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Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris gets her first dose of Moderna Covid vaccine


Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris received her first dose of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine live on television Tuesday morning, as part of officials’ ongoing efforts to show the public the vaccinations are safe.

President-elect Joe Biden received his first vaccine dose last week.

Just before 11am, Harris appeared before cameras at a hospital and sat down. “OK, let’s do it!” Harris told the nurse administering the vaccine.

“I barely felt it … Literally, this is about saving lives,” Harris said after receiving the vaccine. “I urge everyone: when it’s your turn, get vaccinated.”

Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, will also receive a dose of the vaccine today.

Officials have been trying to build confidence in vaccines that have been authorized for use in record timeframes and tackle any skepticism, including from some African Americans.

Half of Americans said they would take the vaccine, according to one recent survey, but one-quarter of those asked said they would not. Another 25% said they weren’t sure.

Scientists have stated that “herd immunity” – when the overall population is mostly immune – will be achieved when 60% to 70% reach some level of immunity.

US Covid-19 cases have now reached 19,313,314 with 335,051 deaths, according to recent Johns Hopkins University data. Meanwhile, the US has seen a recent decrease in Covid-19 tests in the week ending Monday, according to a USA Today analysis.

The decline in tests came as many testing centers were shuttered for the holidays. Reports from 42 states revealed less testing, the newspaper said.

The top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said Tuesday morning that Covid-19 has “gotten out of control in many respects” and is expected to increase even more after holiday travel. Fauci’s statements echo his prior warnings, which millions have repeatedly ignored.

“We’re in a very difficult situation,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN’s New Day. “We never got down to a low baseline where you can actually control community spread by identification, isolation and contact tracing.”

Fauci’s statements came amid Transportation Security Administration (TSA) data indicating that 1.1 million travelers passed through US airports on 28 December. He urged those who traveled to take long-prescribed precautions.

“For those who have already done the travel, the thing to do now is to try not to congregate with large numbers of people in social settings like dinners – try to keep it restricted to the immediate family and the immediate household,” Fauci said, reiterating public health officials’ guidance.

“Once you get to large numbers of people at a dinner, inside, poor air ventilation and circulation, that’s when you get in trouble,” Fauci said. “And that’s what we’re concerned about, that in addition to the surge, we’re going to have an increase superimposed upon that surge, which could make January even worse than December.”

“I hope that doesn’t happen, but it certainly is possible,” Fauci said.

As public health officials combat rising infection rates, local and state authorities are also battling deep economic fallout from the pandemic.

New York passed a sweeping anti-eviction law Monday evening, which prohibits landlords from kicking out tenants for at least another 60 days in most instances. According to The New York Times, this legislation would provide protection to some smaller landlords from potential foreclosures, and renew tax breaks for elderly or disabled homeowners.

The $900bn relief package Donald Trump signed on Sunday included $1.3bn for rental assistance for New Yorkers and prolonged a federal moratorium on evictions. However, before this assistance was finalized, unemployment benefits lapsed for millions of Americans.





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