Marion County goes red. Following new COVID numbers from the Indiana State Health Department, Marion County is officially considered in the red. While that generally means more restrictions, Mayor Joe Hogsett has been imposing tougher restrictions for months.
“We saw large community spread October, November, December. We saw a little bit of a leveling off, maybe a downturn, but now we have lost those gains,” explained Tomas Duszynski, director of epidemiology at Fairbanks School of Health at IUPUI.
“We are letting our guard down. We are doing those things that we shouldn’t necessarily be doing. Some can be contributed to the holidays.”
The Marion County Health Department points to those holiday gatherings as the main culprit for the spikes, however that boils down to people not adhering to guidelines. They suggest people double down on wearing masks, social distancing, and hand washing.
ISTA’s leader questions when it will be teachers’ turn to be vaccinated. Every week when state health officials give their weekly COVID-19 press briefing, Keith Gambill makes sure to tune in.
As president of the Indiana State Teachers Association, Gambill said he was disappointed during last week’s press conference to hear the state was taking an age-based approach.
“That was the first that we learned of teachers not being included in any of the prioritization of a vaccine,” said Gambill. “Up to that time, we had always believed that we were in the 1B category.”
According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when a vaccine is in limited supply, first doses should go to healthcare personnel (1A group). Following that group, the CDC recommends vaccinations go to frontline workers like firefighters, police and educators (1B group) prior to people aged 75 and older.
“We did not hear our name called in [last week’s press conference] at all, and it’s very disconcerting” said Gambill.
Vaccination age requirement lowered to 70 for Hoosiers. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb was thrilled to announce that nearly 100,000 Hoosiers older than 80 have scheduled an appointment to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the past week.
The statement came after the state’s even bigger announcement from ISDH Wednesday morning that Hoosiers age 70 and older can now begin scheduling appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccines.
The state department of health said appointments can be scheduled by visiting OurShot.In.Gov. Anyone needing assistance can call 211.
Caregivers and loved ones can also make appointments on behalf of eligible seniors.
Last Friday, Hoosiers at least 80 years old were the first members of the public to be able to sign up for appointments.
WHO researchers now in China to begin probe into origins of the pandemic. A global team of researchers arrived Thursday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to conduct a politically sensitive investigation into its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries.
The 10-member team sent to Wuhan by the World Health Organization was approved by President Xi Jinping’s government after months of diplomatic wrangling that prompted an unusual public complaint by the head of the WHO.
Scientists suspect the virus that has killed 1.9 million people since late 2019 jumped to humans from bats or other animals, most likely in China’s southwest. The ruling Communist Party, stung by complaints it allowed the disease to spread, says the virus came from abroad, possibly on imported seafood, but scientists reject that.
One dose vaccine gets closer to being approved. Johnson & Johnson is close to wrapping up data analysis for Phase 3 of its COVID-19 vaccine trial.
Janssen, the Belgian unit pharmaceutical division of Johnson & Johnson, reported approximately 45,000 people have participated in Phase 3 clinical trials, also known as ENSEMBLE, as of December. Participants were recruited for the third phase at the end of September after data from Phase 1 and 2 was completed, according to the Global Head of Research & Development at Janssen Mathai Mammen.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in the U.S. 10.2 million people have received the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. More than 29 million doses have been distributed as of January 13.
Biden is expected to reveal details about his stimulus plan tonight. President-elect Joe Biden will likely unveil his stimulus plan Thursday, which is expected to include an increase to the $600 stimulus checks most Americans have received.
Biden’s remarks will be delivered Thursday at 7:15 p.m. ET.
Biden’s advisers have told allies in Congress that the expected price tag for the package will be an impressive $2 trillion, according to CNN. The pricing of the package could still change, however.
“Some Republicans will engage,” he said, “and hopefully [lawmakers] can avoid a Republican Senate filibuster.”