The first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine left on trucks and planes early on Sunday, kicking off a historic effort to stop a surging pandemic that is claiming more than 2,400 lives a day in the United States.Mask-wearing workers at a Pfizer Inc factory in Michigan began packing the first shipments of the vaccine developed with German partner BioNTech SE in dry ice shortly after 6:30 a.m. ET (1130 GMT) on Sunday.Trucks carrying pallets of boxed, refrigerated vaccine began rolling away from the Kalamazoo facility, escorted by body armor-clad security officers. The shots then were loaded onto FedEx and United Parcel Service planes that will whisk the precious cargo across the country.
U.S. hospitals are preparing for the first shots to go into arms on Monday, but it will take months before most Americans can get a COVID-19 vaccine. Healthcare workers and elderly residents of long-term care homes are first in line to receive the inoculations of a two-dose regimen given about three weeks apart. More than 100 million people, or about 30% of the U.S. population, could be immunized by the end of March, U.S. Operation Warp Speed chief adviser Dr. Moncef Slaoui said in an interview with Fox News Sunday. That would still leave the country far short of herd immunity that would halt virus transmission, so masks and social distancing will be needed for months to control the rampaging outbreak.\
NYC Indoor Dining Shutters
Indoor dining operations will be suspended as of Monday — New York’s governor announced on Friday — the same day wintry weather is expected to strike the tri-state, delivering not one, but two chances for snowfall this week. Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered the grim news for restauranteurs and staff following sustained increases in New York City’s hospitalization and COVID-19 positivity rates. Other regions face similar results if hospitalization rates are unstable for more than five days, the governor said.
The city’s Sanitation Department issued a Winter Operations Advisory on Sunday, warning of the winter weather in the forecast. Under the advisory, made when less than one inch of snow accumulation is in the forecast, establishments under the Open Restaurants program may stay open but must “take steps to protect patrons, staff and property.” The Winter Operations Advisory is one of two new weather orders the Sanitation Department will make regarding outdoor dining. The second, a Snow Alert, suspends outdoor dining when more than one inch of snow is in the forecast. In this case, restaurants must remove or secure outdoor furniture; electric heaters should be removed altogether. If more than a foot is expected, the alert calls for outdoor structures or barriers to be removed or consolidated.