Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:
- Idaho’s lieutenant governor issuing coronavirus-related executive orders
- A committee chairman stepping down in New Hampshire
- Vaccine distribution
- School mask requirements
- State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies
- Federal responses
We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered Tuesday? Click here.
Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
Idaho (Republican trifecta): On Oct. 6, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (R) issued an executive order banning state agencies from implementing coronavirus testing and proof of vaccination requirements. McGeachin issued the order while Gov. Brad Little (R) was out of the state. On the same day, Little issued an executive order repealing McGeachin’s executive order.
Massachusetts (divided government): On Oct. 6, the Massachusetts Senate voted 36-3 to make some coronavirus-related changes to voting procedures permanent. The bill would allow same-day voter registration, no-excuse mail voting, and up to two weeks of early voting.
New Hampshire (Republican trifecta): On Oct. 6, state Rep. Ken Weyler (R) stepped down as chairman of the House Finance and Joint Legislative Fiscal committees following complaints from Democratic colleagues that he shared a report containing misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
Tennessee (Republican trifecta): On Oct. 6, Gov. Bill Lee (R) and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group released recommendations for the state’s use of federal COVID-19 relief funds. The report detailed $1.3 billion in spending in addition to the $1.85 billion the same group recommended in August 2021.
We last looked at vaccine distribution in the Oct. 5 edition of the newsletter. As of Oct. 6, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:
- Vermont (Republican governor): 78%
- Massachusetts (Republican governor): 78%
- Hawaii (Democratic governor): 77%
- Connecticut (Democratic governor): 77%
- Rhode Island (Democratic governor): 76%
The states with the lowest rates were:
- Idaho (Republican governor): 48%
- West Virginia (Republican governor): 48%
- Wyoming (Republican governor): 49%
- Mississippi (Republican governor): 51%
- North Dakota (Republican governor): 51%
School mask requirements
We last looked at school mask requirements on Sept. 30. Since then, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) extended an executive order banning school mask requirements, and the Arkansas Supreme Court suspended the state’s school mask requirement ban.
State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies
State governments have enacted various rules around the use of proof-of-vaccination requirements. In some cases, states have banned state or local governments from requiring that people show proof of vaccination. Other states have assisted in the creation of digital applications—sometimes known as vaccine passports—that allow people to prove their vaccination status and, in some cases, bypass COVID-19 restrictions.
- Twenty states have passed legislation or issued orders prohibiting proof-of-vaccination requirements at some or all levels of government.
- Four states have assisted in the creation of digital vaccination status applications.
- Since Sept. 30, no state has banned proof-of-vaccination requirements or rolled out a digital vaccine status application.
- On Oct. 5, Johnson and Johnson announced that it requested the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorize booster shots of its vaccine.
- On Oct. 5, pharmaceutical and biotechnology company AstraZeneca announced it was seeking emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an antibody therapy designed to protect against COVID-19.
- On Oct. 4, the FDA authorized ACON Laboratories’ rapid at-home COVID-19 antigen test. ACON Laboratories said it expects to produce as many as 100 million tests per month by the start of 2022.
- On Oct. 1, pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. announced that its experimental COVID-19 pill, molnupiravir, reduced hospitalizations and deaths by about 50% in early studies. Merck said it planned to submit the data to and seek emergency authorization from the FDA. Merck has a contract with the federal government to supply almost 2,000,000 courses of the drug at $700 per course.