• UN agencies begin registering asylum seekers at US-Mexico border | | UN News

    According to the agencies involved, an initial group could be allowed to enter the US this week, pending approval by authorities there. In a joint news release, the UN agencies said that the US and Mexican governments prioritized the Matamoros camp due to the difficult humanitarian conditions there. Other individuals with active MPP cases living outside the Matamoros camp will also be processed, they added. An estimated 25,000 applicants being processed in the US, were returned to Mexico under the policy known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). After the policy was terminated, a first group with active MPP cases entered the US on 19 February at the San Ysidro port of entry between Tijuana (Mexico) and San Diego (US).
    The UN agencies involved in the exercise – the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – are conducting in-person registrations, ensuring humane treatment of children and their families, and carrying out COVID-19 tests.
    In coordination with US authorities, UNHCR launched a website on 19 February for people with active MPP cases to pre-register. About 12,000 people signed up in the first three days of operation. The website is supplemented by alternative registration channels including email, social media, and telephone. Similarly, in addition to conducting COVID-19 testing, IOM is coordinating transportation to the designated ports of entry. UNICEF is offering support for the most vulnerable child protection cases, and providing information to families and children. Similarly, partner organizations the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Mexican Red Cross are offering free telephone calls to allow asylum-seekers to maintain contact with their families before crossing into the US.
    The UN agencies also noted that according to the new US policy, all persons with active cases under the MPP programme will be able to enter the country to continue their immigration proceedings and lodge asylum claims.
    They clarified that the dates and points of entry to the United States for persons who have already completed registration are determined by the US government. “All individuals who qualify will be processed based upon the order determined by the US and not based on the date when they pre-register with UNHCR using the website or the hotline”, they added.


  • Biden reverses Trump actions on green cards, architecture and ’anarchist jurisdictions’ | Biden administration | The Guardian

    Biden reverses Trump actions on green cards, architecture and ’anarchist jurisdictions’. Move undoes actions that blocked many immigrants from entering the US and sought to cut funding to cities Trump deemed ‘lawless’
    Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, 24 February 2021.Joe Biden has formally reversed a series of executive actions taken by Donald Trump, including a proclamation that blocked many green card applicants from entering the United States. Trump issued the ban last year, saying it was needed to protect US workers amid high unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden rejected that reasoning in a proclamation rescinding the visa ban on Wednesday. The president said it had prevented families from reuniting in the United States and harmed US businesses.
    Other actions undone by the president included one that sought to cut funding from several cities Trump had deemed “lawless” and “anarchist jurisdictions”, and another mandating that federal buildings should be designed in a classical aesthetic. The reversals come as the new president seeks to press forward with his own agenda and undo key aspects of his predecessor’s legacy. Since taking office last month, Biden has revoked dozens of Trump orders and issued dozens more of his own.
    Immigrant advocates had pressed in recent weeks for him to lift the visa ban, which was set to expire on 31 March. Biden left in place another ban on most foreign temporary workers.Curtis Morrison, a California-based immigration attorney who represents people subject to the ban, said Biden will now have to tackle a growing backlog of applications that have been held up for months as the pandemic shut down most visa processing by the state department. The process could potentially take years, he said.


  • Travel Quarantines: Enduring the Mundane, One Day at a Time - The New York Times

    Travel Quarantines: Enduring the Mundane, One Day at a Time
    Running a half-marathon in your hotel room. Hearing the sea, but not seeing it. Fixating on food. Here’s how some travelers passed the time during their mandatory quarantines.


  • Covid-19 : la frontière entre les Etats-Unis et le Canada reste fermée jusqu’au 21 mars

    La fermeture de la frontière entre les Etats-Unis et le Canada à tous les déplacements non essentiels a été prolongée de un mois – jusqu’au 21 mars –, a indiqué vendredi le gouvernement canadien.« Les restrictions concernant les voyages non essentiels avec les Etats-Unis ont été prolongées jusqu’au 21 mars 2021 », a ainsi annoncé Bill Blair, ministre de la sécurité publique, sur Twitter.La fermeture des frontières des Etats-Unis avec ses deux partenaires de l’Association de libre-échange nord-américain, le Canada et le Mexique, a été décidée en mars et prolongée chaque mois depuis. Seuls sont autorisés le commerce des biens et des marchandises, ainsi que les voyages considérés comme essentiels.
    A partir de lundi, tous les voyageurs se rendant au Canada devront par ailleurs se mettre en quarantaine dans un hôtel dès leur arrivée, en attendant que leur soient communiqués les résultats du test de dépistage PCR obligatoire auquel ils se seront préalablement soumis.


  • Opinion | Black Americans should face lower age cutoffs to qualify for a vaccine - The Washington Post

    In the 1970s, epidemiologist Sherman James described the phenomenon of “John Henryism,” whereby Black Americans must invest immense effort to cope with the chronic stress of racism, leading to poor health and early death.That’s still the case today, especially during the pandemic. In the first half of 2020, Black Americans’ life expectancy declined almost three years to an average of 72 years, compared with a loss of almost one year for White Americans (now 78 years). Meanwhile, Black Americans are not only twice as likely to die of covid-19 as White Americans but also dying at rates similar to those of White Americans who are 10 years older. Moreover, racial inequities are most striking at younger ages; for example, Black people ages 45 to 54 are seven times more likely to die of covid-19 than similarly aged White Americans.


  • A Different Early-Bird Special: Have Vaccine, Will Travel - The New York Times

    When the coronavirus hit, Jim and Cheryl Drayer, 69 and 72, canceled all their planned travel and hunkered down in their home in Dallas, Texas.
    But earlier this month, the Drayers both received the second dose of their Covid-19 vaccinations. And in March, armed with their new antibodies, they are heading to Maui for a long overdue vacation.Across the United States, older people have been among the first in line to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations. And among hotels, cruise lines and tour operators, the data is clear: Older travelers are leading a wave in new travel bookings. Americans over 65, who have had priority access to inoculations, are now newly emboldened to travel — often while their children and grandchildren continue to wait for a vaccine. For the silver-haired, it’s a silver lining.
    “We’ve very willingly been compliant with masking and social distancing, and have basically lived inside of our bubble here in Dallas,” Mr. Drayer said. “We haven’t been inside a restaurant in a year. So we’re anxious to get out now and do things a little more safely.”
    At the Foundry Hotel in Asheville, N.C., an 87-room luxury hotel housed in what was once a steel factory for the Biltmore Estate, reservations made with the hotel’s AARP promotional rate were up 50 percent last month. Aqua-Aston Hospitality, a Honolulu-based company with resorts, hotels and condos in its portfolio, reports that senior-rate bookings climbed nearly 60 recent in January.The Drayers, who have gone gorilla trekking in Africa and done adventure travel in India, Israel and Egypt, admit that their trip to Hawaii, which they booked through the members-only vacation club, Exclusive Resorts, is something of a baby step. (The vacation club reports that more than 50 percent of their current bookings are vacations for members over the age of 60.)


  • l’histgeobox : Les bayous de la Louisiane, conservatoire de la musique cajun et zydeco.

    Le pays des bayous est un monde amphibie, une vaste zone où s’entremêlent les bras morts du Mississippi. La végétation étrange se compose de cyprès, de palétuviers recouverts de rideaux de mousse espagnole. En langue amérindienne, "bayou" signifie serpent, sinuosité. C’est bien ce que semblent dessiner les méandres des bras de rivières glissant lentement vers la mer.
    Les bayous constituent un réservoir de biodiversité d’une grande richesse ; un véritable paradis pour les oiseaux, les poissons, les tortues, les alligators ou les écrevisses ; un garde manger indispensable à la survie des habitants des marais.
    Avant même que la Louisiane ne devienne américaine, en 1803, ces terres inhospitalières servirent d’ultime refuge à des peuples dont personne ne voulait. Dans son ouvrage In the Creole Twilight, l’écrivain Josh Caffery décrit cet espace comme une "sorte de zone frontière entre les USA et la Caraïbe, entre le « Deep South » et le « Wild West », entre les langues française et anglaise, entre la terre et l’eau..." Rejetés dans ces terres hostiles, les Hommes s’unirent pour survivre. Les souffrances communes permirent, sinon de se comprendre, tout au moins d’échanger et se mélanger.

  • « Ici, l’ambiance est “Covid-free” » : au Mexique, des mesures sanitaires souples pour sauver le tourisme

    « Ne dites pas à mon patron que je suis au Mexique », confie, sous couvert d’anonymat, une comptable espagnole de 31 ans, qui vient de débarquer dans la station balnéaire de Tulum, sur la Riviera Maya (sud-est). Les mesures sanitaires locales, plutôt permissives face à la pandémie de Covid-19, attirent les étrangers qui fuient les restrictions dans leur propre pays. Au point que le Mexique s’est hissé du septième au troisième rang mondial des nations les plus prisées en ces temps de coronavirus. Le pari, qui permet au secteur touristique de mieux résister à la crise, semble néanmoins risqué. Le télétravail a été la planche de salut de cette employée d’une grande entreprise à Barcelone : « Je ne supportais plus le couvre-feu dans mon appartement. » C’est l’absence de restriction de voyage et l’envie de soleil qui l’ont incitée, fin janvier, à s’envoler pour le Mexique. La comptable travaille à distance dès 3 heures du matin, décalage horaire oblige. « A partir de midi, c’est la liberté à la plage ! »
    Comme elle, des milliers d’Européens et d’Américains se laissent séduire par les plages de sable fin. « C’est conjoncturel, tempère Miguel Torruco, le ministre du tourisme. Le secteur n’est pas épargné. Mais la crise est moins forte qu’ailleurs. » L’arrivée de touristes étrangers a chuté de 46 % en 2020 (24 millions de visiteurs internationaux), contre une baisse de 74 % au niveau mondial. Le manque à gagner, pour le secteur, s’élève à plus de treize milliards de dollars (10,7 milliards d’euros) ; le chiffre d’affaires, lui, a accusé un recul de 55 % en un an. Un quart des quatre millions d’emplois directs générés par le secteur ont été supprimés. Les mesures sanitaires non coercitives ont néanmoins limité la casse. Pas de confinement obligatoire, pas d’amende, pas de tests Covid-19 imposés aux étrangers… Le gouvernement a joué la carte de la souplesse, misant sur une limitation des activités commerciales en fonction d’un code d’alerte sanitaire de quatre couleurs selon les régions. Objectif : sauver un secteur-clé de l’économie (il pèse 8,7 % du produit intérieur brut) qui représente la troisième source de devises après les transferts de fonds des émigrés et le pétrole. « Nous n’avions pas le choix, justifie M. Torruco. Six salariés sur dix vivent au jour le jour sans être déclarés, spécialement dans le tourisme. » Le ministre précise néanmoins que « des protocoles sanitaires stricts sont appliqués » dans les hôtels, les restaurants et les transports. Bilan : début février, les vols internationaux étaient revenus à 67 % de leur niveau d’avant le Covid, selon le Centre de recherche et de compétitivité touristique (Cicotur) de l’université Anahuac de Mexico. Quant au taux d’occupation hôtelière, il atteignait environ 50 % fin 2020, contre plus de 70 % en temps normal. « La pandémie a changé les pratiques touristiques, précise le directeur du Cicotur, Francisco Madrid. Les touristes étrangers sont moins nombreux, mais ils restent plus longtemps. Par ailleurs, les Américains, qui représentent la moitié des visiteurs au Mexique, optent pour des vols plus courts, de moins de quatre heures. Notre proximité avec les Etats-Unis est un atout. » De quoi satisfaire Céline Desfeux, qui gère une vingtaine de locations Airbnb à Tulum. « On est plein depuis juin 2020 », se félicite cette Française de 33 ans, dont treize passés dans la région. Les tarifs abordables constituent un autre avantage concurrentiel : les touristes dépensent en moyenne 1 000 dollars (sans le vol) pour une ou deux semaines au Mexique, contre 2 500 dollars aux Etats-Unis, d’après Cicotur. Les professionnels répondent aussi aux exigences sanitaires des étrangers : « Nous avons installé des centres de tests Covid dans les hôtels et les aéroports », explique Braulio Arsuaga, président du Conseil patronal touristique mexicain, qui se dit néanmoins « inquiet » des nouvelles restrictions aériennes.


  • Covid-19 : les Afro-Américains plus touchés, moins vaccinés

    Selon les Centres pour le contrôle et la prévention des maladies, la population noire a reçu 5,4 % des doses, alors qu’elle représente 13 % de la population, mais surtout 16 % des personnels de santé et 14 % des employés des maisons de retraite.Comment améliorer le taux de vaccination chez les Afro-Américains aux Etats-Unis ? La question taraude la nouvelle administration, qui s’est engagée à réduire les inégalités raciales, y compris dans la gestion de la crise sanitaire. Car un mois et demi après le lancement de la campagne de vaccination à travers le pays, les premiers chiffres portant sur 13 millions de vaccinés sont édifiants : selon les Centres pour le contrôle et la prévention des maladies (CDC), la population noire a reçu 5,4 % des doses, alors qu’elle représente 13 % de la population, mais surtout 16 % des personnels de santé et 14 % des employés des maisons de retraite, deux catégories prioritaires à travers le pays. La population blanche a reçu 60 % des vaccins, un chiffre correspondant à sa part dans les personnels de santé.A New York, la mairie a indiqué que les Afro-Américains n’ont reçu que 11 % des doses, alors qu’ils représentent 24 % de la population de la ville. Un même constat est dressé à Philadelphie (12 % d’Afro-Américains vaccinés pour une population noire à 44 %) ou à Chicago (15 % de vaccinés pour 30 % des habitants) et dans d’autres grandes villes. Marcella Nunez-Smith, responsable du groupe de travail sur l’égalité dans la lutte contre le Covid-19 au sein de l’administration Biden, a reconnu le 1er février que « les Noirs n’étaient pas vaccinés au même rythme que les Blancs » et que les chiffres plus complets ne feraient que confirmer ce déséquilibre. Début février, quelque 28 millions de personnes ont reçu une ou deux doses.
    Le constat est d’autant plus inquiétant que les Afro-Américains sont proportionnellement beaucoup plus affectés que les Blancs par le Covid-19. En novembre, une étude de l’American Heart Association montrait que les patients noirs et hispaniques représentaient 60 % des personnes hospitalisées. Au niveau national, les Afro-Américains ont 1,5 fois plus de risque de mourir du Covid-19 que les Blancs, selon les statistiques collectées par le Covid Tracking Project et l’université de Boston.
    Dans le district de Columbia, les morts du Covid-19 sont issus de la communauté noire à 75 %, alors qu’ils ne constituent que 46 % de la population. Dans le Michigan, ils représentent 14 % des habitants, mais 24 % des morts. Des raisons socio-économiques et une inégalité chronique dans l’accès aux soins expliquent cette disparité. Les Afro-Américains sont en outre plus susceptibles d’occuper des emplois de travailleurs essentiels exposés et de vivre dans des conditions ne favorisant pas la distanciation physique.
    Dans ce contexte, l’accès à la vaccination pour les populations noires est considéré comme un enjeu de santé publique. Le gouvernement vient d’annoncer la mise à disposition de vaccins dans des pharmacies de certains quartiers ciblés. Dans la ville de Washington, des opérations de porte-à-porte ont débuté ces derniers jours pour toucher les populations les plus isolées ou les plus réfractaires. Car les campagnes de vaccination se heurtent aussi à une méfiance des Afro-Américains envers le vaccin. Plus d’un tiers d’entre eux n’envisagent pas de se faire vacciner, contre quelque 20 % des Blancs et des Hispaniques. Les femmes se montrent plus encore plus sceptiques que les hommes, et les jeunes plus réticents que les plus de 60 ans. Seuls 38 % des 18-44 ans envisagent la vaccination (contre 68 % des plus de 60 ans). Les Afro-Américains citent la peur des effets secondaires, mais aussi une méfiance traditionnelle envers les vaccins. Leur taux de participation aux essais cliniques est proportionnellement inférieur à celui des Blancs.
    Cette réticence est ancrée dans l’histoire. La communauté noire reste marquée par l’étude sur la syphilis menée durant quarante ans dans la ville de Tuskegee (Alabama). Entre les années 1930 et les années 1970, plusieurs centaines d’hommes noirs atteints de cette maladie sexuellement transmissible sont restés sans traitement, à titre expérimental. Nombre de familles noires ont aussi en mémoire les stérilisations forcées effectuées sur des milliers de femmes noires jusque dans les années 1970. Face à ces décennies de méfiance, des médecins et infirmiers afro-américains ont publié une « Lettre d’amour à l’Amérique noire », dans laquelle ils invitent leurs compatriotes à participer aux essais cliniques et à se faire vacciner. En décembre 2020, devant les caméras de télévision, la première dose de vaccin avait été administrée à une infirmière afro-américaine de New York par une de ses collègues également afro-américaine. Un choix qui ne devait rien au hasard.


  • Coming Soon : The ‘Vaccine Passport’ - The New York Times

    Among governments and those in the travel industry, a new term has entered the vocabulary: vaccine passport.One of President Biden’s executive orders aimed at curbing the pandemic asks government agencies to “assess the feasibility” of linking coronavirus vaccine certificates with other vaccination documents, and producing digital versions of them.Denmark’s government said on Wednesday that in the next three to four months, it will roll out a digital passport that will allow citizens to show they have been vaccinated.It isn’t just governments that are suggesting vaccine passports. In a few weeks, Etihad Airways and Emirates will start using a digital travel pass, developed by the International Air Transport Association, to help passengers manage their travel plans and provide airlines and governments documentation that they have been vaccinated or tested for Covid-19.
    The challenge right now is creating a document or app that is accepted around the world, that protects privacy and is accessible to people regardless of their wealth or access to smartphones.


  • Covid-19 News: Even in Poorer Neighborhoods, the Wealthy Are Lining Up for Vaccines - The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — As soon as this city began offering Covid vaccines to residents 65 and older, George Jones, whose nonprofit agency runs a medical clinic, noticed something striking.“Suddenly our clinic was full of white people,” said Mr. Jones, the head of Bread for the City, which provides services to the poor. “We’d never had that before. We serve people who are disproportionately African-American.”Similar scenarios are unfolding around the country as states expand eligibility for the shots. Although low-income communities of color have been hit hardest by Covid-19, health officials in many cities say that people from wealthier, largely white neighborhoods have been flooding vaccination appointment systems and taking an outsized share of the limited supply. People in underserved neighborhoods have been tripped up by a confluence of obstacles, including registration phone lines and websites that can take hours to navigate, and lack of transportation or time off from jobs to get to appointments. But also, skepticism about the shots continues to be pronounced in Black and Latino communities, depressing sign-up rates.Early vaccination data is incomplete, but it points to the divide. In the first weeks of the rollout, 12 percent of people inoculated in Philadelphia have been Black, in a city whose population is 44 percent Black. In Miami-Dade County, just about seven percent of the vaccine recipients have been Black, even though Black residents comprise nearly 17 percent of the population and are dying from Covid-19 at a rate that is more than 60 percent higher than that of white people. In data released last weekend for New York City, white people had received nearly half of the doses, while Black and Latino residents were starkly underrepresented based on their share of the population.
    And in Washington, 40 percent of the nearly 7,000 appointments initially made available to people 65 and older were taken by residents of its wealthiest and whitest ward, which is in the city’s upper northwest section and has had only five percent of its Covid deaths.“We want people regardless of their race and geography to be vaccinated, but I think the priority should be getting it to the people who are contracting Covid at the highest rates and dying from it,” said Kenyan McDuffie, a member of the City Council whose district is two-thirds Black and Latino. Alarmed, many cities are trying to rectify inequities. Baltimore will offer the shot in housing complexes for the elderly, going door-to-door.
    (..)Dallas County’s rollout plans for the vaccine included an inoculation hub in a neighborhood that is largely African-American and Latino. But when the sign-up website went live, the link speedily circulated throughout white, wealthier districts in North Dallas.“Instead of getting a diverse sampling, we had a stampede of people who were younger and healthier than those who had initially gotten the links,” said Judge Clayton Jenkins, head of the Dallas County Commissioners Court. Observers told commissioners that those in line were overwhelmingly white.The county commissioners quietly contacted Black and Latino faith leaders in South Dallas, who encouraged constituents to show up for shots without appointments, as long as they offered proof that they were 75 and older.
    (...) Even successful efforts to target impoverished neighborhoods are running into another problem. Many Black and Latino people are hesitant to get the vaccine.In Colorado, 1 of 16 white residents have received the vaccine so far, compared to 1 of 50 Latinos, who comprise 20 percent of the state’s population, according to a Colorado Springs newspaper, The Gazette.“There are a lot of Chicanos who are like, ‘I want to wait, I have questions, I need some answers,’ ” said Julie Gonzales, a state senator from Denver, who starts her workday sending condolences to constituents, many of them Latino, who have lost family members to the virus.Public health experts and outreach campaigns need to be attuned to cultural nuances that differ among Latino generations, Ms. Gonzales said. “It’s one thing to speak to an old-school Chicano who has been here for generations versus someone who is concerned about whether I.C.E. can find out their personal information if they try to get the vaccine,” she said, referring to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. (...) When initial statistics in Philadelphia showed that only 12 percent of vaccine recipients were Black, city health officials recoiled. Blindsided by an inexperienced start-up company whose vaccination strategies faltered, health officials also attributed the low numbers to hesitation among city nursing home workers and hospital aides, many of whom are Black.


  • The ‘Dr. Fauci’ of the Texas Border Is Counting the Dead - The New York Times

    Challenges also exist across the border in the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo, where Dr. Cigarroa also occasionally makes house calls. He said cartel members there had begun controlling the trade in oxygen tanks. Some Nuevo Laredo families, Dr. Cigarroa said, plead with doctors to list pneumonia instead of Covid-19 as the cause of death so they can skirt regulations that prohibit family members from being present at Covid-19 burials, a phenomenon he said is contributing to an undercount of the pandemic’s toll along the border. Sergio Mora, the host of the Laredo political podcast “Frontera Radio,” said the crisis hit home recently when in the space of a few days he lost two people close to him — a longtime employee at his family’s towing company across the border, in Nuevo Laredo, and his grandmother.
    “Dr. Cigarroa is a respected voice who is out there ringing the alarm bells,” Mr. Mora said. “People just need to listen.”Agitating against the virus’s spread comes somewhat naturally to Dr. Cigarroa, a fourth-generation Mexican-American whose family forged one of Texas’ most remarkable medical dynasties.Both Dr. Cigarroa’s father and uncle were influential doctors who led the effort to bring Texas A&M International University to Laredo. Born into a family of 10 children, one of Dr. Cigarroa’s siblings is a nurse and three are doctors, including his brother, Francisco, a transplant surgeon and former chancellor of the University of Texas System. Dr. Cigarroa’s son, also a doctor, now practices in the same cardiology clinic he does. When Laredo’s hospitals began struggling with the influx of coronavirus patients, Dr. Cigarroa, a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Medical School, took the unconventional step of converting his practice into a makeshift Covid-19 clinic.Each evening after Dr. Cigarroa signs death certificates, patients stream into the clinic where they are evaluated, treated and sometimes promptly hospitalized in an adjacent part of the medical complex.Many are uninsured, but Dr. Cigarroa treats them anyway. He said his aim was not to make a profit but to stay afloat financially while paying the salaries of his employees.The daily grind takes its own toll. In July, Dr. Cigarroa himself came down with Covid-19. At first he thought it would be a case of relatively mild “corona light” and opted to rest at home for a few days.But then he awoke short of breath, in a panic. Wary of using any of Laredo’s last remaining doses of remdesivir, the antiviral drug used for treatment of Covid-19, he opted to be taken to University Hospital in San Antonio, where his brother is a doctor.“I went down like a dog baying at the moon,” Dr. Cigarroa said. “I was a bit callous before that. I came back a much better physician".


  • ’Vaccine tourism’: tens of thousands of Americans cross state lines for injections | US healthcare | The Guardian

    Travel between jurisdictions creates ‘unfair opportunities’ and disrupts infrastructure, experts say – though the impulse may be understandable
    With more than 50 unique vaccination plans across the United States, one’s access to the Covid-19 vaccine depends in large part on where one lives. In Wisconsin, mink farmers are being considered for the next phase of vaccine prioritization. In New Jersey, smokers can get priority access to the vaccine. In Colorado, journalists fall under the category of frontline workers. This complex system has given rise to a new type of pandemic travel – dubbed “vaccine tourism” – in which people cross state or even country lines to get earlier access. Without standardized protocol, and because of the fractured American health system, tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people have gotten vaccines outside their home states.
    “They are coming from Canada, Brazil, New York, Georgia, folks from Minneapolis have come here. Some friends of mine in St Petersburg [Florida] told me that they were in a vaccination line with people from Venezuela,” said Dr Jay Wolfson, a professor of public health at the University of South Florida. He credits advertisements from international travel agencies with at least part of the vaccine tourist influx. “I get calls all the time from people saying, ‘Jay, can you get me in someplace?’ – and I can’t. And I won’t.”
    Florida has been one of the most popular vaccine tourism destinations for domestic and international travelers alike, due to the state’s initial policy of vaccinating anyone over the age of 65 years old. The state recently implemented new ID rules in an attempt to direct more vaccines to Florida residents, but not before about 50,000 out-of-state recipients got a dose. Though some of these vaccine recipients are seasonal state residents, or snowbirds, whose decision to spend the winter in Florida was unrelated to their vaccination prospects, many thousands have come to the state just for a shot.The 50,000 doses represent only about 3.4% of the total vaccinations administered in Florida, but even a small percentage going to out-of-state recipients in any state can affect the entire country’s vaccination infrastructure.
    “Administering a vaccine dose involves appointments, involves needles, involves human resources. And all of those resources that are vehicles for delivering doses of the vaccine are tied to a local community, state, or city in terms of allocation,” said Dr Kyle Ferguson, a postdoctoral fellow in the division of medical ethics at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine.Cities and states generally receive batches of the vaccine from the federal government based on the adult population in the area and plan their distribution strategy accordingly. When someone crosses city, state, or national lines to get a vaccine, it disrupts the success of both jurisdictions’ vaccine rollout.“Vaccine tourists are using their power to create an unfair opportunity for themselves. There are design flaws that people are exploiting, taking advantage of some soft spots in those systems,” said Ferguson. “None of this should be about worthiness or deservingness, but when someone travels for the vaccine, they’re using resources, both doses and all the delivery mechanisms, that have been allocated to a different community.”
    Vaccine tourism can also be risky for patients and healthcare providers. “If you give a dose of the vaccine to somebody who may not be able to return and get their second dose or if there’s an adverse event, who is responsible?” Wolfson asks. “Travelling long distances for a shot, there’s a risk to the patient of not fulfilling the dosage and of not being able to follow up with healthcare providers to have, what we call it in healthcare, continuity of care.” Nevertheless, many are willing to take the risk, especially if they are particularly susceptible to health complications from the virus or don’t have to travel far to get vaccinated across a border.


  • Covid-19 dans le monde : Moderna affirme que son vaccin est efficace contre les variants, les masques FFP2 obligatoires en Autriche

    Le président américain, Joe Biden, a estimé lundi que les Etats-Unis se rapprocheraient de l’immunité collective d’ici l’été. Interrogé sur la date à laquelle tous les Américains souhaitant bénéficier du vaccin le pourront, il a répondu : « le printemps ». « Je pense que cela représente un défi logistique sans précédent dans l’histoire de notre pays mais je pense que nous pouvons le faire », a-t-il affirmé.En parallèle, il a décidé de réimposer une interdiction d’entrer aux Etats-Unis à la plupart des citoyens non américains qui se sont rendus en Grande-Bretagne, au Brésil et en Afrique du Sud, où sont apparus des variants du coronavirus plus contagieux, et pour ceux venant d’une grande partie de l’Europe. Il doit également étendre cette interdiction aux voyageurs qui se sont récemment rendus en Afrique du Sud, en raison des informations selon lesquelles de nouveaux variants du coronavirus plus transmissibles apparaissent aux Etats-Unis.


  • L’OIM salue l’inclusion des migrants dans le déploiement du vaccin contre la COVID-19 aux États-Unis | Organisation internationale pour les migrations

    L’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) salue l’inclusion des migrants dans la nouvelle stratégie nationale de réponse à la COVID-19 du gouvernement américain et son engagement à « faire en sorte que des vaccins sûrs, efficaces et gratuits soient mis à la disposition de l’ensemble de la population américaine, quel que soit son statut d’immigration ». À la lumière de cette annonce, l’OIM appelle tous les pays à adopter des approches similaires d’inclusion des migrants afin de garantir que le plus grand nombre de vies possible puisse être sauvées. « Le vaccin contre la COVID-19 offre l’opportunité que nous attendions, mais seulement si nous l’utilisons avec sagesse et stratégie, en protégeant d’abord les plus à risque, quels que soient leur nationalité et leur statut d’immigration légal », a averti le Directeur général de l’OIM, António Vitorino. « Je félicite les gouvernements qui ont choisi la voie de l’inclusion et de la solidarité pour le déploiement de leurs vaccins ». Selon le pilier COVAX, le mécanisme multilatéral créé pour assurer une distribution équitable des vaccins contre la COVID-19, des campagnes de vaccination ont déjà commencé dans plus de 50 pays. De nombreux pays n’ont pas encore publié leurs stratégies de priorité pour le déploiement du vaccin, mais les États-Unis, l’Allemagne et la Jordanie, entre autres, ont déjà annoncé diverses mesures pour assurer un accès équitable au vaccin, notamment pour les demandeurs d’asile, les migrants en situation irrégulière et les personnes déplacées de force. L’année dernière, des approches similaires incluant les migrants ont été adoptées pour les tests de dépistage de la COVID-19, le traitement et l’accès aux services sociaux en Irlande, en Malaisie, au Portugal, au Qatar et au Royaume-Uni. Pour faciliter des campagnes de vaccination véritablement efficaces et équitables, l’OIM travaille en étroite collaboration avec le pilier COVAX, les États membres, l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé et d’autres partenaires, et recommande aux autorités nationales d’adopter des pratiques permettant de prendre en compte tous les migrants


  • Why Medical Tourism Is Drawing Patients, Even in a Pandemic - The New York Times

    In recent years, while still on her ex- husband’s health insurance policy, she had received hormonal treatments to ease the pain so she could go about her daily life. But since her divorce last year and the coronavirus restrictions placed on the beauty industry in March, those treatment costs have become prohibitive, especially with no insurance.“There is no real cure for endometriosis, but if I want to free myself from this pain then I need to get a hysterectomy,” Ms. Jackson said, her voice shaking as she described the procedure to remove her uterus. “As if the surgery isn’t bad enough, I need to find 20,000 bucks to pay for it, which is just crazy so I’m going to have to find a way to go to Mexico.”
    The coronavirus pandemic has pushed millions of Americans into poverty and stripped more than 5.4 million American workers of their health insurance, according to a study by the nonpartisan consumer advocacy group, Families USA. Many people like Ms. Jackson have experienced a significant deterioration in their health because they have delayed medical procedures. The fear of large medical bills has outweighed fear of contagion for some, giving rise to an increased number of patients seeking medical treatment in a foreign country.
    “We are seeing a pent-up demand for medical tourism during the pandemic, particularly in the U.S. where a fast-growing number of Americans are traveling across the land border with Mexico for health purposes,” said David G. Vequist IV, the founder of the Center for Medical Tourism Research, a group based in San Antonio, Texas, and a professor at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Even before the pandemic, millions of Americans traveled to other countries for savings of between 40 to 80 percent on medical treatments, according to the global medical tourism guide Patients Beyond Borders. Mexico and Costa Rica have become the most popular destinations for dental care, cosmetic surgery and prescription medicines while Thailand, India and South Korea draw in patients for more complex procedures including orthopedics, cardiovascular, cancer and fertility treatment.
    In 2019, 1.1 percent of Americans traveling internationally did so for health treatments, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office, although that figure only accounts for those who traveled by air and does not include the thousands of travelers who crossed the United States-Mexico border. Definitive statistics on medical tourism are hard to come by because countries have different recording methods and definitions of the sector.
    Medical tourism has been decimated by coronavirus restrictions, but, even so, the twin crises of the economy and the enormous strain that Covid-19 has placed on the already faulty American health care system are pushing many patients to travel. Demand for nonessential surgeries has also been building up after more than 177,000 scheduled surgeries were postponed in the United States between March and June in 2020, according to the Center for Medical Tourism Research. “Our market has always been what I call the ‘working poor’ and they just keep getting poorer,” said Josef Woodman, the chief executive of Patients Beyond Borders. “The pandemic has gutted low-income and middle-class people around the world and for many of them the reality is that they have to travel to access affordable health care.” In April, following the initial global lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, medical travel bookings were down by more than 89 percent in the most popular destinations, including Mexico, Thailand, Turkey and South Korea, according to Medical Departures, a Bangkok-based medical travel agency. Since August, the numbers have slowly been rebounding, but bookings in Mexico, which has seen an uptick in American travelers in recent months, are still down by 32 percent compared to the same period of August to December in 2019.


  • Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Related to COVID-19 | Health Disparities | JAMA | JAMA Network

    One of the most disturbing aspects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the US is the disproportionate harm that it has caused to historically marginalized groups. Black, Hispanic, and Asian people have substantially higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death compared with White people.1,2 According to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Epic Health Research Network, based on data from the Epic health record system for 7 million Black patients, 5.1 million Hispanic patients, 1.4 million Asian patients, and 34.1 million White patients, as of July 20, 2020, the hospitalization rates and death rates per 10 000, respectively, were 24.6 and 5.6 for Black patients, 30.4 and 5.6 for Hispanic patients, 15.9 and 4.3 for Asian patients, and 7.4 and 2.3 for White patients.2 American Indian persons living in the US also have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.1. In the US, racial and ethnic minority status is inextricably associated with lower socioeconomic status. Black, Hispanic, and American Indian persons in the US are more likely to live in crowded conditions, in multigenerational households, and have jobs that cannot be performed remotely, such as transit workers, grocery store clerks, nursing aides, construction workers, and household workers. These groups are more likely to travel on public transportation due to lack of having their own vehicle. Even for persons who can shelter at home, many persons with low incomes live with an essential worker and have a higher likelihood of exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection.3
    Once infected with SARS-CoV-2, persons who have been marginalized are at greater risk for hospitalization because they often have a higher number of chronic medical comorbidities. The prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity are higher among low-income, minority populations; all 3 of which have been associated with worse outcomes among patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, racial and ethnic minority populations have poorer access to health care, which likely results in persons initiating care later in the course of their illness with COVID-19. Through July 21, 2020, 1.6 million Hispanic persons in the US lost access to their health care coverage since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.4 Immigrants, whether undocumented or legally in the US, are likely to avoid the health care system altogether due to concerns about deportation or that use of publicly supported services would be used as a reason for denying future immigration.


  • America’s Salad Bowl Becomes Fertile Ground for Covid-19 - The New York Times

    Because Yuma County produces the lettuce, broccoli and other leafy greens that Americans consume during the cold months, it is known as “America’s salad bowl.” Now it has become a winter hothouse for Covid-19.
    Over the course of the pandemic, the Yuma area has identified coronavirus cases at a higher rate than any other U.S. region. One out of every six residents has come down with the virus.Each winter, the county’s population swells by 100,000 people, to more than 300,000, as field workers descend on the farms and snowbirds from the Midwest pull into R.V. parks. This seasonal ritual brings jobs, local spending and high tax revenue. But this year, the influx has turned deadly.Father Chapa’s parish is weathering the full spectrum of the pandemic’s surge. In Spanish and English, he ministers to Mexican-American families who have been rooted here for generations as well as the seasonal residents, all of them afflicted. The church is handling three times the number of funerals it usually does.
    While coronavirus cases are starting to flatten across the country, the virus is still raging in many border communities. Three of the six metro areas with the highest rates of known cases since the outbreak began are small cities straddling Mexico: Yuma; Eagle Pass, Texas; and El Centro, Calif.
    Seasonal migration, the daily flow of people back and forth and lax measures to contain the virus’s spread have created a combustible constellation. Arizona has seen among the highest increases in newly reported deaths of any state over the past two weeks — and it is not clear when this troubling trend will abate.Halfway between San Diego and Phoenix, but geographically isolated from both, Yuma has only one hospital. Understaffed and overwhelmed with cases, it has been airlifting critically ill patients to other cities. And the fallout from Christmas and New Year festivities is not over.


  • Biden to Block Trump’s Plan to Lift COVID-19 European Travel Restrictions | World News | US News

    U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to quickly extend travel restrictions barring travel by most people who have recently been in much of Europe and Brazil soon after President Donald Trump lifted those requirements effective Jan. 26, a spokeswoman for Biden said.Trump signed an order Monday lifting the restrictions he imposed early last year in response to the pandemic - a decision first reported Monday by Reuters - after winning support from coronavirus task force members and public health officials.
    Soon after Trump’s order was made public, Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted "on the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26."She added that “With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.”
    Until Biden acts, Trump’s order ends restrictions the same day that new COVID-19 test requirements take effect for all international visitors. Trump is due to leave office on Wednesday.Last week, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed an order requiring nearly all air travelers to present a negative coronavirus test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 to enter the United States starting on Jan. 26.The restrictions Trump rescinded have barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the 26 countries of the Schengen area in Europe that allow travel across open borders.The U.S. restrictions barring most visitors from Europe have been in place since mid-March when Trump signed proclamations imposing them, while the Brazilian entry ban was imposed in May.Psaki added that “in fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” The Biden transition did not immediately respond to a request to comment on if it planned to expand the countries covered.


  • La police guatémaltèque disperse par la force les milliers de migrants en route vers les Etats-Unis

    loqués puis dispersés par la police après seulement une cinquantaine de kilomètres parcourus en territoire guatémaltèque, des milliers de migrants honduriens cherchant à se rendre à pied aux Etats-Unis ont vu leur rêve d’exil stoppé par la force. Comme la douzaine d’autres caravanes de migrants qui ont quitté le Honduras depuis octobre 2018, cette dernière, lancée en pleine pandémie de Covid-19, n’atteindra pas son objectif.
    Partis vendredi de San Pedro Sula, cœur industriel et moteur économique du Honduras, quelque 9 000 Honduriens candidats à l’exode ont été stoppés une première fois dimanche à Vado Hondo, dans l’est du Guatemala, par un important dispositif policier et militaire. A coup de gaz lacrymogènes et de matraques, les forces de l’ordre ont freiné la caravane, tandis qu’un décret du président Alejandro Giammattei autorisait le recours à la force en raison du risque de contagion épidémique.
    Lundi, les 4 000 migrants qui étaient restés stationnés sur un axe routier frontalier, bloquant depuis samedi le transit de marchandises, ont été dispersés par de nouveaux tirs de gaz lacrymogène lancés par la police anti-émeute. La route était ainsi dégagée pour résorber l’énorme file de camions de marchandises qui s’était formée sur cet axe frontalier entre Guatemala et Honduras.Entre jets de pierres et tirs de gaz lacrymogène, une femme portant son fils en bas âge a raconté, le souffle court, à la chaîne Guatevision, être partie du Honduras où elle n’a « nulle part où vivre ». « Si on avait de l’argent pour vivre, on ne serait pas ici à chercher à aller vers le nord. Ils nous traitent comme des chiens, ça ne devrait pas se passer comme ça », s’est lamentée une autre mère, tenant une petite fille dans ses bras.


  • Tennis : 47 joueurs cas contacts au Covid-19 et interdits d’entraînements avant l’Open d’Australie

    L’atterrissage à Melbourne a été brutal pour 47 joueurs et joueuses devant participer à l’Open d’Australie (du 8 au 21 février) : ils sont interdits d’entraînement pendant deux semaines pour avoir voyagé à bord de deux vols où d’autres passagers ont été testés positifs au coronavirus.L’Etat de Victoria, où se trouve Melbourne, a d’abord annoncé deux cas positifs à bord d’un vol en provenance de Los Angeles, transportant 24 joueurs, puis l’Open d’Australie a confirmé un autre cas à bord d’un vol Abou Dhabi-Melbourne, à bord duquel se trouvaient 23 joueurs


  • Environ 4 500 migrants honduriens se dirigeant vers les Etats-Unis parviennent à entrer au Guatemala

    Au moins 4 500 migrants honduriens souhaitant se rendre à pied aux Etats-Unis ont réussi à entrer sur le territoire du Guatemala vendredi soir 15 janvier, après avoir forcé un cordon policier à la frontière, ont constaté des journalistes de l’Agence France-Presse (AFP). L’estimation du nombre de migrants a été donnée par un chef de la police guatémaltèque au poste frontière d’El Florido, à 220 km à l’est de la capitale Guatemala. Les Honduriens ont pris la route à pied vendredi, formant une caravane humaine animée par l’espoir d’entrer aux Etats-Unis et d’y trouver une vie meilleure, malgré les restrictions imposées par le Guatemala et le Mexique sur leur chemin. Beaucoup de migrants veulent croire que le président Joe Biden, qui sera investi mercredi, assouplira la politique migratoire des Etats-Unis, même si Washington les a déjà mis en garde.
    Des migrants se dirigeant, vendredi 15 janvier, vers la frontière avec le Guatemala en route pour les Etats-Unis, défilent dans la municipalité de Santa Rita, dans le département hondurien de Copan.Le gros de la foule est parti de San Pedro Sula, à 180 km au nord de Tegucigalpa, en direction d’Agua Caliente, frontalière avec le Guatemala, un trajet d’environ 260 km, a constaté l’AFP. Un premier contingent de 300 personnes avait déjà pris la route jeudi.
    Un groupe s’est détaché vendredi du gros cortège pour se diriger vers un autre poste-frontière, celui d’El Florido, plus proche, avec l’intention de rejoindre le reste de la caravane une fois entré au Guatemala. Des centaines de policiers guatémaltèques en tenue antiémeute ont pris position aux postes-frontières de la frontière Guatemala-Honduras.La situation économique de nombreux habitants du pays d’Amérique centrale, déjà soumis à la violence des gangs et des narcotrafiquants, s’est encore détériorée avec le passage de deux puissants ouragans en novembre et les conséquences de la pandémie due au coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
    Les migrants marchent en colonne le long des routes, sac au dos, la plupart le visage couvert d’un masque en raison de la pandémie de Covid-19.
    Le Guatemala impose aux migrants pour traverser la frontière de présenter des documents d’identité en règle et un test PCR négatif. La police guatémaltèque a annoncé avoir refoulé environ 600 migrants de l’avant-garde de la caravane, faute de documents ou de tests.La décision de ne pas aller à l’épreuve de force avec les migrants a été prise après avoir constaté que leur groupe comportait de nombreuses familles avec des mineurs, a expliqué un chef de la police guatémaltèque au poste-frontière d’El Florido, à 220 km à l’est de la capitale Guatemala. De son côté, le gouvernement mexicain a averti qu’il « ne permettra pas l’entrée illégale [sur son territoire] de caravanes de migrants ». Quelque 500 policiers ont été envoyés à la frontière avec le Guatemala.


  • ‘It’s Starting Again’: Why Filipino Nurses Dread the Second Wave - The New York Times

    Belinda Ellis had been a nurse for 40 years, and she thought she’d seen it all. She had worked in hospitals in the Philippines, where she was born and got her degree. She was a nurse in Saudi Arabia and then at a military hospital on the border of Iraq when Saddam Hussein came into power.
    But when the first wave of the pandemic battered New York City last spring, she still wasn’t prepared. Nor could she have foreseen the immense toll the coronavirus would take on her Filipino colleagues. As devastating as Covid-19 was in those early months, a number of studies now reveal just how hard the virus hit Filipino health care workers. Of all the nurses who died from the virus nationwide, one study found, close to a third of them were Filipino. According to an analsis by ProPublica, in the New York City area alone, at least 30 Filipino health care workers had died from the virus by June.Many of them fell sick, including Erwin Lambrento, a tenacious night shift nurse from the outskirts of Manila who died of the virus in early May. Pictures of him still hang throughout Elmhurst Hospital Center, where Ms. Ellis works.
    According to a survey published in September by National Nurses United, the largest nurses’ union in the United States, 67 Filipino nurses have died of Covid-19. That figure, which was pulled from public obituaries, is around a third of the total registered nurses who have died nationwide, though Filipinos make up only 4 percent of those nurses overall.“It’s really heartbreaking,” said Zenei Cortez, president of National Nurses United and a nurse from the Philippines herself. Ms. Cortez fears that the true toll is worse. “The numbers we are producing are all underreported, I’m sure of that.”Now another wave of the virus has arrived. The infection rate in New York City has risen in recent weeks, and hospitalizations are at alarming levels; more than 450 New Yorkers have died of Covid since the beginning of 2021. And many Filipino nurses fear their hospitals could again be crushed under caseloads that recall the harrowing months of March and April.Filipino nurses have a long history of working in New York City hospitals, dating at least to the immigration reforms in the 1960s, which broadened the categories of foreign workers who could apply for a United States visa.In the Philippines, nursing schools have taught an American curriculum since as early as 1907, granting degrees to English-speaking nurses who could slot easily into American hospitals. They quickly became invaluable in the 1980s as a solution to staffing shortages exacerbated by the AIDS epidemic. It was in 1986 that Ms. Ellis was recruited by Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, where she was quickly deployed to the bedsides of patients with H.I.V.
    San Francisco and New York were especially welcoming to migrant nurses, according to Leo-Felix Jurado, a professor of nursing at William Paterson University in New Jersey who wrote his dissertation on the importation of Filipino nurses into American hospitals.Mr. Jurado, who is now 55, was recruited in 1988 by JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J. He recalls that visiting the employment fairs held in Manila hotels felt like an afternoon of barhopping. Recruiters jostled to make hires, sweetening work visas to the United States with signing bonuses and promises of free housing, Mr. Jurado said.


  • U.S. to Require Negative Virus Tests From International Air Passengers - The New York Times

    Before boarding their flights, all international passengers headed to the United States will first need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test, according to a new federal policy going into effect on Jan. 26. “Testing does not eliminate all risk,” Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement describing the new policy.“But when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”Dr. Redfield is expected to sign the order detailing the new rules on Tuesday. The new policy requires all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, to get a test for current infection within the three days before their flight to the United States departs, and to provide written documentation of their test results or proof of having recovered from Covid-19.Proof of immunization will not be sufficient, because the vaccines have only been shown to prevent serious illness, said Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the C.D.C. Vaccinated people may still become infected, in theory, and transmit the virus on a flight.
    The agency will not require further testing in the three months after a positive test, so long as the traveler has not had any symptoms. In this situation, a passenger may travel with documentation of the positive test result and a letter from a health care provider or a public health official stating that the traveler now has been cleared for travel.


  • Iran bans importation of Covid vaccines from the US and UK | World news | The Guardian

    Vaccines produced by the US and UK will be banned from entering Iran, its supreme leader has said, even though his country has suffered the worst virus outbreak in the Middle East.“Imports of US and British vaccines into the country are forbidden ... They’re completely untrustworthy,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a live televised speech. “It’s not unlikely they would want to contaminate other nations.“Given our experience with France’s HIV-tainted blood supplies, French vaccines aren’t trustworthy either,” he added, referring to France’s contaminated blood scandal of the 1980s and 1990s.
    Khamenei’s comments reflected the tense relations between Iran and the west, which have not abated in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency.In his speech, Khamenei mocked American democracy and human rights in the wake of the riot at Capitol Hill in Washington, and said Iran was in no hurry to negotiate with the incoming Biden administration. But he said if the US lifted sanctions, Iran would respond. He said the issue of compensation for sanctions could be pursued at a later date.