California and Washington open vaccination eligibility
California and Washington open vaccines to all adults Thursday.
It came when California Governor Gavin Newsom asked all schools in the state to reopen. He said there are no health barriers to getting kids back into classrooms and finishing distance learning. His wishes remain an expectation rather than a mandate, however, as California’s decentralized education system allows the 1,200 school districts to govern themselves.
On Wednesday he said: “Money is no longer an object. It’s an excuse. “
Newsom has repeatedly stated that it sees no obstacles in getting the state’s 6.2 million public students back into classrooms as COVID-19 infections continue to decline in California and more residents are vaccinated.
“If current trends and best practices continue, the next school year can begin offering full in-person tuition to all students,” the California Department of Health said in a presentation on Wednesday that focused on the school’s reopening. It was stipulated that schools should offer full teaching days five days a week.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico has broken its record for cases in a week, and Michigan had its second worst week in the past seven days, according to Johns Hopkins University. Thirty-nine states saw cases increase from the previous seven-day period.
Also in the news:
►Colorado health officials say nearly 4,000 people who received COVID-19 vaccinations at a medical spa will need to be re-vaccinated because they cannot verify that the cans have been properly stored.
►The parts of America that stand out and struggle with vaccinations are starting to look like the nation’s political map: deeply divided between red and blue states. Americans in “blue” states that are slim Democratic seem to be more robustly vaccinated, while Americans in “red” republican states seem to be more hesitant.
►Ivanka Trump received her first COVID-19 shot and is encouraging others to get vaccinated ASAP.
► Attendance at Britain’s Prince Philip’s funeral on Saturday is limited to 30 mourners due to current coronavirus restrictions in England. Queen Elizabeth may have to sit alone and guests must be 6 feet apart.
►Kansas health officials say the Brazilian variant of coronavirus was first discovered in the state.
►Michigan’s health director Elizabeth Hertel traveled to Alabama with her family for spring break last week, despite instructions from her department to avoid travel outside of the state while Michigan suffers from a raging coronavirus outbreak.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 31.42 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 564,300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global total: 138 million cases and more than 2.97 million deaths. More than 250.99 million vaccine doses have been distributed and 194.7 million administered in the United States, according to the CDC.
📘 What we read: Though still hazy, a picture is emerging of the link between two types of COVID-19 vaccines and rare blood clots. Read more here.
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Empty center seats reduce COVID-19 exposure on flights, according to the CDC. Will airlines bring back social distancing?
Blocking the center seats on airplanes will reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure. This is according to a study published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Research, conducted in collaboration with Kansas State University, found a 23% to 57% reduction in exposure to “viable” virus particles when the middle seats are vacant.
The conclusion: “The physical distancing of passengers, also through guidelines such as the vacancy in the middle seat, could further reduce the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in aircraft.”
Airlines have abandoned the pandemic practice of locking seats in an attempt to maintain social distance between travelers.
Delta Air Lines is the only US airline still blocking middle seats in the economy. This practice ends on May 1st. Southwest stopped locking its seats on December 1st.
Scott Kirby, United Airlines CEO, has repeatedly stated that there is no way to keep passengers within 6 feet of each other on an airplane, and Josh Earnest, chief communication officer, said last summer that seats would be locked a PR strategy and not a security strategy.
– Dawn Gilbertson
More data is needed on rare side effects of J&J vaccines, the committee said
A hiatus in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine should continue until more is known about a rare side effect of the vaccine, a federal advisory council decided on Wednesday.
The committee will meet again within a week to ten days to review additional data that is likely to become available.
The extremely rare blood clots were reported in seven of the 7.2 million Americans who received the J&J vaccine. The last six cases were reported in women aged 18 to 48 years, and symptoms appeared six to 13 days after vaccination. One woman died and three remained in the hospital.
There have been some concerns that the hiatus could harm those in need of the vaccine most, as J&J only needs one shot and is easier to store and carry than the other two approved vaccines. However, the committee noted that continuing the hiatus would not materially affect the ability to vaccinate Americans.
The J&J vaccine currently accounts for less than 5% of shots administered in the United States. The other two vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna did not have such effects.
– Karen Weintraub