, and making sure that this is a place that people want to live. We have to make sure there are good-paying jobs that allow these young families to be able to afford a house."

"It's personal to me how Long Island goes because I have a 10-year-old son. I want to help foster the type of place that, when Jack graduates from high school and college, he can afford to raise a family here. I don't want my son to have to move away like some of my friends have. And I don't want to be a grandfather that has to go to another state to visit my grandchildren."

Read the rest of the Q&A

How the pandemic changed customers' expectations

The pandemic changed the way many consumers interact with brands and also their expectations of their overall customer experience.

More consumers shopped online or reached out to companies digitally and consequently expected more instantaneous responses and interactions. So much so that last fall, 58% of customers reported their service expectations were higher than a year ago, according to a survey by Talkdesk, a provider of cloud contact center solutions.

"During the pandemic, we saw the rapid digital transformation and acceleration across industries," said David Gardner, vice president of research and insights at San Francisco-based Talkdesk, which conducted the survey.

Consumers had everything readily available at their fingertips on their smartphones, he says. Even consumers not accustomed to using digital had to adapt.

Newsday's Jamie Herzlich breaks down the different ways companies have evolved to keep up with new consumer demands.

More to know

Four out of 10 employers will fire employees for not returning to the office, according to a new survey from Digital.com that shows employers and employees are not on the same page about working from home.

Gasoline prices will continue their rise this summer, increasing 10 to 20 cents by the end of August due to rising consumer demand, as economic recovery takes hold and crude oil costs increase, AAA said.

Japan is famous for running on consensus, but the decision to proceed with the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics has shredded it.

News for you

The curtain will rise again. Mark and Dylan Perlman are ready for theater lovers to come to the "Cabaret." On Thursday, the father-son owners of The Argyle Theatre in Babylon announced that the venue will reopen on July 17 with a series of summer events as a warmup to its new season of main stage musicals, which will kick off Sept. 17 with "Cabaret."

At this store the average price is $8. The grand reopening of Huntington’s Community Thrift Shop in a Main Street location is being hailed as a sign of the area’s vibrancy. The shop, which had been located on New York Avenue, closed in spring 2020 due to the pandemic. Shoppers can expect to find the same exceptional bargains, including many designer and name brands of gently used and new items, at the store, which is a revenue generator for the nonprofit Visiting Nurse Service & Hospice of Suffolk.

'Smackdown' returns to MSG. After a nearly two-year hiatus, WWE is bringing its hybrid of sports and theater back to New York and will have one of the most talented athletes in its history as one of its top attractions. Women’s champion Bianca Belair will lead the stars of WWE as they return to Madison Square Garden on Sept. 10 for "Friday Night Smackdown." Tickets for the event, which will air live on Fox, are now on sale.

What to know about the Delta variant and travel. Whether traveling abroad or domestically, planning a trip right now is trickier than ever because of the Delta, and other emerging, COVID-19 variants. What areas are open? What destinations have restrictions? Are there areas to completely avoid? Local experts will address those issues and more during a Newsday Live conversation on July 15 at noon. Register here.

Plus, ideas for your summer bucket list: With most of Long Island's economy reopened and many residents vaccinated, you might be ready to step out of your pandemic-induced bubble this summer and cross some things off your bucket list. Get some inspiration here.

Commentary

We should teach kids to avoid germs — and avoid spreading them. William C. Miller, a professor of epidemiology and senior associate dean for research in the College of Public Health at the Ohio State University, writes: "Wash your hands!" "Oh, don't touch that!" "Don't drink from your friend's water bottle!" Parents are constantly telling their kids to avoid certain behaviors so they won't get sick. That's an important message — children need to learn to protect themselves. But that message, as we have learned during the coronavirus pandemic, is incomplete: It conveys only half of the lesson that we ought to be imparting.

"Don't do X because you might get sick" reinforces the idea that we only need to protect ourselves against infectious diseases. If we want to reduce the severity of future pandemics — and lesser outbreaks — we must also deliver the other half: We should be telling our kids to undertake health measures to protect other people from us.

When we talk to children, we deliver the same message whether we are talking about an infection or other health choices: "Wear your helmet on your skateboard, otherwise you'll split your head open"; "You can't go over to Clara's house. She's not feeling well and you might get sick too." The core message is about protecting them, as individuals.

In many chronic diseases, of course, such as diabetes or heart disease, one person's illness has little influence on other people. But infectious diseases are communal. Continue reading.

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