Coronavirus Roundup: White House Plans Independence Day Bash to Celebrate ‘Summer of Freedom’ from COVID
There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.
The National Vaccine Advisory Committee within the Health and Human Services Department will meet on Wednesday and Thursday to hear presentations about “safety, communication activities for COVID–19 vaccines and immunization equity,” according to a notice in the Federal Register. On Thursday, there will be a panel discussion with representatives from the companies Merck, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax about “vaccine authorization and beyond.” Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed.
The HHS inspector general announced on Tuesday it will review National Institutes of Health-monitored grants and how the grantees used their funds from 2014 to 2021. This “likely includes money connected to a Wuhan lab that GOP lawmakers have been scrutinizing,” according to CNN.
A study by NIH’s “All of Us Research Program,” released on Tuesday, found that coronavirus infections in the United States may have started earlier than expected. (The first reported case in the United States was on January 21, 2020 in Washington state.) Using two different serology tests, researchers found “the positive samples came as early as Jan. 7  from participants in Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,” said the report. “Most positive samples were collected prior to the first reported cases in those states, demonstrating the importance of expanding testing as quickly as possible in an epidemic setting.”
However, some experts said the study had some flaws, such as failing to acknowledge that some of the coronavirus cases could have been from the common cold rather than the novel coronavirus and that it had a small sample size, which “made it difficult to be sure that they were true cases of infection and not just a methodological error,” The New York Times reported.
On Wednesday morning HHS’ Administration for Children and Families said it released $994.5 million in pandemic emergency assistance funds for families in need. The funds were from the American Rescue Plan.
The White House is planning a large Fourth of July celebration to mark “a summer of freedom” from the coronavirus and it will be the largest event of the Biden administration so far, The Associated Press reported. “[Biden] plans to host first responders, essential workers and military service members and their families on the South Lawn of the White House for a cookout and to watch the fireworks over the National Mall. More than 1,000 guests are expected,” said the report. “The plan shows the dramatic shift in thinking since Biden cautiously held out hope just three months ago that people might be able to hold small cookouts by the fourth.”
The National Archives building in Washington, D.C., will reopen on June 18 for viewing of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights with limited capacity, and then will open daily starting July 2. All of the other museum exhibits will stay closed for the time being.
The intelligence community is signaling it will embrace a hybrid work environment after the pandemic for work that does not have to be done in a classified setting, Federal News Network reported.
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