Variant circumstances set a each day document; Johnson & Johnson vaccine
The U.S. reported 306 new cases of coronavirus variants on Sunday, a record increase in viruses that can spread more easily, evade some treatments and immunities, or both.
Almost all of the new cases involved three states: Florida, 104 cases out of 605; Michigan, up 85 cases out of 421; and Texas, 41 cases out of 102.
Most cases – new and existing – concern B.1.1.7, a variant first seen in the UK that could become America’s dominant version in March, according to the CDC.
In February, known variant cases quintupled from 471 to 2,463, although the total number of coronavirus cases fell from a peak in January.
However, this rapid decline in the number of cases has stopped. On Sunday, most states reported rising case numbers for the first time in more than a month, as more cases were registered in the last week than the week before.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson began distributing its vaccine on Sunday and added a third weapon to the country’s COVID-19 arsenal.
According to Biden administrators, these doses will arrive at vaccine distribution points as early as Tuesday morning. Almost 4 million doses will be evenly distributed across all states and territories this week, along with the doses of the other two vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
More than 49.7 million Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to a US TODAY analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control.
– Mike Stucka
Also in the news:
►In the first two months of 2021, the United States reported more deaths than the first six fatal months of the pandemic: 160,209 people, according to an analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University in the US TODAY.
►Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday that elementary school children may be vaccinated by the end of the year or early 2022, he said.
►NBA G League guard Jeremy Lin said on social media that he experienced a type of racism known as “coronavirus” on the basketball court that sparked an investigation by the league.
►The Senate becomes the focus of President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package after Parliament approves it on Saturday. The move would provide $ 1,400 in stimulus payments to millions of Americans, increase vaccine distribution, and extend unemployment benefits through the summer.
► UK health officials are concerned after identifying six cases of the highly contagious strain of coronavirus first identified in Brazil, including one in a person who was not contacted.
►Native American leaders across California said COVID-19 deaths have shrouded their communities, but state figures show few Indians have died here compared to other states with significant indigenous populations. Leaders and experts fear that deaths in their communities have been under counted due to a long history of racial misclassification among Native Americans.
► His wife made it her business to find a way to immunize him – even if it meant a 14-hour drive to Mississippi. When they got there, there were no more vaccines. Within the length, people will go to get the shot.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 28.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 513,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global totals: More than 114 million cases and 2.53 Million deaths. According to the CDC, more than 96.4 million vaccine doses have been distributed and about 75.2 million administered in the United States.
📘 What we read: The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in American nursing homes has fallen significantly since December as millions of vaccine doses were shot into the arms of residents and staff. Read the full story.
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As states relax restrictions, health officials are concerned
States in the US lifted some COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, despite high-level government health officials asking for continued social distancing in recent days.
Rollbacks that went into effect Monday included lifting the midnight-5am curfew in Virginia and increasing the capacity for outdoor gatherings, Wyoming, which lifts all restrictions on personal care businesses, New Jersey, which features great entertainment options opened 10% indoor capacity; and eased Massachusetts restrictions on restaurant capacity and reopened a number of indoor spaces with restrictions.
However, over the weekend, President Joe Biden’s senior health officials urged states not to withdraw their protection against the spread of the virus.
“Things are difficult. This is not the time to relax the restrictions,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Friday. “It’s really risky to say, ‘It’s over. We’re on our way out. Let’s pull back, ”said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical officer, on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.
Local pharmacies say they need more vaccines than CVS, Walgreens are speeding up admissions
Community pharmacies can play a crucial role in delivering COVID-19 shots, but so far drugstore giants CVS and Walgreens, as well as big stores like Walmart and Kroger, have received the lion’s share of the vaccines from the initial allocation to retail pharmacies, independent pharmacists say.
Some independent pharmacists are frustrated that they are not getting as many vaccines as large federal, state and local chains are receiving, and reject the suggestion that they do not have the technology to handle the planning process
Still representing about 1 in 3 of the country’s 60,000 pharmacies, these companies say their personal relationships with their customers are critical to a successful vaccine launch.
Of the 63 main courses identified by the CDC for vaccine distribution, only 17 shots were initially assigned to locally owned pharmacies, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association. However, more than half of locally owned pharmacies are in communities with a “high” or “very high” rating on the CDC Social Vulnerability Index.
Leaving out local pharmacies threatens to prevent Americans in low-income communities and people of color from getting vaccinated quickly, say independent pharmacists. “Local pharmacies need to be involved,” said B. Douglas Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association.
– Nathan Bomey
Florida’s oldest residents are lagging behind on COVID vaccinations, the state report shows
When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis restricted vaccinations to seniors 65 and over in December, he said, “The vaccines are used where the risk is greatest, and that applies to our elderly population.”
But with vaccinations increasing nationwide, Florida’s oldest residents are not getting the percentage of vaccinations that equates to the risk they carry from the deadly pathogen, especially in recent times.
Florida seniors aged 75 and older make up 62% of the 30,734 residents killed by the coronavirus since the pandemic began, but only 32% of the 1,642,800 people who received their second vaccine with two shots, a released on Saturday shows State report.
Seniors 65 to 74 account for 21% of the death toll and about 41% of those immunized.
– Chris Persaud, Palm Beach Post
According to studies, COVID-19 survivors may only need one dose of vaccine
Six recent studies suggest that people who already have COVID-19 may not need a second dose of vaccine.
The federal government hasn’t changed its recommendation for a second dose, but studies looking at immune response show that people who have recovered from COVID-19 get a huge boost from a first shot while barely getting the second shot makes a difference.
“I think that makes perfect sense,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. Read more here.
– Karen Weintraub
COVID-19 test sites in the US are closing due to falling demand
Just five weeks ago, Los Angeles County was running more than 350,000 weekly coronavirus tests, including at a massive drive-through location at Dodger Stadium as health workers raced around the worst COVID-19 hotspot in the United States
Now district officials say the tests almost collapsed. More than 180 government-sponsored locations are only one-third busy.
“It’s shocking how fast we went from 100 mph to about 25 mph,” said Dr. Clemens Hong, who heads the district’s test operations. After a year of struggling to increase testing, communities across the country are seeing a drop in demand, testing sites closings, or even attempts to return supplies.
– Matthew Perrone, desert sun in Palm Springs, California
Featuring: Mike Stucka, USA TODAY; The Associated Press