Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about the coronavirus and more for Tuesday, May 4.
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The latest coronavirus data:
The Vermont Department of Health reported 34 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. To date, more than 23,000 people have contracted the disease in Vermont.
Rutland and Chittenden counties each saw seven new cases today.
Statewide, 17 people are hospitalized with the disease.
No new deaths were reported Tuesday.
According to state data, as of Tuesday, 64% of Vermonters age 16 and older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Statewide, roughly 247,300 people have been fully vaccinated.
- Abagael Giles
Vermont reaches May 1 vaccination goal, moves forward with economic reopening
Vermont has hit it’s May 1 target of having 60% of adults with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and now the state is moving forward with the next phase of his economic reopening.
On Saturday, the state eased requirements around masks outdoors, requiring them only when a 6-foot distance can’t be maintained, regardless of whether people are vaccinated or not.
More business also shifted to universal guidance, as the state lifted capacity restrictions on manufacturers, retail outlets and restaurants.
If the state reaches 70% of adults vaccinated by June 1, the state will be able to take its final step to turn mandates into recommendations by July.
- Matthew Smith
Hundreds of students at the University of Vermont walked out of class Monday in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence, and to call for change at UVM.
Stella Marsh is a student at UVM and is herself a survivor of sexual assault. She says there needs to be a systemic overhaul.
“The system needs to change, leadership needs to change. People need to start believing people,” Marsh said. “If you speak up, it takes a lot of courage to speak up and being denied is ... beyond words ... [it’s] disheartening and debilitating to people."
19-year-old Camilla Sucre says fraternity culture at UVM contributes to an unsafe environment.
"I'm not generalizing it, but a lot of it is rooting from that all of the survivors I've heard from that I've seen on social media, it's all coming along in the same sort of way,” Sucre said.
Students are calling for reforms to UVM’s sexual misconduct prevention, reporting and support services. In a statement, the university said it was committed to "developing immediate and long-term solutions" to the issues students raised and that it "reviewed and agreed to all student requests and recommendations."
- Anna Van Dine
Gov. Phil Scott says he supports legislation that allows the families of undocumented workers to enroll in the state's Dr. Dynasaur program.
The program provides health care services for children aged 18 and younger and pregnant women.
Scott says it's a low cost way to ensure that these families have access to essential health care services.
"I think it's a small amount of money, and I believe it would be helpful to those and to some of our undocumented refugee population and so forth, so I would encourage it,” Scott said.
The measure has already passed the House and was scheduled to come up for final approval in the Senate Tuesday.
- Bob Kinzel
State health officials say misinformation on the Internet is complicating efforts to get younger Vermonters vaccinated against COVID-19.
Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine says he's concerned that a number of people between the ages of 18 to 29 are choosing not to be vaccinated because of misleading information being disseminated online.
"Every aspect of the pandemic is well represented on the internet, from ‘Should you get a vaccine,’ to ‘Why isn't a certain treatment being used more often than it is,’ towards ‘Is there really a pandemic at all,’ but when an individual is focused on what they've read, it's very, very challenging,” Levine said this week.
The state plans to hold additional drive through and walk in clinics in the coming weeks to make it easier for younger people to be vaccinated.
- Bob Kinzel
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