LAPD vows ‘immediate’ arrests for vaccine protesters at Dodger Stadium; National Park Service to require masks. Latest COVID-19 updates.
Vaccine sites around the Northeast are beginning to reopen after a winter storm walloped the region, dumping up to three feet of snow in some areas.
In New York, New Jersey and at least three New England states, many COVID-19 vaccination appointments for Monday were canceled because of the storm. New York sites, as well as sites in Maine and New Hampshire, were closed again Tuesday.
“The safety and well-being of our state’s vulnerable populations is our highest priority,” said New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Jake Leon, reported the Portsmouth Herald, part of the USA TODAY Network.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a virtual news briefing with the White House COVID-19 response team that speeding up the rate of vaccinations across the nation could help curb the spread of newer, highly infectious forms of COVID-19. People need to get vaccinated “as quickly and as expeditiously as possible,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration announced Tuesday that they will begin distributing COVID-19 vaccine doses directly to retail pharmacies in an effort to expedite vaccinations across the nation.
COVID-19 has killed more than 445,000 Americans, and infections have continued to mount despite the introduction of a pair of vaccines late in 2020. USA TODAY is tracking the news. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox, join our Facebook group or scroll through our in-depth answers to reader questions.
In the headlines:
►Australian regulators said in a statement Tuesday that they decided to place no upper age limit on use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine despite reports of dozens of deaths among the elderly in Norway.
►There are now 806 active confirmed cases in the Wyoming, the fewest since Sept. 26, per state health officials. Idaho is also reporting a low number of cases, with just under 434 new cases for every 100,000 residents in the past two weeks.
►A single shot of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine reduced transmission of the coronavirus by 67% and provided substantial protection against COVID-19 for at least three months, according to preliminary data from three trials unveiled Tuesday.
►The CDC reported Tuesday that the nation’s second case of the coronavirus’ Brazilian variant has been identified in Minnesota. Three cases of the South African variant, two in South Carolina and one in Maryland, have also been detected recently in the U.S.
►The National Park Service will now require all visitors and employees to wear masks inside buildings and facilities and on lands “when physical distancing cannot be maintained.” That includes busy and narrow trails.
►A new study finds that cleaner air from the pandemic lockdown warmed the planet a bit in 2020, especially in places such as the eastern United States, Russia and China.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has 26.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 446,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 103.8 million cases and 2.2 million deaths. Nearly 52.6 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 32.7 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: How many people in your state and across the U.S. have received the COVID-19 vaccine so far? Check the USA TODAY vaccine tracker.
LAPD threatens arrests if protesters again disrupt mass vaccination site
After protesters disrupted drive-in COVID-19 vaccinations at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles last week, local police said Tuesday that any further protests would prompt “immediate and swift” arrests.
“It’s my expectation and direction that … individuals will be arrested, they’ll be cited, and their actions will be caused to be ceased,” said Police Chief Michel Moore during a virtual meeting of the Police Commission, per the Los Angeles Times. “This going forward is a means of ensuring that the lines will stay open, that the vaccine sites will be unhindered.”
The stadium, one of the largest vaccination sites in the country, was temporarily shut down Saturday because dozen of protesters blocked the entrance. However, no vaccination appointments were cancelled and the site was not shut down permanently, according to Moore.
NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang tests positive for COVID-19
Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur turned presidential candidate who is now running for New York City mayor, has tested positive for COVID-19, he announced Tuesday. Yang said he had tested negative as recently as this weekend but then received a rapid test that had a positive result, he tweeted on Tuesday.
“I’m experiencing mild symptoms, but am otherwise feeling well & in good spirits,” Yang tweeted.
Yang said he was quarantining. Among New York City mayoral candidates, he has been among the most prolific in-person campaigners in a race that has been otherwise forced online because of the pandemic.
– Ryan Miller
US to send some COVID-19 vaccines directly to pharmacies
The Biden administration will begin distributing COVID-19 vaccine doses directly to retail pharmacies in an effort to expedite vaccinations across the nation.
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said the program will start with about 1 million doses sent to 6,500 pharmacies beginning next week. The number of pharmacies could ultimately each 40,000.
“This will provide more sites for people to get vaccinations in their communities,” Zients said. “And it’s an important component to delivering vaccines equitably.”
Zients said 10.5 million doses will be distributed to states this week, up 5% from last week and a 22% increase in weekly doses since President Joe Biden took office Jan. 20.
Contributing: The Associated Press