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Coronavirus

Ivy League Cancels Fall Sports, First in D1 Conference

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The Ivy Leauge announced on Wednesday that all upcoming fall sports will be canceled. They’ve become the first Division I conference to suspend football.

What We Know:

  • The Ivy League presidents placed all sports on hold until at least January, making it the first Division I conference that will not play football as scheduled in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Fall sports in the conference from football and men’s basketball to cross country and sailing have been placed in limbo for now. Practices could take place in the fall, beginning with limited individual and small group workouts, but the presidents announced that conditions would have to improve dramatically for sports to be played next year.
  • The presidents said in a statement that sports could not be played under campus-wide policies that include restrictions on student and staff travel, social distancing requirements, and limits on group gatherings. “With the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus, we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk,” the statement read.
  • There has been discussion around moving collegiate football to the spring. In response, Princeton football Coach Bob Surace said, “One word. Hope.” Surace added that a vaccine, better therapies, and people following health guidelines would be necessary if there were any chance of playing in the spring, but there is also the fear of a second wave of the virus this winter.
  • Although the caliber and prestige of football in the Ivy League conference are far below that of the best programs in the country, the decision made by the eight Ivy League presidents could have great influence among university leaders nationwide who are tasked with deciding when and how sports will return to college campuses. “I think other conferences around the country are going to follow,” Columbia athletic director Peter Pilling said.
  • After the Ivy League announced its decision, Ohio State and North Carolina became the latest schools to suspend voluntary workouts after outbreaks among athletes.
  • The decision also follows three of the conference’s schools announcing plans for reopening their campuses to only some students in the fall. One of those schools, Harvard, said it would only allow 40 percent of its students, mostly freshmen, on campus and that all classes would be held remotely.
  • The Ivy League was also the first conference to cancel its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments back in March before the Coronavirus pandemic took over the country.
  • The Ivy League universities receive large endowments outside of athletics. This has allowed them to make decisions regarding athletics without needing to consider the money or potential financial loss from canceling a season. Many other schools count on those sports, particularly college football, to bring in millions of dollars in television, ticket, and advertising revenues that fuel the athletic departments. This complicates the decision for other Division I conferences to put a hold on fall sports.
  • Colleges at the lower Divison II and III levels of the N.C.A.A., which contains more than 1,100 schools, have already begun to cancel fall sports. The dozen Division II schools in the California Collegiate Athletic Association announced back in May that it would cancel fall sports shortly after the Cal State University chancellor said that courses this fall would be held online.
  • The Patriot League, which includes Lehigh, Lafayette, Fordham, and other mostly small colleges in the Northeast, announced last month that its fall sports would play league competition from the end of September until Thanksgiving, yet travel by airplane would not be permitted.
  • Morehouse College, which competes at the Division II level, became the first scholarship program to cancel its football season. The decision by Morehouse, a historically Black college, highlighted a troubling prospect: that if the school played football it could potentially harm even more African-American people, which through comorbidity factors, living conditions or inadequate access to health care have shown to be more vulnerable to the most severe effects of the virus.

U.S. colleges are working to create plans for the semester that begins in August or September, instituting steps for the safe return of students and deciding whether it’s too risky to resume the high-contact sport of football. “Conferences will now have to explain how they can do a better job of protecting their athletes than the Ivy League,” said Christopher Marsicano, assistant professor of the practice of higher education at Davidson College in North Carolina.

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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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