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Covid-19 Challenge Page Archive: 2021: Home

COVID-19 CHALLENGE

                                    COVID-19 Challenge (2021 Archive)

This page is a source of the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Rhode Island, the United States, and the world as a whole. It includes facts and statistics along with articles and documents of interest. The research is branched into multiple relevant topics that contribute to the overarching themes of poverty and social justice, as well as awareness. Please visit the links to learn more information or to help make a change. Remember that this page is an archive, therefore it contains information relating to COVID-19 only in 2021.

                                        To visit the 2022 COVID-19 Challenge page, visit this link: 2022 COVID-19 CHALLENGE

by Gianni Diarbi

JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE PAUSE

  • On April 13, 2021, the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was paused because there were several reports of rare and severe blood clots. 
  • One patient died from blood clot complications.
  • Until the CDC is able to foster enough information, the usage of the vaccine has been paused.
  • Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are still being distributed.
  • The pause was lifted on April 23, 2021.

CDC: "Recommendation to Pause Use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine"

INTERVIEW: KAREN SANTILLI (CROSSROADS RI)

A Follow-Up Interview With Karen A. Santilli, Crossroads RI

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Please note: This interview was conducted July 2021. To learn more about the mission of Crossroads Rhode Island and ways to get involved, visit the website or see the Summer 2020 interview below.

Crossroads Rhode Island

Q: In the last interview, I asked about the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on your work at Crossroads RI. With the widespread vaccination rollout, how have your work methods changed since then? 

"​At this point, we are still at reduced shelter capacity and our focus is on weekly testing and vaccination outreach. There is a wealth of misinformation amongst our shelter guests and congregate living residents; we are working hard to educate and encourage them to get vaccinated."

Q: With Covid-19 case numbers going down, please reflect on the effects that the pandemic had on the people you serve.

"While the numbers are going down, thankfully, we haven't yet felt the full economic impact of the pandemic. There is still a moratorium on utility shut-offs and evictions. These are two major causes of homelessness, particularly among families. We expect there to be increased in individuals and families coming to us for help when these moratoriums are lifted."

Q: Rhode Island is an expensive place to live in. How have the people at your organization worked to create affordable housing situations?

"Crossroads is a developer of housing specifically for people who have experienced homelessness and have very little or no income. We have substantial plans in place to build more permanent supportive housing for individuals and families that will significantly reduce the number of people in shelters and on the streets. We also have strong relationships with many landlords and negotiate on behalf of our clients for the rental rates to be lower."

Q: What is one lesson about homelessness that was revealed through the Covid-19 pandemic? 

"Having a home really is health care and emergency shelter is not the answer. Having your own apartment/home is."

Q: What is one common misconception about poverty or homelessness that you can dispel?

"​That people living in poverty or experiencing homelessness are at fault and to be blamed for their situations. There are so many factors and systemic issues that cause homelessness. Thank you for your interest in this issue and for educating yourself and others. The more people understand, the more likely they are to help or at least be empathetic to other humans."

SCHOOL CLOSINGS & DISTANCE LEARNING UPDATE

Spring 2021 La Salle Update

  • La Salle Academy has introduced a new model of learning called "Hybrid+" that features special "class days." It is an extension of the standard hybrid model, implementing varying grade-wide attendance on certain scheduled days. Check Blackbaud and your email to see more details about the schedule.
  • La Salle Academy has also announced that the entire school will be full in person in the fall of 2021.
  • In mid-April of 2021, La Salle Academy announced that the school would now host two full grades in-person per day in addition to the hybrid schedule. This is very similar to the Hybrid+ model, however, there will be two grades full in-person instead of just one. The two groups are freshmen with juniors and sophomores with seniors.
  • To see national data, visit this tracker from CNN for a map and descriptions of the updated school closings.

VACCINES: FDA APPROVAL

FDA Approves the Pfizer Vaccine

  • In late August of 2021, the FDA issued a statement approving Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Many hope that this advancement will encourage those hesitant about vaccination to get the vaccine.
  • Though the vaccine has been authorized under emergency use authorization by FDA since December, this is typically a practice used during public health emergencies and does not include testing as rigorous as full approval.

FDA: "FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine"

VACCINE: JOHNSON & JOHNSON'S

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CDC: "Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (Johnson & Johnson)"

Johnson & Johnson is the third major US company to produce COVID-19 vaccines, along with Pfizer and Moderna. Unlike the other two vaccines, it is a single-shot treatment and appears to be more effective in fighting against other COVID-19 variants. 

VACCINES FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

Brown University requires students to be vaccinated.

  • Over 400 different colleges around the United States have said that students must provide proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to study on campus in the fall.
  • Some colleges will allow unvaccinated students to come back to campus if they wear face masks. This is ideal for students who cannot get vaccinated for health or religious reasons.
  • Some Republican lawmakers have opposed these ideas, stating that requiring students to be vaccinated infringes upon their freedom.

POLL: THOUGHTS ON COLLEGES REQUIRING VACCINES

Do you believe colleges should require students to be vaccinated?
Yes, students should be required to get vaccinated!: 41 votes (56.16%)
It should be encouraged, but not required.: 13 votes (17.81%)
No, it is the student's personal decision and colleges should have no say.: 19 votes (26.03%)
Total Votes: 73

VACCINE: BACKGROUND INFO AND STATS

Vaccine: Fast Facts

CDC: "How Do I Find a COVID-19 Vaccine?"

CDC: "Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines"

New York Times: "Covid-19: U.S. and Pfizer Discuss Deal for Tens of Millions More Vaccine Doses Next Year"

  • Three major companies have been working to produce vaccines for COVID-19: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson.
  • Essential health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities were prioritized, and it took a bit of time for the vaccines to be available to the general public.
  • Margaret Keenan, a 91-year-old woman from the UK, was the first person to receive an injection on December 8, 2020.
  • The United States federal government signed agreements with Moderna and Pfizer to produce 200 million doses in the first 3 months of 2020. Because both companies have produced vaccines that are two-dose treatments, this guarantees enough care for about 100 million people. 
  • As of January 10, 2022, 74.3% of people in the United States have received at least the first dose. 62.5% have been fully vaccinated.
  • As of January 10, 2022, Vermont leads the vaccination rollout as 90.3% of people in the state have received at least one dose and 78.1% of people have been fully vaccinated.

For regularly updated information about vaccine distribution, check out NPR's tracker below.

NPR Vaccine Tracker

MASK TASK FORCE GALLERY

BOOSTER SHOTS

What You Should Know

What is a booster dose?

A booster is a dose administered to a previously vaccinated patient who intends to strengthen their immune system. Some people wonder if these booster shots will be required in association with the COVID-19 vaccines.

Pfizer Vaccine:

CNBC: "Pfizer CEO says third Covid vaccine dose likely needed within 12 months"

In April 2021, the Pfizer CEO said that it is possible that within one year of being fully vaccinated, one will probably need a third dose. This could potentially become a yearly treatment, such as the flu shot. However, recent research findings claim otherwise. In addition, many individuals have gotten their booster shots just five months after their 2nd dose.

 

Moderna Vaccine:

NY TIMES: "Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines Likely to Produce Lasting Immunity, Study Finds"

One study has found that the mRNA-based Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may not require a booster shot, assuming the variants of the vaccine do not evolve further than they currently have. However, the information from this finding has become outdated following Delta and Omicron surges.

 

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine:

WASHINGTON POST: "You had the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. Should you try to get a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna?"

Researchers evaluated the safety and effectiveness of a booster regimen, specifically one that is mRNA based such as Pfizer or Moderna.

VACCINE ROLLOUT IN AFRICA

COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: "First COVID-19 COVAX vaccine doses administered in Africa"

BBC: "Covid-19 Africa: What is happening with vaccines?"

  • On March 1, 2021, the Ivory Coast and Ghana began administering vaccinations to healthcare workers.
  • By March 7, an estimated 11 million COVAX vaccines were delivered.
  • As of mid-April 2021, about 36 African countries have received COVAX doses. 
  • Ghana, the first African country to administer the vaccine, is close to using up its initial supply. It originally received 600,000 COVAX vaccines, 500,000 from the Indian government, and 165,000 from the MTN Group. However, these are quickly being used as over 700,000 vaccines have been administered with only about 100,000 left. 
  •  

DELTA VARIANT

Fast Facts

1. The Delta variant was previously the most contagious strain, only second to Omicron.

2. Unvaccinated people face further risks regarding the Delta variant as well as other strains.

3.  The Delta variant may lead to 'hyperlocal outbreaks.' Because of the relatively high vaccination rates in the US, some are relaxed about this, however, the rapid spread could lead to undesirable outcomes.

4. There is still more to learn about Delta.

5. Vaccination is the best protection against Delta. 

YALE MEDICINE: "5 Things To Know About the Delta Variant"

MASK MANDATE LIFTED

  • The CDC announced that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks in most situations. These may include shopping, eating at a restaurant, and having small gatherings.
  •  Major retailers such as Trader Joe's and Starbucks are no longer requiring customers to wear masks, as long as they are fully vaccinated.

POLL: MASK MANDATE LIFTED

How do you feel about the mask mandate being lifted?
I still wear my mask.: 28 votes (50.91%)
I no longer wear my mask.: 13 votes (23.64%)
Whether or not I wear a mask depends on the circumstances I am in.: 14 votes (25.45%)
Total Votes: 55

TECH EQUITY AND EDUCATION

Students who are low-income, people of color, and/or disabled have already been disadvantaged by the education system. This is because of a lack of support and lowered funding for those needing personalized resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has only furthered this, as students without access to reliable internet connections and technology devices can not have the best quality of education possible. Even students with access to these things have suffered through online learning, citing things such as loneliness during lockdowns as sources for their lack of motivation and/or success. Because everything happened so quickly, many families were not able to prepare for distance learning. Additionally, many families live paycheck-to-paycheck and can not afford to purchase expensive equipment unexpectedly. This lack of proper education has lasting impacts on students, as lower grades can lead to a lack of motivation for students, poor mental health, and even trouble during the college admissions process. To handle these related issues is also expensive, meaning many students do not have a chance to fulfill their education or career goals.

MASK TASK FORCE

BROTHERS OF THE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS: "LSA-Providence Students Donate 4,000 Masks to Local Nonprofits"

CRANSTON HERALD: "La Salle Academy students donate 4,000 masks to local nonprofits"

WARWICK BEACON: "La Salle Academy students donate 4,000 masks to local nonprofits"

"When I was asked to join the Mask Task Force, I was so excited about the opportunity. There's no denying that it is difficult to be homeless or live below the poverty line, and the pandemic has only made things worse. Masks and access to proper sanitization are essential to staying healthy and safe during these times, and everybody has a right to these. I am so grateful for the fact that I do not experience the pressure of going without. Each person on this team made amazing contributions using their individual skills, impacting the community. I am so proud of the work that Tianli, Tianyi (Peter), Mrs. Trissler, and I have done to better the community."

- Gianni Diarbi, '22

POLL: VACCINE

Which Covid-19 vaccine are you getting?
Pfizer: 29 votes (52.73%)
Moderna: 12 votes (21.82%)
Johnson & Johnson: 7 votes (12.73%)
Other: 1 votes (1.82%)
I am not getting the vaccine: 6 votes (10.91%)
Total Votes: 55

COVID-19 AND POVERTY

BOOSTER SHOTS: UPDATE

An Update on Booster Shots in the U.S.

  • Booster doses began to be administered in Europe and Israel in August.
  • Pfizer has said that a booster shot will help with the battle against Covid. 
  • Following his meeting with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel, President Biden is creating a plan that will allow booster shots to be accessible to individuals after five months.
  • Millions of individuals in the United States have already received this extra dose.

CNBC: "Biden says U.S. health officials are considering Covid booster shots at 5 months, moving up timeline of third shot"

STIMULUS CHECKS: WAVES 2 AND 3

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NPR: "House Gives Final Approval To $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package"

  • Congress passed President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, meaning that the third wave of stimulus checks will soon arrive for citizens.
  • No House of Representative Republicans voted in favor of the bill, however, the Democrat Congress majority allowed it to pass with a vote of 220-211.
  • There were direct payments of $1,400.
  • The second wave of stimulus checks were distributed in December 2020 and January 2021 after former president Donald Trump signed a $900 billion aid package into law.   

INDONESIA: 2ND OUTBREAK

Second Covid-19 Wave: Indonesia

CNN: "Indonesia is battling a devastating Covid-19 crisis. And its peak is likely still to come"

  • Indonesia is facing another deadly wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, telling us that the pandemic is still not over.
  • Some have called Indonesia the current epicenter of the pandemic.
  • Almost 80,000 people in Indonesia have died from COVID-19.