Dr. David Kessler, chief science officer for the Biden administration's Covid response, talks with Rachel Maddow about the availability of life-saving monoclonal antibody therapies for certain high risk Covid-19 patients that are sitting unused as patients and health care providers appear not to be aware of them as an option.
- The Independent
‘Quick decision-making is not Mr Biden’s style’
- The New York Times
When federal health officials said on Thursday that fully vaccinated Americans no longer needed to wear masks in most places, it came as a surprise to many people in public health. It also was a stark contrast with the views of a large majority of epidemiologists surveyed in the last two weeks by The New York Times. In the informal survey, 80% said they thought Americans would need to wear masks in public indoor places for at least another year. Just 5% said people would be able to stop wearing masks indoors by this summer. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times In large crowds outdoors, like at a concert or protest, 88% of the epidemiologists said it was necessary even for fully vaccinated people to wear masks. “Unless the vaccination rates increase to 80% or 90% over the next few months, we should wear masks in large public indoor settings,” said Vivian Towe, a program officer at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The responses came from of 723 epidemiologists, submitted between April 28 and May 10, before the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey asked the public health experts about being outdoors in groups of various sizes, and about being indoors with people whose vaccination status was unknown. The situations were consistent with the new guidance, which governs behavior in public places, regardless of size, where it is impossible to know the vaccine status of others. Federal health officials have already said that vaccinated people can be indoors with other vaccinated people, and epidemiologists mostly agreed. But the CDC’s new guidance said masks were no longer necessary for fully vaccinated people regardless of the size of the gathering and whether it was indoors or outside, except in certain situations, like in a doctor’s office or on public transit. Epidemiologists are, on the whole, very cautious when it comes to COVID-19, by nature of their training in understanding risk and preventing the spread of infectious disease. Nearly three-quarters described themselves as risk-averse, and they are likely to have been able to work from home over the past year, unlike many Americans. But they also have the same training as many of the scientists at CDC who devised the new policy, and about one-third of the survey respondents work in government, mostly at the state level. They acknowledged that many Americans would not want to continue to wear masks — and that many have already stopped. Wearing masks “will be a need, which is a very different question than how long will it continue to occur,” said Sophia K., an epidemiologist at the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council. “I expect that most people will refuse to wear masks, even in public, by the end of 2021, whether there is still a pandemic or not.” Many epidemiologists echoed the CDC in saying that as long as people were fully vaccinated, they could gather without precautions. But the CDC went further than the epidemiologists by giving the OK for vaccinated people to stop masking in groups with an unknown number of unvaccinated people. “It is either you trust the vaccine, or you do not,” said Kristin Harrington, an epidemiology Ph.D. student at Emory. “And if we trust the vaccine, that means an unlimited number of vaccinated individuals should be allowed to gather together.” Others acknowledged that policy decisions are based on many goals, such as invigorating the economy and incentivizing people to get vaccinated. Yet most said mask-wearing continued to be necessary for now, because the number of vaccinated Americans had not yet reached a level that scientists consider necessary to significantly slow the spread of the virus. Until then, there are too many chances for vaccines, which are not 100% effective, to fail, they said. “Crowded circumstances, indoors or outdoors, necessitate a mask until community levels of COVID are much lower,” said Luther-King Fasehun, a doctor and an epidemiology Ph.D. student at Temple University. Sally Picciotto, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said the decision to stop wearing masks indoors “depends on more people rolling up their sleeves to get the shot.” Respondents also said that as long as the virus was still spreading, masks were important to protect high-risk people and those who cannot be vaccinated, like children or people who have underlying health conditions. “Until community transmission is lower, it protects the whole community and the other people in the room to wear masks,” including children, immuno-suppressed people and Black and Latino communities who have been hit harder by COVID-19, said Julia Raifman, an assistant professor of public health at Boston University. One-quarter of the epidemiologists in the survey said they thought people would need to continue wearing masks in certain settings indefinitely, and some said they planned to continue to wear them in places like airplanes or concert halls, or during the winter virus season. “Heck, I may wear a mask for every flu season now,” said Allison Stewart, the lead epidemiologist at the Williamson County and Cities Health District in Texas. “Sure has been nice not to be sick for over a year.” Alana Cilwick, an epidemiologist at the Colorado Department of Public Health, said, “I plan to wear a mask indoors for the foreseeable future given the amount of vaccine hesitancy we are seeing, especially in higher-risk settings like the gym or on an airplane.” Just one-fifth of epidemiologists said it was safe for fully vaccinated people to socialize indoors without masks in a group of unlimited size. A majority said indoor gatherings should be limited to five or fewer households. Even outside, where the coronavirus is much less likely to spread, nearly all the epidemiologists said it was necessary to keep wearing masks in crowds, when people are near others whose vaccination status they don’t know. “Masks are the second-most helpful prevention strategy we have to vaccines,” Raifman said. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- The Telegraph
The Army will be sent to hotspots worst-hit by the Indian variant of coronavirus under a "surge vaccination" plan to protect the vulnerable, the Prime Minister has announced. Boris Johnson has also declared that second doses of the coronavirus vaccine for the over-50s will be accelerated across the country. Speaking at a televised Downing Street press conference on Friday evening, he said that the gap between vaccines will be reduced to 8 weeks to provide additional protection to the most vulnerable as rapidly as possible. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is thought to have made the recommendation earlier on Friday to change its guidance, cutting by a third the length of time previously left between jabs, which was 12 weeks. Scientists have been forced to weigh up the benefit of getting those most at risk from the virus fully vaccinated sooner, with the higher level of effectiveness thought to be gained by delaying second doses by up to 12 weeks. New coronavirus cases involving the strain known as B1.617.2, which has helped fuel India’s devastating outbreak, have more than doubled in a week in England. London and the North West have seen the biggest rise in cases of the variant. A Government source told The Telegraph its growing spread was a "concern" and warned that scientists were still not certain about how transmissible the strain is, nor how effective vaccines are against it. Mr Johnson confirmed he will proceed with step three of his roadmap out of lockdown on Monday as planned, at which point six people or two households will be allowed to meet inside. Acknowledging the increased risk from this new variant, he said there was no evidence at present to suggest the vaccines will be less effective against it, but said the situation would continue to be monitored. The military, led by Colonel Russ Miller, will be deployed to Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, the areas worst-hit by the new variant, to support local leaders in managing the response, Mr Johnson revealed. This will include a vaccination surge for second doses, and targeted new activity to accelerate vaccine uptake among eligible cohorts. Increased surge testing will also be rolled out. While the Government decided to change its advice on the gap between doses, it rejected other calls for the vaccine to be offered to all adults over 18 in Indian variant hotspots. Earlier in the day Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, explained the rationale against awarding jabs to younger age groups in the worst-hit areas. He told the BBC it takes three weeks to build protection from a first dose and to have any effect on transmission of the virus. His explanation raises concerns that the surge vaccination strategy may not take effect quickly enough to curb a major outbreak. In Bolton, which has a particularly high rate of the Indian variant, the leader of the council called for the jab to be offered to young people in the area. David Greenhalgh told BBC Radio 4's The World at One: "The vast majority of our cases are in their teens, 20s and 30s at the moment. "If we can get vaccinations to (those aged) 16-plus, which are licensed by Pfizer, then it will make a total transformation of transmission as it moves forward." He confirmed there had been talks between council leaders and the Government about surge vaccinations, describing the discussions as "very, very constructive". "This is an issue of capacity but… all the soundings are is that they are looking to progress that as soon as possible," he said. More vaccine doses have been sent to Bolton, while 800,000 PCR tests have been sent to 15 separate areas of England, including parts of London and Merseyside. London and the North West have seen the biggest rise in cases of the variant, with Public Health England (PHE) data showing it has been responsible for four deaths as of May 12. Blackburn with Darwen Council said on Thursday that it would be offering vaccines to all over-18s from next week following the increase in cases, but later said that although additional vaccine clinics are being set up, the jab will only be offered to those eligible under current Government guidance. It is understood the NHS asked the council to remove the tweet, as advice on vaccine prioritisation had not changed. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham also weighed in, calling for "extra vaccine supplies" to be extended to "the younger working-age population, the student population". He added: "That is what is needed if we are to make the most decisive and effective intervention into this situation that we can right now. "We recognise the pressure on vaccine supplies all over the country, but we have been moving at a pace where we have been treating all areas equally, and I think the time has now come to recognise areas with the highest case rate do need to be able to move more quickly down the ages." Bedford Borough Council has also called for vaccines to be made available for over-16s in the face of the variant. In the Formby area of Sefton, new drive-through and walk-through test centres were set up on Friday, specifically to identify the Indian variant. The latest case rate in Sefton was 53.9, up from 26 the previous week, with 149 new cases. Measures have also been brought in elsewhere, including in parts of London. Hounslow is the London borough with the highest rate at 48.2 per 100,000 people in the seven days to May 9, with 131 new cases.
- Associated Press
News organizations demanded an explanation Saturday for an Israeli airstrike that targeted and destroyed a Gaza City building housing the offices of The Associated Press, broadcaster Al-Jazeera and other media outlets. AP journalists and other tenants were safely evacuated from the 12-story al-Jalaa tower after the Israeli military warned of an imminent strike. Three heavy missiles hit the building within the hour, disrupting coverage of the ongoing conflict between' Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel.
- The Independent
Bear’s injuries happened during the 2020 Cameron Peak Fire
- The Independent
Donald Trump ‘will hold first rallies this summer’ - six months after DC event which sparked Capitol riots
The former president will reportedly hold two rallies in June and one in July, insiders have claimed
- Associated Press
Matthew Highmore scored twice in the third period to help the Vancouver Canucks beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 on Saturday. “He’s tenacious on pucks, he’s good in his own end and obviously you saw tonight that he can put the puck in the net when he wants to,” Canucks captain Bo Horvat said. Travis Boyd and Bo Horvat also scored and Thatcher Demko made 31 saves.
- WCVB - Boston
Dr. Mark Siedner, of Mass General, says we are the closest we've been to ending the COVID-19 pandemic, but we're not quite over the finish line yet.
Elise Stefanik's win is seen as a sign that former President Trump's grip on the party remains strong.
- The Independent
Major US retailers and resorts are lifting indoor mask mandates for vaccinated people after updated CDC advice
- The Independent
Ousted top GOP messenger says cable news channel has ‘particular obligation to make sure people know election wasn’t stolen’
- Charlotte Observer
Miles Bridges scored 30 in first game back from COVID-19 bout
- Reuters Videos
Since she's not as worried about inflation as others in the market are, Pai said she'll be looking to pick up some of the high-growth tech names that get dumped on when inflation fears and talk of higher rates pull them down again.
The corporation said he was leaving his post due to ongoing health issues.
- Architectural Digest
The limited edition collection features an array of live and faux plants and accessories Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Reuters Videos
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there was no excuse for such a situation.NBC News reported children who migrated to the United States without their parents are being held on buses in a parking lot in Dallas.
- Business Insider
Israeli airstrike destroys Gaza media building housing the offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera
An hour after a warning was issued, an Israeli airstrike flattened Gaza's Al-Jalaa tower - a building used partly as an international media HQ.
- WLS – Chicago
A special response unit extricated the victim from under the concrete rubble, according to the Chicago Fire Department
- Associated Press
The Republican who now leads the Arizona county elections department targeted by a GOP audit of the 2020 election results is slamming former President Donald Trump and others in his party for their continued falsehoods about how the election was run. Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer on Saturday called a Trump statement accusing the county of deleting an elections database “unhinged” and called on other Republicans to stop the unfounded accusations. The former president's statement came as Republican Senate President Karen Fann has demanded the Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors come to the Senate to answer questions raised by the private auditors she has hired.
"I am very happy in love, and in life. I’d be enormously grateful if you were happy with me," Cavill wrote on Instagram.