School board resigns after mocking parents on reopening; weather could fuel virus spread in Texas: Latest COVID-19 updates
As federal partners rush to distribute delayed COVID-19 vaccine shipments and millions of Americans grapple with access to clean water Saturday, epidemiologists warn that the record-breaking winter weather may lead to coronavirus surges in some parts of the country while quelling outbreaks in others.
“To the extent that the winter weather increases the likelihood people currently shedding infectious viruses stay isolated and do not mix with other people, it will suppress virus transmission in the community,” David Sweat, chief epidemiologist for Tennessee’s Shelby County Health Department, said earlier this week.
But in more severely affected areas of the country, like Texas, the weather may have the opposite effect, said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University School of Medicine professor of preventive medicine and an infectious disease doctor. “In Texas, where people are coming together to get food and water and going to communal shelters, there we might actually seen an increase,” Schaffner said.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said a surge was “possible” if large numbers of people huddled in shelters.
Inside some Texas jails, in particular, conditions remain “dire,” according to the Texas Jail Project, an organization working to empower incarcerated people. “We’re angry, & increasingly concerned about the impact that poor sanitation & lack of water will have on the spread of COVID-19 in overcrowded jails,” the group wrote on Twitter Friday.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Friday toured a Pfizer manufacturing plant in Michigan and stressed the safety of vaccines, saying Americans should get vaccinated “when it’s your turn and available.” Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response, said doses backlogged due to weather were expected to be delivered “within the next week.”
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In the headlines:
►Fifteen athletes who were supposed to be participating in sports at U.S. colleges as first-year international students during the 2020-21 academic year are suing the Department of Homeland Security and ICE over a policy that prevents students from coming to the U.S. if their schools aren’t offering in-person courses.
►Pope Francis and Italy’s president on Saturday marked a newly established annual day to honor doctors, nurses and other health care workers, exactly one year after the nation’s first known native case of COVID-19 emerged.
►After early confusion, most hospitals, clinics and vaccination centers now have protocols and systems in place to make sure every last vaccine dose gets used.
►The U.S. plans to open five more community vaccinations centers, including one in Philadelphia, and four in Florida, in Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa, Salvitt said Friday.
►The FDA is reviewing data from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial and plans to consult with the agency’s independent advisory committee Feb. 26. “We should be hearing from them soon,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.
►Pfizer on Friday said it was seeking authorization to store its vaccine in normal pharmaceutical freezers, instead of the ultra-cold temperatures doses currently require.
►California plans to set aside 10% of first vaccine doses for educators, school staff and childcare providers starting in March to help get children back in classrooms, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.
► Experts say the United States could quickly expand the nation’s limited testing supply and improve speed by authorizing rapid, paper-based antigen tests. The drawback: Rapid tests are less precise when compared to lab tests, which take longer to complete and cost $100 or more.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 28.0 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 496,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 110.9 million cases and 2.45 million deaths. More than 78.1 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and about 59.5 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: “He shouldn’t be dead”: A year after their father’s death from COVID-19, the family is confronting their loss.
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The content of the article:
- 1 Entire school board resigns after mocking parents in livestreamed meeting on reopening
- 2 Could your Apple Watch, Fitbit help slow the pandemic?
- 3 Argentine health minister resigns amid vaccine scandal
- 4 Two-dose Pfizer vaccine here to stay, despite new study
- 5 Africa reaches 100,000 known COVID-19 deaths
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UCHealth pharmacy technicians work to prepare doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination event in the parking lot of Coors Field on February 20, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. UCHealth plans to administer 10,000 second doses to seniors over 70 during the drive-up event this weekend. Michael Ciaglo, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Traffic cones line around the empty parking lot of Dodger Stadium, a mass COVID-19 vaccination in Los Angeles, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. California has closed some vaccination centers and delayed appointments following winter storms elsewhere in the country that hampered the shipment of doses. Damian Dovarganes, APFullscreen
Patients are checked in before getting vaccinated, Feb. 10, 2021, at NOAH’s Venado Valley Health Center, 20440 N. 27th Ave., Phoenix, Ariz.
Mark Henle, The Arizona Republic/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Frieda Allweiss, a Holocaust survivor, rolls up her sleeve for her shot by Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, on Feb. 12, 2021, at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium vaccination site. Drake Presto, Arizona RepublicFullscreen
People wait in line to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site set up in a park in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. Jae C. Hong, APFullscreen
Susan Geubtner, a nurse with Montana Veterans Affairs, gives a COVID-19 vaccination to Robert Harris a veteran of the U.S. Air Force on Feb. 9, 2021during a vaccination clinic for veterans in Great Falls, Mont. RION SANDERS,GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Several hundred people wait through a snow storm for COVID-19 vaccines at the Westchester County Center in White Plains Feb. 7, 2021. The line stretched around the building and at times took people 2 1/2 hours to receive their vaccine. Seth Harrison, The Journal News via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Kaleigh Abrams of Bridges Learning Center, right, receives the Pfizer vaccination from nurse Susan Baldwin during a vaccination clinic at the Akron Public Schools Administration building, Feb. 6, 2021, in Akron, Ohio. Jeff Lange, Beacon Journal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Members of the National Guard wait to check in people at a mass coronavirus vaccination site in the parking lot of Six Flags on February 6, 2021 in Bowie, Maryland. Sarah Silbiger, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Maximo Michua, 74, holds his sleeve as Kathryne Acuna (R), Director of Ambulatory Clinical Services at Kaiser Permanente, administers his Covid-19 vaccine on the opening day of a large-scale Covid-19 vaccination site at a parking structure at Cal Poly Pomona University in Pomona, California on February 5, 2021. Frederic J. Brown, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Kansas Air National Guard Maj. Cortney Neblett, left, gives a COVID-19 vaccine shot to Master Sgt. Thomas Lafountain, right, during a clinic for Kansas National Guard personnel, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, at Air National Guard’s base south of Topeka, Kan. The Kansas National Guard received 1,100 doses from the U.S. Department of Defense. John Hanna, APFullscreen
Jim Dixon pulls out his COVID-19 vaccination record card at Germantown Baptist Church in Germantown, Tenn., on Feb. 4, 2021. Ariel Cobbert, The Commercial Appeal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Michigan National Guard Sgt. Terence Warner checks a dosage of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine before administering it to a person in their vehicle at the Michigan State University Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education building in East Lansing on Thursday, February 4, 2021 during a drive-up COVID-19 vaccination distribution site. Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press/ USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Doryl Wolfe, 76, of Cortlandt Manor receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Christina Gilkes at Save Mor Drugs in Croton-on-Hudson Feb. 4, 2021. Tania Savayan, The Journal NewsFullscreen
People with appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine wait on line at the Westchester County Center in White Plains on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. Appointments scheduled for the past two-days were rescheduled for today due to the inclement weather. John Meore, The Journal NewsFullscreen
A senior receives a COVID-19 vaccine from a health care worker after arriving on a bus to a vaccination site at Anquan Boldin Stadium in Pahokee, Fla., on Feb. 3. Greg Lovett, The Palm Beach Post/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Benefits nurse Marissa Lencioni administers the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Great Falls resident Mick Cabbage during the vaccination clinic on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, in the Family Living Center building at Montana ExpoPark. The three day clinic, which is by appointment only, will inoculate 1500 people with their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The next round of vaccination appointments will be opened to people 70 years and older on January 28th via the www.benefis.org/COVIDvaccine portal. RION SANDERS, GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
People arrive for COVID-19 vaccination at a drive through setup at Coors Field baseball stadium on January 30, 2021, in Denver, Colorado. Chet Strange, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
UT Medical Assistant Laila Green administers COVID-19 vaccines, volunteering for Shelby County Health Department at the site of the former Appling Emissions Station on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 in Memphis.
Joe Rondone, The Commercial Appeal / USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Drivers line up recently to enter the COVID-19 vaccination site at 301 George Perry Blvd in ElPaso. The wait was over 3.5 hours long and the line of vehicles stretched out for more than 2 miles.
Samuel Gaytan, El Paso Times/ USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Those waiting to be vaccinated line up at an empty store next to Shoprite in Byram, N.J. Shoprite has taken appointments from members of the community and is administering the vaccine. Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Security guard Andrea Rapini sits at a COVID-19 vaccination site that closed after running out of the vaccine in John Prince Park in Lake Worth Beach, Fla., on Jan. 27. Gov. Ron DeSantis turned vaccine distribution over to Publix pharmacies in the area. GREG LOVETT, The Palm Beach Post via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
John Bernard receives his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from registered nurse Adrienne Bond during a vaccine clinic at the Vanderburgh County Health Department in Evansville, Ind., Jan. 26, 2021. He brought his 101-year-old mother, Evelyn Bernard, to the clinic too so they could both get vaccinated. Sam Owens, Evansville Courier and Press via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
The line of those with appointments for the Kitsap Public Health District and the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management’s first community COVID-19 vaccine clinic stretches down the sidewalk at the former St. Michael Medical Center in East Bremerton, Wash. on Jan. 26, 2021. Meegan M. Reid, Kitsap Sun via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Palm Desert resident Luther Wood, 82, celebrates his Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination at Eisenhower Health’s clinic for patients age 75 and older on Jan. 26 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Vickie Connor, The Desert Sun via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Corpus Christi firefighter cadet Marcus Maldonado gives Samuel Sanchez a COVID-19 vaccine outside this home during the first day of the Senior Vaccination Program in Corpus Christi, Texas on Jan. 26, 2021.
Fd Home Vaccinations 3 Courtney Sacco, The Corpus Christi Caller Times via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Hundreds of people who made an appointment to be vaccinated against COVID-19 stand in a line that wraps around a building at the Delco Activity Center in northeast Austin, Texas, on Jan. 23. Ricardo B. Brazziell, Austin American-Statesman/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Dr. Thomas Ballard, 82, of San Francisco, receives the Moderna COVID vaccine at a mass vaccination site at City College of San Francisco on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. San Francisco launched its first mass vaccination facility at City College of San Francisco to administer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The effort comes as American healthcare workers and organizations push for a faster distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Martin Klimek, USA TODAYFullscreen
Workers from Sparrow Healthcare talk to a woman Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, as she approaches a checkpoint at the Sparrow Laboratories Drive-Thru Services site at Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing. It is Sparrow’s first day of public vaccinations for those 70 and older, and for frontline essential workers. Matthew Dae Smith, Lansing State Journal/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Clay County residents wait in line for the start of Monday morning’s vaccination effort at the Clay County Fairgrounds. The early appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations begin to line up at the Clay County Fairgrounds west of Green Cove Springs early Monday morning, Jan. 18, 2021. Ascension St. Vincent’s is holding the event for Clay County Residents 65 and older from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and plan to provide approximately 2,500 vaccinations.
Bob Self, Florida Times-Union/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Jack Horneman of Townville gets his COVID-19 vaccine from Missy Cooley, LPN, during the AnMed Health Covid-19 Vaccine clinic at the Anderson Civic Center Saturday, January 16, 2021. Ken Ruinard, USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Revonda Wood, RN, pulls a dose from a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vial at the AnMed Health Covid-19 Vaccine clinic at the Anderson Civic Center Saturday, January 16, 2021. Ken Ruinard, USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Systems analyst Michelle Amos rolls a cart from patient to patient doing registration as Ohio State University medical employees receive their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021.
Adam Cairns, Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Century Village residents wait before appointments are handed out for the COVID-19 vaccine in West Palm Beach, Florida on Jan. 11, 2021. The community will receive 3,000 doses to use starting on Wednesday. Greg Lovett, The Palm Beach Post-USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Karen MacDonald, a nurse at Gates Middle School in Scituate, Mass. lays out her syringes while getting ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to first responders on Jan. 11, 2021. Robin Chan, Wicked Local via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
A line of Duval County residents snakes around the campus of the Mandarin Senior Center on Hartley Road on Jan. 11, 2021, as people wait for COVID-19 vaccine injections at one of the two City of Jacksonville vaccine sites which opened Monday. Bob Self, Florida Times-Union via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Century Village resident Maria Cole shows identification to make an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine in West Palm Beach, Florida on Jan. 11, 2021. The community will receive 3,000 doses to use starting on Jan. 13, 2021. Greg Lovett, PALM BEACH POST via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Medical professionals from Oregon Health & Science University load syringes with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-thru vaccination clinic in Portland, Ore., Jan. 10, 2021. The clinic is a partnership between the Service Employees International Union and Oregon Health & Science University, aiming to vaccinate Oregon’s 32,000 home health care workers and their patients. Pool photo by Kristyna Wentz-GraffFullscreen
James Hill, 69, who served separate stints in both the Army and Navy, left, holds his sleeve as Brent Myers, a CVS pharmacist, readies to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination, at the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Jackson, Miss., Jan. 9, 2021. Hill was among the first residents to receive the Pfizer covid vaccination. Residents and staff at two of the four veterans homes were inoculated on Saturday with the vaccinations planned for the two other homes next week. The veterans homes were among the hardest hit senior living facilities by the virus. Rogelio V. Solis, APFullscreen
Certified medical assistant Maria Lawlor administers the Moderna coronavirus vaccine to Michael Burns, 62, at Rosewood Zaragosa Health Center in East Austin on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Currently, vaccines generally are restricted to¤first responders, health care personnel, people 65 and older, and those 16 and older with at least one chronic medical condition. Bronte Wittpenn, Austin American-Statesman/ USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Nurses have COVID-19 vaccines drawn and ready to administer as people pull into a bay at the former State Farm building in Murfreesboro, Tenn. to receive their first dose on Jan. 4, 2021. Helen Comer, The Daily News Journal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
A woman takes a selfie with the medical worker who administered her COVID-19 vaccination at a drive-thru at Broadbent Arena in Louisville, Ky. on Jan. 4, 2021. Pat McDonogh, The Courier Journal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
April Smith, RN, puts a bandage on Jeanne Biada, 66, after vaccinating her and her husband, Gregory Biada, 68, during a COVID-19 vaccine distribution run by the Collier Department of Health at North Collier Regional Park in Naples. Fla. on Jan. 4, 2021. Alex Driehaus, Naples Daily News via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Paulette Brown gets the Moderna vaccine, Jan. 3, 2021 during the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s vaccination point distribution at Brownsville Community Center in Pensacola, Fla. John Blackie, Pensacola News-Journal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Kellie Grover, left, receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine through the Knox County Health Department at the Knoxville Expo Center on Monday, January 4, 2021.
Brianna Paciorka, News Sentinel / USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
A health-care worker reacts as she receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Lake-Sumter State College in Leesburg, Fla., on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. Long lines of cars were at the site as the Lake County vaccines are currently being given to people who are 65 years and older and front line workers. Stephen M. Dowell /Orlando Sentinel via APFullscreen
Nurse Shanteria Johnson, who is with the Medical Reserve Core at the Alachua County Health Department, draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination session for local firefighters at the Gainesville Professional Firefighters Union Hall in Gainesville Fla., Dec. 31, 2020. Brad McClenny, The Gainesville Sun via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Seniors stand in line to make an appointment to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine outside the King’s Point clubhouse in Delray Beach, Fla. on Dec. 30, 2020. GREG LOVETT, Palm Beach Post via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Cape Coral residents wait in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 30, 2020 during first day of vaccinations in the city at Cultural Park Theater. The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is offering COVID-19 vaccine to high-risk frontline health care workers and those 65 and older. Ricardo Rolon, The News-Press via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Friends Terri Kado,66, right and Patty Tubbs,68, from Fort Myers Beach wait in line for the the COVID-19 vaccine in the early morning hours of Dec. 30, 2020 at Lakes Park Regional Library in Fort Myers, Fla. The two were having a pleasant experience and were watching the moon as it moved through the sky. To them the vaccine brings a peace of mind and a positive start to the New Year. They got in line at 12:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Andrew West/The News-Press, The News-PressFullscreen
Jessica Miles, left, of CVS, gives resident Wanda Kilgore a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Linley Park Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Anderson, S.C., Dec. 29, 2020. The first dose of the vaccine was administered to 51 residents and 32 staff, with the second dose planned for Jan. 26, 2021. Ken Ruinard, Anderson Independent Mail via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Winona McCain, 71, a resident at Patewood Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Greenville, S.C., raises her fist after receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Jamie, a pharmacist with CVS on Dec. 28, 2020. MATT BURKHARTT, The Greenville News via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Pharmacists prepare doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Life Care Center of Kirkland on Dec. 28, 2020 in Kirkland, Wash. The Life Care Center of Kirkland, a nursing home, was an early epicenter for coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S. Karen Ducey, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Dr. Cletus Oppong, who specializes in occupational medicine, is the first to receive the first round of the Moderna vaccine by Clinical Pharmacist Erin Conkright on Dec. 24, 2020, at the Owensboro Health Regional Hospital in Owensboro, Ky. “It’s an exciting day,” said Oppong. Alan Warren, The Messenger-Inquirer via APFullscreen
VA pharmacist Wes Romanello carefully fills syringes of the COVID-19 vaccine to give to Chillicothe VA staff in Chillicothe, Ohio on Dec. 23, 2020. Robert McGraw, Chillicothe Gazette via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District personnel administer COVID-19 vaccinations to colleagues during a test drive-thru event at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in Corpus Christi, Texas on Dec. 23, 2020. Courtney Sacco, The Corpus Christi Caller Times via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Command Sgt. Maj. John Raines of the Mississippi National Guard, looks away as he receives a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in his arm, by a fellow guard member, Dec. 23, 2020, in Flowood, Miss. One hundred doses of the vaccine were administered to both Mississippi Air and Army National Guard service members who serve as first responders and currently assist with the administering of the COVID-19 test at Mississippi Department of Health drive through community testing sites across the state. Rogelio V. Solis, APFullscreen
Lerma Ballesteros, left, a technical laboratory assistant with Diagnostic Laboratory Services, remains rock steady even as she is administered a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination during a temporary clinic conducted by Department of Public Health and Social Services workers and other support staff at the Okkodo High School cafeteria in Dededo on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Rick Cruz/PDNFullscreen
The CVS Health team arrives with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Sivercrest Health and Rehabilitation Center in Crestview, Fla. on Dec. 21, 2020. This was one of the first administrations of the vaccine in the state. Michael Snyder, The Northwest Florida Daily News via USA Today NETWORKFullscreen
Dr. Theresa Maresca from the Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB), lets a collegue write on her arm For the Love of Native People over the spot where she received a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, at the SIHB, on Dec. 21, 2020 in Seattle, Wash. The Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) received 500 doses of the FDA-approved Moderna COVID-19 vaccine today. Karen Ducey, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Long-term care patient Carlos Alegre receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from licensed vocational nurse Virgie Vivar at Birch Patrick Skilled Nursing Facility at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center on Dec. 21, 2020 in Chula Vista, Calif. 72-year-old Alegre is the first patient to receive the vaccine in San Diego County. Long-term care patients and frontline workers are among those in the CDCÕs highest priority group for vaccination. Mario Tama, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Hartford HealthCare employee Wilfredo Rivera reacts after receiving the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 as Hartford HealthCare Nurse Laura Bailey, right, looks on at Hartford Hospital, Dec. 21, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. Hartford HealthCare was the first in the state to administer the Moderna vaccine. Jessica Hill, APFullscreen
Marie Branham, right, resident services director at Atria Springdale assisted living community, receives the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine from CVS pharmacist Shereen Keshta at the facility in Louisville, Ky. on Dec. 21, 2020. Sam Upshaw Jr., Courier Journal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss. on Dec. 20, 2020. While shipments of the vaccine are rolling out to many health care workers and nursing homes across the country, it could be months before itÕs available for the general public. Paul Sancya, APFullscreen
Chief Nursing Officer Robin L. Steaban, left, who administered the vaccine, stands with nurse practitioner Lisa Flemmons, Dr. Todd Rice, nurse Cody Hamilton and respiratory therapist Sophie Whitaker after they received a COVID-19 vaccine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 17, 2020. George Walker IV, THE TENNESSEAN via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Nurse practitioner Franklin Grauzer receives a high-five from his daughter, Emerson, 5, after he received a COVID-19 vaccine at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West in Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 17, 2020. Andrew Nelles, The Tennessean via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Tim King, a citizen of the Cherokee nation and a Cherokee language speaker, receives ther COVID-19 vaccine at the Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center Dec. 17, 2020, in Tahlequah, Okla. On his left arm is a tattoo of a dreamcatcher with the word Cherokee. Mike Simons, APFullscreen
Dr. Julie Kennerly-Shah draws out a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as its distributed to healthcare workers on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center East in Columbus, Ohio. Vaccine shipments began arriving in Ohio on Monday and frontline health care workers have been the first to receive the vaccine. Joshua A. Bickel, Columbus DispatchFullscreen
Nursing student Abriana Martinez administers the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to Dr. Erik Pronske at the University of Texas Health Austin Dell Medical School on Tuesday December 15, 2020. Jay Janner, Austin American-StatesmanFullscreen
Allison Wynes, a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) nurse practitioner, records a video for her friends announcing she had received one of first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, on the 12th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa. Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-CitizenFullscreen
Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in New York. Mark Lennihan, APFullscreen
Courtney Schneider, 40, of Grand Rapids and her son, Elliot Schneider, 8, of Grand Rapids wave flags at the FedEx plane carrying the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Dec. 13, 2020. Rodney Coleman-Robinson, Detroit Free Press via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Dec. 13, 2020. Morry Gash, PoolFullscreen
Nurse Chris Nelson gets the COVID-19 vaccine at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. Andrew Craft, USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
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Entire school board resigns after mocking parents in livestreamed meeting on reopening
The president and all three other members of a California school board have resigned after mocking parents in a livestreamed meeting on school reopening that they appeared to think was private.
Greg Hetrick, superintendent of the Oakley Union Elementary School District in Costa County, announced the board members had submitted their resignations in a letter to the school community Friday, calling it an “unfortunate situation.”
Video of the Wednesday night meeting has circulated on social media and appears to capture board members mocking parents who have been writing letters to petition the board to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. “They want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back,” said Board President Lisa Brizendine.
The board members also use expletives and laugh about parents who take medical marijuana. Toward the end of the recording, the board members appear shocked to receive a message alerting them that the livestream is public. In a statement, the board members expressed their “sincerest apology” and said they “deeply regret the comments that were made in the meeting.”
Could your Apple Watch, Fitbit help slow the pandemic?
Growing evidence suggests that a smartwatch or wearable such as a Fitbit could help warn wearers of a potential COVID-19 infection prior to a positive test result.
Wearables such as the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy smartwatch, Fitbit and other devices can collect heart and oxygen data, as well as sleep and activity levels. Researchers are studying whether a body’s health data might signal an oncoming COVID-19 infection.
A COVID-19 infection may not be imminent for a person whose heart or activity data suggests a potential infection. But the increased likelihood – and the ability to alert the patient to get tested and possibly quarantine – could provide a vital tool in preventing the spread of the disease and tracking it, researchers say.
Such findings, if proven out, could lead to remote medical alerts for other possible viruses, flu and undue stress.
– Mike Snider
Argentine health minister resigns amid vaccine scandal
President Alberto Fernández removed Argentina’s health minister Friday after a well-known local journalist said he had been given a coronavirus vaccination preferentially after requesting one from the minister.
The president “instructed his chief of staff to request the resignation of health minister” Ginés González García, who is in charge of the government’s COVID-19 strategy, said a government official, who was not authorized to release the information and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The firing comes on the heels of reports in recent days that mayors, legislators, activists and people close to political power received vaccine shots despite not being in the priority group of doctors, health personnel and the elderly authorized to receive them.
Two-dose Pfizer vaccine here to stay, despite new study
A new study out of Israel reignited the public debate Friday about the spacing between the two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, but the U.S. government isn’t budging in its commitment to the original schedule.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine might be just as effective if the gap between doses is wider than the recommended 21 days, according to the new study from Israel. If the doses could be given further apart, more people could be protected faster. Vaccine supplies, which remain quite limited now, are expected to ramp up in late spring.
But government officials want to stick with the dosing schedule that has been scientifically proven to be effective, warning that altering it might weaken the vaccine’s effectiveness against variants, or even drive the creation of new variants that escape that protection.
The current schedule provides “an optimal response when you’re dealing with variants,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, said Friday in a news conference.
– Karen Weintraub
Africa reaches 100,000 known COVID-19 deaths
Africa has surpassed 100,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 as the continent praised for its early response to the pandemic now struggles with a dangerous resurgence and medical oxygen often runs desperately short.
The 54-nation continent of some 1.3 billion people has barely seen the arrival of large-scale supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, but a variant of the virus dominant in South Africa is already posing a challenge to vaccination efforts. Still, if doses are available, the continent should be able to vaccinate 35% to 40% of its population before the end of 2021 and 60% by the end of 2022, said John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials who breathed a sigh of relief last year when African countries did not see a huge number of COVID-19 deaths are now reporting a jump in fatalities. The Africa CDC on Friday said overall deaths are at 100,294.
– The Associated Press