COVID-19 Update: CDC Forecasts More than 90,000 Americans Could Die from COVID-19 in Coming Weeks; Surviving Past Infection Gives Five Months of Immunity, Study Finds; and More

On Thursday, January 14, 2021, here are the latest COVID-19 numbers around the world, according to statistics aggregator, Worldometer. 

  • World Cases: Over 93 million.
  • World Deaths: 1,992,937 deaths.

Countries Outside of the US with Most Infections:

  • India: 10,525,452 confirmed cases; 151,910 deaths.
  • Brazil: 8,270,655 confirmed cases; 206,910 deaths.
  • Russia: 3,495,816 confirmed cases; 63,940 deaths.
  • France: 2,830,442 confirmed cases; 69,031 deaths.
  • UK: 3,211,576 confirmed cases; 84,767 deaths.

COVID-19 Infection Provides Immunity for Five Months, Study Finds

People who have been infected with COVID-19 are likely immune from the virus for at least five months, according to a new study from the Public Health England (PHE). “We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection, but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts,” Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at PHE and co-leader of the study, said in a statement. “Even if you believe you already had the disease and are protected, you can be reassured it is highly unlikely you will develop severe infections. But there is still a risk you could acquire an infection and transmit (it) to others,” Hopkins said.

The Questionable Efficacy Chinese COVID-19 Vaccines

A Chinese COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech was only 50.38% effective in late-stage trials in Brazil, which is significantly lower than earlier tests showed, according to a statement from the Brazilian government, as reported by CNN.

“The Butantan Institute and the Government of Sao Paulo report that the coronavirus vaccine achieved a 50.38% overall efficacy rate in the clinical study conducted in Brazil, in addition to (an efficacy rate of) 78% for mild cases and 100% for moderate and severe cases of Covid-19. All rates are higher than the 50% level required by the WHO (World Health Organization),” the statement released Tuesday said.

While the vaccine meets the threshold required for regulatory approval, it falls well below the 78% efficacy previously reported, bringing further scrutiny regarding the lack of transparency regarding Chinese vaccines.

Germany at One of “Gravest Phases” in Pandemic

Germany has reached one its most dire points in the pandemic, with its Health Minister Jens Spahn has said the country is in one of the “gravest phases so far” of the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking in the German parliament, Spahn said “we have to bring down the number of infections and deaths which are still too high.” But he said that the situation in Germany’s intensive care units is slowly improving.

Johnson & Johnson Facing Vaccine Production Lag

The COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, appears to be behind schedule, according to a New York Times report. The Times reported on Wednesday that Operation Warp Speed’s lead manufacturing adviser Dr. Carlo de Notaristefani acknowledged a delay, but said the company might be able to catch up with its original production goals by March.

National News

Thursday, January 14, 2021

  • US Cases: Over 23.6 million.
  • US Deaths: 394,713 deaths.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 2,846,432 confirmed cases; 31,659 deaths.
  • Texas: 2,050,738 confirmed cases; 31,481 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,517,472 confirmed cases; 23,397 deaths.
  • New York: 1,212,324 confirmed cases; 40,184 deaths.
  • Illinois: 1,046,030 confirmed cases; 19,617 deaths.

CDC Projects Much Deaths in Coming Weeks

Close to 40,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 in the first two weeks of January, and it’s only going to get worse. A CDC ensemble is now expecting another 92,000 Americans to die in the next three weeks. Currently, more than 130,300 people are hospitalized with the virus, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Over 200 Deaths in New York

The State of New York suffered 202 deaths on Thursday and 13,661 more positive cases, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

  • US Cases: Over 23.3 million.
  • US Deaths: 389,790 deaths.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 2,758,909 confirmed cases; 30,386 deaths.
  • Texas: 1,997,795 confirmed cases; 30,795 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,488,586 confirmed cases; 23,075 deaths.
  • New York: 1,182,351 confirmed cases; 39,808 deaths.
  • Illinois: 1,033,526 confirmed cases; 19,363 deaths.

CDC to Require Negative Tests from All Air Travelers Entering US

In an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will require a negative COVID-19 test from all air passengers entering the US. The order will go into effect on January 26. “Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants,” the CDC said in a statement. “With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

US Now Averaging 3,000 COVID-19 Deaths Per Day Over the Past Week

To put the COVID-19 pandemic in perspective, the US is now suffering the equivalent of the 9/11 attacks every day. And over the past week, an average of 248,650 new Covid-19 infections have been reported every day.

Monday, January 11, 2021

US Vaccine Roll Out is Still Very Low

The vaccine roll out in the US to combat COVID-19 is still going slow. Out of over 22 million doses of vaccine that have been distributed to hospitals and pharmacies across the nation, only about 6.7 million people have been vaccinated thus far.

President-elect Biden Receives Second Vaccine Dose

President-elect Joe Biden received his second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and expressed confidence in the coronavirus taskforce, despite the disappointment in some of their progression. “I do,” he said, reiterating that he will be unveiling his Covid-19 plan on Thursday. Biden said that 3-4,000 people dying per day is “beyond the pale.”

Friday, January 8, 2021

  • US Cases: Over 22.1 million.
  • US Deaths: 374,988 deaths.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 2,577,458 confirmed cases; 28,511 deaths.
  • Texas: 1,916,872 confirmed cases; 29,724 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,429,722 confirmed cases; 22,491 deaths.
  • New York: 1,116,929 confirmed cases; 39,149
  • Illinois: 1,008,045 confirmed cases; 18,941 deaths.

Friday, January 8, 2021

  • US Cases: Over 22.1 million.
  • US Deaths: 374,988 deaths.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 2,577,458 confirmed cases; 28,511 deaths.
  • Texas: 1,916,872 confirmed cases; 29,724 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,429,722 confirmed cases; 22,491 deaths.
  • New York: 1,116,929 confirmed cases; 39,149
  • Illinois: 1,008,045 confirmed cases; 18,941 deaths.

US Reports More Than 4,000 COVID-19 Deaths in a Day

The US has reached perhaps its most dire milestone yet, after 4,080 COVID-19 deaths were reported on Thursday – both a new record one day death toll and the first time that number has exceeded 4,000.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Highest Single-Day Death Toll, CDC Warns it Could Get Worse

The US reported 3,865 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, a single day record. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the overall death toll could surpass 430,000 by the end of January.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

  • US Cases: Over 21.6 million.
  • US Deaths: 366,662 deaths.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 2,501,232 confirmed cases; 27,430 deaths.
  • Texas: 1,868,949 confirmed cases; 29,028 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,392,123 confirmed cases; 22,220 deaths.
  • Illinois: 991,719 confirmed cases; 18,562 deaths.
  • New York: 1,082,147 confirmed cases; 38,718 deaths.

US Hospitalizations Continue to Rise

Hospitalizations in the United States, including California, which reported more than 45,000 new cases in recent days. California has been hit especially hard, but New York, like all major cities, is suffering greatly from the pandemic, with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio now pushing from adults over the age of 75 to be prioritized for vaccination against COVID. New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi elaborated that over the past 30 days, 6% of all cases are over 75 and up, but 30% of hospitalizations and 58% of deaths are in persons 75 and older. Percent positivity is also increasing in this category.

A Grim Death Toll in LA

Per a CNN report, over 1,000 people have died of Covid-19 in Los Angeles County over the past week as California grapples with surging cases and overwhelmed hospitals. “L.A. County reached the terrible milestone of more than 11,000 deaths due to Covid-19,” Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in a statement, as she urged all residents to stay home and follow public health orders”As a community, we must commit to stopping the spread of Covid-19 in its tracks so that we can save as many lives as possible.”

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

COVID Hitting California Especially Hard

California reported that over 45,350 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, with hospitals in the state now pushed to their brink. Hospitals in California are now treating a record number of coronavirus cases, including many health workers. Per a CNN report, at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center, 44 employees in the emergency department tested positive for the virus between December 27 and January 1. The harsh and devastating reality is, in Los Angeles County, and a person is dying of the virus every 15 minutes, according to a health official.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Over 4.2 Million Americans Vaccinated – That’s Not Enough

The US has vaccinated more than 4.2 million people with their first doses thus far, but that number is far behind what officials had hoped. That number also means herd immunity remains far off. To combat this lag, the US may start giving half doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to people age 18 to 55, making the vaccine available to twice as many people in that age group.

A Startling Statistic

Johns Hopkins University data shows that the US has averaged 2,637 COVID-19 deaths every day. In other words, every 33 seconds an American is dying from the virus. On Sunday, more people were hospitalized with Covid-19 than any other day in this pandemic — 125,544, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

  • US Cases: Over 19.8 million.
  • US Deaths: 343,614 deaths.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 2,234,765 confirmed cases; 24,733 deaths.
  • Texas: 1,739,416 confirmed cases; 27,584 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,280,177 confirmed cases; 21,309 deaths.
  • Illinois: 942,362 confirmed cases; 17,470 deaths.
  • New York: 972,951 confirmed cases; 37,518 deaths.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

  • US Cases: Over 19.8 million.
  • US Deaths: 343,614 deaths.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 2,234,765 confirmed cases; 24,733 deaths.
  • Texas: 1,739,416 confirmed cases; 27,584 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,280,177 confirmed cases; 21,309 deaths.
  • Illinois: 942,362 confirmed cases; 17,470 deaths.
  • New York: 972,951 confirmed cases; 37,518 deaths.

US Hits Record Heaths and Hospitalizations

The US recorded more than 3,700 new deaths from COVID-19, a chilling new high. Also, the US reported more than 124,600 hospitalizations nationwide, also a record. “The next couple of months are going to be awful,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at George Washington University. “We’re going to lose 3,000, maybe more people a day, probably until we’re well into February. And then, we should start to see some light.

Possibly Two Cases of New Variant in Colorado

Health officials in Colorado county believe they’ve found a second case of new, more contagious coronavirus variant originally identified in UK. There is “no indication at this point” that this event has gone beyond the facility and into the larger community, according to county health director Dwayne Smith in an interview with CNN.

Vaccine Roll Out Slower than Expected

Although the Government had initially promised 20 million vaccine doses would be administered by the end of December, but data from the CDC shows that only about 11.4 million doses have been distributed, with only 2.1 million administered.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Houses Passes Measure to Increase Stimulus Checks

On Monday, the House of Representatives Passed a measure to increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,0000, thanks in large part to President Trump championing the increase. The bill now heads to senate. The legislation passed with a 275-134 vote. “Following the strong bipartisan vote in the House, tomorrow I will move to pass the legislation in the Senate to quickly deliver Americans with $2,000 emergency checks,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in a statement. “Every Senate Democrat is for this much-needed increase in emergency financial relief, which can be approved tomorrow if no Republican blocks it — there is no good reason for Senate Republicans to stand in the way.”

Almost 70,000 People Vaccinated in NYC, Says Mayor

More than 67,000 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, adding that “results, again, have been great.” The city administered 12,515 vaccine doses on Dec. 23, alone.

Stocks Once Again Open High

The US stock market once again opened higher on Tuesday, on track for a second day of record highs.

Here’s how Wall Street opened:

  • The Dow opened 0.5%, or 142 points, higher.
  • The S&P 500 also rose 0.5%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite opened up 0.5%.

Monday, December 28, 2020

President Trump Signs Coronavirus Relief Bill

President Trump green lit the $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and government funding package on Sunday night – thus avoiding a government shutdown that was set to begin on Tuesday, as CNN reported. The $900 billion for COVID relief will extend unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, and disperse $600 stimulus checks. However, because Trump signed the bill on Sunday and not Saturday, it has a negative impact – people enrolled in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will likely not receive a payment for the final week of the year.

Overall though, the signing avoids not only a government shutdown, which was set to begin on Tuesday, but job losses. For example, Southwest Airlines said the stimulus bill will allow them to avoid employee furloughs – which would have been a first in the company’s history.

Stocks Up Today After Trump Signs Off on Stimulus Package

Stocks opened higher on Monday following President Trump’s signing of the COVID-19 relief package bill.

  • The Dow opened up 0.6%, or 176 points.
  • The S&P 500 rose 0.7%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite opened up 0.9%.

At Least 2 Million Americans Vaccinated for COVID So Far

On Saturday, the CDC Covid Data Tracker said that 9,547,925 vaccine doses had been distributed and 1,944,585 had been administered. However, Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the US Department of Health and Human Services said on Good Morning America that , “the two million number is probably an underestimate.”

Giroir said that 10.8 million doses have been distributed to the states, “that two million number is delayed three to seven days, so we certainly expect that to be a multiple of two million.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

  • US Cases: Over 18.7 million.
  • US Deaths: 331,208 deaths.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 1,888,199 confirmed cases; 22,678 deaths.
  • Texas: 1,597,473 confirmed cases; 26,019 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,201,566 confirmed cases; 20,574 deaths.
  • Illinois: 900,370 confirmed cases; 16,407 deaths.
  • New York: 887,177 confirmed cases; 36,402 deaths.

Trump Tells Congress to Amend Stimulus Package

President Donald Trump is asking Congress to make changes to the COVID-19 relief bill it passed on Tuesday, leaving the future of the $900 billion stimulus package in doubt. Trump is demanding more money put into the pockets of Americans. “I’m asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000 or $4000 per couple,” Trump said in a video released on Twitter. “I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items in this legislation or to send me a suitable bill.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Pfizer/Moderna Testing Vaccine Against UK Variant

Both Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccine against the new variant of coronavirus, which may be up to 70% more transmissible than the current strain. But has the new strain reached the US?

The variant has not been identified in the United States, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Tuesday brief, but “given the small fraction of US infections that have been sequenced, the variant could already be in the United States without having been detected.”

 

Monday, December 21, 2020

  • US Cases: Over 18.3 million.
  • US Deaths: 325,006.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 1,888,199 confirmed cases; 22,678 deaths.
  • Texas: 1,597,473 confirmed cases; 26,019 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,201,566 confirmed cases; 20,574 deaths.
  • Illinois: 900,370 confirmed cases; 16,407 deaths.
  • New York: 887,177 confirmed cases; 36,402 deaths.

House and Senate Reach Deal on New Stimulus Package

Leaders in the House and Senate were finally able to reach an agreement on Sunday for a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill. The package would send direct stimulus payments of $600 to individuals, which is half of amount sent in the first package. For unemployed individuals, the federal government would provide $300 per week for 11 weeks, from the end of December through mid-March. Moreover, the Bill would reopen the Paycheck Protection Program, and provide $82 billion in school and child care funding.

Moderna Vaccine Approved

Moderna’s vaccine was approved for use and is now arriving across the US today. It became the second vaccine to receive approval by the FDA, behind Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine.

Friday, December 18, 2020

US Hits Record Hospitalizations for 12th Consecutive Day

The United States reported a record high number of coronavirus hospitalizations the 12th day in a row on Thursday. More than 114,200 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 yesterday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Overall, here are the numbers for US cases of COVID-19:

  • US Cases: Over 17.6 million.
  • US Deaths: 318,672.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 1,759,876 confirmed cases; 22,146 deaths.
  • Texas: 1,556,006 confirmed cases; 25,401 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,168,483 confirmed cases; 20,306 deaths.
  • Illinois: 879,428 confirmed cases; 15,985 deaths.
  • New York: 855,526 confirmed cases; 36,101 deaths.

FDA Looking to Green Light Moderna Vaccine

US officials are “rapidly” working to issuing an emergency use authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. A panel voted on Thursday voted to recommend the vaccine for public use.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

US Hits a New Record in Deaths & Hospitalizations

On Wednesday, the US recorded 3,600 deaths from COVID-19, a record since the pandemic started in March 2020, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Moreover, the data revealed more than 230,000 new coronavirus infections and 113,090 new hospitalizations. — a number that’s been on the rise since Dec. 6.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 1,653,207 confirmed cases; 21,477 deaths.
  • Texas: 1,520,038 confirmed cases; 24,890 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,143,794 confirmed cases; 20,093 deaths.
  • Illinois: 863,477 confirmed cases; 15,587 deaths.
  • New York: 834,212 confirmed cases; 35,833 deaths.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

US Hits a New Record in Deaths & Hospitalizations

On Wednesday, the US recorded 3,600 deaths from COVID-19, a record since the pandemic started in March 2020, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Moreover, the data revealed more than 230,000 new coronavirus infections and 113,090 new hospitalizations. — a number that’s been on the rise since Dec. 6.

Overall, here are the numbers for US cases of COVID-19:

  • US Cases: Over 17.4 million.
  • US Deaths: 314,848.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • California: 1,653,207 confirmed cases; 21,477 deaths.
  • Texas: 1,520,038 confirmed cases; 24,890 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,143,794 confirmed cases; 20,093 deaths.
  • Illinois: 863,477 confirmed cases; 15,587 deaths.
  • New York: 834,212 confirmed cases; 35,833 deaths.

Fauci Says Moderna’s Vaccine Could Receive EUA Today

Advisers to the US FDA are meeting today to discuss Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA is expected to grant emergency use authorization to this Moderna’s candidate, which boasts similar efficacy to Pfizer’s vaccine.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Most Americans Will Likely Get Vaccine, Survey Finds

A survey found that 71% of Americans say that they will “definitely or probably” get a COVID-19 vaccine. The survey was published on Tuesday from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The number is up from 63% in September, however, African Americans, people living in rural areas, and Republicans are more hesitant about the vaccine, the survey showed.

Stimulus Package Deal Getting Closer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer now says “the finish line is in sight” with respect to a COVID-19 relief package. “And as we race the clock to reach a final accord before the end of the year, we are close to an agreement. It’s not a done deal yet, but we are very close,” Schumer said in his floor remarks Wednesday morning.

That sentiment seems to be shared by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said that Hill leaders have “made major headway toward hammering out a targeted pandemic relief package that would be able to pass both chambers with bipartisan majorities,” and have “committed to continuing these urgent discussions until we have an agreement.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

FDA Panel Confirms Efficacy of Moderna Vaccine

An advisory committee from the US FDA released a document detailing data on Moderna’ COVID-19 vaccine, which may be approved for emergency use authorization (EUA) this week in the US among adults aged 18 and older. The document confirms that the vaccine is 94.5% effective against COVID-19, occurring at least 14 days following the second dose – backing the efficacy percentage previously reported by Moderna. The proposed dosing regimen is to administer two 100-microgram doses of vaccine one month apart.

Fauci on the Vaccine’s Safety

Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on ABC this morning, and was asked how people can be sure the COVID-19 vaccine is safety, given the speed at which it was developed. Fauci said, “The speed was not at all at the sacrifice of safety. The speed was the reflection of extraordinary advances in the science of vaccine platform technology.”

Stocks Rise Due to Vaccine and Stimulus Optimism

US stocks opened significantly higher Tuesday, as hopes grow on the COVID-19 vaccine and the potential for another federal stimulus package. The markets opened today as follows:

  • The Dow gained 0.6%, or nearly 170 points.
  • The S&P 500 was up 0.7%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite also rose 0.7%.

Monday, December 14, 2020

US Starts Vaccinating

A historic moment in the seemingly never-ending pandemic, the United States has finally starting vaccinating citizens against the COVID-19 vaccine. An ICU nurse in New York City was among the first people in the country to get a shot. “I’m feeling well. I would like to thank all the frontline workers and all my colleagues … doing their job during this pandemic all over the world,” said Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens. “I feel hopeful today, relieved. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time.”

After achieving the approval of the US FDA, the CDC has authorized the vaccine to be given to people 16 and older. “We expect 145 sites across all the states to receive vaccine on Monday, another 425 sites on Tuesday, and the final 66 sites on Wednesday, which will complete the initial delivery of the Pfizer orders for vaccine,” said Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed.

Friday, December 11, 2020

FDA Pannel Green Lights Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine

Vaccine Advisers from the US FDA voted on Thursday to recommend that the agency approves the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Overall, 17 members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted yes, four voted no and one abstained. The FDA is expected to issue Emergency Use Authorization as early as tomorrow (Saturday).

Fauci Reiterates that “Normality” Won’t Come Until At Least Summer 2021

As as a COVID-19 vaccine is dispensed to the public, it will still take months before the nation returns to normal, says Dr. Anthony Fauci.”If we have a smooth vaccination program where everybody steps to the plate quickly, we could get back to some form of normality, reasonably quickly. Into the summer, and certainly into the fall,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN Thursday.

“My hope and my projection is that if we get people vaccinated en masse so that we get that large percentage of the population, as we get into the fall, we can get real comfort about people being in schools, safe in school — be that K-12, or college,” he added.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Committee Meets Today to Consider Emergency Authorization for COVID-19 Vaccine

A group of advisers are discussing emergency use authorization (EUA) of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 candidate, and widely expected to grant such authorization. “Our team has done their initial analysis, and we do feel that preliminarily that the success criteria have been met,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told CNN Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

White House Aims to Deploy Vaccine Within 96 Hours of Authorization

The US and Food and Drug Administration will meet on Thursday to discuss whether to grant emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. A decision could come within days of that meeting, and shortly thereafter, the plan is to start vaccinating Americans. After any EUA is made, “we will start to have shots in arms within 96 hours” of that decision, Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine initiative, said Tuesday. “That’s what I believe with all my heart.”

Senior Leaders to Receive Vaccine First, Says Pentagon

The Pentagon confirmed that a small number of senior officials will be among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. “We do intend as part of this initial phase of healthcare workers, emergency responders, etcetera, have some very small set of very visible leaders that will volunteer to take the vaccine, do it in a public way as one way of helping to message the safety and efficacy and underscore that we are encouraging all those eligible personnel to take the vaccine,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Thomas McCaffery, announced Wednesday.

Delta Places Nearly 700 People on No-Fly List Over Mask Wearing

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian says that almost 700 people have been placed on a no-fly list by the company for refusing to comply with the airline’s mask wearing policy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

President Trump to Sign EO Prioritizing Vaccine Shipment to Americans

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday which will prioritize the shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine to Americans before other nations, according to senior officials and reported by CNN. The signing is expected to take place during a vaccine summit at the White House, and is intended to quell any fears that there won’t be enough vaccine to go around to each American after dispensing begins.

Peer-Reviewed Data Confirms AstraZeneca Vaccine is 70% Effective

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate was confirmed to be 70.4% effective in an interim analysis, published in a peer-viewed journal. “Overall vaccine efficacy across both groups was 70.4%,” the researchers – from the University of Oxford, AstraZeneca and other institutions around the world – wrote in the study. “Here, we present the first interim safety and efficacy data for a viral vector coronavirus vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, evaluated in four trials across three continents, showing significant vaccine efficacy of 70.4% after two doses and protection of 64.1% after at least one standard dose, against symptomatic disease, with no safety concerns,” the researchers wrote.

Pfizer Says People Need to Take 2 Doses for 95% Efficacy

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that while patients have some level of protection from COVID-19 after 12 days of taking the first dose, a second dose is necessary to achieve 95% efficacy. “This is a two-dose vaccine, so people need to take two doses to be able to feel confident that they’re protected at 95% — 95% chance of being protected,” Bourla said during an International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations briefing on Tuesday. “At the dose one, it’s around 50%, something like that.”

Trump Administration Official Explains Why US Passed Up on Buying More Pfizer Vaccine

An official with the White’s “Operation Warp Speed” explained why the team passed up a chance to purchase more than the current total of 100 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. According to the official, the decision was made as part of a plan to “diversify” the nation’s vaccine arsenal through the purchase of millions of doses from Pfizer’s rivals. At the time, officials at “Operation Warp Speed” had no idea the Pfizer vaccine was going to be this effective.   “The plan was to diversify and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

Monday, December 7, 2020

US Nears 200,000 Cases Per Day Average

The US infection rate is dire and a vaccine can’t come soon enough. The US is now averaging 200,000 new cases of COVID-19 each day. Health experts say that “behavior and cold weather” are the culprits for the surge. “People are going indoors, they’re not minding the three W’s,” Health and Human Services secretary, Alex Azar, told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday. “Our advice is always the same. Wash your hands, watch your distance, wear face coverings.”

Rudy Giuliani Hospitalized with COVID-19

Former New York City mayor and personal attorney of President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19. Giuliani, 76, was admitted to Georgetown University Hospital on Sunday, according to a CNN report. Giuliani Tweeted that he is, “Getting great care and feeling good.”

Gov. Cuomo Orders New York Hospitals to Increase Capacity by 25%

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced as part of NY’s new “Surge and Flex” strategy that hospitals must increase bed capacity by 25%. The state’s positivity rate is currently 4.79%.

Friday, December 4, 2020

  • US Cases: Over 14.5 million.
  • US Deaths: 283,519.

US States with Most Confirmed Cases:

  • Texas: 1,317,457 confirmed cases; 22,279 deaths.
  • California: 1,291,214 confirmed cases; 19,588 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,029,030 confirmed cases; 18,874 deaths.
  • Illinois: 759,562 confirmed cases; 13,625 deaths.
  • New York: 713,587 confirmed cases; 34,829 deaths.

Biden Urges Americans to Don Masks for 100 Days

President-elect Joe Biden is urging Americans to wear masks for the next 100 days to reduce the spread of COVID-19. “Just 100 days to mask, not forever. One hundred days. And I think we’ll see a significant reduction,” Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

COVID-19 the Leading Cause of Death in the US This Week

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death in the US this week – surpassing heart disease, and cancer. There were an average of 1,660 deaths per day across America this week, according to the  Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and the University of Washington.

Fauci Apologizes for Suggesting UK Rushed Vaccine

Dr. Anthony Fauci today apologized for suggesting British regulators had not scrutinized the disease closely enough. There really has been a misunderstanding, and for that, I’m sorry and I apologize for that. I do have great faith in both the scientific community and the regulatory community at the UK,” Fauci told the BBC. “I do have confidence. It came out wrong and that was not the way I meant it to be,” he added.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

UK Did Not Scrutinize Pfizer Vaccine Trial as Well as US FDA Did, Says Fauci

British health regulators who authorized the Pfizer vaccine did not scrutinize the trial data as closely as the US FDA is doing in its review, according to Dr. Fauci. “The way the FDA is, our FDA is doing it, is the correct way,” Fauci said in an interview on Fox News.

“We really scrutinize the data very carefully to guarantee to the American public that this is a safe and efficacious vaccine,” he said. “I think if we did any less, we would add to the already existing hesitancy on the part of many people to take the vaccine because they’re concerned about safety or they’re concerned that we went too quickly.”

Moderna Expects 100-125 Million Doses of Vaccine Globally in Early 2021

Moderna said on Thursday it expects between 100 million and 125 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine available by the first quarter of 2021. “Today, Moderna re-affirmed its expectation of having approximately 20 million doses available in the U.S. by the end of 2020,” the company said in a statement. “Additionally, the Company expects to have between 100 million and 125 million doses available globally in the first quarter of 2021, with 85-100 million of those available in the U.S. and 15-25 million of those available outside of the U.S. These expected first quarter doses are inclusive within the 500 million to up to 1 billion doses that the Company expects to manufacture globally in 2021.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

First Shipments of Pfizer Vaccine to be Delivered on Dec. 15

The first shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered on December 15, according to Operation Warp Speed and reported by CNN. The date is still contingent upon a decision by the US Food and Drug Administration to authorize each vaccine for emergency use. Pfizer submitted an application to the FDA on November 20, and Moderna submitted its application 10 days later, on November 30.

CDC Advisory Panel Votes on Who Gets Vaccine First

A panel of advisers to the US CDC voted 13-1 to recommend that both health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities to be first in line for any COVID-19 that receives emergency use authorization from the FDA.

CDC Director Suggests Mandating COVID-19 Vaccine for Certain Industries

Certain occupations and populations may benefit from a coronavirus vaccine mandate, according to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. “It will be a decision, I think, each industry will make,” Redfield said. “I do think there are certain industries where I think it would be important to protect their workforce, and some other industries where it may be important to make sure that they protect their costumers and consumers.”

US Surpasses 100,000 Hospitalizations

The US surpassed 100,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Wednesday, according to a report from the COVID Tracking Project (CTP).

Almost 50 NBA Players Test Positive

According to the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), of the 546 players tested for COVID-19 during this initial return-to-market testing phase, 48 have tested positive. The league reported that anyone who has returned a confirmed positive test during this initial phase of testing in their team’s market will be isolated until they are cleared for leaving isolation.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

CDC Shortens Virus Quarantine Time

The CDC will issue new guidelines that recommend people who come in contact with a person infected with COVID-19 should quarantine for 10 days after exposure – down from the previous 14 days that government currently recommends.

All Americans Who Want to Be Vaccinated Can Be By June

An official with the White House’s Operation Warp Speed said today that any American who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will have one available to them by June. “A hundred percent of Americans that want the vaccine will have had the vaccine by that point in time,” said Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, director of supply, production and distribution for Operation Warp Speed.

US Nursing Home Cases Surging

Nursing homes in the US have reported their highest daily cases of COVID-19 since the spring, according to a report from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). “Our worst fears have come true as COVID runs rampant among the general population, and long term care facilities are powerless to fully prevent it from entering due to its asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, in a statement.

COVID-19: October/November Round-up

 

COVID-19: August/September Round-up

The COVID-19 Pandemic: June/July Round-up

The COVID-19 Pandemic: May Round-up

The COVID-19 Pandemic: April Round-up