Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Dec. 26, 2020


Regular hours and locations for testing resume today, Saturday, December 26.  

RI’s plan for priority vaccinations has not been finalized. Health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are getting the first vaccinations. First responders, such as police, firefighters, emergency medical workers and at-home health care workers will be next but have not committed to who would be next. According to PBN, “Among those making a pitch for priority consideration for different population groups is the Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus. They’ve called for communities of color and residents in high-density areas of the state to be prioritized.”

All Massachusetts hospitals most postpone or cancel all nonessential in-patient elective invasive procedures, unless the postponement would lead to a decline of health.

Health care workers at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket, as well, expecting to vaccinate over 975 staff.

The RIDOH Mass Vaccination Workgroup, said during a conference call confirmed that nursing home vaccinations in RI will begin on Monday.

MA Attorney General Maura Healey is cautioning dentists about charging additional fees for COVID-19 infection control, including personal protective equipment.

Massachusetts legislation would mandate insurance carriers cover telehealth services in any case where in-person services would be covered, extending emergency requirements the state had put in place amid the pandemic.”

A Taunton police officer has died of COVID

A 79 year old prisoner from ACI died of COVID19 – he had been at the hospital requesting “comfort measures” only – he had multiple health issues.

MBTA’s Commuter Rail system is extending its reduced service schedule through Jan. 8

Massachusetts officials expect to open a 2nd field hospital in less than two weeks.

A Japanese health ministry panel said that people aged 65 or older should get priority for vaccination against COVID-19 as the government sets guidelines

Hong Kong extended a compulsory quarantine by an extra seven days to 21 days for all visitors outside China, effective Friday, in stepped-up efforts to prevent a new variant of the novel coronavirus

The U.S. government will require all airline passengers arriving from the United Kingdom to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure starting Monday amid concerns about a new coronavirus strain.

Australia’s New South Wales state has increased COVID-19 testing to rein in a resurgence of coronavirus infections in Sydney

Canada is gearing up to vaccinate indigenous populations using boat, plane, and helicopter.

Brazil Health Ministry expects at least 150 million vaccine doses by June

First 300,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine arrive in Argentina to fight COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccinations begin in Latin America

NY Times reports that “Case numbers remain about as high as they have ever been. But the country is no longer seeing explosive growth, and many states are improving. Deaths continue to increase.

More than 6,600 cases have emerged in college athletic departments.

MA Gov. Baker announced a $668 million relief program for restaurants, retailers, and small businesses, who can receive up to $75,000 for payroll, mortgages, debt, and other costs.

A resident of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home who had lived at an off-site skilled nursing facility since April died last week after testing positive for the coronavirus this month – 76 residents of this veterans home have died in the pandemic.

RI Data:

Data: Dec. 23, 2020 (RI will not update data again until Mon, 12/28)

Deaths: 26

Tests: 17,279 – Positives: 879 – Percent Positive: 5.1%

Hospitalized: 442 – ICU: 49 – On ventilators: 35

Deaths in-hospital: 7

New admissions: 62 – New discharges: 53

1st Vaccinations: 7.072

A holiday message from Judge Frank Caprio:


Travelers coming into the country from UK must have a negative test before entering

Starting Monday all NY Stock Exchange workers will work remote due to uptick in cases

2020 will go out as America’s deadliest year – with over 3 million deaths.

The Pope, in his Christmas message, called on countries to share their vaccines.

Mayor in Oregon is pushing back against Gov’s order for all small businesses to close through March of 2021. Some big box and malls remain open. Governor responded that “she has evidence” that stores, gyms, spread COVID19 – she is now being asked to present the evidence.

Italy has gone into full lockdown again. Only few will be allowed to attend the Pope’s midnight mass.

Supermarket giant Kroger Co. announced it will offer the COVID-19 vaccine at its 2,200 pharmacies and 200 health clinics across the U.S.

France finds first case of new coronavirus variant

After making it through the three-month Orlando bubble without a single case of Covid-19, the NBA couldn’t make it through two days of their out-of-the-bubble 2020-21 season before the virus wreaked havoc. Wednesday night’s game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed due to Covid-19 precautions, the league announced.

England has identified another variant of COVID19

Portugal has identified three variants of COVID19

Moderna has said that their vaccine should be effective with all known variants.

South Korea has signed deals with Pfizer Inc and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen to import coronavirus vaccines to cover up to 16 million people, as it grapples with the third wave of the pandemic

The Maine Department of Labor has sent one time payments of $600 to thousands of residents left unemployed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Vermont utility regulators have reinstated a moratorium on utility disconnection of electricity, natural gas and landline phone services because customers have not paid their bills.

The NHL has postponed the outdoor Stadium Series game in North Carolina that was expected to be played in February.

Syracuse’s men’s basketball game against No. 17 North Carolina that was scheduled for Jan. 2 has been postponed as the Orange remain on pause.

NHL coaches are required to wear masks behind the bench, owners are barred from having face-to-face meetings with players, and teams can travel with no more than 50 people. Those are among the coronavirus-related protocols the NHL released on Tuesday in preparing to open the 2021 season on Jan. 13. Players are scheduled to report for the start of training camp over the next two weeks.

NYC Mayor has required anyone coming in from the UK to quarantine for 14 days. Says sheriff’s deputies will be knocking on doors of homes/hotel rooms of those flying in from the UK to make sure this is happening.

Rail, air and sea routes between Britain and France are open again. The closing of the border, to limit the spread of a new virus variant found in Britain, had left more than 1,500 trucks stranded.

Fewer homeless people across the U.S. have contracted the virus than experts feared. Isolation and a lack of indoor shelter appear to have played roles.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, indicated in an interview today that she would soon retire from government service, suggesting a recent report on her personal travel had taken a toll on her family. Asked whether she would stay on to assist Biden’s pandemic response, Birx told the U.S. news network Newsy that she wants the incoming administration “to be successful,” and that she “will be helpful in any role that people think I can be helpful in. And then I will retire.”

Immunity: A study analyzed antibody levels and the immune cell composition of COVID patients and finds that although COVID antibodies in patients start declining around 20 days after symptom onset, memory B cells continue rising for at least 150 days and persist long afterwards. (The study was conducted over eight months). These memory B cells can recognize the coronavirus and trigger an immune protective response against COVID, including creating new antibodies. These results support the idea that people who have recovered from COVID or gotten the vaccine should have durable long-term protection. Read the study.

Mortality rates for COVID patients varied significantly across U.S. hospitals, ranging from 9% to 16%. While mortality rates improved in all but one hospital, wide mortality differences across hospitals persist. The factor most associated with hospital mortality is the prevalence of COVID in the local community and the rate at which new cases appear. 

40% of special ed children nationwide have not received the specialized services they need during the pandemic.

Pfizer/BioNTech will provide 100 million more doses of vaccine to US under new contract. In exchange for the extra doses, the government is invoking the Defense Production Act to help Pfizer get access to specialized products it needs. With the extra doses, the U.S. will now have enough vaccines to immunize 60 million out of the 260 million eligible for the vaccine.

Medicare warnings about vaccine scammers:

  • You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
  • You can’t pay to get early access to a vaccine.
  • Don’t share your personal or financial information if someone calls, texts, or emails you promising access to the vaccine for a fee.

California has reached a record high number of hospitalizations, which could exceed 75,000 by mid-January. Health care workers have begun developing plans to ration care, which county officials have deemed necessary in the coming weeks. As ICUs reach capacity, patients are being treated at alternate care sites and temporary field hospitals.

NPR dives into the disappointingly low utilization of antibody drugs across the country. In November, the FDA granted emergency use authorization to Eli Lilly and Regeneron’s antibody cocktails, which were shown to help prevent severe cases in new infections. While the government purchased 1.2 million doses of the drugs, only 5-20% of doses delivered to states have actually been used. Health professionals attribute their lack of use to staffing shortages, the need for treatments to be administered within the first 10 days of symptoms, and disinterest from eligible recipients. 

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