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Sewickley man driving stolen mail truck arrested in Greene

A man from Sewickley is accused of driving a stolen U.S. Postal Service vehicle the wrong way on Interstate 79 for about two miles while state police pursued him Sunday.

Tyler Aiello Floro, 35, was subsequently arrested and charged with felonies of aggravated assault and fleeing an officer, misdemeanors of resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, and possession of drug paraphernalia, and multiple traffic violations.

The state police barracks in Waynesburg received notice from Moon Township police to be on the lookout for a stolen mail truck they believed was headed south on I-79.

Troopers located the vehicle shortly after 1:30 p.m. near the 19 mile marker in Franklin Township. According to the criminal complaint, Floro did not stop when police activated their sirens.

Police said that he drove the truck over the grass median and continued south in the northbound lanes for about two miles. According to the complaint, troopers maneuvered Floro off the road. When he tried to return, another trooper struck the vehicle and brought him to a stop.

According to the complaint, Floro resisted but police were able to take him into custody. He allegedly told troopers he had taken fentanyl. While in custody, Floro spit on the back of a trooper’s head, which is the basis for the aggravated assault charge.

Floro was arraigned Sunday night before District Judge Glenn Bates, who sent him to the Greene County Prison on $20,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 3.

Snow steppin'

The Tandem Connection parking lot was dotted with cars Monday morning, when folks braved seasonal weather to walk or run the Montour Trail in Canonsburg. John Knabb and his grandsons, twins Kaleb and Trey Knabb, 9, all of Peters Township, strolled beneath snow-covered trees while Dozer the chocolate lab sniffed to his heart’s content. “We could walk and talk all day,” Kaleb Knabb proclaimed. As the Knabbs finished their walk, Mt. Lebanon high schoolers Josie Engle, a cross-country and track runner, and Michael Ferreira, a soccer player, hit the trail for a morning run. Sunshine replaced gray skies around lunchtime, but the snow clouds returned, though that didn’t bother Rob Ross, of Washington, who walked briskly through Washington Park Monday afternoon. “I’m here every day,” he said, adding, “I walk between 60 and 80 minutes every day.”

US proposes once-a-year COVID shots for most Americans
U.S. health officials want to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like the annual flu shot
  • Updated

WASHINGTON – U.S. health officials want to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like the annual flu shot.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday proposed a simplified approach for future vaccination efforts, allowing most adults and children to get a once-a-year shot to protect against the mutating virus.

This means Americans would no longer have to keep track of how many shots they’ve received or how many months it’s been since their last booster.

The proposal comes as boosters have become a hard sell. While more than 80% of the U.S. population has had at least one vaccine dose, only 16% of those eligible have received the latest boosters authorized in August.

The FDA will ask its panel of outside vaccine experts to weigh in at a meeting Thursday. The agency is expected to take their advice into consideration while deciding future vaccine requirements for manufacturers.

In documents posted online, FDA scientists say many Americans now have “sufficient preexisting immunity” against the coronavirus because of vaccination, infection or a combination of the two. That baseline of protection should be enough to move to an annual booster against the latest strains in circulation and make COVID-19 vaccinations more like the yearly flu shot, according to the agency.

For adults with weakened immune systems and very small children, a two-dose combination may be needed for protection. FDA scientists and vaccine companies would study vaccination, infection rates and other data to decide who should receive a single shot versus a two-dose series.

FDA will also ask its panel to vote on whether all vaccines should target the same strains. That step would be needed to make the shots interchangeable, doing away with the current complicated system of primary vaccinations and boosters.

The initial shots from Pfizer and Moderna – called the primary series – target the strain of the virus that first emerged in 2020 and quickly swept across the world. The updated boosters launched last fall were also tweaked to target omicron relatives that had been dominant.

Under FDA’s proposal, the agency, independent experts and manufacturers would decide annually on which strains to target by the early summer, allowing several months to produce and launch updated shots before the fall. That’s roughly the same approach long used to select the strains for the annual flu shot.

Ultimately, FDA officials say moving to an annual schedule would make it easier to promote future vaccination campaigns, which could ultimately boost vaccination rates nationwide.

The original two-dose COVID shots have offered strong protection against severe disease and death no matter the variant, but protection against mild infection wanes. Experts continue to debate whether the latest round of boosters significantly enhanced protection, particularly for younger, healthy Americans.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.