Winter storm delays vaccine shipments to Florida and Texas; New York reports South African variant; 486K US deaths. Latest COVID-19 updates

Written by on February 16, 2021


COVID-19 variants are surging in America and scientists are studying the vaccine might not work as nicely in opposition to them. USA TODAY

A winter storm with icy roads, energy outages and dangerously low temperatures has snarled traffic from coast to coast — and can delay shipments of COVID-19 vaccines to Florida and Texas.

Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Administration, stated the state has been alerted that the frigid climate system impacting 25 states will delay the Monday-Tuesday cargo of vaccines. It’s unclear what number of doses might be affected and when deliveries will resume.

Texas state well being officers, due to obtain greater than 400,000 extra vaccine doses this week, do not anticipate deliveries till not less than Wednesday. And vaccine appointments within the cities of Houston and Austin have been anticipated to be canceled once more Tuesday due to the extreme winter climate.

Large energy outages throughout Houston on Monday included a facility storing 8,000 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, leaving well being officers scrambling to search out takers on the identical time authorities have been pleading for individuals to remain dwelling. Rice College additionally abruptly started providing vaccines to college students on its closed Houston campus after Harris Well being System informed the college it had about 1,000 vaccines that “have been going to go to waste,” stated Doug Miller, a college spokesman.

“The window was only a couple hours. They need to deal with it shortly,” Miller stated.

USA TODAY is monitoring COVID-19 information. Preserve refreshing this web page for the newest updates. Need extra? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Within the headlines:

►Governors are asking President Joe Biden for extra say in how the federal authorities is distributing COVID-19 vaccines to native pharmacies and group well being facilities of their states.

►The World Well being Group on Monday approved use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. The transfer will assist increase provides for tens of millions of individuals worldwide via the U.N.’s COVAX effort, which goals to assist vaccinate poorer international locations.

►A affected person transferred from Connecticut on to a New York hospital has tested positive for the South African variant of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced Monday. Previous to then, 17 circumstances of the South African variant had been present in eight states, in line with the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

►San Francisco is the newest California metropolis to quickly shutter a mass vaccination web site as a result of lack of vaccine, becoming a member of Los Angeles in pausing inoculations amid a nationwide scarcity, whilst new federal-state vaccination websites open.

📈 Immediately’s numbers: The U.S. has greater than 27.6 million confirmed coronavirus circumstances and 486,300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The worldwide totals: Greater than 109.14 million circumstances and a pair of.Four million deaths. Greater than 70 million vaccine doses have been distributed within the U.S. and about 52.Eight million have been administered, according to the CDC.

📘 What we’re studying: There is no ‘big nationwide marketing campaign’ for COVID-19 vaccine schooling. Why? Experts say there’s a better way.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo defends New York’s response in nursing properties

After boasting of forging a successful battle plan in opposition to COVID-19, Cuomo faces a vital second after an aide admitted to withholding nursing dwelling knowledge from the general public after receiving a federal inquiry.

Fallout from the scandal is rising as lawmakers mount a bipartisan push for additional investigation of the Cuomo administration’s COVID-19 response, citing a series of revelations that lifted the veil of secrecy over the true coronavirus dying toll for New York nursing properties, which topped 13,000 residents versus the 8,700 beforehand reported.

“1000’s of New Yorkers misplaced household in nursing properties to COVID-19, a ache made worse by the shortcoming to consolation their family members of their closing hours,” U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-N.Y., wrote Sunday on Twitter. “They deserve solutions and accountability.”

In the meantime, Cuomo launched a lengthy defense on Monday, conceding state officers ought to have launched the nursing dwelling knowledge earlier however struggled to take action due to the pandemic workload and politicized federal inquiry by the Division of Justice below former President Donald Trump.

– David Robinson, New York State Workforce

ER visits down final yr, however overdoses up: Specialists blame COVID-19

Many People stayed away from the emergency room when the nation went below lockdown for concern of contracting COVID-19 on the hospital. Whereas this led to an total decline in emergency division visits, a recent study exhibits weekly journeys to the ER for drug overdoses have been greater in 2020 than in 2019.

Researchers from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention studied greater than 180 million ER visits from Dec. 30, 2018, to Oct. 10, 2020, and located that weekly counts of all drug overdoses have been as much as 45% greater in 2020 than in 2019, in line with the research printed Feb. three within the peer-reviewed JAMA Psychiatry. Opioid overdoses, particularly, elevated about 29% in comparison with earlier than the pandemic. 

Total visits to the emergency room plummeted when COVID-19 lockdown measures have been applied in March 2020, reducing about 43% in comparison with the identical timeframe in 2019. Nonetheless, drug overdoses skilled solely a slight lower from March 29 to April 11, about 4% in comparison with 2019, earlier than growing once more.

“That each one drug and opioid overdose emergency division visits didn’t lower in an analogous method to different emergency division visits is particularly compelling, suggesting a rise in overdose burden through the pandemic,” research authors stated.

– Adrianna Rodriguez

Contributing: James Name, USA TODAY NETWORK-Florida Capital Bureau; The Related Press.


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