Extra vaccine photographs shall be given to People starting Friday with the beginning of a federal program that delivers doses on to drugstores and grocery retailer pharmacies.
This system will begin small, with a million vaccine doses distributed to about 6,500 retail pharmacies. Over time, it can broaden to as many as 40,000 drugstores and groceries.
Whereas some states in current weeks have begun utilizing a restricted variety of retail pharmacies to manage doses, the supply of vaccines instantly from the federal authorities to pharmacies marks a brand new chapter within the U.S. vaccination marketing campaign.
On Friday, Walgreens, CVS and Ceremony Help, amongst different retailers, will begin administering vaccines to eligible individuals primarily based on state tips at restricted places across the nation. Walgreens could have vaccines obtainable in 22 states and Puerto Rico; Ceremony Help will obtain direct federal allocations initially in 5 states in addition to Philadelphia and New York Metropolis; and CVS will provide vaccines in 18 states and Puerto Rico.
These eligible to obtain the doses can verify pharmacy web sites for availability, and most of the first appointment slots are already stuffed.
The federal program, which is designed to not reduce into the doses allotted to states, begins a day after President Biden stated his administration had secured sufficient vaccine doses to inoculate each American grownup. (That information got here with a plea for endurance: Mr. Biden stated logistical hurdles would in all probability imply that many People will nonetheless not have been vaccinated by the top of the summer time.)
Mr. Biden on Thursday lamented the “gigantic” logistical problem his administration faces. “It’s one factor to have the vaccine, it’s one other factor to have vaccinators,” he stated throughout an look on the Nationwide Institutes of Well being.
He additionally expressed open frustration with the earlier administration.
“Whereas scientists did their job in discovering vaccines in document time, my predecessor — I’ll be very blunt about it — didn’t do his job in preparing for the large problem of vaccinating tons of of thousands and thousands,” Mr. Biden stated.
Well being officers within the Trump administration have pushed again at these solutions, pointing to tons of of briefings that officers on the Division of Well being and Human Providers provided the incoming well being group, together with on vaccine allocation and distribution.
A deal for 200 million extra vaccine doses introduced on Thursday helps fulfill a promise that Mr. Biden made in January to ramp up provide to cowl extra of the inhabitants. He stated then that the administration was closing in on a take care of two producers, Pfizer and Moderna, as a part of his bigger pledge that about 300 million People may obtain a vaccine dose by the top of the summer time or the start of the autumn.
On Thursday, he stated his administration had “now bought sufficient vaccine to vaccinate all People.”
On Jan. 1, just a quarter of Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered across the United States had been used. As of Thursday, that figure had risen to 68 percent.
A handful of states have administered more than 80 percent of the doses they have received. And even states with slower vaccine uptake are making strides.
The slow start to the vaccine rollout in the United States has been no secret: Older Americans have waited in long lines for doses, and vaccine registration websites have crashed.
But health officials say that while current vaccine supply levels still limit how many doses they can administer, states are becoming more efficient at immunizing people as shipments arrive.
“We are in a much better place now,” said Claire Hannan, the executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers.
Our graphics team took a look at the state of vaccine distribution across the country.
More than six million people in Victoria, Australia, will enter into a snap lockdown for five days in response to a coronavirus outbreak at a quarantine hotel.
The order came as the Australian Open was being held in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, but the tennis tournament will continue — without spectators — the authorities said on Friday.
Victorians will be allowed to leave home only for essential shopping, work, exercise and caregiving, and must wear masks whenever they leave home.
But while sports and entertainment venues will be shut down, professional athletes like tennis players will be classified as “essential workers” and allowed to continue their matches.
“There are no fans; there’s no crowds. These people are essentially at their workplace,” Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, told reporters on Friday. “It’s not like the only people that are at work are supermarket workers.”
Tennis Australia said in a statement that it would notify all ticket holders of the changes and continue “to work with the government to ensure the health and safety of everyone.”
The lockdown, which goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, comes after an outbreak at a Holiday Inn near the Melbourne Airport that was being used to house returned travelers.
By Friday, 13 people linked to the hotel had tested positive with the new virus variant that first emerged in Britain. In the past 24 hours, five new cases have been identified, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 19.
Describing the lockdown as a “circuit breaker,” the authorities said it was critical to stopping the spread of the variant, which is highly infectious and has outwitted contact tracers before they can contain outbreaks. Similar snap lockdowns in Perth and Brisbane in recent months were successful in quashing infections.
“The game has changed,” Mr. Andrews said. “This is not the 2020 virus.”
He said he hoped Victorians, who endured among the longest lockdowns in the world last year, would work together to prevent the state from entering a third wave of the coronavirus. “We will be able to smother this,” he said.
The order had ripple effects in Australia’s other states, which all announced travel restrictions with Victoria. International flights, excluding freight, into Melbourne were also canceled.
In other global developments:
Germany will close its border to the Czech Republic and the Austrian state of Tyrol starting Sunday as it tries to protect against new variants of the virus. As part of that effort, Germany this week extended its national lockdown for another month.
New Zealand will receive the first batch of its 1.5-million-dose order of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week and expects to begin vaccinating its border workers on Feb. 20, ahead of schedule, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday. The country, which has all but eliminated local transmission of the virus, has additional purchase agreements with Janssen Pharmaceutica, Novavax and AstraZeneca, and expects to start vaccinating its wider population in the second quarter of this year, Ms. Ardern said.
President Biden initially pledged to reopen the nation’s schools by his 100th day in office, but the White House has in the past week sought to temper those expectations, setting a reopening benchmark of “the majority of schools” — or 51 percent.
That push will hinge on new guidance, expected to be released on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about how schools can reopen safely.
A consensus of pediatric infectious disease experts said in a new survey that many of the common requirements — including vaccines for teachers or students, and low rates of infection in the community — were not necessary to safely teach children in person. Instead, the 175 experts — mostly pediatricians focused on public health — largely said it was now safe enough for schools to be open to elementary students for full-time and in-person instruction.
Some said that was true even in communities where Covid-19 infections is widespread, as long as basic safety measures are taken. Most important, they said, are universal masking, physical distancing, adequate ventilation and avoidance of large group activities.
The experts were surveyed by The New York Times in the past week. Depending on various metrics, 48 to 72 percent said the extent of virus spread in a community was not an important indicator of whether schools should be open, even though many districts rely on those metrics. Most respondents said that schools should close only when there are Covid-19 cases in the school itself.
“There is no situation in which schools can’t be open unless they have evidence of in-school transmission,” said Dr. David Rosen, an assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Washington University in St. Louis.
The risks of being out of school are far greater, many of the experts said. “The mental health crisis caused by school closing will be a worse pandemic than Covid,” said Dr. Uzma Hasan, thee division chief of pediatric infectious diseases at RWJBarnabas Health in New Jersey.
For the most part, these responses match current federal guidance, which does not mention vaccines, and reflect significant scientific evidence that schools are not a major source of spread for children or adults.
But the consensus in the survey is at odds with the position of certain policymakers, school administrators, parent groups and teachers’ unions. Some in these groups have indicated that they do not want to return to school buildings even in the fall, when it is likely that teachers will be able to be vaccinated, though not most students.
Some districts have faced strong resistance to reopening, particularly in large cities, where teachers have threatened to strike if they are called back to school buildings.
As adults at high risk for Covid-19 line up to be immunized against the coronavirus, many parents want to know: When will my child get a vaccine?
The short answer: Not before late summer.
Pfizer and Moderna have enrolled children 12 and older in clinical trials of their vaccines and hope to have results by the summer. Depending on how the drugs perform in that age group, the companies may then test them in younger children. The Food and Drug Administration usually takes a few weeks to review data from a clinical trial and authorize a vaccine.
Three other companies — AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax — also plan to test their vaccines in children but are further behind.
When researchers test drugs or vaccines in adults first, they typically then move down the age brackets, watching for any changes in the effective dose and for unexpected side effects.
“It would be pretty unusual to start going down into children at an early stage,” said Dr. Emily Erbelding, an infectious diseases physician at the National Institutes of Health who oversees testing of Covid-19 vaccines in special populations.
Some vaccines — those that protect against pneumococcal or meningococcal bacteria or rotavirus, for example — were tested in children first because they prevent pediatric diseases. But it made sense for coronavirus vaccines to be first tested in and authorized for adults because the risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19 increases sharply with age, said Paul Offit, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who is a member of the F.D.A.’s vaccine advisory panel.
“We’re trying to save lives, keep people out of the I.C.U., keep them from dying,” Dr. Offit said. That means prioritizing vaccines for the oldest people and for those with underlying conditions.
People younger than 21 account for about one-quarter of the population in the United States but make up less than 1 percent of deaths from Covid-19. Still, about 2 percent of children who get Covid-19 require hospital care, and at least 227 children in the United States have died of the disease.
“It is a significant disease in children, just not necessarily when you compare it to adults,” said Dr. Kristin Oliver, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
The White House on Thursday stepped into the fragmented market for disposable virus-filtering N95 masks, moving to connect medical supply companies with mask manufacturers who say they are loaded with inventory but can’t find buyers — even in the midst of a pandemic in which doctors and nurses are desperate for the protective gear.
President Biden’s coronavirus response coordinator, Jeffrey D. Zients, intervened after reading about the mask manufacturers’ dilemma on Thursday in an article in The New York Times.
“We will do all we can to get frontline workers the personal protective equipment they need, including breaking down barriers for N95 manufacturers,” Mr. Zients said in a statement, adding that he had “reached out to all of the major medical distributors to start connecting them with these new N95 mask manufacturers.”
A senior administration official said members of Mr. Zients’ team had talked with three top medical suppliers: AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation.
Nearly two dozen small American companies have recently jumped into the business of making N95s but are sitting on extra supply, in part because of ingrained purchasing habits of hospital systems, competition from China and bans on mask advertising by companies like Facebook and Google, which were trying to thwart price gouging early in the pandemic.
Mr. Zients said the White House intended to work with “online retailers to ensure they are making more of these products available to their customers.”
One mask manufacturer, Luis Arguello Jr., said he had 30 million masks for sale. After the pandemic exposed a huge need for protective equipment and China closed its inventory to the world, his family-run business, DemeTech, began making masks in its factories in Miami. It invested tens of millions of dollars in new machinery and then navigated a nine-month federal approval process that allows the masks to be marketed.
“It’s insane that we can’t get these masks to the people who desperately need them,” he said.
The mask shortage has been one of the most visible failures of the federal response to the pandemic. One mask company executive, Mike Bowen of Prestige Ameritech, testified on Capitol Hill last year that he had been warning for years that the United States was too dependent on China for mask supply.
He raised alarms again in a letter to a Trump administration official last February, a month before President Donald J. Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency. “Please ask your associates to convey the gravity of this national security issue to the White House,” Mr. Bowen wrote.
Hungary has begun administering the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, sidestepping the European Medicines Agency to become the first European Union member state to use the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute, part of Russia’s Ministry of Health.
On Friday, an official at Honved Hospital in Budapest confirmed in a telephone interview that it had begun administering the vaccine.
Cecilia Muller, Hungary’s chief medical officer and head of the government’s coronavirus task force, had called on 560 general practitioners in Budapest on Tuesday to find five people each to receive the Sputnik V vaccine. The initial 2,800 doses available are what remain from a 6,000-dose batch that arrived for testing in December.
The government said it would receive two million doses of Sputnik V from Russia over the next three months. Hungary had said in November that it was in talks with the Russian manufacturer about importing, and even manufacturing, the Sputnik V vaccine.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban has cited Serbia, which has a sizable ethnic Hungarian population, as an example of a country whose vaccination strategy includes the Russian Sputnik and Chinese Sinopharm vaccines.
In a report this month in the respected British medical journal The Lancet, late-stage trial results showed that the Sputnik V vaccine was safe and highly effective. The Sinopharm vaccine has been approved for use in China, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, but the company has yet to publish detailed results of its Phase 3 trial.
The Hungarian government’s approach to vaccine procurement and approval has raised alarm in the country’s medical community.
Last month, its Chamber of Physicians released a statement calling on the government and regulators to approve vaccines only after transparently following drug safety rules and testing in accordance with European Medicines Agency standards. They cited a need to strengthen the public’s confidence in vaccines and to ensure that doctors can administer the inoculations “in good conscience.”
Dr. Ferenc Falus, Hungary’s former chief medical officer, said Mr. Orban’s push to acquire vaccines from as many sources as possible raised serious concern.
“The responsibility of the National Center for Public Health in this respect is huge,” Dr. Falus said, “especially concerning how they are evaluating the batches that have arrived in Hungary. We simply do not know the origins of these batches.”
He noted that the emergence of new virus variants complicates matters further. The variant that was first detected in Britain has surfaced in Hungary, Hungarian officials said.
“Hungary is moving against the E.U.,” Dr. Falus said, urging regulators to wait for the vaccines to be approved by the European Medicines Agency and cooperate with the European Union on procuring and distributing tested vaccines.
Indoor dining is restarting in New York City at 25 percent capacity on Friday, more than a month after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo banned it and just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend. (Outside the five boroughs, indoor dining is available at 50 percent capacity.)
Mr. Cuomo originally said the city’s restaurants could open their dining rooms on Sunday, but later bumped up the date by two days.
Statewide, restaurants are still required to close by 10 p.m.
New York is one of several states that are loosening restrictions aimed at containing the coronavirus. On Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio lifted a statewide late-night curfew after the number of hospitalizations continued to decline.
The Ohio curfew, first declared in November, required people to stay home during late evening and overnight hours with exceptions for emergencies, grocery shopping and other essential activities.
Mr. DeWine cautioned that virus variants that are gaining a foothold across the United States could land Ohio “back in a situation of climbing cases” — and in that case the curfew could be reinstated.
Also on Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington said that the majority areas within the state would be capable to loosen virus-related restrictions beginning subsequent week, when restricted indoor eating may resume.
President Donald J. Trump was sicker with Covid-19 in October than publicly acknowledged on the time, with extraordinarily depressed blood oxygen ranges at one level and a lung downside related to pneumonia brought on by the coronavirus, based on 4 individuals acquainted with his situation.
His prognosis grew to become so worrisome earlier than he was taken to Walter Reed Nationwide Army Medical Heart that officers believed he would should be placed on a ventilator, two of the individuals acquainted with his situation stated.
The individuals acquainted with Mr. Trump’s well being stated he was discovered to have lung infiltrates, which happen when the lungs are infected and include substances resembling fluid or micro organism. Their presence, particularly when a affected person is exhibiting different signs, generally is a signal of an acute case of the illness. They are often simply noticed on an X-ray or scan, when elements of the lungs seem opaque, or white.
Mr. Trump’s blood oxygen degree alone was trigger for excessive concern, dipping into the 80s, based on the individuals acquainted with his analysis. The illness is taken into account extreme when the blood oxygen degree falls to the low 90s.
It has been beforehand reported that Mr. Trump had hassle respiration and a fever on Oct. 2, the day he was taken to the hospital, and the forms of remedy he acquired indicated that his situation was critical. However the brand new particulars about his situation and in regards to the effort contained in the White Home to get him particular entry to an unapproved drug to battle the virus assist to flesh out some of the dire episodes of Mr. Trump’s presidency.
It’s been over a yr for the reason that first case of Covid-19 was found in China. Nevertheless it wasn’t till months later that the US instituted statewide stay-at-home orders. On March 11, as the US reported 245 new Covid-19 instances, the World Well being Group formally declared a pandemic.
Within the following days, the pandemic snapped into focus for People. Within the absence of presidency mandates, many workplaces despatched staff residence. Faculties across the nation closed. Public well being officers urged the general public to socially distance. On a regular basis gadgets like bathroom paper and hand sanitizer have been instantly in excessive demand. Inside a month, the nationwide unemployment fee had jumped to 14.7 % from 4.4 %.
On the time, nobody knew precisely how the pandemic would alter the world. Now, with nearly a yr’s price of perspective, The New York Instances’s Opinion part is gathering tales in regards to the weeks when the whole lot modified for People.
Inform us your story of March 2020 right here: When did you notice that the pandemic was going to alter your life?
We’ll choose a couple of accounts to share in an article main as much as the anniversary of the U.S. shutdowns.