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Coronavirus vaccine frustration mounted in DC; Maryland registers UK variant



One of the spouses recently traveled to several continents, he said, and both are in quarantine with their two children who have not tested positive. Contact tracking of the couple’s interactions is underway.

The mutated variant spreads faster, but there is no evidence that it carries a greater risk of disease or death. Hogan said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield warned him Monday that the variant is widespread across the country but often not detected.

Researchers say the coronavirus variant discovered in the UK is more transmissible, but does not make people sicker. (The Washington Post)

“He said, ̵

6;You can assume – we are sure – that the British variant is in any state. It has just not been discovered yet in every state, “Hogan said Tuesday during a news conference.

A private lab marked the couple’s sample, and Maryland’s public health lab and CDC confirmed the variant, Hogan said. More than 60 cases of the strain have been identified in at least 10 states since it was discovered two weeks ago in Colorado.

Hogan’s announcement came when DC officials said Tuesday that they have planned the distribution of all available doses of the vaccine – a day after opening deals for adults 65 and older.

A statement on the city’s vaccination website said on Tuesday: “All 6,700 of the available vaccination agreements for the week of 1/11/21 were completed,” expressing concern that the first-come, first-served system favored the digitally savvy over those who may not have computer access, but needs protection against the virus.

Ken Mead, 70, of the Chevy Chase, was appalled to find any vaccine appointments available.

“After all this anxiety about developing a vaccine, we now have one and we can not seem to distribute it effectively,” said Mead, a former U.S. Department of Transportation inspector.

At the current pace, he said, the district has little hope of vaccinating even half of its population of more than 700,000 people in a year, calling the situation “gloomy.”

“That was what really got me started,” he said. “Someone needs to do math here.”

John Falcicchio, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said city officials offer the maximum number of slots possible with the available doses.

“The biggest anecdote we have when we get out of this is that we need more vaccine,” he said. “There is a demand for vaccines.”

The district has administered more than 26,000 of the 45,425 doses of the vaccine it has received since Monday. Officials noted that the number may be higher because some pharmacies are using the city’s reporting system incorrectly.

DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said Monday that the city would only open 4,000 appointments for seniors and health care professionals to receive vaccinations this week. Seniors quickly snapped up slots, leaving some frustrated that they had not been able to register via the phone or online systems.

Despite complaints from seniors, Nesbitt expressed confidence in the system.

“We can handle call volume. The website can handle the scheduling, ”she said. The city expects to receive an additional 8,300 doses this week.

Nesbitt said an additional 5,000 doses have been promised to CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Some go to healthcare providers, including Kaiser Permanente and George Washington University, who will also use the doses to vaccinate patients 65 and older.

Falcicchio said the health department will consider ways to make the process more accessible to low-income seniors, but not offer details.

“With every action we take, we look at how we can ensure that it’s fair,” he said. “We continue to review and make sure there are vaccines available for people in all eight departments.”

A spokeswoman for DC Health said sign-ups for appointments both online and by phone are intended to prevent the wealthier residents from benefiting from reliable Internet access or enough time to make repeated attempts to book appointments.

Bread for the City, a nonprofit on Seventh and P Street NW that serves low-income residents, has offered the vaccine to health care professionals and now to seniors. Most have signed up for the organization’s 50 slots a day through the city’s portal.

But those who contact the agency generally do not have a history with the organization, said medical director Randi Abramson.

“It’s mostly a white crowd from the Northwest,” she said. “It’s who uses the Internet, and it’s either them or their children, and it’s their children who bring them in. It’s them who are very aware of how it works and how to sign up.”

The group has allocated approx. 10 slots every day for its regular 450 customers.

East of the Anacostia River, lawyers say, seniors seeking the vaccine have encountered mixed results.

Ambrose Lane Jr., president of the Health Alliance Network, said six seniors he knows in Sections 7 and 8 secured appointments per year. Phone early Monday, but those who called in the afternoon faced a waiting list. They took it in stride, he said.

“I have mostly received positive feedback,” he said. “If there’s one thing I hope they are aware of, it would be the seniors who are not mobile.”

Stuart Anderson, director of community engagement for the Anacostia Coordinating Council, said he spoke with two seniors in the Southeast whose efforts to plan appointments per. Phone Monday night was weakened.

Meanwhile, the district is taking steps to deter visitors from flooding the capital for the president’s inauguration, a four-person event that DC companies and cultural attractions usually embrace as a chance to shine.

DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) ordered indoor restaurants and museums to be closed until two days after President-elect Joe Biden was sworn in. The goal is to avert an increase in infections by moving the welcome mat back in the midst of the pandemic and the risk posed by right-wing groups that may be planning violence before or on inauguration day.

The greater Washington region reported a record seven-day average Tuesday on 8,698 new coronavirus infections. The region added 7,656 new daily cases with 4,561 in Virginia, 2,665 in Maryland and 430 in District.

Still, the spread of the coronavirus vaccine has been slow across the country and the Washington region, with officials saying they hope opening slots to priority groups will speed up vaccinations more quickly.

“We really need to strengthen things. We need to get more shots in people’s arms, so we really emphasize flexibility, ”Virginia Gov. said. Ralph Northam (D) Tuesday.

Virginia has administered 200,402 doses, according to the latest state data. The state has fully vaccinated 19,086 people. Maryland has administered 152,129 first doses of the coronavirus vaccine, according to state data.

Danielle Thorne, a high school teacher in Alexandria, was one of the first teachers in town to be vaccinated Tuesday as Northern Virginia moved into its next distribution phase.

“I feel much more comfortable with the idea of ​​getting back to school,” Thorne said afterwards. “It does not mean that everyone will still choose to do so, but it certainly makes you feel much more comfortable.”

The next round includes not only key workers, such as K-12 teachers and staff, but also people living in group settings such as homeless shelters and those aged 75 and over.

Alexandria Health Director Stephen Haering said the demand for the vaccine from older adults has been high. The city has about 8,200 people over the age of 75, Haering said, and more than 1,300 of them have been registered.

“The uptake has been 85 to 95 percent,” he said.

Tara Bahrampour contributed to this report.


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