(Hawaii News Now) 46 new COVID-19 infections reported, pushing statewide total for cases above 21,000

(SOURCE: HAWAII NEWS NOW)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaii reported 46 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, pushing the statewide total for infections since the pandemic began to 21,028.

Of the new cases, 30 are on Oahu, 13 in Maui County, two on the Big Island and one on Kauai.

There have been 1,558 cases in the last 14 days.

There were no new fatalities reported Monday. The death toll from the virus in Hawaii stands at 285.

Here’s a breakdown of cases:

Oahu

  • 17,634 total cases
  • 1,244 required hospitalization
  • 221 deaths

Hawaii County

  • 1,864 total cases
  • 85 required hospitalization
  • 44 deaths

Maui

  • 906 total cases
  • 70 required hospitalization
  • 17 deaths

Lanai

  • 106 total cases
  • 5 required hospitalization
  • 0 deaths

Molokai

  • 22 total cases
  • 1 required hospitalization
  • 0 deaths

Kauai

  • 144 total cases
  • 7 required hospitalization
  • 1 deaths

Out-of-state

  • 352 total cases
  • 3 required hospitalization
  • 2 deaths

This story may be updated.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(Hawaii News Now) Hawaii gets 11,000 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with more expected this week

(SOURCE: HAWAII NEWS NOW)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – More than 14,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have administered to Hawaii residents so far — mostly to healthcare and frontline workers — as the state prepares for more shipments of the vaccine this week.

On Monday, the state got 10,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine — the second shipment of the vaccine to the state so far. Of the new doses, 5,200 are for Oahu and 5,700 for the Neighbor Islands.

The state is also expecting about 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Hawaii is currently on track to receive just more than 61,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of the year, or about 24% fewer doses than the 82,000 that were originally expected.

Those doses are still expected to make it to Hawaii eventually, but Health Department officials say their arrival has been delayed.

The distribution of doses across the state is continuing to widen; Adventist Health Castle started immunizing staff members last week, delivering about 555 doses within the first 48 hours.

Hospital officials say they plan to administer shots to the public using a drive-through system when the vaccine is more widely made available.

And first responders on Maui were inoculated over the weekend, when Hawaii National Guard members helped the Maui District Health Office administer the vaccine at UH Maui.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(Hawaii News Now) City card to expire soon, but officials seek another deadline extension

(SOURCE: HAWAII NEWS NOW)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – The last day for city card users to use up the $500 in funds is supposed to be Tuesday, but officials said they are working to extend the deadline to Jan. 31.

According to the Office of Economic Revitalization, officials are working with the mayor to extend the deadline.

As of Monday, more then 2,300 of the 3,700 have been activated and $1 million has been spent.

There were a number of issues with these cards.

They were originally delayed because the city used an East Coast vendor who wasn’t able to ship them out in time.

When they came, users weren’t able to get through to the vendor’s call center.

Now, users can activate the cards online.

Users can buy items at grocery and convenient stories besides alcohol, tobacco, bus passes and gift cards.

Walmart and Target do not accept the card, according to the card’s website.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(Hawaii News Now) Hawaii reports 66 new COVID-19 infections; no additional fatalities

(SOURCE: HAWAII NEWS NOW)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaii reported 66 new COVID-19 infections Tuesday, pushing the statewide total for cases since the pandemic began to 20,417.

In the last 14 days, Hawaii has seen 1,700 new infections.

Of the new cases Tuesday, 51 were on Oahu, seven were on Maui, six were on the Big Island and two were residents who had been diagnosed out-of-state.

On Oahu, the seven-day average for daily cases is now 108 cases and the test positivity is 3.7%.

There were no new fatalities Tuesday. The death toll from the virus in Hawaii stands at 282.

Here’s a breakdown of cases:

Oahu

  • 17,209 total cases
  • 1,3236 cases in the last 14 days
  • 1,244 required hospitalization
  • 218 deaths

Hawaii County

  • 1,822 total cases
  • 171 cases in the last 14 days
  • 85 required hospitalization
  • 44 deaths

Maui

  • 792 total cases
  • 176 cases in the last 14 days
  • 70 required hospitalization
  • 17 deaths

Lanai

  • 106 total cases
  • 0 cases in the last 14 days
  • 5 required hospitalization
  • 0 deaths

Molokai

  • 22 total cases
  • 3 cases in the last 14 days
  • 1 required hospitalization
  • 0 deaths

Kauai

  • 138 total cases
  • 17 cases in the last 14 days
  • 7 required hospitalization
  • 1 deaths

Out-of-state

  • 328 total cases
  • 3 required hospitalization
  • 2 deaths

This story may be updated.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(Hawaii News Now) Pfizer to supply US with additional 100M doses of vaccine

(SOURCE: HAWAII NEWS NOW)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pfizer said Wednesday it will supply the U.S. government with an additional 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine under a new agreement between the pharmaceutical giant and the Trump administration.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said that will bring their total current commitment to 200 million doses for the U.S. That should be enough to vaccinate 100 million people with the two-shot regimen. The government also has an option to purchase an additional 400 million doses.

“This new federal purchase can give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough supply to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a statement. The cost to taxpayers: $1.95 billion for the additional 100 million doses.

To aid vaccine production, the government said it is using its authority under a Cold War-era law that allows it to direct private manufacturing.

Pfizer’s vaccine was the first to be approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. It has now been joined by another two-shot vaccine from Moderna, developed in close collaboration with the National Institutes of Health. The government began shipping the Pfizer vaccine to states last week, and the one from Moderna this week.

The priority groups for first vaccination include health care workers and nursing home residents. Gradually more Americans will have access to the free vaccines, which have been shown to be highly effective in clinical studies undertaken so far.

Separately, HHS announced it has joined forces with another big pharma company — Merck— to support the large-scale manufacture of a promising treatment for patients suffering from severe COVID-19 illness.

The treatment, still under investigation and not yet approved by the FDA, is known as MK-7110. It has the potential to minimize the damaging effects of an overactive immune response to COVID-19. This immune overdrive unleashes a cascade of effects on the human body, complicating the life-saving efforts of doctors and nurses.

The government is paying Merck about $356 million to fast-track production of its treatment under the auspices of Operation Warp Speed, a joint effort between HHS, the Pentagon, and drug companies to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. It’s the same collaboration that led to Moderna’s vaccine. The money will allow Merck to deliver up to 100,000 doses by June 30, if the FDA clears the treatment for emergency use.

The current wave of COVID-19 is straining hospitals in a number of states, from California to Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma to Rhode Island. Having better treatments would help keep patients out of intensive care, improving their chances of survival and reducing the burden and stress on hospital staff.

Under the Pfizer deal announced Wednesday, the company will deliver at least 70 million of the additional vaccine doses by June 30, with the remaining 30 million to be delivered no later than July 31.

“With these 100 million additional doses, the United States will be able to protect more individuals and hopefully end this devastating pandemic more quickly,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our work with the U.S. government and healthcare providers around the country.”

Pfizer initially had a contract through Operation Warp Speed to supply the government with 100 million doses of its vaccine. The drugmaker will receive nearly $2 billion for that deal as well.

The Associated Press previously reported that the government was close to reaching the just-announced deal with Pfizer in exchange for helping the company gain better access to manufacturing supplies.

A law dating back to the Korean War gives the government authority to direct private companies to produce critical goods in times of national emergency. Called the Defense Production Act, it’s expected to help Pfizer secure some raw materials needed for its vaccine.

“Operation Warp Speed and the Department of Health and Human Services are using the Defense Production Act to support the production of the six OWS-related vaccines, including Pfizer,” said HHS spokesman Michael Pratt. “Through the selective application of DPA authorities, OWS helps prioritize access to the critical materials and supplies necessary to expand vaccine production in support of U.S. government contracts.”

The other four vaccines are undergoing trials to determine their effectiveness and better understand their overall safety.

Pfizer and BioNTech undertook their own vaccine development, maintaining a more arms-length relationship with the government. But approval of their vaccine won them immediate name recognition, raising hopes of taming a pandemic that has killed more than 320,000 Americans and hobbled much of the economy. Local TV stations across the country began broadcasting scenes of doctors and nurses garbed in hospital scrubs receiving the first vaccinations. Some polls showed easing skepticism about getting vaccinated.

After early failures with testing, Trump administration officials are hoping to write a very different ending with vaccines. Operation Warp Speed has financed the development, manufacture and distribution of millions of doses, with the goal of providing a free vaccine to any American who wants one.

Operation Warp Speed is on track to have about 40 million doses of vaccine by the end of this month, of which about 20 million would be allocated for first vaccinations. Distribution of those doses would span into the first week of January. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots to be fully effective.

Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Hawaii reports 134 new COVID-19 infections; no additional fatalities

(SOURCE: HAWAII NEWS NOW)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaii reported 134 new COVID-19 infections Monday, pushing the statewide total for cases since the pandemic began to 20,351.

In the last 14 days, Hawaii has seen 1,688 new infections.

The seven-day average for new cases in Hawaii is now 129, with a 2.8% positivity rate.

The positivity rate on Oahu is 3.6% and the seven-day average is 105. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has warned that new restrictions could be put in place if cases don’t decline over the next week.

There were no new fatalities Monday. The death toll from the virus in Hawaii stands at 282.

Of the new cases:

  • 104 are on Oahu
  • 14 are in Maui County
  • 13 on the Big Island
  • and one is on Kauai

Here’s a breakdown of cases:https://732ae7fc84bd0b14cf2f7d3447659811.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Oahu

  • 17,158 total cases
  • 1,323 cases in the last 14 days
  • 1,241 required hospitalization
  • 218 deaths

Hawaii County

  • 1,816 total cases
  • 170 cases in the last 14 days
  • 85 required hospitalization
  • 44 deaths

Maui

  • 785 total cases
  • 172 cases in the last 14 days
  • 70 required hospitalization
  • 17 deaths

Lanai

  • 106 total cases
  • 0 cases in the last 14 days
  • 5 required hospitalization
  • 0 deaths

Molokai

  • 22 total cases
  • 3 cases in the last 14 days
  • 1 required hospitalization
  • 0 deaths

Kauai

  • 138 total cases
  • 17 cases in the last 14 days
  • 7 required hospitalization
  • 1 deaths

Out-of-state

  • 326 total cases
  • 3 required hospitalization
  • 2 deaths

This story may be updated.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(Hawaii News Now) New COVID-19 death, 130 new infections reported in state’s daily case count

(SOURCE: HAWAII NEWS NOW)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – The state’s Department of Health reported a new coronavirus-related death on Friday, pushing the statewide death toll from the virus to 281.

Health officials also reported 130 new COVID-19 infections across the state, pushing the the statewide total for infections since the pandemic began to 19,859. One death was reported on Oahu, and the other was reported on Hawaii Island.

Of the new cases:

  • 105 are on Oahu
  • 11 on Maui
  • Seven on Hawaii Island
  • One on Kauai
  • Six were residents diagnosed out-of-state

Here’s an island-by-island breakdown:

Oahu

  • 16,760 total cases
  • 1,153 cases in the last 14 days
  • 1,225 required hospitalization
  • 217 deaths

Hawaii County

  • 1,769 total cases
  • 147 cases in the last 14 days
  • 84 required hospitalization
  • 44 deaths

Maui

  • 746 total cases
  • 169 cases in the last 14 days
  • 69 required hospitalization
  • 17 deaths

Lanai

  • 106 total cases
  • 0 cases in the last 14 days
  • 5 required hospitalization
  • 0 deaths

Molokai

  • 22 total cases
  • 4 cases in the last 14 days
  • 1 required hospitalization
  • 0 deaths

Kauai

  • 136 total cases
  • 16 cases in the last 14 days
  • 7 required hospitalization
  • 1 deaths

Out-of-state

  • 320 total cases
  • 3 required hospitalization
  • 2 deaths

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(KITV) Watch for the ‘Christmas Star’ as Jupiter and Saturn come closer than they have in centuries

(SOURCE: KITV)

(CNN) — The two largest planets in our solar system are coming closer together than they have been since the Middle Ages, and it’s happening just in time for Christmas — hence the nickname of the “Christmas Star.”

While it’s not an actual star, the two planets will certainly make a bright splash in the night sky.

On the night of December 21, the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will appear so closely aligned in our sky that they will look like a double planet. This close approach is called a conjunction. The fact that this event is happening during the winter solstice is pure coincidence, according to NASA.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said astronomer Patrick Hartigan, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University in Houston, in a statement.

“You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.”

If you’re a stargazer, you’ve likely noticed Jupiter and Saturn have been getting closer together since the summer. And they’re currently visible in our night sky, inching ever closer to one another.

Between December 16 and 25, they will become even cozier. Look for the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction low in the western sky for about an hour after sunset each evening during this time.

“You can imagine the solar system to be a racetrack, with each of the planets as a runner in their own lane and the Earth toward the center of the stadium,” said Henry Throop, astronomer in the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“From our vantage point, we’ll be able to be to see Jupiter on the inside lane, approaching Saturn all month and finally overtaking it on December 21.”

How to watch

“On the evening of closest approach on Dec(ember) 21 they will look like a double planet, separated by only 1/5th the diameter of the full Moon,” Hartigan said. “For most telescope viewers, each planet and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening.”

While these two planets may appear close, they are still hundreds of millions of miles apart, according to NASA.

Hope for clear skies because the conjunction will be visible around the world, with the best perspective for thosenear the equator.

“The further north a viewer is, the less time they’ll have to catch a glimpse of the conjunction before the planets sink below the horizon,” Hartigan said.

The planets will be bright enough to be viewed in twilight, which may be the best time for many US viewers to observe the conjunction.

“By the time skies are fully dark in Houston, for example, the conjunction will be just 9 degrees above the horizon,” Hartigan said. “Viewing that would be manageable if the weather cooperates and you have an unobstructed view to the southwest.”

If you’re in New York or London, or along those latitudes, try to spot the conjunction right after sunset. Waiting an hour after the sun sets will only put the planets closer to the horizon, making them more difficult to spot.

The best conditions to see this astronomical event will include a clear southwestern horizon and no low clouds in the distance, Hartigan said. Binoculars or a telescope may help you distinguish the planets. A telescope would enable a view of Saturn’s rings and the brightest moons of both planets, he said.

Jupiter will appear brightest and be easily visible. Saturn will be slightly fainter and will appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter. On December 21, Jupiter will overtake Saturn and they will swap places in our sky.

“On December 21, the sun will set around 4:30. After that, it is a race — the sky must get dark enough to see Jupiter and Saturn before they set as well, around 6:45,” said Walter Freeman, assistant teaching professor in the department of physics at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences in New York state.

“Jupiter and Saturn will likely stand out from the twilight glow starting around 5:00 or 5:15. With binoculars, a telescope, or a telephoto lens of 500 (millimeter)focal length or more, you may also be able to see the four largest moons of Jupiter. There’s no better way to celebrate the longest night of the year than watching the stars. So if you’re planning a night of stargazing on the solstice, start off by admiring the largest planets before they set.”

Live events around the conjunction

If you miss this conjunction and want to see the planets with the same proximity, just higher in the sky, it won’t happen until March 15, 2080 — and then not again until after 2400.

Between 0 and 3000 CE, or Common Era, only seven conjunctions were or will be closer than this one — and two of those were too close to the sun to be seen without a telescope, according to Hartigan. So, yes, this is an incredibly rare event.

In case weather conditions in your area aren’t agreeable to witnessing this celestial event, several livestreams will be available.

The Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, will host a program beginning at 7 p.m. ET, showcasing live views through its telescopes. The stream will be on the observatory’s YouTube page.

The Virtual Telescope Project in Rome will also share live views onits website.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

(Hawaii News Now) 57 additional COVID-19 cases, no new deaths reported in Hawaii as vaccinations begin

(SOURCE: HAWAII NEWS NOW)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – The state’s Department of Health reported 57 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Tuesday, the day the first doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine were administered to local healthcare workers.

No additional COVID-19 fatalities were reported, and the statewide death toll from the virus currently stands at 274.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University say the U.S. surpassed 300,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday.

Of the new cases:

  • 35 are on Oahu
  • 10 on the Big Island
  • Seven on Maui
  • Threewere residents diagnosed out-of-state

The new cases push the statewide total for infections since the pandemic began to 19,480.

Here’s an island-by-island breakdown:

Oahu

  • 16,458 total cases
  • 1,102 cases in the last 14 days
  • 1,209 required hospitalization
  • 211 deaths

Hawaii County

  • 1,743 total cases
  • 139 cases in the last 14 days
  • 82 required hospitalization
  • 43 deaths

Maui

  • 714 total cases
  • 169 cases in the last 14 days
  • 67 required hospitalization
  • 17 deaths

Lanai

  • 106 total cases
  • 0 cases in the last 14 days
  • 5 required hospitalization
  • 0 deaths

Molokai

  • 22 total cases
  • 4 cases in the last 14 days
  • 1 required hospitalization
  • 0 deaths

Kauai

  • 134 total cases
  • 21 cases in the last 14 days
  • 7 required hospitalization
  • 1 deaths

Out-of-state

  • 303 total cases
  • 3 required hospitalization
  • 2 deaths

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

(KITV) Hawaii Department of Education announces furlough dates for public school employees

(SOURCE: KITV)

Hawaii public school teachers and other 10-month employees are scheduled to lose six days of pay for the rest of the academic year. Year-round staff stand to lose 10 days.

In an email last night, state Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto informed public school employees of its furlough schedule. Kishimoto wrote she wanted to minimize loss of instructional time for students.

Ten-month employees such as teachers, counselors, librarians and registrars will be furloughed an average of one day a month. Twelve-month employees, like principals and office staff, will be furloughed an average of two days a month.

Some wonder how the dates were chosen.

“The dates are just thrown at us ten o’clock at night. Here you go. You know, these are your days you’re not working now and not getting paid,” Kaua’i teacher Caroline Freudig said.

Freudig believes DOE leaders should have consulted with teachers to create the furlough schedule.

The first furlough day is January 4 a teacher’s work day with no student instruction. But the problem some teachers say that January 4 is the day between semesters and before students return to the classroom.
DOE says staff cannot work on furlough days.

“That’s just a difficult concept to grasp because I know a lot of teachers, my friends, and even myself we don’t stop working,” Norman Sales, Literacy Coach at Farrington High School, said.

“Some of our teachers are gonna prep anyway on the 4th which means they are working without pay and doing on their own time,” Freudig said.

Then there’s the second furlough day February 12, which is Teacher’s Institute Day on Kaua’i, when the public teachers’ union is scheduled to meet with its members and there’s no student instruction.

Freudig says it’s problematic because it’s a contractual work day for union members.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association is consulting attorneys and plans to take legal action to block the furloughs from taking effect. The union’s president wants Governor David Ige to reconsider.

“Congress is working on a deal where the latest proposal had $82 billion for education. Our local legislators have said that they think that furloughs are too early and that they want an opportunity to try to find other ways of creating revenue. And so I don’t know why the governor is rushing to impose illegally these furloughs and it should give both Congress and our state legislature a chance,” HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said. 

Some believe teachers won’t be the only ones harmed.

“This impacts not only our keiki, but predominantly, our keiki from high poverty areas. And they have a longer time where they’re hit by these economic recessions and these cuts to education,” Rosenlee said.

“When you keep continuing to push teachers to expect them to do things outside of their work hours, then you’re saying basically nothing else matters in their lives,” Freudig said.

Teachers and school staff KITV-4 Island News spoke with say morale is already low, after months of managing online instruction, budget cuts, student absenteeism, and say now they face pressure to hold standardized testing for students that have not had a full educational experience.

They worry more teachers will retire or take leave.