U.S. intelligence officials warned Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic will test governments across the globe for years to come, “fueling humanitarian and economic crises, political unrest and geopolitical competition.”
In its annual Worldwide Threat Assessment report, officials outlined a daunting challenge against a backdrop of other persistent threats posed by climate change and mass migration.
“No country has been completely spared, and even when a vaccine is widely distributed globally, the economic and political aftershocks will be felt for years,” the report concluded, referring to the massive virus fallout. “Countries with high debts or that depend on oil exports, tourism or remittances face particularly challenging recoveries, while others will turn inward or be distracted by other challenges.”
Meanwhile, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot — cerebral venous sinus thrombosis — in individuals after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the statement said. All six cases were among women 18 to 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.
One of the six patients died and another was in critical condition, officials said. FDA chief Janet Woodcock said no definitive cause had been determined, but that it appears to be an extremely rare immune response. Officials said such clots are treated differently from others, and that incorrect treatment could cause death.
The CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Wednesday to further review the cases and assess their potential significance.
Also in the news:
►Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he has received his second COVID-19 vaccine shot, three weeks after the first dose. The Kremlin wouldn’t reveal which of the three Russian-developed vaccines approved there the president has taken.
►Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has issued an executive order banning the development or use of vaccine passports in Montana.
►South Africa has suspended giving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a “precautionary measure” following the FDA decision in the U.S. to pause the use of the vaccine while rare blood clots are examined.
►Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Tuesday that he plans to drop statewide social distancing protocols by May 1 but that the Silver State’s mask mandate will remain in place at least through the end of next month. “I want to be crystal clear: the mask mandate is a statewide standard,” Sisolak said at a press conference in Carson City.
►The NFL has laid out team guidelines for COVID-19 vaccinations and is strongly urging franchises to have all employees vaccinated. Commissioner Roger Goodell told teams in a memo Tuesday to plan on using stadiums or team headquarters as vaccination centers for their players, employees and family members. Teams must pdate the league weekly on vaccination figures.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 31.34 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 2.95 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 137.25 million cases and 563,400 million deaths. More than 245.36 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 192.28 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: What do I do if I’ve gotten the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot? Your questions, answered.
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Poland won’t pause use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Poland plans to go ahead with immunizations using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after receiving its first batch of 120,000 doses on Wednesday. Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said Poland is following the latest recommendations from the European Medicines Agency, which said it is “currently not clear” whether the J&J shot caused rare blood clots reported in some recipients. The EMA approved the vaccine for use in the European Union last month.
“In line with these recommendations, we will want to use it in inoculations,” Niedzielski said.
Phoenix aims to vaccinate 500 people who are homeless this week
Circle the City, with support from the Human Services Campus and Maricopa County in Arizona, is hosting a week-long, walk-up event on the Phoenix campus to vaccinate people experiencing homelessness. No appointment necessary. Dr. Melissa Sandoval of Circle the City said her team has been vaccinating people experiencing homelessness for months at the organization’s clinic, but sees more success at walk-up events.
“If even just calling and making an appointment and walking into our clinic is a barrier, we’d like to lower that barrier,” she said.
The goal is to vaccinate 500 people this week. Sandoval said it has been difficult to enforce mask policies and educate about the risk of asymptomatic COVID-19 infections. Sandoval added that there’s also a heightened chance that people experiencing homelessness could die or end up in the hospital if they contract COVID-19 because they often have preexisting medical conditions or substance abuse disorders. Read the full story.
– Jessica Boehm, Arizona Republic
Contributing: Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY; The Associated Press