Latest: Japan targets full vaccination by fall | Your money
TOKYO – Taro Kono, the Japanese minister in charge of vaccine deployment, on Sunday promised rapid administration of boosters for the coronavirus, as the country aims to fully vaccinate its population by October or November.
He said booster shots from Pfizer and Moderna would arrive early next year, in time for medical workers and the elderly, who have been prioritized and have mostly received their second shots by July.
“Japan is aiming for an 80% vaccination rate,” Kono said on a nationwide Fuji TV broadcast.
A digital proof of vaccination system will be available later this year, he added.
Japan lags behind developed countries in immunization, with its vaccination rate now fully immunized at around 43%. Hospitals are overwhelmed and more than 118,000 people infected with the coronavirus are waiting at home, according to the Ministry of Health. Japan has recorded around 15,800 COVID-related deaths.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
– Virus-related deaths in Russia hit record 50,000 in July
– Contact tracing takes a back seat in latest wave of COVID-19
– UK prepares to vaccinate 12-15 year olds before school starts
– What impact could the Sturgis gathering have on the number of virus cases?
– Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS:
BEND, Oregon – The Oregon Emergency Management Department says the state’s death toll from COVID-19 is rising so rapidly that two counties have requested refrigerated trucks to contain the bodies.
Department spokeswoman Bobbi Doan said on Saturday that Tillamook County, on the northwest coast of Oregon, and Josephine County, in the southwest, had requested the trucks.
Tillamook County Emergency Director Gordon McCraw wrote in his request to the state that the county’s only funeral home “is now consistently at or exceeding capacity” by nine bodies. He added that the virus cases among the staff made them unable to transport bodies to other counties.
The refrigerated truck arrived in the county on Friday on loan from Klamath County, Doan said in a telephone interview.
The Tillamook County Council of Commissioners says there were six deaths from COVID-19 in the county from August 18 to 23, surpassing the five total COVID-19 deaths that occurred in the first 18 months of the pandemic.
TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – A Michigan reporter says he was punched in the face while covering an anti-mask event.
The Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. Record-Eagle reporter Brendan Quealy traveled to Silver Lake Recreation Area on Thursday to check on an event hosted by a group called Citizens Liberating Michigan.
Heather Cerone introduced herself to the crowd and urged people to block the journalist’s view. Quealy says he was pushed into a fence by a man and punched in the face.
Cerone claimed the event was private because the pavilion had been rented. But prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg said the area around the pavilion is open to everyone.
Quealy says he was just doing his job: chasing the news and reporting it accurately.
SPRINGFIELD, Oregon – Public health officials say an outbreak of COVID-19 at an assisted living facility in Oregon that infected 64 people and killed five started with an unvaccinated worker.
The Register-Guard newspaper reports that Gateway Living in Springfield has 105 employees and 101 residents. Only 63% of staff and 82% of residents are fully immunized.
Lane County public health spokesman Jason Davis said the outbreak started with an unvaccinated employee working while infectious. About 60% of cases are breakthrough cases. It is not yet known how many cases involved residents, employees or family members and others outside the facility.
Seven of those infected are hospitalized.
LAS VEGAS – A hospital in Las Vegas has opened a clinic to provide ongoing care for so-called long-haul – people with long-term medical complications from COVID-19.
University Medical Center said its clinic is the first of its kind in Nevada and will also help patients enroll in clinical trials for new therapies to treat long-term symptoms, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Long-term symptoms include heart and lung conditions, pain, and cognitive impairment.
In another development, the Clark County School District Board will consider on Wednesday allowing the superintendent to establish a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for district employees.
Requiring vaccination against COVID-19 “is the responsible course of action and common sense,” based on the experiences of many government agencies, businesses and other organizations, the Clark County District said in a statement. “Our top priority remains the safety and well-being of our students and staff.
PHOENIX – A day after Arizona surpassed one million confirmed cases of coronavirus, the state reported nearly 3,900 new cases on Saturday, the most since an increase in February.
The 3,893 cases and 55 deaths reported on Saturday brought the total number of confirmed deaths in Arizona to 18, according to the state’s Coronavirus Dashboard.
The seven-day moving average of daily new cases has increased over the past two weeks, from 2,604 on August 12 to 3,184 on Thursday. The moving average of daily deaths fell from 13 deaths to 23 during the same period, according to Johns Hopkins University.
After rising steadily since early July, hospitalizations related to the virus in the state in recent days have ranged between 1,900 and 2,000, with 1,982 COVID-19 patients occupying hospital beds on Friday. That’s well below the pandemic peak of 5,082 on January 11.
MONTGOMERY, Alabama – State figures show an overwhelming number of people hospitalized or dead from COVID-19 are not being vaccinated.
State health worker Scott Harris said Alabama had recorded 1,230 deaths from the virus since April, when the vaccine was widely available. About 91% of the deaths were among the unvaccinated.
There were 108 deaths, or about 9%, of the deaths among those fully vaccinated. Harris says almost all of those deaths were of elderly people or had serious chronic health conditions.
State officials have provided the numbers as they attempt to emphasize that the vaccine reduces the risk of serious illness. The Alabama Hospital Association says 85% of the 2,900 people hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated.
MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Classrooms and schools in Tennessee facing an increase in coronavirus cases and quarantines may request a temporary switch to distance education if their districts can demonstrate the need.
Tennessee Department of Education commissioner Peggy Schwinn said while she remains committed to in-person instruction, schools and classrooms can apply for a waiver of the Board of Education’s rules. state that prevent districts from unilaterally requiring students to implement distance learning.
The letter comes as some Tennessee school districts have been forced to close due to an increase in coronavirus cases among students, faculty and staff. Wilson County Schools said schools will close next week “to help slow the current trend of positive cases and quarantines.”
State Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said on Wednesday that children made up 36% of the coronavirus cases reported in Tennessee. Tennessee ranked sixth in the country this week for the total number of new cases per capita, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins. The moving average number of new daily cases has increased by about 2,200 over the past two weeks.
PRISTINA, Kosovo – The government of Kosovo has postponed the start of the school year by two weeks and implemented new restrictive measures to deal with an increase in coronavirus cases.
In August, the number increased dramatically to around 2,000 new cases per day. As of Saturday, there were 18 deaths and 1,891 confirmed cases.
The government says the pre-university school year will now begin on September 13. Public institutions will limit the number of people in the office and there will be no gatherings of more than 50 people.
It also reimposes the nighttime curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and only key civil servants are exempt.
Sporting and cultural events can only use 10 to 30% of the seats and restaurants 70% of the seats outside. Masks are mandatory in all enclosed spaces and outdoors.
MOSCOW – Russia’s national statistics agency shows that a record 50,000 deaths in July were linked to the coronavirus.
The Rosstat agency report says 50,421 people suffering from the coronavirus died during the month, significantly more than the previous record of 44,435 in December.
However, the agency says only 38,992 deaths have been directly attributed to the COVID-19 disease. In 5,206 other deaths, the coronavirus was assessed as likely the main cause, but further investigation would be needed; in 1,449 other cases, the virus contributed to the deaths but was not the main cause.
The report says Russia recorded a total of 215,265 virus-related deaths as of the end of July – more than the 180,840 cited by the National Coronavirus Task Force.
SIOUX FALLS, SD – Health officials in five states have linked 178 cases of the virus to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
In the three weeks since the start of the rally, South Dakota health officials have so far reported 63 cases among rally participants. The rally’s epicenter, Meade County, is achieving a per capita rate similar to that of the hardest-hit southern states. Health officials in North Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota and Wisconsin all reported cases among people who attended the 10-day rally which drew more than 500,000 people.
Health experts fear large gatherings in the Upper Midwest will fuel a new wave of the virus.
“This coronavirus wildfire will continue to burn any human wood it can find,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “He will find you, and it’s so contagious.”
The Black Hills area’s largest hospital system, Monument Health, says hospitalizations due to the virus have dropped from five to 78 this month. The hospital was preparing to welcome more COVID-19 patients by converting rooms to intensive care units and reallocating staff.