USA TODAY follows COVID-19 news as a pair of vaccines join the US fight against a virus that has killed more than 340,000 Americans since the first reported death in February. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates on vaccine distribution, including who gets vaccines and where, as well as other information on COVID-19 through the USA TODAY Network. Subscribe to our Coronavirus watch bulletin for updates directly to your inbox, join our facebook group or scroll our detailed answers to readers’ questions for everything you need to know about the coronavirus.
In the headlines:
► Chinese health regulators said on Thursday they had given conditional approval to a coronavirus vaccine developed by state-owned Sinopharm. The two-dose vaccine is the first approved for general use in China. The green light comes as the country began vaccinating 50 million people ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in February. The conditional approval means that as research is still ongoing, the company will be required to submit tracking data as well as adverse reaction reports, said Chen Shifei, deputy commissioner of the National Medical Products Administration.
►Los Angeles County took a “terrible step” on Wednesday: 10,000 deaths from coronavirus. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said the average number of deaths from COVID-19 was 150 people per day. More than 7,000 people are hospitalized, 20% of whom are in intensive care units.
►A health care provider from Wisconsin says an individual was intentionally removed 57 Moderna vaccine vials taken out of a refrigerator, which threw them away. “We are more than disappointed that this person’s action has resulted in a delay of more than 500 people receiving their vaccine,” lawyer Aurora Health said in a statement.
►The Cleveland Browns of the NFL closed their headquarters in Berea, Ohio, to conduct contract research after a player on the practice team and an assistant coach tested positive for the virus. The shutdown comes a day after the team placed three players on their COVID-19 reserve roster.
►Ohio Governor Mike DeWine expressed concern on Wednesday around 60% of employees in nursing homes who refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine. “We’re not going to manufacture them, but we wish they had better compliance,” he said. “Our message today is that the train may not return for some time.”
►More than 6,700 Buffalo Bills fans will be allowed to attend the NFL team first home playoff game in 24 years, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday. Each person will have to present proof of a negative coronavirus test in the days leading up to the match.
►Washington State Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday extended the ban on domestic services and social gatherings for an additional week. Inslee on Twitter said he would announce details of the state’s plan to reopen next week. The restrictions will expire on January 11.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 19.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 342,300 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 82.6 million cases and 1.8 million dead.
📰 What we read: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued an order allowing people 65 and over to get ahead of essential workers as many healthcare workers wait for their injection and hospitals scramble to meet demand. Could government rollout of vaccine be a lesson?
New York police stop crowds from gathering in Times Square
New York Police will be doing unusual work on New Years Eve this year. They prevent crowds of all sizes from gathering in Times Square.
Citing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, police closed the Carrefour du monde to vehicles and pedestrians at midnight and said they would disperse all spectators venturing into a so-called “frozen area” – the blocks surrounding the ball that historically pull the shoulder – shoulder crowds.
The coronavirus has shaken public life for months and New Years Eve will be no different. This year, police said, revelers heading to Times Square will not be allowed to cross police lines.
“If you think you can just stand there and watch the balloon, you are wrong,” said department head Terence Monahan, referring to the glittering crystal ball that descends on a flag pole in Times Square every New Years Eve. mark the stroke of midnight.
– Associated press
Texas hospital group disputes concern over unused vaccine
The largest hospital association in the state is reject a suggestion from Governor Greg Abbott and the state’s chief health official that many coronavirus vaccines may not be used in hospitals in Texas.
Abbott and Dr John Hellerstedt, the commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, sounded the alarm on Tuesday, urging healthcare providers to start immunizing people 65 years of age and older and those with underlying health, including pregnant women, if they have completed the first phase of immunizations.
But most hospitals in the state still vaccinate the first group of eligible Texans – hospital staff working directly with coronavirus patients; residents and long-term care staff; emergency workers; and home health workers – or have not yet received a vaccine shipment, according to Carrie Williams, spokesperson for the Texas Hospital Association, which represents more than 85% of acute care hospitals and systems. state health care.
– Nicole Cobler and Claire Osborn, American statesman from Austin
More states should report cases of more contagious viral strain
California reported its first case of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 first identified in the UK – the second confirmed case in the United States Gov. Gavin Newsom, in an online conversation with Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, said the case was confirmed in southern California on Wednesday afternoon.
Colorado reported the first known case of the variant in the United States on Tuesday and was investigating a second possible case on Wednesday. Both cases are National Guard soldiers who have been deployed to support the staffing of a nursing home in Simla, Colo., Outside Denver, state health officials said. .
Fauci said he was not surprised by the discovery in California. “We will probably see reports from more states,” Fauci said. “It is something that is expected.”
– Grace Hauck and Joel Shannon
Vacations, funding and slow vaccine rollout
More than 12.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been shipped to U.S. states, but just over 2.5 million people received vaccines on Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Officials say the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations is expected to accelerate dramatically in the coming weeks. For now, however, they point to a host of reasons for the delay, including immunization systems still in the works, federal funding that has yet to flow to states, and the requirement that states set aside. the vaccine for long-term care facilities.
“Here’s what I trust: Every day everyone gets better, and I think uptake will increase dramatically as we move forward,” Operation Warp Speed General Gustave Perna said at the time. a briefing on Wednesday. Two public holidays and three major snowstorms also hampered the deployment, he said.
“There is a learning curve in the system,” said Moncef Slaoui – scientific advisor to Operation Warp Speed. Read more.
– Elizabeth Weise
Contributor: The Associated Press