6 a.m. Detroit Three automaker employees left waiting for COVID-19 vaccines amid shortage
Stellantis, formerly called Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, recently secured 1,200 shots through Illinois’ Boone County Health Department and administered them to about a third of its workforce at its Belvidere Assembly plant. But it, too, hasn’t nailed down a plan to administer the shots beyond that.
“We have no control. Like everyone else, it’s the state and local governments that are determining when and how many,” said Jodi Tinson, Stellantis spokeswoman. “We’re working with Boone County on getting a second dose for the 1,200 people who got the first shot. When they’ll have more for the rest of the plant, that’s for them to determine. We wait.” | Read more
6 a.m. ‘Don’t waste vaccine!’ After early confusion, experts say it’s always better to use leftover shots than toss them.
When the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began, there seemed no good answers for what to do with leftover doses. Vaccinators were punished for giving shots in violation of priority lists, while fearful clinics were condemned for throwing doses away.
“Early on, the question was, ‘Is the absolute red line that you don’t throw a dose away? Or is the red line that you don’t give it to the wrong person?'” said Dr. Matthew Zahn, medical director of the division of epidemiology for Orange County in California.
Federal guidelines existed but weren’t widely emphasized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued guidance urging “a flexible approach” to the vaccine, especially when it was in danger of going unused. | Read more
4 a.m. ‘He shouldn’t be dead’: A year after a father’s COVID death, a family confronts their loss
Day after day, Abby Adair Reinhard slumped out of her home office around dinnertime, her father’s abrupt COVID-19 death still fresh in her mind. Working to keep her flooring business afloat and worried about her mother’s health, she had little time for her three young kids.
“I would come out see my kids and think, ‘oh, good, at least they are all still alive,” she said. “And that’s horrible to admit.”
Reinhard’s father, who passed away in April, was among the first Americans to die of what at the time was a new virus sweeping the nation. Donald Adair, 76, had gone into the hospital after a fall and caught the virus from his hospital bed. | Read more
2 a.m. COVID-19 variant found in UK spreads ‘like wildfire.’ British experts fear what will happen if U.S. won’t lock down
On Jan. 4, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made yet another somber coronavirus-related address to the nation: A COVID-19 variant first identified in Kent, England, was thought to be between 50%-70% more infectious. In a little over a week, hospital admissions had increased by nearly a third. Deaths had risen by 20%. Johnson ordered the country’s third full national lockdown since the start of the pandemic.
“That means,” Johnson said, gravely, “the government is once again instructing you to stay at home. You may only leave home for limited reasons permitted in law, such as to shop for essentials, to work if you absolutely cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical assistance such as getting a COVID test or to escape domestic abuse.”
On Monday, amid a dramatic drop in coronavirus infections, Britain’s leader will unveil his plan for unwinding one of the world’s strictest COVID-19 lockdowns. Only Cuba has tougher restrictions in place, according to an index of government measures compiled by Our World in Data, a research unit attached to Oxford University. | Read more
Florida surpasses 30,000 total COVID-19 deaths; 12 more in Duval
The Florida Department of Health’s cumulative death toll from the start of the coronavirus pandemic officially surpassed 30,000 in Friday’s daily report, while Duval County recorded 12 more deaths.
The state added 224 more deaths, 218 of them among Florida residents, lifting the overall toll to 30,214.
In the six-county Northeast Florida region, the death toll rose by 17 — counting two deaths each in Clay and St. Johns counties and one in Putnam County — for a new total of 1,837. | Read more
VIDEO: Smartwatches and wearable tech could help warn you of a potential COVID-19 infection
Growing evidence suggests that smartwatches and wearable tech might be able to help warn of a potential COVID-19 infection prior to positive test results. | More
Also, read the report.
Cloris Leachman’s cause of death revealed as stroke, COVID-19 also a contributing factor
Oscar- and Emmy-winning actress Cloris Leachman’s cause of death has been revealed as a stroke, the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed.
The “Mary Tyler Moore Show” star died at 94 of natural causes at her home in Encinitas, California, on Jan. 27.
Donnie Ryan of the medical examiner’s office in San Diego confirmed Leachman’s cause of death was a stroke with COVID-19 listed as another significant condition.
Because Leachman’s death did not meet the criteria for an investigation, Ryan noted that the medical examiner’s office reviewed the death certificate but did not investigate the actress’s death. | Read more
Gateway mall in Northwest Jacksonville will be high-volume vaccination site
The Gateway Town Center mall in Northwest Jacksonville will be a high-volume, seven-days-a-week COVID-19 vaccination center able to administer 2,000 shots per day, officials announced Friday.
Gateway mall will be one of four Federal Emergency Management Administration vaccination locations in Florida slated to start giving shots on March 3. The other sites will be in Tampa, Orlando and Miami.
In addition to administering vaccines at the four locations, each FEMA site will have two “mobile satellite” operations capable of giving another 1,000 vaccinations a day by moving around in underserved communities that have high poverty rates and health disparities. | Read more
CVS to help underserved Americans schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments
CVS Health plans to contact Americans living in underserved communities to help them schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments amid signs that white people are getting the free vaccine at higher rates than Black Americans.
The drugstore chain said Friday that it will call, email and text-message people living in what the federal government has deemed socially vulnerable areas to provide assistance and education in the vaccine process.
The move also comes as reports circulate widely that Americans are struggling to navigate various scheduling systems, website crashes and a sluggish rollout of the two vaccines approved so far. | Read more
‘Ludicrous’: Cheap, quick COVID-19 tests have been slow to gain FDA approval, a continuing point of frustration
Every day, a Pasadena, California-based company ships eight cargo jets loaded with COVID-19 tests to the United Kingdom.
Innova Medical Group’s top executive would like to use the rapid tests to slow infections closer to home. Los Angeles County hospitals overflowed with patients and record deaths this winter during the darkest phase of the pandemic.
But Innova has not yet secured Food and Drug Administration authorization to sell the tests in the United States. Instead, test-packed jets fly overseas to serve British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “moonshot” of mass testing. | Read more
Joe Biden’s coronavirus goals and timelines have shifted higher and lower
When can most people get a COVID-19 vaccine? Do teachers need to be vaccinated before schools can reopen? When will life go back to normal?
Those are some of the basic questions that the White House has sometimes struggled to answer as President Joe Biden tackles the biggest issue of his presidency: ending the pandemic and getting the economy and daily life back on track.
Biden has pledged not only to address the challenges more intelligently and capably than his predecessor, but also to admit when things go wrong.
“I will not walk away when we make a mistake,” Biden reiterated during a visit to the National Institutes of Health this month. “I’ll acknowledge it and tell you the truth.” | Read more
Biden to tour Pfizer vaccine plant in Michigan as he continues his Midwest pitch on COVID-19 relief
President Joe Biden is hitting the road again, visiting Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing facility near Kalamazoo, Michigan, Friday where he’ll continue to make the case for his nearly $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package as Democrats prepare to push it through Congress.
The trip, Biden’s second visit to a politically crucial Midwest state this week, will highlight Pfizer’s central hub where millions of the nation’s first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine rolled off the production line in December. The president also will meet with workers who produce the vaccine. The trip was originally planned for Thursday but was postponed.
White House COVID-19 response team officials said Wednesday the U.S. was on track to have enough vaccine supply available for 300 million Americans “by the end of July,” echoing comments made by Biden during a CNN town hall on Tuesday. | Read more
Clay reports 12 new COVID-19 deaths as new cases slow in Northeast Florida
Florida’s Department of Health reported 12 additional COVID-19 deaths in Clay County and one in Duval County on Thursday as the statewide death toll of the pandemic stopped just short of 30,000 lives.
Another 5,117 cases were detailed in the state report, including 286 across Northeast Florida’s six counties.
Since the pandemic began almost a year ago, the state has recorded 1,849,744 cases and 29,990 deaths, both Floridians and non-residents. The death count was 166 higher than the day before. | Read more
What’s her secret? 6 miles in the snow didn’t stop 90-year-old woman from getting a COVID-19 vaccine
Fran Goldman inspired the nation this week after she walked 6 miles round trip through snow in Seattle to get her first shot of COVID-19 vaccine. What’s more, she did it at 90 years old.
“Her secret is a combination of good genes and a commitment to daily exercise,” her daughter, Ruth Goldman, told USA TODAY. “She usually walks about 3 miles a day.”
Fran focuses on eating healthy and staying mentally and physically fit, and she has “always been interested in learning new things,” her daughter said. She’s currently enrolled in a Zoom class on Chinese history and, before the coronavirus pandemic, she attended an array of courses in person.
“She’s healthier than me and my three siblings combined!” said Ruth, 55, the youngest of Fran’s children who lives in Buffalo, New York. | Read more
Publix again cancels appointment window because of winter storm
For the second time this week, Publix has canceled the appointment window for those looking to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine because of the winter storm gripping the middle of the country.
While Publix is not scheduling first-dose appointments, customers with second-dose appointments should arrive at the Publix Pharmacy at their scheduled date and time, according to a statement from the supermarket giant. | Read more
The U.S. lost a whole year of life expectancy – and for Black people, it’s nearly 3 times worse
A study published Thursday found life expectancy in the United States dropped to its lowest level in 15 years, and even lower for Black Americans and Latinos, during the first half of the coronavirus pandemic.
Data through June 2020 shows life expectancy at birth for the total U.S. population fell from 2019 by a year to 77.8 years, the lowest since 2006, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
Life expectancy for Black populations declined the most from 2019 – by 2.7 years, to 72 years – its lowest level since 2001. Latinos experienced the second-biggest decline, falling 1.9 years since 2019 to a life expectancy of 79.9 years, lower than when it was first recorded in 2006. | Read more
How the COVID-19 vaccination process turned chaotic and confusing
If you think the COVID-19 vaccine rollout seems chaotic and incomprehensible, that the numbers don’t add up and allocations don’t make sense, you’re not alone.
Even people who study this for a living are at a loss.
“None of us know what’s going on,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
He has been trying to understand how figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House and the states fit together, but he can’t.
“I don’t understand why there’s not more transparency,” he said. | Read more