Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: Remdesivir shortens COVID infection in patients, study shows

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- A new study confirms that the anti-viral drug Remdesivir shortens the length of illness for people infected with COVID-19.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed the drug to be effective in patients from all demographics.

That includes non-white patients, who have a higher risk of severe disease.

It is important to note that the findings do not mean Remdesivir is a cure, but the study does show the drug can go a long way toward making the virus less severe in patients.

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Here are more of today's headlines:



Rutgers football canceling all in-person team activities
Rutgers football is canceling all in-person team activities, according to a statement from the Rutgers Athletic Department. The statement says, "Since returning to campus from Spring Break, Rutgers Football has experienced a spike in positive tests for COVID-19. With the health and safety of our players and staff in mind, the decision has been made to pause all in-person team activities." They say they are working with their medical experts, and state and local officials to determine next the steps.

NY unveils digital 'Excelsior' pass to help businesses, venues reopen
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced the launch of Excelsior Pass, a free and voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM that utilizes secure technology to confirm an individual's recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination. The goal is to help fast track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with state Department of Health guidelines.

Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app. Each Pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination.

IRS says PPE is tax deductible
There's some new and important information for when you file your taxes this year. PPE like face masks and hand sanitizer are now tax deductible medical expenses. The IRS made the announcement on Friday, saying COVID face masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE such as disinfectant wipes will be deductible medical expenses when Americans file their taxes this year. They say Americans can deduct those PPE purchases as long as they're for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of COVID and for use by themselves, their spouse, or any dependents not covered by insurance, provided that total medical expenses exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income.

NY partners with SOMOS
New York is partnering with SOMOS Community Care with the goal of distributing one million vaccines in New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday. SOMOS is a network of nearly 2,500 providers throughout the five boroughs.

Indoor amusement parks, entertainment centers in NY reopen Friday
Indoor amusement parks across New York are opening their doors just in time for spring and summer as the state continues to ease coronavirus restrictions. As of Friday, indoor family entertainment centers and recreational parks are allowed to reopen at 25% capacity. Face coverings, social distancing, temperature checks, frequent cleaning and other safety measures will be enforced.

25,000 opt back in to NYC in-person learning
Almost 25,000 students have opted back into New York City public schools in the past two days, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday. That number was as of 5 p.m. Thursday, after two days of the opt-in window reopening. It runs through April 7.

"After just two days of the opt-in process, that's, to me, a real interesting sign of the energy of parents to come back to our schools," he said. "It represents two days of a 14-day window. I don't want to conjecture. I can't tell you what the timeline will be. I can tell you 25,000 kids in two days means something."

NJ expanding vaccine eligibility
New Jersey will expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility beginning April 5 to people ages 55 and older, as well as to people 16 and older if they have intellectual or developmental disabilities. The expansion to millions of residents and those who work in New Jersey means millions more people will be able to get the vaccine. It comes just as the state expects to see what Murphy has called a quantum leap in the number of vaccines it receives from the federal government. The newly eligible also include higher education educators and staffers, along with communication support workers, including engineers and members of the media.

Pop-up vaccination site opens in Chinatown
A pop-up COVID vaccination site opened in Manhattan's Chinatown neighborhood on Friday. Somos Community Care plans to administer shots to 700 people at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. It is the neighborhood's first pop-up vaccine facility and will operate through Saturday.

CT expands vaccine eligibility to residents 16+
Connecticut residents 16-years-old and older will be eligible to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 1, Governor Lamont announced. The governor had previously announced that age group would be tentatively eligible to sign up on April 5.

When did you realize the COVID pandemic changed everything?
Many of us had a moment, most often occurring in March 2020, when we realized that COVID-19 had completely changed our lives forever. Even though we've managed to move forward and adapt to a new normal, that memory still sticks with us. Tell us: What was that moment to you?

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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