County reports 49 new COVID-19 cases
President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the U.S. will donate an additional 500 million Pfizer COVID-19 shots to help reach a goal of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population within the next year.
In a virtual COVID summit on Wednesday, the president called on wealthy nations and philanthropists to do more to end the pandemic.
The additional 500 million vaccines he pledged during Wednesday’s address brings the U.S. vaccine commitment up to 1.1 billion shots through 2022, according to The Associated Press.
“To beat the pandemic here, we need to beat it everywhere,” the president said.
He later added, “We’re not going to solve this crisis with half-measures or middle-of-the-road ambitions. We need to go big.”
According to national reports, the U.S. has shipped about 160 million doses to 100 countries around the world. But as the president indicated, it’s going to take a global effort to reach the 70% global vaccination goal. NPR reported that experts estimate about 5 billion more doses are needed to vaccinate low and middle-income countries.
“We need other high-income countries to deliver on their own ambitions, vaccine donations and pledges,” the president said.
Mr. Biden encouraged countries to donate vaccine doses instead of selling shots to low-income nations.
According to The Associated Press, the European Union has also pledged to donate 500 million vaccine doses.
The president’s pledge comes as efforts to increase the vaccination rate across the U.S. remain a top priority for the Biden administration and public health officials.
The vaccination effort remains ongoing in Santa Barbara County, where 76% of eligible 12 and older residents have received at least one dose, and 67.7% of that population is fully vaccinated. Of the entire county population, 57.3% of people are fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from the Public Health Department.
The department reported 49 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county’s active case total to 471 infections.
Officials reported 13 new cases in Santa Maria, 10 new cases in Santa Barbara, seven new cases in the Santa Ynez Valley, six new cases in Goleta, four cases in Orcutt, three in Lompoc, one in the unincorporated Goleta Valley and Gaviota, and one in various North County unincorporated areas and Guadalupe.
Four cases were pending a location assignment.
On Wednesday, officials from Pioneer Valley High School reported positive cases among members of the school’s varsity football team. Information was not available on the number of players infected and in quarantine, but the school postponed this Friday’s game against Santa Maria High School and canceled practices through the duration of the quarantine period.
According to a news release, the team should be cleared to resume practices and its regular game schedule next week.