A former Wisconsin pharmacist who admitted trying to sabotage more than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccines at a time when demand for vaccines was overwhelming has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Steven Brandenburg, 46, of Grafton admitted after his arrest in December that he intentionally removed Moderna-made doses from a refrigerator for hours at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton. He pleaded guilty in February to two counts of attempted tampering with a consumer product.
His lawyer, Jason Baltz, said Brandenburg was skeptical of vaccines in general after one of his daughters was diagnosed with eczema following inoculation at a young age.
Aurora destroyed most of the falsified doses, but not before 57 people – mostly Brandenburg colleagues – had received inoculations from the supply. Those doses would still have been effective, but weeks of uncertainty on that front created a storm of anger, anxiety and anguish among recipients, court documents show.
“The team is still very confused,” said Michelle Blakely, president of the Aurora facility. “It has been absolutely devastating for the organization.”
– Milwaukee Sentry Elliot Hughes Diary
Also in the news:
►Daily coronavirus infections in India fell below 100,000 for the first time in more than two months, as the monstrous wave that hit the country last month receded.
►Highly transmissible delta variant now accounts for 6% of infections in the United States, the Biden administration said.
►Several dozen staff at the Houston Methodist Hospital, which became the first major health care system in the United States to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations, have been suspended without pay this week for failing to comply with the hospital’s full vaccination requirement. Staff make up less than 1% of the hospital’s approximately 26,000 employees.
The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 33.3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and at least 598,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 174 million cases and over 3.74 million deaths. Nearly 140.4 million Americans have been fully immunized, or 42.3% of the population, according to the CDC.
What we read: The summer vacation season is underway without a key element this year: crowded flights between the United States and London due to COVID-related travel restrictions.
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Biggest summer program in history faces major task
Millions of children this summer will participate in what should be the the largest summer school program in history, fueled by more than $ 1.2 billion in targeted post-pandemic federal assistance from the US Rescue Plan. But experts fear that students who need the extra tutoring the most will get it. Studies have also shown that students most in need, typically black or Latino children from low-income families who were already left behind academically before the pandemic, often due to socio-economic factors. and systemic racism, are the least likely to actually participate. And those who sign up often don’t attend regularly.
“The past few months have been filled with trauma, grief and stress,” said Austin Beutner, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. “We know that one of the best places for children to heal are schools, surrounded by support and their friends and the sense of community that only a school can provide.” Read more here.
– Trevor Hughes
A story of two states: did Minnesota get it right?
An analysis of data from Michigan and Minnesota – the only two to provide detailed and comparable vaccine records in response to Records USA TODAY’s demands – reveals Minnesota has supercharged its healthcare system, scattering doses across a large network of doctor’s offices and hospitals across the state. Michigan, in an effort to distribute vaccines equitably to the rich and poor, directed doses to public health departments that were intended to entice uninsured residents to mass vaccination events.
Not only did Michigan surpass Minnesota’s overall immunization rate through the end of March, it didn’t do better to immunize black and Latino residents. Dr Bryan Jarabek, director of IT at M Health Fairview in Minnesota, said all hospitals in the state were surrounded by clinics.
“Hospitals and clinics are positioned to take care of the whole state,” he said. “We then showed this to the governor… and said, ‘You can trust us. Give us the vaccines. We will bring it to the places that need it.
– Aleszu Bajak
Ohio Reports 20,000th Death, Least Hospitalizations To Date
Ohio crossed two COVID-19 milestones on Tuesday, reporting more than 20,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic and reporting the smallest number of people currently hospitalized statewide. Since the start of the pandemic, 20,021 people have died from COVID-19, the Ohio Department of Health reported.
December remains the deadliest month for the coronavirus in Ohio, with 5,520 deaths, state data shows. But deaths fell sharply in January and February, after older Ohioians and people living in nursing homes were able to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, only 503 COVID-19 positive patients were being treated in Ohio hospitals on Tuesday, the lowest number since the Ohio Hospital Association began collecting data in March 2020. This represents a drop. compared to a high of 5,308 on December 15, 2020 and a single 1,058 a month ago.
And on Tuesday, nearly 5.4 million Ohioans (46.18% of the state’s population) had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 4.8 million people, or 41 % of the population, had completed a vaccination schedule.
– Jackie Borchardt, Cincinnati investigator
CDC: Americans vaccinated can visit Canada, Mexico and 60 other countries
Federal authorities give their blessing for Americans to visit our neighboring countries to the north and south, as long as travelers are vaccinated. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised travel health advisories for dozens of countries to a low-risk level, thereby adjusting travel advice for vaccinated Americans. Among the 62 destinations that have gone from level 4 “very high COVID-19” to level 3 “high COVID-19”, include Canada, Mexico, Japan, Italy, France and Germany.
The CDC recommends avoiding level 4 countries and says visitors from level 3 countries should be fully immunized against the coronavirus. It discourages non-essential travel to the latter group by those who are not vaccinated.
– Bailey Schulz
Fake COVID-19 vaccination cards are sold online on various platforms, from Amazon to Telegram. Amazon has since removed the provider, but photos shared on Twitter show what was once alive – a pack of 10 blank vaccination cards for $ 12.99. Some organizations and states have created apps and digital passports to prove vaccination, but there is no widespread practice. Scammers take advantage of the confusion to profit from fake vaccination cards. The crooks have also found space on Telegram, the messaging service and the app, to sell fake COVID-19 vaccine cards, BuzzFeed News has discovered.
The FBI shared a public service announcement in March saying it is illegal to make or purchase the vaccination cards because it is misuse of the official government agency seal. They also shared that it puts others at risk for contracting COVID-19.
Contribute: The Associated Press.