Britain will unveil its plan on Monday to untie one of the world’s toughest COVID-19 lockdowns.
US public health officials will follow closely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that by April, B.1.1.7, the most transmissible variant of COVID-19 originally identified in Britain, will likely be the dominant variant within borders American.
The United States is now reporting more than 1,687 cases of coronavirus variants that may spread more easily, avoid certain treatments and immunities, or both. The report comes as the United States expects to exceed 500,000 deaths on Monday – more than double that of any other country.
Trevor Bedford, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said in a Twitter feed Thursday that a steady decline in US coronavirus cases which has brought levels to their level at the end of October could be threatened by the “rapid take-off of B.1.1.7”. He said there is evidence that variant B.1.1.7 “will reach 50% frequency in the United States perhaps by the end of March.”
Simon Clarke, professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said there is a body of emerging evidence suggesting that the B.1.1.7 variant is not only more contagious but also more deadly, a possibility initially raised by British scientists.
He also said there is anecdotal evidence from hospitals, not confirmed by studies, that variant B.1.1.7 could harm more younger people. He warned that it was too early to draw firm conclusions.
Also in the news:
►President Joe Biden to host a moment of silence and a candle lighting service Monday night at the White House to mark the 500,000 lives lost from COVID-19 in the United States
►Congress returns this week to focus on Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Democrats aim to pass the entire package by mid-March, and it currently includes a new round of checks for Americans, a renewed paycheck protection program, and an extension of a push. federal for unemployment benefits.
►United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday that white supremacy and neo-Nazi movements were a “transnational threat” which were “engaged in a frenzy of nurturing hatred” and exploited the pandemic to gain their support .
►The number of patients in California hospitals with COVID-19 has fallen below 7,000, a drop of more than a third in two weeks, state health officials said. The story is similar in Texas, where state data on Sunday showed the lowest number of hospitalizations (7,146) since mid-November.
►Idaho health officials said on Sunday that the state’s seven-day average number of cases fell below 250 COVID-19 infections per day – an average last seen in September, reported reported the Idaho Statesman.
► White House press secretary Jen Psaki said about 2 million of the 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine delayed by winter weather conditions last week were delivered over the weekend . As for the rest, “We plan to catch up quickly this week,” Psaki told ABC on Sunday.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 28.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 498,900 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 111.4 million cases and 2.46 million deaths. More than 75.2 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the United States and about 63 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we read: Millions of kindergartens have chosen not to attend public school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is what is happening now.
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Biden to tweak PPPs to give small businesses better access to loans
A federal program that provides loans to businesses to help them stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic is undergoing changes to allow more money to go to the small businesses that need it most.
President Joe Biden will announce on Monday several revisions to the Paycheck Protection Program, which Congress approved last year as part of a nearly $ 2 trillion COVID relief bill.
While the program has brought urgent aid to many businesses across the country, the first round of loans granted under the program last year left too many minority and mother-owned businesses behind and children, while larger, better-connected companies quickly secured the funds, administration officials said on Sunday.
To address those concerns, Biden will announce that only companies with fewer than 20 employees will be allowed to apply to the program over a 14-day period starting Wednesday. About 98% of small businesses have fewer than 20 employees and the 14-day application period will allow lenders to focus on their service, administration officials said.
– Michael Collins
Non-English speakers struggle to get COVID-19 vaccine across the United States
More than two months after the distribution of the first coronavirus vaccines in the United States, many states and local governments are provide limited information about vaccines in languages other than English. Language and cultural barriers have made it difficult for many people of color, immigrants and non-English speaking communities to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Experts said more targeted outreach – including door knocking, visits to frontline workers at their workplaces, streamlined registration sites and language translation services at vaccination sites – is needed. necessary to overcome disinformation and educate communities that have long been plagued by racial injustice in the United States.
Loretta Hsueh’s parents are elderly Taiwanese immigrants with chronic health issues who run a grocery store. Hsueh has made about 15 immunization appointments for his parents and friends in recent weeks.
“We know that people with limited fluency in English will have a hard time navigating something that is in English. It’s a no-brainer, ”Hsueh said.
– Cristina Silva
Hopkins’ expert says the pandemic could be “almost gone” by April; Fauci says masks could be used until 2022
Marty Makary, who teaches at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, says the pandemic could “almost go away” in April.
Makary, in an opinion piece published in the The Wall Street Journal highlights the rapidly declining infection rate across the country and suggests that deaths from COVID-19 in the United States indicate “much broader immunity than recognized.” It also notes that former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb estimates that 250 million doses of the vaccine will have been delivered to around 150 million people by the end of March.
Speeding up vaccine distribution and continuing to wear masks and social distancing will be key factors in curbing the “historic” pandemic, Dr Anthony Fauci, senior health adviser to the Biden administration, said on Sunday.
However, Fauci, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union”, said the country could “get closer to a degree of normalcy” by the end of the year, but that Americans may still need to wear masks in 2022.
Experts: ‘This must be the time’ to invest in treatments for future pandemics
The last thing people will want to think about when this pandemic is over is this. It’s human nature to move forward, to want to put coronaviruses, vaccines and disease surveillance behind us. But more and more researchers are saying now is the time to prepare for what is sure to come.
Some have started preliminary efforts to develop antivirals and monoclonal antibodies to prevent serious illnesses and vaccines that could stop a new virus in its tracks.
– Karen Weintraub
Contribute: The Associated Press