sunny.png
Monday August 2nd, 2021 12:26PM

The Latest: Biden: More troops for vaccination efforts

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is planning to announce during his prime-time address Thursday night that he’ll deploy 4,000 additional U.S. troops to support coronavirus vaccination efforts. He’s also vastly expanding the pool of people who are eligible to serve as vaccinators.

That’s according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters ahead of Biden’s address to the nation. The official says the president will also announce plans to double the number of pharmacies participating in the vaccination program, expand mobile operations to vaccinate people in communities that have been hard-hit by the virus, and double the number of federally run mass vaccination centers.

There are currently 2,000 active duty troops supporting vaccination efforts around the country.

The official says the White House plans to detail plans on Friday to expand who can administer shots. Dentists, paramedics, physician assistants, veterinarians, and medical students will become eligible to administer vaccinations under the new guidance.

___

THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— AP poll: 1 in 5 in US lost someone close to them in pandemic

— A year after declaring a pandemic, World Health Organization is struggling to fight vaccine nationalism and to keep up with the rapidly evolving science around COVID-19

— Four former US presidents and first ladies urge getting shots in ad

— Austria targets one hard-hit region with mass vaccinations to fight virus variant first found in South Africa

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

AUSTIN, Texas -- Acting on his threat, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Austin and Travis County officials on Thursday over their decision to continue requiring mask-wearing in public.

Paxton had threatened a suit after the local officials decided Tuesday to exempt the city and county from Gov. Greg Abbott’s lifting of the state’s mask mandate Wednesday.

In announcing their opt-out Tuesday from Abbott’s order, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown said they were merely enforcing the COVID-19 prevention rules made by Dr. Mark Escott, medical director and health authority for the city and county, as they contend state law provided.

“Judge Brown and I will fight to defend and enforce our local health officials’ rules for as long as possible using all the power and tools available to us,” Adler said in a statement. “We promised to be guided by the doctors, science and data as concerns the pandemic and we do everything we can to keep that promise.”

___

LAS VEGAS — Workers in the key Las Vegas restaurant, hospitality and casino industry were told Thursday they can get a coronavirus vaccine.

State COVID-19 response officials issued an order immediately adding “frontline commerce and service industries” in Clark County to an eligibility list that started in December with doctors and first responders and has added teachers, government and community support employees.

People 65 and older became eligible for vaccinations last month.

In a statement, Nevada Health Response said plans “by next week” could allow people at least 55 years old with underlying health conditions to begin booking vaccination appointments at pharmacies, along with people with disabilities and the homeless.

Thursday’s order came after state COVID-19 officials acknowledged this week that some vaccination appointment slots were going unused at the two biggest Las Vegas-area vaccination sites.

Each site can deliver up to 4,000 doses per day, but the chief health officer at the Southern Nevada Health District said neither was regularly drawing 3,000 appointments a day.

___

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Seattle Mariners, Seattle Sounders and OL Reign will soon be able to welcome a limited number of fans to the stadium when they open their seasons, as the state prepares to move into a third phase of a COVID-19 economic reopening plan announced by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

The allowed 25% seating capacity for spectators — who must be physically distanced and wearing masks — comes a year after Inslee announced a ban on at sporting events as the pandemic took hold. The same capacity of spectators will be allowed at high school sports, motorsports, rodeos and other similar outdoor events that have permanent seating.

Expanded spectator capacity for high school and youth sports will start March 18, while the remainder will take effect on March 22, when all of the state’s 39 counties will move to a newly created Phase 3.

Opening day for the Mariners is April 1, while the Sounders start their season April 16. OL Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League start May 15.

Under Phase 3, all indoor spaces — including indoor dining at restaurants, indoor fitness centers, and retail — can increase capacity from 25% to 50%. Larger events like concerts and graduation ceremonies will also be OK since up to 400 people will be allowed to gather for indoor and outdoor activities as long as physical distancing and masking are enforced.

___

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana will let family and friends begin seeing inmates in-person again at the state’s prisons.

Thursday’s announcement from the Department of Corrections comes a year after suspending visits at prisons because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The department says it will phase in visitation starting Saturday at some facilities. The move comes as Gov. John Bel Edwards has loosened his COVID-19 restrictions.

Prison visitors will have to follow social distancing guidelines, wear a face covering and won’t be able to have contact with the inmate. Visits must be scheduled in advance, and they’ll be handled on a rotating schedule by dorm or unit.

The new visitation rules don’t yet cover lawyers seeking to see their clients. The department said it’s working on plans to resume face-to-face visits with attorneys.

___

GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- Another COVID-19 vaccine is getting closer to the finish line, as Novavax said Thursday its shot prevented hospitalizations and deaths in studies in Britain and South Africa where mutated versions of the virus are spreading.

In a study of 15,000 people in Britain, the Novavax vaccine was about 90% effective overall against mild, moderate or severe COVID-19, the company said. Of 106 illnesses confirmed, 10 were among people given the vaccine and 96 among people given dummy shots.

Only five of the illnesses were severe, all in the placebo group. Four of those were caused by an easier-to-transmit coronavirus variant first discovered in Britain. Novavax determined the vaccine was 96% effective against symptomatic illness caused by the original virus -- and 86% effective against that mutated version.

In South Africa, an even more worrisome variant is spreading widely. Novavax studied nearly 3,000 people there, some who have HIV. The company said its vaccine was 55% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 in HIV-negative volunteers. Like in Britain, the only severe illnesses occurred in study participants given dummy shots.

“The bigger picture is our vaccine works against variants,” said Novavax CEO Stanley Erck.

Erck said he expected to file an application with British health authorities early in the second quarter for widespread use of the vaccine The company also is awaiting results from a 30,000-person U.S. study.

___

UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations Population Fund says new data indicate that nearly 12 million women in 115 countries lost access to family planning services as a result of disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year.

The fund which now calls itself the U.N. sexual and reproductive health agency, said the data released Thursday indicate that the lack of family planning led to 1.4 million unintended pregnancies.

Natalia Kanem, executive director of the fund known as UNFPA, said: “We must ensure that women and girls have uninterrupted access to life-saving contraceptives and maternal health medicines.”

“Pregnancies don’t stop for pandemics, or any crisis,” she said in a statement. “The devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on the lives of millions of women and girls in the past year underscores just how vital it is to ensure the continuity of reproductive health services.”

UNFPA said that in the 115 low- and middle-income countries studied, women faced an average 3.6 month disruption in their family planning services, with the worst disruptions largely concentrated in April and May 2020, soon after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.

___

BUCHAREST, Romania -- Romanian authorities on Thursday decided to halt the usage of a remaining batch of AstraZeneca vaccines that have already been administered to at least 77,000 people in 22 counties across the country.

The decision to stop the administration of the remaining 4,257 doses of the total 81,600 ABV2856 AstraZeneca batch, the same batch that Italy stopped using after two people who were vaccinated died, was taken out of “extreme precaution,” Romania’s National Committee For The Vaccination Activities Against COVID-19 said in a statement.

The vaccination committee also said that there is “no scientific argument” at this stage to prevent the usage of the ABV2856 batch and that it was a decision taken on the basis of events that unfolded in Italy.

Romania has so far recorded more than 845,000 COVID-19 infections, 21,252 people have died, and it has administered almost 2 million vaccinations.

___

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said Thursday that he is lifting coronavirus restrictions statewide as more people are receiving vaccinations and the number of new cases and hospitalizations decline.

“There will be no statewide restrictions on events for Oklahomans,” Stitt said. “I’m also removing a requirement to wear masks inside state buildings ... wearing a mask should be a personal decision based on your circumstances.”

State health commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said more than 1.3 million people in Oklahoma have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases in Oklahoma has declined from 736 per day on Feb. 23 to 643 on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The state health department reported 288 hospitalizations, down from a record 1,994 on Jan. 5.

___

LISBON, Portugal — Portuguese nursery and elementary schools and hair salons will reopen next week under the government’s plan for emerging from a two-month lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The easing of restrictions will be staggered, and most limits will remain in place until after Easter, Prime Minister António Costa told a late evening press conference Thursday.

The plan covers a seven-week period of cautious and gradual reopening, Costa said, with restaurants and cafes operating close to normal only after May 3.

Costa said the plan will be reassessed every two weeks to see whether the measures bring a new surge of COVID-19 cases.

___

ROME — A U.N. epidemiologist who publicly denounced the World Health Organization’s withdrawal of a report on Italy’s coronavirus response has resigned, citing the “unsustainable situation” he faced as a whistleblower.

Francesco Zambon said Thursday his resignation was effective March 31. He declined further comment other than to say it was “humanly and professionally” impossible for him to continue on.

Zambon had filed an internal ethics complaint with the WHO in May after he said he was pressured by a senior WHO official to falsify data to obscure that Italy hadn’t updated its influenza pandemic preparedness plan since 2006. Zambon refused, and the report eventually was published saying Italy’s initial response to the outbreak was “improvised, chaotic and creative.”

The WHO pulled the report from its website on May 14, a day after it went up, and never republished it.

The scandal over the report’s withdrawal made headlines in Italy amid suggestions that WHO spiked it to spare the Italian government criticism, embarrassment and liability.

___

WASHINGTON — The White House says the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans funded by the American Rescue Plan will start showing up in bank accounts as early as this weekend.

Press secretary Jen Psaki says the government will make the first direct deposits this weekend. She says payments will continue throughout the next several weeks.

President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in the Oval Office on Thursday.

Besides the $1,400 direct payments to individuals, the plan includes money to help distribute coronavirus vaccines, provide relief to homeowners and renters, help reopen schools, provide aid to state and local governments, and an expansion of the child tax credit, among other features.

___

WASHINGTON — Marking a year of loss and disruption, President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion relief package he says will help the U.S. defeat the coronavirus and nurse the economy back to health.

The signing came hours before Biden delivers his first prime-time address since taking office on Jan. 20. He’s aiming to steer the nation toward hope and recovery from a pandemic that has killed more than 529,000 Americans.

“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country,” Biden said as he signed the bill in the Oval Office.

His speech on the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic is expected to mourn the dead and project optimism about the future.

___

PARIS — The hospitals in Paris have intensive care units at near capacity and some are preparing to move coronavirus patients to other regions.

Health Minister Olivier Veran says, “We are trying to liberate beds. We don’t know when or where the peak will be.”

France has been registering around 20,000 new infections a day for several weeks, despite a 6 p.m. nationwide curfew and the closure of many businesses.

The variant first identified in Britain now makes up two-thirds of all new infections in France. It appears to be causing a larger proportion of serious cases sending people to intensive care than the original virus, Veran says.

The number of virus patients in French hospitals reached its lowest level in two months, but the number of virus patients in ICUs is at the highest level since November. They now occupy some 80% of all of France’s standard ICU capacity.

Veran urged French people “not to let down our guard.” France has reported nearly 90,000 deaths from the coronavirus, seventh highest in the world.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Big finish sends Garcia to big lead at Players Championship
Sergio Garcia is off to a great start at The Players Championship, all because of his great finish
7:27PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Carlson, Times tussle over online harassment of journalist
The issue of online harassment of women in journalism is in sharp focus following a skirmish this week between Fox News Channel's Tucker Carlson and The New York Times
7:04PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Biden sets May 1 target to have all adults vaccine-eligible
President Joe Biden is outlining his plan to make all adult Americans eligible for vaccination by May 1 and get the nation back “closer to normal” by the Fourth of July
7:02PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Las Vegas restaurant, casino staff can get shots
Workers in the key Las Vegas restaurant, hospitality and casino industry have been told they can get a coronavirus vaccine
6:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Another COVID-19 vaccine nears finish line
Another COVID-19 vaccine is getting closer to the finish line, as Novavax said its shot prevented hospitalizations and deaths in studies in Britain and South Africa where mutated versions of the virus are spreading
5:25PM ( 2 hours ago )
Digital art by Beeple sells for $69.4 million amid NFT boom
Christie’s says it has auctioned off a digital collage by an artist named Beeple for nearly $70 million
4:03PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP World News
NBA fines Meyers Leonard $50,000 for anti-Semitic slur
The NBA has fined Meyers Leonard $50,000 and suspended him from all Miami Heat facilities and activities for one week, in response to his use of an anti-Semitic slur
6:45PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Where's the beef? Runaway steer still roaming Rhode Island
A runaway steer is still roaming the streets of Rhode Island, more than a month after it escaped a slaughterhouse
6:45PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Biden outlining plan to get US 'closer to normal' by July 4
President Joe Biden is outlining his plan to make all adult Americans eligible for vaccination by May 1 and get the nation back “closer to normal” by the Fourth of July
6:41PM ( 49 minutes ago )
AP Business
US stocks move higher with help from Big Tech companies
Technology stocks were pushing the broader market higher on Thursday, as investors welcomed another reprieve from the volatility in the bond market that has dominated the conversation on Wall Street for the last several weeks
2:42PM ( 4 hours ago )
GM partner LG to invest $4.5 billion in US battery operation
LG Energy Solution says it will invest more than $4.5 billion in its U.S. battery production business by 2025 as automakers ramp up production of electric vehicles
2:23PM ( 5 hours ago )
Still recovering, Japan marks 10 years since tsunami hit
Japan fell quiet at 2:46 p.m. to mark the minute that an earthquake began 10 years ago, before setting off a tsunami and nuclear crisis that devastated the country’s northeast coast
11:24AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
EU figures show major vaccine exports despite home shortage
European Union figures show that the 27-nation bloc has allowed some 34 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine exports over the past weeks, despite shortages at home as it continues to struggle to get its vaccine drive up to speed
8:21AM ( 11 hours ago )
The Latest: Germany: Virus restrictions saved 100,000 lives
The head of Germany’s disease control agency says measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have saved more than 100,000 lives in the country since the start of the pandemic a year ago
6:38AM ( 12 hours ago )
The Latest: Israel vaccinates vast majority of its soldiers
The Israeli military says it has vaccinated the vast majority of its soldiers, allowing the military to resume many of its normal operations
6:00AM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Business - Health Care
Big finish sends Garcia to big lead at Players Championship
Sergio Garcia is off to a great start at The Players Championship, all because of his great finish
7:27PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Carlson, Times tussle over online harassment of journalist
The issue of online harassment of women in journalism is in sharp focus following a skirmish this week between Fox News Channel's Tucker Carlson and The New York Times
7:04PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Biden sets May 1 target to have all adults vaccine-eligible
President Joe Biden is outlining his plan to make all adult Americans eligible for vaccination by May 1 and get the nation back “closer to normal” by the Fourth of July
7:02PM ( 27 minutes ago )
The Latest: Biden: States must make adults vaccine eligible
President Joe Biden will use his first prime-time address to announce that he is directing states to make all American adults eligible for a coronavirus vaccine no later than May 1
6:58PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Court rules against artist Peter Max over damaged works
A New Jersey appeals court has ruled against famed pop artist Peter Max in a dispute over millions of dollars’ worth of his works that were damaged in a warehouse during Superstorm Sandy
6:57PM ( 33 minutes ago )