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Wicked Blue

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Maryland
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Aug 11, 2020, 09:58 PM
Number of posts: 4,594

Journal Archives

Vaccine reserve was exhausted when Trump administration vowed to release it, dashing hopes of expand

Washington Post
By Isaac Stanley-Becker and Lena H. Sun

When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses that had been held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available, starting at the end of December, taking second doses for the two-dose regimen directly off the manufacturing line.

Now, health officials across the country who had anticipated their extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality that their allocations will remain largely flat, dashing hopes of dramatically expanding access for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions. Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others were still in the dark Friday.

Because both of the vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States are two-dose regimens, the Trump administration’s initial policy was to hold back second doses to protect against manufacturing disruptions. But that approach shifted in recent weeks, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.


Those in line for their second shots are still expected to get them on schedule because second doses are prioritized over first shots and states are still receiving regular vaccine shipments. But state and local officials say they are angry and bewildered by the shifting directions and changing explanations about supply. Their anxiety was deepened by projections that a highly contagious virus variant would spread rapidly throughout the United States and as daily covid-19 deaths averaged 3,320 this week.


No stockpile? Governors hit Washington as vaccine chokepoints pile up

NBC News
By David Ingram

If you ask New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy why Covid-19 vaccinations are happening so slowly, he’ll say the answer is simple.

“The constraint is 100 percent right now supply from the feds,” Murphy, a Democrat, told a local TV station Thursday.

Ask the feds, and they’ll say they’ve distributed far more doses than the states have used, leaving vaccines on the shelf.

“Some states’ heavy-handed micromanagement of this process has stood in the way of vaccines reaching a broader swath of the vulnerable population more quickly,” Alex Azar, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, said at a Tuesday briefing, without singling out particular states.


One month into a vaccine rollout that has fallen short of everyone’s expectations, the blame-shifting over who’s at fault for the bottlenecks is multiplying and threatening to disrupt vaccinations even further. And that is frustrating public health experts who say that the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccination team seems to be sleep-walking through its final days.


I have an awful feeling that the media is downplaying this to avoid mass panic - WB

Governors Furious That Promised Federal Vaccine 'Reserves' Are Already Gone

By Mary Papenfuss

Governors were livid Friday to learn that reserves of COVID-19 vaccinations promised by the federal government don’t actually exist.

The vaccine reserves had already been depleted when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced earlier this week that they would be released to states, according to both state and federal officials, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Azar said Tuesday that the Trump administration was planning to release a significant reserve of doses that it had been holding back for the booster shots. “We are releasing the entire supply we have for order by states, rather than holding second doses in physical reserve,” he promised.

But governors have since learned that there is no reserve. The vaccines supposedly held back had already been shipped out beginning in late December. The crushing news comes as death rates continue to climb just as the U.S. is encouraging states to expand vaccination eligibility to anyone older than 65 and others at high risk.


Mary Trump: My Uncle 'Enjoyed Every Second' Of Capitol Riot

Lee Moran

There is “no question” in Mary Trump’s mind that her uncle President Donald Trump wanted his mob of supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol last week.

“One, he enjoyed every second of it,” Mary Trump told Sirius XM Radio host Dean Obeidallah on Friday. “He is a physical coward but he’s perfectly happy when other people commit violence on his behalf.”

“Secondly, again, he really thought that that was a way to change the results of the legitimate election,” added Mary Trump, a psychologist who last year penned a damning memoir about the president and has been one of his harshest critics ever since.

Mary Trump’s take on her uncle’s state of mind during the violence that left five people dead squares with that of Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) who has cited White House aides describing Trump as “delighted” when the Capitol was overrun.


Trump to flee DC early Wednesday before Biden inauguration

Agence France-Presse via Raw Story

By the time Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th US president Wednesday, his scandal-tainted predecessor Donald Trump will already be far away, having helicoptered out of the White House a last time earlier that morning, an official said Friday.

Trump will be the first president in a century and a half to snub the inauguration of his successor.

An official who asked not to be identified said Trump would go to his Mar-a-Lago golf club in Florida, which is his legal residence and will become home after the White House.

He is expected to be out of town well before Biden is sworn in on the steps of the Capitol building at exactly noon.


Facebook imposes additional special restrictions ahead of inauguration

Brian Fung

Facebook will prevent repeat violators of its policies from being able to stream live videos or create new events, groups or pages on its platform through Inauguration Day, the company said Friday evening.

In addition, Facebook is banning the creation of new event pages tied geographically to Washington, DC, and state capitols, the company announced in a blog post.

The move is intended to "further prevent people from trying to use our services to incite violence," Facebook said in an update to a blog post.

Facebook is currently reviewing existing Facebook events and removing those linked to the inauguration that violate company policies, it added.


No plans to test most National Guard members for Covid-19 before they deploy across DC

Keri Enriquez and Zachary Cohen

The overwhelming majority of 20,000 National Guard members expected in Washington for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration will not be tested for coronavirus before they are deployed from states around the country or upon their arrival in the nation’s capital, a National Guard spokesperson tells CNN.

Testing for National Guard members sent to DC is “case dependent” but not widely required, the spokesperson said, noting there are some screening procedures, such as temperature checks, in place.

“Incoming Guard men and women are screened upon departure from their individual states and upon arrival to the DC Armory according to CDC guidelines. Temperature checks and screening questions are in place; masks and social distancing are required where the mission allows,” the DC National Guard said in a statement to CNN Friday.


Stay safe!

Congressional Republicans balk at Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion relief plan, complicating push for quick

Washington Post
By Jeff Stein and Erica Werner

A growing number of congressional Republicans are expressing opposition to President-elect Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief proposal, complicating the incoming administration’s push to quickly inject additional aid into the U.S. economy.

Congressional Republican lawmakers and aides on Friday predicted widespread GOP opposition to the plan Biden unveiled the day before, particularly over its provisions to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and provide $350 billion in state and local aid.

Democrats will have a narrow Senate majority and could pass a relief package without any Republican votes. But doing so would require a parliamentary Senate procedure that could take weeks and may require Biden to jettison key parts of his proposal, such as the increase in the minimum wage. Approving a relief package solely with Democratic votes would also fly against Biden’s repeated campaign pledges to unify lawmakers and cut bipartisan deals across party lines.

Biden officials this week made early overtures to the centrist congressional Republicans in the bipartisan group that broke the logjam over stimulus spending in December, according to three people granted anonymity to share details of private conversations. That group included Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine.), among others. Major concessions to this group could also spur a backlash among liberal Senators.


Not surprised

Coronavirus: EU anger over reduced Pfizer vaccine deliveries


Several EU countries are receiving significantly fewer doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine than expected, after the US firm slowed shipments.

Six nations called the situation "unacceptable" and warned it "decreases the credibility of the vaccination process".

Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia urged the EU to apply pressure on Pfizer-BioNTech.

Pfizer said the reduced deliveries are a temporary issue.


I'm starting to suspect that we're running out of the vaccine everyplace. What the hell is going on?

Debt collectors, payday lenders collected over $500 million in federal pandemic relief

Washington Post
By Peter Whoriskey, Joel Jacobs and Aaron Gregg

A Texas firm that describes itself as one of the nation’s largest medical bill collectors was racking up consumer complaints last year.

“For months this company has been reporting inaccurate, unverifiable, erroneous things on my credit report and I am sick of it!!!” states one consumer’s report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in January 2020.


The firm, Capio Asset Servicing, came under investigation last year as part of Operation Corrupt Collector, an enforcement sweep of the debt-collection industry by federal and state officials. In a September lawsuit, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) alleged that the company was seeking to collect debts that were not owed and “causing emotional and physical stress when they threaten and intimidate consumers.”

Yet the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program last year also gave the company a helping hand: It provided $2.4 million in forgivable loans to Capio and an affiliated firm, the Law Office of Mitchell D. Bluhm and Associates, which works with Capio, investigators said.

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