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As President Biden cheered moves by federal regulators to allow for millions of Americans to get booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Friday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defended her decision to recommend the shots for frontline workers, a highly unusual move because it overruled her agency’s scientific advisers.
“I want to be very clear that I did not overrule an advisory committee,” the director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, told reporters at a White House briefing, saying she had listened to the panel’s discussion. “This was a scientific close call. In that situation, it was my call to make.”
She added, “it was a decision about providing rather than withholding access.”
Dr. Walensky’s pointed remarks underscored growing confusion around the start of the long-awaited booster rollout. Earlier on Friday, Mr. Biden appeared at the White House to hail the decision by federal regulators to clear Pfizer boosters for many Americans who had a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago. He urged those eligible for a third shot to get one quickly to fortify their protection to the dangerous Delta variant that swept through the country this summer.
“My message today is this: If you’ve got the Pfizer vaccine, you got the Pfizer vaccine in January, February, March of this year, and you’re over 65 years of age, go get the booster,” Mr. Biden said. “Or, if you’re in a have a medical condition like diabetes, or you’re a frontline worker like a health care worker or a teacher, you can get a free booster.”
On Wednesday, after weeks of internal strife, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization to Pfizer to begin making the shots available to people who fell into three categories: those over 65 who had received their second dose of the vaccine at least six months ago; adults whose underlying conditions put them at high risk of becoming severely ill with Covid-19; frontline workers like teachers and health care workers whose jobs put them at risk.
But the C.D.C.’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met on Thursday and departed from that recommendation. Like the F.D.A., it called for Pfizer boosters for a wide range of Americans, including tens of millions of older adults, and younger people at high risk for the disease. But the panel excluded health care workers, teachers and others whose jobs put them at risk.
Early Friday morning, Dr. Walensky stepped in and reconciled the differences by calling for frontline workers to get the shots, aligning C.D.C. policy with the F.D.A.’s endorsements over her own agency’s advisers.
In his appearance at the White House, Mr. Biden did not address the criticism that his administration gotten ahead of the regulatory process after he announced a plan for Pfizer and Moderna boosters in mid-August, nor the internal disagreement in his administration about the need for boosters.
Over the weeks, many independent scientists and regulators had emphasized that there was little research on who might benefit from the extra shots. Eventually the plan to quickly provide Moderna boosters was dropped, to give the F.D.A. more time to collect and study data. And scientific advisers to the F.D.A. and C.D.C. wrestled over the last week with who should get Pfizer boosters and why.
Scientific advisers to the F.D.A. and C.D.C. have been not asked to judge whether people who received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines should receive any additional doses, Booster shots for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients have not been authorized by the F.D.A.
The advisers to the C.D.C. also wrestled with the practicalities of endorsing a booster shot for only Pfizer-BioNTech recipients, when close to half of vaccinated Americans have received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Asked on Friday what he would say to people who disregard the new C.D.C. guidance and get a booster shot despite being ineligible, Mr. Biden urged patience. Many Americans have already scrambled to get boosters even before federal regulators signed off this week, typically by finding a cooperative pharmacist or by claiming to be unvaccinated.
“You’re going to see that in the near term, we’re probably going to open this up anyway,” he said, referring also to the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. “We’re also looking to the time when we’re going to be able to expand the booster shots, basically across the board. So I would just say, it’d be better to wait your turn in line, wait your turn to get there.”
Moderna’s booster authorization may arrive in a few days to weeks. The company has applied to the F.D.A. for authorization of a booster shot carrying half the dosage given in the first two shots, which has complicated the agency’s deliberations.
Some global health experts have criticized the Biden administration for pushing booster shots when much of the world has yet to receive a first dose. But analysts noted that even if the United States distributes booster shots, there should still be considerable excess vaccine supply this year, and they urged the government to begin sending the extra doses abroad.
In his remarks, Mr. Biden complained again about the resistance to the vaccine.
“Despite the fact that for almost five months free vaccines have been available in 80,000 locations, we still have over 70 million Americans who fail to get a single shot,” he said. “And to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine with false information the fight against Covid-19.”
“This is totally unacceptable,” he said.
Dan Levin and Zachary Montague contributed reporting.
On the heels of federal officials’ endorsement of booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for many fully inoculated Americans, some states announced plans for getting even more shots in arms.
Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommended on Friday morning vaccines for frontline workers, as well as for people older than 65 and many people with underlying health conditions, overruling an agency advisory panel. Individuals must also have received a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago.
Tens of millions of Americans woke up eligible for booster shots. In one recent poll, about three-quarters of vaccinated Americans said they would opt for a booster if the doses were available. Federal officials recommended self-attestation on Friday as the best method to determine who could get a booster dose.
“We’ve worked closely with partners including governors, pharmacies, doctors, long-term care facilities, and other providers, so that eligible Americans are able to get a booster shot at roughly 80,000 places across the country, including over 40,000 local pharmacies,” Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said at a news conference on Friday..
More than 70 percent of current vaccine administration was already taking place in pharmacies, according to a C.D.C. presentation at the meeting of agency advisers on Thursday.
CVS and Walgreens both said on Friday that they were ready to administer boosters. CVS said it will rely on “self-attestation” from customers to determine eligibility.
State health departments generally follow the recommendations of the C.D.C., and many on Friday were eager to move ahead.
In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that all eligible state residents could immediately get booster shots following federal clearance, which he called “long overdue.”
In Indiana, the health department announced that Pfizer boosters were now available to eligible residents.
And in Vermont, officials said that residents ages 80 and older could register for boosters, and the state would expand eligibility to those 65 and older over the next week.
Many states began organizing their booster rollouts shortly after President Biden announced a plan for Pfizer and Moderna boosters in mid-August, but the plan was followed by criticism that the White House was getting ahead of the regulatory process, and internal disagreement in the Biden administration about the need for boosters.
Over the weeks, many independent scientists and regulators had emphasized that there was little research on who might benefit from the extra shots. Eventually the plan to quickly provide Moderna boosters was dropped, to give the F.D.A. more time to collect and study data. And scientific advisers to the F.D.A. and C.D.C. wrestled over the last week with who should get Pfizer boosters and why.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a plan that will help eligible people access boosters, mainly through pharmacies and their primary care providers. Mass vaccination sites in the state could be reopened, according to the plan.
Across the country, New York planned to help distribute the shots by making $65 million available to local health departments, who would lead the way on booster distribution, and offering training to more than 50,000 emergency medical technicians to administer the vaccine, Gov. Kathy Hochul said in recent weeks.
“We think it’s really important that more people get this just as an extra layer of protection, like putting on an extra winter coat as the weather starts getting colder,” Ms. Hochul said at a news conference on Thursday, adding that boosters will be made available at pharmacies, nursing homes and on-site at different businesses.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this month that the city would utilize more than 1,900 vaccination sites across the five boroughs and make various outreach efforts. He said eligible New Yorkers could get boosters “as of this exact moment” in an interview Friday morning on “The Brian Lehrer Show” on WNYC.
Alison Beam, Pennsylvania’s acting health secretary, signed an order on Tuesday that will require vaccine providers to offer online scheduling for vaccine appointments, live scheduling assistance, walk-in appointments and coordination with local care agencies to help schedule homebound residents.
In West Virginia, which faces some of the worst virus conditions of any state, Gov. Jim Justice and public health officials have been calling for federal regulators to sign off on boosters to shore up protection for older, more vulnerable citizens.
“Our federal government moves like a turtle, and a lot of times it moves like a turtle in the wrong direction,” he said at a news conference on Friday.
Maj. Gen. Jim Hoyer, a retired National Guard officer who leads the interagency task force that coordinates West Virginia’s vaccination efforts, said on Friday that boosters were already “being given as we are on this press conference.”
Coral Murphy Marcos contributed reporting.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday overruled a recommendation by an agency advisory panel that had refused to endorse booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for frontline workers. It was a highly unusual move for the director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, but aligned C.D.C. policy with the Food and Drug Administration’s endorsements over her own agency’s advisers.
The C.D.C.’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Thursday recommended the boosters for a wide range of Americans, including tens of millions of older adults and younger people at high risk for the disease. But they excluded health care workers, teachers and others whose jobs put them at risk. That put their recommendations at odds with the F.D.A.’s authorization of booster shots for all adults with a high occupational risk.
Dr. Walensky’s decision was a boost for President Biden’s campaign to give a broad swathe of Americans access to boosters. The White House had come under criticism for getting ahead of the regulatory process.
The C.D.C.’s statement arrived well past midnight, a sign of the complicated and confusing decision-making surrounding the boosters. The C.D.C. advisers similarly spent two days debating who should get boosters and when, and could not agree on whether occupational risk should qualify as a criterion.
“I am surprised that Dr. Walensky overturned one of the four A.C.I.P. votes today, and I believe others will be as well,” said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, an infectious disease expert at Stanford and the American Academy of Pediatrics liaison to the committee.
But the vote on boosters for occupational risk “was close,” Dr. Maldonado said, and agreed with Dr. Walensky’s decision.
“This addresses not only waning immunity but those at high risk of exposure,” Dr. Maldonado added.
Minutes before Dr. Walensky’s statement, Dr. Amanda Cohn, who oversaw the two-day meeting of the panel, tried to prepare the advisers for the director’s decision.
“Dr. Walensky is reversing the decision to not recommend use of a booster dose in persons at high risk for occupational or institutional exposure,” Dr. Cohn wrote in the email. “I am hoping to share this news with you before you see it in the press.”
Dr. Walensky’s decision to go against her own agency’s advisers came as a surprise to at least some of her staff members: The C.D.C. director’s endorsement of the advisory committee’s recommendations is typically just a formality. Hours before her statement, agency insiders predicted she would stick with the usual protocol because doing otherwise would undermine the process and upset the advisers as well as her own staff.
But experts outside the C.D.C. said Dr. Walensky may have had no choice but to align herself with the F.D.A.’s decision. “There’s a complexity here, because Dr. Walensky was part of the White House announcement” on boosters, noted Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.
Dr. Walensky said providing booster shots to health care workers and others who risk contracting the disease on the job would “best serve the nation’s public health needs.”
MOSCOW — Russia reported its worst-ever single-day Covid-19 death toll on Friday as coronavirus cases rise in some areas and vaccine hesitancy remains widespread.
Russia’s daily death toll has remained essentially flat since July, in a narrow range from the 700s to just over 800. Many experts doubt the veracity of the daily numbers, in part because the death toll has been so relatively low and stable — and official figures of all kinds have been widely regarded with suspicion dating back to Soviet times. At least 300,000 more people died last year during the coronavirus pandemic than were reported in Russia’s most widely cited official statistics, according to a New York Times analysis of mortality data.
But a trend is clear. On Friday, the reported toll ticked up to its highest level yet, 828, after it tied the prior record, 820, on Thursday. And with last weekend’s parliamentary election over, officials appear to be warning more urgently about the continued spread of the virus.
Officials in the Moscow region said they had set up hundreds of new Covid hospital beds. In St. Petersburg, the government said that 348 people had been hospitalized with Covid in the last 24 hours — one of the highest such figures in Russia’s second-biggest city since early August, the Interfax news agency reported.
“The increase in illness is only beginning,” a Russian epidemiological official, Natalia Pshenichnaya, told Interfax, adding that the pandemic was developing across Russia “in a very dynamic way.”
Russia’s most recent high-profile outbreaks involve the inner circle of President Vladimir V. Putin, who has been in isolation himself after several members of his staff tested positive. Many Russians, however, have developed a laissez-faire attitude toward the virus, questioning the need to be vaccinated and often wearing masks around their chins, if at all.
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has been widely available since early this year, and eligibility for Covid vaccinations begins at age 18. But Russia’s health minister, Mikhail Murashko, said last week that only 47.5 million people have had at least one dose, a number that represents less than half of the eligible population.
The nation’s largest school system is preparing for disruption in some schools next week, as a vaccine mandate for virtually all adults working in New York City schools is set to take effect on Monday at midnight, which could result in staffing shortages by Tuesday morning.
The mandate — which requires workers to receive at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Monday and is the first mandate without a test-out option for any group of city workers — covers more than 150,000 people, including educators, school staff and central office employees.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the mandate last month, but thousands of Department of Education employees still haven’t received their first doses or haven’t submitted proof of vaccination, according to estimates from the D.O.E. and the leaders of unions representing educators.
More than 90 percent of teachers and principals have received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to union leaders, and it’s highly likely that more educators will get their first shot or submit proof of vaccination by Monday night to avoid losing their paychecks.
But Michael Mulgrew, the president of the city’s teachers’ union, said there are still roughly 6,000 teachers who will be barred from entering schools on Tuesday if they don’t get a shot over the weekend.
The teachers’ and the principals’ unions on Friday called on Mr. de Blasio to delay the implementation of the mandate until at least next weekend, so that schools have more time to plan for the shortages. Later on Friday, Mr. de Blasio resisted those calls during a radio appearance and said the city had “thousands” of substitutes ready to fill vacancies in schools next week.
Educators who refuse to be vaccinated will be able to take a year of unpaid leave and keep their health insurance until the end of the school year.
The city has said it will send vaccinated substitute teachers and central office staff into schools to cover shortages. But the most pressing challenges may not be in the classroom: Only about 80 percent of school staff, including aides, custodians, safety agents and school lunch helpers, have received at least one dose.
In many schools, almost all adults are vaccinated. But in others, there are between 30 and 100 teachers and staff members who have not yet received a vaccine dose, according to Mark Cannizzaro, who runs the city’s principals’ union.
Both the teachers’ and the principals’ unions are part of a lawsuit with other municipal unions challenging the vaccine mandate, but officials have acknowledged that the suit is likely to be unsuccessful.
Educators have been eligible for the vaccine since January.
War-torn Yemen, where the overwhelming majority of the population is unvaccinated, is seeing coronavirus cases multiply and deaths soar, according to a report this week by the charity Oxfam.
Oxfam, which describes itself as a global anti-poverty and humanitarian group, found that Covid deaths had increased by more than fivefold in the past month and that recorded Covid cases had tripled. The charity said actual figures were likely to be much higher, with many unregistered cases and deaths.
The official Covid death toll is about 1,658, and recorded cases have reached 8,789. But the situation in the country of about 30 million is hard to gauge. “Countless” others have died in their homes or have not been diagnosed because of scarce tests and hospital beds, Oxfam said.
Yemen is still embroiled in a war that began in 2014 when Iran-backed rebels know as the Houthis seized the country’s northwest, including the capital, Sana, sending the government into exile. The government has effectively collapsed, and tens of thousands have died.
The country already faced many health challenges before the coronavirus emerged. Hunger is widespread, medicines are hard to find and there have been outbreaks of cholera and other diseases.
The pandemic has only exacerbated the situation, and rights groups say that it is adding to the burden of an already wrecked health care system.
“Covid has made life even worse for people across the country,” Abdulwasea Mohammed, Oxfam’s policy and advocacy lead for Yemen, said by phone from Sana.
Some relief could come with vaccines, but fewer than 1 percent of Yemenis have so far received a single vaccine dose, and only 0.05 percent are fully vaccinated, according to Oxfam.
The country is relying on vaccines from the global Covax program. But Covax is struggling to meet its global supply target, and only half a million out of a promised 4.2 million doses have reached Yemen so far, Oxfam said.
Few isolation centers exist for Covid patients. The ones that are operating are found only in major cities like the capital Sana, and they are overflowing with people, Mr. Mohammed said. The poorly equipped hospitals are also seeing more people than they can accommodate. And many Yemenis cannot afford transportation to health care facilities.
With half the population having lost their source of income, staying at home means possibly dying of hunger for many Yemenis who have become day earners, Mr. Mohammed said. But appearing to be sick means being shunned, so if they have mild symptoms, people are reluctant to seek medical care or testing for the virus at the very few testing centers available.
In shelters that host over 4 million internally displaced people, a family of 10 is likely to share one small tent, making precautionary measures impossible.
“The country is not able to cope with another health crisis,” Mr. Mohammed said.
Most Yemenis survive on humanitarian aid, which Oxfam says has been in short supply. Only half of a $3.9 billion essential aid package requested by the United Nations from donor countries has been received. The health care system is dangerously underfunded, working with only 11 percent of what it needs, the organization says.
Some had hoped that the pandemic would force Yemen’s warring parties into a truce, but the war continues.
“If anything, it is amazing how little the pandemic has affected the fighting,” said Peter Salisbury, a senior analyst on Yemen for the International Crisis Group, in an interview.
The terror and uncertainty of the war, which has forced people to deal with loss on a daily basis for years, remains a larger concern for many Yemenis than the pandemic itself. “This speaks to the trauma of the conflict,” Mr. Salisbury said.
A World Health Organization panel has endorsed the use of a monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid patients at the greatest risk of being hospitalized or those who are not producing antibodies to fight off the disease.
The treatment, developed by the U.S. drug maker Regeneron and the Swiss biotech company Roche, delivers via infusion lab-made copies of the antibodies that people generate naturally when fighting infection. It has garnered attention as an alternative — and expensive — therapy for Covid-19, particularly among some who have shunned vaccines. A cocktail of two antibodies administered by infusion, the treatment was given last fall to former President Donald J. Trump shortly after he was diagnosed with Covid.
The Biden administration has also championed the treatment’s use in states where vaccinations have stalled and cases are rising, and its use has soared in the less vaccinated Southern states.
The W.H.O. panel cited data from three unpublished clinical trials, as well as a large British study of Covid patients known as Recovery, that showed that the treatment likely reduces the risk of hospitalization in mildly ill patients who are likely to get much worse, because they are, for instance, older, unvaccinated or immunocompromised. The data also showed that the treatment lowers the likelihood of being put on a ventilator or dying among hospitalized Covid patients who do not seem to making their own antibodies.
Data from the Recovery trial indicated that the treatment probably reduced deaths by as many as 49 per 1,000 among severely ill patients and 87 per 1,000 in those who were critically ill, according to a news release issued on Thursday.
However, the panel found that for patients at lower risk and those with less serious symptoms, “any benefits of this antibody treatment are unlikely to be meaningful” and urged such patients to avoid seeking it “in order not to exacerbate health inequity and limited availability of the therapy.”
On Friday, the W.H.O. urged Regeneron and Roche to reduce the price of the treatment and make it more widely available, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The W.H.O. said that it was in talks with Roche, which is manufacturing the drug, to donate doses to the United Nations children’s agency, Unicef, for distribution in selected areas.
In the United States, some health experts have worried that promoting the therapy, which the government covers at a cost of $2,100 per dose, was taking away time and money from the effort to get more Americans vaccinated against Covid.
However, the Biden administration is operating on both tracks, promoting vaccinations as well as the therapy. Last month, while emphasizing that vaccinations were the best way to prevent Covid, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a White House adviser on racial equity in health, said the administration “continues to stand ready to assist states and territories and jurisdictions across the country to get more people connected” to antibody treatments.
Two co-hosts of “The View,” Ana Navarro and Sunny Hostin, were abruptly pulled from the set on live television on Friday morning after testing positive for the coronavirus, minutes ahead of a live in-studio interview with Vice President Kamala Harris.
Joy Behar, another co-host of the show, announced that they had contracted breakthrough cases despite being fully vaccinated. None of the hosts were wearing masks on set, but members of the live studio audience were all masked.
“Ana and Sunny, at the last minute, we realized they tested positive for Covid,” Ms. Behar said. Ms. Harris, who was in the building preparing to come onstage, later appeared remotely on the program from another room. But her appearance was truncated.
“I know they’re fine, but it really does speak to the fact that they’re vaccinated and vaccines really make all the difference, because otherwise we’d be concerned about hospitalization and worse,” Ms. Harris said, speaking from a remote studio with what appeared to be an iPhone headphone on her ear.
After the positive cases were announced, Ms. Behar and another co-host, Sara Haines, were the only hosts left on set (Whoopi Goldberg, another host, was off on Friday). They took questions from the audience to fill the program while the Secret Service tried to find a way for Ms. Harris to safely participate in the planned interview.
The announcement of the positive cases came minutes after the hosts had been discussing the importance of getting vaccinated and after they had promoted Ms. Harris’ appearance as her first “in-studio” interview since taking office.
Ms. Harris’ appearance on “The View” had long been planned and was one of only a handful of television interviews she has participated in since taking office. But the timing was not ideal for a vice president whose portfolio includes immigration issues, but who had hoped to use the opportunity to make an announcement about a new broadband investment set to reach more than 3 million schoolchildren.
It came as the administration’s handling of Haitian migrants at the border prompted outrage among Democrats and called into question President Biden’s decision to swiftly deport thousands who had been arriving en masse at a small Texas border town.
Critics have called the aggressive tactics of Border Patrol racist and have urged the president to stop flying the Haitians out of the country.
During her appearance on Friday, Ms. Harris acknowledged that the images of Border Patrol agents on horseback, some waving their reins while pushing migrants back into the Rio Grande, “evoked images of some of the worst moments of our history, where that kind of behavior has been used against the Indigenous people of our country, has been used against African Americans during times of slavery.”
But she avoided a question about whether the administration would halt all deportation of Haitians at the Texas border and allow them to apply for asylum.
“We have to do more in supporting Haitians who are returning to the island, returning to Haiti,” Ms. Harris said. “We have got to do more to support Haiti in terms of its needs to get back up and recover, in terms of the natural disasters.”
She also noted that the Haitian government is still in disarray and in the process of rebuilding after the president was assassinated. As a neighbor, “the U.S. has to help,” she said.
A spokeswoman for the vice president, Sabrina Singh, said in a statement that Ms. Harris had no contact with the hosts before the show and that “her schedule today will continue as planned.”
A spokeswoman for “The View” did not immediately respond to a request for comment about why the co-hosts received their test results only after appearing on set.
An earlier version of this article overstated what is known about the behavior of some Border Patrol agents on horseback. While the agents waved their reins while pushing migrants back into the Rio Grande, The Times has not seen conclusive evidence that migrants were struck with the reins.
Alaska, once a leader in vaccinating its citizens, is now in the throes of its worst coronavirus surge of the pandemic, as the Delta variant rips through the state, swamping hospitals with patients.
As of Thursday, the state was averaging 125 new cases a day for every 100,000 people, more than any other in the nation, according to recent data trends collected by The New York Times. That figure has shot up by 42 percent in the last two weeks, and by more than twentyfold since early July.
On Wednesday, the state said it had activated “crisis standards of care,” giving hospitals legal protections for triage decisions that force them to give some patients substandard care. The state also announced an $87 million contract to bring in hundreds of temporary health care workers.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, said that while hospitals were strained, he did not see a need to implement restrictions aimed at curbing transmission. Still, he encouraged people who had not yet received a vaccination to seriously consider it.
“We have the tools available to us for individuals to be able to take care of themselves,” Mr. Dunleavy said. While the state led the nation in vaccinations early in the year, it has been lagging in recent months, with under half of its population fully vaccinated, compared with 55 percent nationally, according to federal data.
Jared Kosin, the head of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, called the surge “crippling” in an interview on Tuesday. He added that hospitals were full, and health care workers were emotionally depleted. Patients recently were kept waiting for care in their cars outside overwhelmed emergency rooms.
There is growing anxiety in outlying communities that depend on transferring seriously ill patients to hospitals in Anchorage, Mr. Kosin said. Transfers are getting harder to arrange and are often delayed, he said.
“We are all wondering where this goes, and whether that transfer will be available, even tomorrow,” Mr. Kosin said.
Critically ill people in rural areas, where many Alaska Natives reside, often have to be taken by plane to a hospital that can provide the treatment they need, said Dr. Philippe Amstislavski, an associate professor of public health at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
“Unlike in the lower 48, you don’t have that ability to move people quickly, because of the distances and remoteness,” said Dr. Amstislavski, who was formerly the public health manager for the Interior Region of Alaska, focusing on rural and predominantly Alaska Native communities.
Mr. Kosin said that if hospitalizations rise much further, hospitals and clinics around the state could be forced to apply crisis standards of care and more extreme triage decisions. “That is the worst-case scenario we could be heading to,” he said.
Alaska Natives, who have historically suffered from health disparities in the state, are disproportionately struggling during the latest virus wave, Dr. Amstislavski said.
Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, said several factors may be contributing to the surge, including summer tourists bringing in and spreading the virus.
“We’re hoping that as the snow falls and we have less people visiting, those numbers will settle down,” Dr. Zink said in an interview Tuesday night.
On the other hand, she noted that cooling weather drives residents indoors, where the virus spreads more readily.
The state’s Canadian neighbors to the east, Yukon and British Columbia, have not suffered such severe outbreaks, Dr. Amstislavski said, possibly because of that country’s stricter travel restrictions and less strained health care system.
SEOUL — South Korea reported its highest number of new coronavirus infections for a single day on Friday, soon after a long holiday weekend.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 2,434 new infections, surpassing the previous record of 2,221 infections set last month.
At a briefing on Friday, health officials said the spike was partly because of the Chuseok holiday, when many people traveled across the country and spent time with friends and family. The government is encouraging people to get tested following the holiday.
Chuseok is roughly equivalent to American Thanksgiving and was observed from Monday through Wednesday. The Korea Transport Institute estimated that over 32 million people would travel over the holiday.
Over the past week the nation was averaging about 1,500 new cases a day, according to statistics collected by Our World in Data. Most cases are concentrated in the capital, Seoul, and surrounding areas, but officials were concerned that the holiday would spread the virus more widely.
Testing and quarantining were the main tools South Korea used to curb the spread of the disease, and the country was able to keep outbreaks at bay in the early part of the pandemic.
South Korea’s vaccination program got off to a slow start, but the country has now vaccinated 43 percent of its population. It hopes to have 70 percent of its population inoculated by October.
“There is no problem at all with the amount of vaccines secured for this year,” President Moon Jae-in said on Friday, according to Reuters. “The vaccine shipment got off to a slower start than other countries, which delayed the vaccination program, but I believe by next month, we will catch up and be a leading country by inoculation rate.”
A few weeks ago the government relaxed several restrictions on in-person meetings. For Chuseok, family gatherings of up to eight people were permitted if at least four people were fully vaccinated.
A one-month-old baby in Turkey was mistakenly injected with Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid vaccine in July, officials, doctors and the family said this week.
The baby is in good health and has shown no adverse effects, but doctors are still monitoring it closely, health officials said.
The baby’s family brought it to their doctor’s clinic in the western province of Izmir in July for a hepatitis B shot, one of the childhood vaccinations given to all babies when they turn a month old in Turkey.
But instead the baby was given a coronavirus injection, an error that surprised health professionals around the country because the vaccination system is computer-monitored. As a security measure, every shot is matched to the name of the recipient using a bar code.
A couple of hours after the appointment, officials went to the family’s residence and alerted them to the error. They were told to take their baby to the hospital, Dilek Guzel, a lawyer representing the family, said in a statement.
The baby was monitored in the hospital for a week, Ms. Guzel said. The family has not been named publicly.
“My clients are told that it is unknown whether any permanent problem because of the vaccine would occur or not,” Ms. Guzel said, adding that the baby is still being monitored.
The incident came to light earlier this week during a television interview with Zafer Kurugol, a professor of child diseases at Ege University Hospital in Izmir, who examined the infant after the injection.
“We monitored this baby for days, just in case anything might happen,” Dr. Kurugol told NTV radio. There were no ill effects, he said, and the baby, who was given an adult dose, developed antibodies against the coronavirus.
Dr. Kurugol was being interviewed about the safety of vaccines. But his anecdote about the baby drew the ire of his colleagues, health officials and the public. Many of his colleagues considered his remarks to be disrespectful to family physicians around the country who handle the vaccination of babies as well as coronavirus vaccinations. Anti-vaccine critics also took the incident as more proof for their concerns.
Turkey has administered more than 107 million coronavirus vaccinations and has fully vaccinated 64 percent of its population, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford.
After Dr. Kurugol’s remarks, the Health Ministry said that an investigation had already been opened, as the nurse who administered the shot reported himself, and the computer-based system also flagged the error. The ministry said it would also investigate Dr. Kurugol because of his “unfortunate” remarks.
Dr. Kurugol said the case of the infant would soon be published in a respected scientific journal, with the written consent of the family.
The family also made a criminal complaint, saying they wanted to prevent any similar mistakes from happening.
“The family believes in science,” Ms. Guzel said. “They don’t want their baby’s case to be turned into an anti-vaccination campaign.”
Last year, roughly 2,000 public companies in the United States held their annual shareholders meetings virtually, according to Broadridge Financial Solutions. That was up from about 300 in 2019.
Now, a group of shareholder activists are pushing companies to keep those meetings virtual, or add a remote option, permanently. They are having some success, the DealBook newsletter reports.
This week, the S.E.C. ruled that two companies, Brinker International and Campbell Soup, had to allow a shareholder vote on whether the remote option for meetings would continue. The companies had asked the S.E.C. to allow them to exclude the proposals at their upcoming meetings. After the ruling, Brinker decided to make its meeting open to remote attendees. Campbell will hold a vote on the matter at its next meeting.
Shareholder meetings have traditionally been in-person affairs. Companies generally prefer that format because it limits attendees — and with it questions that board members might face. Shareholder advocates have long said that virtual meetings level the playing field for smaller investors who might not have the resources to travel to a meeting.
Virtual meetings “fundamentally change the scope of shareholder engagement and accessibility,” said Matthew Prescott, a shareholder advocate and senior director at the Humane Society. His group sponsored the proposals about virtual meetings at Brinker and Campbell.
Shareholders have long had the ability to vote remotely before a meeting. A study this year found that meetings held virtually did not tend to generate significantly more shareholder engagement than in-person meetings.
“These shareholder proposals will not garner any meaningful support,” said Douglas Chia, a corporate governance expert and the author of the study. “My prediction: The S.E.C. has now opened the door for proposals to do away with virtual-only annual meetings, so we’ll see a lot of those being submitted soon.”
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