The United States is now averaging less than 50,000 new cases of coronavirus per day, a level not seen since early October and a sign that the country’s mass vaccination program is having an impact on the pandemic.
In the week ending Sunday, the United States reported 344,463 cases. The daily average is down about 22,000 cases per day from a small peak seen three weeks ago. This is much lower than the records set in January; the United States is now reporting as many cases in a week as it was receiving every other day back then.
Helping the Cause: Nearly 150 million Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and more than 40% of American adults are fully immunized.
Globally, however, daily deaths and new cases remain at or near record highs, due in large part to India’s well-documented struggles. And the data reported by India is generally considered a fraction of the actual numbers across the country of 1.4 billion people.
– Mike Stucka
Also in the news:
►Los Angeles County public health officials reported no new COVID-19 deaths on Sunday. Infections remain at their lowest level since the start of the pandemic.
►New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy will make an announcement on Monday to relax COVID restrictions as the number of cases continues to decline in the state.
►The governor of Colorado has extended a statewide mask mandate by 30 days, but has relaxed face coverage requirements for groups vaccinated against COVID-19.
►Illinois is approaching 10 million vaccinations, public health officials said on Sunday. The state, with more than 12 million people, has reported more than 1.3 million cases of coronavirus and 2,2019 deaths.
📈 The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 32.4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 577,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 152.9 million cases and nearly 3.2 million deaths. More than 312.5 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the United States and 245.5 million have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 104.7 million Americans have been fully immunized.
📘 What we read: California reopens again as coronavirus cases in state plummet. But critics say the “extreme measures” fighting the virus was too much.
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Walgreens takes its vaccination program to the streets of Chicago
Walgreens brings mobile vaccination clinics to Chicago. The mobile clinics will focus on delivering vaccines directly to underserved communities and those who have barriers to accessing the vaccine. Over the next two months, more mobile clinics will begin to circulate across the country, company president John Standley said.
“The mobile clinics and other models we use will allow us to bring vaccines to the heart of the most affected communities, as well as overcome common barriers such as transportation and convenience,” said Standley.
Walgreens began its vaccination program in December through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The channel administered 15 million vaccines.
Puerto Rico grapples with increase in cases and hospitalizations
Even though 55% of the people of Puerto Rico have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the US territory is struggling with a spike in cases and hospitalizations while trying to support an economy battered in recent years by the coronavirus pandemic, hurricanes, earthquakes and a protracted financial crisis. While health officials say many are anxious to get vaccinated – more than 2 million doses have been administered on the island of 3.3 million US citizens – they note that some people who are not yet fully protected are not ignore restrictions that include a curfew longer than one year. This and the spread of new variants may be partly to blame for the current outbreak of infections.
“The solution is vaccination,” Governor Pedro Pierluisi said. The island has reported around 2,000 COVID deaths.
US to hold talks with WTO on wider vaccine distribution
The White House has said the U.S. Trade Representative will begin talks with the World Trade Organization on ways to overcome intellectual property issues that prevent the wider distribution of critically needed COVID-19 vaccines.
The White House has come under intense pressure to join an effort to help waive patent rules for vaccines so poorer countries can start making their own generic versions.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said on CBS ‘Face the Nation on Sunday that U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai would start discussions “on how we can get this vaccine more widely distributed, more widely. authorized, more widely shared ”.
Klain and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the administration would have more to say on the matter in the days to come.
About 92% of Americans who received the COVID-19 vaccine returned for their second injection
About 1 in 12 Americans did not receive their second scheduled dose of COVID-19 vaccine on time, and while this worries epidemiologists, follow-up is much better than other two-dose adult vaccines.
About 92% of people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine returned for their second injection, according to the CDC.
Experts have noted that these completion figures for the two-dose regimen of the most widely used coronavirus vaccines are cause for celebration.
“With the largest mass immunization program in history, 92% of people coming back for their second injection is a huge win,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, infectious disease specialist at the University of California at San Francisco.
The second hit is important because it provides stronger immunity against COVID-19. The first dose, called the priming dose, introduces the body to the spike protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The second strengthens this immune response so that the body is ready to fight the virus if it is exposed. Find out more here.
– Elizabeth Weise
India sets world records, but the reality is probably even worse
India on Saturday broke another daily world record for new infections with more than 400,000 new cases, but at least one expert says the true tally could be much higher than that. Dr Prabhat Jha of the University of Toronto estimates, based on modeling of a previous outbreak in India, that the true numbers of infections could be 10 times higher than official reports.
“Entire houses are infected,” Jha said. “If a person gets tested at home and says they are positive and everyone in the house starts having symptoms, it is obvious that they have COVID, so why get tested?”
India reported 392,488 new infections on Sunday, down slightly from the previous 24 hours.
The United States has started shipping valuable vaccine components, oxygen and masks to India, and other countries are also helping, but demand will always exceed supply. President Joe Biden’s administration also plans to restrict travel between the United States and India from Tuesday.
Contribute: The Associated Press