Tuesday ReadsPosted: April 13, 2021
I’ve been stuck inside for the past few weeks with chronic pain difficulties. Yesterday, I got out for the first time in quite awhile, and I was happy to see that Spring has finally arrived in the Boston area. Forsythia is blooming along with cherry blossoms, and light green leaves are beginning to form on some trees. It gave me a good feeling, even though we still have some tough times ahead as a country. Still, we are rid of Trump and we finally have a president who is working hard to deal with the pandemic that has taken nearly 563 million deaths in the U.S. and 136.7 million worldwide.
Here’s the latest pandemic news and it’s not good:
The New York Times: U.S. Calls for Pause on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine After Rare Clotting Cases.
Federal health agencies on Tuesday called for an immediate pause in use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine after six recipients in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination.
All six recipients were women between the ages of 18 and 48. One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska has been hospitalized in critical condition.
Nearly seven million people in the United States have received Johnson & Johnson shots so far, and roughly nine million more doses have been shipped out to the states, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the C.D.C., said in a joint statement. “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.”
While the move was framed as a recommendation to health practitioners in the states, the federal government is expected to pause administration of the vaccine at all federally run vaccination sites. Federal officials expect that state health officials will take that as a strong signal to do the same. Within two hours of the announcement, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, advised all health providers in his state to temporarily stop giving Johnson & Johnson shots. New York State and Connecticut quickly followed suit.
All the things that could prolong the COVID-19 pandemic — that could make this virus a part of our lives longer than anyone wants — are playing out right in front of our eyes.
The big picture: Right now, the U.S. is still making fantastic progress on vaccinations. But as variants of the virus cause new outbreaks and infect more children, the U.S. is also getting a preview of what the future could hold if our vaccination push loses steam — as experts fear it soon might.
Driving the news: The British variant is driving another surge in cases in Michigan, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has resisted reimposing any of the lockdown measures she embraced earlier in the pandemic.
- Variants are beginning to infect more kids, even as schools are on the fast track back to reopening, making the pandemic “a brand new ball game,” as University of Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm recently put it.
- New research confirms that our existing vaccines don’t work as well against the South African variant.
Between the lines: This is a preview of the longer, darker coronavirus future the U.S. may face without sufficient vaccinations — one that many experts see as pretty likely.
Although the pace of vaccinations is still strong, there’s a growing fear that it’s about to slow down. In some parts of the country, particularly the South, demand for shots has already slowed down enough to create a surplus of available doses.
Read more at Axios.
The trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd continues in Minneapolis, but that didn’t stop another Minnesota police officer from killing another black man. Here’s the latest on the shooting of Daunte Wright and the protests that have followed.
The chain of events that ended with yet another fatal police shooting of a Black man in Minnesota began in what has become a typical tragedy — with a traffic stop for a minor infraction.
The man, Daunte Wright, 20, who died Sunday after a run-in with police in a suburb of Minneapolis, was driving an SUV with expired license plates, and he also ran afoul of a Minnesota law that prohibits motorists from hanging air fresheners and other items from their rearview mirrors.
“He was pulled over for having an expired registration on the vehicle,” Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Monday. “When the officer went over, an item hanging from the rearview mirror was spotted.”
It was after that, Gannon said, that the officers discovered that a “gross misdemeanor warrant” for Wright’s arrest had been issued.
Minutes later, a gunshot rang out, and Wright joined the ranks of other Black motorists who have died after having been pulled over by police, a group that includes Philando Castile, 32, who was fatally shot in 2016 by a Minneapolis police officer after he was stopped for a broken taillight. His final moments were recorded in a powerful video.
Gannon said Monday that he believes the officer meant to pull a Taser in Sunday’s shooting but instead pulled her service weapon.
Demonstrators clashed with law enforcement officers in Brooklyn Center for the second night in a row Monday following the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Black man by a police officer.
Protesters had been on hand throughout the day outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, but the scene escalated after the start of a 7 p.m. curfew across four Twin Cities metro counties instituted by Gov. Tim Walz.
About 300 people attended a separate, peaceful vigil for Daunte Wright earlier in the evening at the site of the traffic stop that ended with his shooting.
“Right now, this community, this city, this state, our nation, our country, our world is broken,” said the Rev. Jeanette Rupert, who also works as an ICU nurse and said she came to speak at the vigil before her night shift. “We have had the knees on our neck for so long.”
Coming amid the high-profile criminal trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in George Floyd’s death, Wright’s fatal shooting in the suburb directly north of Minneapolis also ignited a clash late Sunday between demonstrators and law enforcement officers.
By shortly before 8 p.m. Monday, police began to warn demonstrators, who still numbered in the hundreds, that they were in violation of curfew. Officers began to move toward the fence in formation and issued orders to disperse.
Authorities fired multiple rounds of tear gas, along with rubber bullets and flash grenades. Protesters dispersed from areas hit by tear gas were regrouping and retaliating by throwing water bottles and launching fireworks. Later, lines of police in riot gear pushed groups of protesters away from the station. At a strip mall near the police station, looters broke into several businesses, including a Dollar Tree store where flames were later spotted.
At a 12:30 a.m. Tuesday news conference, Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer said that 40 people were arrested Monday night at the Brooklyn Center protest. Some were booked into the Hennepin County jail, some cited and released, he said. Several law enforcement officers suffered minor injuries from thrown debris; no protester injuries were reported, he said.
Brooklyn Center leaders were poised to fire the city’s police chief Monday evening, following the police shooting of a 20-year-old Black man Sunday afternoon that touched off a night of unrest in the city.
At an emergency afternoon meeting, the City Council voted to give authority over the police department to the mayor’s office and to fire City Manager Curt Boganey, who’d been with the city since 2005, Council Member Dan Ryan said during a virtual council workshop….
Wright’s death triggered confrontations with police and looting in the city of about 31,000, where most residents are people of color. Mayor Mike Elliott, who took office in 2019, is the first person of color to serve as mayor.
“We recognize that this couldn’t have happened during a worse time,” Elliott said at a news conference Monday. “We are all collectively devastated and we have been for over a year now by the killing of George Floyd.”
At a virtual council workshop, Council Member Kris Lawrence-Anderson said she voted to remove the city manager because she feared for her property and retaliation by protestors if she had voted to keep him.
“He was doing a great job. I respect him dearly,” she said. “I didn’t want repercussions at a personal level.”
In remarks Monday afternoon, President Joe Biden called Wright’s death “tragic” and urged “peace and calm.”
“There is absolutely no justification, none, for looting,” Biden said. “No justification for violence.”