Commission uses CARES funds to equip courthouse with remote access for conferences, training, and court sessions

At the Greene County Commission meeting, held Monday, January 11, 2021, Macaroy Underwood, CPA, noted that additional technology capacity, authorized by the Commission, has been installed in the William M. Branch (county) Courthouse. The new equipment will allow the commissioners to conduct or attend conferences and training workshops remotely, as well as to live-stream the commission’s local meetings. The monitors and cameras will allow the judges to hold remote court sessions. Macaroy noted that the foyer entrance to the courthouse is also equipped for public wi-fi access. Courthouse personnel will receive training relative to use of the new equipment and their courthouse duties.
The county invested approximately $20,000 from federal CARES funds to cover cost of equipment purchase, installation and training.
In new business before the commission, the body approved a resolution, presented by County Engineer, Willie Branch, accepting the Community Development Black Grant and authorizing the commission chairperson to sign the accompanying paperwork. At the Greene County Commission meeting, held Monday, January 11, 2021, Macaroy Underwood, CPA, noted that additional technology capacity, authorized by the Commission, has been installed in the William M. Branch (county) Courthouse. The new equipment will allow the commissioners to conduct or attend conferences and training workshops remotely, as well as to live-stream the commission’s local meetings. The monitors and cameras will allow the judges to hold remote court sessions. Macaroy noted that the foyer entrance to the courthouse is also equipped for public wi-fi access. Courthouse personnel will receive training relative to use of the new equipment and their courthouse duties.
The county invested approximately $20,000 from federal CARES funds to cover cost of equipment purchase, installation and training.
In new business before the commission, the body approved a resolution, presented by County Engineer, Willie Branch, accepting the Community Development Black Grant and authorizing the commission chairperson to sign the accompanying paperwork.The county was awarded a CDB Grant in the amount of $385, 000, of which $350,000 is to be paid from grant funds and $35,000 is to be paid for using local in kind labor and equipment matching funds.
The grant was awarded by ADECA to construct improvements on several roads throughout the county.
In the financial report to the commission, CEO Macaroy noted the following bank balances as of December 20, 2020: Citizen Trust Bank – $3,891,168.27; Merchant & Farmers Bank – $2,886,877.41; Total Investments – $1,148,604.63; Total claims paid for December – $598,159.92, with total electronic claims paid at $57,323.67.
The commission noted that courthouse personnel remain on ac rotating schedule, as a continued precaution relative to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising positive rates in Greene County. The various offices will serve the public on a first come basis, no appointment needed, but the courthouse will close at 3:00 pm until further notice.

Judge John H. England, Jr. retires from the Judicial Bench after serving 27 years

Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge John H. England, Jr. will officially retire from his current judicial duties, Monday, January 18, 2021 after 27 years on the Judicial Bench as Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge and a member of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Judge England, who proudly claims his birthplace in the Alabama Black Belt, was born in Perry County (Uniontown) and attended public schools in Birmingham, AL. He is a 1969 graduate of Tuskegee Institute (University) with a BS Degree in Chemistry. In 1999, Tuskegee bestowed him with an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree.
England served two years in the U.S. Army as a Military Policeman and later graduated from the University of Alabama Law School in 1974, and began his law practice.
In reviewing Judge England’s preparations and achievements, it becomes apparent, that as an African American, he was the first or among the first in instances on his journey. He was the first in his family to attend college. He was a member of the first class of Blacks to enter the University of Alabama School of Law, graduating in 1974 and began his law practice in Tuscaloosa.
He takes a father’s pride and joy in the fact that he is the first African American UA Law School graduate to witness his three children, John H. England, III, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District in Alabama, April England Albright, a Civil Rights Attorney in Atlanta and Chris England, Alabama State Representative and Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, also graduated from the UA Law School.
He and SCLC President, Charles Steele, were the first African Americans elected to the Tuscaloosa City Council in 1985. England served two terms and was Chairman of the Finance and Community Development Committee.
As he pursued his career as a young barrister, England was the first Black attorney to represent the Perry County School Board. He was the attorney for the Greene County Commission from 1981 until he assumed the Bench in 1993. He also represented the Greene County Racing Commission and the Town of Forkland and served as a part-time instructor at Miles College-Eutaw Extension. England often remarks that he got his gray hair in Greene County.
When he was appointed to the Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court in 1993 by Governor Jim Folsom, England became the first African American to hold a county-wide political office. He was re-elected to a full term in that office in 1994, where he served until he was appointed to the Alabama Supreme Court by Governor Don Siegelman in 1999, the third African American to hold such a seat. England returned to the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County in 2001 and has served continuously through his current retirement.
Judge England currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama and in 2019 was the first African American to have a dormitory on the University’s campus named for him (John H. England, Jr. Hall).
England is a graduate of the 1996 Leadership Alabama Class. He has also served as State President of Alabama New South Coalitions and in other leadership roles with ANSC.
In the course of this interview, Judge England noted that he is retiring from the bench, “ I am not retiring from giving whatever service I can wherever I feel I am needed and can contribute. I will take time to decide what I will do,” he said.
In his continuing reflections, England emphasized that he has learned much over the years. “I learned a lot about what passes for justice in our community. I’ve also learned there are things I have conveyed that I think have helped those who have come before me, such as clients, lawyers and judges, and I have learned a lot from them as well,” he stated.
England said he believes listening is a key to learning. “ I have come to value that you can learn something from any person, if you are listening. Many people who came before my court have later attested, ‘I was heard,’ including some individuals I had ruled against.”
In remarking on what he would have done differently, Judge England stated,” I can’t think of a particular thing I would have done differently. Even with the few times a higher court reversed a decision, I know I made the best decision I could with what was presented to me at the time. I can live with myself.”

Greenetrack Charities distribute $71,000, with $9,000 to support local HeadStart Program

L to R Mr. Luther Winn, Greenetrack, Inc. CEO/President; Ms. Bessie Howard, Center Manager, Greene County HeadStart; Michelle Aaron; Natasha Williams.

In the December, 2020 distribution of $71,000, Greenetrack, Inc. Charities gave a specific contribution of $9,000 to Community Service Program of West Alabama in support of the Greene County Head Start Program.
Head Start/Early Head Start, a division of Community Service Programs of West Alabama, Inc., provides comprehensive services to children, ages birth to five, of low-income families. The program focuses on school readiness and improving family functioning. Applications are currently being accepted. Families can apply online at http://www.cspwal.com.
The non-profit charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack in Eutaw, AL, E-911 Communication Services, the Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and Woman to Woman, Inc., provided charitable contributions, for the month of December, to a variety of local organizations, all benefitting Greene County residents.
A total of $71,100 dollars was divided and given to the following charities:
Greene County Board of Education ($13,500); Greene County Hospital ($7,500); Greene County Commission ($24,000); City of Eutaw ($4,500); City of Union ($3,000); City of Boligee ($3,000); City of Forkland ($3,000); Greene County Ambulance Service ($8,000) and Woman to Woman for 2021 toward Community Service Program of West Alabama for Greene County HeadStart Program.
Each of the following non-profit groups received $300: Greene County Nursing Home, SCORE, Greene County Golf Course, James C. Poole Memorial Library, Greene County Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, PARA, Greene County Housing Authority Youth Involvement, Children’s Policy Council, Reach, Greene County DHR, Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and the Society of Folk Arts and Culture.

Newswire: African maternal health groups see better times for women under Biden

African women at maternal care clinic

(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – Maternal health groups worldwide are hoping that the election of Joe Biden will lead to a lifting of the so-called “global gag rule’ which cut off much-needed maternal health services in many parts of the developing world.
 
“I am excited and hopeful that things are going to be better,” said Nelly Munyasia, executive director of Reproductive Health Network Kenya. Her network promotes health services, including offering information about abortion.
 
“We are going to access funding and we are going to save the lives of women and girls,” she says, before explaining how tough the past four years has been.
 
Current US policies restrict access to safe abortion not just by attaching anti-abortion conditions to foreign aid. The United States also imposes its rules on how medical providers and non-profits spend their own funds, and on how they care for and advise their clients. The so-called global gag rule led to more pregnancies and lower contraceptive use among women in African countries reliant on U.S. foreign aid, according to a study published in the Lancet Global Health journal.
 
“Our findings suggest how a U.S. policy that aims to restrict federal funding for abortion services can lead, unintentionally, to more – and probably riskier – abortions in poor countries,” said Nina Brooks, a researcher at Stanford University who co-led the work.
 
Stanford University’s Eran Bendavid, who co-led the study, said its findings had probably captured only a partial view of the policy’s harm to maternal health, since knock-on effects of risky abortions were not measured.
 
“Because abortions are an important cause of maternal mortality, the increase in abortion uptake might also increase maternal deaths — and possibly disproportionately given that abortions under the policy could be less safe,” he said.
 
When organizations reject U.S. funds, they often have to reduce the scale of their programs—years of work to earn the trust of marginalized communities are also lost when clinics close and there are often no other existing programs to replace the services.
 
Past versions of the global gag rule have shown that the policy does not reduce the number of abortions and has instead increased unsafe abortions. It also has negative impacts on maternal, newborn, and child health.
 
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to repeal the Mexico City Policy – also known as the ‘global gag rule’ as one of his early acts in office.
 
GLOBAL INFORMATION NETWORK creates and distributes news and feature articles on current affairs in Africa to media outlets, scholars, students and activists in the U.S. and Canada. Our goal is to introduce important new voices on topics relevant to Americans, to increase the perspectives available to readers in North America and to bring into their view information about global issues that are overlooked or under-reported by mainstream media.
 

Newswire : John Deere pledges support to the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund’s Heirs’ Property Programs

John Deere tractor

Atlanta, Georgia, January 6, 2020- For almost a century, the number of Black farmers and Black-owned land steadily declined. One of the primary reasons for that decline was and continues to be heirs’ property. More than 60 percent of Black farmers currently operate on heirs’ property. Heirs’ property—land owned by two or more people, usually with a common ancestor who died without leaving a legal will—is the leading cause of involuntary land loss among Black farmers.
John Deere is assisting the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/ Land Assistance Fund—the oldest and largest Black farmer institution and only cooperatively owned organization of Black farmers, landowners and cooperatives in the country—in its efforts to address heirs property and leverage additional expertise and resources around their Regional Heirs’ Property & Mediation Center. The Federation of Southern Cooperatives has been leading grassroots solutions on heirs’ property, land retention and cooperative wealth building in African American communities in the rural south for over 53 years.
“The partnership with The Federation will advance resources that will effectively secure property ownership for Black farmers and their families,” said Marc Howze, Group President, Lifecycle Solutions and Chief Administrative Officer for John Deere. “We have a tremendous opportunity to make an impactful difference in the community.”
“We are pleased to partner with John Deere to help inform and guide their focus, partnerships and resources around heirs’ property,” said Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/ Land Assistance Fund. “Over the last 53 years, we have identified resource gaps that prevent Black farmers from resolving their heirs’ property issues. Access to trusted and affordable legal assistance in rural communities of color continues to be a significant challenge for Black farmers,” 
One of the goals of the partnership will be to provide more legal resources to help farmers gain clear title to their land. John Deere will provide key investments in the federation’s Legal Internship Program and National Heirs’ Property Conference over the next five years.
“Our commitment signals the beginning of a broader partnership that will unlock the productivity and economic value harnessed in land ownership,” said John C. May, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for John Deere. 
Access to trusted legal assistance is often the greatest challenge heirs’ property owners face. There is a shortage of trusted attorneys who specialize in handling heirs’ property cases. The Federation has successfully worked with Southern University Law Center and other historically Black law schools to create a pipeline of attorneys who fill this gap. Over the last 53 years, the Federation has provided fertile soil to grow land retention professionals and attorneys. The Federation’s Legal Internship Program has been a successful model to expose law students to heirs’ property issues and prepare them to go into rural communities and provide the legal assistance needed to save Black-owned land.
 
Monica Armster Rainge, the Federation’s Director of Land Retention and Advocacy and an agricultural lawyer, started as a legal intern at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in 1996. “Law Schools rarely focus on the unique legal issues heirs’ property owners face, so my internship experience with the Federation was an eye-opener. I did not know that this was a career choice with so much opportunity to make a real difference in my community,” said Rainge.
 
Over the years, the Federation has been a training incubator for many of today’s national experts in Black land retention. “We are preparing the next generation of Black lawyers and professionals to meet the growing legal needs in our communities. I am honored to pay my experience forward,” said Rainge.
 
The Federation’s Legal Internship Program provides law students with a twelve (12) week internship opportunity to assist licensed attorneys with land tenure and heirs’ property issues across the Southeastern United States where heirs’ property is most prevalent. Summer legal interns work under the supervision of a staff attorney in (1) researching and clearing property titles, (2) conducting family meetings and conferences, (3) participating in land retention workshops, (4) researching law and updating legal guides and brochures, (5) drafting legal documents including wills and (6) organizing Community Wills Clinics.
In addition to supporting the Legal Internship Program, Deere’s commitment will include a major sponsorship of the Federation’s National Heirs’ Property Conference over the next five years. The National Heirs’ Property Conference known as “FORWARD” is the federation’s largest heirs’ property event of the year. The conference is intentionally designed to empower heirs’ property owners with the strategies and resources they need to clear their title and make their land a wealth-building asset. FORWARD is the nation’s largest gathering of heirs’ property owners and passionate land retention practitioners from across the US. The 2nd Annual National Heirs’ Property Conference was a virtual held on, Dec. 2-4, ,2020. This year’s conference will be held on December 1-3, 2021.
The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, entering its 53nd year, assists limited-resource farmers, landowners, and cooperatives across the South with business planning, debt restructuring, marketing expertise, and a whole range of other services to ensure the retention of land ownership and cooperatives as a tool for social and economic justice. The overall mission is to reverse the trend of black land loss and be a catalyst for the development of self-supporting communities via cooperative economic development, land retention and advocacy. More information is available at: http://www.federation.coop.

Newswire: In first act of new Congress, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee introduces Reparations (HR – 40) Bill

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Sheila Jackson Lee


With the start of the 117th Congress this week, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Budget, and Homeland Security, has reaffirmed her quest for legislation that could eventually provide reparations for slavery victims.
On Monday, January 4, 2021, Jackson Lee re-introduced H.R. 40, a bill that would fund a committee to explore whether Black Americans should receive reparations for slavery. While it does not directly introduce payments, the Commission would study racial inequities and policy solutions.
“In short, the Commission aims to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African-Americans, resulting directly and indirectly from slavery to segregation to the desegregation process and the present day,” stated Jackson Lee.
The Congresswoman also serves as the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. “The commission would also make recommendations concerning any form of apology and compensation to begin the long-delayed process of atonement for slavery.”
Under H.R. 40, the Commission would comprise members appointed by the White House and both Congress chambers. The bill has had increased support with 147 co-sponsors in the House, all Democrats.
Because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Republicans in the Senate have indicated strong opposition to taking the measure up in that Chamber, the Georgia runoff elections count as a huge step toward getting the bill passed.
Two Senate seats are at stake in Georgia, with Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock squaring off against Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
“The impact of slavery and its vestiges continues to affect African Americans and indeed all Americans in communities throughout our nation,” Jackson Lee remarked.
“This legislation is intended to examine the institution of slavery in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present, and further recommend appropriate remedies. Since the initial introduction of this legislation, its proponents have made substantial progress in elevating the discussion of reparations and reparatory justice at the national level and joining the mainstream international debate on the issues.”
Jackson Lee noted that some have “tried to deflect” the importance of these conversations by focusing on individual monetary compensation.
“The real issue is whether and how this nation can come to grips with the legacy of slavery that still infects current society. Through legislation, resolutions, news, and litigation, we are moving closer to making more strides in the movement toward reparations,” Jackson Lee said.
The Texas Congresswoman noted that she expects more co-sponsors during the new Congress. “Today, there are more people at the table — more activists, more scholars, more CEO’s, more state and local officials, and more Members of Congress,” she declared.
“However, despite this progress and the election of the first American President of African descent, the legacy of slavery lingers heavily in this nation. While we have focused on the social effects of slavery and segregation, its continuing economic implications remain largely ignored by mainstream analysis.”
Jackson Lee continued: “These economic issues are the root cause of many critical issues in the African American community today, such as education, healthcare, and criminal justice policy, including policing practices. The call for reparations represents a commitment to entering a constructive dialogue on the role of slavery and racism in shaping present-day conditions in our community and American society.
“I believe that H.R. 40 is a crucial piece of legislation because it goes beyond exploring the economic implications of slavery and segregation.
“It is a holistic bill in the sense that it seeks to establish a commission to also examine the moral and social implications of slavery.
“In short, the Commission aims to study the impact of slavery and to address continuing disparities in the African American community and discrimination against the African American community, resulting directly and indirectly from slavery to segregation.
“After its study, the Commission would offer proposals concerning the long-term impact of slavery and bring about solutions to these ongoing disparities in the African American Community.”

Newswire: It’s not over: as video champions new attacks, Biden-Harris Inauguration to be held outside

By Hazel Trice Edney

Right-wing group attacks Capitol on Jan. 6 ( Photo by Hamil/Trice Edney Communications) and Insurrectionists carry Confederate flag in Capitol attack

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – A futuristic video circulating on social media early this week features the voice of President Donald Trump calling for a “Day of Reawakening” on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2021.
The three-minute video, which features images of people dressed in Trump t-shirts, hats and other paraphernalia concludes with the apparent voice of Donald Trump encouraging them to not be afraid and saying that “God will protect you.”
This kind of rhetoric has heated up since the Jan. 6 violent insurrection in which thousands of vastly White Trump supporters showed up at the U. S. Capitol where thousands rioted, vandalized and assaulted police officers. Five people died as a result of the riot; including a Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries he received while fighting off insurgents. Another officer, Howard Liebengood, died by suicide three days after the riot.
Widespread reports, including from NBC and CNN, say the FBI has warned of more likely terrorist attacks, insurrections and riots leading up to the presidential inauguration and on that day, Jan. 20. These riots are being planned for all 50 capital cities as well as the U. S. Capitol.
President Biden says he will still hold the inauguration outside of the Capital despite continued threats. A possible 15,000 National Guard troops are expected to guard the Capitol during the ceremony. People are being encouraged to watch the swearing in on television.
Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats and some Republicans are moving ahead with the impeachment of Trump for the charge, “Incitement of insurrection” for his verbal encouragement that resulted in the rioters storming the Capitol. He would be the first U. S. president to be impeached twice. Trump has repeatedly told his supporters the lie that his election “was stolen” from them.
Members of Congress may also face punishment for their words that day, namely Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who doubled down on Trumps lie, claiming the election was stolen and led the vote against the certification of the Biden-Harris election. Some members of Congress insist that to also have been insurrection, which the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, Section 3, cites as a reason for expulsion from the seats they hold.
The Fourteenth Amendment states: “No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
The “Day of Reawakening” video went dead shortly after the social media website, Parler, was taken offline on Monday. Twitter and Facebook also shut down President Donald Trump’s accounts, blocking tens of millions of his followers. But tech experts believe these actions will simply drive Trump supporters and possible rioters to other more obscure platforms where law enforcement investigators can not easily track and monitor their organizational activities.
A string of arrests has taken place since Monday, mainly of people involved in the Capitol break in and the threats on the lives of members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who they threatened to shoot, and also threats against the life of Vice President Mike Pence, who they threatened to hang for certifying the Electoral College confirmation of the Biden-Harris election. At least two Capitol police officers have been suspended and about 10 others are under investigation for their apparent involvement in the insurrection.
Black leaders around the country, are calling for Trump’s immediate removal. They are also raising questions about why the Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies were not better prepared and more aggressive against the perpetrators as they have been against Black Lives Matter protestors.
“What we are witnessing at this moment is the manifestation and culmination of reckless leadership, a pervasive misuse of power, and anarchy. This is not protesting or activism; this is an insurrection, an assault on our democracy, and a coup incited by President Trump,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson during the insurrection Jan. 6. “We must not allow President Trump to continue to place our nation in peril. The NAACP calls for President Trump’s impeachment so that he will never again be able to harm our beloved country, and more importantly, its people.”

Vaccine available for frontline health workers in Greene County; other groups remain to be scheduled based on supplies

Dr. Salahuddin Farooqui, MD shown get the vaccine.
Dr. Michael Gordon, MD receiving vaccine
Hospital staff getting shot vaccine

Last Wednesday, December 30, 2020, fourteen frontline healthcare workers at the Greene County Health System received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine at the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Dr. Salahuddin Farooqui, MD and Dr. Michael Gordon, MD were among those vaccinated in the first group. Dr. Farooqui said, “I was glad to get the shot and I am urging all others in Greene County to get vaccinated when your group is called.”
The Alabama Department of Public Health is returning to Greene County on January 6 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM and January 13 from 8:45 to 10:45 AM to provide additional coronavirus vaccinations. Healthcare workers, including EMT and other support workers should call 205-562-6952 to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Marcia Pugh said that she is expecting the residents of the Greene County Nursing Home to be vaccinated next. “We have been doing the required paperwork and getting signed approval from sponsors to vaccinate the residents of our nursing home. Their vaccines are coming through Walgreen/Pharmerica and should be scheduled soon.”
As to the next group which includes people over 75, educators and essential workers, Reagan Pettus, RN, West Central District Public Health Nurse, sent an email to Dr. Pugh advising, “We are still in phase 1a of our allocation plan which includes high risk personnel, such as frontline workers.
We have not received guidance as to when we may move to phase 1b which includes persons > 75 years, essential workers at high risk (such as teachers), and those who live in congregate settings.”
In her email, Pettus further stated, “Those who have no health problems and are not in high exposure groups will not be able to receive the vaccine until we move into Phase 2, which could be several months from now.
Alabama like many other states have been slow to receive ample supplies of the vaccines to vaccinate all the people who want to be served. Government officials say the supplies of vaccines are projected to increase in the coming months.
This news comes at the same time as Alabama and the nation are reaching record high levels of new confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus. Over 350,000 people nationally have died from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020.
Monday in Alabama hospitalizations reached 3,064, which was the first time they were over 3,000 during the pandemic. Public health officials expect continuing high rates of disease, coming from the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. It will be several months, before the impact of vaccinations will reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Public health officials are warning that people must continue to wear masks, socially distance, not participate in large indoor gathers and wash hands regularly to defeat the spread of corona virus.
More information on cases in Alabama and Greene County are in our weekly summary box on the coronavirus impacts on page 1.

COVID-19

As of January 6, 2021 at 11:30 AM
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)
Alabama had 384,184 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(32,380) more than last week with 4,994 deaths (257 more than last week)
Greene County had 709 confirmed cases, (59 more cases than last week), with 20 deaths
Sumter Co. had 882 cases with 24 deaths
Hale Co. had 1,550 cases with 34 deaths

Newswire: Most Africans will not receive COVID vaccine this year, report says

COVID clinic in Africa


Jan. 4, 2021 (GIN) – Countries across Africa are hunting for deals to obtain COVID-19 vaccines at affordable prices but their limited funds will cover less than half of their citizens. One estimate places access to a vaccine at one person out of 10.
 
According to a report in The Hill, a U.S. news website, 9 out of 10 people in nearly 70 poor countries will not get a COVID-19 vaccine this year due to government funding shortfalls.
 
In Uganda, nine million doses of the life-saving vaccine have been ordered through GAVI – Global Alliances for Vaccines and Immunization – amid surging new infections in the country. The vaccines will cover only 20 percent of the country’s population.
 
In Kenya, the country is seeking 24 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine from COVAX, a global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID vaccines with 1.2 billion doses of safe and effective vaccines to be shared among 92 lower-income countries this year.
 
With an additional $92 million, Kenya can buy more doses, enough to vaccinate 30 per cent of its citizens.
 
AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical company and part of COVAX, said it will provide vaccines at cost “in perpetuity” to countries in the developing world at a cost of no more than $3 a dose.
 
Pfizer, a for-profit operation, has not joined the initiative. The wholesale price for their drug is $20 a dose – out of reach for most of Africa.
 
Morocco and Egypt are buying vaccines from the China-based Sinopharm. Last week, Egypt received the second batch of Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine, bringing the country’s inventory to 100,000 – enough for 50,000 people, a small fraction of a total 98 million population.
 
Morocco says it will vaccinate 80 percent of adults with Sinopharm starting this month after King Mohammed VI instructed the government to make the vaccine free, according to a Royal Palace statement.
 
In the East African region, Rwanda and Kenya say they’ve applied for the AstraZeneca/Oxford product.
 
Rwanda is set to acquire the vaccine in the first quarter of 2021 and distribute it to 20 percent of the population.
 
“Rich countries have enough doses to vaccinate everyone nearly three times over, whilst poor countries don’t even have enough to even reach health workers and people at risk,” said Mohga Kamal Yanni, from the People’s Vaccine Alliance. “The current system, where pharmaceutical corporations use government funding for research, retain exclusive rights and keep their technology secret to boost profits, could cost many lives.”