A winter storm with icy roads, blackouts and dangerously low temperatures coast to coast growling traffic delayed delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to Florida and Texas.
Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said the state had been alerted that the cold weather system affecting 25 states will delay vaccine delivery Monday through Tuesday. It was unclear how many cans would be affected and when deliveries would resume.
Texas state health officials, which are slated to receive more than 400,000 additional doses of vaccine this week, don’t expect deliveries until Wednesday. And vaccine appointments in the cities of Houston and Austin were probably canceled again on Tuesday due to the severe winter weather.
Massive blackouts across Houston on Monday included a facility storing 8,000 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials were looking for takers while authorities asked that people stay at home. Rice University also abruptly began offering vaccines to students on its closed Houston campus after Harris Health System told the school it had about 1,000 vaccines that were “going to be wasted,” said Doug Miller, a university spokesman.
“The window was only a couple of hours. You need to take care of it quickly, ”said Miller.
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In the headlines:
President Joe Biden is Extension of a ban on foreclosures for state-guaranteed mortgages by three months and expanding a mortgage assistance program to help families struggling financially under the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governors ask President Joe Biden Learn more about how the federal government distributes COVID-19 vaccines to local pharmacies and community health centers in their states.
► The World Health Organization approved the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. The move will help improve the care of millions of people around the world through the United Nations COVAX efforts aimed at vaccinating poorer countries.
► One patient was taken straight to a New York hospital from Connecticut has tested positive for the South African variant Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the novel coronavirus on Monday. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 cases of the South African variant had previously been found in eight states.
►San Francisco is the youngest city in California to have a mass vaccination site temporarily closed for lack of vaccines. Along with Los Angeles, vaccinations were suspended due to a national shortage, even as new vaccination centers opened in the states.
📈 Today’s numbers: The US has more than 27.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 486,300 deaths. according to the Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 109.14 million cases and 2.4 million deaths. In the United States, more than 70 million vaccine doses have been distributed and about 52.8 million administered. according to CDC.
📘 What we read: There is no such thing as a “huge national campaign” for education about COVID-19 vaccines. Why? Experts say there is a better way.
Experts fear the fourth increase this spring
COVID-19 infection and hospital stay rates are falling across the country, but experts speak in terrible terms about what will happen if Variants of the virus are allowed to rise this spring. The US saw an increase last spring, mostly in the northeast, last summer in the south, and almost everywhere from November to January. As the death toll from COVID-19 approaches half a million people, public health experts fear the possibility of a fourth wave. Three lawmakers have lifted mask mandates in the past few days, and New York and Massachusetts eased restaurant seating restrictions in time for Valentine’s Day.
“It’s like we’re doing our best to help the virus instead of stopping it,” said Theodora Hatziioannou, a virologist and research fellow at Rockefeller University in New York City.
– Karen Weintraub
Governor Andrew Cuomo defends New York’s response in nursing homes
After Cuomo boasted of forging a successful battle plan against COVID-19, Cuomo faces a critical moment after an aide admitted after receiving a federal investigation that he had withheld data on care homes from the public. The aftermath of the scandal mounts as lawmakers take a bipartisan push to further investigate the Cuomo government’s COVID-19 response a series of revelations that lifted the veil of secrecy on the actual coronavirus death toll in New York nursing homes, which exceeded 13,000 residents, as opposed to the 8,700 previously reported.
“Thousands of New Yorkers have lost their families in nursing homes to COVID-19, made worse by the inability to comfort their loved ones over the past few hours,” US Representative Antonio Delgado, DN.Y., wrote on Twitter on Sunday . “You deserve answers and accountability.”
Meanwhile Cuomo started a long defense on monday, State officials admitting should have released the nursing home’s data earlier but struggled to do so due to the pandemic workload and politicized federal investigation by the Justice Department under former President Donald Trump.
– David Robinson, New York State Team
Emergency visits down last year, but overdoses: Experts blame COVID-19
Many Americans stayed away from the emergency room when the nation was locked down for fear of getting COVID-19 in the hospital. While this resulted in an overall decrease in emergency room visits, a recent study shows that weekly trips to the emergency room due to overdose were higher in 2020 than in 2019.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined more than 180 million emergency doctor visits from December 30, 2018 to October 10, 2020 and found that the weekly number of all overdoses in 2020 was up to 45% higher than in the year 2019 According to the study published on February 3 in peer-reviewed JAMA Psychiatry. In particular, opioid overdose increased by about 29% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Total emergency room visits declined when COVID-19 lockdown measures were implemented in March 2020, down 43% compared to the same period in 2019. However, drug overdose decreased only marginally from March 29 to April 11, by about 4%. compared to 2019 before increasing again.
“That all emergency room visits for drug and opioid overdoses did not decrease in a manner similar to other emergency room visits is particularly compelling, suggesting an increase in overdose exposure during the pandemic,” the study’s authors said.
– Adrianna Rodriguez
Contributors: James Call, USA TODAY NETWORK-Florida Capital Bureau; The Associated Press.