COVID Vaccine Updates: Brazil entering worst phase of coronavirus crisis

NEW YORK (WABC) — There are new warnings about COVID spread in Brazil as the country reports a new single-day record for coronavirus-related deaths.

That nation’s health minister predicts Brazil will go through the worst of the pandemic this month.

16,000 deaths were reported on Wednesday. That’s a 29% increase compared to 2 weeks ago.

Officials say 81% of ICU units in Brazil are now working at more than 95% capacity.

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Here are more of today’s headlines:

State-run vaccination sites in NY go 24/7 as J&J vaccine arrives
It’s another major step forward in the war on the coronavirus today in New York City, with the arrival of the initial supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Much of New York state’s allotment is headed to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. As a result, the state-run site will now operate 24 hours a day.

Connecticut to release ‘cautious reopening’ plan
In Connecticut Thursday, plans are expected to be released for a “cautious reopening.” The plan will include guidelines for stores, restaurants, retail, and personal services. Governor Ned Lamont will also announce changes to the state’s travel advisory.

Father of 7 records heartbreaking video message for his kids 2 weeks before dying of COVID
Two weeks before he died, 35-year-old Charles “Charley” Torres struggled to breathe as he said his goodbyes to his three children and four stepchildren.

There were times when his family thought he would beat COVID-19, but 30 days after he was admitted to the hospital on Jan. 15, he died. It was Valentine’s Day.

Germany extends lockdown to March 28
After a meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and heads of German states, the federal and state governments agreed to extend the lockdown to March 28.

Some restrictions will be eased:

– Starting March 8: Up to 5 people from two households will be allowed to meet (up from the previous max of 2 people)
– Flower shops and book stores, garden centers, tattoo and nail parlors as well as massage salons will also be allowed to reopen
– If the rate of infections remains below 50 per 100,000 residents: starting March 8th a state can open retail outlet for so-call “appointment shopping”
– A circuit breaker will be introduced if the rate exceeds 100 infections per 100,000 residents
– Hair salons and some schools have reopened in recent days
– Most stores which closed nationwide since Dec. 16, will remain closed
– Restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities closed since Nov. 2nd, remain closed
– Hotels are allowed only to accommodate business travelers

Family overjoyed to resume in-person visits with elderly mother at nursing home
People in nursing homes have been especially vulnerable and isolated during the pandemic and many have not seen their loved ones in person for months.

Now that New York State has started to allow family visitation again, Eyewitness News is taking a look at how facilities are keeping their residents safe and there was a special reunion at the Nassau Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Hempstead on Wednesday.

Wedding receptions can operate at increased capacity in NJ

Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order allowing indoor wedding receptions to operate at 35% capacity of the room in which they are held, up to 150 individuals, and outdoor wedding receptions to permit up to 150 individuals. Both capacity limits are exclusive of venue staff. Receptions will be required to follow indoor and outdoor dining guidance, which requires that people eat and drink while seated and wear face coverings at all other times.

Vaccine supply will ‘explode’ around Easter, Murphy says
New Jersey’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines, far below demand, will “explode” around Easter, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday, offering a promise of possible relief nearly a year since the state’s first case.

YMCA in NY closing sleepaway camps
The YMCA have announced they are permanently closing sleepaway camps in New York due to the pandemic.

“After a thorough and difficult review, the YMCA of Greater New York has decided to permanently close our sleepaway camps and sell our camp property in Huguenot, NY. This painful decision was not made lightly. Unfortunately, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on our revenue, resulting in losses of $100 million, and we can no longer financially support our sleepaway camp. We are committed to continuing our support of the YMCA camp movement and are exploring how to use our endowment to send children to other neighboring and partner Y camps. We know how much our camp has meant to our Y families, dedicated staff, donors, and volunteers, and we thank them for their support.”

Gatherings limits set to increase in NY
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced gathering limits that are set to increase for residential, social and venues in New York state.

Beginning March 22:
– Residential gatherings: Indoors stays 10 person limit, while outdoors increases from 10 to 25 people
– Social gatherings: Indoor limits goes from 50 people to 100, while outdoors goes from 50 to 200.
Beginning April 2, event, arts and entertainment venues:
– Reopening at 33% capacity, up to 100 people indoors, 200 people outdoors
– With attendee testing, capacity increases to 160 people indoor, 500 people outdoor

NY county marks 1-year anniversary of 1st COVID case, opens new vaccine center
Westchester County marked the one-year anniversary of its first COVID-19 case Wednesday, this as another vaccination mega-site run by the state of New York and FEMA opened in Yonkers. County Executive George Latimer held commemoration ceremony in the lobby of the Michaelian Office Building in White Plains, where the county’s “Ribbons of Remembrance” memorial now stands. To date, Westchester has lost over 2,000 lives to the virus.

Northwell Health administers 1st Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine on Long Island
Northwell Health became one of the first health systems in the nation to administer the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine Wednesday. The third vaccine authorized for emergency use has shown 85% effective at preventing severe disease and was administered to a patient being discharged after hospitalization at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore. Susan Maxwell-Trumble, 67, of Babylon, had hip replacement surgery Tuesday and is believed to be first in the Northwell system and among the first in the country to receive this vaccine.
As a one-dose inoculation that can be stored at regular refrigerated temperatures and can stay viable for up to three months, the J&J vaccine is easier to transport, store and distribute than those produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. It will boost Northwell’s capacity to vaccinate twice the number of people over the same period of time.

Johnson & Johnson shots to arrive in NYC, will be dedicated to homebound seniors
New York City expects to receive its initial shipment of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday and will dedicate it to homebound seniors and others who cannot get to distribution centers.

“It’s the homebound seniors that we are focused on, because clearly, the best way to distribute vaccine is at vaccine centers, except if someone literally can’t get to one,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “That’s where we have a plan we are developing now, we will be announcing in more detail, for homebound seniors…Obviously, if you are a homebound senior, you can get it done in one shot, that makes a lot more sense. You do not have the option of going out and getting your second shot. The focus, first and foremost, will be on neighborhoods of greatest need, those 33 neighborhoods.”

Senate Democrats still finishing their COVID relief bill, agree to income limits for 3rd stimulus check
President Joe Biden and Democrats agreed Wednesday to tighten the upper income limits at which people could qualify for stimulus checks, a Democratic official said, a major concession to moderates as party leaders prepared to move their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill through the Senate. The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, the official said. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal Democratic conversations.

Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine rekindles religious dilemma over fetal tissue

Roman Catholic leaders in St. Louis and New Orleans are advising Catholics that the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, newly approved for use in the U.S., is “morally compromised” because it is produced using a cell line derived from an aborted fetus. The New Orleans archdiocese says the decision to receive a vaccine is one of individual conscience. In its statement late last week, it stopped short of advising Catholics not to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but adds that Catholics should choose coronavirus vaccines made by Moderna or Pfizer – if they are available.

Teachers, child care staff can book COVID-19 vaccines appointments even if ineligible
Teachers and child care staff are now being offered vaccine appointments at some 9,000 pharmacy locations nationwide, even if their state hasn’t declared them eligible yet. The push to get every educator their first vaccine dose this month is part of President Joe Biden’s latest directive aimed at prying open classrooms by using a federally run program that ships doses directly to pharmacies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which manages the program, announced the effort on its website. And as of Wednesday morning, CVS – one of the pharmacies participating in the program – had already updated its website to note that “teachers K-12 and child care workers” were now eligible to sign up for a vaccine shot in every state.

NYPD traffic enforcement agent dies of COVID-19
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea announced the death of a traffic enforcement agent due to COVID-19.

Yonkers mega vaccination site opens
Another vaccination mega-site run by the state of New York and FEMA is opening today in Westchester County. It is located at the National Guard Armory recruiting center in Yonkers, and it’s for Yonkers residents only. The site is expected to vaccinate 1,000 individuals a day and will operate with extended hours to better reach local residents.

When did you realize the COVID pandemic changed everything?
Many of us had a moment, most often occurring in March 2020, when we realized that COVID-19 had completely changed our lives forever. Even though we’ve managed to move forward and adapt to a new normal, that memory still sticks with us. Tell us: What was that moment to you?

Top 7 COVID vaccine questions answered
You had questions about COVID-19 vaccines and 7 On Your Side is getting you answers from doctors on the front line of the pandemic.


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