Latest: emails from Hawaii reveal strain on contact tracing | Health Info


HONOLULU – Review of emails from Hawaii Governor David Ige shows state epidemiologist spent key weeks at the start of the coronavirus pandemic resisting suggestions and asking him to step up contact tracing to control the spread of COVID-19.

They also showed Dr Sarah Park that she repeatedly told her superiors that the state’s inability to adequately fund the division she led was preventing her from quickly expanding her work to respond to the crisis.

The Associated Press obtained the emails last month in response to a May 2020 request made under Hawaii’s Open Records Act.

Contact tracing has been particularly difficult for many states. The effort is aimed at alerting people who may have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus and preventing them from passing it on to others. Health experts say this is the key to containing the virus.

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The governor’s records show that University of Hawaii President David Lassner emailed administration officials on April 16, 2020, telling them that university researchers had written a report on the need to strengthen contact tracing and other measures to control COVID-19.

Park did not categorically reject more contact tracing, but replied, “I am increasingly troubled that people seem to think that contact tracing is somewhat of a simple task when it is part of it. of the practice of applied epidemiology.

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Follow more information on AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS:

PHILADELPHIA – Cyclists in Philadelphia won’t need shirts, pants, skirts or underwear – just a mask.

Organizers of the Philly Naked Bike Ride say this year’s event will take place on August 28 and will require masks, based on the city’s previous coronavirus restrictions.

The city lifted most of those restrictions this week, citing an increase in vaccinations and a decrease in cases. But ride organizers say they haven’t discussed since the city’s guidelines changed, so for now they’re sticking to their original mask guidelines.

Participants in the ride typically gather in a park to strip down before carefully getting on their bikes to promote body positivity and bike safety and to protest addiction to fossil fuels.

Organizers called off the 2020 event, saying it was “the most responsible thing to do.”

BANGKOK – Pacific trade ministers discussed ways to better rebuild after the pandemic at an online meeting hosted by New Zealand on Saturday.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum has long focused on dismantling trade barriers. The meeting of its trade ministers has been called virtually, given travel restrictions in the region as coronavirus outbreaks erupt in many countries still struggling to obtain and deploy enough COVID-19 vaccines.

On the agenda is a statement on helping the movement of essential goods needed to fight the pandemic, in line with global trade rules that have been strained in recent years, especially during the administration of President Donald Trump who promoted the conclusion of trade agreements with individual countries.

Trade ministers met with business leaders on Friday on ways to better manage the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

“We need to ensure that trade plays a role in tackling the worst lingering effects of COVID-19 through open and unrestricted trade in vaccines, essential medical supplies and related products,” said Rachel Taulelei, President of the APEC Business Advisory Council.

In many countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the share of people vaccinated so far is below single digits. This includes places like Thailand and Taiwan which initially managed to avoid the first massive outbreaks but are now struggling with their worst outbreaks.

UNITED NATIONS – UN chief welcomes Biden administration’s announcement that it will donate millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine to UN-backed COVAX facility as well as countries individuals and front-line UN personnel in difficult and dangerous situations Locations.

UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said Secretary General Antonio Guterres was also “extremely grateful” to the US government for including UN staff and diplomats and staff from the 193 member countries. of the United Nations in the American immunization program.

Biden announced Thursday that the United States will quickly give an initial allocation of 25 million doses of excess vaccine overseas through the COVAX program, which to date has only shared 76 million doses with countries in need. . Overall, the White House has announced plans to share 80 million doses globally by the end of June, most through COVAX.

Dujarric said the donation to UN frontline staff will enable staff members “to stay and provide essential services to vulnerable people around the world in a safe and efficient manner.”

Guterres renews his call for countries to share vaccines, especially with countries struggling with new outbreaks and variants, Dujarric said.

“There is an urgent need for increased global solidarity to ensure that vaccines are available to everyone, everywhere,” he said.

MEXICO CITY – Mexican officials said on Friday they would use 1 million U.S. doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to inoculate people along the border.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said vaccinations along Mexico’s northern border with the United States were part of an effort to fully reopen border crossings, which are currently limited to essential travel.

“There is going to be a special vaccination plan in the border communities of our country on the northern border, with the aim of restoring border transport to normal,” said López Obrador.

Mexican officials say they will need to get an additional 2 million doses of the single-injection vaccine – which they could purchase from Johnson & Johnson – to immunize 3 million border residents between the ages of 18 and 40.

Presumably, those over 40 will be covered by Mexico’s regular national campaign, which does not use Johnson & Johnson, although the shot has been approved for use in Mexico.

An official on Thursday said some doses could also be used at resorts frequented by Americans, but that possibility was not included in the plan announced on Friday.

The announcement came on the same day that Mexico City announced the gradual lifting of a partial coronavirus lockdown that began over a year ago.

SACRAMENTO, Calif .– California Governor Gavin Newsom has said he will not lift the coronavirus state of emergency on June 15.

Newsom has said it will lift most virus restrictions on that date. But on Friday, Newsom said he would not lift the state of emergency which gives him broad power to change or suspend state laws and regulations.

California has been in a state of emergency since March 4, 2020. Since then, according to a resolution drafted by Republican state senators, Newsom has authorized billions of dollars in emergency spending and issued at least 47 executive orders to change or suspend 200 state laws. and regulations because of the virus.

Newsom, a Democrat, said he would not end the state of emergency because the virus “doesn’t take time off in the summer months.”

Republicans in the state Senate have repeatedly tried to pass a concurrent resolution to end the state of emergency. But the Democrats in the majority have always blocked their efforts.

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