NATIONAL

The Latest: AP: Racial Disparity In US Vaccination Drive

0
This Jan. 25, 2021, photo provided by Thomas A. LaVeist, shows him getting his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine in New Orleans. A racial gap has opened up in the nation's COVID-19 vaccination drive, with Black Americans in many places lagging behind whites in receiving shots, an Associated Press analysis shows. LaVeist, dean of the school, is recruiting notable Black Americans to help promote vaccination. (Courtesy of Thomas A. LaVeist via AP)

A racial gap has opened up in the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, with Black Americans in many places lagging behind whites in receiving shots.
That’s according to an Associated Press analysis. An early look at the 17 states and two cities that have released racial breakdowns finds Black people are getting inoculated at levels below their share of the general population.
In North Carolina, Black people make up 22% of the population and 26% of the health care workforce but only 11% of the vaccine recipients so far. White people, a category in which the state includes both Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites, are 68% of the population and 82% of those vaccinated.
Among the reasons given: deep mistrust of the medical establishment among Black Americans because of a history of discriminatory treatment. The gap is deeply troubling to some, given the coronavirus has taken a disproportionate toll in severe sickness and death on Black people in the U.S.
___
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
WHO team visits second Wuhan hospital in virus investigation. CDC orders say travelers must wear masks on public transportation. Brazil neighbors limit travel to halt spread of virus strain. Germany expects 5M vaccine doses in next 3 weeks. COVID-19 vaccine news welcomed in South Africa. Vaccine rollout faces challenges in France’s poorest region.
___
Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
___
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s neighbors have started restricting international travel amid concern about the spread of a new coronavirus variant that experts say may be more contagious.
Guyana’s government closed its border with South America’s largest country on Friday, two days after Colombia halted passenger flights to and from Brazil. Both nations cited the new variant as their reason. Argentina’s government decided to cut in half the number of flights to Brazil starting Feb. 1, according to a Jan. 27 report in state news agency Telam.
Peru on Jan. 26 banned air traffic from Brazil. The governor of Peru’s Loreto department bordering Brazil called on the government to shut down land crossings, too.
___
ATLANTA — The CDC has issued an order requiring travelers to wear a mask on public transportation in the U.S., echoing an executive order by President Joe Biden shortly after he took office.
The CDC order takes effect Monday. It states passengers on airplanes, trains, buses, subways, ships, ferries, taxis and ride-shares must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth while getting on such vehicles, during the ride and while getting off.
Additionally, people must wear masks on the premises of transportation hubs such as airports, train and subway stations, bus and ferry terminals, seaports and ports of entry. Masks must stay on while people await, board, travel and disembark public transportation.
Biden’s executive order issued Jan. 21 already mandated masks on certain modes of public transportation such as commercial aircraft, trains and ferries. The president also mandated masks on federal property.
The CDC order prompts drivers, conductors and crew members to only transport people who are wearing masks.
___
WUHAN, China — Members of a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic have visited another Wuhan hospital that treated early coronavirus patients.
The facility was one of the city’s first to deal with patients suffering from a then-unknown virus and is a key part of the epidemiological history of the disease. The team’s first face-to-face meetings with Chinese scientists took place on Friday, before the experts visited another early site of the outbreak, the Hubei Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine Hospital.
WHO says all hypotheses are on the table as the team visits hospitals, markets and labs. It’s a politically charged mission as China seeks to avoid blame for alleged early missteps.
___
BERLIN — Germany says drugmakers will deliver at least 5 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to the country in the next three weeks.
The Health Ministry says on Twitter that Germany has already received 3.5 million doses in the past five weeks and administered 2.2 million shots.
Health Minister Jens Spahn says the new figures for deliveries from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca were “good news after a difficult start.” Germany has given the first shot to about 2.2% of its 83 million population. Nearly half a million people had received both shots by Saturday. It’s recommended the second shot be given 21 to 28 days after the first.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has summoned the governors of Germany’s 16 states, which are responsible for organizing the vaccine drive, to discuss the slow rollout on Monday.
In her weekly video address Saturday, she acknowledged families have had a particular burden in the current lockdown but indicated it’s still too early for Germany to reopen schools and daycare centers.
___
BOSTON — A Massachusetts congressman who has received both doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has tested positive for the virus.
The office of U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch says the lawmaker had a negative test result before attending President Joe Biden’s inauguration. The office says Lynch’s positive test result came after a staff member in his Boston office tested positive earlier this week.
A statement says Lynch isn’t displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. Lynch will self-quarantine and vote by proxy in Congress in the coming week.
Lynch is the second member of the state’s congressional delegation to test positive in as many days. On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan announced she had tested positive after repeatedly testing negative.
___
PHOENIX — Arizona has surpassed 13,000 deaths related to COVID-19, just a week after rising above the 12,000 mark.
The Department of Health Services on Friday reported 203 additional deaths. The state also reported 5,028 additional confirmed coronavirus cases, increasing the state’s totals to 748,260 cases and 13,022 deaths.
The COVID-19 related hospitalizations and the state’s seven-day rolling averages of new known daily cases and daily deaths have slowed recently. But hospital officials this week urged Arizonans against becoming complacent about mask wearing and social distancing.
Also, a new coronavirus variant first identified in England has been found in Arizona. The state’s Department of Health Services reported Friday the U.K. strain was confirmed in COVID-19 tests from three people.
___
FORT LAUNDERDALE, Fla. — The predominantly Black farming communities on the shore of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee will get a coronavirus vaccine station.
That announcement Friday came after a public outcry over a decision to give the Publix supermarket chain sole local distribution rights, a move that left lower-income families isolated and facing drives of 25 miles to reach the nearest store.
State Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz told The Associated Press the state will set up a vaccine station in Belle Glade to serve it and its neighboring towns of Pahokee and South Bay. The station will get 5,000 doses, which is about how many people 65 and older live in the area.
___
RALEIGH, N.C. — Most North Carolina prisoners can get five days knocked off their sentences if they receive coronavirus vaccinations.
State prison officials said Friday that the package of incentives such as extra visitations and a free 10-minute phone call is aimed at motivating inmates to obtain the two necessary doses.
Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee says about 21,000 of the 29,000 offenders behind bars are eligible for sentence reductions. Those who aren’t would receive $5 prison canteen credits for undergoing vaccination.
Vaccinations are voluntary for prisoners and staff. Officials say 850 inmates have received their first dose so far and about 2,800 prison workers have done so.
About 530 prisoners have active COVID-19 cases, and eight are hospitalized. Forty-two prisoners have suffered COVID-related deaths.
___
SEATTLE — The schools chief in Washington state is pushing for teachers to get vaccinated for the coronavirus when it’s their turn but also insisting they get back to classrooms immediately, shot or not.
“The bottom line is a vaccine is a tremendous safety net but it is never the thing that is going to create the perfect scenario,” said Chris Reykdal, the state’s superintendent of public instruction.
Reykdal on Friday announced a partnership with Kaiser Permanente to offer vaccinations to the state’s 143,000 public school employees and 12,000 private school employees.
The health care company and medical provider is pledging to open its doors to all educators and school employees in the state when they become individually eligible under the state’s vaccine rollout.
Currently, that includes people who are at least 65 — or 50 and older in a multigenerational household.
The latest announcement is in line with Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision not to put teachers ahead of the general population as an entire workforce category.
___
DENVER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis says the state will expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to people ages 65 to 69 and school personnel on Feb. 8.
The announcement came Friday as the state updated its distribution plan to include these groups in “Phase 1b 2.” In addition to preschool through 12th grade teachers, childcare providers, bus drivers, safety workers and paraprofessionals will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
State officials say there are 408,000 people in this group, and the goal is to vaccinate 55% of them by March 5.
Adults 65 to 69 can schedule appointments through providers, and educators will get vaccines through their employers.
___
PRAGUE — The Czech Republic is banning foreigners from entering the country for non-essential reasons in an effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The Foreign Ministry says the ban, which becomes effective on Saturday, applies for all countries.
The exceptions to the ban includes those who work or study in the country. Trips to the country to visit relatives and nursing homes, receive medical care and attend weddings and funerals also are allowed.
The ban is part of a series of new restrictive measures that are tightening the country’s lockdown. They have been approved with a goal to further limit people’s contacts and movement.
Earlier in January, the day-to-day increase in coronavirus cases in the country was gradually declining since hitting a record high of nearly of nearly 18,000 on Jan 6. But the numbers didn’t drop enough and started to rise again this week.
The government is also worried about the potential impact of the more contagious British variant on the health system, which has been under serious pressure for months.
___
PARIS — France is closing its borders to people arriving from outside the European Union starting Sunday to try to stop the spread of new variants of the coronavirus.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the measure Friday night after an emergency government health security meeting at the presidential palace, warning of a “great risk” from the new variants.
All those arriving from other EU countries will be required to produce a negative virus test, he says. France will close all large shopping centers starting Sunday and limit travel to and from its overseas territories.
Castex ordered stepped up police checks of those who violate France’s 12-hour-a-day curfew, hold secret parties or reopen restaurants in defiance of a closure order in place since October.
Virus infections, hospitalizations and deaths have been rising steadily but not sharply in recent weeks. Many doctors have been urging a new nationwide shutdown like those imposed in several other European countries.
Castex says the measures are an attempt to avoid the economic cost of a third lockdown. Currently, more than 60% of intensive care beds are occupied by coronavirus patients. France has reported more than 75,000 deaths, seventh highest in the world.
___
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi residents scrambled to book appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations after Republican Gov. Tate Reeves announced Friday that 15,000 new openings were available for the first of two doses.
“I’m sure they will be booked quickly!” Reeves wrote on Twitter. “Stay safe and God bless!”
In just over two hours, all of the appointments were filled.
Laurie Bertram Roberts, who splits time between her home in Jackson and a job in Alabama, told The Associated Press she and one of her daughters went online Friday and booked vaccination appointments for themselves and six other family members.
Roberts said they managed to get appointments for five people in Jackson, where they live. But, they had to book one appointment in Vicksburg, which is about an hour’s drive one way, and two in Natchez, which is about a two-hour drive in one direction.
Coronavirus vaccinations in Mississippi are currently available for people 65 and older, health care workers and those who are at least 16 and have health conditions that might make them more vulnerable to the virus.
Inoculations are being done at hospitals, community health centers, private clinics and at 19 state-run drive-thru sites.
___
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a law that extends eviction protections through the end of June.
Newsom signed the law on Friday, one day after it was approved by the state Legislature.
Last year, Newsom signed a law that banned evictions for unpaid rent for tenants who paid at least 25% of their rent owed after Sept. 1. The law Newsom signed Friday extends those protections through June 30.
The law will also use federal stimulus dollars to pay off 80% of some tenants’ unpaid rent, but only if landlords agree to forgive the remaining 20%.
People who earn more than 80% of the area median income are not eligible for the money.
___

Fighting Climate Change In America Means Changes To America

Previous article

Biden Warns Of Growing Cost Of Delay On Economic Aid Plan

Next article

You may also like

More in NATIONAL