At least 20 states are reporting new cases of the more-contagious COVID variant first found overseas, but in Los Angeles more than one-third of COVID patients are believed to be carrying a newly-discovered California variant.
Doctors say the mutation is likely to blame for the recent explosion in cases.
Funeral homes in LA County are so overwhelmed that cemeteries can’t keep up.
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Here are more of today’s headlines:
New York COVID vaccine struggle
Pfizer denied New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s request to buy shots directly from the drugmaker, saying they need federal permission first.
“It would be a first. Look my job as governor of New York is to pursue every avenue and that’s what I’m doing,” Cuomo said. “If Pfizer would agree to sell, then we would have that conversation, but first they have to agree to sell.”
Cuomo blasted the Trump administration for pushing states to increase eligibility while promising additional doses to cover demand, but those doses never arrived.
The state is receiving a quarter-million vaccines per week, with more than 7 million New Yorkers now eligible. It could take 7 months to get them vaccinated before anyone else is eligible.
MTA will postpone planned fare increase
MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said the transit agency will postpone the planned fare increase for several months. He released a statement that said in part:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked economic havoc — devastating the MTA’s ridership and revenues and bringing them to levels far worse than the Great Depression. It has also hit people of color and low income communities hardest, many of whom are the very same essential workers that have been on the frontlines of this crisis and who are also most dependent on mass transit. As part of our biennial review of fare and toll policy, the MTA conducted the unprecedented level of outreach this year required, holding eight public hearings and receiving 2,100 public comments. What we heard at these hearings was that people are suffering and cannot shoulder even a modest fare increase right now.”
Biden won’t end pandemic travel restrictions
President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming White House press secretary says his administration does not intend to lift coronavirus travel restrictions for Europe, the U.K., Ireland and Brazil.
The message from Jen Psaki came Monday evening after the White House said President Donald Trump had lifted the restrictions for those countries, effective Jan. 26. Psaki then tweeted: “On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26.”
She added, “In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
Trump imposed the travel restrictions early in the pandemic to slow the spread of the coronavirus to the U.S. They prevented most people without American citizenship or residency from traveling to the U.S. from the affected regions.
California becomes first state to top 3 million virus cases
California on Monday became the first state to record more than 3 million known coronavirus infections.
The grim milestone, as tallied by Johns Hopkins University, wasn’t entirely unexpected in a state with 40 million residents but its speed stunning. The state only reached 2 million reported cases on Dec. 24.
The first coronavirus case in California was confirmed last Jan. 25. It took 292 days to get to 1 million infections on Nov. 11 and 44 days to top 2 million. California’s caseload is also far ahead of other large states. Texas had more than 2 million and Florida topped 1.5 million.
Newark soup kitchen’s mission to feed hungry as important as ever
One of the most inspiring movements to emerge from the deadly and recession-sparking pandemic is the campaign to feed people who are hungry.
Food insecurity is an issue in the Tri-State area and some groups have made it their mission to help feed those in need, especially now, including a soup kitchen in Newark.
Actor Steve Martin gets 1st dose of COVID vaccine
Actor Steve Martin is the latest celebrity to get the coronavirus vaccine. Martin took to Twitter Sunday to announce he got his vaccination, and did so with a comedic take on his first dose.
Nearly 1,200 senior NYCHA residents get 1st dose of vaccine
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that following Friday’s two-day deployment of State Community Vaccination Kits to five NYCHA housing complexes, nearly 1,200 senior NYCHA residents have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
These sites will be re-established in three weeks to administer second doses.
Coronavirus deaths rising in 30 US states amid winter surge
Coronavirus deaths are rising in nearly two-thirds of American states as a winter surge pushes the overall toll toward 400,000 amid warnings that a new, highly contagious variant is taking hold.
As Americans observed a national holiday Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pleaded with federal authorities to curtail travel from countries where new variants are spreading.
Referring to new versions detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil, Cuomo said: “Stop those people from coming here…. Why are you allowing people to fly into this country and then it’s too late?”
Teen sentenced to prison in Cayman Islands after breaking quarantine rules is back in US
The 18-year-old sentenced to two months behind bars in the Cayman Islands for breaking quarantine rules is out of prison and back on American soil.
Skylar Mack traveled to the Caribbean island Nov. 27 and, per island rules, was required to quarantine for 14 days. But after two days in isolation and a negative COVID-19 test, Mack removed her wrist monitor, breaching quarantine to watch her boyfriend — a professional jet skier — compete in a race.
Man caught living in airport for months afraid to fly home due to COVID-19
A man was allegedly living inside Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for three months before he was caught on Saturday.
Prosecutors said Aditya Singh, 36, was too afraid to fly back to Los Angeles due to COVID-19. Cook County prosecutors said Singh was found with an airport worker’s misplaced credentials and survived inside a secure area of the airport.
Disneyland Paris postpones reopening
Due to the prevailing conditions in Europe, Disneyland Paris announced it will not reopen on Feb. 13 as initially planned.
If conditions permit, Disneyland Paris will reopen on April 2, 2021 and will welcome reservations from that date forward.
New mass vaccinations sites in NY
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new mass COVID vaccination sites in New York state that will open this week: SUNY Stony Brook, Aqueduct Racetrack, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Buffalo, Rochester Dome Arena, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, SUNY Potsdam and Plattsburgh International Airport.
Residents, staff at long-term care facilities begin getting 2nd dose of vaccine
Residents and workers at the first long-term care facility in New Jersey to get the COVID-19 vaccination began receiving their second doses Monday. Governor Phil Murphy and Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli were on hand at the Roosevelt Care Center in Old Bridge for the event, as the state continues to mourn more than 7,200 long-term care residents who have died from the novel coronavirus. Three weeks ago, 103-year-old Newark native Mildred Clements became the first long-term care resident in the state to be vaccinated.
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