3h ago / 7:17 PM UTC
A World War II veteran was discharged from an Alabama hospital days before his 104th birthday after spending nearly a week in the hospital battling Covid-19.
Major Lee Wooten, who was stationed in Paris rebuilding railroads that were bombed by U.S. troops during the war, was first diagnosed with Covid-19 on November 23, his granddaughter Holly McDonald told NBC News. After his symptoms worsened, Wooten was rushed to the emergency room and hospitalized on November 25.
McDonald said she was worried for her grandfather as her sister had been on a ventilator after contracting the virus in August.
But after a six-day stay at Madison Hospital in Madison, Alabama, Wooten recovered and was released on Tuesday.
In a video posted on Madison Hospital’s Facebook page, masked healthcare workers line the atrium of the hospital with congratulatory signs and balloons singing “Happy Birthday” as Wooten is wheeled out of the hospital.
“We feel very blessed and overwhelmed with relief,” McDonald told NBC News about his discharge from the hospital. “He just really loves to live life and be out there. That’s the secret to his longevity.”
4h ago / 6:17 PM UTC
Which people get the Covid-19 vaccine first? States will determine your place in line
These days, across America, the phone rings frequently with the same question at health departments, pharmacies, doctors’ offices and advocacy groups: a line is forming for a Covid-19 vaccine, and people want to know where they stand.
The answers are often vague, whether posed to local officials or labor unions, associations for heart disease or diabetes, CVS corporate headquarters or leading professors of public health: “Stand by.” “We have not heard from the federal government.” “We just don’t know yet.”
New federal recommendation only covers Phase 1a, and the question of who counts in each of those first phase categories has yet to be determined. The rest of the population still does not know where they will fall within the amorphous later phases — or even how they will find out. Though professional groups have suggested frameworks for the CDC, there is still no complete federal plan.
4h ago / 5:57 PM UTC
At 102 years old, New York woman beats the coronavirus — twice
Angelina Friedman, a 102-year-old New York woman who lived through the 1918 flu pandemic and survived cancer, has now beat the coronavirus — twice, her daughter says.
The first time Friedman was diagnosed with Covid-19 was in March after she was transferred from a nursing home in Lake Mohegan, where she’s a resident, to the hospital for a minor leg procedure.
Her daughter, Joanne Merola, said that the diagnosis came as a surprise because her mother wasn’t sick.
“She was never really symptomatic the first time around. The worst symptom she had was a fever that lasted maybe 10 days,” Merola said in a phone interview Thursday.
But in October, shortly before Friedman’s 102nd birthday, she was diagnosed with the virus again.
4h ago / 5:44 PM UTC
U.N. chief pans countries who ignored Covid facts, WHO guidance
UNITED NATIONS – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday decried countries — without naming names — who rejected the facts about the coronavirus pandemic and ignored guidance from the World Health Organization.
Guterres addressed a special session of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly on the coronavirus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and spread globally, so far infecting more than 100 million people and killing nearly 1.5 million.
“From the start, the World Health Organization provided factual information and scientific guidance that should have been the basis for a coordinated global response,” Guterres said.
“Unfortunately, many of these recommendations were not followed. And in some situations, there was a rejection of facts and an ignoring of the guidance. And when countries go in their own direction, the virus goes in every direction,” he said.
President Donald Trump cut funding to the WHO earlier this year and announced plans to quit the Geneva-based body over accusations it was a puppet of China, which the WHO denied. The U.S. withdrawal would have taken effect in July next year, but U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said he will rescind the move.
5h ago / 5:23 PM UTC
Walmart gives another round of employee bonuses, bringing 2020 total over $2.8B
Walmart will give another round of cash bonuses to full- and part-time hourly employees, the company said Thursday. Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, will distribute up to $700 million in bonuses for this round alone, bringing the 2020 total up to over $2.8 billion. This payout will be the fourth since the pandemic began, following bonus distribution in April, June and August.
In addition to cash bonuses, Walmart provided early bonus payouts to employees this spring. Other essential retailers and grocers, such as Kroger and Target, have given their frontline workers hazard pay or temporary wage increases to supplement their income during the pandemic.
Several large companies, including Walmart, have recently come under fire for not resuming those payments as coronavirus cases and holiday demand surge. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union recently signed a letter to the nation’s top grocery retailers demanding reinstated hazard pay and paid sick leave, among other safety measures.
The Associated Press
5h ago / 4:44 PM UTC
Lon Adams, Slim Jim jerky recipe creator, dies of Covid
RALEIGH, N.C. — Alonzo “Lon” T. Adams II, the man who created the formula for Slim Jim beef jerky sticks, has died from complications of Covid-19. He was 95.
Lynn Barrow of Brown-Wynne Funeral Home in Raleigh, North Carolina, confirmed Wednesday that Adams died on Nov. 28. A graveside funeral service was held Wednesday, Barrow said.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Adams was a World War II veteran who survived the Battle of the Bulge despite being shot in the head.
While Slim Jims were first created in 1928, the current formula is Adams’ work. It was described by The New York Times in 1996 as a lengthy process that calls for processed ground beef, chicken meat and other parts, along with a range of spices and chemicals. Adams worked on the jerky recipe for more than 20 years at GoodMark Foods in Garner, North Carolina, from 1968 until his retirement in 1991.
Food processor Conagra Brands bought GoodMark Foods in 1998.
Adams is survived by two children and three grandchildren.
6h ago / 4:34 PM UTC
Covid vaccine could be available in NYC in less than 2 weeks
The new Covid-19 vaccine is expected to make its New York City debut in less than two weeks, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.
“The moment we have all been waiting for is finally here,” de Blasio said in a radio interview on New York 1010WINS.
The first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine (254,250 doses) are due to arrive as early as Dec. 15 and the Moderna vaccine (211,275 doses) are expected to land in the city on or around Dec. 22, de Blasio said.
High-risk health care workers, nursing home staffers and residents will get the first shots, the mayor said.
“It’s absolutely crucial to protect those who protect all of us,” de Blasio said. “And we know from a painful experience how much we have to focus on our nursing home residents and the good people who work in our nursing homes.”
5h ago / 4:35 PM UTC
State Dept. employees told to avoid holiday parties as Pompeo invites hundreds to indoor gatherings
State Department leadership is instructing employees to avoid hosting non-mission-critical events in person and “opt for virtual events,” even as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo invites hundreds to celebrate the holidays at large indoor parties.
“The COVID-19 pandemic will bring some changes to this year’s holiday season,” according to a notice dated November 25. “With much of our team working remotely and in light of rising cases across the country, the Bureau of Administration wants to reiterate the Department’s commitment to responsible physical distancing and mission-critical only gatherings.”
While the holiday parties at the State Department will offer guests festive alcoholic drinks and traditional holiday fare, the notice also made clear employees would not have the same privilege warning “[Management] will not be approving alcohol waivers for gatherings in Department facilities during this time.”
Instead, the State Department suggested employees try virtual alternatives including, “photo contests of door decorations, virtual holiday mask or sweater competitions and virtual hangouts.”
The note from leadership was first reported by the Washington Post.
6h ago / 4:02 PM UTC
Criminals offering fake coronavirus vaccines, Interpol warns
Interpol has issued a global alert that warns that criminals “have been advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines,” particularly online.
The alert comes in the wake of news that the U.K. has approved the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, to be first administered this month, and the U.S. is likely to follow suit soon.
Approved vaccines in the U.S. will be administered in person by healthcare professionals.
“Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives,” Inerpol’s secretary general, Jürgen Stock, said a statement.