U.S. intelligence officials warned Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic will test governments across the globe for years to come, “fueling humanitarian and economic crises, political unrest and geopolitical competition.”
In its annual Worldwide Threat Assessment report, officials outlined a daunting challenge against a backdrop of other persistent threats posed by climate change and mass migration.
“No country has been completely spared, and even when a vaccine is widely distributed globally, the economic and political aftershocks will be felt for years,” the report concluded, referring to the massive virus fallout.
One of those vaccines, from Johnson & Johnson, will be scrutinized today by an expert panel today. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot linked to the one-shot inoculation.
Also in the news:
►Attendance at Saturday’s funeral for Britain’s Prince Philip will be limited to 30 mourners due to current coronavirus restrictions in England. Queen Elizabeth may be required to sit alone, with guests spaced 6 feet apart.
►Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he has received his second COVID-19 vaccine shot, three weeks after the first dose. The Kremlin wouldn’t reveal which of the three Russian-developed vaccines approved there the president has taken.
►Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has issued an executive order banning the development or use of vaccine passports in Montana.
►German health authorities are recommending that people younger than 60 who have already received one shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine use a different vaccine for their second dose over concerns of blood clots.
►South Africa has suspended giving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a “precautionary measure” following the FDA decision in the U.S. to pause the use of the vaccine while rare blood clots are examined.
►The NFL has laid out team guidelines for COVID-19 vaccinations and is strongly urging franchises to have all employees vaccinated. Commissioner Roger Goodell told teams in a memo to plan on using stadiums or team headquarters as vaccination centers for their players, employees and family members. Teams must update the league weekly on vaccination figures.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 31.34 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 2.95 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 137.25 million cases and 563,400 million deaths. More than 245.36 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 192.28 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: What do I do if I’ve gotten the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot? Your questions, answered.
Poland plans to go ahead with immunizations using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after receiving its first batch of 120,000 doses on Wednesday.
Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said Poland is following the latest recommendations from the European Medicines Agency, which said it is “currently not clear” whether the J&J shot caused rare blood clots reported in some recipients. The EMA approved the vaccine for use in the European Union last month.
“In line with these recommendations, we will want to use it in inoculations,” Niedzielski said.
Circle the City, with support from the Human Services Campus and Maricopa County in Arizona, is hosting a week-long, walk-up event on the Phoenix campus to vaccinate people experiencing homelessness. No appointment necessary. Dr. Melissa Sandoval of Circle the City said her team has been vaccinating people experiencing homelessness for months at the organization’s clinic, but sees more success at walk-up events.
“If even just calling and making an appointment and walking into our clinic is a barrier, we’d like to lower that barrier,” she said.
The goal is to vaccinate 500 people this week. Sandoval said it has been difficult to enforce mask policies and educate about the risk of asymptomatic COVID-19 infections. Sandoval added that there’s also a heightened chance that people experiencing homelessness could die or end up in the hospital if they contract COVID-19 because they often have preexisting medical conditions or substance abuse disorders. Read the full story.
– Jessica Boehm, Arizona Republic
Contributing: Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY; The Associated Press