Biden to honor COVID-19 victims in prime-time address marking one-year anniversary of shutdowns
President Joe Biden will mark the one-year anniversary of coronavirus-related shutdowns in the U.S. this week by delivering the first prime-time address of his presidency, the White House announced Monday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden will give the address Thursday, which marks exactly 12 months since the U.S. implemented the first restrictions on international travel to curb the spread of COVID-19 in response to the World Health Organization declaring the virus a global pandemic. “He will discuss the many sacrifices the American people have made over the last year and the ...
New York Daily News
Ameren plant's coal ash ponds polluting Mississippi River, documents allege
ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — Regional electric utility Ameren is discharging toxic coal ash pollutants into the Mississippi River at the utility's coal-fired Sioux Energy Center — not far upstream from where St. Louis draws its municipal drinking water — in violation of the Clean Water Act, according to a complaint sent to the company, plus federal and state authorities. Great Rivers Environmental Law Center detailed the allegations in a 19-page "notice of intent to sue" sent to Ameren last month. Great Rivers is representing two affiliated water-quality nonprofits, Missouri Confluence Waterkeepe...
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Why COVID-19 vaccination has become an issue for some who oppose abortion
PHILADELPHIA,– The newly approved, one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine was cheered as a way to dramatically accelerate the COVID-19 immunization race. But it also renewed a long-standing ethical debate because the product has a connection — albeit a remote one — with abortion. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Tuesday that it is morally acceptable to get the new vaccine if neither Pfizer’s nor Moderna’s is available. (Both those products also have a limited connection with fetal tissue, but more on that later.) The Archdiocese of Philadelphia shared that statement with educators...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
‘Real-life monopoly.’ Eligible residents turned away at Miami-Dade vaccine sites amid chaos
It took more than five hours of waiting in the sun with her 6-month-old baby and being rejected by five different staffers at Florida City’s federal vaccination site for Yanira Vázquez to finally get her COVID-19 shot. Vázquez, who is a caregiver for a patient with Down syndrome, said she was turned away because the note she had from her patient’s pediatrician confirming her eligibility for a vaccine was on her phone and it was not printed. According to a Miami Herald reporter who witnessed it, Vázquez was screamed at by at least one volunteer at the site. The only reason Vázquez was able to g...
Rural vaccine surpluses around Missouri spark frustration and questions
ST. LOUIS — Rural counties across Missouri haven't been able to find enough residents to use up coronavirus vaccine sent to them for mass vaccination events in recent weeks, leaving thousands of surplus doses, even as the state's urban residents, desperate for a dose, drive hours to get in line. In Putnam County, along the Iowa border, 1,488 doses remained at the end of a vaccination event last weekend. In southeast Missouri's Bollinger County, only about half of the available doses were used at an event Feb. 24, and the leftovers were sent elsewhere. And in Lewis County, near the state's nort...
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
When COVID-19 closed Seattle music venues, Sir Mix-A-Lot rolled up his sleeves (and opened his wallet)
SEATTLE — Sir Mix-A-Lot was three gigs into a 30-date tour when it happened. One year ago, clubs across the globe, from Seattle to Sydney, began shutting down as the new coronavirus silently ripped around the world. Unlike most musicians, who make the bulk of their income touring, these days the Seattle rap forefather earns most of his money off royalties. Most musicians, of course, don't have two platinum albums and a ubiquitous smash synonymous with its era ("Baby Got Back") under their belt. But Mix knew what an indefinite closure meant for working artists and the battalion of bouncers, bar...
The Seattle Times
Californians speak more than 200 languages. Not everybody gets the COVID-19 facts they need
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Ivy Zhou, a single mother of two children who speaks limited English, struggled to find COVID-19 information in her native language after she was furloughed last March. Now the San Francisco resident relies on a Chinese television station and social media to get information about unemployment relief, food pantries and how to protect her family from the coronavirus. "It's extremely frustrating, but also unfair, because if you don't know English then you're not able to receive this support," Zhou, 44, said in Cantonese through a translator. With more than 200 languages and d...
The Sacramento Bee
EU announces plans for digital COVID-19 vaccine 'passport'
The European Union’s rumored plans to develop a transnational "vaccine passport are now a definite reality. EU officials confirmed that they’re working on a European "digital green pass" and the European Commission is expected to publish a draft of the legislation by March 17, according to Euronews. While still controversial, vaccine passports would enable those who’ve been fully vaccinated to move more freely between countries within the bloc, hopefully reenergizing the severely depressed travel sector in the process. The scheme would allow fully vaccinated travelers to bypass member states’ ...
Are Americans waiting for vaccines to travel?
As the Biden administration ramps up vaccine production and news coverage moves past rising case numbers, Americans are starting to see a light at the end of this very dark pandemic tunnel. Along with this newfound hope seems to be a slowdown in travel. With vaccine production rising, are Americans hunkering down and staying home for the spring in hopes of a more normal summer? New research from the U.S. Travel Association and Destinations Analysts shows this could be a possibility. Only about one in eight Americans (12%) is planning a spring break trip this year, according to polling data by ...
Royal Caribbean to sail from Israel with vaccine requirement on new Odyssey of the Seas
While the global pandemic from COVID-19 remains, and the cruise industry is shut down in the U.S., Royal Caribbean is moving forward with Israel’s success in vaccinating more than half of its population and plans to sail its newest ship from there beginning in May. Israel recently began what it calls its Green Passport program, which lets those who have been vaccinated get access to things like hotels, gyms, theaters and concerts. Now that program will extend to planned round-trip sailings from Haifa, Israel to ports of call in Greece and Cyprus. Israel has made recent travel agreements with t...