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Coronavirus Tracking in Washburn County, Wisconsin

Coronavirus Tracking in Washburn County, Wisconsin View the latest charts and maps of coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations in Washburn County, Wisconsin By The New York Times

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Video: Watch Live: President Biden Provides Coronavirus Response

TimesVideoWatch Live: President Biden Responds to Coronavirus On his first official full day in office, President Biden provides an update on his administration’s response to Covid-19, per Reuters.

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Drug prevents coronavirus infection in nursing homes, manufacturer claims

An unusual experiment to keep staff and residents of nursing homes from being infected with the coronavirus has been successful, drugmaker Eli Lilly said Thursday.

A drug containing monoclonal antibodies – virus fighters grown in the lab – has avoided symptomatic infections in residents exposed to the virus, even the most vulnerable frail elderly, according to preliminary results of a study conducted in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers found an 80% reduction in infections among residents who received the drug, compared to those who received a placebo, and a 60% reduction among staff, both statistically very powerful results. said Eli Lilly.

The data has not yet been peer reviewed or published. The company plans to present the results at an upcoming medical meeting and publish them in a peer-reviewed journal, but did not say when.

The study included 965 participants in nursing homes: 666 staff and 299 residents. (The company hoped more residents would participate, but it proved difficult to register them; many suffered from dementia and others were concerned about being given an intravenous drug.)

There were four deaths from Covid-19 among study participants. All of them were residents of the nursing homes who received a placebo, not the drug.

The drug, bamlanivimab, already has Emergency Use Clearance from the Food and Drug Administration which allows Eli Lilly to provide it to symptomatic patients at the onset of their infection.

But this study asked if the drug could stop infections before they started. It was an unusual experience: in trucks equipped with mobile laboratories, medical staff traveled to nursing homes as soon as a single infection was detected. Upon arrival, the workers set up temporary infusion centers to administer the drug.

The research ended this weekend with an emergency meeting of the Security and Data Oversight Council, an independent group monitoring the incoming results. The data was strong and compelling enough to put an end to placebos.

Vaccines against covid19>

Answers to your questions about vaccines

While the exact order of vaccinees can vary by state, most will likely prioritize medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities. If you want to understand how this decision is made, this article will help you.

Life will only return to normal when society as a whole is sufficiently protected against the coronavirus. Once countries authorize a vaccine, they will only be able to immunize a few percent of their citizens at most in the first two months. The unvaccinated majority will always remain vulnerable to infection. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines show strong protection against the disease. But it is also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing they are infected, as they have only mild symptoms, if any. Scientists do not yet know if the vaccines also block the transmission of the coronavirus. So for now, even vaccinated people will have to wear masks, avoid crowds inside, etc. Once enough people are vaccinated, it will become very difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people to infect. Depending on how quickly we as a society reach this goal, life may start to move closer to something normal by fall 2021.

Yes, but not forever. The two vaccines that will potentially be authorized this month clearly protect people against Covid-19 disease. But the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. It remains a possibility. We know that people naturally infected with the coronavirus can spread it without experiencing a cough or other symptoms. Researchers will study this question intensely as the vaccines roll out. In the meantime, even vaccinated people will have to consider themselves as possible spreaders.

The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is given by injection into the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection will be no different from any you received before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines and none of them have reported serious health problems. But some of them experienced short-lived discomfort, including aches and pains and flu-like symptoms that usually last for a day. People may need to plan a day off or school after the second shot. While these experiences are not pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system encountering the vaccine and building a powerful response that will provide long-lasting immunity.

No. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a genetic molecule to stimulate the immune system. This molecule, known as mRNA, is ultimately destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with a cell, allowing the molecule to slip inside. The cell uses mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any given time, each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce to make their own proteins. Once these proteins are made, our cells then shred the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules made by our cells can only survive for a few minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is designed to resist the enzymes in the cell for a bit longer, so that the cells can produce additional viral proteins and elicit a stronger immune response. But mRNA can only last a few days at most before being destroyed.

“My jaw dropped when I saw the results chart,” said Dr. Myron Cohen, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a senior researcher who helped design and implement study.

Although the study is complete, Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, scientific director of Eli Lilly, said the company will continue to rush to nursing homes in its study network when an outbreak is detected. “Everyone will get the medicine,” he says.

Experts who were not part of the study were enthusiastic, but stressed that they had not yet seen full data. “I only see positive aspects here,” said Dr. Ofer Levy, director of the precision vaccination program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s a victory.”

Dr Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland, was also encouraged.

“The mortality effect is remarkable,” she said, adding that the drug should be used more widely to prevent and treat Covid-19, “especially in populations such as residents of nursing homes, who have high mortality and may have suboptimal responses to vaccines. “

Vaccines, of course, also protect people from infection with the virus, and nursing home staff and residents were among the first priority groups for vaccines. But supplies are insufficient and many nursing home workers frightened by vaccines have refused to obtain them.

And after vaccination, it can take six weeks for the body to produce enough antibodies for maximum protection, said Dr. Srilatha Edupuganti, a vaccine researcher at Emory University in Atlanta and researcher in the study.

Treatment with monoclonal antibodies, she said, can give almost equivalent protection immediately, although it will not last as long as the protection offered by a vaccine.

Eli Lilly plans to approach FDA about emergency use authorization for use of drug to prevent infections in frail elderly populations, especially those in nursing homes or long-care facilities duration, said Dr Skovronsky.

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Coronavirus Tracking in Tom Green County, Texas

Coronavirus Tracking in Tom Green County, Texas # N / A (Did not find value ‘48451’ in VLOOKUP assessment.) By The New York Times

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ASL interpreter who gave updates on coronavirus dies of complications from Covid-19

Patty Sakal, an American sign language interpreter who has translated coronavirus updates for deaf Hawaiians, died of complications from Covid-19 on Friday. She was 62 years old.

Ms Sakal, who lived in Honolulu, died at the Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in San Diego, where she visited last month to visit one of her daughters, according to Ms Sakal’s sister Lorna. Sheep Riff.

Ms Sakal, who worked as an ASL interpreter for nearly four decades in various settings, had become a mainstay of coronavirus briefings in Hawaii, working with both former Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Governor David Y. Ige to interpret the news for the deaf community.

In a statement, Isle Interpreter, a performer organization that included Ms. Sakal, called Ms. Sakal “Hawaii’s performer royalty.”

This was in part because Ms. Sakal understood Hawaiian Sign Language, a version of American Sign Language developed by deaf elders that she had been exposed to growing up.

“She was used a lot and much wanted by deaf people in the community because they could understand her so well and she could understand them,” said Tamar Lani, president of Isle Interpreter.

Ms. Sakal was born on February 24, 1958 in Honolulu to Hershel Mouton and Georgia Morikawa, both deaf. Her father was the first deaf teacher at the Hawaii School of the Deaf and Blind in Honolulu, and her mother was a prominent political activist on behalf of the Deaf community, including helping to draft the U.S. Deaf Law. disabled, Mrs. Riff said.

“We grew up in a time when there were no interpreters,” Ms. Riff said, “so if you were a child of deaf parents, you automatically became your parents’ interpreter.

Ms. Sakal turned this experience into a career as a professional ASL interpreter. During her work, she has performed in all kinds of settings, including theater, law, medicine and education, according to Isle Interpreter. She was a member of the board of directors of a nonprofit group that aims to open a center for the deaf, the Georgia E. Morikawa Center, named after her mother.

Ms Lani said Ms Sakal was also committed to being a mentor for novice performers and did so for her. Before her death, Ms. Sakal was working as a mentor in a year-long national initiative to increase the number of performers in Hawaii, according to Isle Interpreter.

“Patty has always been so generous with her time and knowledge, and she has always been very welcoming to new performers,” Ms. Lani said. “She really sees everyone’s potential.”

In an interview with Hawaii News Now, Mr. Caldwell, whose second term as Honolulu mayor ended this month, praised Ms. Sakal for “really putting herself on the front lines.”

“It was there, a pandemic and he wasn’t sure to go, but she got out and she helped do a job that was essential for people who needed this information,” Caldwell told Hawaii News Now. Neither he nor Mr Ige could be reached immediately for comment on Wednesday.

Outside of work, Ms Riff said, her sister had a number of creative outlets. She wrote poetry and painted. She learned to play guitar and drums and was a singer.

In addition to her sister, Ms. Sakal is survived by three daughters, Aisha Sakal, Amanda Sakal and Andrea McFadden; one brother, Byron Morikawa; and two grandchildren.

Ms Riff said her family were “always very proud of Patty because she picked up this torch, the legacy our mother had, and carried it.

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More police on Capitol Hill test positive for coronavirus after riot.

At least 19 Capitol Police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus or have been discovered by contact tracing to have been exposed since a crowd of Trump supporters – most of them not wearing masks – attacked the Capitol on January 6, according to three people familiar with the matter.

These are the latest additions to a growing number of people infected since the deadly riot on Capitol Hill. Seven members of Congress have tested positive since the attack; some House Democrats have singled out their fellow Republicans who did not wear masks as they took shelter from rioters and forced into hiding for hours.

One of the people, who was not authorized to speak officially on internal departmental matters, said Capitol Police officers were receiving rapid coronavirus tests to help determine which other officers may have contracted the virus. headquarters of the Capitol.

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More police on Capitol Hill test positive for coronavirus after riot.

At least 19 Capitol Police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus or have been discovered by contact tracing to have been exposed since a crowd of Trump supporters – most of them not wearing masks – attacked the Capitol on January 6, according to three people familiar with the matter.

These are the latest additions to a growing number of people infected since the deadly riot on Capitol Hill. Seven members of Congress have tested positive since the attack; some House Democrats have singled out their fellow Republicans who did not wear masks as they took shelter from rioters and forced into hiding for hours.

One of the people, who was not authorized to speak officially on internal departmental matters, said Capitol Police officers were receiving rapid coronavirus tests to help determine which other officers may have contracted the virus. headquarters of the Capitol.

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One year, 400,000 deaths from coronavirus: how the United States guaranteed its own failure

New president Joseph R. Biden Jr. has said he will reaffirm a federal strategy to bring the virus under control, including a call for everyone to wear masks over the next 100 days and a coordinated plan to expand delivery of vaccines. “We are going to handle the hell of this operation,” Biden said Friday. “Our administration will lead with science and scientists.”

The strategy signals a change from last year, in which the Trump administration largely delegated responsibility for controlling the virus and reopening the economy to 50 governors, fracturing the nation’s response. Interviews with more than 100 health officials, political and community leaders across the country, and a review of state government emails and other records provide a more complete picture of all that went wrong:

  • The severity of the current outbreak can be attributed to the rush to reopen last spring. Many governors acted quickly, sometimes acting over the objections of their advisers. Nationwide reopenings have resulted in a surge in new infections that have grown over time: never again would the country’s average fall below 20,000 new cases per day.

  • Science has been sidelined at all levels of government. More than 100 state and local health officials have been fired or resigned since the start of the pandemic. Leading scientists in Florida offered their expertise to the governor’s office but were marginalized, while Gov. Ron DeSantis turned to Dr. Scott W. Atlas, an adviser to Trump, and others whose views have been adopted in conservative circles but rejected by many scientists.

  • While the president publicly downplayed the need for masks, White House officials privately recommended that some states with worsening epidemics require a face mask in public spaces. But records show at least 26 states ignored White House recommendations on masks and other health concerns. In South Dakota, housekeeper Kristi Noem bragged to her political allies that she didn’t need masks even as her state was in the midst of an epidemic that has become one of the worst in the country.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis said states have faced tough choices in balancing the virus – often hearing competing voices on how best to do it – and said Mr Trump left them without political support which they needed as they urged the public to accept the masks. and social distancing. “The most important thing that would have made a difference was the clarity of the message from the person at the top,” Polis said in an interview.

The pandemic has indeed been accompanied by significant challenges, including record unemployment and a dynamic disease that continues to circle the globe. Without a national White House strategy, it is unlikely that any state could have completely stopped the spread of the pandemic.

But the majority of deaths in the United States have since come as the strategies needed to contain it were clear to state leaders, who had an array of options, from ordering masks to targeted closures and increased testing. Disparities emerged between states that took restrictions seriously and those that did not.

America now represents 4% of the world’s population, but accounts for about 20% of deaths worldwide. While Australia, Japan and South Korea have shown that it is possible to reduce the number of deaths, the United States – armed with wealth, scientific prowess and global power – has emerged as the world leader: they now have one of the highest concentrations of deaths, with nearly many deaths being reported as in any other country.

Spring

The country once had the chance to embark on the path to defeat the virus.

There had been many missteps in the beginning. The United States failed to create a large testing and contact tracing network in January and February, which could have identified the first cases and possibly curb the crisis. Then cases exploded silently in New York City, as Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio waited crucial days to shut down schools and businesses.

Thousands of lives could have been saved in the New York metropolitan area alone if measures had been in place even a week earlier, the researchers said. Driven by the spring rush, New York and New Jersey have the nation’s worst death rates to date.

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How to (literally) drive away the coronavirus

Because it’s not always practical to have all the windows wide open, especially in the depths of winter, Dr. Mathai and his colleagues also modeled several other options. They found that while the more intuitive solution – having the driver and passenger lower each of their windows – was better than keeping all windows closed, an even better strategy was to open the windows that are facing each occupant. This configuration allows fresh air to enter through the left rear window and exit through the right front window and helps create a barrier between the driver and passenger.

“It’s like an air curtain,” Dr Mathai said. “It evacuates all the air released by the passenger and also creates an area of ​​strong wind between the driver and the passenger.”

Richard Corsi, an air quality expert at Portland State University, praised the new study. “It’s pretty sophisticated, which they did,” he said, warning that changing the number of passengers in the car or the speed of driving could affect the results.

Dr Corsi, who co-authored the editorial with Dr Allen last year, has since developed his own model of coronavirus aerosol inhalation in various situations. Her results, which have not yet been released, suggest that a 20-minute drive with someone who emits infectious coronavirus particles can be much riskier than sharing a classroom or restaurant with that. person for more than an hour.

“The emphasis has been on mass market events” because they involve a lot of people, he said. “But I think what people miss sometimes is that mass market events are triggered by someone who is infected coming to that event, and we don’t talk often enough about where that person is. has been infected. “

In a follow-up study, which has yet to be published, Dr Mathai found that opening the windows halfway seemed to offer roughly the same benefit as opening them fully, while cracking them just a quarter. of the open path was less effective.

Dr Mathai said the general conclusions would most likely hold true for many four-door and five-seat cars, not just the Prius. “For minivans and pickup trucks, I would still say that opening all the windows or opening at least two windows can be beneficial,” he said. “Beyond that, I would extrapolate too much.”

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Biden vows federal vaccination campaign to defeat soaring coronavirus

WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., racing against an outbreak of coronavirus cases and the emergence of a new variant that could worsen the crisis, plans a vaccination offensive that calls for dramatically expanding access to vaccine while using a wartime law to increase production.

In a speech on Friday in Wilmington, Del., Mr Biden told Americans that “we are left in a very dark winter,” allowing, “the honest truth is this: Things will get worse before they get better.”

“I told you,” he said, “I’ll always be level with you.” But he also tried to offer hope for the end of a pandemic that claimed the lives of nearly 390,000 Americans and unraveled the economic and social fabric of the country.

“Our plan is as clear as it is bold: get more people vaccinated for free, create more places to get vaccinated, mobilize more medical teams to get vaccines in people’s arms, increase the supply and make it get out as soon as possible. possible, ”he said, calling it“ one of the most difficult operations ever undertaken by our country ”.

He pledged to increase the availability of vaccines in pharmacies, build mobile clinics to obtain vaccines in underserved rural and urban communities, and encourage states to expand vaccine eligibility to people 65 and over. more. Mr Biden also pledged to make racial equity a priority in the fight against a virus that has disproportionately infected and killed people of color.

“You have my word,” he said, “we’ll handle the hell of this operation.”

But the president-elect’s expansive vision collides with a sobering reality: With just two federally licensed vaccines, supplies will be scarce over the next few months, frustrating some state and local health officials who hoped that Releasing a federal stockpile of vaccine doses announced this week could alleviate this shortage.

Mr Biden is clearly ready to assert a role for the federal government that President Trump has refused to embrace, using the crisis to rebuild the country’s public health services and Washington’s money to hire a new work force from health and deploy the National Guard. But many of its bold promises will be difficult to fulfill.

Even if Mr Biden invokes the Korean War-era Defense Production Act, it may take some time to ease vaccine shortages. The law has already been invoked, with an important but limited effect. His promises to build federally backed mass vaccination sites and develop new programs to serve people at high risk, including people with developmental disabilities and those in prison, will only work if there is. vaccines to be administered.

“This does not mean that everyone in this group will be vaccinated immediately, because the supply is not where it needs to be,” conceded Biden. But as more doses become available, he promised, “We will reach more people who need it.”

The vaccine distribution plan comes a day after Mr Biden proposed a $ 1.9 trillion bailout to tackle the economic downturn and the Covid-19 crisis, including a ‘national vaccination program’ of $ 20 billion. The president-elect has stated on several occasions that he intends to get “100 million Covid vaccines into the arms of the American people” by his 100th day in office.

Hurry up. With the death toll now reaching nearly 4,000 per day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sounded the alarm on Friday over a rapidly spreading and much more contagious variant of the coronavirus which is expected to become the main source of infection in the United States by March, which could fuel a new wave of cases and deaths.

“I think we are going to see, in six to eight weeks, major transmission in this country as we see in England,” Dr Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and member of Mr Biden’s coronavirus advisory committee. “If we can set up immunization clinics faster and more efficiently, how many lives are we saving?”

In some ways, Mr Biden’s plan echoes that outlined this week by Mr Trump’s Health Secretary Alex M. Azar II, who urged states to vaccinate those 65 and over. The Trump administration has also pledged to employ pharmacies to administer injections and to invoke the Defense Production Act if necessary.

When Mr Azar announced on Tuesday that the federal government was releasing a stockpile of vaccine doses, some state health officials expected to get more in their weekly shipments to help meet growing demand as the pandemic was getting out of hand.

But now states are faced with a harsh reality. This stock consisted only of vaccines intended for booster injections for people who had already received a first dose. This means that releasing this pool will not extend vaccinations to a new group of people. Federal officials have said second doses will be given priority in weekly shipments so everyone can receive a reminder.

Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, Democrat, posted on Twitter that she had received “disturbing news” Thursday evening: “States will not receive increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week because there is no federal reserve of doses.” She added: “I am shocked and dismayed that they set an expectation that they could not live up to, with consequences so dire.”

A senior administration official said on Friday that the government expects the two vaccine-producing companies, Moderna and Pfizer, to deliver eight million to 12 million doses of vaccine per week to the public in the coming weeks – shipments which will then be divided among those who receive. their first and second shots. The two companies have made deals with the federal government to deliver a total of 200 million doses to the United States – or enough to fully immunize 100 million people – by the end of March.

The European Union is also grappling with shortages, as Pfizer plans to halt production of its vaccine for weeks as it upgrades its manufacturing facility in Puurs, Belgium, to meet its goal of producing two billion doses this year – an increase from its target of 1.3 billion. This decision will reduce deliveries to EU member states as well as other countries.

The plan Mr Biden rolled out on Friday is part of a larger effort to use the current crisis to rebuild the country’s crumbling public health infrastructure – long a goal of Democrats on Capitol Hill. As part of his stimulus package, he also proposed to increase federal funding for community health centers and called for a new “public health jobs program” that would fund 100,000 public health workers so that ‘they engage in vaccine awareness and contact tracing.

“The details have yet to be worked out, but it really is a critical recognition that state and local health agencies need to be strengthened in a way they haven’t been in decades,” said Dr Osterholm.

But Dr Marcus Plescia, the chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territory Health Officials, has expressed caution over the idea and urged Mr Biden to consult with members of his group before creating a new one. body of public health workers.

“We would really like to see him bring a few more people with some field experience into his team,” said Dr Plescia. “One of the things about a federal employment body is how do these people interact with state health departments? You really need to think about it. “

Mr Biden’s attempt to improve public health infrastructure is a reminder of the approach he and President Barack Obama took with the recession-ravaged economy they inherited in 2009, when Mr Biden was the new one. vice-president. Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff at the time, said then that a serious crisis should never be “wasted” because it could provide “the opportunity to do things you think you cannot do. before ”.

In an interview Friday, Mr. Emanuel, who went on to serve two terms as mayor of Chicago, praised Mr. Biden for his plans to invest in such clinics – also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers, or FQHC. .

“The FQHC is singularly the best preventative health care for hard-to-reach communities,” said Mr. Emanuel, adding that “what’s great about this investment the president-elect is making is that he is throwing away the bases ”of a strong public health response to future crises.

Mr. Biden has long committed to a much more aggressive federal response than Mr. Trump’s leave-it-it-yourself approach.

Also on Friday, Mr. Biden’s team announced plans to phase out Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s fast-track vaccination initiative. Dr David A. Kessler, former head of the Food and Drug Administration who advised Mr Biden on the pandemic, will lead the new administration’s efforts to accelerate the development and manufacture of the Covid-19 vaccines.

“OWS is the name of the Trump team for their program,” Jennifer Psaki, spokesperson for Mr. Biden, wrote on Twitter, using the initials of the program. “We are putting in place a new structure, which will have a different name from OWS.”