USA TODAY follows news about COVID-19 as a pair of vaccines join the US fight against a virus that has killed more than 343,000 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:
► California Thursday has exceeded 25,000 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic, the third state to do so after New York and Texas, health officials have said. New York has nearly 38,000 deaths and Texas has more than 27,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
► Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday blocked fast passage of increasing stimulation controls to $ 2,000 for the third time, calling the proposal – a key claim by President Donald Trump – “socialism for the rich.”
► Public health restrictions on restaurants and gyms will be eased across much of Colorado starting next week, although the state has confirmed the first known U.S. case of a more contagious variant of COVID discovered for the first time in Britain. Governor Jared Polis cited continued improvement, including intensive care units operating below capacity.
►West Virginia National Guard said it accidentally injected 42 people with the Regeneron antibody instead of a Moderna coronavirus vaccine. Medical experts from the Joint Interagency Working Group said they do not believe there is a “risk of harm”. The antibody is used in the treatment of certain cases of the virus. Major General James Hoyer said the guard “immediately reviewed and strengthened our protocols.”
► German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the Germans to maintain their discipline in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic until 2021, even as vaccinations give rise to new hope. In a televised New Year’s message, Merkel said that dealing with the pandemic “was and still is a political, social and economic task of the century”. Merkel’s relentless policies to curb the outbreak have drawn positive polls.
► 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.
►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.
►Ohio Governor Mike DeWine expressed concern about the 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.”
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 19.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 343,400 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 82.8 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?
Stimulus payments for the newest COVID-19 relief package are starts arriving on bank accounts and is expected to land in mailboxes in the near future. This fifth COVID-19 stimulus round that President Donald Trump enacted on Sunday looks like March’s $ 2.2 billion CARES bill, but it’s not as generous. Calls from Trump and Democrats to increasing checks to $ 2,000 seems unlikely after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ties the checks to two unrelated issues, Democrats won’t back. The $ 920 billion price tag is a third of the bill House Democrats passed earlier this year. Most eligible people will receive checks of around $ 600.
– Jim Sergent and Ledyard King
A team of experts led by allergists at Massachusetts General Hospital has determined that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines can be administered safely, even to people with food or drug allergies. Several side effects have been reported, first in Britain and then in the U.S. The group’s review, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, notes that allergic reactions to vaccines are rare, with a rate of about 1.3 per 1 million people. Aleena Banerji, MD, clinical director of the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Unit at the hospital, along with her coauthors, recommends that people with a history of injectable drug anaphylaxis talk to their allergists before ‘be vaccinated.
“We want to encourage vaccination by reassuring the public that the two FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe,” Banerji said.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said he was troubled by the relatively low number of nursing home workers who chose to be vaccinated and warned that the the opportunity may not return for a while. Nursing homes will receive three visits for the vaccine, DeWine said. After the initial shutdown, nursing homes will again be struck to give second doses to anyone who received the vaccine for the first time and to give an initial dose to anyone else who wishes. After that, only the second doses will be distributed, he said.
“Everyone makes their own choice about this, but we want to make it clear that the opportunity may not present itself for some time,” he said.
– Rick Rouan, The Columbus Dispatch
Teachers are expected to be among the following essential workers for a COVID-19 vaccine, an advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended last week. And some states are planning to push for these vaccinations as a way to speed up the reopening of schools. The problem: The vaccine rollout has experienced delays across the country, raising questions as to whether teachers will be able to get the snapshot in time make a difference in the current school year. Not all states wait for teachers to be protected before bringing learning back to the classroom.
“We are a strong advocate for schools to be opened before teachers are vaccinated,” Lisa Piercey, Tennessee Department of Health commissioner said Wednesday. “We have nearly nine, ten months of data showing that schools are not a primary place or even a significant place of transmission.”
– Elinor Aspegren
Attorney Aurora Health, Wisconsin Healthcare Provider, Says Employee Now Fired intentionally withdrew 57 vials of Moderna coronavirus vaccine from a refrigerator last weekend, making them inefficient and thrown away. Each vial contains enough vaccine for 10 vaccinations. Initially, Aurora was “led to believe” that the deletion was a mistake. But on Wednesday, an employee “admitted to intentionally removing the vaccine from the refrigeration,” according to a statement from the health care provider. The employee was fired and Aurora said it had notified “the relevant authorities for further investigation”.
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 Crossroads of the World to vehicles and pedestrians at midnight and said they would disperse all onlookers venturing into a so-called “frozen area” – the blocks surrounding the bullet that historically shoot the shoulder Partygoers bound for Times Square will not be allowed to pass police lines.
“If you think you can just stand there and watch the ball, you’d be wrong,” said department head Terence Monahan, referring to the glittering crystal ball that descends on Times Square every New Years Eve to mark the stroke of midnight. .
Contribute: The Associated Press