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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The U.S. currently has more confirmed cases of the coronavirus than any country in the world. Coronavirus is real it is not a hoax. Coronavirus is not the flu no matter what they say, you can get a flu shot which reduces the chances of you getting the flu, you cannot get a coronavirus shot because there are currently no coronavirus vaccines shots. Coronavirus is deadlier than the flu and spreads faster than the flu. Currently there are no shots or cures for the coronavirus. Coronavirus kills people of all ages. Coronavirus can remain in the air and on surfaces for more than an hour. Someone who is not showing any signs of illness can infect you. Be safe; stay home if directed, keep your distance from others, stay home if sick to prevent possible spread of the disease, wash your hands with soap before you touch your face and wash your hands with soap frequently. Below you can find the latest coronavirus updates statistics, totals, new cases, deaths per day, mortality and recovery rates, current active cases, recoveries, trends, timelines and more. #TrumpFlu, #Coronavirus, #Covid, #Virus, #Covid-19, #Corona


Donald J. Trump failure to act quickly and reasonably to protect the American people from the Coronavirus has put America lives at risks.

Live statistics and coronavirus news tracking the number of confirmed cases, recovered patients, and death toll by country due to the COVID 19 coronavirus from Wuhan, China. Coronavirus counter with new cases, historical data, and info. Daily charts, graphs, news and updates

View United States Coronavirus update with statistics and graphs: total and new cases, deaths per day, mortality and recovery rates, current active cases, recoveries, trends and timeline.

Johns Hopkins experts in global public health, infectious disease, and emergency preparedness have been at the forefront of the international response to COVID-19.

A map of cases around the world

By Elena Renken, Daniel Wood

Since the first U.S. case of the coronavirus was identified in Washington state on Jan. 21, health officials have identified more than 160,000 cases across the United States and more than 3,000 deaths. By March 17, the virus had expanded its presence from several isolated clusters in Washington, New York and California to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. To avoid spreading the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends basic precautions such as hand-washing and cleaning frequently touched surfaces every day.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.
There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.

On February 24, President Trump tweeted, ‘The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.’ It wasn’t.
By Michael A. Cohen Globe Columnist

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks.” With these words, on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump sounded a new and welcomed tone on the coronavirus. But make no mistake, hard days lie ahead because of the president’s botched, selfish, and incompetent response to the coronavirus crisis. A change in tone can’t change that catastrophic reality. Trump’s calls for vigilance are a bit like declaring it’s time to close the barn doors after the horses have escaped — and the barn is on fire and it’s threatening to burn the entire farm down. Tens of thousands of Americans (and possibly more) are likely to die because of the president. Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Trump’s public statements and actions have followed a similar trajectory: They have been dishonest, misleading, fantastical, and dangerous. It would blow over soon, he said early on. It would go away when the weather got warmer. “The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,” he tweeted. It wasn’t.

   The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
   — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2020

While thankfully there’s no more talk of re-opening the economy on Easter, the damage has been done. America has become the epicenter of a global pandemic. Consider that the United States and South Korea reported their first coronavirus cases on the same day — Jan. 20. More than two months later, South Korea has just under 10,000 confirmed cases and 169 deaths. By comparison, the United States has more than 216,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 5,000 people have died. Taking into account population differences (the US has 327 million people and South Korea has around 51 million people), the number of cases is more than three times greater than South Korea — and the death toll is nearly four times as great. These horrific numbers could have been avoided with genuine presidential leadership. After the initial case was diagnosed in January, South Korea immediately began aggressive testing and quarantines. Private companies were encouraged to develop diagnostic tests. Within a month drive-through screening centers had been set up and thousands were being tested daily. In the United States, Trump refused to focus on the issue. Two days after that initial positive case he declared "We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.” When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was first able to talk to Trump about the coronavirus on Jan. 18, Trump wanted to talk about a recently announced vaping ban. Into February, Trump was still stubbornly resisting bureaucratic efforts to deal with the emerging crisis. The weeks lost in ramping up testing were a lost — and unforgivable —opportunity to save lives. Trump’s obstinance is bad enough — but the delay was also undoubtedly influenced by Trump’s diktat that testing should not be a priority. The more testing that was done, the more positive results there would be and that was an outcome the president did not want. Keeping the numbers low in order to avoid spooking Wall Street and negatively affecting Trump’s reelection became the administration’s focus. Those presidential-created obstacles did more than prevent essential equipment from getting to communities in need — it seeded a deadly message of doubt, particularly to Trump supporters. While more than 30 states have issued stay-at-home orders, a host of states have either not made such state-wide declarations or done partial orders. Nearly all are helmed by Republican governors. In Arizona, GOP Governor, Doug Ducey prevented cities and counties from putting in effect stay-at-home orders. He didn’t issue his own statewide decree until this week. Last week, the Republican governor of Mississippi Tate Reeves overruled city and county social distancing measures. Under pressure, he announced a stay-at-home order on Wednesday that will go into effect Friday. Trump has also publicly suggested that Democratic governors who don’t show him proper veneration will have to get in the back of the line for medical supplies. And there is emerging evidence that Republican states are having their requests for ventilators and protective equipment met while blue states are getting the short end of the stick. How many people, simply because they live in a blue state, are going to die because of this president’s petty cruelty?

healthfeedback.org

The group World Doctors Alliance spreads misinformation about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus, and the reliability of diagnostic tests

CLAIM: COVID-19 is a type of flu and is not a pandemic; PCR tests are up to 94% false positive; only 98 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in Ireland.

VERDICT: Inaccurate

SOURCE: Doctors For Truth, World Doctors Alliance, Facebook, YouTube, 15 Oct. 2020  

DETAILS
Factually Inaccurate: The video presents several inaccurate statements. The word “pandemic” indicates the geographical distribution of a disease. COVID-19 has spread to every continent, which qualifies it as a pandemic. COVID-19 is not a type of flu as they are caused by different viruses belonging to different families. The COVID-19 death toll for Ireland reported in the video is also inaccurate, as demonstrated by official statistics.
Unsupported: The claim that PCR diagnostic tests generate a lot of false positives is vague. Assuming that the claim refers to the proportion of false positives among positive results, key parameters such as the type of test and the virus prevalence would be necessary to support the claim, yet they are not presented. more...

By Rosa Flores, Sara Weisfeldt and Scottie Andrew, CNN

(CNN) A Florida sheriff's office is investigating whether a Manatee County official broke the law when she organized a Covid-19 vaccine drive limited to two of the county's most affluent ZIP codes. The Manatee County Sheriff's Office said it has launched the investigation after a citizen watchdog filed a complaint regarding County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, who last week admitted she chose the ZIP codes herself and also selected some people for the vaccination list, so she and others could access the Covid-19 vaccine. more...

Noah Higgins-Dunn

A new CDC study found that some elderly people who apparently recovered from the coronavirus later came down with a second, even worse case — indicating that asymptomatic or mild cases may not provide a lot of protection against becoming reinfected with Covid-19. The study, published Thursday in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, studied two separate outbreaks that occurred three months apart at a skilled nursing facility in Kentucky. Between mid-July and mid-August, 20 residents and five health-care personnel tested positive for the virus, according to the study. The second outbreak, between late October and the beginning of December, was worse — 85 residents and 43 health-care personnel tested positive for the virus. Among the residents who tested positive during the first outbreak and were still living in the facility, five of them tested positive a second time more than 90 days after their first positive test. more...

By Maggie Fox, CNN

(CNN)Two separate teams of researchers said this week they have found a worrying new coronavirus variant in New York City and elsewhere in the Northeast that carries mutations that help it evade the body's natural immune response -- as well as the effects of monoclonal antibody treatments. Genomics researchers have named the variant B.1.526. It appears in people affected in diverse neighborhoods of New York City, they said, and is "scattered in the Northeast." One of the mutations in this variant is the same concerning change found in the variant first seen in South Africa and known as B.1.351. It appears to evade, somewhat, the body's response to vaccines, as well. And it's becoming more common. "We observed a steady increase in the detection rate from late December to mid-February, with an alarming rise to 12.7% in the past two weeks," one team, at Columbia University Medical Center, write in a report that has yet to be published, although it is scheduled to appear in pre-print version this week. more...

Heard on Morning Edition
Melissa Block | NPR

How do we wrap our minds around the fact that more than half a million people have died of COVID-19 in the United States alone? The nation just passed that milestone: 500,000 lives lost, in one year. For the families of those who died of COVID-19, each successive milestone of this pandemic may seem irrelevant to their particular, punishing loss. "Every day is a milestone for me," says Sabila Khan. "These round numbers don't really mean anything to me. Every day is just as shocking." Her father Shafqat Khan was an organizer in the Pakistani immigrant community in New Jersey. When he died of COVID-19 at age 76 last April, near the beginning of the pandemic, the virus had claimed the lives of some 32,000 Americans. Now, with COVID deaths topping half a million, Sabila fears the country has grown numb. more...

By Thuc Nhi Nguyen Staff Writer

Good evening. I’m Thuc Nhi Nguyen, and it’s Tuesday, Feb. 23. Here’s what’s happening with the coronavirus in California and beyond. Coronavirus variants aren’t just an international problem anymore. Scientists at UC San Francisco are ready to tag California’s homegrown coronavirus strain as a “variant of concern,” putting it in the company of those from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. The state’s dominant strain packs a triple-threat punch: It can spread more easily than its predecessors, it shows some resistance to antibodies generated by COVID-19 vaccines or prior infection, and it’s associated with severe illness and death, my colleague Melissa Healy reports. more...

by: Los Angeles Times

A coronavirus variant that emerged in mid-2020 and surged to become the dominant strain in California not only spreads more readily than its predecessors, but also evades antibodies generated by COVID-19 vaccines or prior infection and it’s associated with severe illness and death, researchers said. In a study that helps explain the state’s dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths — and portends further trouble ahead — scientists at UC San Francisco said the cluster of mutations that characterizes the homegrown strain should mark it as a “variant of concern” on par with those from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. “The devil is already here,” said Dr. Charles Chiu, who led the UCSF team of geneticists, epidemiologists, statisticians and other scientists in a wide-ranging analysis of the new variant, which they call B.1.427/B.1.429. “I wish it were different. But the science is the science.” more...

*** A year ago, Trump said it was under control only 15 cases and it was going down, it did not go down over 500,000 Americans have died and more will die. Trump said it would go away after thee election it did not. Trump lied to the American people, now over 500,000 American have died, and many more will do to his failure to act and failure to inform the America people how bad the virus was. ***

By Christina Maxouris and Holly Yan, CNN

(CNN) Just over a year since the first known US Covid-19 death, more than 500,000 people will have died from the disease by the end of this week. "It's something that is historic. It's nothing like we've ever been though in the last 102 years since the 1918 influenza pandemic," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "It really is a terrible situation that we've been through and that we're still going through. And that's the reason why we keep insisting to continue with the public health measures -- because we don't want this to get much worse than it already is." More than 497,600 people have died from Covid-19 in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. more...

CBS News

In Manatee County, Florida, this week, thousands of people got called to come to the affluent Lakewood Ranch development and get a coronavirus vaccine. It was a call many had been waiting for. "We were very fortunate, we got the call, we came right down," one woman told CBS News' Jim Axelrod. It was more than good fortune. Those who received the call all lived in two specific zip codes. Their doses came through a deal struck by Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and the CEO of Lakewood Ranch's parent company, owned by major Republican donors. Manatee County Commissioner Misty Servia said in a county meeting that the deal bypassed county protocol, allowing a select group of residents to go the front of the vaccine line. "So rather than this randomized pool where everybody gets a fair shake, these two zip codes were going to receive preferential treatment," she said. At a county meeting, Servia, who is also a Republican, told the room that the optics are horrible. The zip codes are two of the county's wealthiest and whitest, and they're in the bottom half of COVID-19 rates countywide. more...

by: Associated Press

All members of a San Francisco Bay Area school board resigned days after they were heard making disparaging comments about parents at a virtual board meeting they didn’t realize was being broadcast to the public. The four members of Oakley Union Elementary School District Board had stepped down by Friday amid growing outrage that began with the board’s Wednesday meeting. Before the meeting officially began and unaware the public could see and hear them, they used profanity and made jokes about parents just wanting a babysitter or to smoke pot in their home. The incident garnered national attention and widespread condemnation. The district’s superintendent, Greg Hetrick, announced the resignation in a letter Friday and said that Contra Costa County education board members will replace them in an interim capacity, the Mercury News reported. more...

By Lexi Lonas

Members of a San Francisco-area school board are being called to resign after they were heard making derogatory remarks about parents on a Zoom call. The remark that has perhaps gained the most attention and criticism came from the school board president, who said the parents looked at teachers as their babysitters. “It’s really unfortunate that they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back,” Lisa Brizendine, Oakley Union Elementary School Board president, said on the Zoom call. more...

By Konstantin Toropin, CNN

(CNN) Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has threatened to move a pop-up vaccination clinic that his state has set up in an affluent community in Manatee County after he was confronted with allegations of political favoritism and preference for the wealthy at a news conference Wednesday. Manatee County announced on Tuesday that Florida's Division of Emergency Management would host a "pop-up" vaccination spot at Lakewood Ranch this week for 3,000 Manatee County residents, according to a statement from the county. The vaccines, however, would be limited to people living in only two zip codes -- 34202 and 34211. Manatee County Commissioner Misty Servia, a Republican, criticized the selection of these two areas at a Board of County Commissioners work session on Tuesday. more...

"I'll tell you what, I wouldn't be complaining," DeSantis told critics.
By Corky Siemaszko

Florida’s governor was slow to respond to the pandemic and his Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan has been marked by chaos, but critics say he’s been quick to recognize the political gold in those precious doses. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, ignored federal guidelines and prioritized getting senior citizens — one of Florida’s most potent voting blocs — vaccinated first. When Holocaust survivors and Cuban survivors of the Bay of Pigs debacle — revered members of two other key Florida voting blocs — got their first shots, DeSantis made sure he was there for the news conferences. And now the governor stands accused of using the Covid-19 vaccine to reward powerful political supporters and developers by setting up pop-up vaccination sites in planned communities they developed and where GOP voters predominate. more...

By Zack Budryk

Vatican officials have told employees they may risk getting fired if they refuse a coronavirus vaccination, Reuters reported Thursday. Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello said in a decree that employees who are unable to get the shot for health reasons may be transferred to less public-facing positions with no reduction in pay. However, the decree went on to say that those who did not have a health reason for refusing the vaccine will be subject to a 2011 law that states they will face “varying degrees of consequences that could lead to dismissal” for failing to take “preventive measures.” more...

Vulnerable people have encountered ‘shocking discrimination’ during pandemic, says Mencap charity
James Tapper

People with learning disabilities have been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic, in spite of widespread condemnation of the practice last year and an urgent investigation by the care watchdog. Mencap said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19. The Care Quality Commission said in December that inappropriate Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year. DNACPRs are usually made for people who are too frail to benefit from CPR, but Mencap said some seem to have been issued for people simply because they had a learning disability. The CQC is due to publish a report on the practice within weeks. more...

As more Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine, getting the first and even second dose does not mean you can toss the face mask. In fact, the CDC suggests doubling up – two masks with a snug fit around the nose and mouth. more...

The researchers criticized the CDC for acknowledging the aerosol risk last fall but offering no changes in the national COVID-19 response strategy.
By Jeremy Olson Star Tribune

University of Minnesota infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm joined with leading aerosol and occupational scientists Monday to call for clearer federal guidance on the risk of COVID-19 spreading through tiny aerosols floating in the air. The researchers criticized the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for acknowledging the aerosol risk last fall but offering no changes in the national COVID-19 response strategy to confront it. The national strategy primarily targets the risk of people projecting larger, virus-carrying droplets at others nearby.

"Aerosols produced through breathing, talking, and singing … can remain in air and viable for long periods of time and travel long distances within a room and sometimes farther," the authors wrote in a letter to the CDC and the White House pandemic response leader. The warning comes amid improving pandemic metrics in Minnesota and plans by Gov. Tim Walz to hasten the reopening of middle and high schools to in-person learning. Walz will announce a school reopening strategy at noon Wednesday, and noted in a news release that Minnesota is aggressively testing teachers for COVID-19 and is one of eight states prioritizing them for vaccine. more...


NIH study compares how different face masks affect humidity inside the mask. Masks help protect the people wearing them from getting or spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but now researchers from the National Institutes of Health have added evidence for yet another potential benefit for wearers: The humidity created inside the mask may help combat respiratory diseases such as COVID-19. The study, led by researchers in the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), found that face masks substantially increase the humidity in the air that the mask-wearer breathes in. This higher level of humidity in inhaled air, the researchers suggest, could help explain why wearing masks has been linked to lower disease severity in people infected with SARS-CoV-2, because hydration of the respiratory tract is known to benefit the immune system. The study published in the Biophysical Journal(link is external). more...

The exact origins of each of the viral mutation lineages are yet to be discovered. Some of the strains are prominent across the Midwest, others across the coasts.
By ZACHARY KEYSER

A team of researchers discovered seven distinctive variants of the novel coronavirus spread across the United States, new strains that are unique to and mutated within the US, according to a recent study. The seven mutations of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, were discovered between August and November of 2020. All were found to be within the same growing lineage. Mentioning the more contagious variants emerging from the UK and South Africa, the study authors said that seven mutant lineages in the US show no signatures of increased transmissibility and noted none of which have become prominent in the United States. more...

Sonovia’s reusable anti-viral masks are coated in zinc oxide nano-particles that destroy bacteria, fungi and viruses, which it says can help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
By ZACHARY KEYSER

The SonoMask displayed an ability to neutralize the novel coronavirus at an effectiveness of 99.34% within trials performed by the ATCCR Testing laboratory in China, Ramat Gan-based Israeli fabric maker and developer Sonovia announced on Saturday.
Sonovia’s reusable anti-viral masks are coated in zinc oxide nanoparticles that destroy bacteria, fungi and viruses, which it says can help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Results from the most recent round of testing showed that the mask has the ability to neutralize fallen traces of SARS-COV-2 within 30 minutes after making contact with the fabric. The SonoMask was also proven to maintain its protective properties throughout 55 wash cycles. more...

Grace Hauck and John Bacon, USA TODAY

Data on the South Africa variant of the coronavirus is "sobering," and current vaccines are less effective against it than the original strain or U.K. variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday. Fauci, speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," said less is known about the South African variant than the U.K. version, which has proved to be more transmissible than the original version of the virus. "But we do know that it (the South Africa variant) evades the protection from some of the monoclonal antibodies, and it diminishes somewhat the capability and the effectiveness of the vaccine to block it," Fauci said. "It doesn’t eliminate it, but it diminishes it by multiple fold.

Fauci said there was "still some cushion left" so that current vaccines do provide some protection against it. He added that, in South Africa, there were people who got infected with the original virus, recovered and then got reinfected with the South Africa variant. That indicates prior infection does not protect someone from reinfection with the South Africa variant, he said. "Somewhat good news is it looks like the vaccine is better than natural infection in preventing you from getting reinfected," Fauci said. more...

The Associated Press

BALTIMORE — A federal prosecutor said three men are accused in a scheme to sell COVID-19 vaccines through a fraudulent website. The Baltimore Sun reports the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland said in a news release that 22-year-old Olakitan Oluwalade, 25-year-old Odunayo Baba Oluwalade and 22-year-old Kelly Lamont Williams have been indicted on a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A news release said the men created a fake website to resemble the site of vaccine maker Moderna. Prosecutors said a federal agent ordered 6,000 doses of vaccine through the website and was told to wire half the money to a Navy Federal Credit Union account in Williams’ name. more...

In a state defined by pandemic recklessness, getting a shot is no silver bullet.
Francisco Alvarado

MIAMI—By the end of next week, Nancy Krinick expects to get her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But the 67-year-old legal secretary from Sunrise, Florida, plans on keeping her daily routine of avoiding virtually all human contact even after she’s fully inoculated. The same goes for her sister and her brother-in-law, both of whom are over 65 and got their first shots together with her at Marlins Park in Miami, Krinick told The Daily Beast. “With these new variants, we are still worried,” she said, adding, “It seems like this is never-ending.” She will continue to get her groceries delivered to her home via Instacart, avoid dining out, and put off visiting her daughter in Knoxsville, Tennessee, until a majority of the U.S. population has been immunized, Krinick said. more...

N'dea Yancey-Bragg | USA TODAY

A series of violent crimes against Asians and Asian Americans has prompted activists and experts to warn that racist rhetoric about the coronavirus pandemic may be fueling a rise in hate incidents. Police in Oakland, California, announced this week that they arrested a suspect in connection with a brutal attack of a 91-year-old man in Chinatown that was caught on camera. In less than a week, a Thai man was attacked and killed in San Francisco, a Vietnamese woman was assaulted and robbed of $1,000 in San Jose, and a Filipino man was attacked with a box cutter on the subway in New York City. It's unclear whether the crimes were racially motivated, but advocates calling for more to be done to address violence against Asian Americans say racist crimes against the community are historically underreported for a variety of reasons. more...

By Alexander Tin

After months of demands for federal health officials to update mask recommendations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidelines Wednesday that include wearing well-fitting face masks or two masks at a time to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. The updated guidance follows the release of new research from the CDC which tested various masks in a lab setting and found evidence that combining a cloth mask over a surgical mask could dramatically reduce both the spread of the virus to others and exposure to the virus oneself. The CDC's new recommendations advise Americans to select masks with a nose wire that can be adjusted for a snug fit, and to use a mask fitter or brace to better seal their masks. The CDC also recommends wearing a mask with multiple layers for greater protection, or layering a cloth mask over a disposable medical mask. more...

Zachary Mack

The U.S. is seeing new COVID cases trend downward for the first time in months. After hitting a national daily average of more than 300,000 in the first week of January, new case rates nationwide have dropped dramatically. But the most recent batch of data shows that a trio of states is currently bucking the trend as COVID cases are starting to rise there once again. Read on to see which states are seeing things move in the wrong direction, and for more on when the next national spike in cases may come, check out This Is Exactly When We'll See the Next COVID Surge, Experts Warn.

The past week saw newly reported cases of COVID in the U.S. drop by 25 percent compared to the previous seven days, which represents the biggest single-week drop since the beginning of the pandemic in March, according to Reuters. But top officials still warn that highly contagious variants of the virus are continuing to spread, with some fearing that it could reverse the progress that has been made in bringing numbers down. more...

By Gerry Shih

TAIPEI, Taiwan — After a 12-day visit, a team on a World Health Organization mission to Wuhan appeared no closer to solving the mystery of how the novel coronavirus first spread to humans and sparked a pandemic. Speaking at a news conference for the first time on Tuesday, leaders of the combined mission representing Chinese and international researchers said they found that the virus, officially called SARS-Cov-2, was spreading in the city of Wuhan in central China during December 2019 in parallel both inside and outside the Huanan Seafood Market, which they said indicates that the market was not the original source of the outbreak. But they dismissed as “unlikely” another location mooted as the source of the virus: laboratories at the local Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Peter Ben Embarek, the Danish WHO food safety expert leading the international team, said his group will not recommend further investigation into the theory that the virus accidentally leaked from labs conducting coronavirus research. more...

Elected to a second term in November, the Republican had been fighting lung cancer. He becomes the first member of Congress to die from coronavirus.
By Gromer Jeffers Jr. and Tom Benning

Rep. Ron Wright of Arlington died Sunday night less than three weeks after contracting COVID-19. He was 67. His family and a spokesperson confirmed Wright’s death due to the coronavirus Monday morning. The Republican congressman, who was reelected in November, also had been battling lung cancer. Wright is the first member of Congress to die of COVID-19. “Congressman Wright will be remembered as a constitutional conservative. He was a statesman, not an ideologue,” according to a statement released by Wright’s office. “Ron and Susan dedicated their lives to fighting for individual freedom, Texas values, and above all, the lives of the unborn. As friends, family, and many of his constituents will know, Ron maintained his quick wit and optimism until the very end. Despite years of painful, sometimes debilitating treatment for cancer, Ron never lacked the desire to get up and go to work, to motivate those around him, or to offer fatherly advice.” more...

Sean McMinn, Shalina Chatlani, Ashley Lopez, Sam Whitehead

Georgia Washington, 79, can't drive. Whenever she needs to go somewhere, she asks her daughter or her friends to pick her up. She has lived in the northern part of Baton Rouge, a predominantly Black area of Louisiana's capital, since 1973. There aren't many resources there, including medical facilities. So when Washington fell ill with COVID-19 last March, she had to get a ride 20 minutes south to get medical attention. Washington doesn't want to fall sick again, so she was eager to get vaccinated, which is in line with federal health recommendations. But she faced the same challenge she did last year: finding a local provider, this time for a vaccine. She tried for weeks, checking at pharmacies in the area. And she was put on a waiting list. "I've got lots of patience," Washington said. "I just want to get it over with." more...

The court said California can cap indoor services at 25 percent of a building’s capacity in regions where the pandemic is surging.
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is telling California it can’t enforce a ban on indoor church services because of the coronavirus pandemic. The high court issued orders late Friday in two cases where churches had sued over coronavirus-related restrictions in the state. The high court said that for now, California can’t ban indoor worship in areas where virus cases are surging, but it can cap indoor services at 25 percent of a building’s capacity. The justices also declined to stop the state from barring singing and chanting at services. The court’s three liberal justices dissented. more...

*** Why are Republican so willing to put American lives at risk. Are Republicans trying to kill Americans? ***

Dustin Jones

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new public health disaster proclamation Friday that will ease previous public health regulations geared to controlling the coronavirus. Starting Sunday, Iowa residents will no longer be required to wear masks. Reynolds' previous order, which was put into place last November, required individuals to wear masks when indoors in a public space and within six feet of individuals who are not part of their household. Instead, her new proclamation "strongly encouraged" residents with medical conditions and those over the age of 65 to limit activities outside of their home. Those who are not at substantial risk should limit their interactions with those more susceptible to the virus, Friday's proclamation said. Additionally, Iowans will no longer be held to 15 people for indoor gatherings, or 30 if outdoors. Reynolds strongly encouraged event organizers to take reasonable measures to protect the health of their guests as well as the public, the order said. more...

One in every 475 Native Americans has died since the pandemic began: ‘Families have been decimated’
Nina Lakhani

Covid is killing Native Americans at a faster rate than any other community in the United States, shocking new figures reveal. American Indians and Alaskan Natives are dying at almost twice the rate of white Americans, according to analysis by APM Research Lab shared exclusively with the Guardian. Nationwide one in every 475 Native Americans has died from Covid since the start of the pandemic, compared with one in every 825 white Americans and one in every 645 Black Americans. Native Americans have suffered 211 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 121 white Americans per 100,000. The true death toll is undoubtedly significantly higher as multiple states and cities provide patchy or no data on Native Americans lost to Covid. Of those that do, communities in Mississippi, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas have been the hardest hit. more...

By Rob Picheta, CNN

London (CNN) Tom Moore, the 100-year-old World War II veteran whose efforts to raise millions for the UK's National Health Service made him a universally adored icon during the first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, has died in hospital after himself contracting the disease, his family said Tuesday. Known affectionately as Captain Tom, Moore raised almost £33 million ($45 million) by walking laps of his garden last year. His exploits united a country frozen in lockdown and made him an unlikely celebrity late in his life, earning him a military promotion, a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II and a number-one single. Moore tested positive for the virus and was taken to a hospital on Sunday, suffering from breathing problems after being treated for pneumonia, his family said. They announced his death on Tuesday. "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear father, Captain Sir Tom Moore," the family said in a statement to PA Media. more...

AP

LONDON (AP) — Tom Moore, the 100-year-old World War II veteran who captivated the British public in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic with his fundraising efforts, has been hospitalized with COVID-19, his daughter said Sunday. Hannah Ingram-Moore revealed in a statement posted on Twitter that her father, widely known as Captain Tom, has been admitted to Bedford Hospital because he needed “additional help” with his breathing. She said that over the past few weeks her father had been treated for pneumonia and that he had tested positive for the coronavirus last week. more...

LOS ANGELES (AP) — One of the largest vaccination sites in the country temporarily shut down Saturday because dozens of protesters blocked the entrance, stalling hundreds of motorists who had been waiting in line for hours, the Los Angeles Times reported.
by: Associated Press

The Los Angeles Fire Department shut the entrance to the vaccination center at Dodger Stadium about 2 p.m. as a precaution, officials told the newspaper. The protesters had members of anti-vaccine and far-right groups, the Times reported. Some of them carried signs decrying the COVID-19 vaccine and shouting for people not to get the shots. There were no incidents of violence, the Times said. “This is completely wrong,” said German Jaquez, who drove from his home in La Verne and had been waiting for an hour for his vaccination when the stadium’s gates were closed. He said some of the protesters were telling people in line that the coronavirus is not real and that the vaccination is dangerous. The vaccination site reopened shortly before 3 p.m., the Times reported. The site is usually open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. more...

Jason Breslow

Starting early next week, travelers and commuters will be required to wear face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation as part of a sweeping new order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The order, issued late Friday, will require masks to be worn by "all passengers on public conveyances" traveling into or within the United States, including airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares. Coverings will also be required at transportation hubs like airports, bus terminals, and train or subway stations. The new guidelines take effect at 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 1. "Requiring masks on our transportation systems will protect Americans and provide confidence that we can once again travel safely even during this pandemic," said the 11-page order signed by Dr. Martin Cetron, director of the CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. "Therefore, requiring masks will help us control this pandemic and aid in reopening America's economy." more...

yahoo! News

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico on Thursday surpassed India in confirmed COVID-19 deaths, giving the Latin American country the third-highest toll worldwide, according to a Reuters tally of official data. Mexico's health ministry reported 18,670 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and 1,506 additional fatalities, bringing the total number of cases to 1,825,519 and deaths to 155,145. The latest total death toll in India, a country with a population more than 10 times that of Mexico's 126 million inhabitants, stood at 153,847, according to a Reuters tally. When adjusted for deaths per head of population, Mexico's toll is lower than those of several other countries, including the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Italy, the United States, Peru and Spain, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University. Mexico's ballooning death toll underscores its struggle to contain the pandemic, which is worsening despite government restrictions on movement and commerce. In Mexico City, hospitals are nearing capacity and a shortage of oxygen tanks has complicated the treatment of patients. more...

By Lauren del Valle and Dakin Andone, CNN

(CNN) The New York State Department of Health undercounted Covid-19 deaths among nursing home residents by approximately 50%, according to a report released Thursday by the state attorney general's office. Over the course of the pandemic, there have been at least 8,700 deaths in nursing homes statewide, according to the Department of Health. But the report by Attorney General Letitia James suggests that figure could be much higher. "Preliminary data obtained by OAG suggests that many nursing home residents died from COVID-19 in hospitals after being transferred from their nursing homes, which is not reflected in DOH's published total nursing home death data," the attorney general's office said in a statement. "Preliminary data also reflects apparent underreporting to DOH by some nursing homes of resident deaths occurring in nursing homes." The report preliminarily concludes that deaths were underreported based on a survey of 62 nursing homes, a roughly 10% sample of total facilities across the state. more...

*** Why are Republicans putting America lives at risk? Are they trying to kill more Americas than the 400,000 who have already died? ***

By: Scott Bauer, Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate voted Tuesday to repeal Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate, despite warnings from virtually every sector of the health care community that doing so would impair efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Both legislative chambers have to pass the resolution in order to undo the mask requirement. The Assembly, controlled 58-30 by Republicans, scheduled it for a vote Thursday. The Assembly on Tuesday passed an expanded COVID-19 response bill that may face a veto by the Democratic governor. The bill would prohibit the closure of churches during the pandemic and bar employers from requiring workers to get vaccinated for the disease. The Senate previously removed those provisions from a more limited COVID-19 bill that it passed and that the governor supports. more...

Germany, France and Austria now insist that people wear surgical masks or N95s in public.
Joshua Sargent

Though mask recommendations have shifted repeatedly during the pandemic, one piece of advice has stayed relatively consistent: Both the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization have repeatedly recommended that surgical-grade (FFP1) and N95 masks (FFP2) are reserved for healthcare workers, while cloth masks and gaiters are to be worn by everyday citizens going about their normal lives. That may not be the case for much longer. The German government began requiring all people to wear FFP1 or FFP2 masks while on public transport, in workplaces, and in shops starting Tuesday, Jan. 19. France followed later that week, mandating that both FFP1 and FFP2 are required in “public places.” more...

Thomas Colson

The EU has threatened to limit exports of coronavirus vaccines to other countries after British-based drugs firm AstraZeneca said EU countries will receive millions fewer jabs than they had ordered. EU officials issued the warning after AstraZeneca, which manufactures COVID-19 jabs in the UK, last week informed Brussels that it would be delivering "considerably" fewer jabs in the coming weeks than the bloc has ordered due to production problems. In response, the EU's health commissioner Stella Kyriakides indicated that Brussels would consider placing export limits on coronavirus vaccines which are manufactured within the EU. That includes the Pfizer vaccine, which is manufactured in Belgium and which has been crucial in the UK's vaccination efforts. more...

by: WFLA 8 On Your Side Staff

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Polk County’s 2020 Paramedic of the Year was arrested by the sheriff’s office Tuesday after allegedly helping a supervisor steal coronavirus vaccines meant for Polk County first responders. According to the police report, 31-year-old Joshua Colon stole three doses’ worth of the Moderna vaccine, then forged the vaccine screening and consent forms. Colon reportedly told detectives he was directed to do so by his supervisor, a captain with the fire department who Grady said will likely be arrested upon his return home from vacation. Polk County Fire Rescue has been assigned to delivering COVID vaccines to first responders in the county, and Colon had been tasked with administering those vaccines. On Jan. 6, Colon received three vials containing 10 vaccines each, and was directed to administer those to first responders at Station 38 in Davenport. more...

By Sarah Polus

A Georgia state lawmaker was removed from the state's House chambers on Tuesday over his refusal to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines that require testing for lawmakers and staff. After being asked to leave by Speaker David Ralston (R), and declining to do so, state Rep. David Clark (R) was escorted out of the chamber by a state trooper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Clark was removed over his refusal to take mandatory twice-weekly coronavirus tests. He hasn't taken any throughout the duration of the session, which is now three weeks in, according to the Journal-Constitution. Ralston announced the testing requirements in a Dec. 30 memo, which outlined best practices for coronavirus control. The statements notes that the required tests are saliva-based PCR tests, meaning no nasal swab is required. Additionally, masks must be worn at all times, with the exception of when a member is addressing the House. more...

He said Sunday that his symptoms were minor and that he was receiving medical treatment.
By Reuters

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and that his symptoms were light and he was receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," said López Obrador, 67, who has resisted wearing a mask. Mexico is in the grip of a second wave of the pandemic, and it has the fourth-highest death toll worldwide. The Health Ministry on Sunday reported 10,872 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 530 deaths, bringing its totals to 1,763,219 infections and 149,614 deaths. Hospitals are overwhelmed by the surge. The real number of infected people and deaths is likely to be significantly higher than the official count, the Health Ministry has said. López Obrador said on Twitter that his interior minister would run his regular morning news conference in his absence. more...

By WBAY news staff

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) -- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported the lowest positivity rate in weeks Sunday as another 1,119 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the state. Out of a total of 6,331 results for those who were testing for the first time, 17.67% were positive for the virus, which causes COVID-19. That figure hasn’t been below 20% since December 26th, when it was 10.72%. The other 5,212 people who tested for the virus for the first time were negative. New cases were reported in all Wisconsin counties except for Crawford, Florence, Forest, Iowa, Iron and Langlade Counties. Our records show the 7-day average for new cases a day continues to drop. That figure is currently at 1,597 and has dropped daily for nearly two straight weeks. That’s the lowest the figure has been since late September 18, when it was at 1,576. In mid-November, the figure had been at 6,443. more...

*** Why are so many Republicans around the country putting Americans lives at risk by refusing to do the right things to protect American citizens? Do they not care about the people? ***

By Konstantin Toropin and Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little issued sharp criticism of the state Legislature's efforts to repeal a Covid-19 emergency declaration in a video statement released Friday. "I believe in my heart that what the Idaho Legislature is doing is harmful to our people and wrong for Idaho," Little said, adding, "I urge my partners in the Legislature to stop the political gains and do what is right for the people of Idaho." The state's Senate Committee on State Affairs voted out a resolution on Tuesday to end Idaho's emergency declaration, according to the Legislature's website. Idaho's House and Senate are both controlled by Republicans. Idaho is among several states weathering political clashes between their governors and legislatures over their coronavirus responses. Idaho has seen 158,200 cases and 1,654 deaths from the virus, about 8,853 cases per 100,000 people -- the 15th highest rate in the country, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. more...

A new study reveals that a large number of people with COVID-19 antibodies may not be protected from the new strain
By Matthew Rozsa

A mutant strain of the novel coronavirus discovered in South Africa appears to be able to ward off antibodies from individuals who had previously recovered from COVID-19 — meaning if the new strain becomes widespread, we may see more people getting infected multiple times. A group of South African scientists made this discovery in a paper published earlier this week by South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases. In it, researchers describe how they studied blood samples from a small group of people who had developed COVID-19 but ultimately recovered. When the human body recovers from a disease, it produces a protein known as an antibody to identify and ultimately protect itself in the future from the bacteria or virus which caused it to become ill. (These illness-causing microorganisms are known as pathogens.) This means that people who were sick with COVID-19 should in theory have antibodies that recognize the pathogen which causes it and neutralize it in the event that they are reinfected. more...

We've learned so much about the coronavirus in the more than 365 days since our first guide was published.
Jackson Ryan

On Jan. 19, 2020, CNET posted its first guide to a mystery coronavirus discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Dozens of cases and two deaths had been recorded, but as we wrote at the time, little was known about "how destructive the new virus might be." The coronavirus -- and the disease it causes -- hadn't even been named. It hadn't officially been found in the US.  Today we call the mystery pathogen SARS-CoV-2. It's responsible for COVID-19, a respiratory illness that has infected over 100 million people. In just one year, we've gone from two deaths to 2 million, across the world. Reading our original article, it's immediately obvious that everyone -- virologists, epidemiologists, journalists -- was flying blind in those very early days. We were oblivious, perhaps even shortsighted. No one predicted exactly what would occur over the next 365 days, though there were those who tried to sound the alarm early. more...

By Li Cohen

Dallas County commissioners agreed on Tuesday to prioritize vaccinating residents in zip codes that appear to be most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. But leaders backed down from the plan a day later, after the state threatened to cut the city's vaccine supply and said the plan was "out of compliance with the previously agreed upon guidelines." The outlined plan would have prioritized certain zip codes for vaccine distribution at the county's Fair Park distribution center. The county would still have followed the tier system established by the state that determined which groups were eligible for the vaccine — but within those groups, residents of those zip codes would get priority. more...

by: Nisha Gutierrez-Jaime

Many residents hoping to secure one of the highly sought after COVID-19 vaccine appointments were extremely frustrated Thursday when they were unable to gain access to the Riverside County website. But officials hope that won’t happen again on Saturday when thousands of new appointment slots are expected to open. The county’s new COVID-19 vaccine website is expected to provide residents with a more efficient appointment making system. On Thursday a technical issue in a website code left many residents disappointed when 3,900 appointments opened at noon, but residents who tried to register online instead received a timeout screen. more...

NBC's Priscilla Thompson looks at the disparities between whites and blacks who've received the Covid vaccine. video...

Matt Clinch

LONDON —There is “some evidence” a new Covid variant first identified in the U.K. could be more deadly than the original strain, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday. “We’ve been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant — the variant that was first discovered in London and the southeast (of England) — may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” Johnson told a news conference. He added that all the evidence suggests the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford University, the two currently being used in the U.K., remain effective against both the old and new variants of the virus. more...

Matt Reed

BOSTON — Hundreds of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had to be thrown away after an incident at the Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center. A cleaning contractor accidentally loosened a plug on a freezer, causing the loss of 1,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Since the vaccines must be stored at a certain temperature – the doses are not usable. more...

By Kay Jones, CNN

(CNN) A public health doctor in Texas has been charged with stealing a vial of Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Harris County District Attorney's Office. District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement Thursday that Dr. Hasan Gokal is accused of theft by a public servant, a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Gokal is accused of taking a vial with nine doses on December 29, 2020. He was working at a vaccination site in Humble, north of Houston, Ogg said. Authorities contend the doctor "disregarded county protocols in place to ensure vaccine is not wasted but administered to vulnerable populations and front-line workers on a waiting list." "He abused his position to place his friends and family in line in front of people who had gone through the lawful process to be there," Ogg said in the statement. "What he did was illegal, and he'll be held accountable under the law." Gokal's attorney said his client looks forward to righting what he calls a wrong. The doctor is "a dedicated public servant who ensured that COVID-19 vaccine dosages that would have otherwise expired went into the arms of people who met the criteria for receiving it," attorney Paul Doyle said in a statement. "Harris County would have preferred Dr. Gokal let the vaccines go to waste and are attempting to disparage this man's reputation in the process to support this policy."
Gokal told a fellow employee what he did and that person reported him to supervisors, authorities said. He was later fired. more...

Distributor McKeeson says temperature to store the vaccine became too cold
Priya Mann, DeJanay Booth

Twenty-one shipments of the Moderna vaccine were rendered unusable because of temperature issues with the distributor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the vaccine must be stored in a freezer between minus 13 degrees and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. The distributor, McKesson Corporation, told the state the temperature went out of range and got too cold, affecting nearly 12-thousand doses. more...

*** 400,000 Americans are dead most of them did not have to die. How many Americans died because of Trump, his allies, Fox News and right wing media downplayed the threat the coronavirus was to the America people. ***


On the eve of his inauguration, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. assumes the role of mourner-in-chief at a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. Germany tightens its lockdown rules as a preventive measure against the highly infectious variant. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived in Washington on Tuesday and led a national mourning for Americans killed by the coronavirus pandemic as the death toll topped 400,000, a gesture to the tragedy the country had endured even as he pledged that light would pierce the darkness. On the eve of his inauguration as the 46th president of the United States, Mr. Biden flew to the capital from his home in Wilmington, Del., and headed to the Lincoln Memorial, where he presided over a brief ceremony paying tribute to those who had died from Covid-19 in the past year. “To heal, we must remember,” Mr. Biden said, standing in front of the Reflecting Pool, which was surrounded by 400 lights to commemorate the 400,000 victims of the virus. “It’s hard sometimes to remember. But that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation. That’s why we’re here today. Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights in the darkness along the sacred pool of reflection and remember all whom we lost.” more...

Ed Cara

Experts are becoming increasingly worried that at least some variants of the coronavirus will pose an added challenge to limiting the spread of covid-19 through vaccination. Recent data announced over the weekend suggests a variant first found in South Africa can escape detection from antibodies in some people who had been infected with older versions of the virus. Though it’s very unlikely these variants will completely evade vaccine-provided immunity, scientists are preparing for the possibility that vaccines will have to be adjusted to better match newer strains circulating in the population. more...


New research could help explain why thousands of Covid-19 survivors are facing debilitating neurological symptoms months after initially getting sick. WSJ breaks down the science behind how the coronavirus affects the brain, and what this could mean for long-haul patients. more...

Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

The CEO of Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna warned Wednesday that the coronavirus that has brought world economies to a standstill and overwhelmed hospitals will be around “forever.” Public health officials and infectious disease experts have said there is a high likelihood that Covid-19 will become an endemic disease, meaning it will become present in communities at all times, though likely at lower levels than it is now. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel appeared to agree Wednesday that Covid-19 will become endemic, saying “SARS-CoV-2 is not going away.” “We are going to live with this virus, we think, forever,” he said during a panel discussion at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference. Health officials will have to continuously watch for new variants of the virus, so scientists can produce vaccines to fight them, he said. Researchers in Ohio said Wednesday they’ve discovered two new variants likely originating in the U.S. and that one of them quickly became the dominant strain in Columbus, Ohio, over a three-week period in late December and early January. more...

Will Feuer

Researchers in Ohio said Wednesday that they’ve discovered two new variants of the coronavirus that likely originated in the U.S. — one of which quickly became the dominant strain in Columbus, Ohio, over a three-week period in late December and early January. Like the strain first detected in the U.K., the U.S. mutations appear to make Covid-19 more contagious but do not seem like they will diminish the effectiveness of the vaccines, researchers said. The Ohio State University researchers have not yet published their full findings, but said a non-peer-reviewed study is forthcoming. Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement to CNBC that the agency is looking at the new research. more...

Noah Higgins-Dunn

A record 4,327 people died from Covid-19 in the U.S. on Tuesday, marking the deadliest day of the pandemic so far as the federal government tries to speed up the rollout of lifesaving vaccines. It comes as researchers in Ohio say they have found two new variants that likely originated in the U.S. The new record is the second time in the last week that Covid-19 deaths have exceeded 4,000 in one day. It also pushes the nation’s weekly average of deaths per day to 3,342 — a 26% increase compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. So far, 34,804 people have died in January, on track to become the deadliest month of the pandemic in the United States. Medical experts say the nation is now in its post-holiday surge, and the situation will likely worsen before it improves. more...

Alex Galbraith

Bruce Willis was reportedly asked to leave a Rite Aid in Los Angeles for refusing to wear a mask. Unnamed sources who spoke to Page Six say the action star drew the ire of his fellow customers for walking around maskless in the pharmacy. Willis eventually left without buying anything. A photograph from the scene shows that the actor had a bandana around his neck that he didn't pull up, for whatever reason. more...

More than 20 million people have been quarantined just weeks ahead of biggest holiday of the year
Sha Hua

HONG KONG—China is battling its biggest coronavirus outbreak in months, imposing lockdowns on hard-hit areas, quarantining more than 20 million people and urging citizens to forgo unnecessary travel as the Lunar New Year holiday approaches in February. The tightening, which comes during northern China’s coldest winter in a generation, underscores official skittishness nearly a year after authorities shut down the city of Wuhan to contain the initial outbreak. On Tuesday, China’s National Health Commission reported 42 new cases of locally transmitted symptomatic infection, a day after recording 85 such cases—its highest daily count in six months. The bulk of the recent cases have been detected in the northern province of Hebei, which surrounds China’s capital city of Beijing. more...

By Cheri Mossburg and Leah Asmelash, CNN

(CNN) The surge of Covid-19 in California has just gotten even worse, after at least two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo became infected with Covid-19, the zoo and Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday. Three animals are currently showing symptoms of the virus, and it is suspected that they were infected by an asymptomatic staff member, according to a press release. This is the first known instance of coronavirus in great apes, the zoo said, though previous research has shown that some non-human primates are susceptible. The gorillas live as a family, so it is assumed that all members have been exposed, zoo officials say. It started last Wednesday, when two zoo gorillas began coughing. A preliminary test within the group showed presence of the virus on Friday, and the US Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the positive results Monday. It is unknown whether the gorillas will have any serious reaction, the zoo said, but they are being closely monitored. more...

by: Associated Press

Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey says she has tested positive for COVID-19 and believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the U.S. Capitol building as a result of Wednesday’s rioting. She was among dozens of lawmakers whisked to a secure location when pro-Donald Trump insurrectionists stormed the Capitol. A press release from her office on Monday notes that “a number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks.” more...

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) On the heels of the country's deadliest week since the Covid-19 pandemic's start, state officials are warning of more alarming patterns following the holiday season. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the state was seeing a "real and significant increase in cases and our positivity rate from people's gatherings around the holiday." "This surge that we're in right now is at least twice the rate, the seriousness, of the previous surges that we have seen," the governor added. "This is our most dangerous time." Colorado's state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy on Friday warned of "early signs" of a rise in Covid-19 cases. "We are starting to see the impact of the holidays show up in our data," she said. Health experts believe about one in 105 residents are currently contagious, Herlihy added.

"We continue to see a large percentage of Colorado's population actively infected with Covid-19 and having the potential to transmit infection to each other, so contact between individuals continues to be high risk in this state," Herlihy said. It's been a warning repeated across other states since the start of the New Year. Arkansas' governor said earlier this month the state was "certainly in the surge after Christmas." And Mississippi officials said on Monday the state had experienced more Covid-19 patients in the ICU than ever before and was bracing for another rise in virus numbers following the holidays. "We do strongly anticipate another surge following the holidays," State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs had said. "It's kind of been a recurring theme, it's not something that should be too surprising. And this is also occurring when we have full ICU rooms, our hospitals are really overburdened." Wednesday's unprecedented storming of the US Capitol is also a worrying event in terms of the pandemic. more...

Will Feuer

More than 4,000 people died of Covid-19 in the United States in one day for the first time on Thursday as the country reports record-high numbers and the outbreak grows more severe by the day. The U.S. has reported a record-high daily death toll on five of the past 10 days, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Over the past week, the U.S. has reported an average of more than 2,700 deaths per day, up 16% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data.

Nearly 20,000 people in the country have died of Covid in January alone, setting the pace for a month that will likely rival December for the deadliest month yet of the pandemic. Top health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, are warning that the outbreak is likely to get worse before it gets better. “We believe things will get worse as we get into January,” Fauci said Thursday in an interview with NPR. He said Americans can still “blunt that acceleration” if they strictly adhere to public health measures like mask wearing and social distancing. more...

Noah Higgins-Dunn

The Covid-19 outbreak is so bad in Los Angeles County, ambulances have to wait hours to drop patients at emergency rooms. Hospital beds are being crammed into gift shops, cafeterias and conference rooms as hospitals struggle to find any available space for patients. The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency told EMS employees Monday to only administer supplemental oxygen if a patient’s saturation levels dip below 90% to conserve depleting oxygen supplies. Paramedics were also told not to transport adult heart attack patients to the hospital unless they can restore “spontaneous circulation” on site — to focus care on patients who are more likely to survive. Los Angeles is facing an unprecedented surge in coronavirus patients that is pushing area hospitals to the brink. Public health officials warn the already dire situation is projected to worsen in January. “Many hospitals have reached a point of crisis and are having to make very tough decisions about patient care,” Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county’s director of health services, said at a press briefing Monday. She urged residents to avoid the emergency room unless they’re in need of serious medical attention. more...

By Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — As Arizona experienced periodic spikes in COVID-19 cases since last spring, Gov. Doug Ducey frequently resisted calls to take strong measures. He has declined to institute a statewide mask mandate, allowed school districts to mostly make their own choices and allowed businesses to stay open. All of those choices by the Republican governor are now getting renewed scrutiny as the Grand Canyon state becomes what health officials call the latest “hot spot of the world” because of soaring case loads.

“We have a governor and health director who don’t care. Their goal in my opinion is to vaccinate their way out of this,” said Will Humble, head of the Arizona Public Health Association “Eventually it will work. There’s just going to be a lot of dead people in the meantime.” C.J. Karamargin, the governor’s spokesman, said the current number of cases and deaths are “heartbreaking” but it’s a phenomenon happening in other states even with strict stay-at-home orders. “Faced with strict mitigation measures in place and states that have few or minimal mitigation measures in place all are experiencing the same thing,” Karamargin said. “The mitigation measures the state of Arizona put into place early on — they remain in place. We urge every Arizonan to follow them.” more...

Will Feuer

A record number of people died in the U.S. from Covid on Tuesday and Wednesday, when a mob of angry Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol during a riot. A record 3,733 people died from the virus on Tuesday, followed by 3,865 deaths Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Over the past seven days, the country reported an average of 2,686 fatalities every day — a figure second only to the record set a little over two weeks ago.

Holiday festivities have led to a predicted explosion in Covid-19 cases that have overwhelmed hospitals across the nation as a vaccine rollout got off to a rocky start. Over 361,200 people in the U.S. have died of the disease since the virus arrived in the U.S. nearly 12 months ago. Since then, almost 1 in every 914 U.S. residents has died of the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to a Reuters analysis.

D.C.’s health department on Wednesday said it halted vaccinations early after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building, prompting the mayor to impose a 6 p.m. curfew across the city and delaying the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. more...

By Alexandra Meeks and Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) Los Angeles County has been fighting a brutal battle against Covid-19 for weeks now. New infections have soared with about one in five residents who get tested for Covid-19 receiving positive results. In a little more than a month, the county doubled its number of infections, climbing from about 400,000 cases on November 30 to more than 800,000 cases on January 2, health officials said Monday. The case deluge has translated to a surge of Covid-19 patients, overwhelming hospitals and plunging intensive care unit capacity across the region to zero. There are now more than 7,600 people hospitalized with Covid-19 in in the county, 21% of whom are in the ICU, officials said

With no hospital beds available, ambulance crews in the county were given guidance not to transport patients with little chance of survival. And the patients who are transported often have to wait hours before a bed is available. "Hospitals are declaring internal disasters and having to open church gyms to serve as hospital units," Supervisor Hilda Solis said, calling the situation a "human disaster." And a person is dying of the virus every 15 minutes, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said.
But it will get worse. Officials say they're headed into the feared surge stemming from holiday gatherings. more...

Police said Steven Brandenburg "told investigators that he believed that Covid-19 vaccine was not safe for people and could harm them and change their DNA."
By David K. Li and Samira Puskar

A pharmacist accused of trying to destroy hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine is a conspiracy theorist who believed the medication wasn't safe, Wisconsin authorities alleged Monday. The man, Steven Brandenburg, 46, was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bond by Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge Paul Malloy during a brief appearance. Police in Grafton, about 20 miles north of Milwaukee, arrested Brandenburg, a pharmacist with Advocate Aurora Health, on Thursday after 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine appeared to have been spoiled. Police said Brandenburg took the vaccine doses from a refrigerator and left them out for 12 hours, possibly rendering them useless.

Each vial contained 10 doses; in total, the material was worth $8,550 to $11,400, according to a probable cause statement by Grafton police Detective Sgt. Eric Sutherland. Brandenburg is an "admitted conspiracy theorist," and he "told investigators that he believed that Covid-19 vaccine was not safe for people and could harm them and change their DNA," Sutherland wrote. "He admitted this was an intentional act," the probable cause statement added. more...

By Madeline Holcombe, CNN

(CNN) Hospitals around the United States are racing to keep up with surges of Covid-19 patients at numbers they have not seen at any other time in the pandemic. At least 123,639 people nationwide were in the hospital with coronavirus on Saturday, marking 32 consecutive days that the number of hospitalizations has exceeded 100,000, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Cases have skyrocketed after the Thanksgiving holiday, and impacts from Christmas and New Year's celebrations are still unfolding. As of Saturday, more than 20.4 million people have been infected with the virus in the US and at least 350,186 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And health experts worry what will happen to those numbers if infections continue to spread.

"This is about total collapse of the health care system if we have another spike," said Dr. Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. "And we, in the hospital, cannot stop that. We can only react to it. It is the public that has the power to put a stop to the spread of this virus by obeying the public health guidance that have been put out." In California, emergency room officials said hospitals are treating an unprecedented number of coronavirus patients. Design and construction experts from the US Army Corps of Engineers have been deployed to the Los Angeles area to "evaluate and where necessary upgrade oxygen delivery systems" at about a half dozen hospitals. One area hospital converted administrative offices and break rooms into treatment areas for their coronavirus patients, said Col. Julie Balten, commander of the Los Angeles District for the Corps of Engineers. more...

By Christina Zdanowicz, CNN

(CNN) -- Her smile and positive attitude are what her family and school community are remembering as they mourn the loss of a beloved teacher. Zelene Blancas, a first grade teacher at Dr. Sue A. Shook Elementary School in El Paso, Texas, died Monday, her family told CNN. She was 10 years into her career as a teacher. Blancas tested positive for coronavirus October 20 and days later, she was hospitalized, her brother, Mario Blancas, told CNN. After weeks of showing signs of recovery and taking steps on her own, her oxygen levels dropped, and she was intubated November 22. The otherwise healthy 35-year-old never came off the ventilator, her brother said. She spent two months in the hospital before dying of complications from Covid-19, her family said. more...

By Eileen AJ Connelly

Veteran talk show host Larry King has been hospitalized in Los Angeles with COVID-19. The 87-year-old broadcasting legend has survived multiple health scares in the past, including a heart attack, a stroke, prostate and lung cancer and diabetes. more...

By Melanie Gray

The Wisconsin hospital worker accused of spoiling hundreds of doses of COVID-19 vaccine didn’t tamper with the vials just once — he left them unrefrigerated twice, his boss claims. Steven Brandenburg, 46, is being held in jail on three criminal counts — recklessly endangering safety, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property — although police have not officially identified him as the alleged culprit, the Daily Mail reported. Ozaukee County Jail records show Brandenburg was booked New Year’s Eve, the same day cops arrested the culprit, and state records show he is a licensed pharmacist. Both the police and federal authorities — the FBI and the Food and Drug Administration — are investigating the tampering at Advocate Aurora Health Hospital in Grafton, about 20 miles north of Milwaukee. more...

By Benjamin Berteau and Pierre Buet, CNN

Paris (CNN) Five people have been arrested and more than 1,000 fines issued after an illegal New Year's rave in the French countryside ended on Saturday, local authorities said. More than 2,500 partygoers attended the illegal party in the region of Brittany in France, despite the government's strict coronavirus restrictions and a national night-time curfew. About 1,200 fines were issued as of Saturday morning following the rave, which started on Thursday, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said via his official Twitter profile. Trucks, sound systems and generators have been seized and Gendarmes officers "are continuing their investigation and checks so that this illegal event is harshly sanctioned," Darmanin added. Of the 1,200 fines, 800 were related to coronavirus restrictions and 400 to drug offenses, head of the Bretagne Gendarmerie forces General Pierre Sauvegrain told reporters. more...

At last count, the home had 88 infections among residents and 42 among staff.
By Associated Press

BRUSSELS — Authorities in Belgium say a 27th elderly person has died in an outbreak at a nursing home from a super-spreading St. Nick party last month but they hope the situation is now under control. The Hemelrijck home in the northern Belgium city of Mol had organized a Dec. 4 visit from a troupe playing the beloved saint who usually spreads mirth and presents. But the city and families of some of the deceased have complained that the nursing home should never have organized the party when restrictive measures on events were in place throughout the country to contain the pandemic. The Mol municipality said “the event was not coordinated with the crisis cell,” and if they had heard about it beforehand they would have stopped it. more...

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) The US topped 20 million total infections and inched closer to 350,000 Covid-19 deaths on the first day of 2021 -- reminders of a grim reality continuing into the new year. More people have died across the US than anywhere else: nearly 348,000 Americans since the pandemic's start. About another 115,000 could die over the next month, according to projections from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. That's while hospitalizations are at the highest levels they've ever been. The US reported a record 125,379 hospitalized Covid-19 patients nationwide Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. That number dipped slightly Friday, with 125,057 hospitalizations reported -- about an 163% increase from two months ago.

A California doctor said hospitals have hit a "breaking point." "We're also worried that at some point soon we're going to have a really tough time finding the space and the staff to take care of all the sick patients coming in with Covid-19 who really need our help," said Dr. Nicole Van Groningen of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. And Friday's bleak case milestone also means the nation has also recorded by far the most Covid-19 infections. It's double what India -- the country with the second-highest number of cases -- has reported and nearly triple what Brazil -- the third country in line -- has reported. But the worst may not be over just yet: experts fear that in the coming weeks -- following holiday travel and gatherings -- the US could see another surge of cases that could also drive hospitalizations and deaths even higher. more...

Reese Oxner

The United States has reached a sobering milestone to mark the new year. On Friday, the first day of 2021, the U.S. recorded its 20 millionth confirmed coronavirus case since the beginning of the pandemic. That's according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University, which reported 20,037,736 cases and 346,687 deaths in the U.S. on at the time of publication on Friday. Over 83 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed world wide. The U.S. reached 10 million cases on Nov. 9. In less than two months, the country doubled its total number of infections. more...

By Ganesh Setty, CNN

(CNN) Virginia state Sen. Ben Chafin Jr. has died after contracting Covid-19, according to a statement from his office. He was 60 years old. "State Senator Augustus Benton (Ben) Chafin, Jr., a native son of Russell County located in Southwest Virginia, passed away on January 1, 2021 from Covid-19 complications," the statement said. The Republican lawmaker's family thanked the VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, for "its vigorous care and heartfelt support during his two weeks of medical services there."
Chafin, a cattle farmer and attorney, served Virginia's 38th District. He was elected to the state's House of Delegates in 2013 before moving to the Senate in 2014. His office remembered him Friday as "a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, economic development and health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians." more...

CBS News

At least 26 residents of a Belgian retirement home have died since a visit by a volunteer dressed as Santa Claus who has since tested positive for COVID-19. A Flemish health official told AFP on Thursday it is not yet certain that it was the visitor who brought the coronavirus to the Hemelrijck home in Mol on December 5. But 26 residents have died since the visit, and 85 more have tested positive for the coronavirus, along with 40 staff. The outbreak was detected a few days after the visit, and prominent virologist Marc Van Ranst reported on Twitter that most of the infections came from the same source. The white-bearded, red-robed figure of Sinterklaas, the equivalent of the English-speaking world's Santa Claus, brings gifts to Belgians every December 6. more...

Tracy Connor

A federal judge took a rhetorical blowtorch to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, saying in a ruling this week that the state has done “little, if anything” to stop COVID-19 from ravaging the state. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports that U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann ordered a state court to stop using the pandemic as an excuse to delay a defendant’s trial. Then he went after the state’s response to the crisis itself. more...

By David Williams and Chuck Johnston, CNN

(CNN) A mistake at a West Virginia clinic led to 42 people being administered Covid-19 antibodies instead of the vaccine, but state and local health officials don't think they are at any risk of harm. The recipients were supposed to get their first doses of the Moderna vaccine on Wednesday at a clinic run by the Boone County Health Department, according to a statement from the West Virginia National Guard. Instead, they were given a Regeneron antibody product, which is used to treat Covid-19.

"The moment that we were notified of what happened, we acted right away to correct it, and we immediately reviewed and strengthened our protocols to enhance our distribution process to prevent this from happening again," said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, in the statement. The National Guard is leading the planning and logistics for distributing the vaccine. The Boone County Health Department said it has notified the 42 people and offered to give them the Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. Officials said it was an isolated incident but did not explain how the mix-up occurred when reached for further comment. Regeneron's antibody cocktail uses a combination of two engineered immune system proteins typically given via infusion -- a different method from the injections used in vaccination. more...

By Matthew Ormseth, Rong-Gong Lin II, Luke Money, Soumya Karlamangla

A months-long surge of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County is reaching its grim if inevitable zenith as deaths reach once-unthinkable levels, medical infrastructure is buckling under a flood of patients and officials fear the mortality numbers will only worsen in the coming weeks. The county recorded an average of 151 people dying from COVID-19 each day in the past week — a figure that’s almost as high as the average number of people dying daily from every other cause, about 170 a day. But more recently, those numbers have spiked considerably.

Single-day COVID-19 death records have been broken every day for the last three days of the year, with 242 deaths reported Tuesday, 262 on Wednesday and 291 on New Year’s Eve. The sheer number of fatalities is causing more challenges to already overwhelmed hospitals and other institutions. Many hospital morgues are now filled with bodies, and officials are trying to move them for temporary storage at the county medical examiner-coroner’s office. more...

It's the fourth consecutive day the state has set a new high mark.
Author: KHOU 11 Staff

HOUSTON — For the fourth day in a row, the sate of Texas has set a record for the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital. On Thursday, the number of people in the state who were in the hospital with COVID-19 jumped to 12,268. It’s the first time the state has surpassed 12,000.  The state’s positivity rate is also on the rise. On Thursday, Texas reported molecular tests had 20.53 percent positivity. That’s up from Wednesday’s number, which was 18.74 percent. more...

Wall Street Journal

Officially, more than 300,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the U.S. But experts who believe the real death toll to be much higher are racing to count missed or misdiagnosed cases, in a bid to improve the nation’s public-health response. video...

By Sarah Moon and Cheri Mossburg, CNN

(CNN) Overflowing hospital morgues, increased 911 wait times, beds only opening when patients die. Hospitals in California, where almost all of the state's 40 million residents are living under stay-at-home orders, are seeing historic stress points. The surge of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations is pushing hospitals in Los Angeles County to the "brink of catastrophe," a top health official there said. To the north in Santa Clara, one doctor said: "What we are seeing now, is not normal." Every day since November 7, Covid-19 hospitalizations in California have increased.

As of Thursday, 21,449 Covid-19 patients were in hospital beds throughout the state, with more than 4,500 of those in intensive care units. "We are in the midst of a disaster," Los Angeles County Director of Emergency Medical Services Agency Cathy Chidester said, talking about the challenges faced by hospitals due to the lack of resources and staffing. The amount of oxygen required for each coronavirus patient is putting extreme pressure on the hospital, according to Chidester. They also are running out of ambulances while response times to 911 calls are getting longer and longer, she said. Los Angeles County shattered its record of the highest number of coronavirus deaths reported on a single day since the start of the pandemic with 290 deaths Thursday, according to data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The high number of deaths includes a backlog of cases from the holidays as well as an internet service interruption. more...

WISN 12 News talked to people who know the pharmacist accused of ruining 570 doses of the Moderna vaccine
Caroline Reinwald

GRAFTON, Wis. — On Thursday, Advocate Aurora officials confirmed the employee accused of intentionally leaving out Moderna COVID-19 vaccines no longer worked for the company. "On Saturday, December 26th, in the early morning, one of our pharmacy technicians discovered what turned out to be 57 vials of Moderna vaccine, enough for about 570 doses outside the refrigerator in which those vials were stored," said Dr. Jeff Bahr, president of Aurora Health Care Medical Group. "Over the subsequent days, as we continued our internal review, we became increasingly suspicious of the behavior of the individual in question." "The individual was suspended and after multiple interviews over the course of the week, admitted yesterday to intentionally removing the vaccine from refrigeration," Bahr said. Bahr would not go into detail about the accused pharmacist. Grafton Police Department confirmed they arrested the 46-year-old pharmacist on Thursday. They also said the spoiled vaccines are worth as much as $11,000. more...

Ricardo Torres - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Advocate Aurora Health says a now-fired employee intentionally removed 57 vials of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine from a refrigerator last weekend, causing them to become ineffective and be discarded. Initially, Aurora was "led to believe" the removal was an error. But Wednesday, the employee "acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration," according to a statement from the health care provider. Aurora said the action by the employee is "a violation of our core values."

The employee was fired, and Aurora said it has notified "appropriate authorities for further investigation." The statement continues: "We continue to believe that vaccination is our way out of the pandemic. We are more than disappointed that this individual’s action will result in a delay of more than 500 people receiving their vaccine." Each vial contains enough vaccine for 10 vaccinations. The vials were removed Friday and most were discarded Saturday, according to an earlier statement from Aurora. more...

Pat Saperstein

Dawn Wells, who starred as “good girl” Mary Ann in popular 1960s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” died Wednesday of causes related to COVID-19 in Los Angeles. She was 82. Pig-tailed and attired in her ubiquitous dungaress or gingham dress, which is on display at the Hollywood Museum, the Mary Ann character was the girl-next-door to Tina Louise’s suggestive evening dress-clad Ginger, who was often subjected to leering comments from the male stars in the show’s dialogue.

She told Smashing Interviews magazine that she was happy to change her image with a role as a prostitute in “The Owl and the Pussycat” soon after the show ended, “Mary Ann was a good girl. She was polite. She was a hard worker. She would be your best friend. She cooked. She cleaned. She did all of those things, and she was a really good role model. But the first thing you want to do is break that character and go do something else,” Wells said. more...

By Joe Sutton and Jason Hanna, CNN

(CNN) Health officials in a Colorado county believe they've found a second local case of a coronavirus variant from the United Kingdom -- one that experts have said may be especially contagious -- a county public health director said Wednesday. That news comes a day after the first known case of the variant in the US was announced in Colorado's Elbert County. Both the confirmed case and the suspected instance involve men who had been working at the Good Samaritan Society assisted living facility in Simla, about 45 miles northeast of Colorado Springs, county health director Dwayne Smith told CNN.

Neither are residents of Elbert County, and they are isolating outside the county, Smith said. There is "no indication at this point" that this event has gone beyond the facility and into the larger community, he said.  The first patient had no known travel history, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday. In part because of that, there is a good chance the variant has been spreading within the community, William Haseltine, chair and president of the global health think tank ACCESS Health International, told CNN Wednesday. The variant emerged in the UK in September, and US health officials have said in recent days as it became prevalent in the United Kingdom that it is probably already in the United States. more...

BY SAM KARLIN

Congressman-elect Luke Letlow died Tuesday evening from complications with COVID-19, shaking the Louisiana political world weeks after his election to represent Louisiana's 5th District in Congress as the state's youngest U.S. representative. Letlow, 41, died at Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport from “complications from COVID-19,” his spokesman, Andrew Bautsch, said in a statement.

Letlow was admitted to a Monroe hospital with COVID-19 symptoms on Dec. 19th before being transferred to the Shreveport hospital and moving to the intensive care unit on Dec. 23rd. Letlow is survived by his wife, Julie Barnhill Letlow, and two young children, Bautsch said.

He was in critical condition but had recently shown signs of improvement when he "apparently suffered a cardiac event this evening that was refractory to all resuscitation efforts," said Dr. G.E. Ghali, of LSU Health Shreveport. Ghali previously said Letlow was being treated with the antiviral drug Remdesivir and steroids. Asked if Letlow had any underlying conditions that would have made his death more likely, Ghali said in a text message, "none. All COVID related." more...

Peter Stubley

Golfer Greg Norman urged Covid "doubters" to take the virus seriously as he revealed it had “kicked the crap out of me like nothing I have ever experienced before”. The 65-year-old Australian posted a picture of himself from his hospital bed on Sunday after testing positive for the disease while suffering severe headaches, muscle pain and fatigue. He wrote on Instagram: "For those doubters out there, do not judge or cast unwarranted comments and opinions I would not want anyone, even you, to experience this hideous virus.

"So I ask, do what is right, not just for you, but your family friends co-workers and other people around. I am luckier than most and for that I am thankful and blessed." Norman believes he was exposed to coronavirus while competing in the PNC Championship tournament in Orlando, Florida, last week with his son, who has also tested positive. After suffering symptoms while quarantining at home, he admitted himself to hospital on Christmas Day. He told his followers: "This sums it all up... On behalf of millions, f*** CoVid. This get this s*** behind us never to experience it again." more...

By Frances Mulraney For Dailymail.com

A health care provider in New York is being investigated after being accused of 'fraudulently' obtaining COVID-19 vaccines and distributing them to members of the public. In a statement released Saturday, the state Department of Health revealed they had received reports that Parcare Community Health Network based in Orange County had broken with New York's plan to administer the vaccine to frontline healthcare workers, and nursing home residents and staffers first. The statement said the network 'may have fraudulently obtained COVID-19 vaccine, transferred it to facilities in other parts of the state in violation of state guidelines and diverted it to members of the public'. more...

The coordinated vaccination campaign of unprecedented scale in the European Union is a crucial step in curbing a pandemic.
By Yuliya Talmazan

Mass vaccination programs began to be rolled out across Europe on Sunday after several countries reported cases of a more contagious variant of coronavirus. On what some have dubbed "V-Day," Germany, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain began inoculations, starting out with health workers and those most at risk of contracting the disease. The coordinated vaccination campaign of unprecedented scale in the European Union, home to almost 450 million people is a crucial step in curbing the global pandemic.

In Italy, the first doses of vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech were administered to five health workers at Rome's Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases, which has been on the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. “Today is finally a good day,” the country’s virus czar Domenico Arcuri told a news conference. “We see the light at the end of the tunnel.” But he warned that people should "continue to be prudent, cautious and responsible," as Italy, which has recorded Europe's highest number of deaths with 72,000, still had a long road ahead. more...

Rebecca Falconer

Cases of a new variant of COVID-19 first detected in England were confirmed by health officials in Canada, Japan and several more European Union countries Saturday.

Why it matters: While there's no evidence the variant is more deadly than the original strain, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that it could be 70% more transmissible prompted dozens of countries to ban travel from the United Kingdom. The strain, called B.1.1.7, spurred a cases spike that saw tens of millions of people in England and Wales lock down over the holidays.
   Some officials worry it may have been spreading unnoticed worldwide, as few countries have the kind of sophisticated genomic surveillance that enabled British scientists to find the variant, per the New York Times.

What’s happening: The Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed the first two cases in North America of the new coronavirus strain Saturday evening, in the province of Ontario. The agency noted in a statement "these two cases did not travel outside of Canada."

Officials in Japan said Saturday the country would close its border to all non-resident foreign nationals from midnight Monday through Jan. 31 after seven people tested positive for the variant, broadcaster NHK reports. more...

By Douglas Perry | The Oregonian/OregonLive

An Oregon mink trapped in the wild tested positive for the coronavirus this month, the Oregon Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday. The mink was captured Dec. 13 near an Oregon mink farm that is under quarantine after a November COVID-19 outbreak there. State and federal wildlife officials believe the trapped mink had recently escaped from the farm. “There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is circulating or has been established in the wild,” ODA state veterinarian Dr. Ryan Scholz said in a statement. “Several [trapped] animals from different species were sampled, and all others were negative. Still, we are taking this situation very seriously and continuing to survey and trap near the farm.” more...

The order from President Donald Trump follows similar actions by the airlines and flight suspensions by nations concerned about coronavirus variants.
By David Ingram

The U.S. will require all air passengers arriving from the United Kingdom to test negative for Covid-19 before their departure after the identification in the U.K. of new coronavirus variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the change late Thursday, saying in a statement that President Donald Trump would sign an order Friday to take effect Monday.

"The public health authorities in the United Kingdom recently announced the discovery of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2," the CDC said in a statement. "Preliminary analysis in the U.K. suggests that this new variant may be up to 70 percent more transmissible than previously circulating variants."

A similar requirement for negative tests has already been in effect for many U.S.-bound travelers. Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways said Monday that travelers would have to test negative for the coronavirus before boarding flights bound for New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, in response to a request from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. more...

by: Nouran Salahieh

Reporting a record number of coronavirus deaths Thursday for a second day in a row, Los Angeles County’s health director made an alarming announcement: “A person now dies every 10 minutes in L.A. County from COVID-19.” Another 148 COVID-19 deaths were reported in L.A. County on Christmas Eve, surpassing the previous record of 145 set just the day before.

“It is heartbreaking to report today nearly 150 more L.A. County residents died from COVID-19 leaving families grieving through the holiday season,” L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. So far, 9,299 people have died of COVID-19 in the county and projections predict that the worst is yet to come. L.A. County forecasts show that another 8,700 people in L.A. County will die from COVID-19 before Jan. 31, 2021, Health Services Director Christina Ghaly said in a Thursday briefing. “That is nearly three times the number of people that died in the 911 terrorist attack,” Ghaly said. more...

Kashmira Gander

The Pfizer COVID vaccine has triggered more allergic reactions than would be expected, according to Operation Warp Speed chief scientific adviser Moncef Slaoui. However, such incident are rare, and experts say the benefits of having the COVID vaccine far outweighs the risks. On Wednesday, Slaoui said according to CNN: "That frequency [of allergic reactions] as it stood yesterday, is superior to what one would expect with other vaccines."

At that time, he was aware of six cases. Slaoui said vaccine manufacturers and the National Institutes of Health were considering starting clinical trials on COVID vaccines involving people with serious allergies to try to determine how common such responses are, and their cause. Such trials would include people who need to carry epinephrine pens.

His comments came after the Alabama Department of Public Health said a person had a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, several minutes after having the Pfizer COVID vaccine on Tuesday. The person had a history of serious allergic reactions to medicines but chose to receive the vaccine after having a risk assessment. more...

Justin L. Mack, Holly V. Hays - Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS – A Black doctor who died of COVID-19 after weeks of battling the virus said she was mistreated and delayed proper care at an Indiana hospital because of her race. Dr. Susan Moore, 52, died Dec. 20 following multiple hospitalizations for complications from COVID-19, first at IU Health North and later at Ascencion-St. Vincent in Carmel, Indiana. Her frustrations with the care provided at IU Health were chronicled on Facebook in multiple updates. The first came Dec. 4 when she said delays in her treatment and diagnosis were motivated by the color of her skin.

In a 7 ½-minute video posted to her Facebook page, Moore described frustrating back-and-forths with a white hospitalist with the IU Health system. She described having her complaints of severe neck pain disregarded, despite drawing from her years of medical expertise to make a self-assessment. "I was crushed," a tearful Moore said of the doctor's refusal to provide her pain medication. "He made me feel like I was a drug addict. And he knew I was a physician. I don't take narcotics. I was hurting." more...

Elinor Aspegren - USA TODAY

A COVID-19 patient at a California hospital allegedly struck and killed his roommate with an oxygen tank because he was "upset when the victim started to pray," the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday. Jesse Martinez, 37, has been arrested on suspicion of a hate crime murder and elder abuse, the sheriff's office said in a news release. The victim, an 82-year-old Hispanic man, was sharing a two-person room with Martinez at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster in northern Los Angeles County. The men, who didn't know each other, were both receiving treatment for COVID-19, according to the department. "The suspect became upset when the victim started to pray. He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank," authorities said in the release. The victim died from his injuries the next day. more...

There are an estimated 10,000 trucks backed-up near the port of Dover, the main ferry port for France and the continent.
By Adela Suliman

LONDON — Thousands of truck drivers stranded in the U.K. on Wednesday were offered a faint glimmer of hope they could be home for Christmas after European officials eased travel restrictions imposed in response to the emergence of a mutant strain of coronavirus. The British military has been called in to help clear the gridlock caused by convoys of trucks snaked on roads near Dover, the main ferry port for France and the continent.

"We're putting in place the infrastructure. So the armed forces will be [Covid testing] in the first instance to help us to set that up and to get through some of the backlog that you've seen," Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News. Paris and London agreed late Tuesday that drivers testing negative for Covid-19 could board ferries to France. The decision came after much of the world shut its borders to Britain to contain the new mutation. The Road Haulage Association estimated there were up to 10,000 trucks backed-up near the port. more...

Dennis Wagner, Donovan Slack and Aleszu Bajak USA TODAY

As health care workers and nursing home residents await the first syringes of the scarce COVID-19 vaccine, few realize that exactly when they will get a dose depends a lot on what state they live in. Though they’re first in line for the vaccine, some people in those groups may end up getting vaccinated after people in other states who are deemed lower priority.

That’s because the vaccine is being allocated according to the number of adults in each state, which doesn’t correlate to the number of high-risk people living or working there. So as long as supplies are limited, some states won’t get doses proportionate to their needs. In those places, medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities will be exposed to the coronavirus for weeks or months longer. And they’ll be more vulnerable to sickness and death.

Nevada is one of the winners. According to a USA TODAY analysis of data from Surgo Ventures and Ariadne Labs, it has relatively few residents in the highest priority group. Based on the federal formula, it will be able to vaccinate all frontline health workers and nursing home residents once the federal government distributes 13.6 million doses nationwide.

But Massachusetts, which has a lot of medical workers, won’t hit that threshold until 25.5  million doses have been distributed across the country — potentially weeks into the new year. By the time Massachusetts vaccinates the last person in its highest priority group, Nevada could have moved on to lower priority groups such as elderly people, teachers and grocery workers. more...

CHRISTOPHER WEBER

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s overwhelmed hospitals are setting up makeshift extra beds for coronavirus patients, and a handful of facilities in hard-hit Los Angeles County are drawing up emergency plans in case they have to limit how many people receive life-saving care. The number of people hospitalized across California with confirmed COVID-19 infections is more than double the state's previous peak, reached in July, and a state model forecasts the total could hit 75,000 patients by mid-January.

Plans for rationing care are not in place yet, but they need to be established because “the worst is yet to come,” said Los Angeles County's health services director, Dr. Christina Ghaly. While shipments of the vaccine are rolling out to many health care workers and nursing homes across the country, it could be months before the shots are available to the general public. Until then, four hospitals run by Los Angeles County are weighing what to do if they cannot treat everyone because of a shortage of beds or staffers.

A document recently circulated among doctors at the four hospitals proposed that instead of trying to save every life, their goal could shift to saving as many patients as possible — meaning those less likely to survive would not get the same kind of care. “Some compromise of standard of care is unavoidable; it is not that an entity, system or locale chooses to limit resources, it is that the resources are clearly not available to provide care in a regular manner,” said the document obtained by the Los Angeles Times. Many hospitals in California already have implemented emergency procedures to stretch staff and space. more...


LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. (WGN) — Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville has temporarily paused vaccinations after four employees experienced reactions. Since Thursday, four employees at Advocate Condell Medical Center experienced reactions shortly after vaccination, with symptoms including tingling and elevated heartrate. Advocate Aurora Health said the employees represent .15% of roughly 3,000 employees who have been vaccinated. more...

'These people don't usually have to wait’
Louise Hall

Rich Americans in California are offering to buy their way to the front of the coronavirus vaccine line as the state continues to see a surge in infections and deaths, reports have said. Speaking to CNN, a number of concierge doctors in the area say have received a number of requests for early access to the new vaccine in return for premium payments or donations.

Dr Jeff Toll, whose boutique internal medicine practice has admitting privileges at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said his high-profile clients have offered large sums in turn for prioritisation. The doctor told outlets that one of his clientele, which includes chief executives and entertainment figures, offered to donate $25,000 to the hospital for early access to the shot.

The doctor said that he has told patients they must wait in line as the vaccine is distributed to those most vulnerable to the disease and most likely to transmit it. "I think one of the difficult things is for physicians who take care of these high-power people to be able to say, no you have to wait," Dr Toll told CNN. "These people don't usually have to wait." more...


ELM GROVE, Wis. (AP) — Eight nuns living at a retirement home for sisters in suburban Milwaukee died of COVID-19 complications in the last week — including four who passed away on the same day — a grim reminder of how quickly the virus can spread in congregate living situations, even when precautions are taken.

Notre Dame of Elm Grove had been free of the virus for the last nine months, but the congregation that runs the home found out on Thanksgiving Day that one of the roughly 100 sisters who live there had tested positive. Despite social distancing and other mitigation efforts that were already in place, several more positive tests followed, said Sister Debra Marie Sciano, the provincial leader for School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province.

The first death happened last week, and the death announcements kept coming. Four of the eight nuns died on Monday alone, a difficult situation for other sisters in the home and members of the broader congregation, who consider each other family. “Even though they’re older and most of the sisters that did go to God are in their late 80s, 90s … we didn’t expect them to go so, so quickly,” Sciano said. “So it was just very difficult for us.” more...

Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

An influential Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Thursday overwhelmingly backed Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, a key step paving the way to distribute the second Covid-19 vaccine in the United States next week. The nonbinding decision, which was adopted 20 to 0 with one abstention, from the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee came exactly a week after the outside group of vaccine and infectious disease experts voted to recommend Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine for an emergency use authorization, or EUA. The agency granted Pfizer’s EUA the next day and the first inoculations in the U.S. were given Monday.

The FDA advisory committee plays a key role in approving flu and other vaccines in the U.S., verifying the shots are safe for public use. While the FDA doesn’t have to follow the advisory committee’s recommendation, it often does. The U.S. plans to ship just under 6 million doses next week, pending the agency’s OK, Gen. Gustave Perna, who oversees logistics for the Operation Warp Speed vaccine project, told reporters Monday. Prior to the vote, some members of the committee stressed that their endorsement for Moderna’s vaccine was not for a full FDA approval, reiterating that the agency will still need to review more data on safety and effectiveness. more...

The Queen in the North has spoken.
By Bill Bradley

Tea is coming ... On Wednesday, amid COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in the U.S., “Game of Thrones” actor Sophie Turner posted a simple message on her Instagram story, destroying anti-maskers faster than Arya did the White Walkers. “If I can wear a mask while I give birth, you can wear a mask at Walmart, and that’s the tea,” Turner said. The video was saved by fan accounts and can be seen below: more...


Two healthcare workers in Alaska has had a severe allergic reaction to Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech’s (NASDAQ:BNTX) COVID-19 vaccine, the New York Times reported, but experts say that the vaccine is still safe for the general public. The first worker, a middle-aged woman, with no history of allergies experienced anaphylactic reaction just 10 minutes after receiving a shot at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau. She experienced a rash over her face and torso, shortness of breath and an elevated heart rate. The symptoms resolved after being administered with allergy treatment epinephrine and steroids. The patient was still in hospital being monitored on Wednesday. more...


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