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March 2
1938 - Great Flood of 1938 causes massive destruction and death across the greater Los Angeles region [story]
flooding


WASHINGTON — Touted enthusiastically by the nation’s chief infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci, the biotechnology giant Moderna announced on Monday that its vaccine for the novel coronavirus is 94.5% effective.

“These are obviously very exciting results. It’s just as good as it gets — 94.5% is truly outstanding,” Fauci told CNN early Monday morning.

Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the second company in as many weeks to announce major breakthroughs in vaccine development against COVID-19. Last week, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced its vaccine was over 90% effective in treating the respiratory virus.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said the company has “chased” the novel coronavirus since January.

“All along, we have known that each day matters. This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease,” he said in a statement Monday.

The third phase of Moderna’s trial on a coronavirus vaccine candidate involved some 30,000 participants, half of which took a placebo while the other half received the actual vaccine under development.

Of the 15,000 test subjects given a placebo, Moderna said Monday that only 90 of those individuals contracted Covid-19. Less than a dozen placebo-consumers contracted a more severe form of the virus.

Among the 15,000 participants who actually took the vaccine, just five became infected with COVID-19 and none became severely ill. Side effects from the clinical trial vaccine, for now, appear minimal.

“Preliminary analysis suggests a broadly consistent safety and efficacy profile across all evaluated subgroups,” Moderna said in its announcement.

To expedite distribution, the company plans on pursuing emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration after it completes its final safety evaluations.

It is widely expected that any vaccine emerging in the months ahead, be it from Moderna or another company, will see limited initial distribution. Fauci said Monday he expects the first round of vaccines to be administered in late December.

Those doses will first go to the most vulnerable populations including the elderly or severely immunocompromised. Health care workers, nurses and doctors, among others combatting the virus on the front lines, will also receive the vaccine first. For now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to lead the coordination of the nationwide vaccine rollout.

Fauci said Monday he believes that by the end of April 2021, “everybody else” will start to get vaccinated. That process could take at least a few months to complete, he warned.

Moderna estimates at least 20 million doses will be available by the end of 2020. Pfizer projects a supply of 50 million doses available by the end of December as well.

Moderna’s vaccine, like Pfizer’s, uses something known as messenger ribonucleic acid or, mRNA to copy and synthesize proteins in the body that ultimately fend off the virus. Through mRNA, the vaccines direct a replication of spike proteins found atop the coronavirus cell. When this occurs, protective antibodies appear to be formed.

As part of administering both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, individuals must take two doses spread several weeks apart. Both vaccines also require special cold storage. But unlike Moderna’s vaccine, which can be stored at just -20 degrees Celsius, Pfizer’s candidate requires deep-freeze storage temperatures of -70 degrees Celsius.

This is a primary challenge to the supply chain, said Tinglong Dai, an assistant professor of operations and management and business analytics at Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School.

“Our cold- and ultra-cold-chain capacity might not be able to meet the transportation and storage requirements of the vaccines that will be chosen in the end,” Dai said in an email Monday. “Another challenge is we do not have adequate information systems for sharing vaccine availability information, placing requests for vaccines, and keeping track of who have been vaccinated and who have not.”

This will be “essential,” Dai told Courthouse News, when there could be not just one but two vaccines on the market, and those same vaccines are poised to initially require two doses per person.

The risk of having an abundance of ultra-cold or regular freezers and even overinvesting the federal purse into that market is possible. But Dai emphasized that the risk of the U.S. being unable to distribute a highly effective vaccine was obviously greater.

“In addition, it is essential for public health departments — at least at the state level — to build their information infrastructure as soon as possible,” he said.

Michael Breen, director of infectious disease and ophthalmology at the analytics group GlobalData, was encouraged by Moderna’s announcement Monday and, in particular, the way trials have underscored the potential success mRNA technology could have to treat emerging diseases.

But Breen also offered caution.

“With these two seemingly effective vaccines possibly weeks from entering the clinic through emergency-use authorization, the path forward for other developers now remains unclear,” Breen said in a statement. “While the most effective vaccines will ramp up production to meet global demand, the opportunity for less effective vaccines will wane — possibly leading the field to be winnowed sooner than later as developers may not see a lucrative future in a developing a vaccine, which, even if effective, may be used for only one year. Of course, the opportunity will still remain for multiple vaccines, even those with lower efficacy than offerings from Pfizer or Moderna, as those vaccines may not be available in all geographies, and those regions may go with their best vaccine option at the time.”

Moderna developed its vaccine candidate as part of a $1.5 billion contract from the U.S. government this August to produce and deliver 100 million doses, which is just enough for 50 million people. The United States has also retained an option in its contract with Moderna to purchase another 400 million doses after the initial rounds are administered.

That $1.5 billion deal was the result of the Trump administration’s vaccine task force, Operation Warp Speed. The research and development of the vaccine trials themselves were carried out thanks to a $955 million federal loan from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

Upon Moderna’s announcement, President Donald Trump — who has yet to concede his loss in the 2020 election to President-elect Joe Biden — took credit for the findings. Trump tweeted Monday: “Another Vaccine just announced. This time by Moderna, 95% effective. For those great ‘historians’, please remember that these great discoveries, which will end the China Plague, all took place on my watch!” [Punctuation in original.]

President-elect Joe Biden took a much different tack, saying the news of a second vaccine was “further reason to feel hopeful” but remain vigilant as the virus continues to course through America for its 10th month.

“What was true with the first vaccine remains true with the second: we are still months away,” Biden said. “Until then, Americans need to continue practice social distancing and mask-wearing to get the virus under control.”

As of Monday, the novel coronavirus has been on the rise in nearly all states. Since last week alone, the number of infections in America has jumped from 10 million cases to 11 million. Hospitalization and death rates are also on a steep incline across the U.S., which has lost 246,000 lives to the novel virus so far.

That death toll could double by the end of the year if the nation continues on its current trajectory, according to new projections from the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics. Interviewed by CNN news anchor Jake Tapper on Sunday, Dr. Fauci agreed with the university’s grim assessment.

“I think that we likely will (see the doubling of fatalities from COVID-19), Jake, if we don’t turn around this surge.”

— By Brandi Buchman, CNS

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Tuesday, Mar 2, 2021
Hart District Announces Outdoor Sports Practices, Competitions to Resume Immediately
After receiving athletic protocol updates from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (LADPH) and California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the William S. Hart Union High School District has put together a complete athletic program following all state and county guidelines.
Tuesday, Mar 2, 2021
NASA Selects Three Hart District Teachers for SOFIA Flight
Three teachers from the William S. Hart Union High School District have been named by NASA and the SETI Institute to fly on NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
Tuesday, Mar 2, 2021
Tuesday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Total  26,212; L.A. County Remains in Most Restrictive Tier
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday 91 new deaths and 1,407 new cases of COVID-19, with 26,212 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
After receiving athletic protocol updates from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (LADPH) and California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the William S. Hart Union High School District has put together a complete athletic program following all state and county guidelines.
Hart District Announces Outdoor Sports Practices, Competitions to Resume Immediately
The ability to transform data into information and insights that can elevate a business and influence decisions is at the core of the newest major being offered in California State University, Northridge’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics.
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Three teachers from the William S. Hart Union High School District have been named by NASA and the SETI Institute to fly on NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
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L.A. County Parks Hiring Instructors for Summer 2021 Season
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday 91 new deaths and 1,407 new cases of COVID-19, with 26,212 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
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The Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Commission will hold its study session virtually Thursday, March 4, at 6:00 p.m.
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After its cancelation last year due to the emergence of COVID-19, the College of the Canyons Scholarly Presentation will return this spring in a new virtual format.
COC’s Scholarly Presentations Return Virtually March 11
The Santa Clarita Public Library is excited to present Sidewalk Stories at the Old Town Newhall Library!
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Picture this…the sun has just set on another brisk spring day.
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1938 - Great Flood of 1938 causes massive destruction and death across the greater Los Angeles region [story]
flooding
Santa Clarita Valley educators were next in line to receive their COVID-19 vaccine shots at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Monday, more than two months after the hospital received its first batch of vaccines for hospital frontline workers.
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The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center at Bella Vida has announced its March 2021 lineup of outdoor drive-in events.
Bella Vida Senior Center Sets March Outdoor Drive-in Events
In partnership with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, the city of Santa Clarita will launch its “Guard That Auto” campaign this spring to combat an increase in grand theft auto over the past year.
Santa Clarita, Sheriff’s Station to Launch ‘Guard That Auto’ Anti-Theft Campaign
The Saugus High School academic decathlon team will advance to the state competition after placing in the top 10 in the county competition.
Saugus High Advances in State Academic Decathlon
Spring is upon us, and with it comes longer days, greener hillsides, and warmer temperatures that invite outdoor exploration.
Mayor’s March Message: Enjoy Spring in Santa Clarita
The city of Santa Clarita, in partnership with the Santa Clarita Sister Cities program, invites local students to submit artwork, poetry, essays/creative writing, photographs, or music for the 2021 Sister Cities International Young Artists and Authors Showcase.
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In a rush to bring children back to California schools after a year of closed campuses, Governor Gavin Newsom and lawmakers said Monday the state will offer $2 billion to school districts willing to reopen next month.
Newsom, Lawmakers Cut Deal to Reopen California Schools by April
The race to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles County despite vaccine shortages is cutthroat and most people don’t even know they’re in the competition.
COVID-19 Vaccine Shortages Highlight Health Inequities in L.A. County
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has learned of a text message phishing scam related to REAL ID and reminds customers that it will never ask for personal information related to driver’s license number, Social Security number, or financial information through email, text, or over the phone.
DMV Warns Customers of REAL ID Phishing Scam
1990 - President George H.W. Bush and Sheriff Sherman Block dedicate new North County Correctional Facility in Castaic [story]
ribbon cutting
1890 - Jenkins ranch hands Dolores Cook and George Walton of Castaic slain by rival William Chormicle and W.A. Gardener [story]
Dolores Cook
1950 - Ex-Mrs. William S. Hart appears in court to challenge will that leaves Hart Park & Mansion to L.A. County [story]
Winifred Westover
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