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New York state will open Covid vaccinations to everyone 65 and over, Gov. Cuomo says

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers remarks on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Riverside Church in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 15, 2020.

Andy Kelly | Reuters

New York state will accept new federal guidance to open up Covid vaccine eligibility to everyone 65 and older as well as younger people who are immunocompromised, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

In accepting the new guidance, which Cuomo said came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the governor also criticized the move. He said demand will quickly outstrip supply. The state had previously been prioritizing health-care workers and recently expanded eligibility to include those 75 and older.

Cuomo said further expanding to those 65 and older will open the eligibility to about 7 million people, but the state is only receiving about 300,000 doses per week.

“We are going to accept the federal guidance,” Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters. “I don’t want New Yorkers to think that we are not doing everything we can to make them eligible for the vaccine, because I want to keep people in New York as calm as we can keep people in these anxious times.”

Cuomo said the state is still dealing with a “drip, drip, drip from the faucet of federal dosage availability,” which is inhibiting the state’s ability to vaccinate people. The federal government has been withholding more than half of all available vaccine doses to ensure that there’s enough for second booster shots needed to achieve maximum immunity.

But the Trump administration will announce Tuesday that the government will begin distributing those doses to states, a senior administration official told CNBC.

This is breaking news. Check back here for updates.


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Hamburg hoping to repurpose old coal plant to produce green hydrogen 

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Four major firms signed a letter of intent Friday to develop a “mega-electrolyser” in the German city of Hamburg that would produce so-called “green” hydrogen.

An announcement from the city’s press service said the prospective 100 megawatt (MW) facility would be located on the site of the Moorburg coal-fired power plant, which is currently in the process of being shut down.

In December 2020, it was announced that Germany’s Federal Network Agency would compensate Vattenfall, which operates the plant and is one of the companies involved in the new plans, for the phase-out of the Moorburg plant. 

In addition to Vattenfall, the consortium consists of Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and municipal heat supplier Wärme Hamburg. If all goes to plan, green hydrogen production could start in 2025.

“In the future, green hydrogen will play a very important role in the energy system and therefore also for us,” Fabian Ziegler, who is the managing director of Shell’s operations in Germany, said in a statement.

Hydrogen can be produced in a number of ways. One includes using electrolysis, with an electric current splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen.

If the electricity used in the process comes from a renewable source such as wind then it’s termed “green” or “renewable” hydrogen. The project slated for Hamburg would produce hydrogen using wind and solar.

The four companies involved will now look to apply for EU funding for their project, with their application set to be submitted in the first quarter of 2021. The plan also underlines a shift in policy inside Germany, which has been reliant on coal as a source of energy for many years.

News of the plans for Hamburg comes at the end of a week in which two other European projects focused on green hydrogen production took shape.

On Monday, it was announced that a subsidiary of German industrial giant Thyssenkrupp had been awarded an engineering contract to carry out the installation of an 88 megawatt water electrolysis plant for Hydro-Québec. The electricity for this project will come from hydropower.

A few days later, on Wednesday, Danish energy firm Orsted said it was pushing ahead with plans to develop a demonstration project which will harness offshore wind energy to produce green hydrogen.


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Pfizer CEO joins World Health Organization at press conference on the coronavirus outbreak

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[The stream is slated to start at 12:00 p.m. ET. Please refresh the page if you do not see a player above at that time.]

World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference on Friday to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 97.6 million people across the world.

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, which manufactures one of the Covid-19 vaccines that’s been authorized in the U.S. and Europe, is scheduled to join WHO officials at the virtual briefing. Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of the public-private immunization partnership Gavi, and Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, are also scheduled to join the briefing.

Earlier this week, the WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the world is on the brink of a “catastrophic moral failure” if it doesn’t fairly distribute the available doses of the Covid-19 vaccines across the world. He added that the discovery of several more transmissible strains of the virus in different parts of the world increases the urgency of the vaccine rollout.

“It’s not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries,” he said Monday. “There will be enough vaccine for everybody, but right now we must work together as one global family to prioritize [those] most at risk of serious diseases and death in all countries.”

The WHO, in partnership with Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, established the COVAX facility last year to ensure equitable vaccine access for every country in the world. It aims deliver 2 billion doses of safe, effective vaccines by the end of 2021.

Read CNBC’s live updates to see the latest news on the Covid-19 outbreak.


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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing on Covid pandemic

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to hold a press briefing Friday on the coronavirus pandemic as the state continues to push forward with its vaccination efforts.

On Thursday, the Democratic governor’s office said that vaccine distribution sites have administered 93% of the first Covid-19 vaccine doses they’ve received, and 91% of the first and second doses. Both drugs from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses spread weeks apart.

Cuomo said the state has ramped up how many shots it’s able to give in a day, but now officials are concerned that they’ll run out of shots if the federal government doesn’t send more.

“We are racing to administer the vaccine as quickly as possible while doing everything we can to reduce the infection rate. We’ve made progress on both fronts since the post-holiday surge but there’s a long way to go before we reach the light at the end of the tunnel,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Read CNBC’s live updates to see the latest news on the Covid-19 outbreak.


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