While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for March 3

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INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

Eligibility expansion clarity. The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) expanded vaccine eligibility expanded for our vulnerable population. Tuesday morning, it announced Hoosiers 55 and older eligible to register for their shot.

The state also opened vaccine appointments to those with the following health conditions:

  • Active dialysis patients
  • Sickle cell disease patients
  • Down syndrome
  • Post-solid organ transplant
  • People who are actively in treatment (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery) for cancer now or in the last three months, or with active primary lung cancer or active hematologic cancers (lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma)

But many of you came to us with questions, including how to sign up.

Biden on vaccine timelines. President Joe Biden Tuesday announced the U.S. is on track to have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for every adult by the end of May.

“About three weeks ago, we were able to say that we’ll have enough vaccine supply for adults by end of July. I’m pleased to announce today as a consequence of the stepped up process that we’ve ordered and just outlined, this country will have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May. That’s progress,” said Biden.

Biden also added that he would like to see enough vaccine doses for every educator and school worker to receive the first dose of the vaccine by the end of March. He said he would direct every state to prioritize educators for vaccination.

Relief plan for businesses. Indiana lawmakers are trying to get more relief into the hands of small businesses hit by the pandemic, but some owners say they are making it too difficult for the ones hurting the most.

The Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association is in support of HB 1004. President and CEO Patrick Tamm said 20 percent of Indiana’s restaurants are permanently closed and two-thirds of the state’s hotels are facing bankruptcy.

“This program though is absolutely critical for many industries but particularly restaurants and hotels,” said Tamm.

$1,400 stimulus check latest. President Joe Biden urged Senate Democrats on Tuesday to rally behind a $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill and stood by his proposed $1,400 payments to individuals, even as some party moderates sought to dial back parts of the package.

“He said we need to pass this bill and pass it soon. That’s what the American people sent us here to do, and we have to get America the help it needs,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters, describing a 20-minute conference call Biden had with Democratic senators.

IMS vaccine clinic. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be the home of a mass vaccination clinic starting this weekend.

The event, hosted by the Indiana Department of Health, will distribute the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

People coming to the speedway for vaccination will enter through the main gate on 16th Street and remain in their cars the entire time.

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