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Fourth graders at Alvarado Elementary School in Long Beach, California, returned to class Monday for the first day of full-time education in more than a year…Credit…Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images…
Elementary school students in Long Beach, California, returned to school Monday and universities from Los Angeles to Boston prepared for a major expansion of face-to-face instruction as most districts across the country began reopening school buildings, many of which had been closed for more than a year.
Burbio, who oversees about 1,200 districts, including the nation’s 200 largest, said Monday that 53.1 percent of students are in schools that offer full-time instruction every day and that, for the first time, the percentage of students who attend school virtually or in hybrid classrooms has dropped.
Burbio officials say the change appears to have been prompted by the return of all-day classes in elementary and middle schools, as well as new rules from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that allow schools three feet of social distance instead of six feet in elementary schools.
But there are still obstacles on the road to reopening. On the West Coast, large urban areas often lag behind their counterparts across the country. The increase in infections in Southern California after winter break is partly due to the slow recovery of the Los Angeles school system.
The slow start may be partly attributed to resistance from teachers, whose unions tend to be stronger in Democrat-ruled Washington, Oregon and California than in many other states, and who are reluctant to return to a workplace they consider unsafe, even though federal guidelines say elementary schools in particular are safe if health precautions are taken.
Even in some schools where teachers have agreed to return, there are still obstacles. Schools in Oakland and San Francisco, for example, will reopen next month for elementary school students and students with special needs. But collective bargaining agreements in these two California cities have allowed a significant number of teachers to drop out, leaving some schools without enough teachers to reopen and others struggling to find replacements.
Public schools in California’s three largest service areas – Los Angeles, San Diego and Fresno – said they would allow elementary school students to return to campus in late April because the number of new cases of the coronavirus in the state has dropped significantly.
And on Monday, Long Beach – the state’s fourth-largest district with about 70,000 students – began allowing about 14,000 elementary school students to return to school buildings for about 2.5 hours a day, five days a week.
The Long Beach school district was able to open earlier than other large California school systems because unions agreed last summer to reopen as soon as health conditions allowed, and because the city was able to begin vaccinating teachers earlier than other districts in the state.
Unlike most other cities in Los Angeles County, Long Beach has its own health department, so the city has its own sources of vaccines and can set its own vaccination priorities, while the county as a whole has had teachers wait for other groups, such as… B. residents over the age of 65 were vaccinated.
A city with its own health department can be more flexible, said Jill Baker, the city’s schools director, who called the return to the classroom this week exciting and meaningful.
The school district is one of the city’s largest employers, and two-thirds of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. So vaccinating the school’s employees and reopening classes was considered economically important, Baker said.
Full-time classes for high school students begin on April 19, grades 6-8 on April 20 and grades 9-11 on April 26. April. The last day of school is mid-June.
C.D.C.director warns of possible fourth outbreakcoronavirus
Dr. Rochelle Walenski, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urged Americans Monday to follow coronavirus guidelines as the number of infections increases across the country.
When I started working in Washington two months ago, I made you a promise: I’ll tell you the truth, even if it’s not the news we want to hear. This is one of those times when I have to tell the truth, and I have to hope and trust that you will listen. I’m gonna take a break. I’m losing the script. And I’ll think about the recurring feeling of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential where we are now, and so much to look forward to. But now I’m scared. We’ve come a long way: Three historically groundbreaking scientific vaccines, and we’re bringing them to market so quickly. That is why I am speaking today, not necessarily as your director, but as a wife, a mother, a daughter, to ask you to wait a little longer. I want it so bad. I know you all want it so badly. We’re almost there, but not quite. We can turn this pandemic around, but to do so we must all consistently pursue public health prevention strategies and strive to vaccinate the American people. We don’t have the luxury of doing nothing. For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth epidemic.
Dr. Rochelle Walenski, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Monday urged Americans to follow recommendations on the coronavirus as the number of cases in the country increases.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
President Biden, facing a wave of coronavirus cases across the country, on Monday called on governors and mayors to reinstate the use of masks, while the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of an impending fourth pandemic.
The president’s comments came just hours after the C.D.C.’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walenski, appeared to be holding back tears when she urged Americans to wait a little longer and continue to heed public health advice, such as wearing masks and keeping a social distance, to prevent the spread of the virus. The nation has so much to be optimistic about, she said.
But now, she said, I’m afraid.
The response reflects a growing sense of urgency among senior White House officials and government scientists, who fear that the ability to defeat the pandemic, now in its second year, is slipping away. According to the New York Times database, the seven-day average of new cases through Sunday was about 63,000, similar to the late October average. This number was 54,000 per day two weeks earlier, an increase of more than 16%.
Public health experts say the nation is in a race between the vaccination campaign and troubling new variants of the coronavirus, including B.1.1.7, a more transmissible and potentially deadly variant of the virus that has spread rapidly. Although more than one in three U.S. adults has received at least one vaccination and nearly one-fifth of the population has been fully vaccinated, the country is still far from what is called herd immunity, the tipping point that occurs when the spread of the virus begins to slow because a large number of people – about 70 to 90 percent of the population – are immune to the virus.
Dangerous warnings come at the same time as promising news: A C.D.C. report released Monday confirmed results from last year’s clinical trials that the vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer are highly effective against Covid-19. The report shows that vaccines can prevent both symptomatic and asymptomatic infections under real-world conditions.
The seven-day average of vaccines administered reached 2.76 million Monday, up from the week before, according to data from the C.D.C. On Sunday alone, nearly 3.3 million people were vaccinated, said Andy Slavitt, senior White House adviser on pandemic issues.
Biden said Monday that the government is taking steps to expand access to vaccines, including opening a dozen new mass vaccination centers. He ordered his coronavirus response team to be ready by the 19th. April to cover 90% of Americans within five miles of the vaccination site.
Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna prepared for use this month at Cornerstone Pharmacy in Little Rock, Ark. linked to credit Rory Doyle for The New York Times.
Coronavirus vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have proven highly effective in preventing symptomatic and asymptomatic infections under real-world conditions, federal health researchers reported Monday.
Clinical trial data showed that the two-dose regimen prevented 90% of infections two weeks after the second injection. One dose prevented 80% of infections two weeks after vaccination.
This news comes at a time when the country is rapidly expanding its vaccination coverage and the average number of daily vaccinations continues to rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.7 million vaccines were administered Sunday on average over seven days, a slight increase from the previous week.
But the virus could get bigger. Through Sunday, the seven-day average of new infections was 63,000, up more than 16 percent in the past two weeks, according to the New York Times database.
Similar outbreaks in the summer and winter have led to severe spikes in the spread of the disease, Dr. Rochelle Walenski, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday at a news conference, and she had a sense of impending doom about a possible fourth outbreak of the virus.
The nation has so much to be optimistic about, she said. But now I’m scared.
Scientists have debated whether vaccinated people can still contract asymptomatic infections and transmit the virus to others. A new study by CDC researchers has found that because infections are so rare, transmission is also likely to be rare.
There were also concerns that different variants could make vaccines less effective. The results of the study do not confirm these fears. At the time of investigation – from 14. December 2020 to 13. March 2021 – alarming variants circulated, but vaccines still provided strong protection.
The 3 950 people registered with the KGC were at high risk of contracting the virus because they were health workers, first responders or other frontline workers. None of them had been previously infected with the coronavirus.
The majority, 62.8%, received both vaccines during the study period, while 12.1% received only one vaccine. Participants had no history of coronavirus infection.
Each week, participants collected their own nasal swabs, which were sent to a central site for PCR testing, the most accurate form of testing. Weekly sampling allowed the researchers to identify asymptomatic and symptomatic infections.
The researchers also asked the participants about symptoms of the infection, such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, diarrhea, muscle pain or loss of smell and taste. The researchers also analyzed the patients’ medical records to identify diseases.
Fifty-eight percent of infections were detected before people developed symptoms. Only 10.2% of infected individuals never show symptoms.
Among the fully vaccinated, there were 0.04 infections per 1,000 person-days, meaning that if there were 1,000 people, there would be 0.04 infections per day.
Among those who received a single dose of vaccine, there were 0.19 infections per 1,000 person-days. In contrast, 1.38 infections per 1,000 person-days were observed among the unvaccinated.
Dr. Walenski urged Americans to continue to take precautions and waste no time in getting vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.
I urge you to wait a little longer and get vaccinated if you can, so that all the people we all love will still be around when this pandemic is over, she said.
Andres Alvarez, 26, receives Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine at Booker T. Washington High School in Houston, Texas, on Monday…Go Nakamura in The New York Times
HOUSTON – While Texas joined several other states Monday in opening up the right to the coronavirus vaccine to millions of healthy adults, the wait for the vaccination was visible in a long line winding outside Booker T. Washington High School in Houston.
It’s a good sign, said Nelson Garcia, 48, who waited more than two hours with his two young children before finally being able to protect himself from the disease that can be fatal for diabetics like him. Everyone seems to want to get vaccinated. I want my children to see that this is a good thing and that the vaccine will finally help us get back to normal.
On Monday, Texas became the largest state to expand the number of people eligible for vaccination to 16 or more, or about 22 million people. Long lines formed throughout the state, and online appointments were hard to come by. Vaccination spots on HEB.com, the website of Texas’ most popular supermarket chain, were rare.
The arrow was expected. Almost everyone can get the vaccine now, said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat representing the Houston area.
Five other states, including neighboring Oklahoma and Louisiana, as well as Kansas, Ohio and North Dakota, also opened their doors to all adults on Monday. Some reported increased interest in the vaccine, but these numbers have not overwhelmed the vaccine provider system.
On Monday, officials in New York State, once the center of a pandemic that claimed an estimated 31,000 lives in New York alone, announced that starting Tuesday, all adults 30 and older can receive the vaccine. At least 37 other states have pledged to offer the vaccine to all adults who request it by mid-April.
Six states – Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and South Carolina – plan to expand eligibility this week, according to state officials.
Sandra Medeiros photographs her husband, Daryl Bedard, earlier this month as he receives the vaccine from AstraZeneca in Toronto…Credit…Nathan Denette/Canadian Press, via Associated Press
Canada has become the latest country to suspend use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for people aged 55 and under, over concerns that it could lead to rare and dangerous blood clots, particularly in middle-aged and young women.
The country joined France and other northern European countries in taking a cautious stance on the vaccine, even after the European Union’s top drug regulator deemed it safe earlier this month.
More research needs to be done, Dr. Caroline Quah Thanh, chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, said Monday in a video conference. Given the availability of alternative vaccines in Canada, N.A.C.I. believes it is very important to weigh the risks and benefits as a precaution.
The decision was made after reviewing data from Germany, where the Paul Ehrlich Institute reported that one in 100,000 people who received AstraZeneca’s vaccine developed blood clots, leading to a condition called thrombocytopenia that can be fatal in about 40 percent of cases, the panelists said. This comes after the European Medicines Agency reported a lower rate: 1 in 1,000,000.
No cases have been reported in Canada to date.
The country’s health department continues to recommend AstraZeneca’s vaccine for the country’s elderly population, which is much more susceptible to severe cases of covid-19 and has not developed blood clots, according to studies in Europe, commissioners said.
We want to prevent hospitalizations and serious illnesses in people over 55, Dr. Quach-Than said.
A vaccine developed by Oxford University was approved in Canada in late February, but has suffered setbacks. Shortly after the approval, the N.A.C.I. recommended that the vaccine not be given to people over 65 years of age because there was no data on the efficacy of the vaccine in this age group. Two weeks later, the N.A.C.I. dropped its initial objections and approved the vaccine for all adults.
Health Canada has asked AstraZeneca to provide more detailed data on the vaccine by age and gender in the Canadian context, said Dr. Howard Nju, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health.
This vaccine is the third to be approved in the country, two months after Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Just over 300,000 doses were administered by AstraZeneca, representing about 6% of the total doses administered in the country. Twelve percent of the population received at least one dose of one of the vaccines.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration promised to provide Canada with 1.5 million doses of the vaccine, which has not yet been approved for use in the United States.
Meera Mansheim is administered the Moderna vaccine by nurse Justin Pedro on Thursday in the Bronx. Credit…James Estrin/The New York Times.
New York City may begin vaccinating everyone 30 and older on Tuesday and will begin vaccinating on the 6th. April to have all residents 16 and older vaccinated. This number exceeds President Biden’s goal of having every adult in the country vaccinated by the age of one. May for the coronavirus vaccine, which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday.
New York is one of the few states that has not yet implemented universal adult regulation. By the end of last week, five states had already expanded eligibility; six did so on Monday; seven more will follow later this week, and another six on the fifth. April. At least 11 states have said they will implement a new law by January 1. Can wait.
Cuomo has gradually relaxed vaccine eligibility requirements in recent months, but he was reluctant last week to set a specific target date for lifting the state’s requirements. The governor said he did not want to set a timetable for more large-scale vaccination until he was sure New York City had enough vaccine for the public.
I just want to make sure that the projections of the funds we receive from the federal government are accurate, Cuomo said at a news conference last week. I don’t feel like talking: We open for the thirty-somethings in three weeks and then something happens with the sales.
Mr Cuomo’s announcement came as New York recorded new cases of the virus with one of the highest rates of the US states. As of Monday, there were an average of 49 new cases of the virus per day per 100,000 people in the state, second only to New Jersey, according to the New York Times database. (The national average was 19 new cases per 100,000).
Although the number of new cases continues to rise, the state is nowhere near as devastated as it was a year ago, when hospitals were full of patients and morgues were flooded.
Only suitable in certain districts
Only suitable in certain districts
Only suitable in certain districts
Building on the progress of vaccination, the state has also been gradually opening new farms in recent weeks. Last month, Mr. Cuomo resumed sporting events and concerts in large venues, and movie theaters returned to their audiences this month. Restaurants in New York are now allowed to serve 50% of their customers indoors, the highest percentage since the establishment of the European Maritime Safety Agency. Cuomo shut them down last year at the start of the pandemic.
By Monday morning, 29.6 percent of New York State residents had received at least one vaccine and 16.8 percent had been fully vaccinated, the state said.
Currently, all people in New York City age 50 and older are eligible for the vaccine, in addition to teachers, certain essential workers, and people with certain medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious illness from the virus.
A student places her swab in a test vial at South Boston Catholic Academy in Boston in January…Credit…Allison Dinner/Reuters
Massachusetts on Monday expanded a new state-funded coronavirus screening program to allow every public school in the state to test all students and staff each week until the end of the school year, using a community-based screening approach that could become a model for school districts across the country.
More than 1,000 schools in Massachusetts already participate in the program, which is nearly half of all districts in the state.
Since February, the program has tested 22,679 collection samples from students, faculty and staff and reported Monday that the percentage of positive results was less than 1 percent, which is considered low. Since pooled samples typically contain swabs from seven different individuals, individual positive results are likely to be much lower.
In a telephone interview Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker that the state was able to expand the program by selecting and contracting testing labs, rather than having each county do the work itself. He estimates that the program, which uses federal Covid grant funds to pay for the tests, could cost between $30 million and $40 million.
We’ve started a demonstration project with some school districts, just to see if the logistics work, Baker said. We now have a model that works on a fairly large scale and is in pretty good shape.
The combined testing program collects nasal swabs from students, faculty and staff and then tests them in batches, a process that saves the lab time and resources. About 63,000 students and employees were tested last week.
If the batch tests negative, all members of the group are considered negative. If the batch is positive, everyone in the pool will be tested.
Massachusetts, which originally planned to pay for the tests for schools until mid-April, now plans to pay for the tests until the end of the school year. She is also encouraging other school districts in the state to join in.
Baker said he plans to promote the Massachusetts model in other states. Some districts, such as Montgomery County Public Schools, the largest system in Maryland, plan to introduce common tests in April.
There is enough money in the various federal laws passed, including the most recent one, for states or municipalities to fund such a program, Baker said.
Hundreds of people were released from Rikers Island last March as the virus spread. But the people inside crawled to the top. linked to credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times….
New York State should immediately begin offering Covid vaccines to all inmates in state prisons. A judge issued a ruling Monday making the state one of the few in the country to provide vaccines to so many inmates behind bars.
The order, the first to affect one of the country’s largest prison systems, comes as the coronavirus continues to plague New York City facilities. At least 1,100 people living outside prison walls have been tested for the virus since early last month, and five have died.
But while prison staff and many other groups, including those living in cramped accommodations like group homes and homeless shelters, have been given access to the vaccines in recent weeks, most inmates in New York City are still unable to receive doses.
Bronx Supreme Court Judge Alison Y. Tuitt wrote in her decision Monday afternoon that people in prisons have been arbitrarily excluded from the outreach process and that this is unfair, inequitable and an abuse of discretion.
State officials are making an irrational distinction between inmates and people residing in other types of adult correctional facilities, who are at high risk during this pandemic, she said.
She added: There is no acceptable justification for this deliberate exclusion.
Epidemiologists and infectious disease experts agreed even in the early stages of vaccination, when supplies were limited, that the approximately 50,000 inmates in the state’s correctional facilities should be vaccinated because they are at particularly high risk of contracting and spreading the virus. In addition, blacks and Latinos, groups hit hard by the pandemic, are disproportionately represented.
But prisoner vaccination has proven politically unstable across the country, and states with similar ethical, logistical, and legal problems have adopted widely varying dosage distribution schedules. In some states, authorities have abandoned plans to vaccinate prisoners because of political headwinds.
In New York City, most people behind bars have been left out, although prison guards and other at-risk groups, such as restaurant staff, public officials working in public places, and ordinary construction workers, have recently become eligible.
State officials announced Monday that all adult residents will have to leave by April 6. to be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, which could lead to more people being incarcerated and offered doses soon, even if regulations are not approved.
Nicole Green-Kramer, classroom assistant at Marlborough Elementary School in Virginia, watches as Mark Balch, coroner, administers her first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this month.Credit … Christopher Rudder / Brattleboro Reformer, via Associated Press.
Vermont reports an increase in coronavirus cases, which have reached a record high since January.
That applies to a number of new cases and should not be discounted, state Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levin said Friday at a news conference.
Vermont had 283 new confirmed cases as of Friday, according to the New York Times database, making it the first state with a confirmed case since the 18th century. January saw a record number of cases. (The seven-day average, 154, is still below its January peak.) Half of the cases reported in the past two weeks involved people under the age of 30, authorities said.
The resurgence is due to a number of factors, including pandemic fatigue and the spread of more infectious variants, Levin said Monday in an interview. As older people get vaccinated and mortality rates begin to fall, it is more likely that younger people will cluster, he added.
The University of Vermont reported a significant increase in the number of confirmed cases among students, from 41 two weeks earlier to 80 last week. However, Levine said students do not appear to be the main driver of the increase, as growth was not widespread on other college campuses.
The number of infections in the U.S. has begun to rise again in recent weeks, following a spike in infections after the holidays. Scientists have been warning for weeks of a further increase in the disease as infectious variants spread and states lift restrictions. About 30 percent of the new cases in the past two weeks occurred in the Northeast, up from 20 percent in early February.
Nevertheless, Vermont officials defended the recent lifting of the restrictions by pointing to the continued decline in deaths and hospitalizations. Last week, the state eased restrictions by reopening limited capacity cafes and allowing restaurants to accept up to six people from different households. The state still has a mandate to disguise itself.
Ann Sosin, a researcher at Dartmouth College who has been tracking Vermont’s response to Covid-19 since the pandemic began, said lifting restrictions combined with the spread of new variants could be dangerous. If we create the conditions for a transfer, the options will only exacerbate the consequences of that transfer, she said.
Vermont opened immunizations for adults 50 and older on Monday and will open immunizations on the 19th. April to all adults. About 33 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose, according to the New York Times vaccine tracker.
Now that we have a vaccination schedule for all Vermonters, mark your calendar, make an appointment and get vaccinated, Dr. Levin said Friday.
Peter Ben Embarek, a member of the World Health Organization team investigating the origin of the coronavirus, in Wuhan, China, in February.Credit…Thomas Peter/Reuters
A joint investigation by the World Health Organization and China into the origins of the coronavirus has produced a 124-page report, full of new details but with no new, revealing findings. And it does little to assuage Western concerns about the role of the Chinese Communist Party, which is known for its resistance to outside research and sometimes tries to thwart any WHO investigation.
The report, which was leaked to the media on Monday, a day before the scheduled official announcement, also does not specify whether China will allow outside experts to continue the excavations.
An international team of experts spent 27 days in Wuhan visiting hospitals, live animal markets and government laboratories, conducting interviews and requesting data from Chinese officials, but they are far from knowing the causes of a pandemic that has killed nearly 2.8 million people worldwide.
The investigation may come to nothing, and we will never be able to find out the true origin of the virus, said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow in global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.
The report states that China still has no data or research showing how or when the virus began to spread. Some skeptics outside the country say China may have more information than it is letting on.
The team of experts also considers it highly unlikely that the virus would have come out of a Chinese laboratory by accident, although some scientists say this is an important research question.
The Chinese Government has repeatedly tried to influence the investigation to its advantage by granting some access and cooperation. The report was jointly written by a group of 17 scientists from around the world, selected by WHO, and 17 Chinese scientists, many of whom hold official positions or work in government agencies, giving Beijing significant influence over the findings.
Jesse Bloom, an evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said after reviewing a copy of the report that he was not convinced that a leak from the lab was highly unlikely. He said he agreed with the report that the virus could have been caused by a natural zoonosis, but saw no basis in the report for ruling out an outbreak from the laboratory.
One of the members of the expert team, Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist who heads the EcoHealth Alliance, turned against criticism of the team’s work and China’s willingness to cooperate, calling the assumption that the lab leaked promoted by some Trump administration officials political from the start.
The prevailing theory remains that the virus originated in bats, passed to another animal and then mutated so that it could be transmitted to humans and from human to human. But the process of determining the origin of the virus is notoriously cumbersome.
To answer the many questions that remain, the report recommends further retrospective studies of infections in humans, including first cases, and broader screening for viruses in livestock and wildlife in China and Southeast Asia. But it’s hard to know to what extent China will cooperate.
In Washington, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that U.S. government experts, including leading veterinary and biosafety experts, are studying the report.
We have made it clear that we are focused on an independent and expert investigation, and once that is complete, we will assess the next steps, she said.
Earlier, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a leading U.S. expert on infectious diseases, and Dr. Rochelle Walenski, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said they had not yet seen the report.
Students walk around the campus of the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, late last month. Credit…Raja Bose for The New York Times
The Department of Education said Monday that it will abolish government-subsidized debt for thousands of students with disabilities and end red tape for tens of thousands of others – measures to ease the student loan debt burden exacerbated by the pandemic.
The agency said the changes would benefit the 41,000 disabled borrowers with $1.3 billion in student loans. The government also granted a $500,000 pardon, but later revoked it because he had not reported his income at the time of the pandemic. In addition, 190,000 borrowers who have been granted debt forgiveness will not have to apply during the pandemic.
Under Department of Education regulations, student loan borrowers who are permanently disabled and unable to work can be released from debt. Within three years of receiving debt relief, he must provide income information showing that he is still unable to work.
However, a 2016 Government Accountability Office report found that 98% of disabled borrowers whose loans were repaired did not fill out the required paperwork.
The announcement came as the Biden administration said it was exploring ways to ease the burden of student loan debt in general. President Biden has proposed forgiving borrowers $10,000 in student loans, while some Democrats in Congress, including Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer, are pushing for even more debt forgiveness.
This month, the Department of Education announced that it would drop a Trump administration policy prohibiting students who commit fraud from seeking debt relief.
In response to Monday’s announcement regarding disabled borrowers, Student Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that advocates for education, said the announcement did not go far enough and called for loan forgiveness for another 400,000 disabled borrowers, whose $14 billion in outstanding debt has yet to be forgiven.
Former President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence with Admiral Brett P. Girouard and Dr. Deborah Birks during a White House press conference in April 2020. Credit…Doug Mills/Tew York Times
In interviews aired Sunday night on CNN, pandemic officials and former President Donald J. Trump said the pandemic poses a serious threat to the nation’s security: The government’s response to the pandemic was a mishmash of dysfunctions, and inconsistencies, falsehoods, and disagreements likely cost many lives.
Dr. Deborah L. Birks, coordinator of Mr. Trump’s response to the coronavirus, suggested that hundreds of thousands of Americans may have died unnecessarily, and Admiral Brett P. Girouard, the czar of testing, said the government had lied to the public about the availability of tests.
The comments are part of a series of revelations that came to light during a CNN special report on the doctors who led the government’s response to the coronavirus in 2020.
Dr. Robert R. Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accused Mr. Trump’s health secretary, Alex M. Azar III, and the minister’s leadership of pressuring him to review the scientific reports. He may be denying it now, but it’s true, Dr. Redfield said in an interview with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Mr. Azar disputed this in his comments.
Dr. Stephen C. Khan, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said his relationship with Mr. Azar came under strain after the secretary of health stripped the agency of the authority to regulate coronavirus testing. For me, it was a clear announcement, says Dr. Hahn. When asked by Dr Gupta if Mr Azhar had shouted at him, Dr Khan said: That’s the question you should be asking him.
But it was Dr. Birks who was pilloried for praising Trump for his attention to the scientific literature, and for not publicly correcting the president when he made chilling claims about unproven therapies, the revelations of which were perhaps the most compelling.
By Sunday, more than 548,000 Americans had died from a coronavirus infection. I can see it, she said. The first time, we have an excuse. About 100,000 people died in this first wave.
Everything else, she said, referring to the 450,000 or so deaths, could have been significantly mitigated or reduced, in my opinion, if the government had acted more aggressively.
In one of her first television interviews since leaving the White House in January, she also described a very uncomfortable, very direct and very difficult phone conversation with Bennett. Trump after she spoke out last summer about the dangers of the virus. Everyone at the White House was excited about the interview, she said.
She then decided to travel the country to speak with state and local leaders about masks, social distancing and other health measures that the president did not want her to explain to the American public from the White House podium.
Dr. Gupta asked if he had been censored. Apparently someone stopped me, she said. I realized I couldn’t be national because the president could see it.
Several officials interviewed, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, who unlike others has a career as a scientist and now advises President Biden, accused China, where the virus was first discovered, of not being open enough with the United States. And some, including Dr. Redfield and Admiral Girouard, said the early failures of the tests – and the White House’s attitude that the tests showed the president in a bad light by increasing the number of reported cases – posed a serious problem in the government’s response.
And the test problems went beyond Mr. Trump’s obsession with optics is over. Admiral Girouard said the government simply did not do as much testing as senior officials claimed at the time.
When we said there were millions of tests, there weren’t, were there? he said. There were test parts, but not the whole thing.
In a long speech Monday night, Trump fired back at Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birks, calling them two self-promoters who tried to reinvent history to cover up their evil instincts and misguided recommendations, while praising his administration’s efforts to develop a vaccine.
The former president, who regularly questioned the need for closures and other precautions during his tenure, said of Drs. Fauci and Birks: If it were up to them, we would now be locked in our basements while our country suffers a financial depression.
Protesters who called on lawmakers and California Governor Gavin Newsom to pass rent-free legislation and better protections against eviction demonstrated in front of the Sacramento Capitol in January…Credit…Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended its national moratorium on deportations until June 30, which would have ended at the end of March.
The decision, though expected by many, comes at a dangerous time in the pandemic, as the increasing availability of the vaccine accelerates new plans by companies and local governments to open up – even as millions of families continue to struggle with hardships that could lead to mass evictions.
The C.D.C. imposed the moratorium last fall, invoking its statutory authority to take action to promote public health, and agency officials invoked the same authority to extend the moratorium Monday.
The Covida 19 pandemic poses a historic threat to the nation’s health, agency Director Rochelle P. Walenski said in a statement. To stop the spread, it is important to keep people in their homes and places where they congregate – such as homeless shelters – and to prevent evictions.
Earlier this year, Biden ordered the Department of Housing and Urban Development to end its own moratorium on federally subsidized housing before the 30th Amendment, Biden said. June extended. (The previous version of this paragraph misstated the status of this moratorium. It was extended in February).
The new Minister of Housing, Marcia L. Fudge, has indicated that she wants to extend her agency’s deportation ban even further. Department staff has contacted community groups with suggestions for simplifying the new rule.
The United States also provides $8 billion in emergency rental assistance, $5 billion in emergency rental assistance, and $5 billion in emergency rental assistance. In addition to the $8 billion in emergency housing vouchers, $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers and $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers. But it will take months to release this aid.
Initially, Washington’s ban was full of loopholes that allowed some landlords to evict some tenants. But overall, it has led to a significant reduction in the number of eviction cases in local housing courts.
The federal moratorium is part of a series of federal, state and local measures designed to prevent the nation’s health and economic distress from ending in a monumental collapse of the housing market.
Most states – 43 in all, plus Washington, D.C. – temporarily suspended evictions during the crisis. But the scope of the protection varies widely, and some tenants, particularly in the New York City neighborhoods hardest hit by Covid, have been evicted from their homes because they were unaware of it.
According to Census Bureau surveys, one in five tenants have not paid last month’s rent, with a third of black tenants reporting missing a recent payment.
The Quarantine Hotel in Hong Kong. The city’s strict quarantine rules have been relaxed for travelers from certain countries. linked to credit Lam Ik Fei for The New York Times.
Hong Kong authorities said Monday that residents stranded in Britain will be allowed to return from next month, while announcing the relaxation of several restrictions related to the coronavirus.
Hundreds of Hong Kong residents have been stranded in Britain since late December, when the Chinese territory suddenly declared a ban on direct travel from the country after a highly contagious variant of the virus emerged there. They will be allowed to return to Hong Kong on special flights from the second half of April, the authorities said. They did not mention the modification of similar entry bans from Brazil, Ireland and South Africa.
Hong Kong’s quarantine rules, which are among the strictest in the world, will also be relaxed for travellers from low-risk countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Instead of keeping them in quarantine for 21 days in designated hotels, they will only have to remain in quarantine for 14 days, followed by seven days of self-monitoring. The border with Hong Kong remains closed to non-residents.
Other changes have been made to rejuvenate the city’s vaccination efforts. The government announced that it would lift restrictions on vaccinated people visiting hospitals and nursing homes and end mandatory coronavirus testing for restaurants, schools and construction workers who have been fully vaccinated.
Only 6% of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people have been vaccinated since the campaign began in February. Last week, the program suffered a setback when a batch of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine had defects discovered in its packaging, forcing health authorities to suspend its use.
Hong Kong said last weekend that a preliminary investigation by Germany’s BioNTech and Fosun Pharma, the Chinese company responsible for distributing the vaccine in Hong Kong, had not revealed any systematic problems with delivery. Health officials have said the vaccine is still safe to use and will resume as soon as possible.
Besides Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, the only other vaccine approved in Hong Kong is the one developed by Chinese company Sinovac. Surveys have shown that most people in Hong Kong are against any kind of vaccination, but they are particularly wary of Sinovac after reports of several people dying after the vaccination. Authorities have found no direct link between the shooting and the deaths.
The easing of restrictions comes at a time when Hong Kong is emerging from the fourth wave of infections that began in late November. For two days over the weekend, the city reported no local cases for the first time in more than four months. A local case was reported Monday.
Family members in Nezahualcuyotla, Mexico, pray beside a loved one who died of the coronavirus this month. Credit…Henry Romero/Reuters.
The number of people who have died from Covid-19 in Mexico may be more than 50% higher than official figures, new data from the government show : The virus may have killed more than 300,000 people, a staggering number for a country of 126 million.
On Saturday, the Mexican government updated its death statistics and announced that since the start of the pandemic until mid-February, about 294,000 deaths have been directly attributed to the virus, far more than the official figure of 184,000 reported until then.
When deaths officially reported since mid-February are included, the actual number of coronavirus deaths in the country now exceeds 310,000, more than 50% more than the 201,623 deaths currently recorded on the Mexican government’s coronavirus death tracking website.
Due to extremely low screening rates and widespread fear of hospitals in Mexico, the true cost of the pandemic was greatly underestimated, as many cases were not linked to the virus until later death certificates were verified.
Updated figures show that since the pandemic began in Mexico, there have been a total of 417,000 more deaths than expected – a figure known as excess mortality. This figure suggests that the true impact of the pandemic could be even greater.
Mexico is struggling with a glacial impact campaign: According to Johns Hopkins University, less than 1% of the population is fully vaccinated.
On Sunday, 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine arrived in Mexico from the United States. Some of the 2.7 million cans were shipped to Mexico as part of a deal with President Biden.
A vaccination center in Kathmandu, Nepal, this month. Credit…Niranjan Shrestha/Associated Press
KATHMANDU, Nepal – Nepal on Monday received 800,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine from China, which officials say will help revive an immunization program stalled by delays in delivery from India.
Dr Jageshwar Gautam, spokesperson for the Health Ministry, said the vaccination campaign could resume in less than a week, once we have identified the age groups of the beneficiaries.
China and India, which both share a border with Nepal, have recently sought to influence the Himalayan country with its 30 million people through inoculation diplomacy.
Nepal has planned its vaccination campaign around Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is manufactured by the Indian Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine producer. One million doses were donated by the Government of India, and Nepal purchased another two million doses from the Serum Institute.
But the institute’s purchase of half of the serum has been postponed indefinitely, according to Nepalese health officials, despite an agreement that the serum would arrive 15 days after the deal was struck. India, which supplies AstraZeneca’s vaccine to more than 70 countries, has started blocking almost all its exports to counter a rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.
Nepalese authorities suspended the vaccination on Dec. 17. March because there were not enough cans.
To fill the gap, they are now relying on a vaccine developed by Chinese company Sinopharm, which last month became the second to be approved for use in emergency situations in Nepal, with Beijing pledging to provide free doses.
About 1.6 million doses have been administered in Nepal since the vaccination campaign began in late January, according to the New York Times database. Dr Gautam said the remaining 500,000 doses will be provided by AstraZeneca to frontline health workers, while no doses are available to the rest of the population, at least for now.
According to the New York Times database, nearly 277,000 cases of infection and 3,027 deaths have been reported in Nepal so far. Although the national average of new cases is a fraction of what it was at the time of last fall’s peak, health officials fear a second wave due to the rise of infectious diseases in neighboring India. India reported 68,020 new infections Monday, the largest single-day increase since October.
The vaccine, which requires only one injection, comes from a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Janssen.Credit…Stephen Zenner/Getty Images
Johnson & Johnson said Monday that it would provide its single-dose vaccine to African Union member countries as the continent has faced slow distribution of the vaccine, an increase in cases and concerns about new virus mutations.
The pharmaceutical company announced that its unit, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, has signed a contract with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, an African Union organization, to supply up to 220 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, starting this fall. The organization will also be able to order another 180 million cans by 2022, for a total of 400 million cans.
The company will source the majority of its doses from a plant in South Africa operated by Aspen Pharma. The African Export-Import Bank, a pan-African bank based in Cairo, will disburse $2 billion in loans to producers on behalf of member countries.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who launched the vaccine fund last year as president of the African Union, is expected to visit Aspen Pharma’s facility in Port Elizabeth on the country’s southeast coast on Monday.
This agreement is an important step for the health of all Africans, Ramaphosa said in a statement. It is also a powerful testament to African unity and what we can achieve through partnerships between the public sector, the private sector and international organizations that put people first.
According to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of coronavirus cases in Africa has surpassed 4.1 million and the number of deaths has reached more than 111,000. The emergence of variants on the continent, particularly in countries like South Africa where the highly transmissible variant has caused an increase in cases, is a growing problem. Scientists also recently reported finding a highly mutated variant of the coronavirus in travelers from Tanzania, an East African country whose leaders have always rejected the threat of a coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to battling other deadly epidemics, such as Ebola, polio and measles, many African countries are also struggling with differences in immunization, with developed countries putting on doses and trying to vaccinate their entire populations. Only 7.7 million vaccines have been administered on the continent so far, according to the World Health Organization, which warned last week of a delay in supplies after the first batches had already been used up.
According to the U.H.O., the vaccines have not yet arrived in 10 African countries, while many others are still facing logistical problems in addition to indecision about the vaccines.
Countries like South Africa have called on governments and pharmaceutical companies to give up patents on vaccines so that more people can benefit from the drugs more quickly.
According to the African District of Columbia, at least 60% of the continent’s population – 750 million people – must be vaccinated to contain the virus. The contract with Johnson & Johnson will enable Africa to reach nearly 50 percent of that goal, Dr. John Nkengasong, head of the District of Columbia’s Africa program, said in a statement.
The key to this particular vaccine is that it is a single-use vaccine, allowing it to be used quickly and effectively and save lives, he added.
Passengers flying from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Hawaii this month. Credit…Ted S. Warren/Associated Press
Last weekend, Palakiko Chandler took her little cousins to Nanakuli Beach on Oahu and noticed something they hadn’t seen in a long time: a parking lot full of rental cars. The tourists are back.
He was so excited, said Chandler, 27, who is from Hawaii. My cousins and I looked at each other, maybe we should go home. The younger cousins needed a few vaccinations to protect them from viruses.
During most of the pandemic, Hawaii had one of the strictest regulations for visitors in the United States, imposing a 14-day quarantine on anyone arriving on the islands. This policy has taken a heavy economic toll on the state, which relies heavily on tourism, but has been praised for its success in limiting the impact of the virus for several months.
But now, Hawaii is open to travelers again: A negative test within 72 hours of arrival allows them to avoid quarantine in most places. According to state travel records, at least 28,000 people have arrived in Hawaii over the past two Saturdays, the highest number of people in a single day since the pandemic began, and not far from typical pre-pandemic levels.
This influx worries the residents. Some of them have been posting on social media for months asking mainlanders not to come or, if they do come, to remember the islands’ isolated location and limited resources. The state has a total of 3,000 hospital beds per 1.4 million residents, the lowest number of beds per capita of any state; these were often well filled before the pandemic broke out.
The precautions taken in Hawaii have not been able to completely eradicate the virus: The islands, like the rest of the country, have experienced a spike in holiday travel, and outbreaks are now occurring in parts of the state. The number of daily reports of new cases has doubled since the end of February, with some of the recent spikes involving tourism workers. The number of hospital admissions has increased by 17% in the last two weeks.
These are options, says Dr. Damien Kapono Chong-Hanssen of Kauai Community Medical Center. The California version is taken from what is happening in Maui now. Maui doesn’t look any better.
The Continentals will still make the trip. Hawaii is overcrowded with tourists again, writes travel site The Points Guy. Preferred seats are sold out, check-in lines are long and check-out lines are getting longer.
Tourists flock to popular beaches without wearing masks or paying attention to social distancing. Some of the visitors have become unruly. Some tourists who arrived were sent home after trying to pay bribes to circumvent the test.
The situation is exacerbated by the irritation many residents of the state feel toward vacationers. Today, tourists not only populate the island and drive up prices, they say, but also take reckless risks to everyone’s health.
Hawaiians and locals have always seen the lack of respect that tourists bring to our islands, Chandler said. That’s the last straw, so to speak. They get into our homes and put us at risk during a pandemic.
Stresses are especially prevalent among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, who are at higher risk for Covida-19 and are more likely than average to suffer from chronic diseases.
Residents are tired of being treated a certain way, said Charles Kaua Taylor-Fulton, 20, of Oahu. When tourists come, they can be very rude or demanding. There’s just a sense of entitlement.
Dr. Lee Buenconcejo-Lum, of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said the number of cases has not skyrocketed, at least not yet. But she said she wanted travelers to show the same dedication to wearing masks as locals. For tourists, it’s a lifelong learning process, she said.
However, the tourist high season has only just begun and restrictions are still being relaxed. Bars have reopened in some parts of the state and outdoor weddings are now allowed with up to 100 guests.
We can already look forward to the summer. Chandler, and it’s gonna be busy.
A vaccination centre in a mosque in London on Sunday. Britain has distributed more than 30 million doses of the vaccine. linked to credit Henry Nicholls/Reuters.
Britain, which has given the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine to more than 30 million people, began lifting restrictions on treatment against the coronavirus for much of the population on Monday.
In England, since early January, it has been legal to meet outside in groups of up to six or two after the house.
England also has outdoor sports facilities such as tennis courts, basketball courts and swimming pools. Starting April 12, non-traditional shops and outlets are back on the streets. Students resumed classes at the beginning of the month. Elsewhere in the UK, Scotland and Wales have also started to make it easier to stay at home, and Northern Ireland will review restrictions related to the coronavirus next month.
For many Britons, the easing was a sign of cautious optimism after a months-long blockade, the third of its kind. The current containment began in January after a new strain of the coronavirus swept across the country, which at its winter peak counts up to 60,000 cases and 1,800 deaths a day. Through Sunday, the country had reported 3,862 cases and 19 deaths, according to the New York Times database. No deaths from the virus have been reported in London until Sunday, Public Health England said. Unless there are further reports – the figures are not yet final – this will be the first day in the capital without a virus death since September. Officials hope that the slow lifting of socialisation restrictions in England will be complete by the 21st century. The month of June will be largely cancelled.
However, it is still illegal for Britons to travel abroad and the task force will review this rule next month. Officials warned that people should continue to work from home if possible and limit contact.
In other world news:
- In Australia, the city of Brisbane announced a three-day lockdown after seven people were infected with the coronavirus – the first nationwide lockdown in more than a month. From 5pm on Monday, residents of Australia’s third largest city will only be allowed to leave their homes for basic reasons, such as… For example when shopping, exercising or going to the doctor, and wearing a mask is mandatory in public places. Tests have shown that the virus spreading in Brisbane is a highly contagious variant first discovered in Britain, authorities said.
- The Philippine metropolitan area suffered the country’s worst traffic congestion on Monday. In Manila and the four surrounding provinces, a curfew is in effect from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. as part of the expanded municipal quarantine, which will last until Easter Sunday. People under 18 and over 60, as well as pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses, are instructed to stay home. The metropolitan area of more than 25 million people is suffering from the second largest traffic congestion since the 22nd century. March.
Yan Zhuang and Jennifer Jett contributed to this story.