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US A small New Mexico town’s journey through COVID reaches a milestone: Vaccination day

00:20  08 april  2021
00:20  08 april  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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The average number of vaccine doses being administered across the United States per day topped two million for the first time on Wednesday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A month ago, the average was about 1.3 million. President Biden set a goal for the Mr. Biden has also promised to administer 100 million vaccines by his 100th day in office, which is April 30. As of Thursday, 54 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid -19 vaccine . Johnson & Johnson’ s one-shot vaccine was authorized for emergency use on Saturday, but those doses do not

NHS insiders said they expected to open “a cohort” of new vaccination centres in the coming days to relieve the pressure on GPs, for which those eligible could book appointments online. The UK has offered a first dose of a Covid -19 vaccine to about 15% of its population, the largest proportion of any major economy, putting the country in third place worldwide behind Israel (58%) and the United Arab Emirates (38%). Those involved in the programme say refusal rates in the UK have been relatively low.

HILLSBORO, N.M. – For much of 2020, it was as though the pandemic raging across the globe never existed in this 144-year-old hamlet at the base of the Black Range mountains in southwest New Mexico.

At least that’s how it might have appeared to an outsider visiting from a big city.

The ZIP code home to Hillsboro and its neighboring communities of Kingston and Lake Valley has only four recorded cases of COVID-19. Vast stretches of open desert, ponderosa pine forest and unmotorized wilderness dwarf any human settlement.

But for the 250 or so people who call this historic mining area home, the pandemic stole a critical element of village life: communal gatherings. No Thanksgiving potluck. No Saturday night pickers circle. Limited socializing at the wine bar and café.

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The U. S . is likely to hit another vaccine milestone late next week: President Biden set a goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office, which we're on track to reach well ahead of schedule. Pfizer and Moderna, whose vaccines require two doses, say they plan to supply a combined 600 million doses of their COVID -19 vaccines through July, enough to immunize 300 million people. The companies have so far delivered nearly a third of their orders to the U. S . government, with a total of 400 million doses from both promised by the end of May.

Elsie Logan receives a COVID -19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, New York, on March 19. Craig Ruttle/AP. The state’ s coronavirus positivity rate stood at 2.95 percent Friday, Cuomo said. When measured on a seven- day average, it was 3.26 percent statewide and 4.03 percent in New York City. The number of those hospitalized with the virus Friday declined to 4,513, the lowest number since Dec.

a woman wearing a hat talking on a cell phone: Timothy Dusharm receives a COVID-19 vaccination from Trudy Broome, a registered nurse with the New Mexico Department of Health. Broome administered 104 shots to area residents at the Hillsboro Community Center on March 26. © Omar Ornelas/ El Paso Times Timothy Dusharm receives a COVID-19 vaccination from Trudy Broome, a registered nurse with the New Mexico Department of Health. Broome administered 104 shots to area residents at the Hillsboro Community Center on March 26.

Then, in February, an out-of-state construction company caused an unwelcome scare that brought the community together sooner than anyone expected.

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a herd of sheep standing on top of a dirt field: Hillsboro, New Mexico, a rural community, receives COVID-19 vaccinations in late March 2021. © Omar Ornelas/ El Paso Times Hillsboro, New Mexico, a rural community, receives COVID-19 vaccinations in late March 2021.

COVID-19 comes to town

In Hillsboro, you can drive from one end of town to the other at 25 miles an hour in less than three minutes. A lone unsaddled white horse stood hitched a few doors down from the post office for much of last summer. The area is populated mostly by retirees and ranchers. Its part-time residents include a former lieutenant governor.

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In New Mexico , the state is asking that visitors self-quarantine for 10 days or the entire length of stay, if it is shorter, even with a negative Covid -19 test from all high-risk states (a 5% or higher positivity rate or a positive test rate higher than 80 per one million residents, as measured over a 7- day rolling average). Visitors can end the quarantine after 7 days if they can show proof of a negative Covid -19 test. Anyone who is fully vaccinated does not need to quarantine. Washington D.C.–testing before you come.

Pfizer and Moderna, whose vaccines require two doses, say they plan to supply a combined 600 million doses of their COVID -19 vaccines through July, enough to immunize 300 million people. The companies have so far delivered nearly a third of their orders to the U. S . government, with a total of Next challenges. The Biden administration has touted its own work standing up new vaccination sites, from FEMA-run stadium events to doses distributed to pharmacies and mobile vans, as it prepares for a coming glut of vaccines . However, the administration has struggled to close gaps in scheduling

A few miles west, the Federal Highway Administration is undertaking a roughly $4.7 million project to replace a couple of steel truss bridges that have stood on Highway 152 since 1929.

The contractor hired for the job stationed a 35-member work crew in an empty motel with a “for sale” sign in the center of Hillsboro. The team brought much-needed business to the town’s only restaurant, dining indoors when New Mexico gave the clearance to do so. Then at least one worker tested positive for COVID-19.

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a man wearing a hat: Timothy Dusharm waits in line to enter the Hillsboro Community Center in New Mexico where he received a COVID-19 vaccination. © Omar Ornelas/ El Paso Times Timothy Dusharm waits in line to enter the Hillsboro Community Center in New Mexico where he received a COVID-19 vaccination.

“The age of the community is such that if we got infection and community spread, we'd be stacking bodies like firewood,” said Ben Lewis, co-owner of the Hillsboro General Store Café. “The (construction crew) had been in the café and we’d been serving them.”

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India administered 1.4 million vaccine doses in the past 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Friday, the highest in a day since the campaign began in mid-January as the government moves to address initial hiccups. The government has also roped in many private hospitals, allowing them to run vaccinations throughout the day and assuring there is no shortage of shots in the world' s biggest vaccine -making country. Unlike earlier when health and frontline workers had to get their shots in assigned vaccination centres, people are now free to choose their site.

Vaccine development: vaccines approved for use and in clinical trials. Source information country by country. Our data on COVID -19 vaccinations is updated each morning (London time), with the most recent official numbers up to the previous day . The following map and chart show the number of COVID -19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people within a given population. Note that this is counted as a single dose, and may not equal the total number of people vaccinated , depending on the specific dose regime as several available COVID vaccines require multiple doses.

Lewis shut down the restaurant. He and the three other employees, including his wife, quarantined and got tested. When their results came back negative, they deep-cleaned the 142-year-old adobe building and reopened.

By then, word had spread and locals were concerned. Ted Caluwe, 72, a remodeling contractor who retired in Hillsboro a decade ago, decided to take action.

“I doubt that there's more than a dozen people here under the age of 60,” Caluwe said. “I felt the risks were very high and so … I made a few phone calls.”

a group of people standing next to a tree: Community members of Hillsboro, N.M., partake in morning yoga at the Black Range Museum Public Park. Area residents got their COVID-19 vaccination the same day thanks to a mobile vaccination unit sent by the New Mexico Department of Health. © Omar Ornelas/ El Paso Times Community members of Hillsboro, N.M., partake in morning yoga at the Black Range Museum Public Park. Area residents got their COVID-19 vaccination the same day thanks to a mobile vaccination unit sent by the New Mexico Department of Health.

100 doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrive

With help from a state representative, Caluwe and his wife contacted the New Mexico Department of Health to schedule a mobile vaccination date in Hillsboro. It took a month for the department of health office in Socorro to secure 100 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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The shots arrived in a large square blue cooler on March 26 along with a nurse and an administrator.

On that brilliant Friday morning, Caluwe stood at the entrance to the Hillsboro Community Center, his thick ivory handlebar mustache tucked behind a mask that said, “In this together.” He watched people line up outside, six feet apart, and let out a heavy sigh. In his quest to get the vaccine, he hadn’t stopped to consider the significance of the day.

“This is the biggest gathering we've had in a year," he said. “It's great to see all of my friends and neighbors here getting the shot and knowing that in a few weeks we can achieve at least a little degree of normalcy.”

The community center, which features a wood floor auditorium, a stage and thick copper-colored curtains, was once the first high school in Sierra County. It was built by El Paso’s famed Trost & Trost architectural firm, whose now historic buildings are scattered across the American Southwest.

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a group of people sitting in a room: Betty Wanek, 96, was vaccinated in Hillsboro, N.M., on March 26, 2021. Wanek was a ship welder and singer during and after World War II. Her two daughters Catherine Wanek (left) and Sherry Litasi (right) cared for her after her shot. © Omar Ornelas/ El Paso Times Betty Wanek, 96, was vaccinated in Hillsboro, N.M., on March 26, 2021. Wanek was a ship welder and singer during and after World War II. Her two daughters Catherine Wanek (left) and Sherry Litasi (right) cared for her after her shot.

Betty Wanek, 96, had a 12:30 p.m. appointment to get her vaccine.

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Her daughter, Sherri Litasi, rolled Wanek into the auditorium in a wheelchair. Long-distance travel is a challenge for Wanek, who suffered a concussion and a broken hip five years ago. In her youth, Wanek welded ships in San Francisco during World War II. After the war, she sang in USO dance bands for troops stationed in Japan.

Today, Wanek stays with her two daughters in Kingston nine miles up the road. From Kingston, the nearest hospital and major vaccination site is almost an hour away. Litasi, the oldest of Wanek’s six children, teared up after watching her mom get a shot.

“Today is so important,” Litasi said. “It's a big relief for all of us. None of us wanted (our mom) to die of COVID and we've been very careful this last year. None of our siblings could come visit and grandkids and so on.”

When asked what she was looking forward to after getting immunized, Wanek laughed, “Not getting any bad things.” She continued in a slow, labored voice, “My children have all had their shots. And now they can come and visit.”

Ramping up rural outreach

New Mexico is scheduling most of its vaccinations online, sending alerts about available appointments via email and text. To get a cellphone signal in Hillsboro, locals have to drive up a hill beside the cemetery. Some missed their alerts or got them too late after all available appointments had already been filled.

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That’s what kept happening to Ben Lewis, the restaurant owner, who finally got his shot at the community center.

“It's not been an easy year,” he said. “We've had family members who got COVID-19 and we've had friends who've died.”

Hillsboro Cemetery features a chilling reminder of the last pandemic: a faint line of small stone encircled graves marked “Children’s Row. Died Flu 1918-1919”

As of April 5, federal data showed New Mexico had the highest percentage of fully vaccinated residents (26.2%) in the country.

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a blurry image of a cat: Randall Streier, at back, and Jim Laupan, sit in an observation area after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination from the New Mexico Department of Health at the Hillsboro Community Center during the rural community's first COVID-19 vaccination distribution. © Omar Ornelas/ El Paso Times Randall Streier, at back, and Jim Laupan, sit in an observation area after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination from the New Mexico Department of Health at the Hillsboro Community Center during the rural community's first COVID-19 vaccination distribution.

New Mexico’s effort to dispatch mobile units to rural communities like Hillsboro began in earnest on March 11, according to Laura Parajón, the state’s deputy health secretary. With the help of FEMA and the National Guard, the department of health is sending eight mobile units per week.

“We're going to ramp up in April and May to get to more and more communities,” Parajón said. “There’s more demand than supply right now.”

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A community heals together

While the vaccination day brought many of Hillsboro’s longtime locals together, it also introduced them to some of the town’s newest residents.

Lindsay Fox, an emergency doctor who last worked at a hospital in Newark, New Jersey, saw as many as 100 dead bodies at the height of the pandemic during a single shift. She decided to retreat from the front lines in October and come to New Mexico, where she eventually found Hillsboro.

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“I'm trying to figure out how to how to heal myself,” Fox said.

a man standing in front of a building: Timothy Dusharm begins to feel nervous as is the next in line to get the COVID-19 vaccination in Hillsboro, N.M. © Omar Ornelas/ El Paso Times Timothy Dusharm begins to feel nervous as is the next in line to get the COVID-19 vaccination in Hillsboro, N.M.

She struck a friendship with 66-year-old Vietnam veteran Timothy Dusharm, who moved to Hillsboro two years ago after feeling “spiritually bankrupt.” Dusharm was against getting a vaccine. His long talks with Fox changed his mind.

“She convinced me that it would be selfish if I didn't protect everybody,” he said.

Dusharm got his vaccine. Fox, 36, was there to reassure him. She also volunteered to keep track of people’s waiting period after their shots and stayed vigilant for anyone showing negative side effects.

After a month in Hillsboro, Fox felt as if she might make New Mexico her permanent home.

“It's really nice to feel like there's some hope on the horizon of being able to gather with people again,” she said.

Follow reporter Mónica Ortiz Uribe on Twitter: @MOrtizUribe

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This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: A small New Mexico town’s journey through COVID reaches a milestone: Vaccination day

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Dive in to see a complete and updated list of all the fighters, coaches and cornermen who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began earlier this year.A few months into the pandemic, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, defied the odds and kept his promise of being the first major sports organization to get the ball rolling, staging UFC 249 on May 9, 2020, in Jacksonville, Florida. It didn’t take long for COVID-19 to show its ugly head, though, as Ronaldo Souza and a few of his cornermen tested positive for the virus, prompting his removal from the event.

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