Coronavirus News Update – March 2: States Expand Vaccine Eligibility, Trump Vaccinated in Secret

By Jesse Sokolow on 2 March 2021
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On Tuesday, the world surpassed the 115 million mark for coronavirus cases, another grim milestone. There have also been over 2.5 million deaths from the disease, according to Worldometer, which tracks such data.

Since vaccination rollouts began at the end of last year, the world has administered 247.8 million doses, the equivalent of 3.2 doses for every 100 people. Over 50.7 million people in the United States have received at least one dose, including 25.5 million who have received both doses. Over 19.9% of the population in the United States over the age of 18 has received at least one dose and 10% has received both doses.

Former President Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump were vaccinated at the White House in January before leaving office, according to multiple sources.  While Trump urged attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday to get inoculated, he did not disclose that he and the former first lady had received the vaccine, a move that could instill confidence in some groups that are hesitant about being inoculated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that individuals who have received two doses of coronavirus vaccine are better protected against variants of the virus than those who have had just one dose. Postponing the second dose may leave some people less protected against virus variants.

Health officials in France extended the upper age limit for use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford coronavirus vaccine to include those 65 to 75 with serious health conditions. The move was announced in a televised interview by French Health Minister Olivier Veran, who said that “anyone who is 50 years of age and over and who has medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension or a history of cancer can be vaccinated with AstraZeneca.”

In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis said that teachers and others in the state’s school systems who are at least 50 years of age would become eligible for the vaccines starting Wednesday, along with law enforcement officers and firemen.

In New York City, hotel workers who regularly come into direct contact with guests became eligible on Monday, along with those who work in regional food banks and food pantries, as well as in certain meal-delivery programs.

In Ohio, people with Type 1 diabetes, pregnant women, and law enforcement and corrections officers will become eligible for the vaccine on Thursday, Governor Mike DeWine said. Also eligible on that day will be some workers in childcare and funeral services.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsome announced a long-awaited plan to reopen schools. The plan includes $2 billion in funding to give priority vaccinations to teachers, as well as other incentives.

Finally, Rochelle Wolensky, the director for the Centers for Disease and Prevention, issued a plea to states, telling officials not to reopen too soon. Coronavirus cases in the United States have seem to have plateaued, indicating a “potential shift in the trajectory of the pandemic,” Wolensky said; however, she has urged states not to ease the restrictions that have been in place, fearing that a lapse in vigilance could lead to another spike.

Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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