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 380,000 Ameri
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 380,000 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. topped 4,000 daily coronavirus deaths Tuesday for the second time, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The first time was Jan. 8.
► Scientists have identified a mutation that may decrease the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. The mutation, first spotted in South Africa two months ago, and has since spread to 12 other countries.
► Texas has become the second state to surpass 2 million COVID-19 cases, a milestone passed in June for the nation. California was the first state to report the marker in December.
► Travelers flying into the United States from international destinations will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. The policy will go into effect Jan. 26.
► Los Angeles County is asking residents to wear masks at home if they go out for work or to get groceries, the Los Angeles Times reported, as the region nears 1 million virus cases.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 1.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 380,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 91 million cases and 1.9 million deaths.
📘 What we’re reading: U.S. hospitals are on the brink — but COVID-19 isn’t slowing down. “Absolutely, it’s what we feared,” the chief health care officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges told USA TODAY. Read more here.
New York, Idaho among states to speed up vaccine distribution
Facing a slower-than-hoped coronavirus vaccine rollout, officials around the nation shifted gears Tuesday to accelerate the delivery of shots to more people.
The U.S. government is asking states to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations to people over 65 and others at risk instead of holding back vaccines for a second dose. The government will also stop holding back the required second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
The change had immediate effects. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded the vaccine eligibility requirements in New York to follow the new CDC guidelines. Idaho will implement the guidelines Feb. 1, said Gov. Brad Little.
Hospitals face COVID-19 surge, staff shortages and rising deaths
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
More lawmakers test positive for COVID-19 after US Capitol riot
Multiple lawmakers have said they tested positive for the coronavirus after Wednesday’s riot in the Capitol. The latest is Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.
“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 Tuesday on Twitter.
Fellow Democratic Reps. Brad Schneider of Illinois and Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey have also tested positive after being forced into the secured room during the Capitol siege.
On Sunday, the attending physician for Congress said elected officials and their staff were potentially exposed to someone infected with COVID-19 while the Capitol was locked down during an armed incursion by pro-Trump rioters. Dozens of lawmakers have been infected with the virus during the pandemic.
Contributing: The Associated Press