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.
U.S. May Approve COVID-19 Booster Shots at 6 Months
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.
FDA grants full approval to Pfizer’s Covid vaccine
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.
Reverend Jesse Jackson and His Wife, Jacqueline, Hospitalized with COVID-19
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.