Samara Heisz/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER, IVAN PEREIRA and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 104.9 million people worldwide and killed over 2.28 million of them, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:Feb 06, 10:40 am9% of Americans have received 1 or more vaccine dosesNine percent of Americans — 28.9 million people – have received one or more vaccine doses, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.Two percent of Americans — 7.5 million people — have received two doses, the report said.Deaths are down 4% since the peak on Jan. 13, while hospital admissions have decreased 37% since the Jan. 9 peak, the report said.ABC News’ Josh Margolin and Brian Hartman contributed to this report.Feb 06, 10:36 amNew York’s 7-day average positivity rate at lowest in 2 monthsNew York state’s seven-day average positivity rate has fallen to 4.58% — the lowest since Dec. 2, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.New York has 7,804 COVID-19 patients in hospitals — the lowest since Dec. 27, he added.Cuomo called these numbers “a reflection of the discipline New Yorkers have shown to defeat the virus.”People wearing facemasks walk in the Chinatown area of New York City, Feb. 5, 2021.“Super Bowl weekend is here and while the instinct may be to celebrate together, we cannot get cocky — we must continue doing the things we know are effective at taming the virus: wear a mask, adhere to social distancing, and avoid gatherings,” he said.ABC News’ Josh Hoyos contributed to this report.Feb 06, 7:09 amChina approves Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for general public useChina has given approval for the domestic-made Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to the general public — not just high-risk individuals and front-line workers.The National Medical Products Administration shared the news in a statement Saturday.The vaccine — which was given emergency approval in China last July — has already been sold to at least 10 other countries and is being given to people in at least five other countries.China previously said shots will be given without cost to citizens.Feb 05, 6:32 pmIowa to lift mask mandate starting SundayIowa will roll back several COVID-19 restrictions starting Sunday, including a requirement that masks be worn indoors.Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a new proclamation Friday that does not include any requirements around facial coverings.Under a previous proclamation, set to expire Saturday, masks were required in indoor public spaces when social distancing for at least 15 minutes was not possible.The new proclamation also does not impose any restrictions on public gatherings, which previously had to follow social distancing and other guidelines.Regarding gatherings, the new proclamation states, “I strongly encourage that all businesses or other employers remaining open with in-person operations take reasonable measures under the circumstances of each establishment to ensure the health of employees, patrons and members of the public, including social distancing practices, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health.”The governor has been loosening restrictions in recent weeks around public gatherings for sports, restaurants and bars as new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have trended downward from peaks in November.Iowa, which initially issued its mask requirement in mid-November, will be one of 15 states that doesn’t have a statewide mask mandate, according to a tally by Masks4All.Feb 05, 5:36 pmDelta to offer vaccines to Atlanta workersDelta will offer vaccinations to Georgia employees who are 65 and older starting on Monday, a company spokesperson confirmed to ABC News.A health care provider will administer the vaccines in a section of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Concourse C) and space at the Delta Flight Museum from Feb. 8 to Feb. 14. Delta’s headquarters are located in Atlanta.Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo last week that 690 Delta employees had received at least one vaccination shot.“We continue to work with federal and state authorities to prioritize immunizations for frontline Delta people,” Bastian wrote in the memo. “While healthcare workers and our most vulnerable are already getting their shots, I strongly encourage each of you to get vaccinated when your time comes.”ABC News’ Mina Kaji contributed to this report.Feb 05, 4:36 pmGlobal vaccinations surpass COVID-19 infections: WHOThe number of COVID-19 vaccinations around the world now surpasses infections, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said during a Friday news briefing. “In one sense, that is good news and a remarkable achievement in such a short time frame.”On the other hand, he noted, those vaccinations have not been distributed equally.“More than three quarters of those vaccinations are in just 10 countries that account for almost 60% of global GDP,” Tedros said. “Almost 130 countries with 2.5 billion people [have] yet to administer a single dose. Some countries have already vaccinated large proportions of their population who are at lower risk of severe disease or death.”Tedros urged drug companies to share their technology and data to ensure more equitable access.“The longer it takes to vaccinate those most at risk everywhere, the more opportunity we give the virus to mutate and evade vaccines,” Tedros said. “Unless we suppress the virus everywhere we could end up back at square one.”ABC News’ Kirit Radia contributed to this report.Feb 05, 3:44 pmIn New York, people with certain chronic conditions eligible for vaccines starting Feb. 15People with certain chronic conditions will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations on Feb. 15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during a Friday press conference. Underlying conditions are a key risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness and death. Cuomo posted the full list of conditions on Twitter Friday afternoon, which included people with cancer, heart conditions, chronic kidney disease, severe obesity and those who are pregnant.Feb 05, 11:33 am8% of US population has received 1 or more vaccine doses: HHSSo far, 8% of the U.S. population has received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccines, according to official figures released Friday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.In total, 35,203,710 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide. About 27.9 million people — 8% of the population — have received one or more doses, while 6.9 million people — 2% of the population — have received two doses.Feb 05, 11:17 amUS announces deployment of over 1,000 troops to help with vaccinationsU.S. President Joe Biden’s administration announced Friday that more than 1,000 active-duty military personnel will be deployed across the country to assist with COVID-19 vaccinations.The announcement was made during a press briefing held by members of the White House COVID-19 response team in Washington, D.C.Feb 05, 10:51 amUS Senate approves budget resolution to pass $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief packageThe U.S. Senate approved a budget resolution early Friday morning that would allow for the passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without the threat of a filibuster from Republican lawmakers who oppose it.Vice President Kamala Harris broke a 50-50 tie in the Senate by casting a vote in favor of the Democratic measure, which was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The resolution now goes back to the House for final approval.Biden has said he hopes to garner Republicans’ support for his sweeping COVID-19 relief package, billed as the American Rescue Plan, though Democrats are working to push it through Congress with or without the GOP.Feb 05, 9:41 amOxford/AstraZeneca vaccine effective against UK variant, researchers sayUniversity of Oxford researchers said Friday that the COVID-19 vaccine they developed with British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca remains effective against a new, more contagious variant of the novel coronavirus currently circulating in the United Kingdom.A preprint of ongoing work to assess effectiveness of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine shows that the existing version has similar efficacy against the so-called B117 variant to previously circulating variants. The preprint also describes recent analysis showing that the vaccination “results in a reduction in the duration of shedding and viral load, which may translate into a reduced transmission of the disease,” according to a press release from the university.“Data from our trials of the ChAdOx1 vaccine in the United Kingdom indicate that the vaccine not only protects against the original pandemic virus, but also protects against the novel variant, B117, which caused the surge in disease from the end of 2020 across the UK,” Andrew Pollard, professor of pediatric infection and immunity at the University of Oxford and chief investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said in a statement.The B117 variant was first identified last September in Kent, England, and has since spread to dozens of other countries.“We are working with AstraZeneca to optimize the pipeline required for a strain change should one become necessary,” Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford and chief investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said in a statement. “This is the same issue that is faced by all of the vaccine developers, and we will continue to monitor the emergence of new variants that arise in readiness for a future strain change.”Feb 05, 8:11 amGhana’s Parliament reduces sessions amid COVID-19 outbreakThe Parliament of Ghana will reduce its sessions to twice a week after dozens of lawmakers and legislative staff tested positive for COVID-19.Addressing lawmakers on the floor Thursday, Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin said at least 15 members of Parliament and 56 staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. They have been asked to self-isolate while steps are being taken to have members of their household tested as well.There are still 48 members of Parliament who have yet to be tested, according to Bagbin.Starting next week, Ghana’s Parliament will only sit on Tuesdays and Thursdays in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Only the lawmakers and staffers who are needed on those days will be allowed inside the building, Bagbin said.Schools reopened across the West African nation in January, following a 10-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. But as COVID-19 infections rise again, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday reimposed a ban on social gatherings.Ghana has confirmed at least 63,883 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including 390 deaths, according to the latest data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Feb 05, 7:24 amNew vaccine helpline in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County gets over 15,000 calls per secondThe Allegheny County Health Department in Pennsylvania said 750 residents made appointments to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on Thursday through a new phone registration offered by the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s 211 helpline.The call center began receiving calls well before the official start time at noon on Thursday. In the first five minutes following the announcement of the phone registration, there were 653 calls into the helpline. More than 15,000 calls were coming in per second throughout the day, attempting to reach the center, according to a press release from the Allegheny County Health Department.“We have known for a while that the demand for vaccines far outweighs the supply, and today’s phone registration only underscores that,” Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, said in a statement Thursday. “While we realize that there were many, many people who were frustrated because they did not receive an appointment, we also were able to serve 750 individuals who may not have had the opportunity to schedule otherwise.”The 211 helpline is for only scheduling vaccination appointments for Allegheny County residents who are 65 and older. Appointments are for the Allegheny County Health Department’s Point of Dispensing inside the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Monroevile, about 10 miles east of Pittsburgh. Other vaccine providers in the county have separate registration systems, the health department said.Feb 05, 5:49 amUS reports over 5,000 new deaths for first timeA staggering 5,078 fatalities from COVID-19 were registered in the United States on Thursday, marking a new single-day record, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.It’s the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic that the U.S. has recorded more than 5,000 deaths from the disease in a single day. Thursday’s tally far exceeds the country’s previous all-time high of 4,466 new deaths registered on Jan. 12, Johns Hopkins data shows.There were also 122,473 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed nationwide on Thursday, down from a peak of 300,282 newly confirmed infections on Jan. 2, according to Johns Hopkins data.COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend last month.A total of 26,679,554 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began and at least 455,869 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of the pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4, then reaching 200,000 on Nov. 27 before topping 300,000 on Jan. 2.So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use — one developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and another developed by American biotechnology company Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. More than 35 million vaccine doses have been administered nationwide, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreApplying to colleges can be complicated and confusing– especially when no one in your family has ever attended college. Where can you get help with writing admission essays or figuring out financial aid forms?Well, one high-school is matching parents who have gone through the process with their own college students to kids hoping to be the first in their families to continue with higher education.NEED MORE GOOD NEWS IN YOUR LIFE? GET OUR NEW APP—> Download FREE for Android and iOSNewton North High School in Massachusetts created a program called Transitioning Together that taps the city’s affluent parents to help their neighbors’ children.Since 2012, these experienced parents are paired with students who are first generation college applicants — many whose parents speak English as a second language.Then-principal Jen Price noticed a huge gap between college enrollments based on race and income and helped create Transitioning Together. She’s moved on to another school, but the mentoring program she helped start has continued to grow.RELATED: Grandma Drives Away Trouble On Her City’s Toughest StreetsThe program featured 29 students last year. All 29 went to college. This year, 40 students are taking advantage of the program — and, best of all, there’s no shortage of mentors.“As people had amazing experiences, they started talking at cocktail parties and to their friends and to their neighbors and so the mentor pool has really grown,” Price told WGBH News.— Photo by sentraldigital, CC SHARE This Great Idea…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
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Joseph Lamar, as the unnamed protagonist, in “Passing Strange” at the Aurora Fox Arts Center.For all its success as a production since it debuted in 2006, “Passing Strange” is still a relatively unknown commodity in the mainstream. Even with the musical receiving multiple Tony nominations in 2008, including winning Best Book, and the show’s final performance on Broadway filmed by director Spike Lee for a cinema release, it isn’t a household name, even among theater fans. In a theater world of adaptations and retreads, a unique production like “Passing Strange” can get lost in the shuffle. But seeing it on stage at the Aurora Fox Theater, it’s hard to imagine a better show to end the theater’s season. “Passing Strange” is the definition of appointment theater. This is the show you have to make a point to see. “Passing Strange” is a semi-autobiographical tale of a young black musician leaving the confines of his comfortable life in a Los Angeles suburb to head through Europe in the mid ‘80s in search of “the real.” His journey takes him through the bohemian paradise of Amsterdam and the political cauldron that was West Berlin in the midst of the Cold War. The production team behind the Fox’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” has created another dazzling show with “Passing Strange.” The show has a lot of moving parts, with actors taking on multiple roles and settings shifting freely. Yet the action on stage never feels forced or chaotic. Instead it always feels natural, something that isn’t an easy thing to do in a play that thoroughly removes any semblance of the fourth wall. Told through the eyes of the Narrator, played by Broadway veteran Trent Armand Kendall in his first Denver performance, the show portrays the angst and yearning for identity of many youths stuck in the comfort of middle class life. But while “Passing Strange” tells a universal tale, it is also thoroughly a story from an African American perspective. It is both a joy that Aurora has a chance to see a play cast entirely from amazing African American performers, and depressing that it is such a rare occurrence that it has to be highlighted. Joseph Lamar, as the unnamed protagonist, returns to the Fox after his lauded performance in 2017’s “Porgy and Bess.” An impressive vocal talent, Lamar’s acting strikes the perfect balance between a wide-eyed ingenue and a bravado-filled young man pretending to belong. As he continues on his quest for “the real,” Lamar’s character forcefully tries to shed his youthful naivety and replace it with what he thinks it means to be authentic. Lamar’s performance would be for naught if it weren’t for the skills of the ensemble cast that play the plethora of characters that populate the world of “Passing Strange.” The show succeeds in large part because of how easily actors like Randy Chalmers and Katherine Paynter are able to transition from one character to the other, imbibing each one with a unique performance. For all the successful elements on stage, this is Kendall’s show at the end of the day. He is on stage in every scene, hovering in the background, taking center stage to address the audience, casually flipping through a book while lovers fight it out in front of him. It is impossible to not have your eyes drawn to him even if he’s just in the background dancing to the music. What makes Kendall’s performance even more remarkable is that for opening weekend, he did all of that while dealing with a severe case of laryngitis. His powerful voice reduced to a scratchy shadow of itself, Kendall somehow didn’t miss a beat or a note while singing through what had to be unbelievable pain. It was the theater equivalent of Michael Jordan’s flu game or Kerri Strug pole vaulting for Olympic gold on a bum ankle. With a full week to recover, it’s easy to imagine how great the finally few weeks of “Passing Strange” will be with Kendall’s voice at full capacity. 4.5 out of 5 stars“Passing Strange” at the Aurora Fox Theater. Playing now through May 13. For more information and tickets, visit aurorafoxartscenter.org/afac/ or call 303-739-1970.