As deaths from Covid-19 hit a horrible all-time high in the ravaged Golden State and confirmed cases of the disease rise to staggering heights, the promise of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been hobbled, at least for the time being.
“Earlier this week, we talked about a projected allocation of 393,000 which was based on what the federal government had communicated to us,” Erin Mellon of Governor Gavin Newsom’s office told Deadline Thursday. “The federal government delayed the number of Pfizer vaccines that California will receive in the next shipment – many states received new estimated shipment amounts,” they added.
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“Based on this latest information, we’re expecting about 233,000 doses” Mellon continued.
“As to what instigated the change, you’d have to check with the federal government,” Mellon stated. We are focused on quickly distributing the vaccines we have to Californians in a way that is equitable and transparent.”
There are millions of doses of the two-shot vaccine currently sitting in Pfizer warehouses, according to the company. However it seems the change in allocations to California and other states seems to have come from a modeling program set up by the fed’s Operation Warp Speed to game out distribution methods. Shifting from theory to practice, the DOD originating program pumped out new data – hence the lower numbers.
This news comes also as another Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna has just received the go-ahead from an FDA panel today. The agency could give full approval to the second vaccine by this weekend, with the CDC expected to follow in rapid succession.
Not that it will help those who will have died in the interim, in California and nationwide.
PREVIOUSLY, 12:18 PM: More and more Americans are receiving the coronavirus vaccine, but confirmed cases and deaths from the disease are horribly shattering records almost daily, both nationwide and in the hot zone of California.
Savaged more than many countries around the world, the Golden State hit a dark new all-time death high Thursday with 379 lives lost to Covid-19. Facing the dire situation of almost no available ICU beds in much of the state, the California Department of Public Health also reported 52,281 new cases. The past two days have seen new cases leaping around 20,000 on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Still in a glimmer of hope: the cases tallied today is not the all-time record. That dubious distinction goes to the 53,711 reported on Wednesday. However, with the just under 1,500 difference, it should also be noted that the case backlog that usually contributes to big numbers like what we have seen the past two days is not really a factor for Thursday’s numbers.
Yesterday’s new cases total is the most any state has seen in a single day since the pandemic began. Texas had 58,000 new cases on December 11, but that turned out to be a data anomaly and not an indication of the Lone Star state’s true infection status.
As things stand, if it were a sovereign nation, the state of California would be the third most infected country in the world. It would be after the U.S. and Brazil and ahead of the UK and India, all of whom are buckling under the disease.
California’s previous fatality record was also Wednesday with 293 Covid-related deaths on the state’s online dashboard. As perhaps the deadliest indication of how bad things really are, the past week has seen a gruesome trio of all-time death totals. Comparatively, today’s deaths are up 1.8% from Wednesday.
Witnessing the fallout from Thanksgiving travel and gatherings becoming clearer, California’s current semi-stay-at-home orders and restrictions seem in the path of an 18-wheeler as the numbers climb. In hard-hit Los Angeles, county officials and Congressman Adam Schiff both have virtual town halls set for tonight to address the crisis and take questions from the public.
There will undoubtedly be a lot of questions.
In the Southern California region, which includes the City of Angels and San Diego, ICU capacity fell to a mere 0.5% on Wednesday. That scary stat came as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced this week that the state had ordered 5,000 body bags.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still in the tunnel,” Newsom said Tuesday. “And that means we’re going through perhaps the most intense and urgent moment since the beginning of this pandemic.”
Amidst all that tragedy and death, that “light” is the increasingly widely distributed Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Designating frontline healthcare workers as the first to get the shot, California is aiming to have 2.1 million doses of the vaccine by New Year’s Eve. With a population of nearly 40 million, that means a lot of Californians are going to be waiting deep into 2021 for their turn.
A second Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna is expected being discussed by officials at the FDA today. If approved, and also given the thumbs up by the FDA, it could see another 20 million doses distributed to Americans by the end of 2020.
Nationwide, the U.S. broke a pandemic benchmark Wednesday as the weather became even less hospitable and snowstorms dumped on the East Coast. There were 245,033 new cases of the coronavirus yesterday and 3,611 deaths, bringing the national total to around 17.1 million cases and over 308,000 death since February.
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