COVID-19 has killed more than 400,000 Americans in less than a year and infections have continued to mount across the country despite the introduction of a pair of vaccines late in 2020. USA TODAY is tracking the news. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates on the coronavirus, including who is getting the vaccines from Pfizer- BioNTech 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 to learn more about the virus.
In the headlines:
► Rebekah Jones, the fired Florida Department of Health data scientist-turned-whistleblower, turned herself in to police Sunday night to face a felony charge.
► The majority of Americans say the coronavirus pandemic is out of control, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds. Only about 1 in 10 Americans say the pandemic is mostly under control, the poll found. “The nationwide survey shows that large majorities of people of all political affiliations say they think the deadly virus, which arrived in the country nearly a year ago, is only somewhat under control or not at all controlled,” the Washington Post said.
► More than 31 million vaccine doses have been distributed to states, but less than half of them have been used thus far. Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines is rising, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll finds, but so is pessimism about getting back to normal.
►The U.S. surpassed 400,000 reported coronavirus deaths Tuesday, almost double the total of the next most severely hit nation. More than 20,000 people are dying per week. Since March 1, about four Americans have died every five minutes from COVID-19.
► As states continue to struggle with the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster threatened hospitals with an executive order to speed up vaccinations asking for a “Chick-Fil-A type assembly line” in a press conference Monday.
► Officials on the Navajo Nation reported 65 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths. The latest figures released late Sunday bring the total reported coronavirus cases on the reservation to 26,448, including 922 deaths.
► President Donald Trump announced Monday that he is lifting pandemic travel restrictions for Europe and Brazil. Incoming White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, however, tweeted that President-elect Joe Biden “does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26.”
► Several California counties are pausing administration of more than 300,000 Moderna coronavirus vaccine doses after state health officials received reports of “possible allergic reactions” from one clinic.
► North Dakota reported zero coronavirus deaths Monday for the fifth time this month, although the fatality rate by population continues to be among the worst in the country.
► The U.K. government plans to offer a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to every adult by September, while in Brazil, top officials approved the urgent use of coronavirus vaccines made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 24 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 400,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 95.5 million cases and 2 million deaths.
📘 What we’re reading: On Jan. 20,2020, the United States’ first known case of the novel coronavirus was discovered in Snohomish County, Washington. In the year since, COVID-19 has crept into every county in the nation, killing more than 400,000 people, and infecting 1 in every 14 Americans. This is how the outbreak unfolded in that very first community.
More than 400,000 people have died in the US from the coronavirus
The U.S. reported 400,000 deaths from the coronavirus on Tuesday, yet another reminder of how poorly the nation with the world’s largest economy has fared during the coronavirus pandemic. Since Dec. 1, nine Americans have died every five minutes from COVID-19.
As of 2:48 p.m. Tuesday, the COVID-19 death toll was at 400,022, according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard. In less than a year, nearly as many Americans have died of COVID-19 than died during World War II, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Not since Woodrow Wilson was in office during the 1918 flu pandemic – which killed about 675,000 in this country and 50 million worldwide – had a president overseen the loss of so many American lives. The pandemic ranks as the third-deadliest event in the history of the United States, behind the 1918 Spanish flu and the Civil War of 1861-1865.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is vaccinating residents faster every day and will run out of doses on Thursday unless they receive more.
De Blasio said at a Tuesday press conference the city distributed 220,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine last week, surpassing its own goal of 175,000. After receiving a “small supply” of 53,000 doses Tuesday, the city now has just 116,000 doses for the coming week.
“At the rate we are going we will begin to run out on Thursday,” de Blasio said, adding that with an adequate supply as many as 300,000 people could be vaccinated this week. “We will have literally nothing left to give as of Friday.”
Vaccine sites will have to shutter as early as Friday, according to de Blasio. The city is not scheduled to receive another shipment until next Tuesday, meaning that vaccinations would likely not be able to resume until next Wednesday.
De Blasio said he is “very hopeful” that President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration “is going to fix a lot of this.”
California pauses administration of one lot of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine over possible allergic reactions
California’s top epidemiologist recommended Sunday that medical providers stop administering doses from one lot of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine after a “higher-than-usual” number of possible allergic reactions were reported at one clinic.
The shipments arrived in California between Jan 5. and Jan. 12. More than 330,000 doses from the lot were distributed to 287 providers in the state.
California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica S. Pan said Sunday that fewer than 10 individuals required medical attention after receiving the vaccine over the span of 24 hours and all appeared to be experiencing a potential severe allergic reaction. The vaccine site switched to another lot of Moderna vaccine after closing for a few hours and no other clusters have been reported.
“Out of an extreme abundance of caution and also recognizing the extremely limited supply of vaccine, we are recommending that providers use other available vaccine inventory,” Pan said in a statement.
Although less data exists for Moderna’s vaccine, only approximately 1 in 100,000 people are expected to experience anaphylaxis after receiving a similar vaccine, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and Moderna are investigating the incident.
Rebekah Jones, the fired Florida Department of Health data scientist-turned-whistleblower, turned herself in to police Sunday night to face a felony charge.
Jones, 31, was charged under Florida’s computer related crimes statute “with one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices,” the FDLE said. If convicted the third-degree felony can carry a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Jones was fired from the Department of Health in May for alleged insubordination. She has claimed she was fired for refusing to doctor the state’s COVID-19 numbers on the DOH’s coronavirus dashboard. Since then she has created her own competing dashboard which she says presents the data more honestly, and includes additional public health metrics.
The investigation began November 10 after FDLE received a complaint from the Florida Department of Health that someone illegally accessed a state emergency-alert messaging system, known as ReadyOp. FDLE agents determined the message was sent from a residence on Centerville Court in Tallahassee, the home of Jones, the agency said.
The FDLE executed a search warrant on Jones’ home on December 7. Armed agents raided Jones’ home seizing computer hardware, phones and memory devices. The raid drew criticism from some for its heavy handedness.
– Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon, Florida Today
A nationwide memorial to honor the lives lost to COVID-19 is scheduled for Tuesday evening, according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
Even though Washington, D.C., is at a heightened level of security following the Jan. 6 riots, the memorial “will feature a lighting around the the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool,” the PIC said in a statement on Monday.
President-elect Joe Biden – along with Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff – will participate in the event to light the reflecting pool with 400 lights to honor lives lost to COVID-19. This is the first-ever lighting around the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial.
Iconic buildings like the Empire State Building in New York to the Space Needle in Seattle are also scheduled to be illuminated. In addition, hundreds of towns, cities, tribes and communities all across the country have also committed to joining the tribute in a national moment of unity.
The state of Washington is teaming with Starbucks to streamline vaccine rollout, setting a new goal to dole out 45,000 doses a day, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday.
“It is that type of total mobilization of our community we’re going to need to see, to meet these very, very ambitious targets,” he told NBC. “We did in World War II, we can do it now.”
The state has a population of 7.6 million, but only 31,500 people have been inoculated with both doses of the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported.
“We just did the math and figured out at this rate of vaccinations, it’s going to take 6,7,8 years for this country to get vaccinated,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said to NBC. “And we can’t think that’s an acceptable pace.”
The Trump administration set unrealistic expectations by saying 20 million Americans would be vaccinated by the end of December, said Jason Schwartz, assistant professor of public health at Yale University. As of the last update Friday, 31.2 million doses had been distributed and 12.3 million vaccine shots had been applied, according to the CDC.
“The design so far of this vaccination rollout was so decentralized that it was basically, ship vaccines to each state, you tell us where to ship them, give us the mailing addresses and you take it from there,” Schwartz said. But “one thing we’ve seen already from the incoming Biden administration is they intend to have a far more active and engaged role in supporting this vaccination effort, coordinating it, leading it.”
Biden has assembled a COVID-19 response team and vowed to have 100 million doses of vaccine administered in his first 100 days in office. On Thursday, he proposed a $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief package that includes $70 billion for virus testing and a national vaccination program.
Contributing: The Associated Press