USA TODAY is keeping track of the news surrounding COVID-19 as a pair of vaccines join the U.S. fight against a virus that has killed more than 375
USA TODAY is keeping track of the news surrounding COVID-19 as a pair of vaccines join the U.S. fight against a virus that has killed more than 375,000 Americans since the first reported fatality in February. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates surrounding the coronavirus, including who is getting the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, as well as other top news from across the USA TODAY Network. Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates directly to your inbox, join our Facebook group or scroll through our in-depth answers to reader questions for everything you need to know about the coronavirus.
In the headlines:
► The U.S. government is asking states to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations to people over the age of 65 and others at risk instead of holding back vaccines for a second dose.
► Multiple lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus after the Capitol riot, including Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who said Jan. 12 that she tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering in a secured room with other lawmakers on Jan. 6. “I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one,” Jayapal wrote on Twitter.
► Disneyland Resort in Anaheim will soon be transformed into a mass coronavirus vaccination site for Southern California residents, Orange County officials announced Monday.
►1 million California health care workers, nursing home residents and staff will receive the COVID-19 vaccine by week’s end, Gov. Gavin Newsom promised Monday. The state is struggling with a surge that is overwhelming hospitals and forcing them to ration care and beds, leading to the latest grim marker of 30,000 deaths.
► Chief Justice John Roberts has received his two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Supreme Court told CNN on Monday.
► Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for the coronavirus in what is believed to be the first cases among such primates in captivity. The park’s executive director, Lisa Peterson, said Monday that eight gorillas that live together at the park are believed to have the virus and several have been coughing.
► As COVID-19 raged last year, the seasonal flu all but vanished, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts said the numbers speak volumes about the transmissibility of COVID-19.
► Indiana is the latest state to report its first case of a more contagious COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, bumping the total of states that have identified the strain to 10.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 22.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 376,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 90 million cases and 1.9 million deaths.
📘 What we’re reading: Millions of Americans with intellectual disabilities are at ‘particularly high risk’ for COVID-19. They’re still waiting for vaccinations.
New web program helps hospitals find monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a web-based COVID-19 outpatient treatment locator to assist healthcare providers and patients in finding potential treatment with monoclonal antibody therapeutics.
“We know that many hospitals are overwhelmed with the recent rise in patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” said Dr. Robert Kadlec, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. “This locator allows patients and providers to find sites for outpatient treatment options, which may help reduce the number of people who require hospitalization for COVID-19 care.”
Monoclonal antibodies mimic the natural process of the immune system, providing it with molecules the body normally manufactures to fight disease. The U.S. Food and Drug administration authorized these treatments for emergency use in treating patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of developing severe symptoms.
President Donald Trump, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani all received monoclonal antibodies when they were treated for COVID-19.
Hospitals face COVID-19 surge, staff shortages and rising deaths
During the past week, a record 22,676 people died from COVID-19, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. That’s more Americans dying every day than the 2,977 victims on Sept. 11, 2001.
Four states with the largest share of hospital beds occupied with COVID-19 patients – California, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia – are struggling to keep pace with the unprecedented surge.
In Los Angeles, public hospitals are preparing to shift to crisis mode, and the county has instructed ambulances to not send patients to overburdened hospitals if they can’t be revived in the field. More than two dozen Georgia hospitals have no available beds in intensive care units, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
While public health officials are optimistic widespread vaccination will provide a glimmer of hope this spring, there’s no respite now for doctors and nurses in overburdened emergency rooms and intensive care units.
– Ken Alltucker
Going big: US dispensing shots at stadiums and fairgrounds
The U.S. is entering the second month of the biggest vaccination drive in history with a major expansion of the campaign, opening football stadiums, major league ballparks, fairgrounds and convention centers to inoculate a larger and more diverse pool of people.
After a frustratingly slow rollout involving primarily health care workers and nursing home residents, states are moving on to the next phase before the first one is complete, making COVID-19 shots available to such groups as senior citizens, teachers, bus drivers, police officers and firefighters.
Across the U.S., where the outbreak has entered its most lethal phase yet and the death toll has climbed to about 375,000, politicians and health officials have complained over the past several days that too many shots were sitting unused on the shelves because of overly rigid adherence to the federal guidelines that put an estimated 24 million health care workers and nursing home residents at the front of the line.
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim will be one of the sites able to vaccinate thousands of Southern California residents, Orange County officials announced Monday.
More than 75% of patients still had symptoms six months later, study finds
A Chinese study, published Friday in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet, found that more than 75% of COVID-19 patients reported symptoms six months after hospital discharge.
In what the British journal said was the largest study so far of so-called “COVID-19 longhaulers,” researchers looked at 1,733 patients from Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus originated last year.
More than 60% of patients reported fatigue and muscle weakness, about 25% reported sleep difficulties and hair loss, and 23% reported anxiety and depression.
Contributing: The Associated Press