USA TODAY is keeping track of the news surrounding COVID-19 as a pair of vaccines join the U.S. fight against a virus that has killed more than 350,000 Americans since the first reported fatality in February. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates surrounding the coronavirus, including who is getting the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, as well as other top news from across the USA TODAY Network. Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates directly to your inbox, join our Facebook group or scroll through our in-depth answers to reader questions for everything you need to know about the coronavirus.
In the headlines:
► Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is ramping up COVID-19 vaccinations, ordering the Oregon Health Authority to administer 12,000 daily doses by Jan. 15. “All states are grappling with the same logistical challenges, and while we are making steady progress, we must move even more quickly when every vaccination has the potential to save someone’s life,” Brown said.
► Public health officials on Monday said Los Angeles County may soon reach 1,000 COVID-19 deaths a week as one in five residents are testing positive for the coronavirus. Officials said the number of new COVID-19 cases has increased by 905% since Nov. 1.
► Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is under fire after his oldest son posted a video on social media at a party among dozens of people who are maskless. Ducey has been criticized for not enforcing stricter coronavirus measures requested by major hospital and health systems across the state, including a statewide mask mandate. According to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, Arizona has the highest rate of new cases in the U.S. as of Monday afternoon.
► The Philippines added the United States to its current list of 20 countries with travel restrictions due to the rising cases of the new coronavirus variant that was first identified in the United Kingdom.
► Mexico approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use Monday. It’s the fourth country to grant emergency approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, following India, Argentina and Britain, The New York Times reported. The Pfizer vaccine had previously been the only one approved for use in Mexico.
► More than 120 residents of Wyoming long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19 since March, accounting for 28% of all coronavirus deaths in the state, the Casper Star-Tribune reported. Long-term care residents make up less than 1% of the country’s population but account for 38% of COVID-19 deaths as of Dec. 31, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Wyoming is preparing to vaccinate long-term care residents starting this month, the newspaper reported.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 20.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 353,300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 85.6 million cases and 1.8 million deaths.
FDA: Not enough data to change vaccine dosage, scheduling
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday said there is no adequate scientific evidence that supports changing the authorized COVID-19 vaccine schedule or dosing, calling the request “premature.”
The FDA said it has been following discussions and reports about reducing the number of doses, extending the length of time between doses, cutting the dosage in half or mixing and matching vaccines to help get more people vaccinated.
“Without appropriate data supporting such changes in vaccine administration, we run a significant risk of placing public health at risk, undermining the historic vaccination efforts to protect the population from COVID-19,” the FDA said in a statement.
Mask protests continue as coronavirus cases surge
Anti-mask protests and videos of altercations over face mask requirements at businesses across the country continue to go viral even as coronavirus cases surge. On Saturday, “Burn the Mask” protesters blocked the entrance of a Fresno, California, Trader Joe’s, causing the grocer to close in the afternoon, the Fresno Bee reported.
In Los Angeles County, where nearly 1 in 5 people are testing positive, a group of protestors stormed a Ralphs grocery store Sunday, argued with customers over masks with one protester calling a fellow shopper a “mask Nazi,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Meanwhile, outside a Houston café, protesters waved American flags over the weekend after some customers were upset over having to wear face masks. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted in response and support of the restaurant, saying he heard Miller’s Cafe has “pretty good burgers. I will patronize them Monday and I hope you patronize them this week.”
– Kelly Tyko
What we know about new virus strain found in 4 states, 33 countries
A more contagious coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom continues to crop up across the U.S. and around the globe, threatening to further strain overburdened health care systems just as vaccines are rolling out worldwide.
At least four U.S. states and 33 countries have identified the new variant, known as B.1.1.7. Several nations have also identified an additional variant, first identified in South Africa, that also appears to infect people more easily. Here’s what we know about B.1.1.7.
– Grace Hauck
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago under fire for maskless New Year’s Eve party
A newly elected state lawmaker from South Florida wants Palm Beach County to take on President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club for its New Year’s Eve bash, at which many patrons and performers were seen without masks.
State Rep. Omari Hardy, D-Lake Worth Beach, wrote a letter Friday evening to Todd Bonlarron, assistant county administrator for Palm Beach County, asking whether the county will take action against the private club for violating a countywide mandatory mask policy. Hardy was a Lake Worth Beach City commissioner before resigning and being elected to the Florida state House in November.
“I recognize that the President is a powerful person and that his business, Mar-a-Lago is a daunting target for enforcement,” Hardy wrote in an email that included a link to a Twitter post from the party that showed people without masks. “But as far as I know, the law still applies to the President and to his business.”
– Kimberly Miller, Palm Beach Post
Contributing: The Associated Press