LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County officials say that the Northridge Hospital Medical Center violated county rules when it provided coronavirus vaccines to teachers and staff at the Wesley School in North Hollywood. Teachers and school employees are not currently authorized to receive doses for the vaccine.

The Wesley School’s interim head, Julie Galles, says the school did not seek out the vaccines but did not clarify how the inoculations occurred.

The Los Angeles Times reported the incident raised concerns about how equitable vaccine distribution is in the county, especially with shortages and other logistical issues hampering distribution. Parents at the school include the Northridge Hospital Medical Center’s chief financial officer, Douglas Brown.

Hospitalizations drop below 700 in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The number of people hospitalized in Arkansas with the coronavirus fell below 700 on Saturday, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

There were 690 virus hospitalizations, 22 fewer than Friday, the department reported, while the number of reported virus cases rose by 954 and there were an additional 40 deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

There have been a total of 312,562 cases and 5,252 deaths since the pandemic began.

Arkansas had the sixth most new cases per capita in the nation with 631.92 per 100,000 residents, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, while the rolling averages of new cases and deaths during the past two weeks has declined from 1,597 new cases per day to 983 and from 40 deaths per day to 23, according to the Johns Hopkins data.

New Zealand sees setback in fighting coronavirus

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — In a significant setback to New Zealand’s efforts to keep the coronavirus from spreading in the community, three people from one family have tested positive with the source of the infections unknown, health officials announced Sunday.

The news has prompted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to cancel appointments and return to Wellington for further briefings and decision-making.

Officials say they’re keeping an open mind on how the Auckland mother, father and daughter caught the disease. They said the mother works at an airline catering company, and officials are investigating whether there is a link with returning passengers who are infected. Officials said the daughter’s high school will be closed on Monday and Tuesday as a precaution, but so far they have not announced any broader restrictions.

South Carolina passes proposal to open vaccines to teachers

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina state Senate has passed a proposal to open vaccinations to tens of thousands of teachers.

The state Senate unanimously voted this week to allow teachers, regardless of age, to begin scheduling vaccinations. The measure also requires districts to offer in-person classes five days a week after spring break — even if teachers aren’t fully vaccinated. Gov. Henry McMaster wants in-person classes to resume but favors prioritizing vaccines for those 65 and older. The House also must approve the measure before it goes to the governor’s desk.

It took weeks for Elizabeth Cline to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments for her 70-year-old parents, eventually getting slots through a hospital system near her home in Greenville, South Carolina. Now they’re awaiting second doses.

“I wish more thought had been put into that at the beginning, and it didn’t come down to teachers begging to be heard,” Cline told The Associated Press. “I think teachers deserve more prioritization than they’re getting.”

South Carolina has registered more than 7,000 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Oxford/AstraZeneca to test vaccine in children for first time

LONDON — The University of Oxford plans to test its AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in children for the first time, becoming the latest vaccine developer to assess whether its coronavirus shot is effective in young people.

The trial announced Saturday seeks to recruit 300 volunteers between the ages of 6 and 17, with up to 240 receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and the remainder a control meningitis vaccine.

Andrew Pollard, chief researcher on the Oxford vaccine trial, says while most children don’t get severely ill from COVID-19, “it is important to establish the safety and immune response to the vaccine in children and young people as some children may benefit from vaccination.’’

Regulators in more than 50 countries have authorized widespread use of the Oxford vaccine, which is being produced and distributed by AstraZeneca, for use in people over age 18.

Other drug companies are also testing the COVID-19 vaccines in children. Pfizer, whose vaccine has already been authorized for use in people 16 and older, began testing its shot in children as young as 12 in October. Moderna in December began testing its vaccine on children as young as 12.

Pollard says the Oxford trial should help policymakers decide whether at some point they want to extend mass vaccination programs to children as they seek to ensure schools are safe and combat the spread of the virus in the wider population.

“For most children, for themselves, COVID is really not a big problem,’’ Pollard told The Associated Press. “However, it is certainly possible that wider use to try and curb the progress of the pandemic might be considered in the future, so here we’re just trying to establish the data that would support that if indeed policymakers wanted to go in that direction.”

Mardi Gras muted in New Orleans by coronavirus

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans’ annual pre-Lenten Mardi Gras celebration is muted this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell has ordered bars closed during the Mardi Gras weekend that started Friday and runs through Tuesday. The lavish parades are canceled and there are limits on gatherings.

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the annual pre-Lenten bash celebrated along much of the Gulf Coast — with the biggest celebration in heavily Catholic New Orleans. Last year’s revelry is considered to have contributed to an early surge that made Louisiana a coronavirus hot spot.

Some locals are making the best of it, decking their houses like parade floats. A giant carton of popcorn, huge lollipops and a Paul Bunyan-sized ice cream cone are among the decorations on one two-story house aptly titled “Snacking in Place.” Motorists can drive by an array of idled floats at New Orleans’ City Park.

Louisiana has registered 9,276 confirmed coronavirus deaths, 16th highest in the U.S.

Read the full story here.

1,800 new cases, 114 deaths in Arizona on Saturday

PHOENIX — Arizona reported nearly 1,800 coronavirus cases and 114 deaths on Saturday.

The numbers reported by the Department of Health Services increased the state’s totals to 795,323 confirmed cases and 14,948 confirmed deaths, the 12th highest death toll in the U.S.

There were 2,300 hospitalized COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient beds Friday, down from the pandemic high of 5,082 on Jan. 11. Seven-day rolling averages of daily new cases and daily deaths have dropped in the past two weeks.

Also, the number of inmates in Arizona’s prisons has declined 11% since the start of pandemic.

The decrease reflects a slowdown in the state’s court system with fewer criminal jury trials in the last year as it took steps to prevent the coronavirus from spreading at courthouses.

At least 300 non-violent inmates have been released from country jails in Arizona in the last year in a bid to lower virus risks. However, the state has refused calls for early release of prisoners as a prevention measure.

Hawaii receives $87.4 million to open more vaccination sites

HONOLULU — Hawaii has received $87.4 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to open more coronavirus vaccination sites.

The grants will help expedite a vaccination process that has been slower than anticipated in Hawaii. The state has experienced vaccine shortages and thousands of people who have received their first shot are overdue for their second. About 153,000 people in the state have been vaccinated.

The federal agency says the funds will reimburse expenses for medical and support staff, personal protective equipment, facility costs and supplies required to store, handle, transport and administer vaccines.

Tight supply creates reluctance over federal vaccine sites

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Biden administration’s plan to open 100 vaccination sites by the end of the month was initially embraced by governors and health officials, who considered it a needed lifeline to get more Americans inoculated against the coronavirus.

But reality has quickly set in: Some are hesitating to take the offer, at least for now, saying they don’t need more places to administer doses. They just need more doses.

The plan involves mobilizing thousands of staffers and contractors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. They already have been providing money, staffing or logistical support for many state and local vaccination efforts.

So far, just over 46 million doses have been administered, and the administration’s goal is to ramp up daily doses to 1.5 million.

Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 coordinator, told governors on a conference call this week that the administration will get more vaccines to the states. By next week, states will be sent a total of 11 million doses, an increase of 500,000 compared with this week.

More than 480,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus. Some 27 million have been infected.

Read the full story here.

Hundreds of meatpacking workers vaccinatecd

OMAHA, Neb. — Hundreds of meatpacking workers have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

However, the union that represents many of them says several hundred thousand more have not, despite the risks they continue to face.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International union is lobbying for workers to be moved up vaccination priority lists, and major meat companies have launched campaigns to educate employees and dispel rumors about the vaccines.

But in most states, meatpacking workers are still waiting for their turn to be vaccinated and are ranked behind health care workers, residents of long-term care centers and people age 65 and older.

Last spring, over 1,000 Smithfield workers in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, were sickened and four died. Other meatpacking plants also dealt with major outbreaks. In April, the industry’s meat production fell to about 60% of normal levels.

Brazilian governors, mistrusting President Bolsonaro, pursue own vaccine plans

SAO PAULO — Brazilian state governors are pursuing their own vaccine supply plans, with some expressing concern that President Jair Bolsonaro’s government won’t deliver the necessary number of shots.

Governors are under pressure from mayors, some of whose vaccine stocks have already been depleted. Brazil’s two biggest cities, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, are expected to be without shots in a matter of days.

Sao Paulo’s Governor João Doria has pushed hardest to shore up his state’s own vaccine supply. The president repeatedly criticized Doria’s deal to purchase 100 million CoronaVac shots from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac, saying the federal government wouldn’t buy them.

Bolsonaro reversed course in January, facing delay in the delivery of the only vaccine his administration purchased and watching as other nations began immunizing their citizens while Brazil’s 210 million people were on hold.

Doria told The Associated Press in an interview, “If it weren’t for this (CoronaVac) shot, Brazil today would be a country without vaccines.”

He says he’s negotiating for 20 million more doses, and if the federal government doesn’t buy them, he could sell them to other governors: “It is not for a state government to secure vaccines, but here we are.”

Virus variants spreading fast in France

PARIS — New coronavirus virus variants are spreading fast in multiple regions of France, prompting tougher mask rules and a curfew crackdown around the English Channel coast.

The variant dominant in Britain is now responsible for a large majority of recent virus cases around the French port city of Dunkirk, according to a statement Saturday from the regional health agency.

The regional administration ordered tougher mask rules and urged people in Dunkirk and some other areas not to leave town to limit the spread. The city’s saturated hospitals are sending virus patients to other regions amid a spike in the number of people needing intensive care.

Figures released Friday by France’s largest network of private medical labs, Biogroup, indicate the variant has spread significantly. The group says the variant showed up in about half of its tests in the western Paris region Feb. 1-7.

France has registered more than 80,000 deaths and 3.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases.

Iran receives enough vaccines from Moscow to vaccinate 100,000

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has received a second batch of Russian-made Sputnik V vaccines from Moscow, enough to inoculate 100,000 people, state television reported.

Earlier this month, Iran received 20,000 doses of the Russian vaccine in its first batch as the country struggles to fight the worst outbreak of the pandemic in the Middle East.

Reports have said Iran has purchased a total of 2 million doses of the vaccine. Iran has a population of more than 83 million.

Iran in December began human trials for a first vaccine manufactured in Iran, which is expected to be distributed in the spring. The country is also working on a joint vaccine with Cuba.

Iran plans also to import some 17 million doses of vaccine from the international COVAX program and millions more from individual countries.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari put Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus at 58,883 after 74 more died since Friday. Lari says 7,120 new confirmed cases have brought the total to more than 1.5 million.

Cuomo administration ‘froze’ over New York nursing home data requests

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide told Democratic lawmakers that the administration took months to release data on the coronavirus death toll among nursing home residents because officials “froze” over worries the information was “going to be used against us.”

Andrew Cuomo, Melissa DeRosa

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa is joined by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as she speaks to reporters during a news conference in New York in 2018. De Rosa, Cuomo’s top aide, told top Democrats frustrated with the administration’s long-delayed release of data about nursing home deaths that the administration “froze” over worries about what information was “going to be used against us,” according to a Democratic lawmaker who attended the Wednesday meeting and a partial transcript provided by the governor’s office. Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Republicans who term the comment admission of a “cover-up” are now calling for investigations into and the resignations of both Cuomo and the aide, secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa. And a growing number of Democrats are joining calls to rescind Cuomo’s emergency executive powers, blasting the administration’s defense of its secrecy.

The disclosure of DeRosa’s comments, made on a Wednesday conference call with Democratic legislative leaders, came as the Democratic governor — a third-term Democrat who says he’ll run again in 2022 and penned a book touting his handling of the pandemic — and his administration were already facing backlash over their handling and reporting of outbreaks in nursing homes.

Cuomo’s office provided a partial call recording to the Associated Press, but declined to say where it obtained it or allow its publication.

In recent weeks, a court order and state attorney general report has forced the state to acknowledge the nursing home resident death toll is nearly 15,000, when it previously reported 8,500 — a number that excluded residents who died after being taken to hospitals. The new toll amounts to about one-seventh of the people living in nursing homes as of 2019 in New York.

Read the full story here.

Pentagon approves 20 more COVID-19 vaccination teams

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has approved the deployment of 20 more military vaccination teams that will be prepared to go out to communities around the country, putting the department on pace to deploy as many as 19,000 troops if the 100 planned teams are realized. The troop number is almost double what federal authorities initially thought would be needed.

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Members of the California Conservation Corps line up to help with the setup of a new federal COVID-19 vaccination center on the campus of the California State University Los Angeles on Friday in Los Angeles. Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Friday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s latest approval brings the number of COVID-19 vaccination teams so far authorized to 25, with a total of roughly 4,700 service members. He said the teams, which largely involve active duty forces, are being approved in a phased approach, based on the needs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

So far, only one of the first five teams approved last week has actually been announced and deployed. That 222-member team from Fort Carson, Colorado, has arrived in Los Angeles, where it will help with a federally run vaccination site at California State University. Kirby said the team expects to begin working on Monday.

He added that the department expects to have more details soon on where the other four will deploy.

The Biden administration has said that delivering the vaccine to Americans is a top priority, raising questions about why the rollout of the teams hasn’t moved more quickly.

The Pentagon first received the original request from FEMA in late January, for 100 vaccination teams with a total of 10,000 troops. Kirby said only one team has been deployed so far because it is a complicated process that requires coordination with local and state authorities to identify the right locations and determine the infrastructure and support that is needed. He said it takes time to set each site up correctly.

“We don’t want to move too fast so that we’re overwhelming the process or the system.,” Kirby told Pentagon reporters.

Officials have said that more vaccination sites will open around the country as more doses of vaccine become available. The military deployment comes as the nation is in a race against a virus that is spawning mutations, which may make it spread more easily and inflict deadlier disease.

The 20 new teams will include 10 that will have 222 members, and 10 smaller units with 139 personnel.

‘Stringent’ public health measures necessary until 75% – 80% of population vaccinated, Fauci says

WASHINGTON – Dr. Anthony Fauci says people will need to wear masks “for several, several months” to avoid the coronavirus as vaccinations are rolled out.

The government’s top infectious disease expert told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday by the time 75% to 80% of the population is vaccinated, “the level of virus in the community could be so low that you could start pulling back a bit on what are stringent public health measures.”

But Fauci says any relaxing of safety measures needs to be done “prudently and gradually.”

U.S. government researchers have found that two masks are better than one in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, but health officials have stopped short of recommending everyone double up.

Fauci says the U.S. has contracted for 600 million vaccine doses, enough to vaccinate everyone with two doses. He says as spring turns into summer, everyone should be eligible to receive a vaccine.

Fauci says, “As we go from April to May to June and then hopefully by July, we’ll be at that point where we have enough vaccine for virtually everyone.”

Why you shouldn’t get a COVID antibody test after your vaccination

With more than 30 million people in the United States at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, you may wonder whether the shot has done its duty, arming the immune system to fight off infection. Or whether the vaccine is needed at all, particularly if you have had the coronavirus.

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A woman has blood drawn for COVID-19 antibody testing in July. Associated Press/Paul Sancya

But health experts say antibody tests – the tests designed to detect proteins created by the immune system that protect against the virus – are not necessary and can be unreliable.

“Don’t try to second-guess the vaccine. Just get vaccinated,” said Sarah Fortune, chair of the department of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Read the full story here.

Massachusetts offered vaccines to seniors’ caregivers. Some are offering cash to the elderly to get in on the deal.

The suspicious posts began appearing on Craigslist on Thursday afternoon, a few hours after health officials in Massachusetts announced a key expansion of who could receive the coronavirus vaccine. “Companions” to those older than 75 were now eligible, the state said, but only if these caregivers helped accompany seniors to vaccination sites.

Suddenly, it seemed on the classifieds website, plenty of younger residents wanted to start spending time with septuagenarians. Especially if money was involved.

“Some people [are] posting online, trying to get a senior to bring them to a vaccination site, or in some cases asking to be paid to drive somebody to one,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said at a news conference Thursday, calling the ads “pretty disturbing.”

The ensuing fracas over the”companion system” has since been criticized by some state lawmakers, who say it all but guaranteed to encourage dangerous scams and fail to ensure Massachusetts’s most vulnerable populations will receive the vaccine first.

Putin pitches Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine but still won’t take it himself

While Vladimir Putin this week hailed international recognition of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19, the Kremlin says the president still hasn’t taken the inoculation that he enthusiastically recommends to other world leaders.

Putin is following a vaccination schedule that requires him to take other shots first, including against flu and pneumococcal infections, before he can decide to have Sputnik V, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters Friday on a conference call.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin leads a meeting via video conference in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 1. Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

The president’s failure to take the vaccine against the deadly virus that killed more than 162,000 Russians last year is because “many vaccinations are not recommended at once,” Peskov said. “Vaccinations can’t be lumped together, they must be spread over time.”

Putin told a government meeting Wednesday that peer-reviewed data published in The Lancet medical journal this month showing Sputnik V to be safe and with 91.6% efficacy “enhances the credibility of our vaccine.” He has championed Sputnik V at talks with other leaders since boasting in August that Russia had become the first nation in the world to clear a Covid-19 vaccine for use.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez and Guinea’s President Alpha Conde are among leaders who’ve received Sputnik V inoculations. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Bolivian leader Luis Arce have also said they’re ready to take the vaccine after supplies were shipped to their countries.

The latest explanation for Putin’s inability to inoculate against Covid-19 follows a Dec. 17 statement by the 68-year-old president that he was waiting to get Sputnik V once it had been approved for people his age. After Russian regulators extended the safe age range for use of Sputnik V, the Kremlin indicated he was willing to take it.

In November, as Sputnik V was undergoing phase 3 trials to prove its safety, the Kremlin said Putin “can’t use an uncertified vaccine,” days after he’d recommended it at an online Group of 20 leaders summit and offered to supply it to “countries in need.”

Amid early skepticism, Russia has had increasing success in selling the vaccine around the world. Sputnik V has been approved for use in 27 countries now, Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a partner in the vaccine developed by the state-run Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, said on state TV Friday.

Fans barred from Australian Open amid ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown in Melbourne

During a five-day “circuit-breaker” lockdown in the Australian city of Melbourne, spectators will be banned from attending the Australian Open tennis tournament, an event already subject to strict coronavirus rules.

The head of the state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located, announced the snap lockdown Friday after a rise in cases linked to the “hyper-infectious” variant first detected in Britain. The cluster of 13 infections centers on a Holiday Inn quarantine hotel at Melbourne Airport, where workers and their close contacts tested positive for the virus.

The “working assumption” is that all people infected in the cluster have the same B.1.1.7 variant, Australia’s ABC News reported.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic serves to United States’ Talyor Fritz in an empty stadium during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship on Friday. Associated Press/Andy Brownbill

The lockdown, which begins at 11:59 p.m. local time, places strict limits on private and public gatherings, shopping, exercise and other activities. The measures, however, allow for professional sporting events such as the Grand Slam tennis tournament to remain open — but fans will be barred from attending.

“Large and small professional sport events … will function essentially as a workplace,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne, news agencies reported.

“But they will not function as an entertainment event, because there will be no crowds,” he said.

The event, one of four major global tennis tournaments, was already being held under strict covid-related measures, including a limit on the number of fans allowed at the venue. International athletes and support staff were quarantined on arrival last month and have been tested regularly ahead of the games.

The new restrictions mean that starting Saturday, all remaining matches will be played behind closed doors, the Guardian Australia website reported.

The website quoted Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley as saying that players would operate in a bubble for the next five days but would otherwise remain under the same restrictions as the rest of the state’s population.

Airports have taken steps to reduce coronavirus transmission but risks still remain, study says

WASHINGTON – Airports have taken significant steps to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, but challenges remain, including upgrading and enhancing ventilation systems and adjusting operations to accommodate more people safely once demand for air travel returns, Harvard University researchers said.

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TSA officers wear protective masks at a security screening area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in in May. Associated Press/Elaine Thompson

The report Thursday by a team at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health focused on the curb-to-curb portion of the journey, assessing the risks travelers might face from the time they arrive at the airport until they land at their destination and claim their bags.

It is part of a growing amount of research, some of it funded by the aviation industry, that airlines hope will convince the public that air travel is safe as long as proper precautions are taken.

Federal health officials still continue to urge people to avoid travel. Researchers said even though their report found airports and airlines have taken steps to reduce the risks that someone will catch the coronavirus, there are no guarantees.

Read the full story here.

German drug requests review of coronavirus vaccine in trials

BERLIN — German pharmaceutical company CureVac says it has begun submitting data on its coronavirus vaccine to the EU regulator with the aim of speeding up the approval process.

The Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency confirmed Friday that it has begun a review of the vaccine and that early laboratory and clinical studies indicate it triggers an immune response against the virus.

Tuebingen-based CureVac is still conducting further trials of the vaccine, but the rolling review process means EMA will be able to reduce the amount of time needed to decide whether to approve it once all the necessary data has been submitted. The same approach led to the approval of vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

CureVac’s vaccine uses the same mRNA technology as those made by Pfizer and Moderna.

The company said the vaccine is currently undergoing trials in healthy adults in Europe and Latin America.

California variant spreading to other states, countries

A COVID-19 variant first identified in Southern California appears to have spread to at least 19 states and several other countries, a study published Thursday suggests.

The variant accounted for about 44% of Southern California cases as of late January, nearly double from a month earlier, the study said. It was first identified in a single case in July and reemerged during a holiday surge in cases in the Los Angeles area.

More research is needed to determine if the variant spreads more easily than other COVID-19 variants or causes more disease, said study co-author Jasmine Plummer, a Cedars-Sinai researcher.

The paper was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, wrote in an accompanying editorial that said new variants likely will continue to emerge until spread of the virus is reduced.

Los Angeles temporarily closes five mass vaccination sites because of lack of supply

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles is temporarily closing five mass vaccination sites including Dodger Stadium for lack of supply as the state faces continuing criticism over the vaccine rollout.

Mayor Eric Garcetti says the city will exhaust its supply of Moderna first doses — two are required for full immunization — forcing it to close drive-through and walk-up vaccination sites Friday and Saturday.

They may not reopen until the city gets more supplies, perhaps next Tuesday or Wednesday. Smaller mobile vaccination clinics will continue operating.

Garcetti says Los Angeles uses about 13,000 doses in a typical day but received only 16,000 this week.

“This is not where I want to be,” Garcetti said. “It’s not where we deserve to be.”

California has now recorded the most confirmed deaths from the coronavirus with 45,496, edging past New York’s toll of 45,312, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Other coronavirus numbers are improving in the state, however.

The seven-day test positivity rate has fallen to 4.8%, and the most recent daily number of confirmed positive cases was 8,390, down from 53,000 in December.

CDC lifts quarantine guidance for fully vaccinated people exposed to infected person

NEW YORK — U.S. health officials are now recommending that people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus do not have to go into a 14-day quarantine after exposure to an infected person.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly posted the updated guidance this week. It says vaccinated people may skip quarantine if they are asymptomatic, and if their contact with an infected person came at least two weeks after receipt of the final dose in the two-shot vaccination series and within three months of receipt of that last dose.

The recommendation is similar to what the CDC has said about people who developed immunity after being infected with COVID.


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