Your Coronavirus Update – Today – Tues, Feb. 16, 2021

Photo: Today is Fat Tuesday – and Mardi Gras – in New Orleans. With bars closed and Bourban Street blocked off, homeowners have taken to decorating their home-floats for people to enjoy as the traditional parades aren’t happening.


Lt. Gov. Dan McKee released a statement of dissatisfaction in RI’s vaccination progress – only 62% of doses given to state given out. Here is his statement:

“Like most Rhode Islanders, I am not satisfied with the current administration’s progress on vaccine distribution, especially as we see our neighbors in Connecticut ranked among the top in the nation.

Speeding up vaccine distribution is my top priority. When I become Governor, I want to have all the information to be able to hit the ground running on day one. This week, I’ll be reaching out to Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, leaders at Harvard University, and my transition COVID-19 advisors to ensure Rhode Island is prepared to immediately expand its vaccine distribution capacity. 

Our transition team has already successfully engaged all 39 municipalities in the state’s vaccination planning and enabled EMTs to administer vaccines alongside other medical professionals. Still, we know that Rhode Island has much more work to do to get shots in arms quickly and efficiently. 

Throughout this transition, my message to the public has been stay positive and test negative. As Governor, my message to everyone involved in the state’s vaccine distribution effortwill be equally as simple: Let’s get shots in arms right now.”

RI registration is expected to go live, today, at for statewide vaccination sites. Again, by priority group.

All RI city/town website links are here:

The RIDOH says it will take time to determine if RI’s highly targeted approach for vaccine distribution worked or not, as RI is still measuring as the last state in the US for vaccine distribution to people.

3 Mayors have called for Gov. Raimondo to resign while she is awaiting her confirmation to the cabinet to allow incoming Gov. McKee to fully take office and manage the COVID-19 crisis. The three mayors are Warwick Mayor Picozzi, North Providence Mayor Lombardi, Cranston Mayor Hopkins. From Mayor Picozzi:  “I haven’t called for the Governor to step down as that would be disrespectful. I personally feel she should resign, as would I if I were in her current situation. Power needs to be handed over to the Lt. Governor so we can continue leadership in our state as we get through this pandemic. Governor Raimondo did a great job guiding us through this crisis to this point, but we need continuous leadership from this point on.”

The AARP-Rhode Island is calling on the state to take five steps to protecting seniors who are still being dramatically impacted by COVID-19 and make up most of the deaths, if not all in the state.  See story, here:

Providence vaccination clinics for those residents 75 and over will be held next week – register here: – or call 3-1-1.

The next Central Falls COVID-19 vaccine clinic is being held on Saturday, Feb. 20 at Central Falls High School for Central Falls residents (18+) and employees ONLY. Residents will be required to provide proof of address when checking-in for their appointment on-site (ID/recent utility bill), and Central Falls employees will be required to show proof of employment in the city.

Pawtucket residents can sign up for vaccines in their city – if they are over 75 – at: – there are several locations including Jenks School and St. Anthony’s.

Worcester State University will begin a vaccination program today.

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic opens today at the Westerly Senior Center as a result of a partnership between the town and Westerly Hospital. Shots are available by appointment only and reserved for town residents age 75 and older, and the clinic is only open on Wednesday afternoons.

Despite glimmers of hope, URI Professor of Economics Leonard Lardaro, creator and author of the Current Conditions Index, anticipates 3-5 year recovery post-pandemic. Lardaro says Rhode Island’s economy remains largely stuck and noting the pre-pandemic economy was still largely stagnant, Lardaro asserts that the current crisis provides an opportunity for leaders to specifically define Rhode Island’s economic niche to reinvent and reinvigorate its economy and business climate.

North Providence Mayor Lombardi’s wife tested positive and moved to their summer home in Narragansett – Lombardi stayed out of work for the requisite time, tested negative and returned to work in the city. His wife was asymptomatic and is now home.

In Boston, the new program offering vaccines to those who accompany anyone over 75 for a vaccine is going awry as ads are being run offering rides, money, etc. to go with someone. The Governor has warned seniors to decline help from anyone not directly involved in their care.

In Hartford, Connecticut, lawmakers plan to hold a 24-hour, virtual public hearing starting today to discuss a proposal to eliminate the state’s religious exemption from vaccinations for schoolchildren.

According to the RI Dept. of Health website, this week “people experiencing homelessness will begin to be vaccinated – on site at shelters.

In Massachusetts, lawmakers and officials urge state to prioritize funeral workers in vaccine rollout 

New Bedford is the hub of the world’s fishing industry and they are being credited for taking extensive steps to control COVID19 in their industry. Roughly 390 million pounds of seafood a year comes through New Bedford. A third is fished locally, while the rest is processed there but comes from Canadian, Scandinavian, and other international waters. After New Bedford processes and packages this mega-haul, the seafood is distributed globally via Boston and New York City. New Bedford processed seafood can be found the world over – and the health of its industry sets the market value on the menu.

19 people in Massachusetts have the new, more communicable strain of COVID-19.

Massachusetts stopped vaccines from going to hospital and primary care offices, opting to go with state run facilities to vaccinate more, quicker. Most of RI is doing the same.

More than half of the employees in the Massachusetts Department of Correction have declined vaccine. According to the Boston Globe, roughly 900 workers have been infected and 21 inmates have died.

Massachusetts has a new statewide signup for vaccines –

The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has reopened. A Live discussion with Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor, SBA Regional Director Mark Hayward, and other technical assistance partners will be held TODAY, Feb. 16th, at 11am and Friday, Feb. 19th at 11:30am at to review the program and how to apply. Topics will include:

• Program overview – Eligibility Requirements – How To Apply

• How to obtain technical assistance – Q&A

RI’s COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee is set to meet TODAY. This is a group of external specialists that advises the RI Department of Health on immunization issues, including epidemiologists, primary care providers, pharmacists, pediatricians, long-term care advocates, ethicists, nonprofit leaders, school leaders, faith leaders, and others. They will discuss prioritization and distribution of the vaccine to ensure that it is done equitably, and in a way that best protects the State as a whole. Final decisions about vaccine distribution are made by the Rhode Island Department of Health. The COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee is:

  • Chris Abhulime, Reverend; The King’s Tabernacle
  • Justin Berk, MD, MPH, MBA; Rhode Island Department of Corrections
  • Thomas Bledsoe, MD; Rhode Island Hospital
  • Jonathan Brice, EdD; Bristol/Warren Regional School District
  • Wendy Chicoine, MSN, RN, PHNA; Providence Community Health Centers
  • Sapna Chowdhry, MD; Thundermist Health Center
  • Eugenio Fernandez, PharmD; Asthenis
  • John Fulton, PhD; Brown University School of Public Health
  • Wilfredo Giordano-Perez, MD; Tri-County Community Action Agency
  • Kathy Heren; Rhode Island Long-term Care Ombudsman
  • Sabina Holland, MD; Hasbro Children’s Hospital
  • Joan Kwiatkowski, MSW; PACE
  • Beth Lange, MD; Coastal Medical
  • Kerry LaPlante, PharmD; URI College of Pharmacy
  • Christopher Ottiano, MD; Neighborhood Health Plan of RI
  • Teresa Paiva Weed; Hospital Association of Rhode Island
  • Pablo Rodriguez, MD; Care New England
  • Karen Tashima, MD; Lifespan Immunology Center
  • Larry Warner; United Way

RI Data – Feb. 15, 2021

Deaths: 2 yesterday / 44 since Thurs

Tests – 5,975 – Positives – 203 – Positive – 3.4%

Hospitalized – 181 – ICU – 35 – Ventilated – 16

Deaths in hospital – 4 – New Admissions – 15 – New Discharges – 31

1st vaccines: 101,461 Total 2 shots: 46,874

RI Data – Feb. 12, 2021

Deaths: 16

Tests – 18,627 – Positives – 366 – Percent positive – 2%

Hospitalized – 222 – In ICU – 39 – Ventilated – 20

Deaths in hospital – 5 – New Admissions – 27 – New Discharges – 43

First vaccines: 95,829 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 42,116


New Orleans residents are decorating their homes, rather than floats, as a celebration of Fat Tuesday, today, and Mardi Gras.

The age group 65 to 74 – older baby boomers – may be the largest group to be vaccinated.

The WHO has issued emergency authorization for Astra-Zeneca’s vaccine.

The USS Teddy Roosevelt, in Guam, is reporting a new outbreak.

Britain is using hotel rooms to quarantine some travelers who arrive from certain countries with high incidence rates – for 10 days.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has won the $1 million Dan David Prize for “defending science” and “speaking truth to power” -NPR

The NHL will require rapid tests for all players, on-ice personnel, and team members.

While many herald the falling case rate, a leading infectious disease epidemiologist in the US has said that the worst of the pandemic is coming in the next 14 weeks because of a surge in cases due to a new variant of the coronavirus taking hold in the U.S. This will also make it difficult for schools to open or stay open. This is the position of Michael Osterholm, the head of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a Biden transition advisor on COVID-19.

“A lot of schools are going to be challenged to open at all,” Osterholm told “CBS This Morning,” adding, “The next 14 weeks I think will be the worst of the pandemic.”

Roche’s arthritis drug tocilizumab cuts the risk of death among patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19, also shortening the time to recovery and reducing the need for mechanical ventilation.

In NYC, advocates for homeless people sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority over a series of Covid-19 rules that unfairly target people who shelter in the city’s subways. The rules prohibit people from staying in a subway station for more than an hour or after a train is taken out of service, and ban carts more than 30 inches long or wide. They were enacted on an emergency basis last April and made permanent in September.

Evidence has been building for giving blood thinners to hospitalized Covid-19 patients because the disease causes unusual blood clotting. 

Travel through the Dubai airport has dropped 70%

The latest round of COVID-19 lockdowns saw people going to warm climates and vowing now to return until they can get a vaccine, according to Bloomberg. The East Coast went to Florida, South Carolina, and Turks and Caicos Islands. The West Coast went to Arizona and Puerto Vallarta and Cabo in Mexico.

The big picture: “Extended-stay discounts, the reopening of certain international borders, and better awareness on the precautions to take when traveling have further enabled a second-wave exodus.”

Bartle’s Pharmacy of Oxford, N.Y., hired college students on winter break to schedule appointments, but the phone system was quickly overwhelmed. To lighten the mood, patients can ring a “Covid cowbell” after they get their shot. “It’s pretty amazing to see the relief on people’s faces,” says pharmacist and co-owner Heather Bartle-Ferrarese. 

Basketball legend Michael Jordan is donating $10 million to launch two medical clinics in underserved communities near his hometown in Wilminggton, North Carolina.

Officials in Harrisburg, PA will not move teachers to the state’s first priority vaccination group, as requested by unions.

Peru’s foreign minister resigned over an uproar over government officials were secretly vaccinated before the country recently received 1 million doses for health workers facing a resurgence in the pandemic.

Israeli study finds 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 cases with Pfizer vaccine

A California federal judge called out a DLA Piper attorney Thursday for not wearing a tie during a virtual hearing on Finisar’s $6.8 million securities settlement, saying male attorneys have taken the informality of COVID-19-era remote hearings too far

President Joe Biden says his administration has procured 200 million more doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. The nation will now have enough vaccine supply to cover every American adult by the end of July.

South Africa has halted its use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after a preliminary study showed it offers only minimal protection against the virus variant that is dominant in that country.

Australia and New Zealand have received their first vaccine deliveries and will begin rolling out inoculations in the coming week, while Melbourne and Auckland remained locked down following the emergence of new cases.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will judge this week how fast England can exit lockdown after the United Kingdom vaccinated 15 million of its most vulnerable people, but the health minister said death and hospital admission numbers were still too high.

The FDA has told Moderna it can add up to 40 percent more of the vaccine in its vials to more rapidly increase the available supply, though discussions between the company and the regulator are ongoing.

Coronavirus Vaccine and Pregnant Women – research was not done on pregnant women, but now over 20K women have been vaccinated – here is a podcast from the AMA on vaccination for pregnant women –

Children as young as six will be given the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as part of a new clinical in the UK to test its efficacy in youngsters

Japan’s Health Ministry said on Sunday it has officially approved Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine, its first vaccine.

A COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by Sanofi and U.S. group Translate Bio “will not be ready this year.”

In response to the task force from WHO that went to China, spent 3 hours in the Wuhan lab, and determined the virus did not original in the lab, but more likely in the market area, the US is asking for all detailed records from China going back to the very first days to better judge the accuracy of these fndings.

The US Department of Education released their “Reopening” Document for schools throughout the US – you can access it, here:

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