Biden adviser urges US to prioritize first doses ‘proper now’;

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Regardless of COVID vaccine rollout, lengthy traces persist. USA TODAY

COVID-19 has killed greater than 440,000 Individuals, and infections have continued to mount regardless of the introduction of a pair of vaccines late in 2020. USA TODAY is monitoring the information. Hold refreshing this web page for the newest updates. Join our Coronavirus Watch e-newsletter for updates to your inbox, be a part of our Fb group or scroll by means of our in-depth solutions to reader questions.

A high epidemiologist and adviser to President Joe Biden’s transition staff stated Sunday that the U.S. must prioritize giving a single dose to as many individuals as doable earlier than specializing in second doses of the two-shot vaccines.

Michael Osterholm, the director of the Heart for Infectious Illness Analysis and Coverage on the College of Minnesota, informed “Meet the Press” he expects one other surge of infections inside the subsequent few months. Osterholm cited new variants, equivalent to these first detected in Britain and South Africa, that seem to unfold extra simply than the unique virus. 

“The hurricane is coming. Due to this surge, we have now to name an audible,” he stated.

The vaccines now in use, from Moderna and Pfizer, require two doses spaced out over a couple of weeks. One dose, nevertheless, does present some safety. And Osterholm stated knowledge signifies that the longer individuals wait till the second dose “the higher you could do.”

“We nonetheless wish to get two doses in everybody, however I believe proper now, upfront of this surge, we have to get as many one-doses in as many individuals over 65 as we probably can,” Osterholm stated, saying such a spotlight may “cut back critical sickness and demise that’s going to happen over the weeks forward.”

Within the headlines: 

►Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson stated Sunday that vaccine distribution has been “seamless” underneath the Biden administration. “President Biden and his staff is working to guarantee that partnership and never tear it aside, which I am very grateful for,” Hutchinson informed ABC Information’ “This Week.”

►The Vatican has unveiled new COVID protocols for distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday on Feb. 17. Clergymen, as a substitute of reciting a selected blessing and making a cross on every parishioner’s brow, will stand at arms size and sprinkle the ashes on every recipient’s head “with out touching them or talking any phrases.”

►One of many nation’s largest vaccination websites quickly shut down Saturday when dozens of protesters blocked the doorway to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, stalling tons of of motorists who had been ready in line.

►A second U.S. state reported a case of the coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed a case of the B.1.351 variant in his state Saturday. South Carolina reported not less than two circumstances of the variant earlier this week. 

►After opening itself to New 12 months’s revelers, Dubai is now being blamed by a number of international locations for spreading the coronavirus overseas, whilst questions swirl in regards to the city-state’s capacity to deal with reported report spikes in virus circumstances.

►Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., stated she requested to maneuver her Washington workplace away from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, saying the Georgia Republican “berated” her within the Capitol earlier this month over a masks altercation.

In the present day’s numbers: The U.S. has greater than 26.1 million confirmed coronavirus circumstances and greater than 441,300 deaths, based on Johns Hopkins College knowledge. The worldwide totals: Greater than 102.9 million circumstances and a couple of.22 million deaths. About 49.2 million vaccine doses have been distributed within the U.S. and 29.6 million have been administered, based on the CDC.

What we’re studying: Purposes to medical college for this coming fall are up 18%, based on the Affiliation of American Medical Faculties. And plenty of college officers particularly observe the variety of candidates from historically underrepresented Individuals helps to drive the surge. 

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Triumph of science over COVID waylaid by confusion, frustration

In late December, the concept that protected, efficient vaccines towards COVID-19 had been created in lower than a 12 months appeared miraculous. Delight within the exceptional feat, nevertheless, has been changed by confusion, unfairness, irritating waits and the nightmare of vaccine vials gathering mud whereas tens of 1000’s of individuals proceed to die of what’s now a preventable illness. Even individuals main the trouble are at a loss to clarify what occurred.

“I might love to know it,” stated Moncef Slaoui, head of the vaccine improvement effort underneath the Trump administration and now an adviser to the Biden administration. “What makes me unhappy is … the 1000’s of folks that have labored day and night time over the past many, many months actually really feel horrible, really feel depressed, as a result of the entire thing is now positioned as a catastrophe.” Learn extra right here.

– Karen Weintraub and Elizabeth Weise

Not all COVID sufferers get again senses of style and scent 

Hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide have suffered adjustments to their sense of scent or style after contracting COVID-19. Typically, the signs often solely final a couple of weeks. However a 12 months into the pandemic, researchers nonetheless aren’t certain when some COVID-19 survivors might get their senses again – if ever – and plenty of are fighting the long-term security, hygiene and psychiatric implications of the loss. Within the coming 12 months, there will likely be not less than 1 million new circumstances of individuals within the U.S. with chronically diminished senses of scent or style due to COVID-19, stated Dr. Jay Piccirillo, an ear, nostril and throat specialist and professor on the Washington College Faculty of Medication who research the subject.

“We have gotten a greater thought in regards to the long-term, power results of COVID on scent and style,” he stated. “The issues we have discovered recommend that most individuals recuperate scent and style, however not all.”

US pauses plan to provide virus vaccine to Guantanamo prisoners

The U.S. is backing off for now on a plan to supply COVID-19 vaccinations to the 40 prisoners held on the detention middle at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Pentagon chief spokesman John Kirby stated in a tweet Saturday that the Protection Division can be “pausing” the plan to provide the vaccination to these held at Guantanamo whereas it evaluations measures to guard troops who work there. Kirby stated no prisoners had but obtained the vaccination. The plan drew some criticism after The New York Instances reported that the vaccination of prisoners would begin within the coming days.

“We’re pausing the plan to maneuver ahead, as we evaluation pressure safety protocols,” Kirby stated. “We stay dedicated to our obligations to maintain our troops protected.”

Drivers with a vaccine appointment enter a mega COVID-19 vaccination website arrange within the parking zone of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. One of many largest vaccination websites within the nation was quickly shut down Saturday as a result of dozen of protesters blocked the doorway. (Picture: Damian Dovarganes, AP)

NYC neighborhood struggles to vaccinate Latino residents 

New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio says a vaccine website in Washington Heights administered photographs to largely white individuals who got here from outdoors the predominantly Latino neighborhood.

“By some means as a substitute of specializing in the Latino neighborhood of Washington Heights, a spot that actually was hit laborious by COVID, as a substitute the strategy was one way or the other conducive to people from outdoors of the neighborhood coming and getting vaccinated, however not people who stay proper there in Washington Heights – completely backward,” the mayor stated in a press convention, based on a transcript. 

Many cities and states are lagging in vaccinating individuals of shade though they’re extra more likely to be hospitalized or die of the virus. 

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