All US adults eligible for a Covid vaccine by 19 April, Biden says | First Thing
All American adults will be eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine by 19 April, Joe Biden announced yesterday. The president also said that the US has passed the milestone of administering a record 4m doses in a single day, and has given more than 150m doses in total.
But it wasn’t all good news; Biden warned that the US was still in a “life-and-death race” against coronavirus, as case numbers rise in many states and new variants spread. Despite this, some officials have been relaxing public health restrictions.
A third of people who were seriously ill with Covid developed a mental health problem within six months of infection, a study has found. It used electronic health records of 236,379 patients, mainly within the US, and found 34% experienced mental health and neurological conditions afterwards.
Montana’s governor has tested positive for coronavirus and will self-isolate for 10 days. Greg Gianforte had his first shot of a vaccine last week. His wife has also been tested and isn’t showing any symptoms.
Derek Chauvin’s police trainer said his knee restraint was not authorised
A Minneapolis police trainer said that putting a knee on a suspect’s neck when they were already subdued was “not authorised”, as he testified at the murder trial of the former officer Derek Chauvin.
Lt Johnny Mercil, who instructed Chauvin in the use of force, said the department allowed neck restraints using an arm or the side of a leg when the suspect was “assaultive”, but did not train officers to use their knee. Mercil said the use of a knee was “not unauthorised” but was not allowed when the suspect was already in handcuffs or subdued.
It comes after Minneapolis police chief said there was no justification for Chauvin’s force against Floyd, when he testified on Monday. Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin had breached force regulation and showed a “disregard for life”.
Chauvin is accused of killing George Floyd, a Black man who died after the then-officer kept his knee of Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest, despite Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe. He was already handcuffed. Chauvin denies the charges.
Arkansas banned gender-affirming healthcare for trans young people
Arkansas became the first state to ban gender-affirming treatments and surgery for transgender young people yesterday.
On Monday, the state’s governor had vetoed the bill after pleas from paediatricians, social workers and parents who said the measure would do immeasurable harm to young people already at risk of higher rates of suicide and depression. However, Republican lawmakers in the state overrode his veto yesterday.
What does the ban do? The measure bans doctors from providing gender-affirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old – and from referring them to other providers for the treatment.
Opponents say this treatment can be critical for mental health, with Dr Robert Garofalo, the division head of adolescent and young adult medicine at Lurie Children’s hospital in Chicago, saying: “This legislation perpetuates the very things we know are harmful to trans youth. They’re not just anti-trans. They’re anti-science. They’re anti-public health.”
In other news…
A shooting at a US army base has left the suspect dead and two injured, all navy personnel. The shooter was a navy hospital corpsman, and shot two people at a Maryland business park, before driving 10 minutes to Fort Detrick where he was shot and killed by an employee.
Alexei Navalny is “seriously ill” following reports he has been moved to a prison sick ward and tested for coronavirus. The Kremlin critic said in a note published earlier this week that he was coughing and had a high temperature – several prisoners on his ward have been treated for tuberculosis recently.
Florida congressman Alcee Hastings has died aged 84, two years after the fiercely liberal lawmaker announced he had pancreatic cancer. You can read more about his life and beliefs here.
Stat of the day: 77% of board members at major US banks have ties to ‘climate-conflicted’ firms
American banks might be outwardly committed to tackling the climate crisis, but their boards are still overwhelmingly dominated by people with potential conflicts of interest over the environment. Three out of every four board members at seven major US banks, 77%, have current or past ties to “climate-conflicted” companies or organisations, from fossil fuel firms to lobbying groups against the reduction of pollution.
Don’t miss this: at least 157 people have died in floods in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Here’s what happened
At least 157 people have been killed, dozens missing, and thousands left homeless after a tropical cyclone battered Timor-Leste and Indonesia this weekend. Locals share their stories.
Last thing: it’s a wrap for film censorship in Italy
In Italy, it will no longer be possible to block the release of a new film, or demand edits, for religious or moral reasons. Instead, film-makers will classify their own films based on the age of the audience. Over the past century, hundreds of films have been censured in the country – most famously Last Tango in Paris. Experts welcomed the ban as “important and historic step for Italian cinema”.
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