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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update – Trump administration canceled order for 80k ventilators

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The joint venture between General Motors and Ventec Life Systems, which the White House had been preparing to reveal on Wednesday, would allow for the production of as many as 80,000 desperately needed ventilators, has suddenly come to a halt.

What We Know:

  • Government officials state the decision to cancel the announcement came after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said it needed more time to assess whether the estimated cost was prohibitive. That price tag was more than $1 billion.
  • Several hundred million dollars was to be paid upfront to General Motors to retool a car parts plant in Kokomo, IN, where the ventilators would be made with Ventec’s technology.
  • Despite the deal being on hold, officials have yet to rule out a new proposal as they examine a dozen other options. Longtime emergency managers at FEMA are working with military officials to sort through the competing offers and federal procurement rules while under pressure to give President Trump something to announce.
  • Many organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, which approve the use of medical devices, understand the ever developing pandemic. White House must now try and figure out how many ventilators to request and how much they should cost.
  • To put in perspective, the current $1.5 billion price tag equates to around $18,000 a ventilator. The overall cost, by comparison, is roughly equal to buying 18 F-35s, the Pentagon’s most advanced fighter jet.

The shortage of ventilators has emerged as one of the major criticisms of the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19 (coronavirus). The need to quickly equip hospitals across the country with tens of thousands more of the devices to treat those most seriously ill with the virus was not anticipated despite the Trump administration’s own projection.

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Javier Garay is a Media & News SVCS Intern at UnmutedCo. He graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelors of Science (B.S) in Film/Digital Media with a concentration in Media Studies. He is a contributor and editor for Black News Alerts (BNA), a BNA and BossFM social media contributor, and is lead of the BNA Daily Podcast Team.

Coronavirus

Dave Chappelle Tests Positive for COVID-19 Cancels Texas Shows

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US comedian Dave Chappelle and recipient of the Mark Twain Award for American Humor arrives at the Kennedy Center for award ceremony on October 27, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Edelman / AFP) (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Dave Chappelle tested positive for the coronavirus just prior to his comedy show scheduled for Thursday, demanding his future appearances to be canceled, a spokeswoman said.

What We Know:

  • Chappelle was expected to play Thursday through Sunday at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas. “Dave Chappelle is quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19,” the comedian is asymptomatic his representative Carla Sims said in a statement.

“His remaining shows at Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, TX have been canceled, and ticket holders should contact their point of purchase for refunds,” Sims said in a statement.

  • Live Nation was the producer for the plays, which had a hefty $1,600 per table (plus tax and unspecified fees) entry for a six-person table, or $1,400 for four people.
  • Sims said Chappelle played socially-distanced shows in Ohio since June and moved his shows to Austin through the winter. Rapid testing for the public and daily tests for Chappelle and his team were executed.
  • TMZ, which first published about Chappelle’s positive test, completed the first of the five shows in Austin Wednesday night in the stand, with the rest programmed for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

 

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  • Chappelle was placed to team up with Joe Rogan on two nights. The other three dates were billed as “Dave Chappelle and Friends,” but no specifics on who would appear were given.
  • Rogan was programmed to perform at the shows Friday and Saturday. He apologized on Instagram to followers for the canceled shows, announcing they’d be rescheduled. A post earlier this week confirmed Rogan at Stubb’s with Chappelle and other celebrities, including Donnell Rawlings, Ron White, and Elon Musk.

Refunds will be possible for ticketholders at their time of purchase. Wishing Dave Chappelle a very quick and healthy recovery!

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Coronavirus

18-Year-Old Dies After Contracting COVID-19 for the Second Time

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A Denver 18-year-old dies after contracting coronavirus for the second time. 

What We Know: 

  • Wilber Portillo died after reinfection of coronavirus in November. In an interview with KDVR, Portillo’s girlfriend, Andrea Ferrel, stated, “He was just getting better. He had about a week of COVID-free before getting sick again.” 
  • According to PEOPLE, Portillo was a CEC Early College graduate. He launched an online sporting goods retailer called My Journey My Success. His first infection came after a business trip to Los Angeles. The second infection came after attending a party. Portillo tested negative between his two positive tests. 
  • Portillo tested positive for the virus two separate times. The first at the beginning of October and the second two days after his passing. He went to the doctor on November 18th and was told he had an intense lung infection. He passed the next day in his sleep. 
  • Ferrel said Portillo thought he was immune from the virus. “Just because you’re young, you aren’t immune to it, and even though we see more cases with older people and people with health conditions and even people without health conditions. It’s important that you stay home,” Ferrel said.  
  • The CDC has stated that reinfection is rare yet possible. The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, studied reinfection. The findings saw that the second infection had more severe symptoms than the first. However, the first person reinfected with the virus saw less severe symptoms in their reinfection. 

A GoFundMe campaign was created and has since ended for Portillo. The page received 13,624 in donations. 

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Coronavirus

Washington Taps Starbucks for Help with Covid Vaccine Rollout

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In an effort to boost the pace of administering COVID-19 vaccinations in Washington, Starbucks will be stepping in to increase state-wide distribution.

What We Know:

  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday that the state would be teaming up with Starbucks to help streamline logistics, aiming to give out 45,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses a day. As of late, 11 Starbucks employees will be using the company’s computer simulation modeling system combined with expert knowledge in labor and deployment, operations, and research and development to work full time on vaccine distribution. The governor notes that the number of employees is subject to change.
  • Other Seattle-based companies like Microsoft and Costco are set to hold vaccination sites to administer up to 5,000 vaccines in one day. The state is also looking to expand drive-through vaccination sites at over 2,000 pharmacies.
  • Governor Inslee backed his decision saying, “This is a unique challenge for the United States and in every state to stand up a total mobilization of our resources.”

“We did that in World War II when we built the Liberty ships here in Washington state. We reached production levels that no one could imagine because we set ambitious goals,” he continued.

  • Washington currently has a population of over 7.6 million residents and has administered under 250,000 vaccines. Currently, Washington is vaccinating between 13,000 and 15,000 people each day. The state’s goal of 45,000 shots in one day would outpace the federal supply of 100,000 doses a week, but Governor Inslee claims that the state wants to have more capacity in place before federal officials start sending more vaccines.
  • The plan comes amidst growing concerns over the slow vaccine rollouts occurring across the U.S. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson commented on the underwhelming efforts and lack of urgency from the Trump administration, saying, “We can’t think that’s an acceptable pace. So we have to dramatically scale this up and accelerate the progress. […] At this rate of vaccinations, it’s going to take six, seven, eight years for this country to get vaccinated.”

Let’s hope this coffee giant can bring Washington back up to speed!

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