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Hawaii Likely to Allow Vaccinated Travelers to Skip Quarantine and COVID-19 Testing

Government officials in Hawaii have revealed that travelers receiving the coronavirus vaccine will likely be exempt from quarantine and testing requirements, with the changes coming as early as spring 2021.

According to Hawaii News Now, Hawaii Lt. Governor Josh Green said the plan is to allow travelers to visit the state without obtaining a negative COVID-19 test or observing the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

Green said officials are working on the plan while awaiting findings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which would reveal whether vaccinated people can still transmit the coronavirus.

“I contacted the governor with a policy decision that we accept people who are fully vaccinated as an exemption from the Safe Travels program,” Green told Hawaii News Now. “This is a level of security that will be a huge game changer if we do it.”

US President Joe Biden expects to provide vaccines to 100 million people in the first 100 days, which would open up travel from the US mainland to Hawaii, as well as boost inter-island travel for the US. residents.

Last week, Speaker of the House of Representatives Scott Saiki announced his intentions to introduce a bill that would facilitate travel to Hawaii when the state House of Representatives reconvenes.

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The American salad bowl becomes fertile soil for Covid-19

Her father, Richard, 77, a chiropractor, and her mother, Carole, 75, office manager, came and went to their clinic on the Mexican side of the border every day. Many of his loyal customers, mostly snowbirds, were in Yuma, relying on him to soothe their back, shoulder and hip pain.

In mid-November, against their son’s wishes, the couple went to a restaurant that had hired Rick to roast a pig on the back patio. “He was old and stubborn, and he was macho. It’s culture, ”he said of his father, an American-Mexican and a staunch supporter of former President Donald J. Trump. “He wasn’t going to let this bug rule him.”

Two days later, the couple started showing symptoms of the flu which turned out to be Covid-19.

That same week, Mr Madrid’s two siblings and their spouses tested positive for the virus.

On November 29, her father passed away. Five days later, Mr Madrid gave in to the urge to visit his sick and grieving mother at the sage-green ranch-style house where he had grown up.

Soon Mr. Madrid couldn’t smell or taste, not even his son’s steak with jalapeños. He had the coronavirus. A week later, his wife also tested positive.

“As proud as I am of my community for being difficult to be successful, I am also disappointed that people don’t take this more seriously,” he said.

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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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Video: Watch live: Biden pays tribute to lives lost to Covid-19

TimesVideoWatch Live: Biden Honors Lives Lost to Covid-19 President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will attend a ceremony at Lincoln Memorial to honor Americans who have died of Covid-19, per Reuters.

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Biden to launch inaugural events in ceremony honoring Covid-19 victims

WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will arrive in the nation’s capital on Tuesday evening for a groundbreaking ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in honor of the nearly 400,000 people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic which will be his first priority afterwards he takes the oath the next day.

The grim memory will kick off two days of in-person and virtual events as Mr. Biden takes the oath of office on January 20, becoming the 46th President of the United States at a time of economic struggle and cultural upheaval in the sequel to President Trump’s Four Years in the White House.

Mr Biden planned a mix of festive and upbeat events to mark the occasion – singer Garth Brooks was the latest addition to the list of those performing at his swearing-in ceremony – as well as more serious moments aimed at to mark difficult times. that many Americans face when he takes office.

Instead of an in-person parade along Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Biden’s inaugural committee on Monday provided details of a “virtual parade across America” ​​that will begin at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. swearing-in by Mr. Biden.

The parade will begin with Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris heading to the White House escorted by battery lines from the University of Delaware and Howard University, their alma maters. The virtual “parade” will feature performances by the United States Coast Guard Band and the US Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, as well as marching bands, drill crews, boy scouts, dancers and drummers from across the country.

The events will be streamed live on multiple platforms, officials said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, along with their families, will be in attendance as 400 lights are turned on to illuminate the perimeter of the Reflecting Pool. Each light is believed to represent approximately 1,000 Americans who will have perished from the virus by the time it is sworn in.

This event will kick off “A Moment of National Unity” at 5:30 p.m. EST, which will feature commemorations similar to the Empire State Building, the Space Needle in Seattle and other landmarks across the country, with events also planned in Mr. Biden’s hometowns. , Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Del.

The inauguration “marks the start of a new national journey – one that renews its commitment to honor its dead and rise to greater heights in their honor,” said Inaugural Committee CEO Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University, in a statement. declaration.

Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, will deliver the invocation at the Lincoln Memorial event. Two acclaimed gospel singers, Yolanda Adams and Lori Marie Key, will perform at the commemoration.

In recent days, committee staff have reached out to church and civic leaders across the country to participate in the memorial, with a particular focus on involving black and Latin communities, who have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic. .

Mr Biden said reaching out to those who oppose his candidacy will be a central theme of his inaugural address as he urges a divided America to come together to face the pandemic and other challenges.

On Monday, officials announced that Mr. Brooks would perform on Wednesday afternoon, adding to a growing list of celebrities who will be on hand to usher in the Biden era. During a briefing with reporters, Mr Brooks said he was honored to participate in the peaceful transfer of power.

“I just feel lucky to be able to be a part of it,” Mr. Brooks said. “And what the administration is doing now, the main message is unity. Right in my alley, because I think if we’re going to go somewhere, we’ll get there together.

The Biden transition ›

Answers to your questions on the opening day:

Joseph R. Biden Jr. will become President of the United States at noon on January 20 in a scaled-down dedication ceremony. While the key elements will remain traditional, many events will be scaled down and “redesigned” to better tailor the celebration to a nation battling the coronavirus. Mr. Biden will be sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on the Western Front of the Capitol sometime before noon. The new president is then expected to deliver his inaugural address and conduct a review of military troops, as tradition dictates. But instead of a traditional parade before cheering onlookers along Pennsylvania Avenue as the new president, vice president and their families make their way to the White House more than a mile away, there will be an official escort with representatives from each branch of the military for one. a block.

President Trump announced on Friday that he would not attend Mr. Biden’s inauguration. Mr Biden called the move “one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on. Yet it is a major break with the tradition for a president to skip the ceremonial heart of the country’s democracy: the peaceful transfer of power.

George W. Bush, has confirmed that he will travel to Washington for the day of the inauguration, with Laura Bush, the former first lady. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are also expected to attend, along with former First Ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. This year tickets are not available to members of the public. Planners are urging people to stay home and participate in virtual inaugural events to prevent large crowds who could easily spread the coronavirus. The events will be broadcast live by the inaugural presidential committee and the New York Times.

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution requires that the term of office of each elected president and vice-president begin at noon on January 20 of the year following the election. Each president has taken an oath and he cannot assume his duties without doing so. Symbolically, it marks the peaceful transfer of power from the current president to the next. Inauguration day will be all the more important this year as Mr Biden ascends to the presidency at a time when political division has threatened the country’s democratic institutions and his predecessor has made extreme efforts to stay in power.

Mr Brooks declined to say what he would sing at the inauguration, but said he likely would not rehearse his interpretation of “We Shall Be Free”, which he sang at the President’s inauguration. Barack Obama 12 years ago.

“There are a lot of songs of love and unity that you can choose from, from the greatest writers you know in the world,” he said. “Because we are all humans. We live within the border of the United States, but the truth is, the message that comes to us is passed on to all of us around the world.

Mr Biden spent about 45 minutes Monday morning volunteering at a food bank in Philadelphia to mark the National Day of Service and Martin Luther King’s birthday.

The president-elect worked on a conveyor belt assembling food boxes at Philabundance, an organization founded in 1984 that distributes food to pantries and emergency shelters in nine counties in Pennsylvania, according to the transition team from Mr. Biden.

Wearing a black mask, a Philabundance baseball cap and his aviator sunglasses, Mr. Biden placed cans, two at a time, in each box of food. And Jill Biden, who will become the first lady on Wednesday, added packets of rice to the boxes as disco music played over speakers.

Mr Biden’s decision to volunteer at the food bank on Monday was consistent with many of his predecessors on both sides who frequently engaged in a public service event over the holidays. Mr. Trump largely ignored the vacation service component. In 2018, he was criticized for playing golf instead.

Mr. Trump’s public schedule for Monday indicated, as has been the case on most days in recent weeks, that he planned to “work from early in the morning until late in the evening” and “make a lot of calls. and to hold many meetings ”.

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CDC will require COVID-19 testing of all air travelers entering the U.S.

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that they will begin requiring a negative COVID-19 test from all air passengers entering the United States beginning on January 26.

With the US already in the midst of a surge domestically, testing requirements to prevent importation of fresh infections should help slow the spread.

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With new variants of the virus appearing around the world, some more highly transmissible than previous ones, the agency has viewed pre-travel and post-trip testing as an important layer of precaution to slow the introduction and spread of new strains.

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“This strategy is consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more efficiently protects the health of Americans,” the CDC wrote in its statement.

International travelers bound for the U.S. will need to test negative within the 72-hour window of departure, and the CDC also recommends testing again three to five days after arrival, quarantining for seven days after the trip.

Passengers will need to provide their documented lab results to the airline prior to boarding, either electronically or on paper, or they can provide documented evidence of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines are instructed to confirm the “negative” status of each passenger, and those who do not provide documentation of their negative test or recovery, or who choose not to test, should be denied boarding.

“Testing does not eliminate all risks,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, “but when combined with a home stay period and daily precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing , they can make travel safer, healthier and more “responsible by reducing the spread at airplanes, airports and destinations.”

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400,000 more deaths than normal in the United States since the Covid-19 strike




Higher and lower than normal weekly deaths in the United States since 2015

Since March, at least 400,000 more Americans have died than in a normal year, a sign of the great devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysis of mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows how the pandemic is causing unusual death patterns, even higher than official death totals directly related to the virus.

Deaths nationwide were 18 percent higher than normal from March 15, 2020 to December 26, 2020. Our numbers may be undercounted as recent death statistics are still being updated.

Our analysis looks at deaths from all causes – not just confirmed cases of coronavirus – from the time the virus took hold in the United States last spring. This allows for comparisons that do not depend on the accuracy of reporting causes of death, and includes deaths related to disturbances caused by the pandemic as well as the virus itself. Epidemiologists refer to deaths in the range between observed and normal numbers of deaths as “excess deaths.”

Public health researchers use such methods to measure the impact of catastrophic events when official measurements of mortality are wrong.

As the cases of Covid-19 spread across the country, geographic patterns of abnormal mortality statistics followed. Excessive deaths have so far peaked three times, as have deaths from Covid-19.

There are now excessive deaths in all states, with outbreaks in states like California, Colorado, Kansas and Ohio fueling record numbers of deaths in recent weeks.


Weekly deaths above and below normal since March 15, 2020


United States

March 15 – December 26

Alabama

March 15 – December 26

Alaska

March 15 – December 12

Arizona

March 15 – December 26

Arkansas

March 15 – December 26

California

March 15 – December 26

Colorado

March 15 – December 26

Connecticut

March 15 – November 28

Delaware

March 15 – December 12

Florida

March 15 – December 26

Georgia

March 15 – December 12

Hawaii

March 15 – December 19

Idaho

March 15 – December 26

Illinois

March 15 – December 26

Indiana

March 15 – December 19

Iowa

March 15 – December 26

Kansas

March 15 – December 26

Kentucky

March 15 – December 19

Louisiana

March 15 – December 12

Maine

March 15 – December 26

Maryland

March 15 – December 26

Massachusetts

March 15 – December 26

Michigan

March 15 – December 26

Minnesota

March 15 – December 26

Mississippi

March 15 – December 26

Missouri

March 15 – December 19

Montana

March 15 – December 26

Nebraska

March 15 – December 26

Nevada

March 15 – December 26

New Hampshire

March 15 – December 26

New Jersey

March 15 – December 26

New Mexico

March 15 – December 19

New York (outside NYC)

March 15 – December 26

New York City

March 15 – December 26

North Carolina

March 15 – September 5

North Dakota

March 15 – December 26

Ohio

March 15 – December 19

Oklahoma

March 15 – December 19

Oregon

March 15 – December 19

Pennsylvania

March 15 – December 26

Porto Rico

March 15 – November 14

Rhode Island

March 15 – December 12

Caroline from the south

March 15 – December 26

South Dakota

March 15 – December 12

Tennessee

March 15 – December 26

Texas

March 15 – December 26

Utah

March 15 – December 26

Vermont

March 15 – December 26

Virginia

March 15 – December 26

Washington state

March 15 – December 19

Washington DC

March 15 – December 12

West Virginia

March 15 – November 21

Wisconsin

March 15 – December 26

Wyoming

March 15 – December 26


Counting deaths takes time, and many states are weeks or months behind in reporting. These CDC estimates are adjusted for the lag in mortality data from previous years. It will be several months before all these figures are finalized.

During the period of our analysis, the estimated additional deaths were 21% higher than the official number of coronavirus deaths. If this trend continued through January 14, the total death toll would be around 470,000.

By comparison, about 600,000 Americans die from cancer in a typical year. The number of unusual deaths for this period is higher than the typical number of annual deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke or diabetes.

Measuring excess mortality does not tell us precisely how each person died. Most of the additional deaths during this period are due to the coronavirus itself. But it’s also possible that deaths from other causes have also increased, as hospitals in some hot spots are overwhelmed and people have been afraid to seek care for illnesses that can usually survive. Some causes of death may be on the decline as people stay indoors, drive less, and limit contact with others.

Drug deaths also rose sharply in the first half of 2020, according to preliminary CDC mortality data through June of last year, a trend that began before the onset of the pandemic. coronavirus.

Methodology

Total numbers of deaths are estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are based on death certificates counted by the centers and adjusted for typical delays in reporting deaths. The coronavirus death numbers come from the New York Times database with reports from local and state health agencies and hospitals. Covid-19-related deaths include both confirmed and probable deaths from the virus.

Our charts show higher or lower than normal weekly deaths. They include the weeks in which the CDC estimates the data to be at least 90% complete or the estimated deaths are greater than the expected numbers of deaths. Because states vary somewhat in their speed of reporting deaths to the federal government, these state charts show trends in deaths for slightly different time periods. We did not include weeks in which reported deaths were less than 50% of the CDC estimate.

Expected deaths were calculated using a simple model based on the weekly number of deaths from all causes from 2015 to 2019, adjusted for trends, such as population changes, over time.

The numbers of excess deaths are rounded.

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Julia Letlow, whose husband died of Covid-19 before being sworn in to Congress, will be running for the seat.

Julia Letlow, the wife of elected representative Luke Letlow, a Republican from Louisiana who died of complications from Covid-19 days before he was sworn in, will seek the open seat in an upcoming special election.

Ms. Letlow will run as a Republican to represent Louisiana’s Fifth District, which covers the conservative northeastern part of the state. Her husband died on December 29 at the age of 41 after suffering from “heart disease” while hospitalized with the virus. His death came just weeks after winning the seat vacated by his former boss, Representative Ralph Abraham.

“Everything in my life and in my marriage has prepared me for this moment,” Ms. Letlow wrote in a statement Thursday. “My motivation is the passion that Luke and I both shared: to improve this region we have called home and to leave it a better place for our children and future generations.

Mr Letlow, a longtime Republican aide, supported social distancing measures and the wearing of masks during his campaign, though photos from his social media accounts also showed him campaigning indoors without sometimes mask. He also advocated for the relaxation of some coronavirus restrictions when infections declined over the summer.

Ms. Letlow, who lives in Richland Parish, is currently Director of External Relations and Strategic Communications at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

His entry into the non-partisan election on March 20 was widely anticipated and could discourage other Republicans who had considered a race from entering the race.

She is likely to face Allen Guillory Sr., a Republican from Opelousas, who scored less than 10 percent in the November 3 election, and Sandra “Candy” Christophe, a Democrat from Alexandria who announced last week. that she would present herself.

Ms. Letlow has been active in Louisiana Republican politics for years and was selected for her academic work, in part, to provide “insight into strategies and alliances” that would be useful to the school in its interactions with elected officials. , according to his biography online. .

“I am running to continue the mission that Luke began – defending our Christian values, fighting for our rural farming communities and delivering real results to move our state forward,” she said in her statement.

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Hawaii To Consider Uniform Travel Restrictions Under COVID-19

House Speaker Scott Saiki intends to introduce a bill that would make travel to Hawaii easier when the state House of Representatives reconvenes on January 20.

According to KHON2, the proposal would require trans-Pacific travelers to provide proof of a single negative COVID-19 test result taken within three days of arrival, regardless of the island they are visiting.

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COVID-19 reopening

“Travel is a huge part of our state economy, and for all of us to benefit from travel, all counties must be on board,” Saiki said. “We can’t create waivers. If you do that, you disrupt this state system,” he added, referring to the island of Kauai opting out of the state’s pre-trip testing program last month. Kauai has since opted to return to the program, allowing inter-island travelers with a pre-test to enter if they have been in the state for three days. Meanwhile, trans-Pacific travelers can participate in Kauai’s resort bubble program that includes a pre-trip test, a three-day quarantine, and a post-arrival test.

While the proposal is good news for travelers, Hawaii Governor David Ige has expressed concern that a uniform travel policy does not allow for a flexible response.

“I think flexibility is important and we see very different conditions in each of the counties,” Ige said during a live feed on Facebook on Friday. “For example … Kauai has the fewest number of hospital beds and ICU units, so they are definitely worried about any kind of spike in cases, because it can easily overwhelm the hospitals there. You know, compared to Oahu, where we have thousands of hospital rooms here, and we can definitely handle more cases. “

“The current system, as it exists, allows me to issue orders across the state that impact everyone, but it also allows the flexibility that we can take appropriate action in each of the counties to respond to what we see happening in community”.

Currently, travelers visiting Hawaii must have negative test results on hand before arriving or face a mandatory 10-day quarantine. Visit GoHawaii.com/travel-requirements for the latest updates.

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Federal government orders states to expand vaccine targets as Covid-19 deaths rise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended last month that after vaccinating healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, states should vaccinate people over the age of 75 and some workers ” frontline ‘who cannot do their homework. Only after that, the CDC advised, should states turn to people aged 65 to 74 and adults of all ages with high-risk medical conditions. The CDC’s recommendations were not binding, but many states have largely followed them as demand still greatly exceeds supply.

It is not clear how the threat to execute Mr. Azar worked; in two weeks, Mr. Biden will have already been sworn in as president. Mr Azar said the incoming Biden administration would be notified of the changes, while adding that the Americans “operate with one government at a time, and this is the approach that we believe serves the mission best.

Mr Biden is expected to announce the details of his own vaccination plan – which will include federally-backed mass vaccination clinics – this week. Biden’s transition team declined to comment on Trump’s new policy on Tuesday. But a person familiar with the president-elect’s plans said Mr Biden also plans to expand the universe of those eligible for vaccination.

Mr Azar said people seeking the vaccine because they have high-risk medical conditions should provide “some form of medical documentation, as defined by the governors”, but he did not specify. A significant portion of the population has conditions that the CDC has determined increase the risk of severe Covid disease, starting with obesity, which affects at least 40 percent of adults.

Other people who would be immediately eligible for vaccines under Mr Azar’s directive include the more than 30 million adults with heart problems, 37 million people with chronic kidney disease and 1 in 10 with chronic kidney disease. of diabetes.

The new distribution plan, first reported Tuesday morning by Axios, is a reversal for the Trump administration, which had withheld around half of its vaccine supply – millions of vials – to ensure second doses would be available . Mr Azar said the administration always expected to make the switch when they were confident in the supply chain.

Dr Paul Offit, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, praised the administration’s decision, comparing the current situation to the Titanic, where there was no enough lifeboats to save everyone, “and you have to decide who you’re going to let talk to.”