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Coronavirus

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Updated 5:06 p.m. ET

On Friday afternoon, President-Elect Joe Biden shared a detailed plan to tackle the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, promising to fight the pandemic with "the full strength of the federal government."

In a speech in Delaware, Biden laid out his five-part plan for how to speed up the vaccination campaign: Open up vaccine eligibility to more people; create more vaccination sites; increase vaccine supply; hire a vaccination workforce; and launch a large-scale public education campaign.

The coronavirus pandemic appears to have shortened the average life expectancy in the United States, according to new research, and the impact is most dire for racial and ethnic minorities.

The deaths caused by COVID-19 have reduced overall life expectancy by 1.13 years, according to the analysis by researchers at the University of Southern California and Princeton University.

That would be the largest single-year decline in life expectancy in the past 40 years and cut U.S. life expectancy to 77.48 years — the lowest it's been since 2003, the researchers say.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

Restaurants and bars are reeling from persistent spikes of coronavirus cases and related restrictions in their communities, driving retail spending in December down for the third month in a row.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

In early March, Vic Gara came down with severe muscle aches, headaches and a rising blood pressure, indicators of COVID-19 that weren’t well understood early on in the pandemic.

“Taking a shower, just the water hurt my body,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep. I slowly became hypoxic. I just couldn’t breathe.” 

Eventually, he was admitted to Hartford Hospital, where he was quarantined immediately and separated from his wife, Laura. 

Updated at 8:37 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden outlined his plans for economic relief from the coronavirus crisis on Thursday, citing the need for a more robust vaccination plan as well as for additional direct payments to American families to help recover the U.S. economy. His plan, called the American Rescue Plan, is expected to cost $1.9 trillion.

Updated at 9:35 a.m. ET

A team of 13 World Health Organization scientists have now arrived in Wuhan, China, where they will investigate the origins of the coronavirus that has caused a global pandemic. Nearly 2 million people have died due to COVID-19, with more than 92 million infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.

For Some Transgender People, Pandemic Paves Path To Transition

Jan 13, 2021
Kyle Jones said she feels more at home in her body since beginning her transition in early 2020.
Cloe Poisson

Kyle Avery Jones had recently come out as transgender to her parents and friends when her final semester at the University of Connecticut began in January 2020. She wore androgynous clothes to school, sought out gender-neutral bathrooms, and limited her socializing to queer-friendly weekend gatherings off-campus.

Volunteer Marti Simmons
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Foodshare has been distributing food at Rentschler Field in East Hartford since the pandemic began. This site, which has served more than 227,000 households, reopened on Jan. 12, 2021, after Foodshare initially announced it would shut it down for the winter. With assistance from members of the Connecticut Air National Guard, Foodshare workers and volunteers distributed donated food on Tuesday to a line of cars estimated at 1,200. Some of those in the drive-thru line waited over an hour to collect food for friends and neighbors who couldn’t make the trip.

Updated Friday Jan. 15, 7:35 p.m.

A highly contagious version of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading across the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports Friday.

A Hartford HealthCare worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

 


As Connecticut prepares to transition into Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout, there’s growing concern about reaching diverse communities who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 illness and death. To address the problem, Dr. Jorge Moreno, an internist and assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine, posted a video about his experience with the vaccine. 

In a series of changes to initial guidelines, Trump administration officials announced Tuesday that states should vaccinate all residents 65 years and older sooner rather than later.

Federal health officials are also encouraging states to expand the next phase of vaccine distribution to all adults who have preexisting conditions that put them at an increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

Updated 2:20 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is making several big changes to its COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy, officials announced Tuesday, in a bid to jump-start the rollout and get more Americans vaccinated quickly.

The first change is to call on states to expand immediately the pool of people eligible to receive vaccines to those 65 and older, and those with underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

JOE RAEDLE / Getty Images

The pandemic-induced recession has left Connecticut legislators with one of their tightest credit card limits in recent history — less than one-seventh their 2020 level.

But it remains to be seen whether they’ll accept that or challenge both Gov. Ned Lamont and Wall Street to borrow more to assist colleges, businesses, municipalities and social services.

Only a vaccine will save America from the COVID -19 pandemic. At least that's the opinion of nearly all public health officials.

Obviously, vaccine manufacturers are critical to any vaccine campaign. But there's another group that plays a less obvious but still crucial role in making sure vaccines do what they're intended: mathematicians.

Even if the Biden administration releases all available doses of the two authorized COVID-19 vaccines, for a while at least, supplies will remain limited. How best to use that limited supply is a question mathematicians can help answer.

In September, after six months of exhausting work battling the pandemic, nurses at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., voted to unionize. The vote passed with 70%, a high margin of victory in a historically anti-union state, according to academic experts who study labor movements.

popo.uw23 / flickr creative commons

Youth sports have been shut down in Connecticut since November, and the governing body of high school sports in Connecticut hopes to resume athletics Jan. 19 -- but there’s still no green light from the state Department of Public Health.

Last summer, Sammy Bajraktarevic (right), owner of Luce Restaurant in Middletown, and server Alex Cirikovic set up socially distanced tables for a dining area in the restaurant’s parking lot as part of reopening amid the pandemic..
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

Restaurant owners say recent data released by the Connecticut Department of Public Health that appears to show COVID clusters centered on eateries doesn’t paint an accurate picture. It’s sparked yet more controversy in the continuing debate over dining during the pandemic.

As coronavirus cases soar in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a "major incident" and says hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed.

"The threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point," Khan said in a statement on Friday.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Two New Haven County residents under the age of 25 years old have tested positive for a new, more transmissible variant of SARS-CoV-2, the type of coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Medical experts say this variant, scientifically labeled B.1.1.7 and first discovered in the United Kingdom, appears to spread more easily and quickly. But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.” 

COVID-19 Pandemic Introduces New Factors To CT’s Teacher Shortage

Jan 7, 2021
Desks are set up at a gym for alternate learning classes on Thursday, Sep. 3, 2020 at Carrigan Intermediate School in West Haven. Part of the gym is available for one class at a time with a wall between them.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

With three kids attending schools where the learning model is different from the district where she teaches high school math, Kristle Rodriguez has struggled at times to balance the needs of her students and her children.

CT Legislature Opens With Less Pomp, More Circumstance

Jan 6, 2021
Matt Ritter being sworn in as a House Speaker outside the State Capitol.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

The Connecticut General Assembly opened its 2021 session in extraordinary fashion Wednesday, taking the oath of office in two socially distanced ceremonies on the grounds of the state Capitol, applauded by friends and heckled by protesters.

A Hartford HealthCare worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Transportation workers, mail carriers, teachers, first responders, grocery store employees and others are positioned to be the next groups of people eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut.

State officials said during a public meeting Tuesday that the state’s Phase 1B vaccination distribution could begin as early as this month and include up to 800,000 workers and residents. 

A casket sits in a parlor at the DeLeon Funeral Home in Hartford. DeLeon’s clientele is largely from the Hispanic community and they have seen a spike in funerals in April and early May due to the COVID19 pandemic, according to owner Kevin Davidson.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

Out of the $6 billion in federal coronavirus relief heading to Connecticut, $41 million will be set aside to help families with funeral costs.

Paramedics in Southern California are being told to conserve oxygen and not to bring patients to the hospital who have little chance of survival as Los Angeles County grapples with a new wave of COVID-19 patients that is expected to get worse in the coming days.

The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency issued a directive Monday that ambulance crews should administer supplemental oxygen only to patients whose oxygen saturation levels fall below 90%.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Luz Morales was working as a certified nursing assistant at RegalCare at Waterbury, a nursing home, when she fell ill with COVID-19.

At home, her 70-year-old mother, Nicia, looked in on her. 

Beyond COVID-19: Waste Testing A Vast Public Health Frontier

Jan 4, 2021
Annabelle Pan, a research scientist in Jordan Peccia's lab at Yale University, examines sludge samples.
Steven Geringer / Yale University Photo

As scientists measure the prevalence of COVID-19 in the sludge flowing from New Haven sewage treatment plants, they’re also finding that our biological waste can tell them much more about our collective pathologies.

By the first day of school, Waterbury Public Schools had yet to contact the entire parent population. 10% were still unresponsive to what the district classified as repeated attempts.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

New studies confirm that the coronavirus pandemic has led huge numbers of people across the U.S. to move from big, densely populated areas to smaller cities or suburbs. Connecticut is no exception, with its influx of transplanted New Yorkers. And with more parents working remotely, these new residents may decide to stay and enroll their children in local schools.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Tax filers who qualify for free tax prep may not be able to get in-person help this filing season because of pandemic restrictions.

It’s finally 2021. But that line in the calendar doesn’t mean that the pandemic is anywhere near over, so I want to start this year off by looking back at people whom I interviewed in the series that we launched before Audacious.

Snowstorms, holidays and general inexperience in handling a pandemic response is to blame for a "lag" in the number of Americans so far vaccinated for the coronavirus, according to U.S. officials.

The federal government previously estimated that 20 million Americans would receive the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine by the end of the year. But as 2020, a year defined by the coronavirus pandemic, comes to a close on Thursday, the government appears set to fall well short of that goal.

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