16m ago / 3:01 PM UTC
Change in recommended vaccination policy: Anyone 65 and older should be eligible immediately
Federal health agencies are expected to announce new coronavirus vaccine guidelines as early as Tuesday, directing states to vaccinate anyone 65 and older, a senior administration official said.
The sudden change in recommended policy is aimed at boosting the nation’s sluggish vaccination efforts.
In addition to the age guidance, the government will also suggest that any adult with pre-existing conditions that puts them at risk for serious infection should also get vaccinated.
This means that some doses that have been held back for second shots will likely be released earlier, a move that President-Elect Joe Biden called for last week.
1h ago / 2:04 PM UTC
U.S. counts 254,000 Covid cases, 2,200 deaths; California counts 61,000 cases
The U.S. counted 254,921 new Covid-19 cases and 2,276 reported deaths Monday, the latest numbers in the continuing pandemic.
From Saturday to Monday, an average of 820,000 people per day received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to NBC News’ tally. Note that people require two doses to be fully vaccinated.
Over the past seven days, the U.S. is averaging 257,000 cases per day, 3,200 deaths per day and 636,000 people who received a dose of the vaccine.
Among states on Monday, California set a single-day record for cases with 61,744.
Yasmine Salam and Sara Mhaidli
3h ago / 12:25 PM UTC
Football fans fill Tuscaloosa’s bars and streets celebrating Alabama’s win over Ohio State
Football fans flooded the streets of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to celebrate the University of Alabama’s championship win against Ohio State on Monday, despite rising Covid-19 rates in the state.
In videos circulating on social media, crowds of people — including many without masks — spilled into the Tuscaloosa Strip, an area known for its bars and nightlife, chanting victory songs to mark another national title for the Crimson Tide.
In the lead up to the game, Mayor Walt Maddox said that celebrations should be limited, and tweeted last Friday that “we can’t have block parties this year. There will be a time and place to celebrate but this is not the time.”
The Associated Press
1h ago / 1:56 PM UTC
E.U. regulator is considering Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine
LONDON — The European Medicines Agency said AstraZeneca and Oxford University have submitted an application for their Covid-19 vaccine to be licensed across the European Union.
In a statement Tuesday, the E.U. regulator said it has received a request for the vaccine to be greenlighted under an expedited process and that it could be approved by Jan. 29 during an EMA meeting, “provided that the data submitted on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine are sufficiently robust and complete.”
The drugs agency for the 27-nation E.U. has already approved two other coronavirus vaccines, one made by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech and another by Moderna.
Britain gave its approval to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine last month and has been using it. India approved it this month.
The Associated Press
4h ago / 11:17 AM UTC
Bodies pile up at crematorium in Germany’s virus hot spot
MEISSEN, Germany — The caskets are stacked three high in the Meissen crematorium’s somber memorial hall, piled up in empty offices and stored in hallways. Many are sealed with plastic wrapping, others are labeled “infection risk,” “urgent” or simply “Covid.”
A surge of coronavirus deaths in this corner of eastern Germany has boosted business for crematorium manager Joerg Schaldach and his staff, but nobody is celebrating.
“The situation is a little bit tense for us at the moment,” Schaldach said as another undertaker’s van pulled up outside.
The crematorium would typically have 70 to 100 caskets on site at this time of year, when the flu season takes its toll on the elderly.
“It’s normal for more people to die in winter than in summer,” said Schaldach. “That’s always been the case.”
Now he has 300 bodies waiting to be cremated and each day dozens more are delivered to the modernist building on a hill overlooking Meissen, an ancient town better known for its delicate porcelain and impressive Gothic castle.
On Monday, Meissen county once again took the unwanted lead in Germany’s Covid-19 tables, with an infection rate three times the national average. The state of Saxony, where Meissen is located, includes six of the 10 worst-hit counties in Germany.