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Re: Coronavirus

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:19 am
by drifter

Re: Coronavirus

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:02 am
by chaos ... e-used-up/

Vaccine reserve was already exhausted when Trump administration vowed to release it, dashing hopes of expanded access
States were anticipating a windfall after federal officials said they would stop holding back second doses. But the approach had already changed, and no stockpile exists.

By Isaac Stanley-Becker and
Lena H. Sun
Jan. 15, 2021 at 10:02 a.m. EST

When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available beginning at the end of December, taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line.

Now, health officials across the country who had anticipated their extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality that their allocations will not immediately increase, dashing hopes of dramatically expanding eligibility for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions. Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others are still in the dark.

Because both of the vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States are two-dose regimens, the Trump administration’s initial policy was to hold back second doses to protect against the possibility of manufacturing disruptions. But that approach shifted in recent weeks, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. The result is that next week’s allocations will remain flat.

These officials were told that Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s initiative to speed the development of vaccines and therapeutics, stopped stockpiling second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the end of last year, instead taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line. The last shots held in reserve of Moderna’s supply, meanwhile, began shipping out over the weekend.

The shift, in both cases, had to do with increased confidence in the supply chain, so that Operation Warp Speed leaders were confident they could reliably anticipate the availability of doses for booster shots — required three weeks later in the case of the Pfizer-BioNTech product and four weeks later under Moderna’s protocol.

But it also meant there was no stockpile of second doses waiting to be shipped, as Trump administration officials suggested this week. Azar, at a Tuesday briefing, said, “Because we now have a consistent pace of production, we can now ship all of the doses that had been held in physical reserve.” He explained the decision as part of the “next phase” of the nation’s vaccination campaign.

HHS spokesman Michael Pratt confirmed in an email that the final reserve of second doses had been released to states for order over the weekend but did not address Azar’s comments this week, saying only, “Operation Warp Speed has been monitoring manufacturing closely, and always intended to transition from holding second doses in reserve as manufacturing stabilizes and we gained confidence in the ability for a consistent flow of vaccines.”

He also said states have ordered only about 75 percent of what is available to them.

Azar’s comments followed a Jan. 8 announcement by President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team that his administration would move to release all available doses, rather than holding half in reserve for booster shots. Biden’s advisers said the move would be a way to accelerate distribution of the vaccine, which is in short supply across the country.

When Azar embraced the change four days later — after initially saying it was shortsighted and potentially unethical in risking the availability of a booster shot — he did not say the original policy had already been phased out, or that the stockpile had been exhausted. Signaling to states that they would soon see expanded supply, he also urged them to begin vaccinating adults 65 and older and those under 64 with a high-risk medical condition. Officials in some states embraced that directive, while others said suddenly putting hundreds of thousands of additional people at the front of the line would overwhelm their capacity.

In subsequent conversations with state and local authorities, federal officials sought to temper those instructions, said people who participated in the conversations. Gustave F. Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, spoke directly to officials in at least two of the jurisdictions receiving vaccine supply, explaining that allocations would not increase and that they did not have to broaden eligibility as they had previously been told, according to a health official who was not authorized to discuss the matter.

The health director in Oregon, Patrick M. Allen, was so disturbed by the realization that he wrote a letter Thursday to Azar demanding an explanation.

“Earlier today, we became concerned when we discovered there were no additional doses available for allocation,” he said in the letter, which was reviewed by The Washington Post.

On a call with Perna earlier the same day, Allen wrote, the four-star Army general “informed us there is no reserve of doses, and we are already receiving the full allocation of vaccines.”

“If true, this is extremely disturbing, and puts our plans to expand eligibility at grave risk,” Allen added. “Those plans were made on the basis of reliance on your statement about “releasing the entire supply” you have in reserve. If this information is accurate, we will be unable to begin vaccinating our vulnerable seniors on Jan. 23, as planned.”

The revised instructions led additional jurisdictions to hold off on broadening their priority groups. One state health official noted that the updated guidance announced Tuesday as to eligibility did not appear on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even though it was stated as federal policy by Azar and by Robert R. Redfield, the CDC director, in their remarks earlier this week. Under the original recommendations, adults 65 and older and front-line essential workers were to comprise the second priority group, known as phase 1b, in line after medical workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

But the issue of supply was most troubling to state health officials.

“States were shocked and surprised that they did not see an increase in their allocations, and when they asked for explanations, some of them were told there was not a large stockpile of second doses to draw from,” said an official working with numerous states on vaccination planning who spoke on the condition of anonymity to recount sensitive conversations. “They thought they were getting more doses and they planned for more doses and opened up to 65 and up, thinking they were getting more.”

There was additional confusion. Another change in the distribution system announced Tuesday by Azar — making allocation of doses dependent on the pace of inoculations in the states — would not take effect for two weeks, he said Tuesday. But Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) on Thursday tweeted that federal officials had notified the state that it would receive an additional 50,000 doses next week “as a reward for being among the fastest states” to get shots into arms. West Virginia, meanwhile, which is moving at the fastest clip based on CDC data, did not get any additional doses, said Holli Nelson, a spokeswoman for the state’s National Guard.

In a sign that the incentive structure may not be long-lived, a senior Biden transition official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to address ongoing deliberations, said this week the team did not look kindly on a system that “punishes states.”

Re: Coronavirus

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:14 pm
by Hype
On Page 3 of this thread I did some napkin calculations for transmission numbers over time. Interestingly, at that time back in March of last year, there were 100,000 total cases. There are now close to 100 million, and we're at about 10 months later. That's not quite as fast as I calculated, but it's not that far off, either, especially given the still ongoing differences in testing and reporting rates. It seems Japan doesn't test nearly as many people as other places, e.g., but they've got a very large very old population. As a result, they rank 39th in the world by official numbers, but I'd be willing to bet their numbers are an order of magnitude higher in reality. I forget how many people I calculated might die, but I don't think I actually expected the number to be at 2 million world-wide in less than a year.

Re: Coronavirus

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:16 pm
by kv
Ya back when you were ball parking you probably thought we'd try and slow the spread....silly you

Re: Coronavirus

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 3:04 pm
by Larry B.
Here (and maybe in som US states too) the policy is not about trying to avoid deaths, but about trying to avoid a full-on and obvious collapse of the healthcare system.

If a million people die, but the press isn’t covering that all the hospitals are full to the brim, they’d deem it a successful operation.

Re: Coronavirus

Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 5:02 pm
by chaos
Hospitals are pretty full here, but we seem to be doing better than in other parts of the country.

I've been coming across some pretty horrifying reports about California; it's like the way NY was times 10. :nyrexall:

I think CA hasn't gotten as much nationwide coverage though since the past few weeks have been so crazy.

Re: Coronavirus

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:06 am
by Pandemonium
chaos wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 5:02 pm
Hospitals are pretty full here, but we seem to be doing better than in other parts of the country.

I've been coming across some pretty horrifying reports about California; it's like the way NY was times 10. :nyrexall:

I think CA hasn't gotten as much nationwide coverage though since the past few weeks have been so crazy.
LA and the surrounding SoCal counties are pretty much the epicenter of bad cases for the entire nation right now. Oddly, despite the massive Christmas/NY travel, a new "spike upon spike" doesn't seem to be happening and we may be leveling off. It's also interesting that California has and has had some of the most restrictive lockdown policies in the Nation since last March.

But we still get plenty of local coverage every night in the news - hospitals maxed out, ambulances waiting 12 hours at ERs to off-load patients and of course, new daily fear mongering about latest mutations of the virus ("will this new strain be vaccine resistant?!?") and the little daily features on a specific Covid patient whi died (usually far out of the typical age 65+ poor health fatalities) to drive home how the virus affects individuals and families, even those who were young and healthy.

I get the government/media mindset - it's designed to continually hammer home the basic mask wearing/social distancing/follow the guidelines thing to a largely stupid, selfish population much like previous efforts to continually encourage citizens to support say, the WWII effort, but I think the effect is ultimately contributing to population fatigue, distrust and outright anger, especially when seen in conjunction with federal, state and local government's ineptitude regarding lockdowns, vaccine distribution, etc.

Re: Coronavirus

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:31 pm
by kv
Lucky to say, I guess, just lost the first person I knew from's fucked because the guys whole family don't know how he got it or who he gave it to...they are all just scrambling for tests :banghead:

Re: Coronavirus

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 8:34 pm
by Artemis
Sorry to hear that, kv. I recently found out that one of my cousins died from COVID. He was young, 41 only.