The Biden administration on Friday announced its plans to invest $1.7 billion into tracking and combating COVID-19 variants as new strains make up about half of all infections across the nation.
The administration unveiled its planned distribution of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan directed at assisting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local governments in detecting and monitoring COVID-19 variants.
“Our ability to spot variants as they emerge and spread is vital, particularly as we aim to get ahead of dangerous variances before they emerge, as they are in the Midwest right now,” Andy Slavitt, senior White House pandemic adviser, said at a Friday COVID-19 response team briefing.
“This investment will give public health officials the chance to react more quickly to prevent and stop the spread,” he added.
Part of the commitment involves designating money to improve genomic sequencing of COVID-19 samples, which helps scientists identify variants and “potentially deadly mutations.”
In February, the U.S. was sequencing about 8,000 samples per week until the administration funneled almost $200 million to increase the pace.
Source: The Hill
Vaccination rates vary by county, determined by local factors
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected certain underserved and high-risk populations, including people of color, those with underlying health conditions, and those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines for these communities can help address the disparate health effects of the virus and achieve herd immunity.
The Biden administration has identified vaccine equity as a priority, but states and local jurisdictions vary in how and the extent to which they prioritize equity. Given that vaccine roll-out in the U.S. is inherently local, understanding how vaccination rates vary at the local level is important for informing outreach efforts and addressing equity.
Earlier CDC analysis found that, as of early March, counties with high social vulnerability had lower vaccination rates than counties with low social vulnerability.
Source: Kaisesr Permanente Foundation
Dr. Anandi Gopal Joshi, the first Indian physician trained in the United States
Anandibai travelled to New York from Kolkata (Calcutta) by ship, chaperoned by two female English missionary acquaintances of the Thorborns. In New York, Theodicia Carpenter received her in June 1883. Anandibai wrote to the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, asking to be admitted to their medical program, which was the second women’s medical […]