A panel of expert advisers to the FDA on Friday recommended that the agency approve the use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine. Once approved, the shot would be the third Covid-19 vaccine available in the US. J&J has pledged to deliver 20 million doses by the end of March and 100 million by late June, which would give a much-needed boost to the country’s vaccine supply.
Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California said that he expects California to start administering the new Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine next week. The California Governor further said that the administration of President Joe Biden is reportedly planning on sending California more than 1.1 million of the single-dose shots over the course of the next three weeks.
At least 13 House Republicans filed paperwork to have colleagues cast their votes on the COVID-19 relief bill Friday evening, citing the COVID pandemic. However, all of them were also slated to speak at the CPAC in Orlando, Florida. The letters say: ’I am unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency.’
The administration of President Joe Biden has expressed concern over a ’shift’ in the coronavirus pandemic in recent days, as case counts plateau instead of fall. Estimates have also shown that the ’U.K.’ variant accounts for 10% of reported U.S. infections. The rolling average of daily COVID cases in the country had been plummeting after a holiday spike, from 250,000 to 66,000.
Progressive Democrats have renewed their demand to kill the Senate filibuster after their efforts to include a $15-an-hour minimum-wage increase in the coronavirus relief bill were dealt a blow. Elizabeth MacDonough had determined that raising the pay floor from $7.25 an hour is not compliant with budget reconciliation rules. Left wing Democrats have been pushing this policy for more than a decade
This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which moved from Maryland to Florida, is being conducted while keeping in mind the spread of COVID-19. A health survey, daily temperature checks, compulsory masks and physical distancing are some of the measures which have been put in place to avoid an outbreak of COVID-19 during the event.
Mark Machin, the CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which is the country’s largest pension fund, announced his resignation after disregarding public health advice and travelling to Dubai for a dose of the coronavirus vaccine. The trip attracted controversy as most Canadians are also waiting to receive their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
Richard Carranza, New York City’s Schools Chancellor announced his resignation citing the coronavirus pandemic’s personal toll on his family. Bronx Executive Superintendent Meisha Ross Porter will step in to replace him. She will also become the first Black woman to lead the nation’s largest public school district. Carranza has served in his position for three years.
The Federal Communications Commission has unanimously voted to establish a program designed to help lower the cost of high-speed Internet for those struggling to get connectivity during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It’s the nation’s largest-ever program tasked with helping households afford speedy Internet service, and should go into effect within the next 60 days
Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada said that the country expects to receive more than 6.5 million Covid-19 vaccines by the end of March, with tens of millions more vaccines arriving between April and June. The country has also secured access to almost 400 million doses of the vaccine. Manufacturers, however, have been slow to ship the authorized vaccine.
According to results of a UK study, the number of asymptomatic infections could be cut down with a single dose of Pfizer and BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine. The risk of transmission of the virus could significantly reduce due to the same. Results from thousands of tests carried out each week were analyzed by researchers. This was done during hospital screenings of healthcare staff in Cambridge.
Nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian MacDonough ruled Thursday that Democrats cannot include a $15 per hour minimum wage in their $1.9T COVID relief package. She determined lawmakers could not include the policy under budget reconciliation. Reconciliation allows the Senate to pass bills with a simple majority. WH press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden was ’disappointed in this outcome.’
Brexit, Covid-19, and global competition are chipping away Britain’s lead status in the fintech sector, and if the country wants to retain its position, it must do more, a UK government-backed report said. The report also presented Britain a strategy on how to do it. Among the suggestions given, it proposed setting up a £1 billion ($1.4 billion) startup fund and ease visa norms for hiring talent.
Controversy has erupted after dozens of slum dwellers in the Indian city of Bhopal claim to have been duped into taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Local activists allege that the group hadn’t been given an approved vaccine and had unwittingly taken part in a clinical trial for India’s homegrown vaccine, Covaxin. ’Come and take the coronavirus vaccine and get 750 rupees ($10),’ the group was told.
A Briton has been sentenced to two weeks in prison and a S$1000 fine ($753) for breaking Singapore’s quarantine rules. Nigel Skea, 52, walked up an emergency staircase, leaving his hotel room, to spend the night with his fiance Agatha Maghesh Eyamalai, 39, in September. Eyamalai was also given a week’s prison sentence. Singapore requires people to spend 14 days in a hotel upon arrival.
A group of Russian diplomats posted North Korea left the country with their families on a hand-pushed rail trolley due to Pyongyang’s Covid-19 travel restrictions. The Russian foreign ministry tweeted photos showing their unusual exit. A video on social media also showed some in the group smiling and shouting as they push the trolley over a bridge on the Tumen river, which divides the two nations.
Sen. Sanders slammed the Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s ruling against including a $15 an hour federal minimum wage increase in a COVID relief bill. ’Because of the archaic and undemocratic rules of the Senate, we are unable to move forward to end starvation wages in this country,’ Sanders tweeted. Sanders pledged to continue to fight for increased wages.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has urged people to ’think about other people rather than themselves’ and get vaccinated against the coronavirus. In a videoconference with UK’s health officials, the queen, talking of her own jab, said, ’It was very quick, and I’ve had lots of letters from people who have been very surprised at how easy it was to get the vaccine. And the jab – it didn’t hurt at all.’
Legislators from the GOP are reportedly moving ahead with a plan to strip governors and other officials of their power to change election rules. The move comes in the backdrop of states having made it easier to vote last year during the coronavirus pandemic and turnout surged to record levels. Such measures have been introduced in at least 8 states where the legislature is under Republican control
President Biden on Thursday marked the 50 millionth COVID-19 vaccine shot delivered in the US. ’Fifty million shots in just 37 days since I have become president. That is weeks ahead of schedule, even with the setbacks we faced,’ Biden said. Biden also urged Americans to continue following public health guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
A third COVID-19 vaccine shot which will be administered six to twelve months after the two dose regimen of the patient is set to be trialed by Pfizer. According to Pfizer and BioNtech, with this trial, the two companies will examine if a booster shot of the vaccine will help tackle any new emerging strains of the virus. Participants from the Phase 1 trial in the US will be used for the study.
Vice President Kamala Harris threw her weight behind the COVID-19 vaccine, as supply of the vaccine is slowly increasing. Ms. Harris toured a Giant pharmacy in Southeast D.C., and revealed she felt sluggish after her second dose of the Moderna vaccine, but there was nothing to fear. The US is aiming to vaccinate 75% of its population as quickly as possible in a bid to control the pandemic.
The provision of vaccines will be accelerated according to a pledge by leaders of the EU at a summit on Thursday. But a postponement has been decided on the decision regarding an introduction of vaccination passports to facilitate tourism. The 27 member states have witnessed a slow deployment of the vaccine with only 6% of the adult population having received a jab as compared to 27% in the UK.
Pfizer/BioNTech said they are testing a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine to have a better understanding of the immune response against new strains of the virus. Talking to media, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, Mikael Dolsten said the mutation rate of the virus turned out to be higher than expected. He expressed confidence that current two-dose vaccine will work against new variants.