Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: 17% of US adults now vaccinated

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- In the race to vaccinate, the CDC now says 17% of the U.S. adult population now received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

Vaccine makers say they're on track to deliver 600 million doses by July, and published reports say the FDA is set to allow the Pfizer vaccine to be stored in regular freezers as opposed to ultra-cold conditions.

Pfizer is ramping up production, and Moderna is now expecting to double its shipments by April.

"We are now targeting delivery of the second 100 million doses of our vaccine by the end of May, and a third 100 million doses by the end of July, a full two months ahead of schedule," Moderna President Dr. Stephen Hoge said.

Johnson & Johnson released data on its one-dose vaccine, with emergency-use approval expected as soon as Friday.

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Here are more of today's headlines:



Met Opera singer who last performed in 'Porgy and Bess' dies from COVID
The Metropolitan Opera announced another one of its members has died from the coronavirus.

Singer Antoine Hodge had an extended struggle with the virus. He had performed in the Met's blockbuster "Porgy and Bess" during the 2019-2020 season

New variant reportedly spreading in NYC
Yet another new COVID variant has been identified and this one is circulating in the NYC area, two studies have found.

It is not yet known if the variant is more contagious, deadly, or if it impacts the vaccine, but more will be learned as scientists continue to study it.

4 dogs need loving home after owners die of COVID-19
There is an urgent search to help find a new home for four dogs on Long Island after their owners died from COVID-19.

The Nassau County SPCA hopes to keep Oliver, Winston, Isabelle and Izzy all together.

Queens lawyer jumps into pet grooming business amid COVID court shutdown
A Queens criminal defense attorney has launched himself into the pet grooming business after his law practice was forced to shut down in March due to the coronavirus.

"It went from busy attorney to almost doing nothing," said Gerard Marrone, a father of three. "I had no way to make a living at all."

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine works well in big 'real world' test in Israel
A real-world test of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in more than half a million people confirms that it's very effective at preventing serious illness or death, even after one dose.

Wednesday's published results, from a mass vaccination campaign in Israel, give strong reassurance that the benefits seen in smaller, limited testing persisted when the vaccine was used much more widely in a general population with various ages and health conditions.

Fauci: NIH to study 'long-haul' COVID-19 symptoms, like brain fog, breathing problems
The National Institutes of Health is launching research to understand the causes and consequences of the lingering brain fog, breathing problems and malaise reported by many recovering COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says some studies have shown up to 30% of patients report symptoms that can endure for months, complicating their return to normal routines and work, and plunging many recovering patients into depression.

NJ long-term care facilities visitation update
Long-term care facilities in seven New Jersey counties could resume indoor visitations if they meet certain requirements, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said Wednesday. Persichilli said facilities in Hunterdon, Mercer, Somerset, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties were notified on Tuesday.

"Indoor visitation can only occur in facilities where the facility has sufficient staff, a mechanism for appointments and sufficient PPE, and cleaning and disinfection supplies to permit safe visitation," Persichilli said.

Islanders announce return date for fans
Nassau Coliseum will re-open to Islanders season ticket holders starting on March 18 vs. the Philadelphia Flyers. Attendance will be 10% capacity, and all state required protocols will be followed.


White House to distribute 25 million free face masks
President Joe Biden plans to distribute millions of face masks to Americans in communities hard-hit by the coronavirus, as part of his efforts to ensure "equity" in the government's response to the pandemic. Biden, who like Donald Trump's administration considered sending masks to all Americans, is instead adopting a more conservative approach, aiming to reach underserved communities and those bearing the brunt of the outbreak. Trump's administration shelved the plans entirely.

160 CEOs urge lawmakers to pass $1.9T COVID relief bill
More than 150 senior executives from some of the largest American companies across several major industries have lined up behind President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, according to a letter obtained by CNN. The group of executives includes the top executives representing some of the powerful business interests in the US, ranging from bank and investment firms like Goldman Sachs and Blackstone, to technology companies like Google, Intel and IBM, to hospitality companies like Loews Hotels & Co. and airlines including American and United Airlines. Top executives from real estate, insurance and utility firms also signed on to the letter.

Carnival and Disney Cruise Line extend suspensions
Carnvial and Disney Cruise Line announced Wednesday they have extended the suspensions on operations.

"Carnival Cruise Line will today be extending our pause in operations from U.S. ports through May 31, 2021," Carnival said in a statement. "We continue to work on plans to resume operations and are encouraged by the focus to expedite vaccine production and distribution which are having a demonstrated impact on improving public health.

Meanwhile, Disney Cruise Line says they are cancelling all sailings departing through May 2021.

Johnson & Johnson data moves process forward
Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine protects against COVID-19, according to an analysis by U.S. regulators Wednesday that sets the stage for a final decision on a new and easier-to-use shot to help tame the pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration's scientists confirmed that overall the vaccine is about 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19. The agency also said J&J's shot - one that could help speed vaccinations by requiring just one dose instead of two - is safe to use.

NYC FEMA vaccine sites open
New York state's largest COVID vaccination site opens this morning - and it is not located at Yankee Stadium or the Javits Center, but on the campus of Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The mega-site is a joint partnership of New York state and FEMA. It is opening Wednesday along with another NY-FEMA mega-site at York College in Jamaica, Queens. Both sites have the capacity to vaccinate 3000 people a day, with all of those shots coming directly from the federal government.

NYC middle school staff returns Wednesday, students on Thursday
NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza spoke to Eyewitness News about the return of in-person learning for middle school students. About half of the schools will reopen with five-day-a-week instruction, while the others will have a hybrid model. The chancellor said parents should feel confident that they are doing everything they can to keep the infection rate low in the schools. Some 62,000 middle schoolers have opted-in to in-person learning.

Glasses wearers less likely to get COVID, study says
Wearing glasses might give you an extra layer of protection against COVID. A new study out of India found people who wear glasses are three times less likely to get the virus. Researchers suggest that's because they're less likely to touch their eyes-- which can be a significant route of infection.

105-year-old survives COVID, offers advice to long life
A woman in Ocean County who tested positive for COVID-19 on her 105th birthday last month has recovered and now has some words of advice. Lucia DeClerck said Tuesday she's feeling wonderful. She has now lived through two World Wars and two pandemics, and at 105 years old, she is even getting the hang of Zoom.

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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