VIRUS TODAY: Barriers slow efforts to vaccinate immigrants

Here’s what’s happening Friday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:


— Advocacy groups are warning that immigrants in the U.S. may be some of the most difficult people to reach during the national drive to vaccinate the population against the virus. Some immigrants in the country illegally fear that information taken during vaccinations could be turned over to authorities and so may not seek out vaccines, while those who speak little or no English may find it difficult to access shots.

— A group of fortunate Americans are getting pushed to the front of the line to get their COVID-19 vaccines as clinics scramble to get rid of extra, perishable doses by the end of the day. Some of those getting earlier than expected access just happen to be near a clinic at closing time, but clinic workers also go out looking for willing recipients. Other clinics are setting up lotteries to dispense their extra shots because the demand is so great. The process has emerged as one of the most unusual, and to some unseemly, quirks in the vaccination rollout.

— The White House is following public health guidelines for preventing the coronavirus under President Joe Biden. Testing wristbands are in. Mask-wearing is mandatory. Desks are socially distanced. While the Trump administration was known for ignoring infection-control guidance, the Biden team has made a point of adhering to the same advice that federal health officials are counseling Americans to follow.

THE NUMBERS: The U.S. is averaging more than 187,000 new cases and about 3,000 deaths each day. The nation’s death toll since the start of the pandemic now stands at more than 410,000.

QUOTABLE: “It became political to say that the pandemic was devastating our community because it was interpreted as a judgment on Trump.” — Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious-diseases physician and a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine, after National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci gave his first briefing since Biden took office.

ICYMI: California’s public health agency recently surprised local officials by lifting a stay-at-home order in the 13-county Greater Sacramento region, relying on data not publicly shared despite repeated pledges of transparency. State officials projected intensive care unit capacity and virus spread four weeks into the future to make the determination. State health department spokeswoman Ali Bay said the data is not being shared, citing concerns it would cause more confusion.

ON THE HORIZON: President Joe Biden plans to take executive action to provide a stopgap measure of financial relief for millions of Americans. Biden is also seeking to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It is unclear when the proposal will be introduced.


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Categories: National & International News