Pence to get vaccine on Friday, Biden possibly next week; second home test becomes OK; fewer pandemic births

USA TODAY keeps up with the news surrounding COVID-19 as vaccines begin to be rolled out nationwide. This week, the US marked the harrowing milestone of more than 300,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Please keep refreshing this page for the latest updates on vaccine distribution, including who gets the photos and where, as well as other COVID-19 news from across the USA TODAY Network. Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates straight to your inbox, join our Facebook group or browse our in-depth answers to readers’ questions for everything you need to know about the coronavirus.

In the headlines:

►Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, will receive the new COVID-19 vaccine at the White House Friday, in a public inoculation aimed at building confidence among Americans about its safety. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to have the opportunity next week. There’s no word yet on whether President Donald Trump will get it.

►For the second day in a row, the FDA approved a rapid home test for the coronavirus. Unlike the kit from Australian company Ellume, which received approval Tuesday, Abbott Laboratories’ BinaxNow test requires the presence of COVID-19 symptoms and passes through a healthcare provider. It costs $ 25.

►Secretary of State Mike Pompeo goes into quarantine after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus, the State Department said Wednesday, adding that Pompeo has been tested negative and “is being closely monitored by the medical team of the department. “

►Tyson Foods said Wednesday it is firing seven executives at its pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, after an investigation into allegations that they made bets on the number of workers who would become ill from the coronavirus. About 1,000 of the factory’s 2,800 workers tested positive in early May.

►Legislators are approaching a COVID-19 incentive deal of about $ 900 billion that may include another round of incentive controls and other much-needed benefits, according to a source familiar with negotiations that are not authorized to speak publicly.

📈 Today’s figures: The US has 16.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 306,000 deaths. The global totals: nearly 74 million cases and 1.64 million deaths.

Where is the COVID-19 vaccine? Who has been vaccinated? Data on patients and vaccine shipments will flow through a complex network of state and federal data systems. We visualize the process here.

Here’s a closer look at today’s top stories:

Health worker in Alaska has a strong allergic reaction to the vaccine

A health worker in Alaska had a severe allergic reaction to the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine within 10 minutes of receiving an injection, health officials said. Unlike the few vaccine recipients in England who had a similar experience, the worker in the capital Juneau had no history of allergic reactions.

The woman began to feel short of breath and was treated with epinephrine and other medications for what officials said was anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. She was detained overnight but has recovered. US health authorities have warned of rare allergic reactions during the introduction of the vaccine.

Baby Bust: Pandemic Could Cause 500,000 Fewer U.S. Births

The coronavirus pandemic has not only claimed the lives of more than 300,000 Americans, but it could also mean at least so many fewer babies being born. Experts say the economic and social unrest caused by the pandemic has led to a decline in both planned and unplanned pregnancies.

While some expected widespread orders to control the virus would usher in a baby boom, a Brookings Institute report expects 300,000 to 500,000 fewer US births by 2021.

The upcoming baby busting could have “lasting consequences for society,” said Phillip Levine, an economics professor at Wellesley College and co-author of the Brookings report.

– Wyatte Grantham-Philips

Pandemic takes a heavy toll on the LGBTQ community

The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on the American black and Latino populations is well known. The extensive damage done by the coronavirus to members of the LGBTQ community has received less attention. A report from Wednesday underscores the extent of the damage:

  • 64% of LGBTQ households have lost jobs, versus 45% of non-LGBTQ households.

  • 38% of LGBTQ households have been unable to receive medical care or have been delayed in seeing a doctor for a serious problem versus 19% of non-LGBTQ households.

“What you see is a reflection of the inequalities that existed before COVID was exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Logan Casey, policy researcher for the Movement Advancement Project, which produced the report based on a July and August national poll.

Susan Miller

Pfizer is having trouble manufacturing vaccines; The FBI defends no earlier contracting for more

The leaders of Operation Warp Speed ​​addressed a report in the New York Times on Wednesday that the Trump administration was not securing more doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine when the option was available.

“It wouldn’t make any sense to order more from one vaccine manufacturer than any other before we knew a vaccine works,” said Moncef Slaoui, who leads Operation Warp Speed.

Meanwhile, Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services, said Pfizer is about half short of what the company expected to produce this year. Azar said Pfizer is operating at “maximum capacity” to deliver the 100 million doses it has contracted to deliver to the US, and that the government is considering extending the contract in the second quarter.

The government’s relationship with Pfizer is contractually different from that with the other vaccine manufacturers, Azar said.

“ With the other five (vaccine manufacturers), we are more closely involved in supporting the development and production of their product on an ongoing basis, while the relationship Pfizer wanted with Operation Warp Speed ​​was the guaranteed purchase of a vaccine, provided FDA approved, ”said Azar.

886 more vaccine deliveries Thursday with 2 million doses next week, officials say

The rollout of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has gone smoothly, with 2 million more to be delivered next week, the government’s Operation Warp Speed ​​leaders said in an update Wednesday.

On Thursday, there will be 886 more deliveries to sites in the United States, as the country continues “at a steady pace of vaccine delivery to the American people,” said General Gus Perna, who leads the logistics of vaccine distribution. efforts.

Starting Friday in Ohio and Connecticut, residents of long-term care facilities will be vaccinated, Perna said. Efforts at long-term care centers, which house some of America’s most vulnerable, will expand to more than 1,100 facilities by Monday and increase by thousands a day from there, he added.

Perna also described efforts to increase distribution of the vaccine at pharmacies across the country, with 19 chains partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Through those partnerships, Perna said he expects a gradual rollout beginning in mid-January and will include 37,000 facilities.

Perna said there were four trays of vaccine, two in California and two in Alabama, that dropped below required storage temperatures during shipping. Perna said command center officials identified those bins and they never left the trucks. The doses were returned to Pfizer, who will work with the FDA to determine whether they are still safe and effective.

Contributions: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID News: Vaccine for Pence, Biden; second home test gets FDA OK