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US tops 500,000 virus deaths, matching the toll of 3 wars

first_img Pinterest US tops 500,000 virus deaths, matching the toll of 3 wars Local NewsUS News Pinterest Facebook The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. topped 500,000 Monday, a staggering number that all but matches the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined. President Joe Biden held a sunset moment of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony at the White House and ordered American flags lowered at federal buildings for the next five days. “We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow,” Biden said. “We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur.” The half-million milestone, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, comes as states redouble efforts to get the coronavirus vaccine into arms after last week’s winter weather closed clinics, slowed vaccine deliveries and forced tens of thousands of people to miss their shots. Despite the rollout of vaccines since mid-December, a closely watched model from the University of Washington projects more than 589,000 dead by June 1. The U.S. toll is by far the highest reported in the world, accounting for 20 percent of the nearly 2.5 million coronavirus deaths globally, though the true numbers are thought to be significantly greater, in part because many cases were overlooked, especially early in the outbreak. The first known deaths from the virus in the U.S. were in early February 2020. It took four months to reach the first 100,000 deaths. The toll hit 200,000 in September and 300,000 in December, then took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000 and another month to climb from 400,000 to 500,000. The U.S. recorded an estimated 405,000 deaths in World War II, 58,000 in the Vietnam War and 36,000 in the Korean War. Average daily deaths and cases have plummeted in the past few weeks. Virus deaths have fallen from more than 4,000 reported on some days in January to an average of fewer than 1,900 per day. But experts warn that dangerous variants could cause the trend to reverse itself. And some experts say not enough Americans have been inoculated yet for the vaccine to be making much of a difference. Instead, the drop-off in deaths and cases has been attributed to the passing of the holidays; the cold and bleak days of midwinter, when many people stay home; and better adherence to mask rules and social distancing. Dr. Ryan Stanton, an emergency room physician in Lexington, Kentucky, who has treated scores of COVID-19 patients, said he never thought the U.S. deaths would be so high. “I was one of those early ones that thought this may be something that may hit us for a couple months … I definitely thought we would be done with it before we got into the fall. And I definitely didn’t see it heading off into 2021,” Stanton said. Kristy Sourk, an intensive-care nurse at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, said she is encouraged by the declining caseload and progress in vaccinating people, but “I know we are so far from over.” People “are still dying, and families are still isolated from their loved ones who are unable to be with them so that is still pretty heart-wrenching,” she said. Snow, ice and weather-related power outages closed some vaccination sites and held up shipments across a large swath of the nation, including in the Deep South. As a result, the seven-day rolling average of adminstered first doses fell by 20 percent between Feb. 14 and Feb. 21, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The White House said that about a third of the roughly 6 million vaccine doses delayed by bad weather were delivered over the weekend, with the rest expected to be delivered by mid-week, several days earlier than originally expected. White House coronavirus response coordinator Andy Slavitt on Monday attributed the improved timeline to an “all-out, round-the-clock” effort over the weekend that included employees at one vaccine distributor working night shifts to pack vaccines. In Louisiana, state health officials said some doses from last week’s shipments were delivered over the weekend and were expected to continue arriving through Wednesday. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week’s supply arrived Monday. And in Nashville, Tennessee, health officials were able to vaccinate more than 2,300 senior citizens and teachers over the weekend after days of treacherous weather. Mary Pettersch, an 80-year-old Overland Park, Kansas, retiree who is spending the winter with her 83-year-old husband in Palmhurst, Texas, anticipated that the second dose they were supposed to get on Tuesday will be delayed because of last week’s harsh weather. She made multiple calls to health officials Monday, but they weren’t returned. Still, she wasn’t too worried. “Oh, I would like to get it, but if I can’t get it here, I will get it back home,” she said, noting that she is returning to Kansas in April. “At 80 you don’t get frustrated anymore,” she said. Some hospitals, clinics, community sites and pharmacies that are in Louisiana’s vaccination network will get double allocations of doses this week — just as Gov. John Bel Edwards starts offering shots to teachers, daycare workers, pregnant women and people age 55 to 64 with certain preexisting conditions. New York City officials expected to catch up on vaccinations after being forced to delay scheduling tens of thousands of appointments last week, the mayor said Monday. “That means we’ve basically lost a full week in our vaccination efforts,” DeBlasio said. More than 44 million Americans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and about 1.6 million per day received either first or second dose over the past seven days, according to the CDC. The nation’s supply could expand significantly if health regulators approve a single-shot COVID-19 vaccine developed by drugmaker Johnson & Johnson. The company said it will be able to provide 20 million U.S. doses by the end of March if it gets the green light, and would have capacity to provide 100 million vaccine doses to the U.S. by the end of June. That supply will help government officials reach the goal of having enough injections to vaccinate most adult Americans later this year. On a global scale, the company aims to produce 1 billion doses this year. J&J disclosed the figures in written testimony ahead of a congressional hearing on Tuesday looking at the country’s vaccine supply. White House officials cautioned last week that initial supplies of J&J’s vaccine would be limited. U.S. health regulators are still reviewing the safety and effectiveness of the shot, and a decision to allow its emergency use is expected later this week. The J&J vaccine would be the first in the U.S. that requires only a single shot. The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses spaced several weeks apart. ——— Hollingsworth reported from Kansas City, Kansas. Webber reported from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press writers Brian Hannon in Salt Lake City, Utah; John Antczak in Long Beach, California; Jonathan Mattise in Nashville, Tennessee; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington; Sophia Tareen in Chicago; Wayne Parry in Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Matthew Perrone and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report. Facebook WhatsAppcenter_img TAGS  WhatsApp Twitter Twitter By Digital AIM Web Support – February 22, 2021 Previous articleDer Brainlab „Loop-X Mobile“-Bildgebungsroboter und das „Cirq Robotic Alignment“-Modul für die Wirbelsäule erhalten beide die FDA-ZulassungNext articleoat022321 MSmith_C20210216.jpg Digital AIM Web Supportlast_img read more

Jakarta begins new chapter in plastic waste reduction

first_imgThe policy, he said, was instrumental in reducing plastic waste disposed of at Bantar Gebang landfill in Bekasi, West Java – the end point in Jakarta’s waste disposal process, which may only have one year left before reaching its maximum capacity.“Hopefully, this will increase awareness and make people use single-use plastic bags more wisely and carry more environmentally friendly reusable bags,” he said.The Jakarta administration has disseminated information on the policy to the management of 85 shopping centers, more than 2,000 convenience stores and 158 traditional markets across the city, as well as the general public, Andono said.The policy – Gubernatorial Regulation No. 142/2019 – takes effect six months after its issuance on Dec. 31, 2019. The plan to issue such a regulation had been in the pipeline since 2018. It was put on hold as Anies wanted to include a provision on substitute materials to replace plastic bags. Jakarta began a new chapter in reducing plastic waste on Wednesday, when a gubernatorial regulation banning single-use plastic bags in traditional markets, modern supermarkets and minimarkets across Jakarta took effect.A number of regions across the country have already imposed a similar ban – South Kalimantan’s Banjarmasin, East Kalimantan’s Balikpapan, Bali’s Denpasar and Jakarta’s satellite city of Bogor in West Java.“In general, business players support this policy, but indeed there are some who have asked for it to be postponed,” Jakarta Environment Agency head Andono Warih said in a statement on Tuesday. “This policy actually reduces their cost of providing single-use plastic bags.” The regulation serves as a legal basis for the use of eco-friendly bags in stores and markets. It carries punishments for shopping centers found violating the ban on single-use plastic bags, which range from written warnings and fines to permit suspension and termination.The regulation, however, allows sellers to provide single-use plastic bags for non-packaged foodstuffs if there is no eco-friendly packaging available. It also excludes single-use plastic bags for online shopping and food deliveries.Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo) secretary-general Solihin said some retailers had already begun to control the use of plastic bags in the past few months by no longer giving plastic bags away for free.“Ready or not, we [retailers] must make a move, particularly after Aprindo disseminated its own policy to customers long ago,” Solihin said. “There might be [less compliance] in the early implementation [of the Jakarta plastic ban] but retailers should understand better by now how to prepare for it.”City-owned market operator Pasar Jaya president director Arief Nasrudin said the firm continued to inform traders and buyers in traditional markets throughout Jakarta about the ban to ensure compliance after the policy takes effect on Wednesday.“We will continue distributing information to traditional markets, including through leaflets and banners. Hopefully, traders and shoppers are ready to no longer use single-use plastic bags starting July 1,” he said.The Jakarta Environment Agency reported that an average of 7,702 tons of the city’s trash was disposed of at the Bantar Gebang landfill every day last year — 34 percent of which was plastic waste.Jakarta is home to 10 million people. But its role as the nation’s economic center means that a further 4 million people commute to the capital during the day.With decreasing economic activity during the COVID-19 outbreak, Jakarta has seen a constant reduction of waste disposed of at Bantar Gebang, with the agency reporting 189,979 tons of waste sent to the landfill in May, 37.8 percent lower than 305,339 tons in January.A survey by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), however, showed that plastic waste generated during the outbreak had increased because people in Greater Jakarta ordered food and daily supplies online more often between April and May while in self-isolation.Of the participants in the poll, 62 percent said they ordered non-food products online more often, while 47 percent used online food delivery services more frequently.The survey found that 96 percent of these items used plastic packaging.East Jakarta resident Nadya Stephanie said a minimarket near her house had not provided customers with plastic bags for the past two months, but another convenience store continued giving away free plastic bags.“It will probably be ineffective in the early days of implementation. People sometimes act like impulsive buyers despite not bringing their own bags,” she said. “Hopefully, the policy will encourage us to bring reusable bags and generate less plastic waste.”The first day of the ban did not go down without a hitch.Siti Rohmani, a trader at Kramat Jati Market in East Jakarta, had replaced single-use plastic bags with reusable spunbond bags and used cardboard in order to comply with the new policy.Siti sells the bags for Rp 2,000 (0.14 US cents) per piece or gives them for free if customers buy in bulk, and only if they need it. However, she said she still preferred it when buyers brought their own shopping bags.Siti acknowledged that not all of her fellow traders in the market had replaced their single-use plastic bags, and neither did buyers who forgot to bring their own bags.“It is just the first day. Not everyone [has complied with the rules],” she told the Post on Wednesday.Later that afternoon, the environment agency’s Andono said that the ban’s effectiveness would be evaluated at the end of the first day, but also insisted that it was in place in some shopping malls.“The use of eco-friendly bags in shopping centers has been implemented. We will evaluate the findings and further actions surely will follow. We are collating whatever findings we get in the field,” Andono said during his spot-check visit to the Grand Indonesia shopping mall in Central Jakarta.He said the city administration, comprising the environment agency, public order agency (Satpol PP) and industry and SMEs agency, would routinely monitor the policy’s implementation.center_img Editor’s note: Updated with first day observations and edited for clarity.Topics :last_img read more