Nicole Acevedo and Carmen Sesin

9m ago / 5:12 PM UTC

Hard-hit by Covid-19, Latinos bear mental health burden 8 months into pandemic

Ana Urbina is so afraid of contracting Covid-19 that she even worries about going outside to throw out the garbage. Staying home all the time means Urbina is watching more TV than usual — including the news, which then increases her anxiety.

“I am too stressed,” said Urbina, 60, a Miami resident who’s diabetic, disabled and immunocompromised. “The state of my health is becoming more complicated, and that stresses me.”

Urbina is among the roughly 40 percent of Latinos nationwide who reported experiencing frequent symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, according to an analysis from April 23 to Nov. 9 by the National Center for Health Statistics in partnership with the Census Bureau. The rate peaked in mid-July and at the beginning of November when nearly 50 percent of Latinos reported experiencing such symptoms.

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Rebecca Shabad

29m ago / 4:52 PM UTC

Pelosi emphasizes need for Covid-19 relief package as pandemic worsens

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., emphasized Friday the need for another Covid-19 relief package as the pandemic continues to worsen and with the release of several vaccines on the horizon. 

“We are in a full blown economic and health catastrophe and it’s amazing to see the patience the GOP has for other people’s suffering,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference, criticizing Republicans for the deadlock with Democrats. 

“Let’s hope that it’s time for McConnell’s pause to end,” she added, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., saying that she hopes talks about a larger government spending bill will create the impetus for Covid-19 negotiations.  

Pelosi said Congress needs to approve funding for the vaccines that are soon going to become available. “It’s here, it’s imminent … We should be having the resources to make sure the vaccine is distributed equitably so that everyone has access to it.”

Tim Fitzsimons

56m ago / 4:25 PM UTC

Former FDA head: pandemic “will run its course” for 6-8 weeks before vaccine has impact

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottleib said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Friday morning that the coronavirus pandemic will “run its course” for six to eight weeks before any benefit from any vaccine candidate’s early approval will be seen in the public health data.

Gottleib, a member of Pfizer’s board of directors, said the pharmaceutical giant plans to file on Friday for an emergency use authorization [EUA] of its experimental vaccine. The EUA Pfizer seeks, Gottleib said, would allow distribution of the vaccine candidate prior to its full clinical approval.

He predicted that a vaccine’s EUA wouldn’t begin to draw down coronavirus rates until next year, since the Pfizer vaccine has two doses that must be given three weeks apart, and full immunity is not established until shortly after the second dose. 

If an EUA for Pfizer’s vaccine were to be issued in mid-December and the most at-risk got their first shots then, Gottleib said, they would not be immune until after their second shot in mid-January.

For the rest of the population, Gottleib said he expected that the vaccine’s emergency use authorization would be amended throughout 2021 to gradually expand eligibility, which he predicted would be available to the general population in the second or third quarter of 2021.

Kelly Cannon

1h ago / 4:17 PM UTC

Practical hurdles, cultural distrust in Native communities could hamper vaccine distribution

When Timothy Nuvangyaoma, chairman of the Hopi Tribe, heard there were two coronavirus vaccines that both showed promising data of more than 90 percent efficacy, he felt initial relief that soon transitioned to cautious skepticism.

That’s because the logistic and cultural challenges of delivering a Covid-19 vaccine with precise temperature requirements and two-dose administration to members of the Hopi Tribe are vast: Hopi often live in remote locations and only one-third of the population has reliable means of transportation, according to officials with knowledge of vaccine distribution planning. Hopi lands span more than 1.5 million acres and encompass parts of both Coconino and Navajo counties in northeastern Arizona.

There is a long-simmering cultural mistrust of vaccines and clinical trials felt by tribal communities as a result of historical trauma, making their skepticism about the safety of vaccines more pronounced.

“There’s always that reluctance as a Native American,” Nuvangyaoma said. “I have to make sure that it’s going to be able to help. And I don’t want to get people’s hopes up.”

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David K. Li

2h ago / 3:51 PM UTC

3 New York Giants football players sidelined by positive tests

Three New York Giants tested have positive for Covid-19, the NFL team announced on Friday.

The Giants did not immediately identify the players, but the team said they were “immediately notified to self-isolate, and the contact tracing process is underway.”

The team does not have a game this weekend and will be back in action a week from Sunday, traveling to play the Cincinnati Bengals.

A drastic six-day lockdown in South Australia was triggered by an individual who lied to contact tracers, according to South Australia State Premier Steven Marshall.

“To say that I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement,” Marshall said.

He went on to say that they are still trying to locate thousands of people who may have had contact at the Woodville Pizza Bar in Adelaide.

Florida Sen. Rick Scott tests positive for Covid

Wear a mask. Socially distance. Quarantine if you come in contact with someone positive like I did. We will beat this together, but we all must be responsible. I want to thank all the incredible health care workers who are working around the clock to care for patients.

— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) November 20, 2020

Amanda Golden

3h ago / 2:19 PM UTC

Stanford faculty pass resolution condemning Scott Atlas

Stanford faculty passed a resolution Thursday night condemning Dr. Scott Atlas, President Donald Trump’s top medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic.

The resolution, introduced by members of the Faculty Senate Steering Committee and approved by 85 percent of the senate membership, specified six actions that Atlas has taken that “promote a view of Covid-19 that contradicts medical science.”

“Atlas’s disdain for established medical knowledge violates medical ethics,” they write. “His pronouncements are damaging Stanford’s reputation and academic standing.”

Atlas posted on Twitter on Sunday that Michigan residents should “rise up” after the governor issued new restrictions. He earlier tweeted false information about wearing masks.

Tim Fitzsimons and Courtney Kube

2h ago / 3:35 PM UTC

After contacts get Covid, acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller won’t isolate

Two people tested positive for coronavirus after having close contact with acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, who will not go into self-isolation as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a Pentagon spokesperson.

Anthony Tata, the undersecretary of defense for policy, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday and twice since, chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

Tata was tested because the Lithuanian Embassy informed the Pentagon that its defense minister, Raimundas Karoblis, had tested positive for Covid-19.

Karoblis visited the Pentagon over several days in the last week, where he met with Miller, Tata and Navy  Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite.

Miller and the others won’t isolate themselves, the Pentagon spokesperson said:

“As CDC COVID mitigation guidelines were followed during the Acting Secretary’s bilateral meeting with the minister, as well as meetings with Mr. Tata, Acting Secretary of Defense Miller is not quarantining,” the Pentagon said.

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