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Coronavirus

MLB Announces 60 Game 2020 Season

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Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association finalized an agreement with health and safety protocols Tuesday night, announcing a 60 game season expected to start in July.

What We Know:

  • Major League Baseball is set to make its return. The MLB Players Association (MLBPA) informed the league on Tuesday that players will comply with commissioner Rob Manfred’s imposed outline for a 2020 season. The two sides also finalized coronavirus health and safety protocols on Tuesday night.
  • Players are set to report for another version of “spring” training on July 1, and the league’s imposed 60-game season will start either July 23 or 24, the league announced. The announcement comes after months of negotiations between the league and the players which stalled when it came to length of the season and financial compensation. The government has added professional athletes under the “essential workers” umbrella so they hope the season start dates will be workable for all, including foreign-born players traveling from afar.

  • On Monday night, the MLB owners voted unanimously to have Manfred mandate a season. Manfred gained the right to impose a schedule due to a deal the two sides struck in March, but he resisted using that right until now due to concerns from the owners’ side about a potential union grievance. The grievance would claim the owners did not negotiate in good faith and with the intent to play as many games as possible which could result in a substantial cash windfall. The MLBPA has agreed to comply with Manfred’s proposal.
  • The MLB season was originally indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the league’s statement announcing the return of MLB said, “The health and safety of players and employees will remain MLB’s foremost priorities in its return to play. MLB is working with a variety of public health experts, infectious disease specialists, and technology providers on a comprehensive approach that aims to facilitate a safe return”.
  • Players have the option to opt-out. If they are high-risk, they’ll get paid with service time but if they opt out because they don’t deem this mini-season worth the effort, they would then give up their salaries.
  • There are other major changes occurring within the shortened 2020 MLB season:
    • The exact schedule of games has yet to be made, but teams will play other teams in their geographic regions to limit travel amid COVID-19. Playing 40 games against divisional foes and 20 interleague games.
    • The teams will have to submit 60-player rosters for big-league spring training to the league office by Sunday at 3 pm, but once the season begins they will be allowed to carry 30 players on their active roster. That number will drop to 28 after two weeks, then 26 after four weeks.
    • Two rule changes have also been announced. There will be a universal designated hitter for the pitcher and a baserunner placed on second at the start of every half-inning in extra innings. You can read more about the rule changes here.
    • Teams will be able to make player transactions again beginning Friday at noon which would allow for the first trades in months. The trade deadline will also be moved to a month later to August 31.
    • MLB will have a COVID-19 specific inactive list that players will be placed on if and when they test positive or show symptoms. As of now, there is no set amount of time for the player to sit out.
    • MLB has talked with the city of Nashville about hosting two teams of unsigned players who would be paid to remain in shape as potential replacement players, should the need arise during the season, which teams would then have to pay to add these players. Other details about this possibility have yet to be confirmed.
  • The start of “spring” training is set to begin next week on July 1 with opening day to be on July 23 or 24. The end of the regular season is anticipated to happen at the end of September, around September 27, in the hopes that by moving up the postseason, expected to be before November 1, it will decrease the possibility of the World Series being canceled due to another wave of COVID-19.

MLB has reportedly ordered all spring training sites to be closed and sanitized, and personnel must test negative for COVID-19 before being allowed to return. In recent days, 40 MLB players and staff members reportedly tested positive for coronavirus so it is unclear how that may affect the league’s decision.

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

Coronavirus

U.S. May Approve COVID-19 Booster Shots at 6 Months

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing booster data from vaccine manufacturers and other countries given at 6 months.

What We Know:

  • An unnamed source told the Wall Street Journal the boosters would be approved for all three COVID-19 vaccines administered in the US- Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. In addition, they declared approval would come in mid-September.
  • The information comes after officials reported that booster shots would become available to some adults 8 months after their last dose beginning on September 20. These include healthcare providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors. However, booster rollout depends on FDA approval and recommendation from a key Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outside vaccine advisory committee.
  • Officials want people to receive the third dosage because of the current rise in Delta strain cases. Studies show that the coronavirus vaccine loses potency after several months. Additionally, the Delta strain currently holds the highest number of infections among vaccinated and unvaccinated people; despite this, those who obtained the vaccine experience milder breakthrough infections.
  • In addition, the CDC and FDA urge citizens to receive vaccinations as hospitalizations rise once more. Recently, the U.S. saw 100,000 people hospitalized, a number only seen since before vaccines were easily accessible. A third of the country’s hospitalizations come from states with low vaccination rates, large populations, and governors who disagree with vaccine and mask mandates, such as Texas and Florida. As of Aug. 25, Texas saw 23,412 new daily cases, 248 deaths, and 14,000 hospitalizations. On that same date, Florida saw 26,203 positive cases, 9 fatalities, and 17,000 hospitalizations.

Alongside more hospitalizations, daily numbers are also creeping back up. On Aug. 25, the U.S. saw 148,000 new cases, only 3,000 less than Jan. 30’s report. In contrast, deaths from COVID-19 waned since January, dropping from 3,100 a day to 1,100 a day.

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FDA grants full approval to Pfizer’s Covid vaccine

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The Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine Monday for people ages 16 and up, making it the first Covid-19 vaccine to pass this final regulatory hurdle.

“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic,” Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement. “While millions of people have already safely received Covid-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated. Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.”

What We Know:

  • The FDA’s decision may also pave the way for more vaccination mandates: Many businesses were waiting for full approval before they required employees to be vaccinated.

“Full approval could not come at a more important time, as the highly contagious delta variant continues to drive up caseloads and deaths across the U.S.,” the president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement. “I am hopeful that full approval will address any remaining concerns and will move many people to a ‘yes’ on vaccination.”

  • Besser said the lack of vaccines in middle- and low-income countries “represents a global failure,” adding, “Ensuring an adequate supply of vaccines in every country and community must be a health, economic, and moral imperative for the world.”
  • Federal health officials announced that, starting September 20th, people who received the Pfizer vaccine will be eligible for third doses eight months after their second doses. The FDA has not yet signed off a third dose.  No Covid vaccines have been authorized or approved for use in children under 12, though this is expected to change soon with FDA approval.

Pfizer’s vaccine is one of three in use in the U.S. Moderna has also applied for full approval, also known as a Biologics Licensing Application. Johnson & Johnson has not yet applied for full approval, and remains in use under emergency authorization.

Pfizer’s product was the first Covid vaccine to gain emergency use authorization, in December. As of Monday, more than 203 million doses have been given in the U.S., according to the CDC.

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Coronavirus

Reverend Jesse Jackson and His Wife, Jacqueline, Hospitalized with COVID-19

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Reverend Jesse Jackson and his wife Jacqueline are currently being treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

What We Know:

  • News about the couple’s diagnosis became public after a statement released by the Reverend’s Rainbow/Push Coalition on Saturday. In the statement, officials declared that doctors were monitoring both Jesse and Jacqueline; it did not provide any further information.
  • However, their son, Jonathan, provided more information on Sunday. Jonathan told the Associated Press that doctors are carefully observing Jesse and Jacqueline because of their ages. Additionally, the two responded “positively” to treatments and were resting. On Monday, Jonathan said his parents’ status did not change and asked for prayers for the two,
  • Despite his hospitalization, Jesse received his first coronavirus vaccine dosage in January 2021 during a publicized event. Alongside obtaining protection against the disease, he urged his followers to receive the vaccine as soon as possible. The Associated Press reported that it is unclear if Jacqueline also got the vaccine.
  • Underlying health concerns might have been the cause for both of them catching COVID-19. Family members said Jacqueline had an unspecified condition which made them concerned recently. In addition, Jesse was diagnosed in 2015 with Parkinson’s disease and underwent gallbladder surgery earlier this year.
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson worked with mentor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in moving the Civil Rights Movement forward. His impact helped guide the movement on numerous issues, such as voting rights. After the movement and even currently, Jesse continued working to make a change in his society. Police recently arrested Jesse for civil disobedience after participating in a sit-in at Sen. Kyrsten Sinema‘s Phoenix office with 39 others.

Black News Alerts prays that Jesse and Jacqueline make a speedy recovery and continue inspiring many.

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