Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris received her first dose of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine live on television Tuesday morning, as part of officials’ ongoing efforts to show the public the vaccinations are safe.
President-elect Joe Biden received his first vaccine dose last week.
Just before 11 am, Harris appeared before cameras at a hospital and sat down. “OK, let’s do it!” Harris told the nurse administering the vaccine.
“I barely felt it … Literally, this is about saving lives,” Harris said after receiving the vaccine. “I urge everyone: when it’s your turn, get vaccinated.”
Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, will also receive a dose of the vaccine today.
Officials have been trying to build confidence in vaccines that have been authorized for use in record timeframes. They are also trying to tackle any skepticism, including from some African Americans.
Half of Americans said they would take the vaccine, according to one recent survey. However, one-quarter of those asked said they would not. Another 25% said they weren’t sure.
Scientists have stated that the country can achieve “herd immunity” – when the overall population becomes mostly immune – if 60% to 70% of the population reach some level of immunity.
Decline in COVID-19 Tests
US Covid-19 cases have now reached 19,313,314 with 335,051 deaths, according to recent Johns Hopkins University data. Meanwhile, the US has seen a recent decrease in Covid-19 tests in the week ending Monday, according to a USA Today analysis.
The decline in tests came as many testing centers closed for the holidays. Reports from 42 states revealed less testing, the newspaper said.
The top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that Covid-19 has gone “out of control in many respects” on Tuesday morning. He says it may increase even more after holiday travel. Fauci’s statements echo his prior warnings, which millions have repeatedly ignored.
“We’re in a very difficult situation,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN’s New Day. “We never got down to a low baseline where you can actually control community spread by identification, isolation and contact tracing.”
Fauci’s statements came amid Transportation Security Administration (TSA) data indicating that 1.1 million travelers passed through US airports on 28 December. He urged those who traveled to take long-prescribed precautions.
“For those who have already done the travel, the thing to do now is to try not to congregate with large numbers of people in social settings like dinners – try to keep it restricted to the immediate family and the immediate household,” Fauci said, reiterating public health officials’ guidance.
“Once you get to large numbers of people at a dinner, inside, poor air ventilation and circulation, that’s when you get in trouble,” Fauci said. “And that’s what we’re concerned about, that in addition to the surge, we’re going to have an increase superimposed upon that surge, which could make January even worse than December.”
“I hope that doesn’t happen,” Fauci said while also recognizing the possibility.
Fighting Infection Rates and Economic Repercussions
Public health officials continue to combat rising infection rates. While this happens, local and state authorities are also battling deep economic fallout from the pandemic.
New York passed a sweeping anti-eviction law Monday evening. It prohibits landlords from kicking out tenants for at least another 60 days in most instances. According to The New York Times, this legislation would provide protection to some smaller landlords from potential foreclosures. It would also renew tax breaks for elderly or disabled homeowners.
The $900bn relief package Donald Trump signed on Sunday included $1.3bn for rental assistance for New Yorkers. It also prolonged a federal moratorium on evictions. However, before the finalization of this assistance, unemployment benefits lapsed for millions of Americans.
- Trump Signs COVID Relief Bill, $600 Stimulus Checks
- Trump Slams COVID-19 Relief Bill
- Biden Receives COVID-19 Vaccine
Source: The Guardian