Covid-19: About a Third of U.S. Adults Have Received at Least One Dose of a Vaccine – The New York Times

Heres what you need to know:A pharmacist in Little Rock, Ark., administering a dose of Modernas Covid-19 vaccine earlier this month to Jane Black, while her husband, Thomas Black, waited for his shot.Credit...Rory Doyle for The New York Times

The U.S. vaccination campaign is accelerating rapidly, with more than 91 million people roughly a third of the adult population having received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccination by Saturday. And nearly every state has announced that it will meet President Bidens directive to make all adults eligible by May 1.

But as of Saturday afternoon, two states Arkansas and New York still had not declared a timeline for their residents, according to a New York Times vaccine rollout tracker.

A third state, Wyoming, has also not said when all adults would be able to get the shot, but eligibility in the state expands on a county-by-county basis, a spokeswoman for the states Department of Health said, and 20 of the states 23 counties now allow all adults to get vaccinated. She said she expected full access quite soon.

In Arkansas, where a Times database shows that about 13 percent of the population of three million has been fully vaccinated, Gov. Asa Hutchinson this week extended eligibility to military veterans who are at least 18 years old. That decision came soon after appointments opened up for additional essential workers and adults between 16 and 64 who have some health conditions.

The state has moved to Phase 1C of its expansion, making almost one million new people eligible for the vaccine, and the state department of health anticipates opening up eligibility to all adults by early May, if not sooner, a spokeswoman said.

I want to ask everyone, when its your turn, get a shot, Mr. Hutchinson said at a news briefing this week. Get that shot in your arm, because it helps our entire state to completely move out of this pandemic and so we need everybody to get vaccinated.

At the news conference, Mr. Hutchinson said there were parts of the state where eligible residents were still unable to book an appointment, particularly in the northwest and several urban areas. Additionally, not all inmates, who are included in the list of those already eligible, have been vaccinated, he said.

But stay tuned, Mr. Hutchinson said, adding that he expected the state to expand eligibility to all adults in the near future.

In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said at a news briefing this week that other states were setting dates based on allocation projections coming from the federal government. But Mr. Cuomo said he wanted to make sure that the allocation projections that were getting from the feds are right before setting a specific date for eligibility expansion.

I would rather get the specific allocation number and then tell the people of the state, Mr. Cuomo said, so we dont have to change advice and we dont create pandemonium for the scheduling operation.

When the pandemic began, the nations governors suited up for a new role as state bodyguards, issuing emergency orders to shutter schools, close cinemas and ban indoor dining in an effort to curb a mushrooming threat.

But not everyone likes killjoys, no matter how well-intentioned.

Now, state legislatures saying the governors have gone too far are churning out laws aimed at reining in the power of their executives to respond to the pandemic and emergencies like it.

A Kansas bill that became law this week requires Gov. Laura Kelly to suspend all emergency orders and give legislators the option to void any that she reissues. Mask mandates are likely to be among the first to fall. Ohio legislators overrode Gov. Mike DeWines veto this week, limiting his powers to make emergency declarations. Utah lawmakers voted for an April 10 end to mask requirements and to rein in powers of the governor and state health officials to deal with crises; the bill became law on Wednesday.

Those are but some of the 300-odd proposals to curb governors emergency powers that have won approval or are awaiting action in State House and Senate chambers although most will, as usual, be winnowed out in committee and never come to a vote.

All but a handful have been written by Republicans, many of whom have regarded restrictions from the start as bad for business and infringements on personal freedom. If that suggests that the issue of emergency power is partisan, however, thats not entirely true: Legislation takes aim at the powers wielded by governors of both parties.

A list of bills by the National Conference of State Legislators shows that the gamut of the proposals is both broad and inventive. An Arkansas state senator wanted fines for violating coronavirus restrictions refunded to violators. Lawmakers in six states, including Georgia and Oregon, want to stop governors from imposing limits on attendance at church services. A measure in Maine would circumvent restrictions on businesses by declaring all businesses to be essential in any emergency.

Most proposals, however, are more straightforward attempts to give lawmakers a say, often by limiting the duration of emergency declarations and requiring legislative approval to extend them. The nonpartisan Uniform Law Commission is reviewing state emergency statutes to see if they need updating in light of the coronavirus crisis. But the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative pro-business group that has spent years cultivating ties with state legislators, has beaten them to the punch, circulating a so-called model law that is the basis for many state proposals.

Some experts call that a mistake. The time for legislatures to address emergency declarations isnt in the middle of an emergency, but before or after one, said Jill Krueger, the director of the northern region of the Network for Public Health Law, in Edina, Minn.

Indeed, practically every state has at least one measure targeting a governor, either in a legislative committee or in the lawbooks.

The Republican governor of Indiana, Eric J. Holcomb, has backed more lenient coronavirus restrictions than have governors of some neighboring states, giving businesses more generous occupancy limits based on the severity of Covid-19 outbreaks in each county. That did not stop the Republican-controlled legislature from filing 21 bills aimed at loosening his emergency powers, the most of any state surveyed by the Conference of State Legislatures, including a resolution calling for the statewide emergency to be scrapped immediately.

The resolution appeared to be gathering serious momentum until Tuesday, when the governor sought to address critics by lifting a statewide mask mandate and turning business regulations over to local governments.

Both actions go well beyond the easing of restrictions taken in most other states that have relaxed regulations, although local governments retain the right to impose stiffer rules.

His middle-of-the-road approach has resonated with people, said Andrew Downs, an associate professor and expert on Indiana politics at Purdue University-Fort Wayne. That said, he added, people out on the extreme are upset with him, and they recognized the need to recapture some of the power the governor has been using.

A district judge in Texas has allowed Austin and the surrounding Travis County to keep requiring masks, weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott ended the states mask mandate.

Ken Paxton, the states attorney general, sued local officials earlier this month for refusing to comply and said that county leaders must not be thinking clearly.

A state district judge, Lora Livingston, denied the states request on Friday to quash a local order allowing officials to keep enforcing mask-wearing in Austin and Travis County. She ruled that the state did not meet its burden to demonstrate the right to the relief it seeks, according to a decision letter.

Mr. Paxton is expected to appeal the ruling, which means that officials could be forced to lift the mandate later.

Still, some local officials took the judges ruling as a victory, extending the amount of time the county can require customers and employees to wear masks inside businesses.

Todays court ruling allowing the Health Authoritys rules to remain in place and keep the mask requirements for businesses puts the health and safety of our public above all else during this pandemic, the Travis County judge, Andy Brown, said in a statement on Friday.

Mr. Abbott, a Republican, lifted the mandate on March 10 and said that all businesses in the state could operate with no capacity limits, even as the states vaccinations trailed the national average. The move was met with sharp criticism from President Biden, who called the lifting of statewide mask mandates a big mistake that reflected Neanderthal thinking.

The ending of the mandate also frustrated some frontline workers in Texas who said they were worried about the risk of being exposed to maskless customers and crowds, as they had not been vaccinated yet.

Reported coronavirus cases and deaths have steadily dropped nationwide after a post-holiday surge at the end of last year, though progress is starting to stall and health officials have warned about the spread of more contagious variants. The United States is still reporting an average of 60,000 new cases daily, according to a New York Times database.

Last May, the city of Los Angeles turned a fabled baseball park into a mass testing site for the coronavirus. At its peak, Dodger Stadium was testing 16,000 people a day for the virus, making it the biggest testing site in the world, said Dr. Clemens Hong, who oversees coronavirus testing in Los Angeles County.

But in January, the city pivoted, converting the stadium into an enormous, drive-through vaccination site. Local demand for coronavirus testing has plummeted, Dr. Hong said. He said that he saw the evidence firsthand recently when he visited a community hospital: The testing site had three people and the vaccine site had a line around the block.

Los Angeles is not an anomaly. Across the nation, attention has largely shifted from testing to vaccination. The United States is now conducting an average of 1.3 million coronavirus tests a day, down from a peak of 2 million a day in mid-January, according to data provided by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

In some ways, the decline is good news, and can be attributed, in part, to falling case numbers and the increasing pace of vaccination. But the drop-off also worries many public health experts, who note that the prevalence of Covid-19 remains stubbornly high. More than 50,000 new cases and 1,000 deaths are being tallied every day and just 14 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.

We are very much worried about resurgence, said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University. Everybody mentally moved on to vaccines. Obviously, vaccines are quite important. But as long as the majority of us are not protected, then testing remains essential.

Yale plans to hold a version of in-person graduation for the class of 2021 in May with no guests allowed. Harvard is not even calling its commencement a commencement. It plans to hold virtual degree-granting ceremonies and, for the second year in a row, will postpone traditional festivities.

The universities of South Florida, Southern California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Vanderbilt, Rochester and Kentucky, among others, are holding in-person commencements, but with differing rules about guests.

So it goes in this second graduation season of the pandemic. Day by day, another university announces commencement plans, and given the uncertainty created by the coronavirus, the decisions are breaking in opposite ways.

Prairie View A&M in Texas plans to hold live commencements, even as, somewhat surreally, the president of the college, Ruth Simmons, will be delivering the principal address at Harvards virtual commencement.

In the United States, reported coronavirus cases and deaths have fallen significantly after a post-holiday surge, according to a New York Times database. Vaccinations have also picked up, averaging about 2.5 million shots a day, as eligibility expands in several states.

Eligible only in some counties

Eligible only in some counties

Eligible only in some counties

Experts warn, however, that dangerous variants could lead to a spike in cases and states that lift restrictions could be acting prematurely.

Many universities are stipulating that in order to participate in graduation, students must have tested negative for the coronavirus before the ceremony and have a good record of adhering to campus policies created to guard against infection.

Peter Salovey, the president of Yale, said in a statement this month that the university would be recognizing graduation by holding in-person gatherings on or around May 24, if public health conditions permit. Students studying both on campus and remotely are invited, but not their guests. Mr. Salovey said Yale was excluding families because it seemed unlikely that everybody would be vaccinated by graduation day.

Harvard was one of the first universities to evacuate its campus in mid-March last year, and it is still in caution mode. In an email to students on Feb. 26, its president, Lawrence Bacow, said that postponing live commencement for two years running was deeply disappointing, but public health and safety must continue to take precedence.

Like other universities, though, Harvard promised to bring the classes of 2020 and 2021 back to celebrate at some future date.

Some universities plan to hold their commencements in outdoor stadiums. Notre Dame, which was aggressive about bringing students back to campus last fall, is planning to accommodate all 3,000 graduates and a limited number of guests in its 79,000-seat stadium. Health officials have authorized the use of up to 20 percent of the seating.

The University of Southern California will hold in-person ceremonies for the classes of 2021 and 2020 in May. The ceremonies will take place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and graduates will be allowed to invite two guests, although they must be California residents.

Northeastern University in Boston will host five commencement ceremonies in Fenway Park in May. Officials are aiming to allow each graduate to invite one guest, though they are still evaluating total capacity with physical distancing.

The University of South Florida in Tampa said this month that its commencement would take place at nearby Tropicana Field, which can hold about 40,000 people. The university set a tentative date of May 7 to 9. Students will be allowed to bring two guests and must register in advance.

Some schools are holding ceremonies without guests, in what will be largely empty stadiums.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will hold in-person ceremonies in its Camp Randall Stadium, which can hold about 80,000 people. The university will hold two ceremonies on May 8, but graduates cannot bring guests.

Princeton plans to hold an outdoor commencement at its stadium for students who have taken part in the testing program and who live on or near campus. It is also considering extending the invitation to students learning virtually.

Princeton is still deciding whether to allow guests at its in-person ceremony, and summed up the uncertainty this way: Families are encouraged not to make nonrefundable travel arrangements.

Some universities are moving forward with entirely virtual commencements. Columbia is planning a virtual ceremony, but has held out some hope of smaller outdoor events. New York University and Stanford University have also announced plans to hold virtual celebrations.

More than 2.7 million people have died from the coronavirus, a tangible count of the pandemics cost. But as more people are vaccinated, and communities open up, there is a tally that experts say is harder to track: the psychological toll of months of isolation and global suffering, which for some has proved fatal.

There are some signs indicating a widespread mental health crisis. Japan saw a spike in suicide among women last year, and in Europe, mental health experts have reported a rise in the number of young people expressing suicidal thoughts. In the United States, many emergency rooms have faced surges in admissions of young children and teenagers with mental health issues.

Mental health experts say prolonged symptoms of depression and anxiety may prompt risky behaviors that lead to self-harm, accidents or even death, especially among young people.

Some public figures, like Yuval Noah Harari, a prominent Israeli historian, have asked the authorities to weigh the risks of depression if they impose new virus restrictions. And public health officials in some areas that have seen a surge of adolescent suicides have pushed for schools to reopen, although researchers say it is too early to conclusively link restrictions to suicide rates.

In Europe, with the crippled economy and the aftermath of the restrictions, the psychological fallout of the pandemic could unfold for months, or even years, public health officials say, with young people among the most affected.

Bereaved families of young people who have died during the pandemic are haunted by questions over whether lockdowns which not only shut stores and restaurants but required people to stay home for months played a role. They are calling for more resources for mental health and suicide prevention.

Lily Arkwright, a 19-year-old history student at Cardiff University in Wales, was self-confident, outgoing and charismatic in public, her friends and family said, but as she went back to school in September, she began to struggle with the effects of lockdown. She died by suicide in October.

Lockdown put Lily in physical and emotional situations she would never have in normal times, said her mother, Annie Arkwright.

Its OK for a young child to fall over and let their parents know that their knee hurts, Ms. Arkwright said. This same attitude needs to be extended to mental health.

BUENOS AIRES Argentina is delaying the administration of the second dose of Covid-19 vaccines for three months in an effort to ensure that as many people as possible get at least one dose amid a sluggish vaccination drive.

The move seeks to vaccinate the largest number of people possible with the first dose to maximize the benefits of vaccination and diminish the impact of hospitalizations and mortality, the government said in announcing the decision on Friday.

The country has been applying Russias Sputnik V, Chinas Sinopharm and Covishield, the Indian version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Since its vaccination campaign began in December, Argentina, a country of 45 million people, says it has administered a total of 3.5 million doses of the vaccine, which includes more than half a million people who have received the two doses called for in the protocols for all three vaccines.

Several countries are considering delaying second doses, including Britain, which pursued a plan to separate doses by up to three months. And federal health authorities in the United States have indicated flexibility on expanding the gap between first and second doses to six weeks.

Argentinas decision to delay second doses comes amid increasing concerns of the possibility of a new wave of Covid-19 cases and deaths, fueled by new variants that have engulfed several of Argentinas neighbors, particularly Brazil, but also Chile and Paraguay.

Argentina is canceling all direct flights with Brazil, Chile and Mexico starting on Saturday. It had already blocked flights from Britain and Ireland, and recently required international travelers to take a mandatory coronavirus test on arrival and to quarantine in a hotel if the result came back positive.

India, racing to contain a second wave of the coronavirus, on Sunday reported its biggest single-day spike since October 62,258 cases in the past 24 hours.

The uptick, which was especially high in the state of Maharashtra, home to Mumbai, comes as more people ease up on public health measures like wearing masks and social distancing.

Officials say the relaxed attitude could be one factor in the increase. Single-day figures sometimes contain anomalies, but the countrys seven-day average of new cases, a more reliable gauge, has been rising sharply since early March.

The resurgence of the coronavirus, which was once seemingly in retreat, is prompting health officials and law enforcement agencies to review and adopt more stringent measures to try to stem the spread. Health care workers are particularly worried as people gather to celebrate festivals like Holi and crowd at bazaars.

India has directed regional governments to deploy law enforcement officials to ensure that people are wearing masks and maintaining distance. And the country has also curtailed exports of Covid-19 vaccines, inciting a setback for inoculation drives in other countries, especially in poorer ones that do not have the infrastructure to produce their own.

India is desperate for all the doses it can get. Infections are soaring, topping 50,000 per day, more than double the number less than two weeks ago. And the Indian vaccine drive has been sluggish, with less than 4 percent of Indias nearly 1.4 billion people getting a jab, far behind the rates of the United States, Britain and most European countries.

The latest surge is crippling life in several regions of Maharashtra, which has recorded the highest number of cases in the country 2.6 million. The state is home to densely populated Mumbai, the countrys financial hub, where millions live, sometimes in very close quarters. The Dharavi slum was sealed off for nearly two months during the first wave of infections.

Even as cases rose in the city, business continued as usual in some pockets. But entire districts of the state have gone back into lockdown, and the government in Maharashtra is imposing a nightly curfew starting Sunday. Malls will also close at 8 p.m.

As of Sunday morning, India had reported more than 11.9 million cases and 161,240 deaths, according to a New York Times database. Sachin Tendulkar, one of Indias cricketing legends, and the Bollywood star Aamir Khan were among those who have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days.

The European Unions stumbling Covid-19 vaccination drive, badly shaken by the recent AstraZeneca safety scare, got a boost Friday from the European Medicines Agency, which approved new AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine production sites.

The agency, an arm of the European Union and Europes top drug regulator, approved sites in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. It also loosened regulations for how long the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at ultralow temperatures.

The moves could speed up the Continents lagging vaccine production and distribution, which have been plagued by delays and setbacks.

Though the European Union is flush with cash, influence and negotiating heft, only about 10 percent of its citizens have received a first dose, compared with 26 percent in the United States and 44 percent in Britain. The bloc of 27 nations was comparatively slow to negotiate contracts with drugmakers, and regulators were cautious and deliberative in approving some vaccines. And it has been stymied by supply disruptions and shortages.

Europe also experienced a scare over the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine and distribution in several countries was temporarily halted. Most of those countries have resumed using it, after the E.U. drug agency vouched for its safety. But public confidence in the shot has been severely undermined.

The hitches in Europes vaccine rollout come as some countries, like Germany, are facing a spike in new cases. The next few weeks will decide whether we can get the pandemic under control in the foreseeable future, Helge Braun, an aide to Germanys chancellor, Angela Merkel, told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. If the number of infections rises rapidly at the same time as the vaccination, the risk increases that the next virus mutation will become immune to the vaccine.

The agency said a new warning label would be added to the vaccine so that people in the medical community could watch for rare complications that could lead to blood clots and brain bleeds.

Trust in the AstraZeneca vaccine is essential to fighting the pandemic worldwide. The shot is more easily stored and less expensive than Pfizers or Modernas, and for now, it is sold without the goal of earning a profit.

The European Union has exported more vaccine doses than it has administered. On Wednesday, it revealed emergency legislation that would curb exports of Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in its countries for the next six weeks.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, posted on Twitter on Thursday that the European Union had shipped out 77million doses since early December, that 88million were expected to be distributed internally by the end of the week and that 62million shots had been administered within member nations.

Bryan Pietsch contributed reporting.

Its called smell training, and it is suddenly in big demand.

According to one study, as many as 77 percent of people who have had Covid-19 were estimated to have lost their sense of smell to some degree as a result of their infections.

People who experience a loss of smell may also develop parosmia, a disturbing disorder in which previously normal scents register as unpleasant odors.

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Covid-19: About a Third of U.S. Adults Have Received at Least One Dose of a Vaccine - The New York Times

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