USA TODAY follows news about COVID-19 as a pair of vaccines join the US fight against a virus that has killed 382,000 Americans since the first reported death in February. Continue to refresh this page for the latest updates regarding the coronavirus, including who receives vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, as well as other news from the USA TODAY Network. Subscribe to our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates directly to your inbox, join our facebook group or scroll through our detailed answers to reader questions for everything you need to know about the coronavirus.
In the headlines:
► Coronavirus deaths in the United States reached another high in one day at more than 4,300. The total number of coronavirus deaths in the country has eclipsed 382,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. It is rapidly approaching the number of Americans killed in World War II, around 407,000. The United States recorded 4,327 deaths on Tuesday; Arizona and California are among the hardest hit states.
► California has lifted a stay-at-home order for 13 northern counties with improved hospital conditions, but most of the state’s population remains under strict restrictions in the pandemic. The state lifted the order in the Sacramento area on Tuesday – a rare turn of good news as the state pushes through what Governor Gavin Newsom has called its “most intense outbreak” of the coronavirus.
► Scientists have identified a mutation that could decrease the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. The mutation, first spotted in South Africa two months ago, has since spread to 12 other countries.
► A recent analysis of late stage trials found that China’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CoronaVac, has an overall efficacy of 50.38%, the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo, Brazil said on Tuesday. Although the vaccine is reaching the threshold for regulatory approval, it is a disappointing descent from early results which showed it to be 78% effective.
► Texas became the second state to surpass 2 million COVID-19 cases, a milestone reached in June for the country. California was the first state to report the marker in December.
► Travelers arriving in the United States from international destinations will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday. The policy will take effect on January 26.
► Los Angeles County is asking residents to wear masks at home if they go out for work or to shop for groceries, the Los Angeles Times reported, as the region nears one million cases virus.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 1.9 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 382,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 91 million cases and 1.9 million deaths.
📘 What we read: U.S. hospitals are on the brink – but COVID-19 is not slowing down. “Absolutely, that’s what we were worried about,” the Association of American Medical Colleges health care executive told USA TODAY. Learn more here.
Operation Warp Speed chief Moncef Slaoui resigns but will remain during Biden’s transition
Moncef Slaoui, who helped lead the Trump administration’s vaccine development effort, is resigning but has agreed to remain in an advisory role for 30 days to support the transition to the Biden administration.
Slaoui has long said he would step down in late 2020 or early 2021 when he felt he had contributed as much as he could to the vaccine development effort. The focus is now on distribution and delivery, which falls under General Gus Perna.
Last week, Slaoui said he would stay longer than initially planned to ensure the success of three other major ongoing clinical trials, testing vaccine candidates from Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, the University of Oxford and by Novavax.
The Johnson & Johnson trial is fully registered and is awaiting two milestones: for half of its participants, eight weeks after their second attempt, to ensure safety; and for a sufficient number of people in the trial – both those who received the active vaccine and those who received a placebo – to contract COVID-19 so that the vaccine’s effectiveness can be determined.
The AstraZeneca-Oxford trial is almost fully registered and will be ready in early March to seek FDA clearance, Slaoui said. Novavax’s vaccine candidate trial is recruiting about 800 subjects per day, he said, and is expected to complete recruitment in early February, with an FDA request ready in late March or early April. A sixth government-backed vaccine, manufactured by Sanofi and GSH, is even further behind schedule.
– Karen Weintraub
What will COVID-19 look like in the future? Maybe another cold, study finds
SARS-CoV-2 “could join the ranks of benign and long-term cold-inducing human coronaviruses,” according to a model developed by scientists at Emory University and Penn State University.
The model, published Jan. 12 in the peer-reviewed journal Science, compares the deadly virus to four common cold coronaviruses plus the SARS and MERS viruses, which surfaced in 2003 and 2012, respectively.
Researchers determined from the model that if the coronavirus continues to circulate in the general population and most people are exposed to it since childhood, it could be added to the list of colds.
The study’s authors admit that the model makes assumptions about the coronavirus and the common cold that are not yet known, but a take home message is that “the critical need for large-scale vaccination may decrease in the short term.” said Ottar Bjornstad, study author distinguished professor of entomology at Penn State University.
Some states speed up vaccine distribution while others push back federal changes
Faced with a slower-than-expected coronavirus vaccine rollout, officials across the country shifted gears on Tuesday to speed up vaccine delivery to more people.
The U.S. government is asking states to speed up COVID-19 vaccination for people over 65 and others at risk instead of withholding vaccines for a second dose. The government will also stop withholding the required second doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
The change had immediate effects in New York City, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo broadened vaccine eligibility requirements to follow new CDC guidelines. Idaho will implement the guidelines Feb. 1, Gov. Brad Little said. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are other states that say they are “immediately” expanding immunization guidelines to include patients 65 and older.
However, other states are pushing back federal guidelines citing supply issues. Rhode Island Department of Health spokesperson Joseph Wendelken said the state has no plans to extend vaccination to people 65 and older, citing supply issues. The Iowa Department of Health said the state may consider adopting new guidelines “once we have reasonable confidence that the offer meets the requirements of these broader eligibility criteria.”
Hospitals face increase in COVID-19, staff shortage and increase in deaths
Four states with the largest share of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients – California, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia – are struggling to keep pace with the unprecedented surge.
In Los Angeles, public hospitals are preparing to go into crisis mode and the county has ordered ambulances not to send patients to overcrowded hospitals if they cannot be resuscitated in the field. More than two dozen hospitals in Georgia do not have beds available in intensive care units, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
While public health officials are optimistic, widespread immunization will provide a silver lining this spring, there is no respite now for doctors and nurses in overcrowded emergency rooms and care units intensive.
– Ken Alltucker
More lawmakers test positive for COVID-19 after riot at U.S. Capitol
Several lawmakers said they tested positive for the coronavirus after Wednesday’s riot on Capitol Hill. The latest is Rep Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.
“I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked in a secure room on the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask, but recklessly made fun of their colleagues and employees who did. offered one, ”Jayapal wrote on Twitter Tuesday. .
Fellow Democratic Reps Brad Schneider of Illinois and Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey have also tested positive after being forced into the secure room during the Capitol siege.
On Sunday, the congressional physician said elected officials and their staff were potentially exposed to someone infected with COVID-19 as the Capitol was locked in an armed incursion by pro-Trump rioters. Dozens of lawmakers have been infected with the virus during the pandemic.
Contribute: The Associated Press