The US is expected to approve a third COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday.
An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration unanimously voted on Friday to recommend approval of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate for use in adults, paving the way for anticipated approval.
President Joe Biden called the single-dose shot a “third, safe and effective vaccine” in a Friday address. But as the US continues to ramp up vaccinations, Biden urged Americans not to abandon their guards and continue to take mitigation measures.
“It’s not the time to relax,” said Biden. He added, “And for God’s sake, wear your mask.”
Meanwhile, House approved Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package early Saturday, a major step in a move that will provide millions of Americans with $ 1,400 in stimulus payments, increase vaccine distribution, and unemployment benefits are to be extended until summer. The move now goes to the Senate, where it faces a rocky path in the evenly divided chamber.
Also in the news:
►The federal government has agreed to buy 100,000 doses of a COVID-19 treatment from Eli Lilly, the company said on Friday. The drug bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody, which means that it mimics one of the natural antibodies the immune system uses to fight the virus. The FDA approved the drug late last year.
►The federal government has supported 441 community vaccination centers in the U.S., including 171 that were manned by federal staff, said Andy Slavitt, the White House’s senior advisor on the COVID-19 response. Two new federal vaccination sites in Chicago and Greensboro, North Carolina, were also announced on Friday.
► Ivory Coast is the second country in the world to receive a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from the global COVAX initiative. The first shipment was sent to Ghana on Wednesday.
📈 Today’s numbers: There are more than 28.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 510,000 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 113.5 million cases and 2.5 million deaths. According to the CDC, more than 94.3 million vaccine doses have been distributed and about 70.4 million administered.
📘 What we read: They met on Bumble. She claims he molested her and killed her dogs. Now she is speaking out to help other domestic violence survivors who feel isolated amid COVID-19.
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Studies: People with COVID-19 may only need to be vaccinated once
Six recent studies suggest that people who already have COVID-19 may not need a second dose of vaccine.
The federal government hasn’t changed its recommendation for a second dose, but studies looking at immune response show that a first shot gives people who have recovered from COVID-19 a huge boost, while the second shot hardly gives one Difference.
“I think that makes perfect sense,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccination Education Center at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. For someone who’s had COVID-19, the first shot is like a COVID-19 naïve person getting a booster – you even have the side effects of someone getting a second dose of vaccine, he said. Continue reading.
– Karen Weintraub
Vaccine Waste Allegations, Theft Investigated in Tennessee
Further investigation from the state of Tennessee on Friday revealed that the COVID-19 vaccine may have been stolen in Shelby County, children were believed to have been inappropriately vaccinated and more COVID-19 doses were wasted than previously thought.
The state learned of the child vaccinations and the alleged theft weeks after the incidents, State Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said in a comprehensive Friday afternoon press conference presenting numerous cases of poor vaccine management to reporters and the Shelby County Health Department called an “organization with minor.” Accountability”.
Piercey also described Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and county health officials as slow in reporting problems to authorities and not open enough in talking to state officials.
The revelations were the latest in a series of vaccine management questions in Shelby County released last week.
– Corinne S. Kennedy and Samuel Hardiman, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Cases in nursing homes down 89%
New federal data offers a glimmer of hope in the darkest and deadliest corner of the pandemic. The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in American nursing homes has fallen significantly since December, as millions of vaccine doses were shot into the arms of residents and staff.
The weekly rate of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes decreased 89% from early December through the second week of February. By comparison, the nationwide case rate fell 58% and remains above the numbers reported before the end of October.
The dramatic decline in nursing home cases, where nearly 130,000 residents and employees have died since the virus first appeared in the U.S., is fueling optimism for better days in nursing homes and communities as a whole as more Americans are being vaccinated, experts say.
– Ken Alltucker and Jayme Fraser
The CDC director warns of an increase in cases
After several weeks of decline in COVID-19 cases and hospital stays, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky, on Friday facing a “worrying” surge in cases in recent days.
The most recent 7-day average of daily new cases was over 66,000 and above the average on Wednesday, Walensky said, citing CDC data.
The peak in early January was the highest in the pandemic, and while current averages are lower, they’re still high, Walensky said. “Things are difficult. Now is not the time to relax restrictions,” she said, pointing to the spread of new variants of the coronavirus.
“We may now see the first effects of these variations in the latest data,” she added.
– Ryan Miller
NYC School Chancellor, who lost 11 family members to COVID-19, resigns
New York Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said Friday he had stepped down from his role, citing the need to grieve his 11 family members and close friends who had died of COVID-19.
“I feel like I can take that time now because of the place we are and the work we have done together,” he said.
Most of the city’s schools were heralded for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Carranza said the system had reopened safely to children of key workers, distributed over half a million electronic devices for distance learning and 80 million meals to his Student delivered.
“We have stabilized the system in a way that nobody thought possible,” he added. “The light, my New Yorkers, really is at the end of the tunnel.”
Carranza will be succeeded by Meisha Ross Porter, Executive Superintendent of the Bronx, who will become the first black woman to lead the country’s largest school district.
– Ryan Miller