Anheuser-Busch buying ‘America’s next round’; shotguns for COVID shots

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch will “buy America’s next round of beer” when the nation reaches President Joe Biden’s goal of 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated, the company announced.

“At Anheuser-Busch, we are committed to supporting the safe and strong recovery of our nation and being able to be together again at the places and with the people we have missed so much,” CEO Michel Doukeris said Wednesday. “This commitment includes encouraging Americans to get vaccinated, and we are excited to buy Americans 21-plus a round of beer when we reach the White House goal.”

Adults 21 and older will be able to upload a picture of themselves “in their favorite place to grab a beer” at to enter to receive one of the company’s beers, which include Budweiser and Bud Light among others.

Several states are offering giveaways and conducting lotteries to encourage vaccination. West Virginia will give away firearms as a reward for residents who have received a vaccine – part of a Father’s Day lottery that also includes trucks, scholarships and $1 million in prizes.

Gov. Jim Justice said all vaccinated West Virginians will be eligible for the prizes, which include five custom hunting rifles and five custom shot guns. Justice said the June 20 lottery will mark the beginning of weekly giveaways that will continue through Aug. 4.

“Save a life and change your life,” Justice said. “The more we can get vaccinated, the faster we’ll get to saving all kinds of additional lives.”

Also in the news:

►California has agreed to pay more than $2 million in legal fees in a settlement with churches that challenged pandemic closure orders.

►The International Labor Organization says the COVID-19 pandemic has created an “unparalleled” global labor market crisis that will be felt for years. The United Nations agency said an estimated 8.8% of total working hours were lost last year, “the equivalent of the hours worked in one year by 255 million full-time workers.”

►Colorado will give $50,000 scholarships to 25 students who have received coronavirus vaccinations in another incentive to get as many state residents vaccinated as possible. Gov. Jared Polis said Wednesday that Colorado resident students 12 to 17 who have received at least one vaccine dose are eligible.

►Biden announced a multipronged effort aimed at reaching 70% of American adults at least partially vaccinated, including plans to recruit 1,000 Black-owned barbershops and salons to provide “Shots at the Shop” and promote vaccinations nationwide.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 595,800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: Over 171.7 million cases and 3.69 million deaths. More than 136.1million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 41% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

📘 What we’re reading: Wisconsin lawmakers are advancing a slate of bills that would bar business owners, university leaders, or government officials from requiring the COVID-19 vaccination or treating unvaccinated people differently.

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First in line, but not all hospital workers want the jab

Hospital workers, many of whom risked their lives during this pandemic and saw the ravages of the virus up close, were first in line for the vaccines. Yet a sizable group of hospital workers still are not vaccinated. USA TODAY surveyed some of the largest hospital networks and public hospitals in the country. At the nine networks that responded, fully vaccinated rates ranged from 53% to 72%. Rates among 15 of the nation’s largest public hospitals ranged from 51% to 91%. At Houston’s United Memorial Medical Center, Dr. Joseph Varon is concerned that unvaccinated staff might spread the virus to patients. Read more here.

“What I don’t understand is how come 40% of my nurses who have worked with me in my COVID unit, where three patients die every day, they still say no,” he said.

David Heath

Wisconsin lawmakers advance bill to ban requiring proof of vaccination

Wisconsin lawmakers are advancing a slate of bills that would bar business owners, university leaders or government officials from requiring the COVID-19 vaccination or treating unvaccinated people differently. An Assembly committee heard hours of testimony on the five proposals, one of which Democratic Gov. Tony Evers suggested Tuesday he would not sign into law. That bill would forbid any government official or business owner from requiring any person to provide proof of receiving the vaccination as a condition of receiving services, accessing buildings, participating in events or for any business transaction. The Wisconsin Medical Society, which represents doctors, says those rules help ensure patients and workers in hospitals don’t get sick.

– Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Anti-mask vandals deface school mural honoring essential workers

A colorful, 90-foot mural honoring essential workers at a rural California school district office was vandalized with anti-mask graffiti, causing more than $10,000 in damages. The spray-painted messages read “NO 2 MASKS” and covered the faces of the “larger than life” farmworkers, first responders, teachers and “everyday heroes” that hung from the Kings Canyon Unified School District office’s wall. The mural had been up for barely a month when the May 21 incident forced the district to take it down.

“We spent five months working and planning this mural as a very small token of our appreciation to honor the people who make life in our community just a little bit better every day,” said Renee Delport, the district’s communications officer. “Sadly, a month later we had this vandalism take place … It’s a very sad day for our students and for our community.”

– Joshua Yeager, Visalia Times-Delta

Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, and the Associated Press contributed to this column.

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