COVID Vaccine Updates: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warns of 4th wave as some states lift restrictions

NEW YORK (WABC) — The first doses of Johnson and Johnson’s single-shot vaccine will be in arms Tuesday. It’s a positive sign, but experts say it’s not the time for a victory lap. There are words of caution from the CDC.

“Please hear me clearly. At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director.

At least seven states have lifted their stay-at-home orders and lifted their mask mandates.

Director Walensky is warning of a potential fourth surge of the virus, saying the numbers have stalled in several states, leveling off at 70,000 daily cases and 2,000 daily deaths.

“Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know could stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close,” Dr. Walensky said.

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Here are more of today’s headlines:

Johnson & Johnson vaccine expected in NYC Tuesday
The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be available in the Tri-State area for the first time as early as Tuesday. The new J&J vaccine started shipping from a Kentucky warehouse on Monday, with an initial 3.9 million doses expected to arrive at destinations across the country within 24 to 48 hours.

The state of New York expects to receive 164,800 doses this week.
WHO official says it’s ‘unrealistic’ to think COVID-19 pandemic will end soon
A senior World Health Organization official said Monday it was “premature” and “unrealistic” to think the pandemic might be stopped by the end of the year, but that the recent arrival of effective vaccines could at least help dramatically reduce hospitalizations and death.

The world’s singular focus right now should be to keep transmission of COVID-19 as low as possible, said Dr. Michael Ryan, director of WHO’s emergencies program.

Here’s when the US will see a lot more COVID-19 vaccine doses
Millions more COVID-19 vaccines are on the way. Moderna, Pfizer and now Johnson & Johnson will deliver enough doses to fully vaccinate 130 million people — more than one-third of the US population — by the end of March, the pharmaceutical companies told a House subcommittee last week:

-Moderna plans to deliver 100 million doses by the end of the month, said Dr. Stephen Hoge, the company’s president. It’ll deliver another 100 million by the end of May and 100 million more by the end of July.

-Pfizer will deliver 120 million doses by the end of the month, 80 million more doses by the end of May and 100 million more by the end of July, said chief business officer John Young.

-Johnson & Johnson, whose single-dose vaccine was approved just last week, will deliver 20 million doses by the end of March and aims to deliver 100 million by July, said Dr. Richard Nettles, vice president of US Medical Affairs at the company’s vaccine arm, Janssen.

Several NJ MVC centers close due to COVID cases
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission announced Monday that the Newark Regional, Vineland, Salem, and Lodi Licensing Centers are closed due to a single employee testing positive for COVID-19 at each location. Newark Regional Licensing Center will be closed until Wednesday, March 10. The employee who tested positive was last in the agency on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Vineland, Salem, and Lodi Licensing Centers will be closed until Monday, March 15. The single employee who tested positive at each of these locations was last in the agency on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Connecticut will announce plans for ‘a cautious reopening’

Gov. Ned Lamont said he will announce plans on Thursday for “a cautious reopening” of stores, restaurant, retail and personal services in the state.

Lamont will also announce changes to the state’s travel advisory. “We’ll be opening up the travel a little bit more,” he said.

Lamont defended the state’s age-based vaccine roll out, citing its high vaccination rates. Connecticut is in the top five of states nationally for percent of population vaccinated.

On one-year anniversary, doctor recalls state’s 1st COVID-19 case
Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New York, and it comes as the first doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine are shipped out. The first coronavirus victim identified in the state was a 39-year-old woman who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Iran. And the doctor who made the first diagnosis was Dr. Angela Chen, an emergency room physician at Mount Sinai Hospital.
“I looked at my nurse at the time, and said, ‘I think this could be it,'” she said. “We really took every measure We checked ourselves, went through the donning and doffing of PPE, and said, you know, we better hope we get this right.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio says some state-run sites not vaccinating enough city residents
Mayor de Blasio says the city is closing in on two million vaccinations, but he took another opportunity to jab Governor Andrew Cuomo saying his big state-run sites like the Javits Center are not effectively getting the vaccine where it needs to go. It’s been found at the Javits Center that 42% of doses are going to non-city residents. At the Aqueduct Racetrack, 75% of doses have been going to non-city residents. The mayor said with limited supply, he prefers sites like Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, which are open to those borough’s respective residents only, but still, he said that the rollout is working.

Kids are hitting a pandemic wall
After almost a full year of grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including nearly nine months of virtual school, 11-year-old London Loree simply has had enough. Enough of Zoom classes and technology fails. Enough of social distancing. Enough of all of it. Her focus is waning. School, something she loves, has become a drag. Mental health struggles for children remain a concern. Loree could be the poster child for many kids these days. Across time zones, age groups and socioeconomic lines, young people appear to be hitting a breaking point that developmental psychologists are calling the “pandemic wall.”

Teachers, transportation workers in NJ to be eligible for vaccine this month
New Jersey is expanding its vaccine eligibility this month, and starting March 15, the following workers will be eligible to get vaccinated:
– Pre-K through 12 educators and support staff
– Child care workers in licensed and registered settings
– Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, rideshare, airport employees, NJ Transit workers and Motor Vehicle Commissioner staff
– All public safety personnel who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals
– Migrant farm workers
– Members of tribal communities
– Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelter, including domestic violence shelters

Starting March 29, the following workers will be eligible to get vaccinated:
– Food production, agriculture and food distribution
– Eldercare and support
– Warehousing and logistics
– Social services support staff

– Elections personnel
– Hospitality
– Medical supply chain
– Postal and shipping services
– Clergy
– Judicial system

Johnson & Johnson vaccine: How it’s different
The United States is poised to get a third coronavirus vaccine — this one made by Johnson & Johnson. The US Food and Drug Administration has given the vaccine emergency use authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended it, and the federal government is scheduled to start distribution almost immediately. Two vaccines are already being distributed in the US — one made by Moderna and another made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. The new vaccine, made by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine division, is a little different. Here’s how.

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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