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US boosting vaccine deliveries amid complaints of shortages



US boosting vaccine deliveries amid complaints of shortages

In response to rising frustration about vaccine shortages, President Joe Biden announced that over the next three weeks, the U.S. is ramping up supplies to hard-pressed states and aims to have enough doses by the end of the summer or early fall to vaccinate 300 million Americans.

Biden, calling the push a “wartime effort,” said the administration was working on Tuesday to procure an additional 100 million doses of each of the two vaccines approved for coronavirus. He admitted that states have been left wondering how much vaccine they are going to have from one week to the next in recent weeks.

Shortages were so serious that tens of thousands of appointments for individuals looking for their first shot had to be cancelled by several vaccine sites across the U.S.

“This is unacceptable,” said Biden. “At stake are lives.”

In the next three weeks, he pledged an approximately 16 percent rise in deliveries to states.

The administration said it plans to purchase another 100 million doses each from Pfizer and Moderna drugmakers to ensure that it has adequate long-term vaccine. If federal researchers approve a single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to request emergency authorization in the coming weeks, even more vaccinations may be available.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the government plans to make available next week about 10.1 million first and second doses, up from the allotment of 8.6 million this week. Doses of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are reflected in the figures. It was not immediately clear how long it was possible to maintain the surge in doses.

Governors and top health officials have been steadily raising the alarm about insufficient stocks and the need for earlier and more accurate forecasts about how much vaccine is on the way so that they can prepare.

On Tuesday, Biden’s team held its first virus-related call with the governors of the nation and pledged to provide firm vaccine allocations to states three weeks before delivery.

The announcement by Biden came a day after he became more optimistic about reaching his vaccine promise to produce 100 million injections in his first 100 days in office, signalling that a rate of 1.5 million doses per day could soon be reached.

The administration has also pledged more transparency and said it would hold news conferences about the epidemic that killed over 420,000 Americans three days a week, starting Wednesday.

“We appreciate the administration stating that for the next few weeks it will provide states with slightly higher allocations, but we’re going to need a lot more supply,” said Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican.

Miscommunication and unexplained bottlenecks have marked the set-up inherited from the Trump administration, with shortages recorded in some places even as vaccine doses remain on the shelves.

West Virginia officials, which had one of the highest rates of vaccine administration, said they had less than 11,000 first doses on hand even after shipping this week.

“For more, “I’m shouting my head off,” Republican Gov. Jim Justice said.

California, facing criticism over a slow rollout of vaccinations, declared Tuesday that it is centralising its hodgepodge of county systems and streamlining sign-up, notification and eligibility for appointments. In various counties, people have been baffled by the various laws.

And Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said in Colorado that the federal government’s insufficient availability of vaccine is forcing the state to repurpose second doses as first doses, while he hopes that individuals scheduled for their second shot will still be able to retain their appointments.

On Monday nights, when federal officials review data on vaccine supply from suppliers to decide how much each state may have, the weekly allocation period for first doses begins. Allocations are based on the population of individuals 18 and older for each jurisdiction.

States are informed by a computer network named Tiberius and other networks on Tuesdays of their allocations, after which they can decide where they want doses to be delivered. The following Monday, deliveries start.

A similar but distinct second-dose ordering process, which must be administered three to four weeks after the first dose, starts on Sunday night each week.

The CDC announced as of Tuesday afternoon that just over half of the 44 million doses provided to states were placed in the arms of people. To achieve herd immunity and conquer the epidemic, that is well short of the hundreds of millions of doses that experts claim will need to be administered.

According to the University of Oxford, the U.S. ranks fifth in the world in the amount of doses given relative to the country’s population, behind No. 1 Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Britain and Bahrain.

It is not fully clear why more of the available shots have not been dispensed in the U.S. But several vaccination sites obviously keep significant quantities of vaccine in reserve to ensure that the appropriate second one is administered on time by individuals who have already received their first shot.

Some state officials have also complained of a gap in reporting to the government their vaccination numbers and publishing the statistics on the CDC website.

Ochsner Health said Monday in the New Orleans region that insufficient supply forced the cancellation of 21,400 first-dose appointments last week, but that second-dose appointments were not affected.

Greensboro-based Cone Health announced in North Carolina that it is cancelling first-dose appointments for 10,000 individuals and transferring them to a waiting list due to supply issues.

Jesse Williams, 81, from Reidsville, North Carolina, said his Cone Health appointment was scrapped on Thursday, and he’s waiting to hear when it could be rescheduled. The former volunteer firefighter hoped that the vaccine would encourage him to resume church attendance, play golf, and see friends.

It’s just a disappointment that we wanted to have our shots and to be a little more robust to COVID-19,” he said.”

The roll-out of vaccines across the 27-nation European Union has also run into roadblocks and has also been criticised for being too late. As it upgrades its plant in Belgium to expand capacity, Pfizer is delaying deliveries. And it was disclosed by AstraZeneca that its initial shipment would be smaller than anticipated.

The EU, with its 450 million people, is calling on pharmaceutical firms to fulfil their obligations on time.


Patriots QB Mac Jones endures rough day at the office



Patriots QB Mac Jones endures rough day at the office

FOXBORO — Mac Jones easily had his worst day as a pro.

Between the turnovers, and the pounding he endured with little to no protection against the Saints pass-rushers, the Patriots rookie quarterback would probably love to erase what transpired at Gillette Stadium during the 28-13 loss.

The good news?

Jones, who completed 30 of 51 passes, with one touchdown and three interceptions, kept fighting, and actually got the Patriots within a touchdown and two-point conversion in the fourth quarter.

At one point after scrambling up the middle for a 12-yard-gain before sliding out of harm’s way on a fourth-quarter run, Jones popped up and ditched the knee brace that’s been supporting his left knee.

After it came loose on the play, he just whipped it aside and threw a touchdown on the very next play.

It was one of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing performance by Jones and the offense.

“He still was relaxed and didn’t look rattled in the huddle and when he took off his brace, it just showed how tough he is,” said Kendrick Bourne, who hauled in the 22-yard TD pass and made a nice play to get into the end zone. “You can tell he is just here to make plays and the brace can’t stop him and he has the ‘nobody can stop me but me’ mentality and that is what you want to see out of your quarterback. But it just didn’t go our way today and that is just kind of the game.”

The Patriots offense got off to a rough start, with three three-and-outs before finally getting a first down on its fourth possession.

But that first down proved costly with the Patriots losing James White, who was carted off with a hip injury.

That took away Jones’ security blanket on third down, and his best blitz-pickup protector from the running back group.

Then the turnovers started.

On the first pick, Jones was harassed in the pocket, stepped up, and delivered a dying quail, which landed in P.J. Williams’ lap. That set up a Saints score in the second quarter.

The second one came at the start of the third quarter. Right out of the locker room, on his first pass. That went off Jonnu Smith’s hands, right into the hands of Malcolm Jenkins, who took the ball back 34 yards for a score.

The final one came during desperation time, with Marshon Lattimore picking off a deep ball intended for Nelson Agholor with 15 seconds to play.

The support of his teammates meant a lot to Jones, who eventually walked off the field alongside Bill Belichick.

“I think interceptions are a part of the game. You obviously don’t want to throw them, and sometimes they’re bang-bang plays and sometimes they’re things you can control,” Jones said. “I just have to learn from those errors.

“Everyone did have my back. It seemed they were very supportive,” he said. “For me, I’ve worked a lot on just playing the next play, and I felt like I wasn’t lingering or thinking about the last play at all and neither was any of our team. Yeah, we can definitely get better there, and I appreciate everyone supporting me, and I’ve got to get better. So I will.”

Jones wasn’t helped by Smith’s misplay. The tight end just couldn’t hold on to the ball.

Jones, however, wasn’t about to throw his tight end under the bus.

“I think Jonnu has done everything right. He’s out there running. He’s out there blocking, doing what he’s supposed to do,” said Jones. “Me and him, we’re not always going to have perfect days. Nobody is. I think it’s more about just getting that connection in practice and the timing. That comes with reps.”

Between Smith’s drops, losing White and a lack of blocking up front, it was a long day for Jones.

“It’s not good enough. We’ve got to be better and it wasn’t good enough,” said tight end Hunter Henry. “We have to keep him upright, and when he is upright he is making some good throws. We have got to be better.”

Jakobi Meyers was Jones’ favorite target, catching nine balls for 94 yards, followed by Bourne with six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Jones was only 7-for-19 on third down, and 0-for-1 in the red zone.

“(The Saints) did what they did. But it’s more about us and me just executing our plays. I can do a better job of that,” he said. “I don’t like to assume anything. I just like to watch the tape and look at it from a bird’s-eye view and don’t be emotional about it. Just look at it and learn from it and then flip the page. I’m sure there’s plays I left on the field. I know there are. And I’m sure that the offense as a whole, we can all play better together, and we will.”

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Pelosi vows to pass infrastructure, eyes smaller social bill



Pelosi vows to pass infrastructure, eyes smaller social bill

WASHINGTON — With President Biden’s broad domestic agenda at risk of collapse, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday vowed that Democrats will pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill this week and push ahead on the bigger $3.5 trillion social safety net and climate change bill while acknowledging the total amount will drop.

Pelosi had originally pledged to House moderates a vote on the infrastructure legislation by Monday, but she now says that timeline will likely fall to later in the week due to Democratic divisions, giving space for negotiations so both bills could be approved. She is pushing to advance both this week, though that is not at all certain.

The $1 trillion infrastructure plan passed the Senate last month.

“Let me just say that we’re going to pass the bill this week,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. “I’m never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn’t have the votes. You cannot choose the date. You have to go when you have the votes in a reasonable time, and we will.”

When asked Sunday if Pelosi had the votes to pass the $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Monday, Biden told reporters at the White House, “It’s going to take the better part of this week.”

Still, in a delicate balancing act aimed at achieving the near Democratic unanimity needed to push the sprawling package through, Pelosi made clear that Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion for social spending and climate initiatives will need to be trimmed.

Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have said they won’t support a bill of that size. Manchin has previously proposed spending of $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion, an amount that progressives have called unacceptable for a bill they originally envisioned at $6 trillion.

Asked Sunday if she agrees the final number on the so-called reconciliation bill will be “somewhat smaller” than $3.5 trillion, Pelosi responded: “That seems self-evident.”

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Why did Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower sit for a practice-squad player against the Saints?



Why did Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower sit for a practice-squad player against the Saints?

FOXBORO — Dont’a Hightower knows he hasn’t been himself.

The Patriots’ season-opening loss to Miami marked one of his worst performances in years, an unusual no-show Hightower owned up to days later. He said he wanted to be more impactful moving forward, and soon he was, playing more outside linebacker than inside during the team’s Week 2 blowout of the Jets.

Then came Sunday.

During their 28-13 loss to New Orleans, the Pats replaced Hightower with practice-squad linebacker Jahlani Tavai for two second-half defensive series. Hightower hadn’t flashed yet, for reasons good or bad. Tavai took over anyway.

The team elevated Tavai to its game-day roster Saturday, an early sign second-year linebacker Josh Uche would be unavailable against the Saints. (Uche was ruled out pregame with a bad back). Despite Uche’s absence, Tavai didn’t see any defensive snaps until the second half. Over the first half, the coaching staff rotated Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley and Kyle Van Noy around Matt Judon, the team’s new defensive centerpiece.

Van Noy sat out early downs on three possessions, while Hightower and Bentley each missed one. Once Bentley left in the second half, the Patriots plugged Tavai into his spot instead of tightening their rotation and relying strictly on their veterans. Asked about the coaching staff’s rotation — which were also in effect for the opener — Van Noy deflected.

“You’re going to have to ask them that,” he said post-game.

Has Van Noy at least had a conversation with the coaches about why he’s rotating?

“You’re going to have to ask them that,” he repeated.

Released by the Lions on cutdown day, Tavai is a sturdy 6-foot-2, 246-pounder best known for his run defense. He entered the league as a 2019 second-round pick out of Hawaii, a selection widely panned as a reach by Detroit’s front office. After a decent rookie season, Tavai rated as the second-worst linebacker in football last year among those who took at least 500 snaps, per Pro Football Focus player grades.

He signed to the practice squad on Sept. 2, three and a half weeks before making his team debut. He finished with zero tackles.

“I’m not sure,” said defensive captain Devin McCourty, when asked about the rotations. “Yeah, I don’t know, sometimes I notice this once we go on the field. But different guys are in there, everybody gets reps in practice, so you’d have to ask the coaches.”

The coaching staff also rested J.C. Jackson, their only above-average cornerback, for one second-half series. Several defensive linemen rotated in and out throughout the game, an effort to keep them fresh as the Saints had three drives of 10 plays or more. But the decision to sit Hightower, with two linebackers already sidelined, was irregular.

Did the Patriots think that poorly of his play? Or highly of Tavai? Why remain faithful to a pre-planned rotation with the game in the balance?

Perhaps Hightower’s stat line through 54 minutes spoke loudest. It read exactly like Tavai’s: zeros across the board.

Hightower then recorded two tackles on the Saints’ final drive, one solo and one assisted. He halted Taysom Hill by himself on the penultimate play of the series. On the next snap, Hill charged right for a 4-yard touchdown.

He followed a pulling guard whose job was to erase the only defender standing between him and the end zone. New Orleans had successfully caved in the left edge of the Patriots’ defense with an extra offensive linemen and one tight end. Instead, the defender dove into the moving mass of blocked teammates and Saints offensive linemen, leaving his gap wide open

It was Hightower.

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Afghanistan vet running the Boston Marathon for Boston Children’s Hospital, where he had life-saving brain surgery



Afghanistan vet running the Boston Marathon for Boston Children’s Hospital, where he had life-saving brain surgery

An Afghanistan War veteran is running the Boston Marathon this year to give back to the hospital that saved his life as an 8-year-old boy.

Army Maj. David Frost, 34, was in third grade when doctors found a cavernous angioma on the right frontal lobe of his brain. He had emergency surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, and was able to make a full recovery a year later.

Now 26 years later, the Maynard resident is training for the Boston Marathon and raising funds for the hospital that saved his life.

“It was a life-changing moment for me,” said Frost, who’s now in the reserves and attending MIT business school. “I’ll forever be thankful for the work they do, the care they provide, and their ability to show empathy for kids.”

Frost, who grew up in Franklin, still has memories of himself as an 8-year-old — laying on the couch in the family room as he battled excruciating headaches.

“They were these terrible splitting headaches,” he said. “To this day, I can go back to those moments.”

It was the August 1995, and he was getting ready to start third grade. Frost was coming off a great summer, playing football and enjoying all the other things that come along with being a healthy 8-year-old.

But then he started getting these horrendous headaches that forced him to miss football, stay inside and lay on the couch for hours.

Doctors at first said the headaches were caused by bad allergies. However, after weeks of pain, his pediatrician made the call to send him for MRIs. That’s when the doctors found the cavernous angioma, a benign growth that consists of small blood vessels, and he had emergency surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Frost has been symptom-free ever since the year of recovery. He went on to play sports, graduated from West Point, and served in the Army. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.

Last year, Frost left the military and moved on to business school. But he started to feel something was missing.

“A part of me really craved the purpose I felt when I was in the military, contributing to an important cause, dedicating yourself to something and consistently working toward that,” he said.

“I was back home in Massachusetts, and thinking of different moments in my life that were impactful,” Frost added. “So I decided to run for Boston Children’s to help me fill that purpose and contribute to something important.”

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Guregian: After this train wreck, Patriots will be easy prey for Tom Brady & Bucs



Guregian: After this train wreck, Patriots will be easy prey for Tom Brady & Bucs

FOXBORO — After watching the embarrassing display put on by the Patriots against the Saints, it’s easy to forecast an even worse beat-down next week.

At this point, the way the Patriots are playing, the only thing that might undermine Tom Brady and the Buccaneers during Sunday’s primetime game is overconfidence.

The Patriots were that bad, especially on offense.

They couldn’t run. They couldn’t block or protect the quarterback. They couldn’t hold on to passes. And, they couldn’t stay onside when it counted most.

Mac Jones?

He struggled under the weight of pressure, finally turning the ball over with three interceptions — including a pick-six — during the 28-13 loss.

Playing from behind wasn’t a recipe for success for the rookie quarterback, although he hung in like a champ for much of the game, and kept fighting despite the chaos around him.

But an anemic offense wasn’t the only problem. The defense and special teams don’t get off the hook. Those units didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory, either.

After the Patriots crawled back to within eight with 9:22 to play, the Saints put together a 13-play scoring drive that took 6:47 off the clock and put the game out of reach.

When the Patriots have needed a stop this year, the defense hasn’t provided it. In this case, the Saints just lined up and knocked the Pats off the ball, repeatedly moving the chains en route to the game-clinching drive.

“We needed one more stop, and didn’t get it,” said defensive captain Devin McCourty. “That’s what it comes down to in this league, we needed to give our offense one more opportunity … that killed us. That’s the game of football.”

Special teams?

Jake Bailey had a blocked punt, while he sailed a third-quarter kickoff out of bounds to set the Saints up with good field position at the 40.

Overall, front to back, it was one of the worst performances you’ll ever see from a Bill Belichick-coached team. If it wasn’t Jameis Winston and the Saints, the score would have been much worse.

“Obviously, New Orleans has a good defense, but we’ve got to move the ball better than we did today,” Belichick said. “(We have to) play better in the defense. Play better in the kicking game.”

Let’s just say if this is the team that shows up against Brady, it will be a slaughter of epic proportions.

That’s how overmatched the Patriots looked for much of the game.

“It’s disappointing,” Belichick went on. “There’s no magic sauce here. Just have to go back to work and do better.”

While the season is still young, sitting at 1-2 with the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers on deck doesn’t leave many with confidence of a Patriots rebound. High hopes for the season have quickly fizzled.

So Belichick better find some of that magic sauce or else it will be another long season.

It wasn’t supposed to be this bad. After an offseason spending spree, boosting the front seven as well as the weapons on offense, the team has struggled out of the gate. It looks no better than last year’s 7-9 version.

They still can’t stop the run at key moments in the game, and they still can’t consistently generate offense, especially if the opposing team takes away the run game.

The two high-priced tight ends?

Driving for a score at the end of the first half, with a fourth down play on the 22, Hunter Henry jumped offsides to kill that drive.

Jonnu Smith?

A complete and utter disaster. He had the dropsies, and then some. His butter-fingers led to a pick-six to start the third quarter. He just couldn’t hold on to the ball, catching just one of six targeted passes.

Meanwhile, last week’s hero Damien Harris was held to 14 yards rushing on six carries. Jones wound up the top rusher with 28 yards on six carries.

Isn’t running the ball supposed to be a strength?

The fact Jones had to take off and run so many times was largely due to the fact he continues to get no protection from his world-class offensive line.

That unit has been disappointing to say the least.

Jones was hit six times on his first 17 dropbacks. By the end of the game, he was sacked twice, hit 11 times, and rushed on practically every throw.

As center David Andrews said, the line didn’t “hold up our end of the bargain.”

Not even close. And if that continues to be the case, Jones won’t survive the season.

“We just got to be better,” said Andrews, “better in everything we do.”

Worst of all?

The Patriots lost James White to a hip injury in the second quarter. He was carted off, so one of their most dependable players and chain-movers appears to be gone indefinitely. Neither J.J. Taylor nor Brandon Bolden filled in adequately either in running the ball or blitz pickup.

“Losing him was crucial,” receiver Kendrick Bourne said of White. “Third down, he’s a problem for defenders.”

On the afternoon, the Patriots converted 7-of-19 third down chances (36.8%). They also didn’t get the ball in the end zone the one time they advanced to the opposing 20.

The Patriots were behind all game, and as in the opener against the Dolphins, couldn’t make enough plays to give themselves a chance.

“There’s a lot of stuff to fix,” said McCourty. “You can talk about different things any time you fall short, but we have to stop putting ourselves in those positions, too. We can’t play every game from behind, and try to rake and claw to get one stop … we gotta put ourselves in the driver’s seat in these games where we’re playing from ahead.”

Two out of the first three weeks — both losses — they’ve had to play from behind and with the high-powered Bucs, who lost its first game to the Rams out in LA, heading to town, it’s hard imagining the Patriots changing the narrative jumping ahead.

Brady merely completed 41 passes, threw for 432 yards with a touchdown in the losing cause. So he’ll arrive in Foxboro needing just 68 passing yards to break Drew Brees’ career passing yardage record.

He’ll also be angry from losing, and hellbent on beating the Patriots, not the best combination for the home team.

The hype is already off the charts for No. 12’s return. The Patriots are going to have to deal with all the headlines, while trying to fix what’s broken.

“We’re not good enough to get lost in the headlines,” said McCourty. “We’ve got to focus in on what we need to do … we can’t worry about anything else.”

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How to replace a lost or damaged COVID-19 vaccination card



How to replace a lost or damaged COVID-19 vaccination card

It’s growing increasingly common to be asked for “proof of vaccination” around Boston, whether it’s at the host stand of restaurant or waiting in line for a Bruins game at TD Garden. But what happens if that precious piece of paper gets lost or destroyed?

Just an hour north of Boston, 29-year-old John Tackeff faced that dilemma in New Hampshire back in May.

“I had been storing my card in my wallet, which was not a great idea. I had it folded and after a month or so you totally couldn’t read it, it was all smudged,” he told the Herald.

After encountering dead ends through local government help lines and websites, Tackeff ended up trekking back to the mass vaccination site where he received his shots. He explained his situation to the National Guard stationed there. They were surprised he couldn’t get the card replaced any other way, Tackeff said, but looked up his information and issued him a new one.

Four months later, there’s still no federal or state one-size-fits-all solution to replace a COVID-19 card.

Patients who got their shots at Massachusetts mass vaccination sites can request a card copy through the company that ran those sites.

CIC Health, which ran pop up sites at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and Hynes Convention Center, offers an online portal where cards can be reported lost or destroyed. The company will then send new cards through the mail.

Here’s where it gets a little more complicated. Patients who were vaccinated at Natick and Eastfield malls, Danvers Doubletree, and the former Circuit City in Dartmouth will need to access their vaccine records through an email they got from provider Curative, or call their support line.

Vaccinated persons who got shots at their doctor’s office or through the local health department, like at a community pop-up event, will have to turn to their primary care provider. And if a local business like CVS or Stop & Shop was the site of vaccination, the patient can go through whatever online portal that business has set up. But the online vaccine records provided are often listed as “backups” because they haven’t been distributed by the CDC, like in the case of Walmart’s portal.

To get government-issued proof of COVID-19 vaccination, file an immunization record request with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The state will send a paper record of vaccination history, but it won’t be a card.

It may be tempting to carry that little CDC card around at all times, but several readers contacted the Herald to describe how much damage their cards suffered while stashed in wallets. It doesn’t take very long for ink to rub off, and it just takes one push from a jokester at a pool party to ruin a card completely.

The CDC recommends taking a photo of the card, and most businesses will accept a shot on a cell phone as proof.

Retailers also sell COVID-19 card-specific protection sleeves. These sleeves can be a better option than laminating a card, because a future health-care provider can take out the paper record and write in any necessary booster shots.

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Red Sox Notebook: Christian Arroyo back in lineup for second time since July 17: ‘He needs at-bats’



Red Sox Notebook: Christian Arroyo back in lineup for second time since July 17: ‘He needs at-bats’

For the first time in more than two months, Christian Arroyo was back in the Red Sox’ starting lineup and playing second base for Sunday night’s series finale against the Yankees.

Arroyo has made just one start since July 17 as the 26-year-old missed the majority of the last two months with a hamstring strain as well as a difficult battle with COVID-19.

The most commonly used second baseman on the Red Sox’ roster this year, Arroyo projects as the starter if the Sox make the postseason. Jose Igelsias, who had started 10 straight games at second base before Sunday, is ineligible for the postseason roster and manager Alex Cora wants to get Arroyo some at-bats.

“I think it was more about who we’re facing,” Cora said of the Sox’ matchup vs. Yankees lefty Jordan Montgomery.

Iglesias is hitting .289 with a .777 OPS against lefties this year compared to Arroyo hitting .324 with an .882 OPS off them.

“He needs at-bats, right?” Cora said of Arroyo. “It’s not like we’re going from one to the other. It’s not like playing Dustin Pedroia and playing Cora in ’07 towards the end. If it was Cora/Pedroia early on, then I understand.

“We’ll be fine. He’s a good defender, he’s a good hitter. I think he has done an amazing job. We can use him in different ways too, later in the game. I felt today with the matchup we have, it’s a good one for him. We’ll see how it goes. I know in Baltimore, most likely, we’ll face a lot of lefties too. Let’s keep taking it day by day.”

Verdugo back in

Alex Verdugo seems to be slipping back into Cora’s good graces against lefties, too.

He’s been alternating with Kyle Schwarber in left field as Cora continues to mix and match depending on the lefty. It was Verdugo in there on Sunday.

Verdugo is hitting just .221 with a .546 OPS against lefties this year.

“He’s been solid,” Cora said of Verdugo. “Obviously we know he can hit lefties, we know that. Compared to last year it’s a lot different numbers wise but we still believe in this guy, he’s not a platoon guy, he’s an everyday player.”

The 25-year-old was the key player acquired for Mookie Betts from the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his first full season as a big leaguer, he’s trying to prove he’s capable of playing every day throughout the long season.

He entered Sunday ranked as the 11th-best everyday left fielder in MLB this season with 2.3 WAR, a .289 average, 13 homers and 59 RBIs.

“Obviously playing a full season is a lot different than playing parts of 162 or just getting called up for a little bit and he’s learning a lot,” Cora said. “One thing for sure, he understands his swing, he knows how to hit. He really does. I think when we made that change in Buffalo, hitting him lower in the lineup, trying to get somebody, it was about the top of the lineup but also keeping him right behind J.D. Martinez. He’s been dominating right-handed pitching. That’s what we envisioned. He’s a good player, a player we really like and there’s still stuff he’s going to get better at.”

Taylor still out

Josh Taylor received an MRI on his sore back on Sunday and was placed on the 10-day injured list with a lower back strain. Taylor first hurt himself in the weight room and it’s been bothering him for a while, Cora said. He won’t be eligible to return until the final day of the season on Oct. 3.

He’s been the skipper’s preferred lefty out of the bullpen all year and his absence was felt on Saturday, when Darwinzon Hernandez was summoned in a key spot and gave up the game-losing grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton.

“It’s a tough one to lose him,” Cora said. “He’s been dominating against lefties throughout the season. Really, really good against them and he was throwing the ball well. It seems like velocity was up since he rejoined us after being on the COVID-IL. It’s tough.”

Cora will rely on left-handers Hernandez, Austin Davis and Martin Perez while Taylor is out.

Garrett Whitlock, on the 10-day injured list with a pectoral strain, is feeling better but hasn’t yet started throwing off a mound. The Sox were originally hopeful he’ll be able to return as soon as he’s eligible on Thursday, but Cora said he can’t speculate on a date yet.

Houck in the ‘pen

Tanner Houck is back in the bullpen and throwing some important innings for the Sox.

“It’s not like there’s a big moment for him,” Cora said. “The goal is for him to go multiple innings. You’ve seen it before. He’s dominant too…

“Trust the kid, trust him, trust his stuff, obviously in Baltimore, there are a lot of right-handed hitters in that lineup so he’s going to be very important for us.”

Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Nick Pivetta are likely to be the three starters for the upcoming series with the Orioles starting on Tuesday.

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‘Dear Evan Hansen’ opens 2nd to ‘Shang-Chi’ at box office



‘Dear Evan Hansen’ opens 2nd to ‘Shang-Chi’ at box office

“Dear Evan Hansen” may have been a hit on Broadway, but the filmed adaptation of the Tony-winning show is off to a slow start at the box office in its first weekend in theaters.

The Universal musical that’s playing exclusively in theaters grossed an estimated $7.5 million from 3,364 locations, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

First place again went to Disney and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which added $13.3 million in ticket sales in North America, bringing its domestic total to $196.5 million. The superhero pic has topped the charts for four consecutive weekends and this weekend surpassed “Black Widow” to become the highest domestic earner of the pandemic.

With little in the way of high-profile competition this weekend, “Dear Evan Hansen’s” $7.3 million was enough to land it in second place. While critics were less than impressed, audiences that did turn out this weekend were fans and gave it an A- CinemaScore.

Women made up an estimated 62% of the audience according to exit polls. Directed by Stephen Chbosky and written by Steven Levenson, “Dear Evan Hansen” is about a high school student with social anxiety disorder.

“We are tremendously proud of ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and everything about it,” said Universal’s head of distribution Jim Orr. “With an exceptional film and great audience scores, we think that’ll lead to a better than normal run at the domestic box office.”

Despite its prestigious pedigree and star-studded cast including Julianne Moore and Amy Adams, “Dear Evan Hansen” has become somewhat of a punching bag on social media since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month. At the heart of the jokes is the fact that the film has a 27-year-old Ben Platt, who originated the role, playing a teenager.

“Musicals have always had mixed results at the box office,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “It’s really difficult to pin down and project what a musical might earn on opening weekend, especially in this marketplace.”

Earlier this year, the adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights” underwhelmed at the box office despite stellar reviews — but it was also streaming on HBO Max simultaneously.

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Companies, activists push to speed zero-emission truck sales



Companies, activists push to speed zero-emission truck sales

Officials from companies with fleets of trucks are urging governors across the country to embrace a rule meant to speed the adoption of zero-emission trucks and reduce a potent source of greenhouse gases spewed from the large commercial vehicles.

In a letter released late last week, representatives of companies including IKEA, Nestle, Siemens, Etsy, eBay, Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever joined with environmental activists and investors to call for the wide adoption of the Advanced Clean Trucks rule.

Transportation is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., with trucks being one of the top culprits, activists said.

The rule requires manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to increase sales of zero-emission models over time in states where the policy is put in place. As production ramps up, the cost to manufacturers and buyers should come down, advocates said.

Supporters of the rule say companies increasingly are demanding clean trucks and vans to help meet climate and pollution goals and to save on the costs of fuel and maintenance. Approval of the rule by state governments could help give an added nudge to truck makers, backers said.

“The ACT rule will help bring down costs for zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by requiring manufacturers to increase model availability to meet the needs of fleet operators and driving investment in clean transportation research and development,” the companies and advocacy groups said in the letter.

“This will enable cost-effective electrification of commercial vehicles at the pace and scale needed to meet climate and air quality goals,” they added.

The switch to zero-emission trucks also will help reduce pollution in lower-income neighborhoods, many of which border highways, major roads and shipping centers, and where residents often have health problems like asthma, advocates said.

The rule has already been adopted in California and is being considered in several other states, including Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York and Colorado.

“Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are an essential part of the logistics networks that millions of Etsy sellers rely upon to deliver items to their buyers around the world, but these vehicles contribute disproportionately to air pollution and global warming emissions,” Chelsey Evans, senior manager of sustainability for Etsy, said in a statement. “Widespread adoption of zero-emission vehicles, including through the Advanced Clean Trucks Rule, is key to combating climate change.”

The letter was organized by the nonprofit group Ceres.

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Ticker: Johnny Ramone’s guitar tops $900K at auction; UMass Lowell professor lands $2.7M Alzheimer’s grant



Ticker: Johnny Ramone’s guitar tops $900K at auction; UMass Lowell professor lands $2.7M Alzheimer’s grant

The primary guitar used by Johnny Ramone, on each of the Ramones records and at nearly 2,000 shows over the band’s career, sold for $937,500 at auction this weekend.

The 1965 Mosrite Ventures II electric guitar sold to an unnamed buyer in the U.S. in bidding on the Ramones and Punk Collection of Daniel Rey hosted by RR Auction.

“The consignor was thrilled with the results and is very happy that the guitar is in the hands of someone who will curate Johnny Ramone‘s Mosrite for future generations to enjoy,” said Bobby Livingston, executive VP at RR Auction.

It was played at every Ramones performance until his retirement: from November 1977 through August 1996, for about 1,985 shows.

The fretboard shows an incredible amount of wear from his aggressive down-stroke playing style. Secured to the guitar with gaffer’s tape is the original strap and three Ramones picks.

UMass Lowell professor gets $2.7M Alzheimer’s research grant

A University of Massachusetts Lowell researcher has received a $2.7 million federal grant to continue her research into the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The National Institutes of Health grant will help engineering associate professor Joyita Dutta look at the disease from a network perspective, viewing the interconnections between the regions of the brain, the university said in a statement last week.

She will use machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to build models from existing patient imaging data.

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