Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: Vaccination drive gains speed

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The drive to vaccinate Americans against the coronavirus is gaining speed, and newly recorded cases have fallen to their lowest level in three months -- but authorities worry that raucous Super Bowl celebrations could fuel new outbreaks.

More than 4 million more vaccinations were reported over the weekend, a significantly faster clip than in previous days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly one in 10 Americans have now received at least one shot, but just 2.9% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, a long way from the 70% or more that experts say must be inoculated to conquer the outbreak.

Newly confirmed infections have declined to an average of 117,000 a day, the lowest point since early November. That is a steep drop from the peak of nearly 250,000 a day in early January.

The number of Americans in the hospital with COVID-19 has also fallen sharply to about 81,000, down from more than 130,000 last month.

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Here are more of today's headlines:



Rockland vaccination clinic rescheduled
The Rockland County Department of Health announced that the COVID-19 2nd dose vaccination clinic scheduled for Tuesday, February 9, 2021, from 1 PM - 5 PM has been rescheduled for Wednesday, February 10, 2021, from 1 PM - 5 PM due to the weather.

Anyone who has a 2nd dose appointment for Tuesday will receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday at the same time as the original appointment. No new appointment will be scheduled -- come at the same time as the appointment scheduled for Tuesday.

65 and older can begin making vaccine appointments Thursday in CT
Roughly 350,000 Connecticut residents age 65 and older can officially begin signing up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments on Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Monday.

News that a new cohort of people will soon be eligible for the shot comes as the state reports 56% percent of residents age 75 and older already vaccinated.

NJ reaches 1M COVID-19 vaccinations administered
New Jersey surpassed more 1 million COVID-19 vaccinations on Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Murphy, a Democrat, said the 1,037,657 doses include both the first and second of two shots. While it marks a milestone, he said, the state is short of the number of vaccines it would need to meet demand.

Pete Buttigieg in quarantine
A member of Secretary Pete Buttigieg's security detail tested positive for COVID-19. The agent had been in close contact, as defined by the CDC, with Secretary Buttigieg, including Monday morning prior to the agent's positive result.

In addition to the agent, Secretary Buttigieg underwent routine PCR testing for COVID-19 and coronavirus was not detected, nor has the secretary showed any symptoms.

Inside Broadway brings live theater to kids at Manhattan school
While Broadway theaters remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, a non-profit group continues to bring the magic of live theater to New York City's public schools. Inside Broadway has been doing it since 1982, and their latest initiative is a six-week course for kids ages 10 and 11.

65 and up vaccinations start Thursday in CT
Governor Ned Lamont announced that Connecticut residents over the age of 65 will be eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting on Thursday, as the state rolls into the next part of phase 1b of its vaccination program. Vaccinations for individuals over the age of 75 and those within phase 1a will continue. With approximately 350,000 individuals in Connecticut between the ages of 65 and 74, and a slightly increased but relatively small weekly supply of the vaccine being received in the state from the federal government, Governor Lamont and state public health officials are stressing the need for patience on the part of Connecticut residents. Currently, the state anticipates receiving about 60,000 first doses of the vaccine per week from the federal government.

"In a perfect world, we would receive enough doses of the vaccine to make it available to everyone in Connecticut right now, however each state is being given a very limited supply, which is why we need to phase it in and give priority to the most vulnerable populations," Governor Lamont said. "I know that people are anxious to receive it, and I will continue advocating for our state to receive increased allocations in the coming weeks and months."

Facebook taking steps to crack down on COVID-19 vaccine misinformation
After years of struggling to crack down on vaccine misinformation, Facebook is once again revising its policies to get tougher.

On Monday, the company announced several ways it plans to better combat vaccine misinformation, including making it harder to find accounts through searches on Facebook-owned Instagram that discourage people from getting vaccinated.

Delta Air Lines extends middle seat blocking through April 2021
Delta Air Lines announced Monday morning it's continuing its commitment to provide more space on board by blocking middle seats and limiting capacity on all flights departing through April 30.

This comes after the airline received some suggestions from customers saying they preferred more space on flights amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now the only U.S. airline to block middle seats.

Tampa mayor addresses maskless fans after Super Bowl
So much for the mayor's order requiring masks at Super Bowl parties. Videos went viral on social media, showing throngs of mostly maskless fans and packed sports bars as the clock inside Raymond James Stadium ticked down on a hometown Super Bowl win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"It is a little frustrating because we have worked so hard," Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said during an early Monday morning news conference with the Super Bowl Host Committee. "At this point in dealing with COVID-19, there is a level of frustration when you see that."

Some 200,000 masks were handed out ahead of the game, and "a majority" of people and businesses followed the rules, she said.

Disney California Adventure Park to debut ticketed food and entertainment event
A "limited-time ticketed experience" will debut at Disney California Adventure in mid-March, focused on food and beverage offerings and carefully crafted entertainment as nearly 1,000 park workers return to work.

Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock announced the event in a letter to employees commemorating the 20th anniversary of California Adventure.

Democrats propose $3k child credit
The House Ways and Means Committee on Monday is expected to lay out a proposal to send $3,600 per child to millions of American families, as House Democrats work to assemble the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package proposed by President Biden. The 22-page proposal, first obtained by the Washington Post and confirmed by ABC News, would send $3,600 per child under 6 years old to American families, and $3,000 per child between the ages of 6 and 17. The benefit would decrease for Americans making more than $75,000 annually, or couples earning more than $150,000 a year. The program would be administered by the Internal Revenue Service. The payments, which would start going out in July, would follow through on the Biden administration's call to expand the Child Tax Credit.

Rep. Ron Wright of Texas dies following COVID-19 diagnosis
Republican Rep. Ron Wright of Texas has died, his congressional office announced in a statement Monday, saying that he had been admitted to the hospital after contracting COVID-19. Wright is the first sitting member of Congress to die after contracting COVID-19. In December, Congressman-elect Luke Letlow died after being diagnosed with the disease.

Schumer, AOC announce FEMA to help pay for COVID-related funerals, burials
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced Monday that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) will help pay for COVID-related funeral and burial costs incurred by low-income families. The money will be available by application only to New York families in need. Families can be reimbursed for funeral and burial costs up to $7,000.

Cuomo tries to revive the arts with NY PopsUp, free performances
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced NY PopsUp, a series of pop up performances to bring the arts back. It will include 100 days of 300 free pop-up performances across the state.

"They are free, not designed to be pre-scheduled and draw a crowd, because we actually don't want the crowd," Cuomo said.

However, everyone will get a chance to see the performances as the events will then be shown online.

Paterson giving on-site COVID-19 vaccines at public housing senior residences
Residents at Paterson Housing Authority Senior complexes began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations on site Monday. Mayor Andre Sayegh visited the Gordon Canfield Plaza Senior Residence to make the announcement, in partnership with CVS Pharmacy-Omnicare, saying the safety and wellbeing of the city's senior residents is a priority. As they are among the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, he said, administering the vaccine is urgent.

NJ school, fire, municipal elections update
New Jersey school and fire districts elections on April 20 and municipal elections on May 11 will be in-person, Gov. Phil Murphy announced.

"We will ensure that all in-person polling places adhere to proper health and safety protocols," he said. "As always, voters will have the ability to request a vote by mail ballot.

NY vaccine appointments for those with comorbidities
The New York State Department of Health announced that people with comorbidities can begin making appointments at state mass vaccination sites on Feb. 14 for appointments beginning Feb 15. Local health departments will determine how, where and when to schedule appointments in their jurisdictions beginning Feb 15.

NYC indoor dining to resume on Friday
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that indoor dining will resume in New York City earlier than expected. Indoor dining at 25% capacity will begin this Friday. It had been scheduled to begin on Valentine's Day, but this gives restaurants a few extra days to get ready and hopefully benefit from a holiday weekend boost in business.

NYPD announces 50th COVID death
The NYPD announced its 50th coronavirus-related death Monday. Auxiliary Lt. Frederick King died of COVID-19 after 45 years of service to the department.


Citi Field Set to Open for Vaccines
Citi Field is set to open for vaccinations starting on Wednesday, February 10. Half of the doses there are reserved for Queens residents and the other half is for drivers with TLC licenses and food delivery workers. The site will be open 24 hours a day from Wednesday to Saturday. CLICK HERE for signup information or call 877-VAX4NYC.

Fleet Week cancels in-person events
The Navy announced Monday the cancelation of in-person events associated with Fleet Week New York 2021 due to ongoing concerns with COVID-19. For the second year, the Navy will host Fleet Week New York in a virtual environment on social media May 26-31.

New York City to reopen public middle schools
New York City will reopen public middle schools later this month for the first time since November. Teachers will report the week of February 22, with students returning to class February 25. Those teachers and staff who return to school buildings will be prioritized for vaccinations over winter break.

Vaccine centers reopen after snow
The 15 vaccination sites closed on Sunday due to the snow storm are back open for Monday.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State has surpassed 2.1 million initial vaccinations, and they are just shy of having administered 1.9 million first doses.

President Biden wants to use NFL stadiums for COVID-19 vaccine distribution
President Joe Biden says his administration intends to take up the NFL on its offer to use all of the league's stadiums as COVID-19 vaccination sites. Biden mentioned the offer that came from Commissioner Roger Goodell in a letter this past week during an interview on CBS' Super Bowl pregame show.

Top 7 COVID vaccine questions answered
You had questions about COVID-19 vaccines and 7 On Your Side is getting you answers from doctors on the front line of the pandemic.

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