COVID-19 is "raging" through Alabama as thousands refuse vaccinations that nearly always prevent serious illness and a highly contagious strain races through communities where many have quit taking basic safety precautions, a health leader said Thursday.
The Senate has voted to begin work on a nearly $1 trillion national infrastructure plan, acting with sudden speed after weeks of fits and starts once the White House and a bipartisan group of senators agreed on major provisions of the package that's key to President Joe Biden's agenda.
Alabama public health officials are recommending that all students and teachers wear masks this school year because of a surge in COVID-19 cases, but a spokeswoman said Gov. Kay Ivey has been "crystal clear" that there will be no state mandates to do so.
A north Alabama city, state universities and others are offering cash and other perks for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 despite the state's resistance to incentives aimed at improving the state's worst-in-the-nation inoculation program.
The outcome of the infrastructure bargaining, which for weeks has encountered one snag after another, will impact what could be the crown jewel of his legacy. That would be his hopes for a subsequent $3.5 trillion federal infusion for families' education and health care costs, a Medicare expansion and efforts to curb climate change.
There were 947 COVID-19 patients in state hospitals Monday, up from 204 at the beginning of July, according to numbers from the Alabama Hospital Association. The latest number is about a third of where the state was at the peak of the pandemic when there were 3,000 virus patients in state hospitals in January.