Covid-19 News: Live Global Updates

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Moynihan Railroad Hall in New York in December. Credit…Seth Little/Associate Press

The New York City subway will soon run longer again at night, transportation officials said Monday, a step toward resuming normal life in the face of a coronavirus pandemic.

Starting next Monday, Metro will only run from 2 to 4 p.m. instead of 1 to 5, said Patrick J. Hughes, the state’s executive director.

Mr. Foye described this initiative as a gradual reopening, although he did not give a date for the end of the very first regular night shift.

The overnight shutdown began last May when a virus spread through New York City and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo demanded that the city’s famous 24-hour subway system be shut down overnight to be decontaminated. Cuomo, who is in charge of New York City’s transportation authority, said the subway will resume 24-hour service once the pandemic is over. The governor has received sharp criticism for the closure, which public transit advocates say will harm thousands of essential workers who will be forced to find alternative travel routes.

For decades, the city’s sprawling subway network served as a refuge for thousands of homeless New Yorkers. Especially in winter, many people enter the system through parks and streets and seek refuge on the 24-hour trains, fearing that the city is often overcrowded and that violence will occur.

Today, homeless people living on the streets face a dangerous combination of winter weather and the lack of enclosed public spaces – such as subway stations, trains and fast food restaurants that used to provide shelter every night.

United States ‘ United States Standing: 14. February Change of 14 days
New business 63,850 -39%
New deaths 1,080 -18%
World ‘ WorldAm 1. 14 February Change of 14 days
New business 272,750 -29%
New deaths 5,954 -16%

VS Vaccinations ‘

The vaccination center at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Thursday…Credit…Stephen Senne/Associated Press

In an effort to expand vaccination against Covid 19, states have opened massive injection sites and broadened eligibility criteria. But the big problem remains: The supply isn’t growing fast enough.

The United States, facing a growing threat from more infectious and potentially deadly variants of the virus, is gradually administering more doses each day, currently averaging about 1.7 million doses, according to the New York Times database.

However, states are also steadily expanding access to the most vulnerable populations, primary care workers, and nursing home staff and residents. Today, some government officials say they would be willing to take thousands of photos every day – if they could.

On Sunday, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said that nearly 90 percent of the initial doses had been used, but that work was underway to expand outreach to people with health problems. He said his state would vaccinate more people if there were more doses.

On Sunday, the first opening day of appointments for New Yorkers with chronic illnesses, tens of thousands of people flooded the websites and many had to wait for available appointments.

Eligible adults now include those with certain medical conditions that may increase the risk of serious illness or death from the coronavirus. In addition to obesity and high blood pressure, other conditions that make New Yorkers eligible for the vaccine include lung disease and cancer, Cuomo said this month. He also made pregnancy a condition.

This expansion comes at a time when people are increasingly concerned about new traffic opportunities. In an interview with Axios on HBO on Sunday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical advisor, warned Americans not to rest on their laurels as more and more people get vaccinated.

We may have another stumbling block with the emergence of options that will dominate the picture, he said.

According to U.S. officials, the more contagious B.1.1.7 virus circulating in the United Kingdom could prevail in the United States in March. Scientists in the British government are increasingly finding that this option is associated with a higher risk of death.

Coronavirus vaccines appear to protect against B.1.1.7 but are less effective against the B.1.351 variant, which has become dominant in South Africa.

Last week, California announced that it will soon become one of the few states to expand access to vaccines for people of all ages with serious health problems or disabilities. But supplies are scarce.

The mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium is closed this weekend because supplies have run out, Mayor Eric Garcetti said. He said the city received only 16,000 cans last week – in about one day.

When vaccines arrive in Los Angeles, we know how to administer them, Garcetti told reporters. We have excellent infrastructure, we have excellent staff, and we are going to make it available to people in an efficient and safe way. But the problem is that we don’t have enough cans yet.

Georgia officials claim the limited supply is a barrier to expanding eligibility. When the Atlanta Board of Education asked Gov. Brian Kemp earlier this month to make teachers eligible for the vaccinations, the governor said the state wasn’t getting enough doses for residents already eligible for vaccinations.

Many counties around Atlanta have stopped scheduling new vaccination appointments because the state’s supply has not yet kept up with demand, he said.

Experts argue that broadening the criteria requires a delicate balance between prioritizing the most exposed and preventing doses from being wasted.

I don’t think anyone wants to be the person who gets vaccinated at the expense of someone who is more at risk, said Dr. Sarita Shah, an epidemiologist at Emory University in Atlanta.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said expanding eligibility too quickly could backfire. People get angry when they are promised a second dose and they don’t get it in time, he said.

Some experts, such as Dr. Robert Murphy, director of the Northwest Institute for Global Health, argue for more flexibility for locations that have already vaccinated their most vulnerable residents.

I think what’s dangerous is that some places have too strict rules, Dr. Murphy said. If you have 50 extra vials, that’s 500 doses, and nobody comes, and the stuff expires in a few days or weeks – give it away.

On Monday, security personnel at London Heathrow Airport escorted travelers to buses that took them to a mandatory quarantine at hotels. Credit…Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

People from South Africa, Brazil and 31 other countries flying to Britain as hotspots for the coronavirus variants will have to undergo a 10-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel from Monday; the cost is nearly $2,500 for a single adult. Travelers from other countries must remain in quarantine at home for 10 days.

Scotland is demanding that all international air passengers, regardless of origin, isolate themselves on arrival in a government-approved hotel.

By requiring hotel stays in quarantine, including food, safety and virus testing, the UK can meet similar requirements in some countries let because of their response to viruses, such as Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

In contrast, the UK has experienced one of the worst coronavirus epidemics in the world in terms of per capita mortality. The country is under control for a month to curb a huge spike in cases caused by a variant of the virus first discovered in southeast England that is more transmissible and potentially deadly than others. But available vaccines have shown that they can protect against the variant first discovered in this country. Some vaccines have proven less effective than the variant first introduced in South Africa.

In the United Kingdom, rapid vaccination has taken place, with the first doses already given to more than a fifth of the population. At a press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the vaccination campaign as an unprecedented national achievement, but warned that the threat from the virus remains high.

The new quarantine rule applies to UK citizens and residents, as well as Irish nationals, travelling to the UK from one of the 33 countries on the UK government’s red list of high-risk countries, which does not include the United States. Aliens from these countries who are not residents of the United Kingdom have already been refused entry.

Fines of up to £10,000 (about $14,000) will be imposed on those who fail to comply, but concerns have been raised about Britain’s ability to safely manage the influx of passengers.

Heathrow, Britain’s busiest airport, warned at the weekend that extra border checks could lead to long delays. The Times of London also expressed concern about the lack of protocols restricting interaction between passengers from risk countries and other passengers on board aircraft and in certain parts of airports, which could lead to a reduction in safety.

We have the right balance – determined but focused action, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News on Sunday.

In Kansas City, Mo, where temperatures have fallen below freezing, people have been trying to stay warm at the headquarters of Street Medicine of Kansas City, a nonprofit that helps the homeless. linked to Christopher Smith credit for the New York Times.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The country’s cold climate and homelessness crisis have long been a fatal combination that community advocates and government officials have had to grapple with. But this winter, the coronavirus has added another dangerous complication as cities and community groups struggle to protect members of vulnerable populations from the elements without exposing them to the airborne virus that spreads most easily indoors.

The calculations have become increasingly urgent in recent days as the polar climate freezes over much of the central part of the country, from Minnesota to Texas, with wind chill temperatures expected to reach minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit in some places.

Authorities in Ramsey County, Minnesota, to which St. Louis, Minnesota belongs, have been notified of the decision by the Government of the United States of America. In addition, St. Paul’s Hospital has set up emergency shelters in a vacant hospital and a vacant seminary dormitory to better accommodate the homeless.

Chicago officials used old school buildings and Salvation Army and YMCA facilities to give service providers more sleeping space.

The New Life Center, a nonprofit rescue operation in Fargo, N.Y., has remodeled an abandoned warehouse to increase capacity.

And in Kansas City, where a minimum temperature of -14 degrees is expected Monday, authorities have turned a downtown convention center – the size of eight football fields – into a shelter.

With the closure of public places like libraries and the dining halls of many fast food restaurants, homeless people have fewer options during the day to keep warm or go to the bathroom. Traditional households are forced to reduce their chances of social exclusion.

According to a city spokesperson, Kansas City typically spends $1.5 million a year on services for the homeless. But this year, he plans to use federal funds to spend $8.5 million on programs that include paying for hotel rooms to house families and providing financial assistance to prevent evictions.

At the request of local activists, municipal officials opened a temporary shelter at the community center in mid-January with a capacity of 65 people. The number of people who came soon exceeded that number, and city officials had trouble tying the knot.

We made a collective decision to say: Look, if any of these people have to spend the night outside, that’s probably a death sentence, said Brian Platt, the city manager. If they go inside and there is a risk of spreading the covirus or becoming infected, they have a better chance of surviving.

A health worker received the first dose of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine Friday at a vaccination center in Rostock, Germany. linked to Lena Mucha’s credit for the New York Times.

On Monday, the World Health Organization approved AstraZeneca-Oxford’s vaccine, paving the way for the distribution of low-cost, easy-to-store vaccines to low- and middle-income countries around the world.

A small clinical trial in South Africa failed to show that the vaccine can protect people from mild to moderate cases of covid-19 caused by the spread of the variant coronavirus in that country. But the vaccine has protected all participants from serious illness and death in other trials and could still prevent serious illness and death from the variant vaccine first discovered in South Africa.

The approval, which is still pending after a WHO panel recommended the vaccine last week, has been sought from two vaccine manufacturers: AstraZeneca and Serum Institute, an Indian manufacturer that will provide many doses for the Kovacs initiative to provide vaccines to poor regions of the world.

Last year, the WHO approved Pfizer-BionNTech’s vaccine. But their decision to use AstraZeneca’s vaccine is long overdue, as its low price and easy storage have made it the basis for introduction plans in many countries around the world.

Countries that currently do not have access to vaccines will finally be able to start vaccinating their health care workers and vulnerable populations. In doing so, they contribute to the Covacs Foundation’s goal of equitable distribution of vaccines, said Dr. Mariângela Simão, deputy executive director for access to medicines and health products.

The WHO expert panel recommended the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for all adults and in countries where new variants are circulating. The first tranches of AstraZeneca’s Covax vaccine are expected to be delivered to countries before the end of February.

Announcing the approval of the vaccination on Monday, Dr Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, CEO of the World Health Organization, said that although the number of cases of the virus appears to be declining in many parts of the world, countries must remain vigilant.

If we stop fighting him on any front, he said, he will roar from behind.

After the results of a small clinical trial of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in South Africa came to light, South Africa decided to suspend distribution plans. Instead, South Africa planned to vaccinate health workers with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which has prevented hospitalizations and deaths in clinical trials in the country.

The WHO group that studied the AstraZeneca vaccine also recommended that the vaccine be given to adults of all ages, breaking with some European countries that have decided to limit the vaccine to young people. And she recommended giving two doses of the vaccine at an interval of four to 12 weeks, citing evidence that the vaccine appears to work better when the second dose is delayed.

World cycle

Ski lifts closed in the Ponte di Legno ski area. Italy announced Sunday that it would delay the reopening scheduled for Monday until March. Credit…Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters

Italy has decided not to open its ski slopes and postpone the reopening scheduled for Monday at the earliest until the 5th. Mars postponed.

The Health Ministry announced the decision Sunday, citing concerns about the new options. Italy closed its doors early last year to combat the first major outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe, and about a month ago it began its 15th day of operations. February as the opening date.

There are no conditions for further easing of current containment measures, including recreational skiing, the government’s committee of scientific advisers wrote in a report Friday, adding that a more transmissible variant of the virus first discovered in Britain is now responsible for nearly one in five cases in Italy.

More than 10,000 new cases and 200 deaths were reported in Italy on Sunday.

In a press release announcing the new decree, the government promised economic support for the ski sector. But the government’s sudden turnaround has infuriated ski resort owners and local authorities in mountain areas near Switzerland, where slopes have been open for months.

In recent days, Luca Mantovani, general manager of a ropery in Vigezzo, in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, has already sent snowmobiles up the slopes and hired waiters and cooks.

What should I tell the boys now? he said in a phone interview. You can’t just change your mind 24 hours before the opening.

On Monday, Mr. Mantovani still opened the tracks, in violation of government orders. He said his company had lost 90% of its revenue this year and was receiving no government subsidies. The decree, which provided for some financial support for the sector, was interrupted by the crisis of the Italian government.

Walter Ricciardi, scientific adviser to the Minister of Health, argued that the level of infection in the country was high enough to justify not only the closure of ski slopes but also a national blockade. He said Swiss skiers helped spread the British version in Europe.

We’ve known since October that the ski slopes won’t be able to open, he said Sunday on TV. Politicians are reluctant to tell the truth, which means we have to fight.

At other events around the world:

  • The number of new cases reported worldwide fell for the fifth consecutive week. World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus said the improvement shows that simple public health measures work even when other options are available.
  • Thirteen countries in the Middle East have reported cases of at least one of the three new communicable variants, the U.H.O. said Monday. According to the U.H.O., the situation in the Middle East remains critical, although the situation is stabilizing in some parts of the region.
  • Zimbabwean President Emmerson D. Mnangagwa said Monday that vaccinations in Zimbabwe will begin this week. China has donated 200,000 doses of its Sinopharm vaccine, in addition to the 600,000 doses purchased by Zimbabwe.
  • On Sunday, the Rwandan government said it had begun vaccinating health workers and other at-risk groups, making it the first country in East Africa to begin its vaccination campaign. More than 17,000 cases and 239 deaths have been reported in Rwanda, a country of about 13 million people, according to New York Times data. Last week, authorities eased isolation measures in the capital, Kigali, imposed in mid-January following a second wave of infections. However, freedom of movement in the country is restricted and there is a night curfew.

Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Michael Mina presents an early warning system for emerging pathogens that monitors blood around the world. linked to credit Kayana Simchak for the New York Times.

Over the summer, Dr. Michael Mina signed a contract with a refrigeration company. Many restaurants were closed and the company had freezers. Dr. Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, took half a million vials of human blood plasma from around the country, samples dating back to the carefree days of January 2020.

The vials, which now sit in three freezers outside Dr. Mina’s lab, are the centerpiece of an experimental project he and his collaborators are calling the Global Immunology Observatory. They imagine a giant surveillance system that can simultaneously test blood from all over the world for antibodies to hundreds of viruses.

When the next pandemic breaks out, scientists will have detailed real-time information on how many people are infected and how their bodies respond.

It could even be some kind of early warning, like. B. A tornado warning. Although this surveillance system cannot directly detect new viruses or virus strains, it can show when large numbers of people begin to develop immunity to a particular type of virus.

The human immune system stores pathogens it has already encountered in the form of antibodies that fight them and then persist for life. By testing for these antibodies, scientists can get a glimpse of the flu viruses you’ve had, the type of rhinovirus that affected you last fall, and even whether you had respiratory syncytial virus as a child.

Although the observatory has not been able to identify the new coronavirus, it is said to have identified an unusually high number of infections in the coronavirus family, including those that cause colds. It is also possible that the virus had an unexpected interaction with the immune system, causing indicator markers to appear in the patients’ blood.

Health workers gathered outside Garcia Horta Hospital near Lisbon earlier this month. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recommends that the EU remain vigilant despite the decline in cases.Credit…Jose Sarmento Matos for the New York Times.

The risk associated with the spread of new variants of the coronavirus in Europe is high for the general population and very high for high-risk groups, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said on Monday.

Although the number of new cases of the coronavirus in European countries such as France, Germany and Spain has declined in recent weeks, the situation remains of great concern due to the increased transmissibility and severity of the new variants and the potentially reduced efficacy of existing vaccines against the variant found in South Africa, the agency said in a new risk assessment it prepared.

To halt the escalation, European countries must tighten restrictive measures and combat pandemic fatigue.

With the vaccination campaign in Europe lagging behind that of other developed countries, notably the UK, the US and Israel, the E.D.C. urged European governments to increase the pace of vaccination for at-risk groups and avoid unnecessary travel. Closing schools should be a last resort, the agency said.

Chicago Mayor Laurie Lightfoot in a class at William H. Brown Elementary School…photo of Shafqat Anowar at the edge of the pool

After a hard-fought battle, Chicago Public Schools reached an agreement with the teachers union last week on reopening elementary and middle schools in the event of a pandemic. In early March, students who have spent 10 months studying remotely will be back in front of the classroom.

The agreement accelerates teacher vaccination, includes expanded provisions for teachers with medically compromised dependents, and establishes virus thresholds that will facilitate the return to distance education.

While other major U.S. cities, especially on the West Coast, are at odds with teachers’ unions, the agreement is a possible roadmap for local governments to get kids back in the classroom and help President Biden reach his goal of reopening most schools within the first 100 days of his administration.

In an interview with the New York Times, Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke candidly about her strained relationship with the Chicago Teachers’ Union and how she plans to rebuild trust with student parents. Despite campaigning for the restoration of the elected school board, she now says she believes the reopening would not be possible without the control of school mayors – something the mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, where the schools remain closed, lack.

Mayor Lightfoot said it is important that we talk about what happened to our children during this process. Her social life, she notes, has been disrupted. Our 3, 4 and 5 year olds? She said. Their social-emotional learning is absolutely essential to their growth, but we see them learning on screen. We know this is not the best way for them to learn.

Acadiana hay house, created by artist naimi Mardi Gras’ project. linked to the Akasha Rabut credit for the New York Times.

NEW ORLEANS – Since the first Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 1857, elaborate floats have paraded through the city on the last Tuesday before Lent. Thousands of people fill the streets, brass bands and dance groups from all over the world perform. Artists and organizers spend months preparing for the event, which typically generates millions of dollars in tourism and other revenue for the city.

This year the bars are closed and the parades are cancelled. But the city was not yet ready to surrender. Shortly after the cancellation was announced in late November, New Orleans resident Megan Boudreaux tweeted about it: Resolved. We will. Turn your house into a float and throw away all the beads from the attic and from passing neighbors.

The idea caught on and painters, carpenters and others began working from home almost immediately.

Ms. Boudreau said there are approximately 3,000 floating homes in the New Orleans area.

I think it just shows how desperate people were for something positive, she said. It doesn’t matter if you have a zero budget and recycle cardboard boxes, or if your budget runs into the tens of thousands of dollars and you have a mansion on Saint Charles Street. We want everyone who wants to participate to be able to do so.

Not all swimmers will be celebrated. Some will pay tribute to the fallen Mardi Gras Indians, known for their hand-embroidered costumes. The black community and its traditions are rooted in African culture. As in other parts of the country, the virus affected black households in New Orleans.

For René Pierre, who worked as a float artist at Mardi Gras for 34 years, the floats brought hope to him and his wife, Ines, who had already lost her job as a spiritual director when the parades were cancelled. Mr. Pierre has worked on 60 floating homes in the greater New Orleans area.

In a house with a float dedicated to the artist Dolly Parton, Inez Pierre leaned against the fence and watched the workers install the large painted panels.

Sometimes I have to sit down and think about how easily traditions change, she says. We are part of it; our names are in the books. It’s a dream come true.

– Annie Flanagan and Akasha Rabout

Dr. Anthony Fauci briefed reporters at the White House last month. Dr. Fauci received the Tel Aviv University Award for his work during the coronavirus pandemic. Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the public face of pandemic response in the United States, is the recipient of the $1 million Dan David Award.

The award is presented annually to individuals and organizations totaling $3 million for their achievements in three categories: Improving knowledge of the past, enriching present-day society and promising a better future for the world. The theme of the award varies from year to year. Previous winners include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, former Vice President Al Gore, writer Margaret Atwood and Dr. Demis Hassabis, a researcher, neuroscientist and entrepreneur in the field of artificial intelligence.

Dr. Fauci, 80, received the nomination for his scientific contributions, particularly in the areas of pandemic research and education. He has used his considerable communication skills to reach people plagued by fear and anxiety, and has worked tirelessly to educate people in the United States and other countries about the public health measures needed to curb the spread of the pandemic, Dan David Award organizers said in a statement.

He went on to say: He was widely praised for his courage to speak truth to power in a highly charged environment – a nod to Dr. Fauci’s testimonial relationship with former President Donald J. Trump.

This year’s other Dan David Awards were presented to health and medical historians Alison Bashford, Katherine Park and Keith A. Vailoo in the Past Awards category, and to Zelig Eshhar, Carl June and Steven Rosenberg, pioneers in the field of cancer immunotherapy, in the Future Awards category.

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