Things That Matter

Miami Is The New Epicenter For COVID-19 In The US

It is no mystery that COVID-19 continues to ravage the United States. The country is averaging more than 60,000 cases a day while most countries have controlled their virus and are starting to return to a form of normal. In Florida, a state that has resisted measures to slow the spread, Miami has become the new epicenter with surging cases and hospitalization rates.

Medical professionals are calling for Florida to do what needs to be done to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Miami, a heavily Latino city, is seeing the worst of the pandemic since the virus came to the U.S. in March. Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has stayed defiant against health guidelines and spent months downplaying the true severity of the virus. Now, one of the state’s largest cities is paying the price.

Doctors are comparing Miami’s outbreak to the outbreak first seen in Wuhan, China, the origin of the virus.

Part of the issue, according to various doctors, is that Florida’s reopening has led the way for the surge in cases. Mask mandates and other guidelines were slow to be implemented in the state and now Floridians are not taking the virus seriously.

“They have not adhered to guidelines,” Florida International University epidemiologist Dr. Aileen Marty said at an online press conference with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “They have been in those closed spaces without taking the appropriate precautions, and that’s the main reason we are where we are.”

In response to people in the region disobeying guidelines, some businesses are being restricted.

Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez implemented a curfew on restaurants because of the sudden spike in cases. The restriction was met with anger from various city mayors in Miami-Dade County who wish for Florida to remain open as hospitals run out of room for new patients.

“The medical experts cannot tell us that this increase comes from indoor dining,” J.C. Bermudez, the mayor of Doral, told Miami Herald. “Did it come from the protests [against police brutality]? Was it beaches? Are [people] on their boats?”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a health organization that specializes in tracking and studying diseases, disagrees. According to the CDC, being indoors at a restaurant is a risky thing to do because of the patrons not wearing face coverings to eat. This allows the virus to have a better chance of spreading.

Americans in other states just can’t make sense of Florida’s COVID-19 response.

Some of the mayors claim that closing the restaurants’ in-dining services is detrimental to the communities who need food. However, the restaurants are allowed to provide delivery and take out without limitation. This allows people to continue to get the food they need and want without further exposing themselves or others to the virus.

READ: A Third Man Has Died In ICE Custody After Testing Positive For Covid-19

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As The U.S. Expands Vaccine Eligibility Here’s What You Need To Know

Things That Matter

As The U.S. Expands Vaccine Eligibility Here’s What You Need To Know

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Starting today, everyone 16 and older can get in line for the Coronavirus vaccine. This is a huge milestone that has been months in the making after a very ambitious plan by the Biden administration.

But with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still on pause, many have been wondering what the vaccine program will look like – especially since nearly everyone is now eligible to receive a shot in the arm.

As of Monday, anyone 16 and over is technically eligible to receive the Coronavirus vaccine.

On Monday, every state in the U.S. expanded its vaccine eligibility to include all adults over the age of 16, meeting President Biden’s deadline which he established two weeks ago.

The country is now administering 3.2 million doses a day on average, and half of all adults have now received at least one dose. Additionally, 84.3 million people have now been fully vaccinated against the disease. These are truly encouraging figures in the fight against the pandemic but a lot of uncertainty remains.

Ok but can I get a shot?

Technically, yes, anyone over the age of 16 is now eligible for the vaccine but your access to it really varies from state to state.

Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, D.C., were the last to open up eligibility on Monday, after other states expanded access to the general public over the past month.

If the country’s present vaccination rate continues, 70% of the total U.S. population could be vaccinated by June 17 and 90% by July 25, the New York Times has projected. That timeline will likely depend on what happens with Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, however, as distribution is now paused following reports of blood clots, despite being statistically extremely rare.

So, what’s going on with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

On Sunday, the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said that he believed the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will likely be lifted on Friday. During interviews on talk shows, Fauci stated that he expected federal health officials to decide on the vaccine’s future by the end of the week and that he did not anticipate the vaccine being permanently banned.

One alternative to banning is to limit who is able to receive the one dose shot, perhaps limiting it to males over the age of 50. This is how Europe adjusted its strategy following similar blood clotting issues with the Astra Zeneca vaccine, which was created using similar methods.

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Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez Are Partnering With Global Citizen For ‘Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World’

Entertainment

Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez Are Partnering With Global Citizen For ‘Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World’

Photo via Getty Images

While the United States is as of publication, has vaccinated over 75 million people against COVID-19 since mid-December, the rest of the world is still catching up. Poorer countries, for example, are struggling to procure enough vaccines for essential workers–let alone their entire population.

Luckily, certain charitable business are making it their mission to get vaccines to the most needy. For example, anti-poverty organization Global Citizen has organized a charity concert with the aim of getting COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.

Selena Gomez will be hosting the concert, called “VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World”. And none other than Jennifer Lopez will be headlining.

Selena Gomez took to Twitter to announce her involvement in the exciting project. “I’m honored to be hosting ‘VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World,’ ” she wrote.

“This is a historic moment to encourage people around the world to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, call on world leaders to share vaccine doses equitably and to bring people together for a night of music in a way that hasn’t felt possible in the past year. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Jennifer Lopez also took to Twitter to announce her involvement with VAX Live, saying that she is “calling for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution for all”. That’s a statement we can get behind!

Jennifer Lopez isn’t the only superstar performing. Other acts will include J Balvin, H.E.R., and the Foo Fighters.

Global Citizen has one goal: to raise $22 billion for global vaccinations via corporate and philanthropic donors. They’re hoping VAX Live will bring awareness to their efforts.

“There are 27 million healthcare workers globally who don’t have access to the vaccine,” said Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans to the Associated Press. “I’m 38 years old, and it’s not ethical for me to have access to the vaccine before these heroic first responders and community health workers. So we need governments to start urgently donating those doses.”

Tom Hart, the executive director for another anti-poverty organization, The ONE Campaign, also reiterated the importance of getting vaccine doses into the hands of developing countries.

“Low-income countries not only need this welcome fundraising effort; they need access to COVID-19 vaccine doses,” Tom Hart said.

“The United States has secured over 550 million excess doses that could be used to help end the global pandemic faster.”

You can catch VAX LIVE on ABC, CBS, and iHeartMedia stations on 8:00 p.m. ET on May 8th. It will also be airing on Fox starting at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT the same day. You’ll also be able to catch an extended version on Global Citizen’s YouTube channel on May 8th as well.

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