BioEmergent Solutions execs talk J&J; Texas threatens fines

The top executives at Emergent BioSolutions, who ruined millions of Johnson & Johnson doses of coronavirus vaccine at their Baltimore facility in March, will testify before a House subcommittee on Wednesday.

A 13-page report released by the Food and Drug Administration in April found that the Baltimore plant was too small, poorly designed, and dirty. Unsealed bags of medical waste were observed, along with peeling paint and damaged floors and walls that could hinder proper cleaning, inspectors said.

The staff were not properly trained and improperly handling the ingredients, the report said.

Members of Congress asked for a statement from the company that won a $ 628 million contract to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines last year but has not yet made a single usable dose.

Now, 60% of American adults have had at least one dose of vaccine, and new cases and hospitalizations are steadily declining. The seven-day average of new cases has dropped to numbers not seen since March 2020, essentially the start of the pandemic, according to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also in the news:

► A group of House GOP lawmakers refused to wear face masks on the floor during Tuesday’s votes, contrary to leadership’s rules regarding COVID-19 logs.

► According to a federal report released Tuesday, vaccination rates for coronavirus in rural areas are lower across the country than in urban areas in both countries and across all age groups. The analysis published by the CDC looked at vaccination rates through April 10th. It found that rural counties had a rate of about 39% compared to 46% in urban counties.

►Al Rimal Health Clinic in central Gaza City, which is the only coronavirus testing laboratory in the Gaza Strip, was damaged Monday by Israeli air strikes that saw doctors doing thousands of tests and vaccines every day, the New York Times reported.

►The Las Vegas Strip and its surrounding area will be fully reopened to vaccinated guests, dancers, shoppers and club-goers starting June 1st.

► Registrations for the Ohio vaccination lottery began Tuesday. Here’s How To Win $ 1 Million Or A College Scholarship.

📈 Today’s numbers: There are more than 32.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 587,000 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 163.96 million cases and 3.39 million deaths. More than 346.6 million vaccine doses have been distributed and 275.5 million administered in the United States, according to the CDC. Almost 124.4 million Americans were fully vaccinated – 37.5% of the population.

📘 What we read: She survived COVID after being on a ventilator, but her nightmare was far from over. Read more here.

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Austin area businesses may in certain cases drop mask rules for fully vaccinated customers

Hours after the Austin area’s chief health officer suspended corporate mask mandates under certain conditions for fully vaccinated customers, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is using the threat of fines to bruise local executives who continue to impose mask rules.

Many Austin and Travis Counties business owners learned Tuesday that they no longer need masks for fully vaccinated people indoors when there are fewer than 500 people in the home at a time. This emerges from a revised mask mandate set Tuesday by Mark Escott, the Austin native. Travis County Health Department.

Partially vaccinated and unvaccinated residents under new health authority regulations must continue to wear masks and be at least 3 feet away from others while outdoors and indoors in public, as per Escott’s revised mask mandate.

However, Austin public health officials said those plans could change in response to Abbott’s order that, starting late Friday, local governments or officials in Texas – including counties, cities, school districts and health departments – could no longer require the use of masks.

Abbott planned to enforce his new order with a fine of up to $ 1,000 for government agencies or officials who continued to require the wearing of masks.

Abbott’s orders do not include government-sponsored residential centers, government-owned or operated hospitals, Texas Department of Justice facilities, Texas juvenile justice facilities, and county and community prisons.

– Heather Osbourne, Austin American-Statesman

India reports record deaths

India’s total virus cases since the pandemic began exceeded 25 million on Tuesday as the country recorded more than 260,000 new cases and a record 4,329 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The numbers continue the trend of falling cases after infections fell below 300,000 for the first time in weeks on Monday. The number of active cases in the country also fell by more than 165,000 on Tuesday – the biggest drop in weeks.

But deaths have continued to rise and hospitals are still flooded with patients.

The nation of nearly 1.4 billion reported more than 400,000 new cases multiple times a day during the month, breaking global records. It has been hit by spikes in some cases since February, partly due to a dangerous variant now found in 49 countries including the US

The White House COVID advisor’s son suffers from long-haul symptoms

White House senior coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt on Tuesday urged young Americans to get vaccinated, saying his own son is battling long-distance symptoms of the infection.

“He is young and fit and in the prime of his life. But six months later, he still suffers from tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), shortness of breath, and persistent and frequent flu-like symptoms, “Slavitt said at a meeting at the White House.” His hands feel cold. “

Slavitt said it was not clear how long the symptoms will last. He said “many, many” young people are more ill than his son and that more than a third of COVID patients in hospital are under 50.

“My message to young people is simple, ‘get vaccinated,'” said Slavitt. “It’s the most important thing you can do now.”

Contributor: The Associated Press.

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