It hasnt been easy to stand by facts and science while working under President Trump,Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.
It's not a happy day when you have to get up in front of national TV and contradict what the President says, Fauci said in an interview hosted by the Harvard Business Review. I take no pleasure in that at all.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he made a commitment to tell the truth, no matter what administration he works for. He has served under six presidents.
It's been particularly problematic here because that would often put me in direct conflict not emotional conflict, but factual conflict with what the President might say, so obviously that that has not been an easy thing to do," he said.
The Americas region reported more than 2.5 million new Covid-19 cases last week, more than half of all global infections,Pan American Health Organizations (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne said during a virtual news conference on Tuesday.
The PAHO director warned reporters that her concern for the next few weeks in the region where hospitals and health systems are already struggling.
Throughout our region, especially in North and South America, many hospitals are operating at a very close to capacity, Etienne said.
The reports from Manaus in Brazil, illustrate what happens when a health system lacks enough capacity to cope with the speed of new infections. But it is not just Manaus that is at risk, we've had reports of oxygen being rationed in some locations in the United States of America and in Peru, Etienne explained.
The PAHO director said the intensive care unit occupancy rate stands at 90% in some parts of Peru, while several areas in Brazil and Ecuador are operating close to their capacity.
In Mexico City, the majority of beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients and hospital capacity continues to be challenged in countries of the southern cone like Chile, Argentina and Uruguay," Etienne added.
Etienne also told reporters that the new Covid-19 variants detected in the UK, South Africa and Brazil are also concerning as they may be playing a role in accelerating new infections in the region.
The PAHO director urged the regions leadership to keep stressing preventive Covid-19 measures in their countries despite the vaccine roll out in some of them.
Currently, the doses available for use are very limited and will remain in short supply everywhere. As manufacturers raise to meet global demand over the next few months, Etienne told reporters.
There are nearly a billion people to immunize in our region," she added.
The PAHOs assistant director, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, said his organization expects to distribute 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines during March throughout the region via the Covax program.
Covax is coordinated by the World Health Organization, global vaccines initiative Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
Pennsylvania is loosening its Covid-19 vaccination requirements under Phase 1A, the state department of health announced Tuesday.
Effective Tuesday, anyone over the age of 65 and those aged 16 to 64 with "serious medical conditions that make them more at risk for severe illness" can take the vaccine.
Some of those conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and severe obesity, according to the statesvaccine rollout plan. Pennsylvania is still currently in Phase 1A.
The wider vaccination eligibility comes as the health department reported 5,341 new Covid-19 cases and 77 virus-related deaths. That brings the statewide cumulative totals to 777,186 and 19,467, respectively.
So far, 477,929 vaccine doses have been administered, according to the health department.
Earlier Tuesday, President-elect Joe Biden tapped the states health secretary, Rachel Levine,to serve as assistant health secretaryat the Department of Health and Human-Services. If confirmed, Levine would be the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the US Senate.
Note: These numbers were released by the states health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNNs database drawn from JohnsHopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is encouraging residents to call lawmakers and urge them to send more vaccines to his state.
Here's what I want you to say, I want you to say, We need your help, we're the oldest and most chronically ill state, we have got to get bumped up, Justice said during a Tuesday news conference. We need you. We need you right now, to push in every way we possibly can, to get more vaccines in West Virginia and well get them in somebodys arm.
Justice said he hates to say it, but with some of these states, they're not going to get it done. They're not. They're going to stumble around just like they have been and hide behind something and give some political gobbly goop and everything, he said.
But if West Virginia could just get the crumbs, that they're missing or they're just throwing off their plate, well take the crumbs, too. We deserve the meat and potatoes, but we'll take the crumbs, he said.
He added: We'll take the crumbs and get more and more people vaccinated.
Scotlands First MinisterNicola Sturgeon has announcedthe country will remain in lockdown until at least mid-February.
Sturgeon,speakingduring a briefing at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday,said thecurrent "level 4" restrictions,which include the closure of schools and nurseries,would be reviewed on Feb.2. At that point a phased return to schools maybeoutlined althoughshe warnedit was too soon to say how or when.
Although overall Covid-19 cases are declining in the country, they remain at a high level, with 30% more people in hospitals now than in the peak in April last year and there's been a 90% increase in intensive care unit cases from Jan. 1.
Scotland recorded 1,165 new cases in the past 24 hours, which is a decrease of 264 from the previous day.
At least 1,989 coronavirus patients are currently in hospital, 150 in intensive care unit, with 71 deaths reported in the last 24 hour period.
New York City is set to run out of vaccines by Thursday if the state doesnt receive more doses, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.
The mayor added as the city is vaccinating people "faster and faster," the city needs more doses.
At least 455,737 people have been vaccinated across New York City, de Blasio said.
New York has 92,000 doses left from the "first doses" received, and officials are expecting another 53,000 doses coming in today, de Blasio said.
"If we dont get more vaccine quickly we will have to cancel appointments," de Blasio said.
"Get us the vaccine," de Blasio added.
The director general of the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) Nicola Magrini expressed "grave concern" over delays of the Pfizer vaccine.
The Pfizer delay is of grave concern. It was all communicated at the last minute, if it's just a week's delay the consequences may not be so serious," Magrini said Tuesday on Italian radio station 'Radio Capital'.
"We can define it as a small slowdown, Magrini added.
AIFA's PresidentGiorgio Paltold CNNthat the agency doesnt directly purchase the vaccine as that falls in the remit of the Health Ministry and the extraordinarily-appointed Italian Covid-19 Commissioner. AIFA doesnt work on supply and distribution, we can only say we hope more vaccines arrive, Palu said.
Some background: Last week,Pfizer announced shipments from its vaccine facility in Puurs, Belgium, wouldbe temporarily reducedas it scales up toproduce two billion Covid-19 vaccine doses in 2021.
The pharmaceutical company announced Friday that they willresumetheiroriginalscheduletodeliver the coronavirusvaccinestotheEuropean Union,starting the week ofJan.25.
Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus adviser to President-elect Joe Biden and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said on CNNs New Day Tuesday, that he worries that in the coming weeks, the coronavirus pandemic will turn into something unlike anything seen before, and most people dont realize that yet.
Were going to suddenly see these variants come to play that based on the experience weve seen in Europe, in particular, South Africa, these variants can substantially increase the number of cases, Osterholm said.
I worry desperately in the next six to 12 weeks were going to see a situation with this pandemic unlike anything weve seen yet to date, Osterholm said. And that is really a challenge that I dont think most people realize yet.
When asked by CNNs Alisyn Camerota if there was anything that the Biden administration could do to prevent this, Osterholm said the first step is to get people to understand: This will happen, we are going to see a major increase in cases, the challenge is how many.
Secondly, he said we cant make the vaccine go much faster than it is right now, adding that while he knows the Biden administration will do everything it can to move vaccine out, other actions are needed now.
The difference is going to be, are we going to react now or later, Osterholm said. Like other places, he said that the US will take dramatic steps to deal with the variants, but the question is how soon will we do it? Do we put the brakes on after the cars wrapped around the tree, or we try to put the brakes on before we leave the intersection?
Thats the challenge, he said. I just dont know if were really prepared to even have that discussion yet.
Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus adviser to President-elect Joe Biden and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said on CNNs New Day Tuesday the focus needs to stay on preventing Covid-19 cases in the United States and he wouldnt change any current coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
At this point, I wouldnt change anything that were talking about in terms of restrictions, lets take a look at them and see whats really meaningful, Osterholm said, following a move by President Donald Trump to lift coronavirus-related travel restrictions imposed on Brazil and parts of Europe.
Osterholm said that the focus has to stay on preventing cases linked to currently high rates of new cases and hospitalizations.
Keep our eyes focused on the ball, which is whats happening right here in the United States now, he said.
Some background: On Monday, the White House released text of a new executive order by Trump that would lift coronavirus-related travel restrictions imposed on Brazil and much of Europe starting on Jan. 26.
However, the incoming Biden administration said that the order would not be implemented, with incoming press secretary Jen Psaki tweeting, with the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.
Psaki added, On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19.