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Coronavirus

Biden Administration Purchases 500 Million More Vaccines For Global Distribution

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(Patrick Semansky/AP)

The Biden administration is slated to purchase 500 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer to donate globally.

What We Know:

  • Previously, the Biden administration’s goal was to distribute 80 million doses worldwide by the end of the month. However, global demand for richer countries with excess doses to distribute has increased significantly.
  • 200 million of the vaccines are going to be distributed through COVAX, a World Health Organization-backed initiative. 300 million will be distributed in the first half of 2022. All of these vaccines are going to low or middle-income countries.
  • Britain is hosting the Group of Seven summit, which will primarily focus on how to close the vaccine gap and end the pandemic. Currently, more than half the populations of the U.S. and Britain have received at least the first dose of the vaccine. In Africa, this number is less than 2%. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, told reporters, “The president is focused on helping to vaccinate the world because he believes it is the right thing to do; it’s what Americans do in times of need.”
  • Jennifer Nuzzo, epidemiologist and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, applauded the effort, saying it “sends a profound signal in terms of U.S. commitment to global health security”. The hope is that, by announcing this at G7, other countries in the EU will be encouraged to do the same. International Health Organizations warn that the virus needs to be curtailed in order to prevent more dangerous variants.
  • As the Biden administration looks globally, vaccination rates in the U.S. have begun to drop. This decrease, coupled with exposure to a new variant called “delta”, has been a cause for concern. The ability for this and other new strains to spread due to a stagnation in vaccination is on the mind of health officials. Despite this, they said the global effort needs to take priority.
  • COVAX aimed to deliver 2 billion doses by the end of the year and vaccinate 20% of the populations of countries in need. These hopes have seemed unattainable due to a lack of funding and a severe supply crunch. To date, they have delivered just under 82 million doses to 129 countries.
  • The efforts of the Biden administration to distribute vaccines globally have garnered both worldwide and bipartisan support. Republican Senator Richard Burr stated, “This is exactly what the federal government should be doing: working with the companies who developed lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines to make them available to the rest of the world.”

Biden is expected to announce his plan at the G7 meeting with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. “We have to end COVID-19, not just at home, which we’re doing, but everywhere,” Biden said. 

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Coronavirus

Man who mocked COVID-19 online, dead at 34

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A man who mocked Covid-19 vaccinations died this week at a Los Angeles-area hospital after contracting the virus.

Stephen Harmon was 34.

What We Know:

  • Harmon died on Wednesday at Corona Regional Medical Center, about an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles.  Stephen Harmon posted photos of himself in his hospital bed, wrote that he had pneumonia and critically low oxygen levels and was going to be intubated. In a tweet Wednesday, Harmon wrote: “Don’t know when I’ll wake up, please pray,” KCBS-TV reported.

  • Three days before his death, Harmon tweeted: “If you don’t have faith that God can heal me over your stupid ventilator then keep the Hell out of my ICU room, there’s no room in here for fear or lack of faith!”
  • Before his hospitalization, Harmon had made fun of vaccination efforts on social media.

“I got 99 problems but a vax ain’t one,” he said in a tweet last month.

  • On July 8, he posted: “Biden’s door to door vaccine ‘surveyors’ really should be called JaCovid Witnesses. #keepmovingdork.”
  • Harmon’s death was “unbelievably demoralizing,” Dr. Oren Friedman, who treats Covid-19 patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told KCBS-TV. He said the number of Covid-19 admissions had increased tenfold.

“Virtually every single person that is getting sick enough to be admitted to the hospital has not been vaccinated,” Friedman said.

  • California has seen escalating numbers of Covid-19 infections, led by the highly transmissible delta variant that has proliferated since the state fully reopened the economy last month. The vast majority of new cases are among unvaccinated people, and health officials have pleaded for people to get the shots.  On Friday, the state Department of Public Health reported nearly 8,000 new cases a day earlier and the testing positivity rate over seven days had jumped to more than 5 percent after dipping below 1% only a few weeks ago.
  • Los Angeles County, which has about a fourth of the state’s population, reported more than 3,000 new cases for the first time since February. There were 655 people with Covid-19 in hospitals, a jump of more than 200 people in a week, according to county figures.

  • Harmon attended Hillsong Church in Los Angeles.  Founder Brian Houston called him “one of the most generous people I know.”

    “As a church, our focus is on the spiritual well-being of the people in each of our local communities. On any medical issue, we strongly encourage those in our church to follow the guidance of their doctors,” Houston said in a statement to KCBS-TV. “While many of our staff, leadership and congregation have already received the Covid vaccine, we recognize this is a personal decision for each individual to make with the counsel of medical professionals.”

 

Urban Newsroom and Black News Alerts have issued a COMMUNITY ALERT regarding COVID-19.

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Coronavirus

Live Nation Announces $20 All-in Tickets Summer Concert Campaign

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Live Nation announced its “Return to Live” summer concert campaign, offering fans $20 all-in tickets to nearly 1,000 shows this year.

What We Know:

  • In a statement via Livenation.com the company proclaimed “the time is here to get outside and catch live music with friends, family and loved ones at over 40 Live Nation amphitheaters all across the country.” There are country, latin, metal, pop, and rock shows for fans to choose from. Lil Baby, Rod Wave, Pitbull and Trippie Redd are among the hip hop artists participating in the promotion.
  • Two months after Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino held a conference call to discuss the company’s financial results for the first quarter of 2021. Live Nation’s quarterly revenues were decimated by 98% last summer and 95% in the fall. Rapino also mentioned Live Nation was communicating with artists about scheduling tour dates safely. According to Rapino, at the time, there were some acts comfortable with performing this summer, and others who preferred to wait until 2022.

“Artists are patient and smart, we’re not looking to cram three years into one. Spread [the postponed tours] over two years and you find enough weekends.”

  • Rapino revealed that the pandemic also allowed Live Nation time to discuss new products that will help the company think differently about the fan and the artist. An increased virtual approach is one of the methods the company plans to pursue. Rapino said he’s “very confident that the next couple of years” will include new models for subscription and ad-business ideas as well as NFTs becoming a big attraction.

T-Mobile and Sprint customers will receive exclusive 24-hour early access to grab the $20 all-in tickets beginning Tuesday, July 27th. Everyone else can get their tix Wednesday, July 28th on Live Nation’s website.

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Community Alerts

COMMUNITY ALERT: Delta variant spreading vastly in Black communities, health experts say get vaccinated

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As COVID-19 infections continue to rise nationwide, health experts and local leaders are encouraging Black communities to get vaccinated.

Vaccine Locator

Black Americans account for 51% of all new COVID-19 cases and the delta variant has made up 51% of new cases in LA County in the past eight weeks. 42% of all new cases have been from members of Latinx/Hispanic communities.

Data from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Healthcare (MLKCH), one of Los Angeles’ leading medical institutions, released data on July 19 via Facebook showing that Black Americans are being hit harder by the virus than other communities.  Dr. Elaine Batchlor of the MLKCH says “The delta variant is spreading quickly and can cause more severe illness. Unfortunately, the Black community is lagging behind in COVID vaccination and as a result, is experiencing higher rates of infection and hospitalization. Let’s not allow this terrible disease to decimate our community again.”

Data from Los Angeles is just a snapshot view into how COVID-19 is spreading in our communities. Misinformation and poor availability were limiters earlier in the year. Now with rampant availability, members of Black and brown communities are still opting-out of getting the vaccine.  It’s not an option once it’s too late.

An unfortunate, but certain frustration has been rooted in confusion between the mere definition of a vaccine versus the definition of a cure.  A vaccine is defined as a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease. A cure relieves (a person or animal) of the symptoms of a disease or condition. There is no cure to COVID-19 and a vaccine will not cure you of an illness.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading scientific voice in the US, said Sunday that the US is “going in the wrong direction” as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise, particularly among unvaccinated Americans.

“If you look at the inflection of the curve of new cases and, as you said in the run-in to this interview, that it is among the unvaccinated. And since we have 50% of the country is not fully vaccinated, that’s a problem,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” when asked about a model projecting a worst case scenario of 4,000 deaths a day in the US from Covid-19, if vaccination rates do not improve.

Vaccine Locator

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates COVID-19 guidance regularly.  Black News Alerts will continue to publish pertinent information for our community and updates regarding outbreaks and support systems available in each community.

See COVID-19 Facts and Myths

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Community Alerts are issued by the Black News Alerts editorial and management team after any public, social or health issue is deemed critical information for our community. A full list of community alerts is available at blackness alerts.com. Geographical alerts may be issued for subscribers of the Black News Alerts mobile app.

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