Daily Archives: Sep 8, 2020

Public health departments, which have struggled for months to test and trace everyone exposed to the novel coronavirus, are now being told to prepare to distribute COVID-19 vaccines as early as Nov. 1.

In a four-page memo this summer, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told health departments across the country to draft vaccination plans by Oct. 1 “to coincide with the earliest possible release of COVID-19 vaccine.”

The CDC’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield, also wrote to governors last week about the urgent need to have vaccine distribution sites up and running by Nov. 1. Redfield asked governors to expedite the process for setting up these facilities. McClatchy first reported Redfield’s letter.

But health departments that have been underfunded for decades say they currently lack the staff, money and tools to educate people about vaccines and then to distribute, administer and track doses to some 330 million people. Nor do they know when, or if, they’ll get federal aid to do that.

“There is a tremendous amount of work to be done to be prepared for this vaccination program and it will not be complete by Nov. 1,” said Dr. Kelly Moore, associate director of immunization education at the Immunization Action Coalition, a national vaccine education and advocacy organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota. “States will need more financial resources than they have now.”

Dozens of doctors, nurses and health officials interviewed by Kaiser Health News and The Associated Press expressed concern about the country’s readiness to conduct mass vaccinations, as well as frustration with months of inconsistent information from the federal government.

The gaps include figuring out how officials will keep track of who has gotten which doses and how they’ll keep the workers who give the shots safe, with enough protective gear and syringes to do their jobs.

With only about half of Americans saying they would get vaccinated, according to a poll from AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, it also will be crucial to educate people about the benefits of vaccination, said Molly Howell, who manages the North Dakota Department of Health’s immunization program.

The unprecedented pace of vaccine development has left many Americans skeptical about the safety of COVID-19 immunizations; others simply don’t trust the federal government.

Bills sign cornerback White to 4-year contract extension

September 5, 2020
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Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White (27) intercepts the ball in front of wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) during an NFL football training camp in Orchard Park, N.Y., Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News via AP, Pool)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills locked up starting cornerback Tre’Davious White through the 2025 season by signing him to a four-year, $70 million contract extension on Saturday.

A person with direct knowledge of discussions provided the contract’s value, while saying $55 million of the deal is guaranteed. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because those figures weren’t revealed, and first reported by ESPN.com.

White was entering the final year of his rookie contract, though the Bills held the option to extend his contract for one more season next year.

White maintained his patience last month when asked about the possibility of signing a contract extension.

“When I feel comfortable with where it’s at, for what I feel that I’m worth, then that’s when it’s going to be,” he said. “I’m not negotiating out of desperation because I’m good at managing my money.”

The 25-year-old White has been a starter since being selected with the 27th pick in the 2017 draft out of LSU, and established himself as one of the league’s top up-and-coming cornerbacks.

Last year, he had a career-high six interceptions, which finished tied for the league lead, and earned his first All-Pro selection. He also became Buffalo’s first player to earn two AFC defensive player of the week honors in one season since defensive end Mario Williams in 2013.

NEW YORK (AP) — Big tech stocks are continuing their Icarus-like flight path, and more sharp declines for them are pulling Wall Street lower in early Tuesday trading.

The S&P 500 was down 1.9%, highlighted by the 2.7% tumble for tech stocks within the index. Apple sank 2.9% and Microsoft fell 2.8%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 474 points, or 1.7%, at 27,658, as of 9:57 a.m. Eastern time. The Nasdaq composite, which is full of many tech stocks, dropped 2.5% and is down 8.5% since Wednesday’s close.

Tech stocks had been the darlings of Wall Street, even through the pandemic, on expectations that they can continue to deliver strong profit growth almost regardless of the economy and global health. Tech stocks in the S&P 500 are still up nearly 25% for 2020 so far, and Amazon has rocketed 73%, even when unemployment remains high and much of the economy is limping ahead.

Analysts say a flurry of buying activity for stock options of Big Tech companies goosed the gains even further recently. With certain kinds of stock options, investors can make huge profits on a stock, without having to pay for its full share price, as long as the stock’s price keeps rising. If enough of these kinds of stock options are getting sold, it can create a buying frenzy for the stock that accelerates the gains even more.

But all that activity can unwind quickly and send prices tumbling if momentum turns, which is what happened last week. Apple stock dropped 3.1% for just its second weekly loss in the last 14 weeks.

The trigger for the turnaround may have been expectations that longer-term interest rates will rise, according to strategists at Morgan Stanley. Low rates often act like steroids for stocks, encouraging investors to pay higher prices for stocks relative to corporate profits, which benefits high-growth stocks in particular.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury has returned to 0.66%. That’s down from 0.72% late Friday, but it’s notably higher than the 0.53% it was offering at the end of July.

Tesla has been one of the brightest examples of Big Tech’s furious movements and surged 74.1% in August alone. Its slump on Tuesday came with disappointment that it won’t be joining the S&P 500 anytime soon. The company behind the benchmark index announced the inclusion of several companies in the S&P 500, including Etsy. Some investors thought Tesla would be among them, which can create huge bouts of buying as index-fund investors include the stock in their portfolios.

Teradyne and Catalent will also join the S&P 500 on Sept. 21.

Tuesday was the first day of trading for Wall Street after Monday’s closure for Labor Day.

Beyond the tech stock slump, other worries are also hanging over the stock market, which had been setting record highs just last week.

Pessimism is rising that Democrats and Republicans in Washington will be able to find a deal to send more aid to unemployed workers and an economy still struggling amid the pandemic. Investors have been largely assuming that a deal would eventually pass, but recent talks between government leaders have yielded no progress.

Riki Ogawa at the Asia & Oceania Treasury Department at Mizuho Bank in Singapore warned that plenty of other uncertainties remained, such as President Donald Trump’s comments about “decoupling” the U.S. economy from China, as the presidential campaign heats up.

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