President Joe Biden is reportedly announcing today that he is extending his deadline to April 19 for states to make all U.S. adults eligible for a coronavirus vaccine.
CNN and The New York Times were among the media reporting that Biden is speeding up access to vaccines. He had previously called for full access for adults by May 1 amid a dramatic increase in vaccinations. More than three million doses are given on average each day, up from less than one million in January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The increased momentum comes as a USA TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University shows Americans are now dying from COVID-19 at less than half the rate they were a month ago.
The 5,453 deaths in the United States from the disease in the week ending Monday are down from 12,263 deaths in a week a month earlier – and down from 21,383 in a week ago to barely two months.
Much of the United States’ vaccination effort has been directed at the most vulnerable. Experts say it should reduce deaths from infections.
The United States continues to report high levels of cases, with 452,636 cases reported in the week ending Monday. This is 20% more than two weeks earlier.
Also in the news:
► The United Nations says the UN-backed program to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people has so far provided more than 36 million doses to 86 poor and developing countries.
►A senior U.S. public health official said young people were behind the latest surge in COVID-19 cases as rising vaccination rate among older Americans prevents more severe cases in people elderly.
► The Nationals will begin their season on Tuesday by hosting the Atlanta Braves after Major League Baseball postponed the opening of the teams’ three-game series on Monday due to a coronavirus outbreak involving 11 of the Washington players.
► The UK government says all adults and children will be able to undergo routine coronavirus testing twice a week to stamp out new outbreaks as the UK emerges from lockdown.
► Vice President Kamala Harris has pledged that a popular vaccination site in her home state of California will remain open. The Oakland Coliseum was due to stop administering vaccines on Sunday after an eight-week contract with FEMA, but Harris told the San Francisco Chronicle the site will remain open.
📈 The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 30.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 555,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 131.7 million cases and 2.8 million deaths. At least 207 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the United States and 167 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we read: People across the country have also spoken with USA TODAY about their feelings after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are their stories.
USA TODAY follows COVID-19 news. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
New York and Maryland will open vaccine eligibility to those aged 16 or older on Tuesday, the day after 12 states did the same as the country continues its race against more mutated forms of the coronavirus spread. . The two states will join a dozen others that have opened vaccination over 16: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Michigan, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Federally run vaccination centers continue to appear, three more were announced Monday by the White House. The sites in South Carolina, Colorado and Minnesota bring the total number of vaccination sites to 28. Still, experts have warned of a potential fourth wave of the disease after spring break as students were going home.
Walgreens administered the second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine a week after federal guidelines say it is ideally administered, but the chain will change its policy to comply with government recommendations. While overtime shouldn’t be a problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked the drugstore chain to follow its guidelines, The New York Times reported. So far, Walgreens had administered the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine four weeks after the first, the company confirmed to USA TODAY on Monday. Federal guidelines are three weeks.
“We have automatically programmed patients’ second doses to occur at least 28 days after their first dose to ensure that no dose is given earlier than the allowed intervals and that patients are able to complete the dose. round of vaccination, ”Walgreens spokeswoman Rebekah Pajak told an email.
The company is improving its scheduling system to allow people from this week to schedule their second date within the three-week deadline, Pajak said.
– Nathan Bomey
California now has the lowest coronavirus infection rate in the country – months after the state experienced a winter flare that made it the epicenter of the pandemic.
Governor Gavin Newsom bragged on Twitter on the low rate of infection. The Golden State is the only one in the country with a rate below 2%, according to data released by Health and Human Services for the last week of March. The state recorded a positivity rate of 1.7%.
Likewise, Los Angeles County has seen a drastic drop in the number of COVID cases after the region – the most populous county in the entire country – was inundated with COVID-19 cases over the winter.
At the start of the pandemic, California was applauded for its swift actions to curb the spread of the virus, but the strict measures quickly became unpopular. Frustration increased over the winter when the st ate saw a sudden increase in cases. At one point, the state had a positivity rate of almost 20%. Grievances led to more supporters of the recall effort against the governor.
1.2 million people have contracted COVID-19 in the state and more than 23,000 people have died.
Contributing: Mike Stucka, USA TODAY; The Associated Press