Coronavirus Fears Rise in the Wake of Alabama Football Celebrations - The New York Times
Jan 12, 2021 16 mins, 4 secs

The Trump administration calls for wider vaccine eligibility, including people 65 and over.

Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement describing the new policy.

In this situation, a passenger may travel with documentation of the positive test result and a letter from a health care provider or a public health official stating that the traveler now has been cleared for travel.

“Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of Covid-19,” agency officials said in a statement.

In a statement Tuesday, the group, Airlines for America, said it supports a national testing standard set by the federal government.

airlines have relied on science to help guide decisions as they continuously reevaluate and update their processes, procedures and protocols,” the group said in a statement.

By the end of next week, 95 percent of long-term care facilities will have had their first visit with vaccine doses.” “To echo what the secretary said, and strongly recommend the vaccination now be expanded to those individuals 65 or over and those individuals between 16 or 18, depending on the vaccine being used to 64 that have a comorbidity with medical documentation of such.”.

The Trump administration, in a major policy shift aimed at accelerating distribution of the coronavirus vaccine, announced on Tuesday that it would release all available doses and instructed states to immediately begin vaccinating every American 65 and older, as well as tens of millions of adults with health conditions that put them at higher risk of dying from the virus.

Azar II and other top federal health officials, came amid continuing complaints about the pace of the vaccine rollout.

Azar warned that states will lose their allocations if they don’t use up doses quickly, and that starting in two weeks, how many each state receives will be based on the size of its population of people 65 and older.

Azar said the incoming Biden administration would be briefed on the changes, though he added that Americans “operate with one government at a time, and this is the approach that we believe best fulfills the mission.”.

The new distribution plan, first reported Tuesday morning by Axios, is a reversal for the administration, which had been holding back roughly half of its vaccine supply — millions of vials — to guarantee that second doses would be available.

Both vaccines authorized in the United States so far require two doses: 21 days apart for the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, and 28 days apart for the one from Moderna.

The administration has secured commitments for enough doses to cover 200 million Americans by the end of July from Pfizer and Moderna, the only two firms that so far have won emergency use authorization.

Azar and officials from Operation Warp Speed, the administration’s fast-track vaccine initiative, criticized aides to Mr.

Azar said at the time that releasing nearly all of the doses, as the Biden team proposed, would jeopardize the “system that manages the flow, to maximize the number of first doses, but knowing there will be a second dose available.”.

Before the change, the vaccines were largely being distributed to people in the highest-risk categories, including frontline health care workers and older people in nursing homes.

In addition to the eligibility changes, health officials are also adding more community centers and pharmacies to the list of places where people can be vaccinated.

As of Monday, about 9 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, far short of the federal government’s original goals.

Instead of holding back vaccine doses all existing doses will be now sent to states to provide initial inoculations.

Azar said that even if there were “glitches” in production, supplies would be prioritized to ensure people get their second dose.

The idea of using existing vaccine supplies for first doses has raised objections from some health workers and researchers, who worry that frontloading shots will raise the risk that second injections will be delayed.

Health experts and officials have faced difficult choices as they decided which groups would be prioritized in the vaccine rollout.

New guidelines released on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now note that while people should get their second shots “as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible,” there is “no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine.”.

The update perplexed experts, who said that while other, previously licensed vaccines that involve multiple doses can be administered months or even years apart, no evidence yet exists to clearly support this strategy for Covid-19.

On Tuesday afternoon, Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the C.D.C., defended the agency’s guidance as allowing “flexibility” as the vaccine rollout continues.

The guidance, she said, was intended to deter people from seeking out unnecessary doses of the vaccine if they don’t get their second injections on schedule.

Health officials in Britain are now allowing intervals between the first and second doses of Pfizer’s vaccines of up to 12 weeks.

Last week, the World Health Organization said the injections could be given up to six weeks apart.

The agency’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization “considers the administration of both doses within 21 to 28 days to be necessary for optimal protection,” said Saad Omer, a vaccine expert at Yale University who helped draft the WHO’s position on the matter.

“Two doses of the vaccine are required to provide the maximum protection against the disease, a vaccine efficacy of 95 percent,” Steven Danehy, a spokesman for Pfizer, said earlier this month.

The study, published on Wednesday, is the latest volley in a continuing debate among researchers and public health officials over which containment measures are effective and when should they be put in place.

More people died in Britain last year than in any year in the past century, surpassing even the toll during the 1918 pandemic, the government’s statistical agency reported on Tuesday.

As a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus continues to tear through Britain — with an estimated one in 30 people in London currently infected — hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed, even as authorities struggle to convince the public of the urgency of the moment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson — who came under criticism Tuesday for cycling seven miles from his home despite orders that people stay close to where they live — met with his cabinet on Tuesday to discuss ways to tighten what are already some of Europe’s most sweeping restrictions.

“The next few weeks are going to be the worst weeks of this pandemic in terms of numbers into the N.H.S.,” England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said Monday, referring to the National Health Service.

Exhausted health care workers are struggling to cope with the surge in patients at the same time as they are being asked to help carry out the most ambitious vaccination campaign in the nation’s history.

Scientists in Brazil on Tuesday provided a markedly less enthusiastic assessment of the efficacy of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine that they hailed as a major triumph last week.

Officials at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo said a trial conducted in Brazil showed that the CoronaVac vaccine, manufactured by Beijing-based Sinovac, had an efficacy rate of just over 50 percent.

While officials had asserted last week that the vaccine provided absolute protection against moderate to severe symptoms, they acknowledged on Tuesday that the data underpinning that claim was not statistically significant.

“It is not the best vaccine in the world,” she said at the news conference during which the efficacy rate was disclosed.

Brazil’s health regulatory agency, Anvisa, is reviewing data from the trial, which relied on volunteers who are health care professionals.

Dimas Covas, the director of Butantan Institute, called the vaccine an “excellent” tool “waiting to be used in a country where currently 1,000 people are dying per day.”.

Denise Garrett, a Brazilian-American epidemiologist and vaccine expert, said there was no reason to doubt the vaccine’s safety, adding that the data presented so far suggests it will provide a satisfactory level of protection.

Garrett said the vague and at times misleading manner in which information about the vaccine has been presented to the public stands to shake people’s confidence in its reliability and fuel the political battle over the vaccine.

Another new coronavirus variant has been detected in four people who traveled to Japan from Brazil.

Japan’s health ministry said that the people who arrived this month at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport had tested positive for the coronavirus and that it was a separate variant with similarities to those detected in Britain and South Africa.

Makoto Shimoaraiso, an official with Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat and Office for Covid-19 Preparedness and Response, said on Tuesday that the country was consulting with the World Health Organization.

Fred Ridley, the club chairman, said in a statement issued Tuesday that similar health standards would be instituted for this year’s tournament, which is scheduled to be contested from April 8 to 11.

The club, based in Augusta, Ga., made the announcement as the state reported 16 new coronavirus deaths and 7,957 new cases on Jan.

The Augusta National statement said the club was in the process of communicating with all ticket holders and that refunds will be issued to those patrons not selected to attend.

The judge said she was “deeply concerned” about the government’s intent to execute two prisoners who suffered from the coronavirus and underscored the dangers of conducting executions for those performing and witnessing them in a facility with an active outbreak.

Representative Brad Schneider, Democrat of Illinois, said he received a positive test result Tuesday morning after driving home to Illinois, and that he did not have symptoms.

“This is not a joke,” she said in a statement.

Over the past week, an average of 480 people daily have died of Covid-19 in the state, according to a New York Times database.

Gavin Newsom said on Monday that California would employ an “all-hands-on-deck approach” to ramp up vaccinations.

Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres play, and the state fairgrounds in Sacramento are also being set up as vaccination sites, the governor said.

The Orange County board of supervisors said on Monday that the county’s first of five planned “super” vaccination sites would open this week at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, which has been closed for much of the pandemic.

Vaccinations will be available by appointment to everyone in “Phase 1a,” which includes frontline health care workers, paramedics, dentists and pharmacists.

Los Angeles County opened vaccine eligibility to a wider group of health care workers on Monday, allowing workers in facilities like primary care clinics, Covid-19 testing centers, laboratories, pharmacies and dental offices, as well as those who work with people who are homeless, to be vaccinated.

But as The Los Angeles Times reported, large numbers of health care workers in Los Angeles and Riverside Counties were declining to be inoculated.

And relatively few people in California have gotten vaccine doses, compared with other places: Only 2 percent of the state’s population has received a vaccine, according to a New York Times database; 782,638 doses out of the more than 2.8 million that the state has received have been administered.

We are sending an urgent call across the spectrum, our health care partners, our legislative partners, as well as labor and business partners up and down the state, this notion of an all-hands-on-deck approach to accelerate the equitable and safe distribution of vaccines.

Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of health and human services, said at a news conference on Monday that the state was working to distribute vaccines to those who need them and want them — without allowing wealthy people to cut the line.

Newsom said the state was allowing a broader range of workers to administer vaccines, including pharmacists and dentists, and was rolling out a public awareness campaign in 18 languages.

That can strain already overstretched health care systems and undoubtedly lead to more deaths.

Malaysia’s king declared a national state of emergency on Tuesday to stem a surge in coronavirus cases, suspending Parliament, closing nonessential businesses and locking down several states and territories, including the largest city, Kuala Lumpur.

Taiwan on Tuesday reported two locally transmitted coronavirus infections: a doctor and a nurse at a hospital in the northern part of the island that treats coronavirus patients.

The European Union’s top drug regulator said it would assess the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University “under an accelerated timeline,” after receiving an application for emergency authorization of the drug.

The leader of the German state of Bavaria has urged health care workers to do their “civic duty” by getting vaccinated, and called on the government to consider making coronavirus vaccinations for medical personnel mandatory in some cases.

The province’s leader, François Legault, said on Monday that 740 people were fined over the weekend for violating the curfew, the first of its kind in Canada.

de Blasio said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Testing and vaccination efforts at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami were temporarily suspended on Monday to allow the college football championship game between Alabama and Ohio State to be played there.

The pool of people eligible for the vaccine in New York has recently expanded to include teachers and a range of other essential workers, as well as any resident who is 65 or older.

At first, the vaccine was limited to frontline health care workers and nursing home residents.

More than 26,000 vaccine doses were administered in the city on Monday, according to Mr.

The mayor has said his goal is to have one million doses administered by the end of January.

Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, said on Tuesday that the state intended to set up a series of rapid testing sites in areas where restrictions have closed indoor dining and arts events, and closed offices.

Cuomo also said that bringing back art and culture was crucial — not just to help artists, who have suffered some of the worst unemployment in the nation, but to keep New York City a vital, exciting center where people will want to live and work.

Cuomo said that the state would begin a public-private partnership to offer a series of statewide pop-up concerts featuring artists such as Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Renée Fleming and Hugh Jackman; begin a pilot program exploring how socially distant performances might be held safely in flexible venues whose seating is not fixed; and work in partnership with the Mellon Foundation to distribute grants to put more than 1,000 artists back to work and provide money to community arts groups.

Hospitals, doctors, state health officials and others rely on the guidance of the C.D.C., not just for Covid-19 policies around quarantine, isolation, testing and vaccination, but also for staying healthy while traveling, strategies to prevent obesity, information on food safety and more.

Hospitals and health care providers are beyond tired, beyond stretched.

Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming what federal officials say are the first known apes in the United States to be infected.

Zoo officials said on Monday that they believed the gorillas were infected by an asymptomatic staff member who had been following safety recommendations, including wearing personal protective equipment when near animals.

The infected animals are expected to make a full recovery, officials said.

“Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well,” Lisa Peterson, the Safari Park’s executive director, said in a statement.

Three animals are exhibiting symptoms, officials said.

Zoo officials learned that at least two gorillas had been infected with the coronavirus after the animals were observed on Wednesday “coughing and showing other mild symptoms,” the zoo said in the statement.

6 amid a lockdown, and the primate habitat where the gorillas are housed poses “no public health risk,” officials said.

Last year, as the pandemic spread across the country, the zoo installed additional barriers to ensure that more than six feet of space separated visitors from “susceptible species,” officials said.

For that study, researchers compiled more than 1,200 pre-pandemic records in an expanding online library that was introduced on Tuesday — Health Security Net — in the hopes that it will “inform future planning and response efforts.”

About 5,000 football fans packed a popular boulevard in Tuscaloosa after the University of Alabama won its 18th college football national championship on Monday night, ignoring the city’s pleas before the game to stay home and inflaming worries about an influx of coronavirus cases in a city already straining to contain the pandemic

The scene on the street of bars and restaurants known as the Strip was precisely what health officials wanted to avoid after the Crimson Tide routed Ohio State, 52-24

Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa said 14 people were arrested after fights broke out in the crowd

The city reached a critical point in the pandemic, Maddox said last week, with just four intensive care unit rooms available at the city’s main hospital and a police force limited to about 69 percent because of the number of officers who had either contracted or been exposed to the virus

Now, health officials are preparing for a post-championship spike

The coronavirus is here to stay, but once most adults are immune — following natural infection or vaccination — the virus will be no more of a threat than the common cold, according to a study published in the journal Science on Tuesday

“The timing of how long it takes to get to this sort of endemic state depends on how quickly the disease is spreading, and how quickly vaccination is rolled out,” said Jennie Lavine, a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University in Atlanta, who led the study

Amid a nationwide struggle to vaccinate even limited groups of people, the Trump administration’s announcement on Tuesday — that it would release all available vaccine doses and instruct states to immediately vaccinate every American 65 and older — threatens to create more confusion, particularly for the state and local leaders who had already laid out different plans for who should receive the vaccine next

Previously, the Trump administration had been reserving roughly half of the vaccine supply to provide the second inoculations

Ron DeSantis of Florida, who prioritized people 65 and older from the start, said he believed making all older people eligible was always the right thing to do

The initial guidelines “would have allowed a 20-year-old healthy worker to get a vaccine before a 74-year-old grandmother,” he said on Tuesday at a news conference in the sprawling retirement community of The Villages

Cuomo said that the state will accept the new federal guidance to prioritize those 65 and older, though he criticized the administration for not clearly defining who should be considered “immunocompromised.”

Cuomo said, though the state only receives 300,000 doses a week

Cuomo loosened vaccine restrictions, allowing medical providers to administer the vaccine to any of their employees who interact with the public if there are extra doses in a vial and no one from “the priority population can come in before the doses expire.” A pharmacy’s “store clerks, cashiers, stock workers and delivery staff” could qualify, the guidelines said

de Blasio said at a news conference on Tuesday

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