Arizona Sets Death Record; N.Y. Lowers Vaccine Age: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration is urging states to expand access to vaccines, including making them available to anyone over 65. New York state lowered its vaccine age to 65 from 75 following the change in guidance.
New York City will use Citi Field, home of the Mets baseball team, as a mass-vaccination site starting the week of Jan. 25, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The European Union reached its eighth supply deal for doses, and an official said deliveries of shots will accelerate starting in April. The number of patients in the U.K. needing ventilators rose to the highest since the pandemic began. Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany’s hard lockdown could last into late March.
- Global Tracker: Cases top 91 million; deaths surpass 1.95 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 29 million shots given worldwide
- U.S. Hot Spots: U.S. deaths seen rising by another 80,000
- Patchwork of rules sows confusion in state-by-state vaccine rollout
- Johnson’s cross-London bike ride threatens his own U.K. lockdown
- Besieged U.K. hospitals carry warning for EU lagging on vaccines
U.S. Visitors Must Pass Virus Tests (5:15 p.m. NY)
The U.S. will require proof of a negative Covid-19 test before allowing visitors to fly into the country from other nations, in an effort to help airlines regain at least some of their most lucrative international travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday said it approved the new anti-pandemic measure that will take effect on Jan. 26.
Dow Jones reported the news earlier.
Pfizer Investigates Post-Vaccine Death (3:40 p.m. NY)
Pfizer Inc. and federal health officials are investigating the death of a health-care worker 16 days after the person received the first dose of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine.
So far, the evidence doesn’t suggest a connection, Pfizer said in a statement on Tuesday. The Florida-based physician developed a rare disorder called severe thrombocytopenia that decreases the body’s ability to clot blood and stop internal bleeding.
Cyber Attackers Leaked EU Vaccine Data (3:35 p.m. NY)
Hackers posted confidential documents regarding Covid-19 medicines and vaccines on the internet after a data breach late last year at the European Medicines Agency.
Timelines related to evaluating and approving Covid medicines and vaccines haven’t been affected, the EMA said in a statement on Tuesday. The agency said it remains fully functional and that law enforcement authorities are taking action on the breach.
U.K. Patients on Ventilators Reach Record (2:45 p.m. NY)
More coronavirus patients are on mechanical ventilation in the U.K. than at any point in the pandemic. There are now 3,363 people on ventilation, compared with a previous peak of 3,301 set on April 12 last year, the latest data shows.
The figure indicates that despite treatments that reduce the likelihood that a patient will be moved onto ventilation, the new strain of the disease has affected many more people than the April outbreak.
More than 35,000 people are hospitalized with the disease, as of Jan. 10, significantly higher than the April peak of 21,600.
The U.K. is relying on a mass vaccination program to reduce the mortality of the disease, and hopes to vaccinate 15 million of the most vulnerable people by Feb. 15.
Ontario Declares Second Emergency (2:30 p.m. NY)
Ontario’s government declared a second provincial emergency as Covid-19 rates accelerate and a new, more transmissible variant has surfaced in Canada’s most populous province.
The province is imposing stay-at-home rules that take effect Jan. 14, requiring residents to stay in except for essential purposes such as buying groceries, medical appointments, exercise or essential work, according to a statement. All businesses must ensure any employee who can work from home does so.
Ontario declared its original provincial emergency during the first wave in March. It remained in effect until July 24.
Arizona Sets Death Record (1:37 p.m. NY)
Arizona reported 335 deaths from Covid-19, a record number that underscored its status as a new epicenter of the virus’s latest surge. The state’s 8,559 new cases brought its total since the pandemic began to 636,100.
Arizona leads the nation in people currently hospitalized with the virus per capita, with 687 per million residents, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
Dutch Lockdown Extended (1:35 p.m. NY)
Lockdown measures in the Netherlands will be extended by three weeks until Feb. 9, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Tuesday evening. The current lockdown, which added the shuttering of non-essential shops to the closure of bars and restaurants, was announced mid-December and had been set to last until at least Jan. 19. “The British corona variant is in the Netherlands, and this worries us greatly”, Rutte said at a press conference in the Hague.
About 1% of French Cases Are U.K. Variant (12:30 p.m. NY)
France’s health authorities analyzed thousands of positive Covid tests on Thursday and Friday, finding about 1% of confirmed cases were the U.K. variant, Health Minister Olivier Veran said in a hearing in the senate on Tuesday.
Suspect PCR tests were identified using Thermo Fisher’s platform, followed by genetic sequencing. Monitoring will be repeated about every 7-10 days to survey the progress of the variant.
France aims to vaccinate 5 million people by Easter, Veran said. The country will potentially have as many as 77 million doses of various vaccines delivered by the end of June, depending on approvals, the minister said. Should AstraZeneca’s vaccine be approved by the European medicines agency this month, France expects to receive 3 million doses of the shot in February and another 6 million in March, according to Veran.
N.Y. Opening Pop-Up Testing Sites (12:28 p.m. NY)
New York plans to open pop-up sites statewide that could be used to test customers and workers in a push to reopen offices, restaurants and theaters, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday in his State of the State speech.
The state’s plan for reopening New York will hinge on rapid testing, he said. The state will follow the model used for the Buffalo Bills, where about 6,700 fans were allowed to attend a recent playoff game after showing a negative Covid test result.
That pilot program is continuing with the Jan. 16 game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Texas Opens Field Hospital in Capital (12:05 p.m. NY)
Texas opened a field hospital in a convention center in the state’s capital city, Austin, to relieve some of the strain on local hospitals. The “alternate care site” has an initial capacity of 25 beds that can be expanded if needed, Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement on Tuesday.
More than 19% of hospital beds in the 11-county region that includes Austin are occupied by virus patients, state health department figures showed.
UAE Reports Record Cases (11:22 a.m. NY)
The United Arab Emirates recorded the most daily coronavirus cases since the pandemic began: 3,243, for a total of 236,225. Earlier in the day, Dubai’s ruler urged everyone to get a vaccine to protect themselves and the economy and to speed up recovery. The Ministry of Health said it has so far administered 1.28 million vaccines including 108,401 in the past 24 hours, with an average of 12.9 doses for every 100 people.
N.Y. Allows Shots for People Over 65 (10:45 a.m. NY)
New York state is opening up vaccinations to those age 65 and older, as well as the people with compromised immune systems, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging states to widen access to Covid-19 vaccines as part of an effort to speed up a stumbling immunization campaign.
There will be more than 7 million people in the state eligible for the vaccine including those age 65 and older, and essential and health-care workers, Cuomo said. That doesn’t include the category of people who are immunocompromised that the CDC also recommended be made eligible. The governor said that could include anyone with conditions including cancer, diabetes and asthma.
Of the approximately 196,000 tests conducted on Monday, 7.7% were positive, including hot-spot areas, Cuomo said. There were 164 virus-related fatalities and 8,926 hospitalizations, up 281 from the day prior.
NYC Turning Citi Field Into Vaccination Site (10:25 a.m. NY)
New York City will open up the Mets stadium at Citi Field for vaccinations starting the week of Jan. 25. The site will operate 24 hours a day and will be able to do between 5,000 and 7,000 vaccinations a day. It will be operated by Health & Hospitals, the public hospital agency.
“We welcome all New Yorkers; we even welcome Yankee fans,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio on a briefing. “It’s going to be big, it’s going to be a game changer.”
De Blasio said the city had given 26,528 doses on Monday. “We are well on track for this week our goal of 175,000 vaccinations. Freedom to vaccinate is what allowed us to do this.”
Irish Virus ICU Patients Hit Record (9:37 a.m. NY)
The number of Irish coronavirus patients in intensive-care units reached a record Tuesday, as the hospital system nears capacity amid one of the worst outbreaks in the world.
Some 158 confirmed Covid-19 cases are intensive care, according to the health ministry, beating a record set in April. Overall, 1,620 patients are in the hospital. The nation is in the teeth of a new wave of the pandemic and now has the worst instance of the virus per million people globally, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
New Virus Strain Reaches Vienna (9:30 a.m. NY)
The new B117 virus strain was identified in Vienna, where it has reached elderly care facilities, according to the Austrian Press Agency. The variant is rampant in neighboring Slovakia, from where many commute into the Austrian capital for work. Also, 17 ski instructor trainees, mostly from the U.K., tested positive and probably have the new strain, the Tirol province said.
Switzerland’s Vaccination Goal Is Realistic: Kronig (9:13 a.m. NY)
Switzerland’s goal of vaccinating residents over age 75 by the end of February is realistic, according to Nora Kronig, vice director of the country’s Federal Office of Public Health. Even with intensified efforts to trace contacts, the number of cases of U.K. and South African variants has increased in Switzerland. Officials said it was possible that 5% to 6% of positive cases in the country were due to the mutations.
Separately, Swissmedic temporarily authorized Moderna’s vaccine for use in Switzerland, the drug regulator said.
Dutch Cases Fall as Longer Lockdown Looms (9:07 a.m. NY)
The number of cases in the Netherlands showed a “cautious” decline in the past seven days, according to health agency RIVM on Tuesday. In the week ending Jan. 12, 49,398 people with Covid-19 were confirmed, down from 56,440. Prime Minister Mark Rutte is still expected to say this evening that lockdown measures will be extended by three weeks until Feb. 9, according to local media reports. The government is looking at expanding financial aid for companies hit by the measures, the reports said.
U.S. Urges States to Widen Vaccine Pool (8:19 .m. NY)
The Trump administration is expected to encourage states to widen access to Covid-19 vaccines as part of an effort to speed up a stumbling immunization campaign.
Health officials on Tuesday will push states to expand the shots’ availability to anyone older than 65, regardless of underlying conditions, and anyone 16 and older with such a condition, according to two U.S. officials who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public.
Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will send a letter to governors making the recommendations on Tuesday. The planned announcement, first reported by Axios, follows President-elect Joe Biden’s pledge to release more of the available vaccine supply.
Uber, Moderna Team on Vaccine Awareness (8 a.m. NY)
Uber Technologies Inc. is partnering with Moderna Inc. to provide vaccine information, and eventually even help schedule rides to appointments. The companies announced they will collaborate “to help support the uptake” of coronavirus vaccines by sending in-app messages in the U.S.
India Kicks Off Race to Vaccinate (7:58 a.m. NY)
India has kicked off one of the world’s biggest inoculation programs, which will be a crucial test of how quickly developing countries with limited health and transportation infrastructure can protect their populations. Refrigerated trucks and private planes, accompanied by police officers, fanned out from the western city of Pune on Tuesday to around 60 different locations as medical workers are on standby to start vaccinations this weekend.
Scottish Deaths Surpass 5,000 (7:36 a.m. NY)
The number of deaths in Scotland directly related to Covid-19 surpassed the 5,000 mark, with a record number of people now in the hospital and intensive care, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said. Scotland could be facing additional restrictions, Sturgeon said. Details will be announced in the Edinburgh parliament on Wednesday.
Greek PM Proposes Common Vaccination Certificate (6:26 a.m. NY)
Greece is proposing the introduction of a common Covid-19 vaccination certificate for all European Union member states. The document could help quickly reestablish freedom of movement among EU countries and beyond, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Tuesday in a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
EU-Valneva in Pact for 60 Million Doses (6 a.m. NY)
The European Commission said it aims to secure as many as 60 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from Valneva for EU countries as a whole. The planned deal -- the commission’s eighth supply pact -- would allow EU governments to buy an initial 30 million doses and include an option to purchase another 30 million.
Earlier, the chief negotiator of the EU supply accords with drug companies said deliveries of vaccines in the bloc will speed up appreciably as of April. The second quarter “is going to be the quarter with many doses,” Sandra Gallina told a European Parliament committee.
Also on Tuesday, the European Medicines Agency said its drugs advisory panel could issue an opinion on the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot by Jan. 29, when it will meet to evaluate the application.
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