USA TODAY follows COVID-19 news as a pair of vaccines join the US fight against a virus that has killed nearly 385,000 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:
► A global team of researchers arrived in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus was first detected, on Thursday to investigate its origins.
► The Mississippi Department of Health said the state could no longer book appointments for coronavirus vaccinations due to a “monumental surge” in demand after Gov. Tate Reeves announced that more people were eligible for vaccines.
► Montana Governor Greg Gianforte announced on Wednesday that he was removing the pandemic warrants issued by his predecessor. Under the new rules that will take effect on Friday, restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos will no longer be required to close at 10 p.m. and will not be required to limit their capacity to 50%.
► Coronavirus deaths in the United States hit another one-day high at more than 4,300. The total number of coronavirus deaths in the country has eclipsed 383,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. It is rapidly approaching the number of Americans killed in World War II, around 405,000. The United States recorded 4,327 deaths on Tuesday.
► California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that the state was removing restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines for all residents 65 and older. But Los Angeles County, the hardest-hit region in the state, has already said it will continue to prioritize healthcare workers. About 1 in 3 people in the county have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, officials said on Wednesday.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 23 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 384,600 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 92.3 million cases and 1.97 million deaths.
📘 What we read: Seasonal flu is all but gone, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That says a lot about the transmissibility of COVID-19, according to health experts. Learn more here.
Moderna needs at least 3K adolescent volunteers for vaccine trial
Not enough teens are signing up for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trial, a federal official said this week, potentially delaying vaccine approval for this age group.
Moncef Slaoui, the scientific chief of Operation Warp Speed, the government’s vaccination effort, said Tuesday that while an adult vaccine trial recruits 800 volunteers per day, the adolescent trial only receives ‘about 800 per month.
The study needs at least 3,000 participants, he said, to provide valid data on safety and efficacy and gain FDA clearance.
“It’s really, really important for all of us, for the entire American population, to realize that we can’t have that indication unless teens between the ages of 12 and 18 decide to participate,” Slaoui said.
– Karen Weintraub
Some hospitals in Wisconsin offer vaccine to staff who do not care for patients
Faced with no-shows at immunization clinics and doses remaining, some hospital systems in Wisconsin are offering COVID-19 vaccines to staff who do not work with patients or in medical settings, under a interpretation of vaccine prioritization guidelines that federal advisers consider exaggerated.
At least one hospital system – Advocate Aurora – has set up vaccine appointments for all employees. In other healthcare systems, employees listed as administrators or public relations specialists have been given vaccines, according to social media posts.
Wisconsin is still completing the first phase of its vaccine deployment plan, which includes long-term care facilities and healthcare staff, with a focus on frontline hospital staff.
Decisions by some hospitals to include employees who work from home and don’t interact with patients have raised eyebrows in Wisconsin and other states.
– Daphne Chen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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 in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Tuesday, compares the deadly virus to four common cold coronaviruses plus 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 diminish in the short term.” , said study author Ottar Bjornstad, who teaches entomology and biology at Penn State University.
Contribute: The Associated Press