COVID-19 In Maryland: January 28, 2021 (Evening Update)
Britain must show it is fully using the avenues available under the Brexit divorce deal to minimise trade disruption in Northern Ireland before seeking concessions, a senior EU official said on Tuesday. Britain's exit from the EU's trading orbit in January has created trade barriers between Northern Ireland - which remains in the EU's single market for goods - and the rest of the United Kingdom. Maros Sefcovic, a vice president of the European Commission, said he hoped to learn of British efforts during an online meeting on Wednesday .
The European Union may impose further sanctions on Belarus after Minsk jailed two journalists for filming protests, Poland's state news agency PAP quoted Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau as saying on Tuesday. Belarus has detained more than 33,000 people in a violent crackdown on protests against President Alexander Lukashenko's rule following a contested August election his opponents say was rigged. Lukashenko has been in office since 1994.
An aerospace parts maker in California is struggling to procure cold-rolled steel, while an auto and appliance parts manufacturer in Indiana is unable to secure additional supplies of hot-rolled steel from mills. Soaring prices are driving up costs and squeezing profits at steel-consuming manufacturers, provoking a new round of calls to end former President Donald Trump's steel tariffs. "Our members have been reporting that they have never seen such chaos in the steel market," said Paul Nathanson, executive director at Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users.
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Tom Vilsack to head the Department of Agriculture, returning the former Iowa governor to the job he held under ex-President Barack Obama. The 100-member Senate approved Vilsack 92-7. As secretary of the sprawling department, Vilsack will oversee about 100,000 employees responsible for food stamps, crop insurance, land conservation and other missions at a time U.S. farmers are benefiting from high soybean and corn prices but hunger is on the rise throughout America.
- Associated Press
Two months after its first vaccine shots, the European Union is still struggling to get its COVID-19 inoculation drive up to speed. EU leaders are meeting Thursday to jump-start the process, fearing that new virus variants might spread faster than Europe’s response. At a video conference, the leaders will look at ways to improve the bloc's vaccine rollout, as the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, presses pharmaceutical companies to respect the terms of their contracts.
- Associated Press
Englishman Tom Kohler-Cadmore struck a half century on his debut in the Pakistan Super League and led Peshawar Zalmi to a six-wicket win over Multan Sultans on Tuesday. Kohler-Cadmore’s 53 off 32 balls led Peshawar to its highest-ever chase in the PSL — 197-4 — with an over to spare. Young Haider Ali finished off the game quickly by smashing a quickfire unbeaten 25 off only eight deliveries.
- Associated Press
An Indian court on Tuesday granted a 22-year-old climate activist bail, 10 days after she was detained on sedition charges for her alleged role in the creation of an online document intended to help amplify farmer protests. Disha Ravi is part of the Indian wing of Fridays for Future, a global climate change movement founded by Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.
- The Daily Beast
Mario Tama/GettyIf you’ve tried to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, you know how frustrating the process can be. People are spending hours obsessively refreshing websites, hoping an appointment will open up somewhere. They scan Facebook groups for tips and insider information. One writer compared it to Soviet-style queues for cabbage.The competition for slots will only worsen when the COVID-19 vaccination priority list opens to the broader public.It doesn’t have to be this way. Much of this misery comes from poorly designed vaccine sign-up websites, but the problem is more fundamental.As an expert in health care operations and vaccine supply chains, I have closely followed the difficulties in connecting COVID-19 vaccine doses with people. I believe the best solution to vaccine appointment scheduling lies in building a trustworthy one-stop preregistration system. The U.S. has now surpassed half a million deaths from COVID-19, and new fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus are adding to the urgency. As states scramble to speed up vaccinations and try to prevent their limited doses going to waste, a handful of them are testing this approach.The traditional vaccine sign-up model does not work when the demand for vaccines far exceeds supply.Under that model, the only way to get vaccinated is to reserve an appointment slot. Naturally, the fear of being left out drives people to attempt to sign up as soon as appointment slots become available. This leads to a rush of people endlessly refreshing the same websites for the few appointments available.Even if all states had one-stop appointment websites that did not crash under high volume, the limited vaccine supply would mean most appointment slots would quickly be taken. That could make it even harder for people who aren’t tech-savvy to get the vaccine.To fix the broken vaccine scheduling system, we need to break this cycle. 1299353966 Teacher Lily Gottlieb waits in a socially distanced standby line for people hoping to receive leftover COVID-19 vaccine doses in Encino, California. Mario Tama/Getty Most people have fairly realistic expectations about when they will be vaccinated. Their anxiety comes from the fear of being left out. To address this anxiety, the system must be designed to reassure people that they will receive vaccines within a reasonable time frame.In Israel, which leads the world in COVID-19 vaccination, citizens do not need to actively sign up for vaccine appointments. Rather, they are notified when they become eligible via text messages and can then make an appointment.States can echo this “push” system by creating a one-stop preregistration portal where everyone registers once and is notified to schedule appointments when their turn arrives. The preregistration step helps avoid waves of people trying to get appointments at the same time, which can crash computer systems, as Massachusetts experienced on Feb. 18.A good system will make it easy for people to check their position in the vaccine queue at any time, provide an estimated time to vaccination based on frequently updated supply information and then send notifications when their date is getting close. Underlying the system, vaccine doses can be allocated among eligible users on the registry using a lottery system.A well-designed preregistration system can also help avoid vaccine doses going to waste because of no-shows. With an active waitlist, vaccine planners can match supply with demand in an agile manner and offer appointments to people a few days in advance rather than scheduling appointments weeks out when the supply isn’t certain. Research in appointment scheduling has shown that no-shows are more likely under long lead times. People line up in the rain outside the Yankee Stadium for vaccinations reserved for residents of The Bronx. Timothy A. Clary/Getty West Virginia uses a statewide preregistration system and has so far been more successful at vaccinating its population than almost every other state. It controls the process from preregistration to appointment. To get the vaccine, almost all residents, with a few exceptions, are required to use the state system, with options to register either online or by phone.Minnesota just launched a similar system. “We still have a frustratingly limited vaccine supply from the federal government, but every Minnesotan should know their chance to get a vaccine will come. Today, we are connecting them directly to that process,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said in announcing the preregistration system on Feb. 18.More states should follow their lead as more of the general population becomes eligible for the vaccine in the coming months.In Massachusetts, where a vaccine sign-up website crashed shortly after launching, nearly every member of the state’s congressional delegation has urged Gov. Charlie Baker to launch a preregistration system. A few other states already have limited preregistration systems that could be expanded.Preregistration can still create confusion if the process isn’t coordinated and users don’t know what to expect.In Virginia, for example, counties created their own preregistration systems, but when the pharmacy chain CVS announced it was taking appointments, users didn’t know what to do. Most Virginia counties are now shifting to a statewide preregistration system. In Santa Cruz County, California, residents have struggled with a preregistration portal that doesn’t provide confirmation or an estimated time to vaccination.“Efficiency-equity trade-off” has become a buzzword in discussing COVID-19 vaccination. With limited vaccine supply, the traditional sign-up model has proven to be both inefficient and inequitable. Moving away from that model and establishing one-stop preregistration systems is one key to resolving the painful vaccine scheduling process.Tinglong Dai is an associate professor of operations management & business analytics, at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins University School of NursingRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Daily Beast
Facebook/Lancaster County District AttorneyA Pennsylvania teenager is facing charges after allegedly fatally stabbing her wheelchair bound older sister—then hysterically calling 911 to confess to the crime.Claire Elaina Miller, 14, has been charged with homicide after calling authorities on Feb. 22 to admit she stabbed her older sister, 19-year-old Helen Miller, while her parents were asleep, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office. The elder Miller, who had cerebral palsy, died from a stab wound to her neck.“I stabbed my sister,” Miller repeatedly told police when they arrived at the house. Since Miller is being charged as an adult, she was denied bail during a Monday arraignment.According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast, the Manheim Township Police Department arrived at the home just after 1 a.m. to find Miller, a ninth-grader at a local private school, standing in front of the house close to “what appeared to be blood on the snow near the driveway.”“Miller appeared to be attempting to wash her hands in the snow,” the affidavit states, adding that the teenager also had blood on her pants.Police say Miller directed them into her older sister’s bedroom, where Helen was found with a “pillow with blood stains” over her face. One of the officers removed the pillow and “found a large knife in Helen’s neck, just above her chest.”“Helen was lying on her back with her hands up near her head,” the affidavit states, adding that there was a “large amount of blood” pooled near her chest and bed. Lifesaving measures were “unsuccessful” and she was pronounced dead at 4:13 a.m. On Wednesday, the coroner’s office released an autopsy report confirming Helen Miller died from multiple stab wounds. Authorities also confirmed to The Daily Beast that the 19-year-old had cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair.Police say the girls’ parents were asleep during the incident that has sent shockwaves through the small Pennsylvania community about 75 miles west of Philadelphia.`“When I heard about this I was almost instantly upset about it myself over the details that had been related to me,” Manheim Township Police Chief Tom Rudzinski told WHTM. “I don’t know that I have ever been a part of something that is quite as sad as this.”Prosecutors and police, however, have not offered any details about a motive. An attorney for Miller did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.“The investigators are going to be asking those types of questions, conducting those interviews of everybody that was involved, and trying to determine a timeline [for what] would have led to this awful event,” Rudzinski said.Lancaster Country Day School officials confirmed to The Daily Beast that Miller was a ninth-grade student at the school of about 550 students. “As a tight-knit school community, we are of course shocked and saddened by this tragic event and are focused on supporting one another,” a school spokesperson said. A spokesperson for the Manheim Township School District confirmed that Helen Miller received educational services from a school within the district.“We were so saddened to learn of Helen’s tragic and unexpected passing,” the district said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the Miller family. This is a devastating tragedy.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
The White House has 132 rooms and its own restaurant. Here's what it's like inside Joe Biden's new home.
The most famous home in America also comes with a movie theater, bowling alley, and underground bunkers.
- Business Insider
Pence reportedly speaks 'very favorably' of Trump in GOP meeting and intends to launch a new political organization
"I got the sense they speak often and maintain the same personal friendship and relationship now that they have for four years," said Rep. Jim Banks.
- Business Insider
I flew Southwest for the first time since it stopped blocking middle seats. The friendly service didn't make up for inconsistent social-distancing practices.
Southwest was an early adopter of the popular seat-blocking policy but began filling planes to capacity in December.
- The Independent
Angry Democrat Gerry Connolly tells Trump ally he ‘will not be lectured’ by someone who tried to overturn election
Accusing Jim Jordan of ‘gaslighting,’ Gerry Connolly said ‘I didn’t vote to overturn an election and I will not be lectured by people who did about partisanship’
Seriously, who is Peacock's new 'Punky Brewster' even for?
- Business Insider
Trump-appointed federal judge indefinitely blocks the Biden administration's 100-day deportation freeze
The ruling serves as a win for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, who filed a lawsuit against the government over the moratorium.
Eddie Murphy says Ryan Coogler tried to make a 'Coming to America' sequel starring Michael B. Jordan - but he didn't like the idea
Eddie Murphy said that Ryan Coogler's idea had Michael B. Jordan playing his son, "looking for a wife."
- The Independent
Deputy who was first on scene of accident said reaction was ‘not uncommon in traffic collisions’
- USA TODAY
'His face was in your windshield': Police skeptical South Dakota AG didn't know he fatally struck a pedestrian
In more than three hours of interviews, South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg answers investigators' questions about his role in a fatal crash.
- Raleigh News and Observer
The man had reportedly been released from prison weeks earlier.
- Business Insider
Three-quarters of all voters, including 60% of Republicans, support Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan: poll
A new Politico/Morning Consult poll showed bipartisan support for the coronavirus aid package, which is set to receive a House vote on Friday.