Pipetting Tip Market 2021: Potential growth, attractive valuation make it is a long-term investment | Know the COVID19 Impact | Top Players: Eppendorf, Mettler Toledo, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Sartorius, Biotix, etc.

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Pipetting Tip Market Research Report is a Proficient and In-Depth Study on the Existing State of Pipetting Tip Industry. This Report Focuses on the Major Drivers, Restraints, Opportunities and Threats for Key Players. It also Provides Granular Analysis of Market Share, Segmentation, Revenue Forecasts and Regional Analysis till 2022.

Further, Pipetting Tip Market report also covers the development policies and plans, manufacturing processes and cost structures, marketing strategies followed by top Pipetting Tip players, distributor’s analysis, Pipetting Tip marketing channels, potential buyers and Pipetting Tip development history. This report also states import/export, supply and consumption figures as well as cost, price, revenue and gross margin by regions.

Get Exclusive Free Sample copy on Pipetting Tip Market is available at https://inforgrowth.com/sample-request/6411120/pipetting-tip-market

Pipetting Tip Market Report Provides Comprehensive Analysis as Following:

  • Market segments and sub-segments
  • Market size & shares
  • Market trends and dynamics
  • Market Drivers and Opportunities
  • Competitive landscape
  • Supply and demand
  • Technological inventions in Pipetting Tipindustry
  • Marketing Channel Development Trend
  • Pipetting TipMarket Positioning
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Brand Strategy
  • Target Client
  • Distributors/Traders List included in Pipetting TipMarket

Pipetting Tip Market 2021-2026: Segmentation

The Pipetting Tip market report covers major market players like Eppendorf, Mettler Toledo, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Sartorius, Biotix, Tecan, Corning, Sorensen, Sarstedt, Hamilton, Brand, Gilson, Nichiryo, Labcon, DLAB, Socorex

Pipetting Tip Market is segmented as below:

By Product Type: Non-Filtered Pipette Tips, Filtered Pipette Tips

Breakup by Application:
Industry, Research Institutions, Hospital, Others

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Pipetting Tip Market Report Provides Comprehensive Analysis as Following:

Pipetting

Along with Pipetting Tip Market research analysis, buyer also gets valuable information about global Pipetting Tip Production and its market share, Revenue, Price and Gross Margin, Supply, Consumption, Export, Import volume and values for following Regions:

  • North America
  • Europe
  • China
  • Japan
  • Middle East & Africa
  • India
  • South America
  • Others

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Industrial Analysis of Pipetting Tip Market:

Pipetting

Impact of COVID-19: 
Pipetting Tip Market report analyses the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Pipetting Tip industry.
Since the COVID-19 virus outbreak in December 2019, the disease has spread to almost 100+ countries around the globe with the World Health Organization declaring it a public health emergency. The global impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are already starting to be felt, and will significantly affect the Pipetting Tip market in 2021.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought effects on many aspects, like flight cancellations; travel bans and quarantines; restaurants closed; all indoor events restricted; emergency declared in many countries; massive slowing of the supply chain; stock market unpredictability; falling business assurance, growing panic among the population, and uncertainty about future.

COVID-19 can affect the global economy in 3 main ways: by directly affecting production and demand, by creating supply chain and market disturbance, and by its financial impact on firms and financial markets.

Get the Sample ToC and understand the COVID19 impact and be smart in redefining business strategies. 
https://inforgrowth.com/CovidImpact-Request/6411120/pipetting-tip-market

Key Benefits of Pipetting Tip Market:

  • This report provides a quantitative analysis of the current trends and estimations from 2017 to 2022 of the global Pipetting Tip market to identify the prevailing market opportunities.
  • Comprehensive analysis of factors that drive and restrict the Pipetting Tip market growth is provided.
  • Key players and their major developments in recent years are listed.
  • The Pipetting Tip research report presents an in-depth analysis of current research & clinical developments within the market with key dynamic factors.
  • Major countries in each region are covered according to individual market revenue.

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ALG Vacations Creates Agent Resource Toolkit for COVID-19 Testing Requirements

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WHY IT RATES: ALG Vacations continues to work hard for agents and advisors.—Donald Wood, Breaking News Senior Writer.


At the beginning of the pandemic, global tour operator ALG Vacations promised to “give travel advisors MORE,” pulling together a comprehensive info hub (www.vaxvacationaccess.com/ALGVAdvisorUpdate) to help them navigate through quick-changing times and their challenges.

Now, as the situation and adaptations around the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) new requirement for COVID-testing for re-entry into the U.S. begin to take form, ALG Vacations has once again created a centralized resource and toolkit to provide advisors with guidance and clarification on how to advance their business past this new hurdle.

INFORMATIONAL RESOURCES

Travel professionals can rely on www.vaxvacationaccess.com/cdcguidelines for immediate access to information and policies pertaining to this CDC update as ALG Vacations receives it, as well as additional resources to help them adapt their business to these changing needs.

Trending Now

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

On this new, frequently updated page, ALGV provides:

—CDC U.S. entry testing requirements

—An evolving FAQ section

—Partner airline policies

—Necessary forms and documents

—Hotel and destination official protocols

—Daily-updated destination and hotel grids showing:

—The availability of on-site testing for specific properties

—Cost per test if applicable, including for antigen testing

—Minimum stay requirements for free testing

—Travel date validity

—Local clinics should on-site not be available

—Quarantine offers

On Friday, 1/22/21, a webinar hosted by ALG Vacations executives was attended by more than 900 travel advisors, centering on the new CDC regulations and guidelines, and what ALG Vacations is doing to support travel agencies during this time.

With an ALG Vacations-hosted FAM to Punta Cana currently in resort, and another departing to Cancun on 1/27, travel advisors have the opportunity to be part of the new testing and departure experience in resort. ALGV is currently sharing these experiences on its social channels, and will share more content and video in the upcoming days.

FUNCTIONAL RESOURCES

On VAX VacationAccess, agents will now find hotel-specific messaging regarding on-site COVID testing, along with a new browsing filter for easy, at-a-glance shopping. This dynamic, on-demand supplement to the daily-updated hotel grid on the CDC Update page will help provide immediate answers while agents are searching for the best fit for their customers.

TRAVEL AGENT BUSINESS PROTECTION EFFORTS

In addition, ALG Vacations has announced several new developments and policies in support of travel agent business. This includes enhanced during-travel trip protection coverage; namely, increased trip delay protection for packages with Travel Protection Plus. The plan will now reimburse up to $3000 per person (formerly $500 per person maximum) for expenses such as meals, lodging, and local transportation costs for ALGV customers delayed 6 or more hours due to a defined Hazard, such as a Common Carrier delay or Quarantine (imposed by a physician or government authority). This benefit is valid for all current and new bookings for departures 2/1/21 onward for Apple Vacations, Funjet Vacations, Travel Impressions, United Vacations, Blue Sky Tours, and Southwest Vacations. This increase in coverage, funded by ALG Vacations, is in addition to the standard values, which includes medical coverage up to $50,000; emergency evacuation, Cancel for Any Reason, and much more.

In yet another effort to protect bookings and the customers who made them, the successful, popular Rebook Now. Recharge Later. 125% refund consumer incentive has temporarily returned to the marketplace for those eligible for a cash-back refund. Would-be cancellers are being offered an extra 25% in bonus travel credit toward their rebooking if they choose to convert their refunds into credit with ALG Vacations instead. More information on this promotion, as well as explanatory infographics and usage guides, can be found at www.vaxvacationaccess.com/RebookRecharge.

For customers who aren’t eligible for this incentive, ALG Vacations has streamlined the process of changing air dates, and is publicly providing insider recommendations on how to best maximize vacationers’ investment value, such as how to bypass cancel fees as they take advantage of ALGV’s waived brand change fees.

“We at ALG Vacations are intent on being problem-solvers for our travel partners and their customers,” says Executive Vice President, Trade Brands Jacki Marks. “We believe that creating multiple options for customers in a wide range of scenarios; developing tools and technology that proactively increase agent efficiency; and providing an all-encompassing but thoughtfully curated hub of resources are all critical components of supporting travel advisor success during tough times. Through a multi-angle approach, we’re making it a priority to proactively protect the travel agent community and our shared industry. We cannot emphasize more that our guiding value is that ‘We do it together,’ and will continue to listen closely to our partners and work on providing resources that meet or exceed their needs.”


SOURCE: ALG Vacations press release.



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Covid-19 Live Updates: First Case of Brazil-Based Virus Variant Found in U.S.

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The Brazil P.1 variant is thought to be more contagious but it is unclear if it causes more severe illness.
Credit…Jim Mone/Associated Press

A case of a more contagious coronavirus variant first found in Brazil has been confirmed in Minnesota, the state’s department of health said in a statement on Monday. It is the first confirmed case of the variant in the United States.

The case was identified in a Minnesota resident who had recently traveled to Brazil, the department said, which could suggest that the variant may not yet be widely circulating.

It was only a matter of time before the variant was detected in the United States, said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a Covid adviser to President Biden. “With the world travel that you have, and the degree of transmissibility efficiency, it’s not surprising,” he said.

The variant, known as B.1.1.28.1 or P.1, shares many mutations with one first identified in South Africa. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines still protect from the variant circulating in South Africa, the companies have said, but they are slightly less effective. They are expected to perform similarly against the variant identified in Brazil.

The variant identified in Britain is more transmissible, but just as susceptible to vaccines as the original form of the virus. But the variants in Brazil and South Africa have additional mutations that may help elude the vaccines. “The amount of concern that I have between the U.K. variant, and the South African/Brazilian is much, much different,” Dr. Fauci said.

The variant identified in Britain has been confirmed in 22 states, and the variant found in South Africa has not yet been confirmed in the United States.

The P.1 variant is also thought to be more contagious but it is unclear if it causes more severe illness. The Minnesota Department of Health identified it through its variant surveillance program, which collects 50 random samples from laboratories in the state each week. Minnesota has one of the lowest daily caseloads relative to its population in the country, following a surge in the fall.

The person with the confirmed case is a resident of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, the department said. The patient became ill during the first week of January and the specimen was collected Jan. 9, it said.

Investigators from the health department had spoken with the person after the test was positive for Covid-19, and the person had traveled to Brazil before becoming ill. The person was told to isolate and have household members quarantine. Health officials are conducting additional interviews with the person to learn more about the illness, travel and close contacts.

The United States is flying blind, scientists have warned, as the country navigates the spread of the new variants without a large-scale, nationwide system for checking virus genomes for new mutations. Instead, the work of discovering the variants has fallen to a patchwork of academic, state and commercial laboratories.

Scientists say that a national surveillance program would be able to determine just how widespread the new variant is and help contain emerging hot spots, extending the crucial window of time in which vulnerable people across the country could get vaccinated.

The daily U.S. coronavirus caseload and number of hospitalized patients have fallen recent days, but the introduction of the variants into the country threatens to undermine that progress. The weekly average of new cases per day in the United States was down 33 percent on Sunday since two weeks prior, as states like California start to get a hold on their outbreaks.

California officials on Monday announced that they were lifting severe coronavirus restrictions on large portions of the state, allowing outdoor dining and personal care businesses to resume limited operations.

But the virus has for weeks been raging in Arizona, as well as South Carolina and Rhode Island. New York now has the fifth-worst outbreak in the country, though daily deaths from the virus are far from the levels seen there in the spring.

President Biden’s press secretary said on Monday that he would extend the Trump administration’s ban on travel by noncitizens into the United States from Brazil, along with similar restrictions on Britain and 27 other European countries, where other variants have been identified. It also added South Africa to the list.

Concern over the variants’ spread led to discussions in Europe of restricting nonessential travel. Proposing the new restrictions, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, tweeted that the new variants had “led us to take difficult but necessary decisions.”

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was expected to announce an extension and tightening of lockdown rules in England this week amid growing concern.

Experts point to Britain as a model for what the U.S. could do to monitor the variants. British researchers sequence the genome — that is, the complete genetic material in a coronavirus — from up to 10 percent of new positive samples.

Even if the U.S. sequenced just 1 percent of genomes from across the country, or about 2,000 new samples a day, that would shine a bright light on the new variant, as well as other variants that may emerge.

Customers waiting in line to order food for take out at a restaurant in Salinas, Calif., on Sunday.
Credit…Joel Angel Juarez for The New York Times

Hours after California public health officials abruptly lifted a strict order to stay at home that had been in place for weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom defended the decision, saying that the state’s models showed pressure on intensive care units easing significantly in the next month.

By Feb. 21, the state reported, intensive care unit capacity is projected to reach 30.3 percent across California, with 33.3 percent of intensive care unit space available in Southern California, 22.3 percent in the San Joaquin Valley and 25 percent in the Bay Area.

State officials, Mr. Newsom said, rushed to lift restrictions as quickly as possible once the numbers indicated it would be safe.

“We did a lot of comprehensive outreach, and we’re pleased to move in this direction,” he said in a news conference on Monday.

He described accusations that he was making pandemic response decisions based on political considerations as “complete, utter nonsense.”

The governor has faced mounting political pressure from a recall effort, and experts have said that the regional reopenings and the vaccination effort are crucial tests for his administration.

Mr. Newsom highlighted that California’s overall positivity rate recently compared favorably to those of Texas and Arizona. And he emphasized that reporting delays had contributed to what he described as misconceptions about the speed of California’s vaccine rollout.

“We’re just getting going,” Mr. Newsom said. California, he said, is like a massive ship: “It takes a little time to shift course, but when it shifts course, it builds tremendous momentum.”

The governor also clarified the state’s vaccine prioritization: Along with health care workers and anyone 65 and older, the state will prioritize emergency medical workers, food and agricultural workers, and teachers and other school staff.

After that, he said, the state will “transition to age-based eligibility,” and will focus on getting vaccines to communities suffering disproportionately.

But the problem, experts have said in recent weeks, is that the implementation of such detailed plans rests on county public health departments, and the details have differed community by community.

On Monday morning, California officials announced that they were lifting severe coronavirus restrictions on huge swaths of the state. The decision would allow restaurants in those areas to reopen for outdoor dining, and would let hair salons and other personal care businesses resume limited operations.

However, local officials can still opt to keep restrictions in place, based on conditions in individual communities.

Effective immediately, state officials said, they were ending regional stay-at-home orders, which banned gatherings of any size and required residents to stay home except for essential work. The orders came into force when intensive-care units in the region were projected to become dangerously full.

Such orders had been in effect for Southern California, a huge region encompassing Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, as well as for the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area. Counties in those regions will now return to a tiered system of rules tied to the prevalence of the virus in each county.

The news came on the heels of a weekend of mixed signals from the state about its strategy to curb the rampant spread of the virus.

While California’s overall case numbers have been declining, hospitals in Southern California are still overwhelmed, and experts worry that new variants of the virus — including one that researchers recently found in more than half of test samples in Los Angeles — could threaten progress.

In the Bay Area, available intensive care capacity had risen to 23.4 percent as of Sunday, according to the state. The stay-at-home order for the region was triggered when the figure fell below 15 percent.

The Sacramento region has just 11.9 percent of its intensive care capacity free, but it was allowed to exit its strict regional order more than a week ago.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Saturday that officials in the region were hopeful that the Bay Area order would be lifted soon, but the state’s department of public health said on Sunday that, based on its projections, the region was not eligible.

Mr. Newsom has repeatedly said that the state’s reopening would be guided by transparent data. But The Associated Press reported that Mr. Newsom’s administration has refused to disclose key figures.

Even after President Biden announced a national strategy for controlling the pandemic, which experts have said was desperately needed, there are still hurdles in the national vaccination program. In California, those hurdles have contributed to continuing chaos, with eligibility rules differing county by county.

The state set up a promised website to help people find vaccination appointments. But it’s still described as a pilot site.


Federal health officials and corporate executives said last week that it would be impossible to increase the immediate supply of vaccines before April because there is a lack of manufacturing capacity in the United States.
Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

President Biden, under pressure from an anxious public to speed up the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations, said Monday that he is now aiming for the United States to administer 1.5 million doses a day — a goal that the nation already appears on track to meet.

The president made his comments just hours after he banned travel by noncitizens into the United States from South Africa because of concern about a coronavirus variant spreading in that country, and moved to extend similar bans imposed by his predecessor on travel from Brazil, Britain and 27 European countries. Those bans had been set to expire on Tuesday.

Mr. Biden has vowed to get “100 million Covid-19 shots in the arms of the American people” by his 100th day in office. Because two doses are required, and some Americans have already been vaccinated, his promise would cover about 67 million Americans. To realize it, the United States would have to administer one million shots a day.

The pace of vaccinations is already picking up, and the United States already seems to be vaccinating well over a million people per day, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The current average is about 1.2 million over the past six days.

With frustration rising across the country over vaccine supply shortages and canceled appointments, Mr. Biden has drawn criticism for not setting his sights higher. Last week, he expressed exasperation — “C’mon, man!” — at a reporter who suggested his 100 million shot promise was not ambitious enough. On Monday, he appeared to revise it.

“I think that with the grace of God and good will of a neighbor and creek not rising, we may get it to 1.5 million a day rather than one million a day,” the president said. “But we have to meet that goal of one million a day.”

Mr. Biden’s comments came as the United States has recorded 25 million coronavirus cases — a staggering tally that the nation reached Saturday afternoon, according to a New York Times database. That works out to about one in every 13 people in the country, or about 7.6 percent of the population — a number that experts say is almost surely lower than the true number of infections.

The move comes as officials in the new Biden administration are trying to get their hands around a fast-changing pandemic, with public health officials racing to vaccinate the public — and to expand the supply of vaccine — as more contagious variants of the coronavirus spread.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease specialist, said at the White House last week that “we’re following very carefully” the variant of the virus in South Africa because it appears to be more highly contagious.

The variant first discovered in South Africa has not yet reached the United States, but it has been reported in more than two dozen countries.

The first U.S. case of the variant found in Brazil was confirmed in Minnesota, health officials there said on Monday. The variant, known as B.1.1.28.1 or P.1, shares many mutations with the one first identified in South Africa.

On Monday, Moderna said its vaccine was effective against new variants of the coronavirus that have emerged in Britain and South Africa. But the immune response is slightly weaker against the variant discovered in South Africa, and so the company is developing a new form of the vaccine that could be used as a booster shot against it.

And Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offered a blunt assessment of the vaccination campaign on Sunday, predicting that supply would not increase until late March.

Federal health officials and corporate executives agree that it will be impossible to increase the immediate supply of vaccines before April because of a lack of manufacturing capacity. A third vaccine maker, Johnson & Johnson, is expected to report the results of its clinical trial soon; if approved, that vaccine would also help shore up production.

A dose of the Moderna vaccine being filled into a syringe in Mountain View, Calif., on Friday.
Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

As the coronavirus assumes contagious new forms around the world, two drug makers reported on Monday that their vaccines, while still effective, offer less protection against one variant. That new information is causing the drug makers to begin revising plans to turn back an evolving pathogen that has killed more than two million people.

The news from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech underscored a realization by scientists that the virus is changing more quickly than once thought, and may well continue to develop in ways that help it elude the vaccines being deployed worldwide.

The announcements arrived even as President Biden is banning travel to the United States from South Africa, in hopes of stanching the spread of one variant. And Merck, a leading drug company, on Monday abandoned two experimental coronavirus vaccines altogether, saying they did not produce a strong enough immune response against the original version of the virus.

Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech both said their vaccines were effective against new variants of the coronavirus discovered in Britain and South Africa. But they are slightly less protective against the variant in South Africa, which may be more adept at dodging antibodies in the bloodstream.

The vaccines are the only ones authorized for emergency use in the United States.

As a precaution, Moderna has begun developing a new form of its vaccine that could be used as a booster shot against the variant in South Africa. “We’re doing it today to be ahead of the curve, should we need to,” Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said in an interview. “I think of it as an insurance policy.”

Moderna said it also planned to begin testing whether giving patients a third shot of its original vaccine as a booster could help fend off newly emerging forms of the virus.

Dr. Ugur Sahin, the chief executive of BioNTech, said in an interview on Monday that his company was talking to regulators around the world about what types of clinical trials and safety reviews would be required to authorize a new version of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that would be better able to head off the variant in South Africa.

Studies showing decreased levels of antibodies against a new variant do not mean a vaccine is proportionately less effective, Dr. Sahin said.

BioNTech could develop an adjusted vaccine against the variants in about six weeks, he said. The Food and Drug Administration has not commented on what its policy will be for authorizing vaccines that have been updated to work better against new variants.

But some scientists said that the adjusted vaccines should not have to go through the same level of scrutiny, including extensive clinical trials, that the original versions did. The influenza vaccine is updated each year to account for new strains without an extensive approval process.

“The whole point of this is a rapid response to an emerging situation,” said John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.

Dr. Sahin said a similar booster shot eventually might be necessary to stop Covid-19. The vaccine’s reduced efficacy may also mean that more people would need to get the shots before the population achieves herd immunity.

Scientists had predicted that the coronavirus would evolve and might acquire new mutations that would thwart vaccines, but few researchers expected it to happen so soon. Part of the problem is the sheer ubiquity of the pathogen.

Merck was slower than other companies to get into the Covid-19 vaccine race.
Credit…Tom Mihalek/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Merck announced on Monday that it was abandoning a pair of Covid-19 vaccines in clinical trials.

The news came as a disappointment at a time when the United States and other countries are struggling to accelerate their sluggish vaccination campaigns and new coronavirus variants threaten to bring surges over the next few months.

The two projects are the second and third vaccines to be abandoned in clinical trials. The University of Queensland in Australia abandoned its own effort in December. Sanofi and other vaccine makers have paused some projects after getting disappointing initial results but are now regrouping to move forward.

Merck was slower than other companies to get into the Covid-19 vaccine race. In June, it acquired the Austrian firm Themis Bioscience to develop a vaccine originally designed at Institut Pasteur, based on a weakened measles virus. Researchers began a Phase 1 trial in August. In a second effort, Merck partnered with IAVI, a nonprofit scientific organization that develops vaccines and treatments, on another vaccine. For that one, they used the same design that they successfully employed to make a vaccine for Ebola.

Merck and IAVI were awarded $38 million for their vaccine research, but neither of Merck’s projects earned the lavish support that Operation Warp Speed showered on other efforts from companies such as Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. In its announcement, Merck said that both vaccines looked safe in early clinical trials. But neither produced a strong response from the immune system. They decided that it was not worth going forward with large-scale trials that would demonstrate whether the vaccines protected people from Covid-19.

“We are grateful to our collaborators who worked with us on these vaccine candidates and to the volunteers in the trials,” Dr. Dean Y. Li, the president of Merck Research Laboratories, said in a statement.

Merck will instead focus its Covid-19 efforts on an experimental antiviral drug known as molnupiravir, in partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. Originally designed for influenza, it has shown promising effects in studies on animals and in early clinical trials. The trial is set to finish by May, although preliminary results could come out as early as March.

IAVI said it would continue searching for Covid-19 vaccines. “Our scientists will continue to evaluate other candidates to see if other routes of administration or changes to the construct could lead to improved immune response,” said Karie Youngdahl, senior director and head of global communications at IAVI.

A health care worker tending to a patient at a temporary ward set up during the coronavirus outbreak at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa, last week.
Credit…Pool photo by Phill Magakoe

President Biden will ban travel by noncitizens into the United States from South Africa because of concern about a coronavirus variant spreading in that country, and will extend similar bans imposed by his predecessor on travel from Brazil, 27 European countries and Britain, his press secretary said on Monday.

The move comes as officials in the new Biden administration are trying to get their hands around a fast-changing pandemic, with public health officials racing to vaccinate the public — and to expand the supply of vaccine — as more contagious variants of the coronavirus spread.

Mr. Biden’s travel ban is a presidential proclamation, not an executive order; typically, proclamations govern the acts of individuals, while executive orders are directives to federal agencies. It will go into effect Saturday and apply to non-U.S. citizens who have spent time in South Africa in the last 14 days. The new policy, which was earlier reported by Reuters, will not affect U.S. citizens or permanent residents, officials said.

On his last full day in office, President Donald Trump tried to eliminate the Covid-19-related ban on travel from Brazil, Britain and much of Europe, saying it was no longer necessary. Jen Psaki, now the White House press secretary, said at the time that ending the ban was the wrong thing to do; on Monday, she announced during her regular briefing that it would remain intact.

“With the pandemic worsening and more contagious variants spreading, this isn’t the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” she said.

Ms. Psaki also said the Biden administration intended to hold regular public health briefings three times a week, beginning on Wednesday. She said Mr. Biden would be “briefed regularly” on the pandemic, adding, “I suspect far more regularly than the past president.”

The first confirmed case of the Brazilian variant in the United States has been identified in Minnesota, the state’s health department said on Monday. It was found in a Minnesota resident who had recently traveled to Brazil.

The variant now spreading in South Africa has not yet reached the United States, but it has been reported in more than two dozen countries.

In addition to the travel bans, Mr. Biden issued an executive order last week requiring that all international travelers present negative coronavirus tests before leaving for the United States. The move extended a requirement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was issued by the Trump administration but set to expire on Tuesday.

A White House official said Sunday that the C.D.C. would not issue waivers from that policy as some airlines had requested.

A mass coronavirus vaccination site had been set to open this week at Citi Field in Queens.
Credit…Ryan Christopher Jones for The New York Times

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City announced on Monday that the openings of planned mass coronavirus vaccination sites at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field would be postponed because of the low supply of doses available.

“We want to get those to be full-blown, 24-hour operations,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference, “but we don’t have the vaccine.”

The site at Citi Field had been set to open this week, while plans for the one in the Bronx were still being developed. Another site at the Empire Outlets on Staten Island was initially scheduled to open last week, but will also be postponed, the mayor said.

The city had a total of 19,032 first doses in inventory on Monday morning, Mr. de Blasio said, and expected to receive just under 108,000 doses this week. But he continued to warn that figure was not nearly enough to keep up with the pace at which New Yorkers were being inoculated: If the supply was greater, the mayor said, New York City would be on pace to administer roughly 500,000 doses per week.

Instead, he said many inoculation appointments would continue to be canceled or rescheduled as they were last week.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the Biden administration was reviewing state and local officials’ capacity to administer vaccines as it considered how to bolster the vaccination effort. She noted that mass vaccination sites, like football fields, could be “quite efficient.”

“Infrastructure is pivotal,” she said. “It’s not just about the science.”

Some public health experts have worried that the limited supply could undermine goals of state and city officials to prioritize communities hard hit by the virus — Black and Latino people and low-income New Yorkers — in the vaccine rollout.

The state has not released demographic information on the distribution, but Mr. de Blasio said on Monday that data would come “this week,” adding that “it’s part of making sure that we act to address the disparities that have pervaded the Covid experience.”

The crunch in supply came as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that a statewide spike in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks, fueled by holiday gatherings, appeared to be ebbing.

While 46 ZIP codes in New York City have seven-day average positive test rates of over 10 percent, according to city data on Monday, and other areas like Long Island are still struggling with higher hospitalization rates, Mr. Cuomo said there was a downward trend in cases statewide. He said on Monday there were 8,730 hospitalizations in New York, down from more than 9,000 more than a week ago.

Mr. Cuomo said the state was considering easing restrictions in specific areas that had previously seen high rates of positive test results. He said that elective surgeries in Erie County, for example, could start again, as worries about hospital capacity have decreased.

“We are seeing that spike come down,” he said. “Now we can start making adjustments.”

He said other restrictions could be eased on Wednesday, though he said the changes would probably not include the resumption of indoor dining in New York City, which he barred in December.

Mr. Cuomo also acknowledged, however, that the supply of vaccinations was far lower than the demand and the state’s capacity to administer doses. He warned vaccine distributors not to schedule appointments for more vaccinations than the state had allotted.

“It’s a national supply issue; it’s not a New York issue,” he said. “It’s a problem across the globe. Every country is trying to get more vaccine.”

Mr. de Blasio also sent a letter to President Biden last week requesting more doses, along with the “flexibility” to use second doses to increase the pace of vaccinations. He did not discuss any specific progress made on Monday, but appeared hopeful that an update could come soon.

“What is so clear now is the commitment of the Biden administration,” Mr. de Blasio said, “to finding every conceivable way to get us more vaccine quickly. We are waiting in the course of this week for more detailed information.”

Mr. Cuomo said on Monday that he thought that second doses should not be used as first doses, and he reassured people who had received their first dose that a second dose would be available to them.

“That appointment will be fulfilled,” he said.

The European health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, speaking at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on Monday.
Credit…Pool photo by John Thys

The European Union escalated a war of words with AstraZeneca on Monday over the company’s sudden announcement on Friday that it would have to drastically cut the number of vaccine doses delivered to the bloc and its 27 members.

The European health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, said a call with the company’s leadership on Monday had not yielded sufficient answers as to why the company was breaking its contractual obligation and said another call would be held on Monday evening.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca, said: “Our C.E.O. Pascal Soriot was pleased to speak with the Commission President Ursula von der Leyen earlier today. He stressed the importance of working in partnership and how AstraZeneca is doing everything it can to bring its vaccine to millions of Europeans as soon as possible.”

The AstraZeneca debacle delivers a serious blow to the bloc’s sluggish vaccination rollout, and comes days after Pfizer notified E.U. members and several other countries that it would slow down deliveries until mid-February as it upgraded its Belgium factory to increase production.

The twin disappointments have left several E.U. countries hamstrung, and have thwarted the bloc’s collective effort to vaccinate 70 percent of its population by this summer, as Britain and the United States are making better progress with their inoculation programs.

“The European Union has pre-financed the development of the vaccine and its production, and wants to see the return,” Ms. Kyriakides said, implying that the E.U. was concerned the company had sold the vaccines the bloc had funded to other countries.

“The European Union wants to know exactly which doses have been produced, where by AstraZeneca so far, and if, or to whom, they have been delivered,” she added.

Ms. Kyriakides also said that the European Commission, the executive branch of the E.U., was proposing its members approve a system in which pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca that produce vaccines in plants in E.U. territory would need to register any intention to export part of that production outside the bloc.

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transcript

transcript

E.U. Recommends Travel Restrictions to Curb Virus Cases

The European Commission proposed on Monday to restrict nonessential travel to slow the spread of the new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

The new, more transmissible variants of the virus have surfaced. There is currently a very high number of new infections across many member states, and there is an urgent need to reduce the risk of travel-related infections to lessen the burden on overstretched health care systems. First, the commission proposes that all non-essential travel to and from high-risk areas, is strongly discouraged. In this context, we also invite member states to ensure consistency between the measures they take regarding cross-border travel and travel within their territories. We are suggesting stricter measures for dark-red areas because we must recognize the high level of cases. It is why member states should require individuals coming from these areas to do a test prior to arrival and quarantine after arrival if needed.

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The European Commission proposed on Monday to restrict nonessential travel to slow the spread of the new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus.CreditCredit…Yoan Valat/EPA, via Shutterstock

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, recommended on Monday restricting nonessential travel in a bid to curb the spread of new more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

At the same time, the commission’s proposal aims to prevent blanket border closures, which would obstruct trade and the movement of cross-border workers. Traveling without restrictions would still be possible for family, work and health reasons, which are deemed essential.

“The situation in Europe with the new variants have led us to take difficult but necessary decisions,” Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the commission, wrote on Twitter. “We need to keep safe and discourage nonessential travel.”

Also on Monday, Moderna announced that while its vaccine is effective against new variants, it appears to be less protective against the one that emerged in South Africa, raising further concern.

President Biden’s press secretary said Monday that he would ban travel by noncitizens into the United States from South Africa because of concern about a coronavirus variant spreading in that country, and will extend similar bans imposed by his predecessor on travel from Brazil, 27 European countries and the United Kingdom.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was expected to announce an extension and tightening of lockdown rules in England this week amid growing concern.

In the E.U. plan, countries and regions where the 14-day infection rate is more than 500 per 100,000 inhabitants would qualify as “dark red,” or high-risk zones, and moving between them should be limited to essential reasons, the commission said. At the same time, those coming in from outside the bloc, even for essential reasons, would have to undergo testing and quarantines. “The first recommendation is: don’t travel,” said Ylva Johansson, the bloc’s commissioner for home affairs.

The commission’s proposal is nonbinding and needs to be endorsed by national governments, who will discuss it Monday afternoon. It comes after last week’s meeting of the leaders of 27 European Union nations, who agreed in principle to selectively restrict nonessential travel, but did not decide on the details.

“There is currently a very high number of new infections across many member states,” said Didier Reynders, the bloc’s commissioner for justice. “There is an urgent need to reduce the risk of travel-related infections, to lessen the burden on overstretched health care systems.”

Freedom of movement is the cornerstone of the bloc, but travel restrictions remain the province of national governments and vary from country to country, creating a chaotic patchwork of measures. Belgium, for example, has announced a ban on nonessential travel coming into force this Wednesday, with fines for those who don’t comply.

Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
Credit…Jessica Hill for The New York Times

Students flooded the nation’s most competitive colleges with a record number of applications to be part of the Class of 2025 — so many, in fact, that all eight Ivy League universities have agreed to delay their decision date by about a week, until April 6, so admissions officers will have time to review them all.

Harvard said more than 57,000 students had applied by the January deadline, an increase of about 42 percent over last year, according to The Crimson, the student newspaper. Rachael Dane, a spokeswoman for Harvard, said the decision date was being postponed “to give full and fair review” to everyone who applied.

The surge was attributed in large part to the decision by Ivy League schools — along with nearly 1,700 other colleges and universities nationwide — to make it optional for students to submit SAT and ACT scores with their applications for fall 2021 admissions.

Standardized dates had to be canceled last year for thousands of students because of the pandemic, making it hard for many to even get a test score. Experts said students who in the past might not have dared to apply to elite schools, assuming they would be automatically screened out by their performance on the tests, are now applying.

“They’re saying, let me put my name in the hat,” said Hafeez Lakhani, a college consultant.

Over all, the volume of college applications submitted by January deadlines was 10 percent higher than last year, amounting to almost 5.6 million applications through Jan. 18, the Common Application, which is used by most American colleges, reported Monday.

The increase was driven largely by an increase in applications to the most selective universities, which rose 17 percent, and to the largest universities, which rose 16 percent, the Common App reported.

“Based on my long career in college admissions, I know that students often don’t apply to certain selective schools because they think a test score might keep them out,” said Jenny Rickard, the president and chief executive of the Common App.

She added: “Hopefully those colleges will use it as an opportunity to increase equity and expand the diversity of their incoming classes.”

Meghan Hayes, a teacher at John Hay Community Academy, teaching her class outside the school board president’s home earlier this month. 
Credit…Pat Nabong/Chicago Sun-Times, via Associated Press

With roughly 70,000 kindergarten through eighth grade students scheduled to return to public school classrooms in Chicago next week, the district and the teachers’ union remain locked in a battle over the reopening plan, with the union saying that a majority of its members voted to authorize a strike if the district seeks to force teachers back into buildings.

All staff working in kindergarten through eighth grade classrooms were originally supposed to report to buildings on Monday to prepare for students’ return next week. But late last week, the union asked its members to vote on a resolution calling on them to refuse to report in-person and to authorize a strike if the district locked them out of its electronic systems.

Over the weekend, the two sides jockeyed for leverage. The district sent a message to families and staff saying that it had agreed to a request from the union to postpone the date for staff to return to Wednesday. Shortly after, the union sent its own message denying that there had been any agreement and saying that its members had voted to continue working remotely indefinitely.

The district said that the union was making several requests that it disagreed with, including delaying reopening until all staff members had been able to receive at least one dose of the vaccine or until the citywide positivity rate fell below 3 percent. Over the last week, the citywide positivity rate has been 7.2 percent. The district has said it will begin vaccinating teachers in mid-February and that it hopes to vaccinate all employees in the coming months.

According to the district, the union was also requesting weekly surveillance testing of staff as well as regular testing of students in parts of the city with high positivity rates. Currently, the district is planning to test up to a quarter of staff each week and is not planning to do surveillance testing of students.

Prekindergarten students and some special education students returned to school buildings on Jan. 11, in the first wave of the district’s reopening. The district said on Friday that roughly 60 percent of the 5,352 students who were expected to attend in person actually did in the first week. Overall about a third of families in the district who have been given the option to have their students return in person have signed up to do so.

Chicago is not the only district where opposition from teachers’ unions is threatening reopening plans: Over the weekend, plans to reopen schools in Montclair, New Jersey, were postponed indefinitely after the superintendent said he did not have enough teachers to properly staff the schools.

The decision capped a tense week in a community known for its liberal politics: Elementary teachers, citing coronavirus safety concerns, boycotted in-school prep sessions in defiance of the superintendent, and a heated board of education meeting on Wednesday lasted until nearly midnight.

The decision to return to in-person learning is made more complex in New Jersey, where coronavirus infections have been surging and teachers are not among the first groups prioritized for vaccines — a policy that the statewide teachers’ union, a close ally of Gov. Philip D. Murphy, has refrained from strenuously criticizing. Yet over the last week, some union leaders and superintendents have cited the policy to justify efforts to keep schools closed.

The company announced a series of measures to help accelerate vaccination efforts.
Credit…Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Google said it will make company buildings, parking lots and open spaces available to serve as temporary vaccination clinics in partnership with health care providers and public health officials.

In a blog post on Monday, Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said the company will start by opening sites in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, with plans to expand to other sites nationwide.

The move is part of a series of measures to help accelerate vaccination efforts. Google also said it plans to contribute $100 million in ad credits to health organizations to educate people about the vaccine and $50 million for groups working on fair access to the vaccine.

It will also include more information in search results and maps to help people find vaccination locations with details about who is eligible and whether appointments are necessary. Google said it will provide local distribution information in search results in the coming week so people can determine whether they are eligible to receive a vaccine.

The Flaming Lips have used plastic bubbles at concerts to protect against the transmission of the coronavirus, but some experts were unsure about the effectiveness of those measures.
Credit…Scott Booker

There are Covid-19 bubbles — small clusters of friends or family who agree to socialize exclusively with each other during the pandemic — and then there are the kinds of bubbles the Flaming Lips used at recent concerts.

Band members and concertgoers alike rocked out and bounced while encased in large individual plastic bubbles amid bright swirling lights in trippy scenes at concerts on Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City.

The band has taken the elaborate precautions at its live performances to protect against the transmission of the coronavirus, but some health experts were unsure about the effectiveness of those measures.

“I’d need to see how the air exchange was occurring between the outside and the inside of the bubbles to be able to say if it were safe over all or reduced risk of transmission,” said Dr. Eric Cioe-Peña, the director of global health at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

The Flaming Lips, an indie rock band founded in the early 1980s, who are known for their exuberant live shows and recording experiments, performed a similar concert in October. They also performed their song “Race for the Prize” in June using the spheres on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”

The concerts on Friday and Saturday were originally scheduled for December, but the band postponed them because of rising Covid-19 cases in the Oklahoma City metro area.

“It’s a very restricted, weird event,” the band’s frontman, Wayne Coyne, told Rolling Stone last month. “But the weirdness is so we can enjoy a concert before putting our families and everybody at risk.”

A woman in Oakland, Calif., holds mail that was received at her home addressed to people who presumably tried to defraud the California Employment Development Department.
Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

As much as $30 billion of the unemployment claims paid last year in California during the pandemic may have gone to swindlers, state officials said Monday, reporting that at least one-tenth of benefits were fraudulently collected by organized crime rings, prison inmates and identity thieves.

The breathtaking losses are far more than initially estimated in November, when a task force of district attorneys made the situation public in a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, calling it “the most significant fraud on taxpayer funds in California history.”

Focused mostly on the pandemic unemployment insurance program initiated in spring, when layoffs soared early in the pandemic, the frauds were confirmed to have siphoned off at least 9.7 percent of the record $114 billion in benefits paid out between March 2020 and the middle of this month, said Julie Su, California’s labor secretary.

Another 17 percent of payments remain under investigation, even as existing and new screening measures have blocked some $60 billion in bogus claims. By comparison, in 2019, fraud accounted for about 6 percent of California’s total unemployment insurance payments.

Most of the fraud occurred in the federally funded pandemic assistance program, which expedited benefits for independent contractors, gig workers, self-employed people and others who did not qualify for traditional unemployment insurance, according to state officials. Because of the hasty rollout of the program, they said, benefits were less secure.

But Anne Marie Schubert, the Sacramento County district attorney leading the prosecutors’ task force, said the system’s security also has suffered from the lack of a way to cross-index, say, its roster of jail inmates with unemployment claimants.

“While I appreciate the great strides we are now taking,” she said, “the fact is that California had no cross-match system, despite 35 other states having one. It’s bad enough that California state prison and jail inmates ripped off the state, but even out-of-state inmates were able to target California because the system failed to stop this.”

A spokeswoman for the governor’s office said cross-checking is now possible for prison inmates. But Ms. Su said, “There is no sugarcoating the reality. California did not have enough security measures in place.”

The scandal has thrown the state’s unemployment program into turmoil, forcing the state to suspend benefits in December for some 1.4 million Californians while investigators confirmed the identities of the claimants. State lawmakers have lashed out at the Employment Development Department, which oversees claims, as constituents have complained about backlogged benefits.

News accounts since November have reported one outrage after another, with death row inmates, year-old toddlers, a rapper and someone impersonating Senator Dianne Feinstein, among others, fraudulently collecting unemployment checks.

Blake Hall, the chief executive of ID.me, a security firm hired to do fraud prevention for the Employment Development Department, said California is just one of the largest and earliest states to address pandemic aid frauds, which have eviscerated benefits programs across the nation. North Dakota, for example, has about 500,000 workers and yet received 400,000 claims for unemployment benefits during the pandemic, he said.

Mr. Hall said most of the fraud in the state appears to have been run by crime syndicates in Nigeria, Russia and Hong Kong. But much of it was also communicated on the dark web, he said, where fraudsters posted open-source playbooks with detailed instructions on how to game the state’s system with identity theft.

“E.D.D. was clearly underprepared for the type and magnitude of criminal attacks and the sheer quantity of claims,” Rita Saenz, the department’s new director, said in a statement. “We are focused on making the changes necessary to provide benefits to eligible Californians as quickly as possible and stopping fraud before it enters the system.”

Mr. Hall commended California for moving quickly. “There will be many states that will be far worse off,” he said.

Outside a cafe in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Monday, the first day after lockdown restrictions were lifted.
Credit…Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Ukraine reopened schools, restaurants and movie theaters on Monday after testing showed the coronavirus was spreading less rapidly after just one week of a strict lockdown.

The health minister, Maksym Stepanov, pointed to the improving statistics as a clear indication that a strict lockdown, even if brief, can tamp down numbers. The rate of new infections declined about a third after the first seven days of closures, he said.

The cumulative number of infections nationwide last week was just over 30,000, nearly 14,000 less than the week before, Mr. Stepanov said. “The statistics are relatively optimistic and point to an improvement in the situation,” he said, local media reported.

Mr. Stepanov also pointed to a decline in hospitalizations, which typically trail infections by several weeks, suggesting that the downward trend had begun before the lockdowns and that New Year celebrations had not shifted the dynamic.

President Volodymyr Zelensky quickly imposed lockdowns last spring before easing them over the summer. The country retained a system that can close businesses in cities or regions with flare-ups.

Though the government lifted some restrictions on Monday, not all businesses can open. Nightclubs and sports stadiums remain closed. Schools are not allowed convene large gatherings of students, such as for performances or schoolwide meetings.

Ukraine, which aspires to join the European Union but is not in the bloc, has struggled to find vaccines and may not be able to inoculate its population until well into the year, forcing it to rely on quarantines, lockdowns and other restrictions until then.

Protesters clashed with the police during a demonstration against coronavirus restrictions in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, on Sunday.
Credit…Rob Engelaar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands said on Monday that anyone involved in riots over the weekend protesting the country’s coronavirus measures had engaged in “criminal violence” and warned that perpetrators would be treated accordingly.

Hundreds of people were detained during unrest in Amsterdam, Eindhoven and at least eight other cities after the start of a 9 p.m. curfew on Saturday, the police said. Officers used tear gas, attack dogs and water cannons to disperse crowds in the southern city of Eindhoven, where shops were looted and cars set on fire. In Urk, a staunchly protestant fishing village young people burned down a Covid test facility.

The riots repeated for a third night on Monday evening in the Dutch cities of Rotterdam and Geleen, Reuters reported.

“This has nothing to do with protest or fighting for freedom,” Mr. Rutte, told reporters on Monday. “This is criminal violence, and we will treat it as such.”

His caretaker government implemented harsh new lockdown measures last week, vetted by Parliament, to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Flights to Britain, South Africa and most of South America were halted on Saturday. It also implemented a nationwide curfew, the first since World War II.

The mayor of Eindhoven, John Jorritsma, was visibly upset when he spoke to reporters about the violence in the city. He called the rioters “scum of the earth” and said he feared the Netherlands, normally one of the quietest countries in the European Union, was “on a path of civil war.”

A spokesman for the Dutch police union said the group feared that the illegal protests and riots were just the start of the curfew-related unrest. “I hope it was a one-off, but I’m afraid it was a harbinger for the coming days and weeks,” the spokesman, Koen Simmers, said, according to the public broadcaster NOS. “We haven’t seen so much violence in 40 years,” he added.

The protesters also gathered last week in Amsterdam after calls on social media to “resist” the lockdown rules and the government’s policies overall. Mr. Rutte is one of the longest-serving European leaders. Elections in the Netherlands are scheduled for March.

Protests also erupted over the weekend in Denmark. Five people were arrested on Saturday during an anti-lockdown demonstration in Copenhagen, local news outlets reported. Around 1,000 protesters gathered to demonstrate against what they said were limitations of their freedoms, after a call for protest by a Facebook group. Protesters tied an effigy of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen to a pole and burned it, Danish channel TV2 reported. A sign was hung around the effigy’s neck saying, “She must and should be killed.”

A parking lot of the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., which has been turned into a mass vaccination site.
Credit…Juan Arredondo for The New York Times

An 8-year-old girl in Missouri is getting an earful from frustrated Arizonans who are trying to get inoculated against Covid-19 and mistakenly calling her instead.

Sophia Garcia of Sullivan, Mo., who used to live in Arizona, has been receiving dozens of calls from people in the state on her hand-me-down phone, whose Phoenix number is just one digit different from the Arizona health department’s vaccine help line.

“Every five minutes my phone keeps ringing,” she told Phoenix’s CBS affiliate, KPHO/KTVK. Callers have been complaining about scheduling difficulties and asking how to book an appointment, her family said. In response, Sophia has recorded a voice mail message directing callers to the appropriate number.

Her story offers a glimpse of the struggles and at times desperation of people seeking vaccination in Arizona and elsewhere. People across the United States have complained of their second dose appointments being canceled after vaccination sites ran out of supplies. And there are concerns that President Biden’s goal of 100 million shots in 100 days may not be ambitious enough.

Arizona, which has the worst infection rate in the country, is speeding up vaccinations after a slow start, with the Department of Health Services announcing on Sunday that more than 400,000 doses had been administered. Over 61,000 people have received both doses, the health department said. A New York Times tracker monitoring the vaccine rollout in each state places Arizona in the top 20 for doses administered.

After earlier glitches and staff shortages, the state attributes the turnaround partly to round-the-clock use of the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix, as a site for inoculations in the past few weeks. “The success of our State Farm Stadium vaccination site has made it clear that Arizona can efficiently and effectively administer vaccine to large numbers,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said in a statement.

Another vaccination site at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium is set to open next week.

State officials said the federal government had denied a request for an additional 300,000 doses each week. “Now the federal government has to step up its game and provide additional vaccine to support Arizona’s proven momentum,” Dr. Christ said.

In the meantime, Arizonans who inadvertently call Sophia in Missouri will get this firm but encouraging message: “Hopefully, if you try carefully, you could get the right number.”

GLOBAL ROUNDUP

A man crossed a street under lockdown in the neighborhood surrounding Renji Hospital in Shanghai on Sunday.
Credit…Alex Plavevski/EPA, via Shutterstock

An official in the northeastern Chinese city of Tonghua, where residents are barred from leaving their homes amid a strict lockdown, apologized to residents who said they had not been receiving enough food.

Tonghua, an industrial city of about two million people in Jilin Province, went into lockdown on Jan. 20 after the number of recent cases grew to nearly 100. Since then the local outbreak has been largely brought under control, with just two new symptomatic cases reported on Saturday.

As China observes the one-year anniversary of the lockdown in Wuhan, the central city where the virus was first discovered, other parts of the country are confronting smaller outbreaks. The government has responded with mass testing and citywide lockdowns that at one point affected more than 28 million people, almost three times the size of the population that was initially locked down in Wuhan.

On Monday, China reported 124 new cases in the previous 24 hours, including 117 local cases and seven among travelers in quarantine after returning from overseas. That is an increase from 80 cases reported a day earlier, though still vastly lower than other large countries. Mainland China, which has a population of 1.4 billion people, has recorded a total of about 100,000 coronavirus cases and 4,635 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

In Tonghua, the tough restrictions on movement have led to widespread complaints, with residents taking to social media to vent and seek help. Jiang Haiyan, a deputy mayor, acknowledged the problems on Sunday, saying that a lack of personnel had hindered the distribution of supplies.

“At present, there are problems of untimely and inadequate distribution of household materials for citizens, which has caused great inconvenience to everyone’s lives,” Ms. Jiang said.

The city’s Communist Party committee and local government “express their sincere apologies to everyone,” she added.

The city had since recruited a large number of community workers and volunteers to ensure adequate supply distribution, Ms. Jiang said.

But on the social media accounts for The People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s main newspaper, some people continued to express dissatisfaction with the situation.

“Before the residents weren’t treated humanely, they didn’t tell us anything and in one night went from house to house sealing everything up,” read one popular reply. “Now grass-roots officials and volunteers are treated inhumanely, and in one night all the food must be distributed door to door.”

Salman Masood and Lin Qiqing contributed reporting.

In other developments around the world:

  • Australia on Monday approved the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use among people 16 and older, the country’s first vaccine approval. Vaccinations are expected to start late next month. The announcement came one year to the day after Australia reported its first coronavirus case.

  • Pakistan is likely to approve the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, officials said. It would be the third to get such approval, joining Oxford University’s AstraZeneca and the Chinese SinoPharm vaccines. Pakistan, which has an approximate population of 212 million, has yet to start its rollout. Dr. Faisal Sultan, the de facto health minister, said last week that one million dosages would be distributed in the first three months of 2021. Trials of the Chinese CanSino vaccine are currently being conducted in the country, and the results are expected in the first week of February, officials said.

  • Spain registered its worst weekend since it first got hit by the pandemic last March, according to data released on Monday by the country’s health ministry, which showed that there were almost 94,000 new cases since Friday. Spain’s Covid-19 patients now occupy about 40 percent of the beds in the country’s intensive care units, a situation that was described as “critical” on Monday by the director of Spain’s center for health emergencies, Fernando Simón. A handful of Spanish regions announced further lockdown measures on Monday, including northwestern Galicia, which is closing all its restaurants, bars and universities.

  • The pandemic has inflicted the greatest labor crisis since the Great Depression, Guy Ryder, the head of the United Nations International Labour Organization, said on Monday. Mr. Ryder said the coronavirus has caused a loss of working hours equivalent to some 255 million jobs last year. There is still massive uncertainty about when the global economy will return to pre-pandemic levels of employment, but it won’t be in 2021, the agency said. Its analysis also pointed to the unevenness of the pandemic’s impact, with growth in the finance and I.T. sectors, underscoring the need for a targeted response to the crisis.

  • After delays, Turkey received 6.5 million more doses of a Chinese-produced coronavirus vaccine Monday morning, the state-run news agency, Anadolu, reported. Turkey was expecting to receive at least 10 million doses of the vaccine in December, and 20 million more in January. But the batches were delayed and the number of doses remained below expectations, an apparent blow to China’s vaccine diplomacy. Turkey has given more than 1.2 million inoculations, according to Health Ministry data, using the CoronaVac shot from the Chinese company Sinovac. Almost 2.5 million people in Turkey are infected with the coronavirus and more than 25,000 people have died, government data shows.

  • Officials in New Zealand confirmed on Monday a case of the South African variant of the coronavirus in a returned traveler a week after she left hotel quarantine. Officials have said the 56-year-old, who had tested negative twice before being allowed to return home, was probably infected by a fellow returned traveler while in quarantine. People who were at the same hotel have been urged to self-isolate immediately. It is the first case New Zealand has recorded outside quarantine since November. The Australian government announced on Monday a 72-hour suspension of its quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand. All travelers from the country would be subject to mandatory hotel quarantine on arrival, the Australian health ministry said.

  • The presidential election in Portugal on Sunday was marked by record-low voter turnout amid a nationwide lockdown and the country’s highest one-day death toll from the coronavirus. Turnout was about 39 percent, according to the preliminary results, despite an easing of restrictions on movement and an increase in the number of polling stations. In the last presidential election in 2016, turnout was more than 48 percent. On Sunday, officials reported a record 275 coronavirus deaths, one day after reporting 15,333 cases, also a single-day record. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Portugal’s center-right president, was re-elected to a second five-year term with about 61 percent of the vote.



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Some traveling to the Triad to get a COVID-19 vaccine

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There’s major demand for the coronavirus vaccine and some are driving hours to get their doses.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The high demand for the coronavirus vaccine is obvious but some are driving hours to the Triad to get their doses, specifically to Forsyth County.

The county shared a list with WFMY News 2 that shows 35 North Carolina counties that vaccine patients have traveled from to get vaccinated in Forsyth.

Forsyth County said their data is based on the addresses vaccine patients give them.

The map below shows those counties stretch across the state. They are denoted by yellow stars. A white circle shows Forsyth County.

WFMY News 2 asked the Guilford County Department of Public Health whether they have data on where their vaccine patients are coming from. The health department responded via email saying it does not have any data to share at this time.

Some are driving hundreds of miles to get their vaccines but the drive wasn’t that long for Jeff Telander of Alamance County.

“I liken it to trying to get really good seats at a very popular rock concert. If you want good seats you’ve got to be there and ready to click on that button,” Telander said.

Telander decided to get vaccinated in another county because Alamance County is still only vaccinating people 75 and up. Other counties opened up to people 65 and up after the state gave the green light.

“There’s no way to know when Alamance is going to get through to our category and I think it’s important for as many of us to get vaccinated as possible,” Telander said.

He tried several places and was waitlisted. The first to confirm his vaccine appointment was the Forsyth County Department of Public Health.

“It doesn’t matter what county or state you’re from,” Forsyth County Public Health Director Joshua Swift said.

Swift said the state’s vaccination plan allows people to travel for their shots, as long as they are a part of the appropriate phase.

“We have not seen anyone state hop but if they do we will not turn anyone away,” Swift said, “We have had individuals from across North Carolina come to get vaccine. We have seen people from other counties from the coast.”

Meanwhile, vaccine supplies are limited across the state which is creating uneven supplies for counties.

Forsyth County got 5,000 doses this week while Guilford County got 500.

Data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shows since vaccinations began in Mid-December, both counties are neck and neck in the number of vaccines they have given at 30,000 doses each.

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said moving forward, counties will receive vaccine shipments based on population and the doses must be divided among providers.


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Americans warned against travel as COVID-19 variants spread and testing rules go into effect

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The State Department warned Americans to strongly reconsider travel Tuesday as a new COVID-19 testing requirement went into effect and new variants of the virus were detected in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“If you’re overseas right now, it could be harder to come home for a while,” said Ian Brownlee, the State Department’s acting assistant secretary for consular affairs. “Everyone needs to be prepared to be potentially seriously disrupted in their trip.”

Brownlee’s warning came on the first day of the U.S.’s new testing requirement for inbound travelers overseas. All airline passengers, regardless of citizenship, must now present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel or show proof that they have recovered from the deadly virus. Anyone failing to do either will be denied boarding by the airlines and will be responsible for any additional lodging costs.

While U.S. embassies overseas can help U.S. citizens with information and possibly a loan to help them return home, Brownlee said they do not have the ability to provide COVID-19 testing for those seeking to return.

“The bottom line message is: This is really not the time for people to be engaging in discretionary travel and that all travel should be postponed until we get a better handle on getting this virus under control, and accelerating our vaccination strategies,” he said.

The new measure is part of an executive order issued by the Biden administration to tighten COVID-19 restrictions with the hope of slowing down the spread of several highly contagious variants of the disease that are now spreading in the region.

At least 15 countries and territories in the Americas, including the United States, have confirmed the presence of at least one of three emerging variants: Those first identified in southeast England, South Africa or Brazil.

The new variants are proving to be very difficult and their emergence highlights the challenges U.S. health officials are facing in the race to vaccinate as many people as they can against infections, said Dr. Marty Cetron, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s global migration and quarantine division.

“They all suggest that they are potentially more contagious than the current circulating predominate virus. They can quickly become the predominant virus that’s circulating and several of them have presented challenges in …evading some of the natural immunity and challenges toward looking at our vaccine solutions,” he said.

The Pan American Health Organization confirmed the spread of one of the highly contagious mutated strains of the virus to 14 countries Tuesday. That list grew hours later when the Cayman Islands, a British dependent territory 433 miles south of Miami, reported that the U.K. variant had also been detected in three recent travelers arriving from Barbados and Britain.

“It is not surprising that we now have confirmation of this variant in the Cayman Islands, as we know it to be virulent and widespread,” Cayman’ Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee said.

Cayman was notified of the strain by the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the Trinidad-based public health agency conducting COVID-19 testing for a number of countries and territories in the region. The agency has been asking its members to send in selections of positive COVID-19 samples for genetic sequencing.

So far, Caribbean health experts have discovered the U.K. variant in Cayman Islands, St. Lucia, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Separately Cuba, according to PAHO, has reported the presence of the South African strain while the Dominican Republic has confirmed the presence of the U.K. variant.

On Tuesday, the U.S. surpassed 25 million reported cases of COVID-19 and over 400,000 deaths, the CDC said, making the variants even more of a threat. The CDC made a last-minute decision to eliminate a two-week waiver for airlines flying to countries where it will be difficult for passengers returning to the U.S. to comply with the new testing rule.

“This virus is a formidable foe,” Cetron said. “We have to be prepared to be very flexible in response to this virus and adapt our strategies quickly.”

Cetron said the new variants have the ability to spread asymptomatically and pre-symptomatically, characteristics that have been fueling the pandemic. Also worrying is the speed at which the virus can move through a population and grow exponentially, its reproductive rate and the evolution of the virus in forming mutations that have the potential to become more contagious, and potentially more serious.

For example, in the case of the strain that emerged in Manaus, Brazil, there is a high probability of reinfection. While the population had recovered from an initial large wave of infections, it was later revealed that the mutation caused a number of reinfections and a second uptick in cases. This variant has been reported in Japan after it was first identified in Brazil in December.

“We’re really in a race between a really formidable virus and our human ability to control transmission and bring our best tools to the table in the form of vaccinations. So we have the variant versus the vaccines, and we have the infection in general in and of itself, versus our ability to fight this.”

Since Tuesday, airlines have been tasked with confirming that passengers traveling to the U.S. have been tested within the previous three days, in accordance with the new order.

A spokesperson for American Airlines said Tuesday afternoon that the company’s Latin American and Caribbean operations were running smoothly, and that there were no major issues to report.

U.S. officials said they have been fielding calls from airlines and so far the issues that have come up are things that were anticipated and are being worked out. There are over 100 countries that have testing requirements for either exit or entry to control the global pandemic, the CDC said.

The new testing requirement does not apply to individuals flying from the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico.

At the Port-au-Prince airport in Haiti, however, chaos did erupt and police had to be called, said a physician, Dr. Vincent DeGennaro, who was traveling back to the U.S. Tuesday. DeGennaro said several passengers who got tested at his facility, Innovating Health International, which is among several on a U.S. embassy list, were denied boarding by airline agents when they checked in for their flight.

The airlines told the travelers that the tests were invalid because DeGennaro’s facility is not among the five on a list released by Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP).

“Why does the MSPP list matter?” said DeGennaro, who also got tested at his facility and faced no problems boarding a JetBlue flight to Fort Lauderdale. “These are American visa holders on U.S. private companies being screened for a U.S. policy they are going to need to enforce on the U.S. side of the border.”

DeGennaro said he spent the afternoon emailing, tweeting and calling all of the major U.S. carriers flying to Haiti, as well as the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince. No one responded. He said another colleague traveling Tuesday told him he saw dozens of U.S. bound passengers denied due to the testing requirement.

American Airlines spokeswoman Laura Masvidal declined to comment on whether there had been any significant reduction in the number of people boarding flights. She acknowledged that some passengers arrived at the Port-au-Prince airport without proof of negative results and were moved to a later flight after showing the necessary documentation.

Spirit Airlines said while most of its U.S.-bound passengers flying out of the region Tuesday showed up with the proper documentation, some had to be turned away after presenting antibody tests. The CDC is requiring PCR COVID-19 tests or rapid antigen tests.

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A box containing vials of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, Calif., this month.
Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

The federal government’s weekly allocations of coronavirus vaccines will increase by about 1.5 million doses next week — a jump that White House officials plan to inform governors of on a call Tuesday afternoon, according to a federal official familiar with the government’s planning.

The increase, to around 10 million doses per week, will come from the federal government’s plans to release more of the vaccine made by Moderna, the Massachusetts biotech company whose vaccine was authorized for emergency use in December. Although governors will likely welcome the news, it does not reflect any increase in the overall amount that Moderna will deliver to the federal government in the first three months of this year, according to people familiar with the company’s production.

The increase was first reported by the Washington Post.

Moderna and the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which produced another vaccine with emergency approval, have been ramping up production and are on track to together deliver between 12 and 18 million doses a week by the end of March, the federal official said. On Monday President Biden said that he was now aiming for the United States to administer 1.5 million vaccine doses a day, which would be 10.5 million a week.

As of Tuesday, Moderna had delivered to a federal government distributor 30.4 million of the 100 million doses it has pledged to ship out by the end of the March. The company has said it fully expects to fulfill that promise.

Also on Tuesday, Pfizer’s chief executive, Dr. Albert Bourla, said the company would now provide 120 million doses to the United States by the end of March instead of 100 million, an increase that he attributed to a change allowing for the extraction of six doses in vials that were originally supposed to hold only five.

Vaccination sites were already removing six doses from the vials in many cases, but starting this week, the new accounting will be formalized and allocations of Pfizer doses that states will receive will be based on the assumption that each vial contains six and not five doses, meaning that states could receive fewer vials. Some pharmacists have said that six doses cannot always reliably be extracted from the vials, even with special syringes that the federal government is now providing to vaccination sites, which could add to the already complicated rollout process.

Some states and localities have been clamoring for more vaccines, while many others are struggling to use their existing supply. Overall, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 53 percent of the doses distributed have been administered.

Although that percentage has been rising as states get more efficient, Biden administration officials have cited an urgent need for both more vaccinators and vaccination centers. Mr. Biden has already directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin establishing federally supported community vaccination centers, aiming to have 100 centers in operation in the next month. And he intends to set up mobile vaccination units to reach underserved urban and rural populations.

At Kennedy Airport in New York on Monday. Several countries are imposing restrictions on international air travelers, including the United States.
Credit…Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Around the world, borders were being tightened this week as rising cases and the threat of more contagious virus variants taking hold prompted travel policy changes from the United States to Europe to Australia.

Even as the United States moved to impose travel restrictions, citing the danger of the fast-moving variants, a case of the variant spreading in Brazil was identified in Minnesota.

In Europe, France is moving to impose strict border measures, Britain is considering a mandatory hotel quarantine for some travelers, and the European Union is urging more coordinated action among member states to limit travel.

Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, said on Tuesday that his country was considering “the reduction of air traffic to Germany to almost zero” to head off the spread of the variants. “The people who accept tough restrictions in Germany expect us to protect them as best we can from an explosion in infection numbers,” he told the Bild newspaper.

Already, a hospital in Berlin and another in the state of Bavaria have stopped taking any new patients and have sent much of their staff into quarantine after the B.1.1.7 variant was detected, raising fears that the country’s current safety measures were not stringent enough to meet the new threat.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand said on Tuesday that the country’s borders would remain closed until New Zealanders had been “vaccinated and protected.” Australia has suspended its travel bubble with New Zealand for 72 hours from Monday, after New Zealand confirmed a case outside its quarantine system of the variant found in South Africa.

As of Tuesday, the United States will begin requiring a negative virus test from all arriving international air travelers. The Biden administration has announced that it is extending a ban on travel by noncitizens into the United States from Brazil, Britain and 27 other European countries, and adding South Africa to the list.

The Brazil-based variant, known as B.1.1.28.1 or P.1, was identified Monday in a Minnesota resident who had recently traveled to Brazil, the state health authorities said, which could suggest that the variant might not yet be widely circulating.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an adviser to President Biden, said it was only a matter of time before the Brazil-based variant was detected in the United States. “With the world travel that you have, and the degree of transmissibility efficiency, it’s not surprising,” he said.

The variants have arrived just as there are signs of progress. Hospitalizations, after peaking in early January, are at their lowest level nationally since Dec. 13, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The average daily caseload in the United States is down by about one-third compared with two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database.

And after a slow start, the pace of vaccinations is picking up, and the United States already seems to be vaccinating well over a million people per day, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mr. Biden said Monday that he is now aiming for the United States to administer 1.5 million doses a day, a 50 percent increase from his initial target.

But scientists fear much of the country’s momentum could be quickly halted if the variants continue to spread unchecked. They are especially anxious about the variants spreading in Brazil and South Africa, which share many mutations, because they may be able to blunt the effectiveness of vaccines.

The United States is flying blind, scientists have warned, as the country navigates the spread of the new variants without a large-scale, nationwide system for checking virus genomes for new mutations. Instead, the work of discovering the variants has fallen to a patchwork of academic, state and commercial laboratories.

Scientists say that a national surveillance program would be able to determine just how widespread the new variant is and help contain emerging hot spots, extending the crucial window of time in which vulnerable people across the country could get vaccinated.

A testing center at Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Credit…Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach

Beginning Tuesday, travelers from any foreign country flying into the United States must present proof of a negative test for the coronavirus. Many other countries have been requiring negative test results for months, but the United States has been less strict in its travel requirements.

While travel globally will be affected, especially in light of the Biden administration’s decision to bar travelers — excluding American citizens — from Brazil, Britain, Ireland, South Africa and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders, the biggest impact of the testing rule will be for destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico, which have continued to attract American leisure travelers who cannot go to other parts of the world.

“We keep getting curveballs thrown at us in our whole industry,” said Jason Kycek, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Casa de Campo, a golf-and-beach resort in the Dominican Republic that is expanding its existing on-site testing facilities. “The finish line keeps moving, but we are staying on top of things and making sure our guests have what they need and can travel safely.”

Mexico and countries in the Caribbean have remained popular destinations for American travelers even as other destinations closed their borders, in part because of their proximity to the United States, making them relatively easy and affordable to reach. In the fall, several U.S. airlines added flights to the Caribbean islands and to Mexico at a time when routes elsewhere were being cut. In November, nearly 500,000 Americans flew to Mexico alone, according to official figures.

Under the new requirement, travelers will need to get tested no more than three days before their scheduled flight, showing a negative result to their airline before boarding. Those who have already had the virus will need to show documentation of recovery in the form of a recent positive viral test and a letter from a health care provider or a public health official stating they were cleared to travel.

The United States will accept results from rapid antigen tests, while other countries have been asking for what are known as polymerase chain reaction tests, or P.C.R. tests. Antigen tests have been found to be less reliable than P.C.R. tests.

For an industry already decimated by the pandemic, the new testing requirement may cut into any business rebound. Last week, United Airlines told reporters on its fourth-quarter earnings call that Mexican destinations were among the most affected by the new testing requirement.

A vaccine center in Tel Aviv. Israel has outstripped the rest of the world in inoculating its population, making it an international test case.
Credit…Oded Balilty/Associated Press

Israel, which leads the world in vaccinating its population against the coronavirus, has produced some encouraging news: Early results show a significant drop in infection after just one shot of a two-dose vaccine, and better than expected results after both doses.

Public health experts caution that the data, based on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, is preliminary and has not been subjected to clinical trials. Even so, Dr. Anat Ekka Zohar, the vice president of Maccabi Health Services, one of the Israeli health maintenance organizations that released the data, called it “very encouraging.”

In the first early report, Clalit, Israel’s largest health fund, compared 200,000 people aged 60 or over who received a first dose of the vaccine to a matched group of 200,000 who had not been vaccinated yet. It said that 14 to 18 days after their shots, the partly vaccinated patients were 33 percent less likely to be infected.

At about the same time, Maccabi’s research arm said it had found an even larger drop in infections after just one dose: a decrease of about 60 percent, 13 to 21 days after the first shot, in the first 430,000 people to receive it.

Maccabi did not specify an age group or whether it had compared the data with a matched, non-vaccinated cohort.

The Israeli Health Ministry and Maccabi released on Monday new data on people who had received both doses of the vaccine, showing extremely high rates of effectiveness.

The ministry found that of 428,000 Israelis who had received their second doses, only 63, or 0.014 percent, had contracted the virus a week later. Similarly, the Maccabi data showed that more than a week after having received the second dose, only 20 of roughly 128,600 people, about 0.01 percent, had contracted the virus.

In clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine proved 95 percent effective after two doses in preventing coronavirus infection in people without evidence of previous infection. The Israeli results, if they hold up, suggest the efficacy could be even higher, though rigorous comparisons to unvaccinated people have not yet been published.

Both Clalit and Maccabi warned that their findings were preliminary and said they would soon be followed by more in-depth statistical analysis in peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Israel, where more than 40 percent of the population has already received one dose of the vaccine, has become something of an international test case for vaccination efficacy.

An outbreak at Greene Correctional Facility near Albany was linked to cases at an assisted-living facility and an elementary school, officials said last fall.
Credit…Will Waldron, via The Times Union

When New York announced new vaccine eligibility guidelines two weeks ago covering millions of additional state residents, one particularly hard-hit group remained unmentioned: the nearly 50,000 people incarcerated in the state’s prisons and jails.

Now, with state supplies dwindling and no clear plan for vaccinating incarcerated people, the virus is roaring back behind bars. At least 5,100 people living and working in New York’s prisons have tested positive and 12 have died in recent weeks, outpacing even the early days of the pandemic.

But how and when to vaccinate incarcerated people as millions around the state wait has raised legal, logistical and ethical questions.

Across the country, the arrival of a vaccine was hailed as a harbinger of the pandemic’s eventual end. But administering the limited supply has proved challenging, and correctional facilities — where more than half a million people have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic — present additional complications.

Officials grappling with the same difficult questions have come to different conclusions, creating a patchwork of policies and timelines, according to an analysis by the Prison Policy Initiative, a research nonprofit devoted to reducing mass incarceration. But at least 27 states directly name inmates in their public plans, and about a dozen place them in the first phases of vaccine distribution, including Massachusetts, where tens of thousands of prisoners are to be vaccinated by the end of February.

Other states plan to vaccinate prison and jail workers before incarcerated people, breaking with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends vaccinating everyone at correctional facilities simultaneously. Some, like New York, do not address those behind bars at all.

Vaccinating incarcerated people in the early stages of distribution has proved politically fraught. In New York, state senators have questioned whether prioritizing people in prisons makes sense. In Colorado, a draft plan to offer the vaccine inside prisons was met with fierce opposition for, as one district attorney wrote in The Denver Post, prioritizing “the health of incarcerated murderers” ahead of “law-abiding Coloradans 65 and older.”

New York officials said the state was preparing a plan. Public health experts broadly agree that incarcerated people are at particularly high risk for contracting and spreading the virus; at least 8,800 people living or working in New York’s prison system have tested positive since the start of the pandemic.

And because guards, lawyers, workers and people entering and leaving custody move between the facilities and the community at large, the public health implications of outbreaks behind bars extend far beyond the prison walls.Officials said last fall that an outbreak at Greene Correctional Facility near Albany was linked to cases at an assisted-living facility and an elementary school.

A cemetery in Chislehurst, England, this month. Deaths are rising in Britain as it confronts a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus.
Credit…Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain promised on Tuesday to “learn lessons” from the coronavirus pandemic, as he acknowledged that the country had surpassed 100,000 total deaths.

“Its hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic — the years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended, and for so many relatives, the missed chance even to say goodbye,” Mr. Johnson said.

He called for the country to remember the lives lost and the efforts of the country’s health care workers as they struggle to help the afflicted and to contain the spread of the virus.

“I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost, and as prime minister, I take full responsibility for everything that the government has done,” Mr. Johnson said, adding that the government would do everything in its power “to minimize, loss of life and to minimize suffering.”

The British government is preparing to announce tighter restrictions to combat a surge in new fast-spreading variants of the virus, which could include a mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers arriving from abroad. Mr. Johnson did not elaborate on those plans during his news conference.

Nadhim Zahawi, the British vaccine minister, told Sky News that an announcement on the travel rules would come later on Tuesday, but he declined to give details.

New data released by the Office for National Statistics earlier in the day put the total number of registered deaths in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales at 103,602 through Jan. 15.

The country has had some success in getting vaccinations going quickly. Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the National Health Service, said on Tuesday that so far, one in eight adults in the country had received the first of the two required vaccine doses. But he cautioned that there were still difficult times ahead.

“This is not a year that anybody is going to want to remember,” Mr. Stevens said.

Cyclists often lock bikes to street signs, breaking a law that is rarely enforced.
Credit…Jordan Gale for The New York Times

The pandemic set off an extraordinary surge in biking in New York City as people sought to avoid public transit and embrace new ways to exercise.

But now the spike has run headlong into a familiar problem on the city’s congested streets: no parking.

Cyclists have rolled up to apartment buildings, offices, stores and restaurants only to find nowhere to leave their bikes. Many lug them inside, or improvise makeshift parking by locking them to street signs — breaking a city law that is rarely enforced — or trees, gates and fences.

The lack of parking, cyclists and advocates complain, has helped fuel a jump in bike thefts.

Even as New York has created the largest urban bike network in the nation with 1,375 miles of bike lanes and a thriving bike-share program, it has lagged well behind other cities in making bike parking spots widely available, transportation experts and advocates say.

New York has roughly 56,000 bike parking spots on its streets, sidewalks and plazas. Most are part of bike racks, though there are 83 corrals — car parking spots converted to hold bikes — and 20 shelters that shield bikes from snow and rain. (The 56,000 does not include the sharing program Citi Bike, which has 38,000 spaces in about 1,100 docking stations.)

By comparison, London has three times as much bike parking, with more than 150,000 cycling spaces on its streets and at least 20,000 additional spaces at Underground and rail stations. There are also more than 1,500 spaces in curbside cycle hangers, where residents leave their bikes inside a small metal dome.

Some American cities have increased efforts to create more bike parking during the pandemic. Chicago installed nearly 2,000 new spaces last year on racks and in corrals and plans to add 900 more this spring for a total of roughly 34,260.

In New York, cycling had boomed even before the pandemic, with 490,000 daily bike trips in 2017, up from 150,000 in 2000, according to a 2019 city report. Nearly 1.6 million New Yorkers are bike riders, the report said, with almost half getting on a bike at least several times a month.

A patient receiving an injection of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Brighton, England, on Tuesday.
Credit…Ben Stansall/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Germany’s Health Ministry has denied widely criticized and thinly sourced reports in local news outlets that AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine is barely effective in protecting older people, stressing that the data was still being reviewed as European Union regulators consider approving the vaccine.

“The German Ministry of Health cannot confirm recent reports of reduced efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, after two leading German newspapers reported that the vaccine had proved effective in just 8 percent of people over 65.

“At first glance, it appears that two things have been confused in the reports: About 8 percent of the subjects in the AstraZeneca efficacy trial were between 56 and 69 years of age, and only 3 to 4 percent were over 70 years of age,” the ministry said. “However, this does not imply an efficacy of only 8 percent in seniors.”

The German health minister, Jens Spahn, called the reports “speculation” early Tuesday and pointed out that the available data had not yet been fully assessed.

“It has long been clear — there was a discussion in the fall — that there is less data for older people,” Mr. Spahn said.

AstraZeneca refuted the initial reports in the German media on the effectiveness of the vaccine, calling them “completely incorrect.” AstraZeneca and Oxford, which developed the vaccine, have not released figures on how effective the vaccine is for different age groups.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for emergency use in several countries, including Britain, India and Mexico, but not yet in the European Union. The company applied for authorization on Jan. 12, and the European Medicines Agency, the bloc’s drug regulator, is expected to announce its decision on Friday.

The reports come amid growing concern in Germany over the sluggish start to the country’s mass vaccination program, after AstraZeneca informed Brussels on Friday that it would not be able to deliver the anticipated number of doses to the European Union, because of slow production at a manufacturing site within the bloc.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mr. Spahn have pledged to make vaccines available by Sept. 21 to all adults in Germany who want the shot. That promise is dependent on the country receiving the 56.2 million does of the AstraZeneca vaccine, based on its original delivery pledge.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico this month. He disclosed on Sunday that he had contracted Covid-19.
Credit…Luis Antonio Rojas for The New York Times

For nearly a year, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, had minimized the pandemic, claiming that religious amulets protected him, refusing to wear a mask and even drinking from the same clay pot as supporters. It was only a matter of time until he got sick himself, some Mexicans said.

With the president now infected, what most aggrieved many Mexicans was not only that he had flouted basic safety precautions, but also that he may go back to playing down the threat that the surging pandemic poses after his own illness.

They noted that with top-notch medical care delivered at his living quarters, the president may well recover. Their loved ones, on the other hand, will struggle to get the most basic care.

A devastated Mexico is struggling to rein in the pandemic. Last Thursday, the authorities announced more than 1,800 coronavirus deaths, breaking the record of single-day deaths set just days earlier.

In Mexico City, hospitals are at 89 percent capacity, according to the most recent health ministry figures, while nationwide, the figure is 60 percent. Across the country, more than half of all hospital beds with ventilators are full.

So far, more than 1.7 million people have contracted the virus in Mexico and more than 150,000 people have died. That is the fourth-highest death toll in the world.

Amid widespread mistrust of hospitals, many infected people choose to stay home — and often die there. The cause of death may not be listed as Covid-19. That, combined with the country’s low levels of testing, means the pandemic’s true toll is most likely far worse than the official one.

On Monday, the day after the president disclosed his infection, Carlos Slim, a telecommunications tycoon who is the richest man in Mexico, was also reported to have contracted the virus. His son said on Twitter that Mr. Slim, who turns 81 this week, had mild symptoms and was doing “very well.”

While Mr. López Obrador also said that his symptoms were mild and that he “remained positive,” doctors warned that the 67-year-old heart attack survivor was in a high-risk category.

And it remains to be seen if his own bout with the virus will change his attitude toward it.

Mr. López Obrador is not the first world leader to fall ill with coronavirus.

Early last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain famously persisted in shaking hands with Covid-19 patients and later was admitted to a hospital himself after contracting the illness.

Mr. Johnson emerged sounding chastened, and with a new, intimate awareness of the virus’s danger. He went on to embrace mask wearing and lockdowns and other measures designed to help stem transmission.

But in Mexico, some public health experts fear their leader will go more the way of former President Donald J. Trump, who beat the virus last year and then continued to play down the pandemic and undermine health officials’ recommendations.

The Flaming Lips have used plastic bubbles at concerts to protect against the transmission of the coronavirus, but some experts were unsure about the effectiveness of those measures.
Credit…Scott Booker

There are Covid-19 bubbles — small clusters of friends or family who agree to socialize exclusively with each other during the pandemic — and then there are the kinds of bubbles the Flaming Lips used at recent concerts.

Band members and concertgoers alike rocked out and bounced while encased in large individual plastic bubbles amid bright swirling lights in trippy scenes at concerts on Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City.

The band has taken the elaborate precautions at its live performances to protect against the transmission of the coronavirus, but some health experts were unsure about the effectiveness of those measures.

“I’d need to see how the air exchange was occurring between the outside and the inside of the bubbles to be able to say if it were safe over all or reduced risk of transmission,” said Dr. Eric Cioe-Peña, the director of global health at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

The Flaming Lips, an indie rock band founded in the early 1980s, who are known for their exuberant live shows and recording experiments, performed a similar concert in October. They also performed their song “Race for the Prize” in June using the spheres on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”

The concerts on Friday and Saturday were originally scheduled for December, but the band postponed them because of rising Covid-19 cases in the Oklahoma City metro area.

“It’s a very restricted, weird event,” the band’s frontman, Wayne Coyne, told Rolling Stone last month. “But the weirdness is so we can enjoy a concert before putting our families and everybody at risk.”

Global Roundup

Medical workers examining a Covid-19 patient at a hospital in Bogor, Indonesia, on Monday.
Credit…Adek Berry/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Indonesia officially passed one million coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with many hospitals near capacity even as vaccinations are underway. As in many countries, however, the true number of infections is likely to be much higher.

Indonesia, which has the world’s fourth-largest population at more than 270 million, never succeeded in containing its first wave of infections, and the daily numbers of new cases and deaths have surged to their highest levels in the past 10 days.

On Tuesday, officials reported 13,094 new cases and 336 deaths for a total of 1,012,350 cases, the highest in Southeast Asia. Indonesia is the 19th country to surpass one million cases, and among Asian nations it trails only India in the number of cases.

Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist who studies pandemics and global health security at Griffith University in Australia, has been saying for months that Indonesia is undercounting its case numbers by a third or more.

He estimates that the country has at least 60,000 new infections each day, more than four times what the government is reporting.

“The response they give to the pandemic is not equal to the problem,” said Dr. Dicky, a former Indonesian health official.

Though Indonesia began its vaccination program almost two weeks ago, it is likely to be some time before there is a significant effect on new infections. A government spokesman said that as of Tuesday, 162,000 people had received the first of two doses of the vaccine made by Sinovac, a private Chinese company. With a population spread across thousands of islands, experts say vaccinating enough Indonesians to reach herd immunity could take a year or more.

Here’s what else is happening around the world:

  • Violent protests erupted for the third night in cities across the Netherlands, with stores looted and rocks and fireworks thrown at police officers in response to a national 9 p.m. curfew that went into effect on Saturday. In total, the police arrested more than 150 people nationwide, the police chief told the Dutch broadcaster NOS.

    Politicians echoed a similar sentiment. “What’s happening in the Dutch streets is unprecedented,” Wopke Hoekstra, the finance minister, told Dutch television on Tuesday. Ferd Grapperhaus, the justice minister, called the violence “outrageous” and indicated that the protests were no reason to rethink the strict lockdown measures. “We need the curfew,” Mr. Grapperhaus said.

  • France announced on Tuesday that it would not delay the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to quickly maximize the number of people receiving a first shot, as some countries have done. The French health minister, Olivier Véran, said at a news conference that the debate on delaying the second dose was “legitimate” but that it was still unclear how efficient the vaccine would be if administered six weeks after the first shot, instead of the recommended three to four weeks. “I am choosing the security of confirmed data,” Mr. Véran said.

  • A World Health Organization panel of experts recommended on Tuesday that the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine be given in two doses spaced 28 days apart, which could be extended under exceptional circumstances to 42 days. The guidance was issued by the organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization several weeks after it issued similar guidance on the rival Pfizer shot, according to Reuters.

The European health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, speaking at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on Monday.
Credit…Pool photo by John Thys

The European Union escalated a war of words with AstraZeneca on Monday over the company’s sudden announcement on Friday that it would have to drastically cut the number of vaccine doses delivered to the bloc and its 27 members.

The European health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, said a call with the company’s leadership on Monday had not yielded sufficient answers as to why the company was breaking its contractual obligation and said another call would be held on Monday evening.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca, said: “Our C.E.O. Pascal Soriot was pleased to speak with the Commission President Ursula von der Leyen earlier today. He stressed the importance of working in partnership and how AstraZeneca is doing everything it can to bring its vaccine to millions of Europeans as soon as possible.”

The AstraZeneca debacle delivers a serious blow to the bloc’s sluggish vaccination rollout, and comes days after Pfizer notified E.U. members and several other countries that it would slow down deliveries until mid-February as it upgraded its Belgium factory to increase production.

The twin disappointments have left several E.U. countries hamstrung, and have thwarted the bloc’s collective effort to vaccinate 70 percent of its population by this summer, as Britain and the United States are making better progress with their inoculation programs.

“The European Union has pre-financed the development of the vaccine and its production, and wants to see the return,” Ms. Kyriakides said, implying that the E.U. was concerned the company had sold the vaccines the bloc had funded to other countries.

“The European Union wants to know exactly which doses have been produced, where by AstraZeneca so far, and if, or to whom, they have been delivered,” she added.

Ms. Kyriakides also said that the European Commission, the executive branch of the E.U., was proposing its members approve a system in which pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca that produce vaccines in plants in E.U. territory would need to register any intention to export part of that production outside the bloc.

Vials being inspected at the Regeneron’s facilities in New York state, for efforts on an experimental coronavirus antibody drug.
Credit…Regeneron, via Associated Press

The drug maker Regeneron said on Tuesday that its Covid-19 antibody cocktail prevented illness in the family members of people who had tested positive for the virus, according to an early analysis of a clinical trial that has not yet been published in a scientific journal.

The antibody cocktail was authorized last fall to treat people who have already tested positive and are at high risk for complications from Covid-19, but this study looked at whether an injection of the cocktail — what they called a “passive vaccine” — could prevent infections.

The company said an early analysis of 400 trial participants found that the treatment completely prevented symptomatic infections, and also reduced the rate of asymptomatic infections. Among the 186 volunteers who received the treatment, 10 were infected with the virus but did not get sick. In contrast, of the 223 people who got a placebo, 23 tested positive for the virus and eight became ill with symptoms.

Regeneron is one of two companies — Eli Lilly is the other — that developed specially engineered antibodies to combat the virus soon after people are infected. Last fall, both companies received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to administer the drugs to people who are already infected with the virus.

Last week, Eli Lilly also released results from a trial showing that its antibody treatment prevented infections in nursing homes where an outbreak had occurred.

Despite the treatments’ early promise, the drugs have been sitting unused in many hospitals, even as the country has experienced a record wave of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Doctors and hospital administrators have cited a range of reasons for not using the treatments more frequently, including challenges identifying the right patients, questions over whether they work, and logistical hurdles in administering the cocktails, which must be given as infusions in a clinic. (Regeneron’s preventive trial gave the antibodies as an injection instead.)

Regeneron has received more than $3 billion in federal funding to develop the antibody treatments and provide them to Americans.

In a statement on Tuesday, Regeneron’s president and chief scientific officer, Dr. George D. Yancopoulos, suggested that the treatment could be used to “break the chain” of transmission even as vaccines are slowly being rolled out. “Even with the emerging availability of active vaccines, we continue to see hundreds of thousands of people infected daily, actively spreading the virus to their close contacts,” he said.



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Travel News – Singapore to test all travellers upon arrival for Covid-19

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All travellers, including Singaporeans and permanent residents, will need to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced. This will take effect from 11.59 pm on January 24 as part of tighter border measures to manage the risk of imported COVID-19 cases, reported the Channel News Asia. Singapore has seen an increase in the number of coronavirus cases, mostly imported or those arriving from other countries.

The Ministry on Saturday confirmed four coronavirus cases from the community (or local), one from the dormitories for foreign here and 19 imported cases. The dormitory case is a 37-year-old Indian national who was detected through rostered routine testing on January 14.

Currently, travellers who are not Singaporeans or permanent residents and who have a recent travel history to high-risk countries or regions are required to take a PCR test within 72 hours before departure. They are then tested again at the end of their stay-home notice period.

In a media release, the Ministry noted the emergence of new COVID-19 variants and the worsening coronavirus situation around the world. “The multi-ministry task force regularly reviews Singapore’s border measures to manage the risk of importation and onward local transmission from travellers,” it said.

“Given the resurgence of COVID-19 cases around the world, we will be putting in place more stringent measures for travellers to manage the risk of importation.”

The ministry also announced that all Singaporeans and permanent residents returning from the United Kingdom and South Africa will be subject to an additional seven days of self-isolation at their place of residence, following their 14-day stay-home notice period at dedicated facilities. This takes effect from 11.59 pm on January 18. They will be tested at the end of their stay-home notice, as with the current requirement, and again after they complete their seven-day self-isolation period, said the MOH.

Singapore authorities had earlier restricted entry and transit for all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with a recent travel history to the UK and South Africa, due to concerns of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus circulating in those countries.

With effect from 11.59 pm on January 31, visitors applying to enter Singapore under the Air Travel Pass (ATP) and Reciprocal Green Lanes (RGLs) will need to have travel insurance for their COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs in Singapore, with a minimum coverage of SGD 30,000 (INR 16,50,000 approx).

“The travel insurance will help them pay for the costs of their medical treatment in Singapore. The visitors can purchase the travel insurance from Singapore-based or overseas insurers,” said the Ministry.

The 29 imported cases reported on Friday included 13 work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, five of whom are foreign domestic workers.

Separately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that the Singapore-Japan Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) has been suspended until the state of emergency in Japan is lifted.

Singapore has recorded 59,083 coronavirus cases as of Saturday. In all, 58,784 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities while there have been 29 deaths relating to the disease.

There are currently 54 confirmed cases in hospitals while 216 are isolated and cared for at community facilities for mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19. (Source: Central News Asia)

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