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 375,000 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:
►The celebration was on in Tuscaloosa after Alabama football’s national championship victory Monday night, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the celebrants screaming and cheering as they pressed against each other in the streets didn’t wear face masks. The scene was exactly what officials feared before the game as they urged people to watch at home and celebrate privately, the Associated Press said.
►The U.S. government is asking states to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations to people over the age of 65 and others at risk instead of holding back vaccines for a second dose.
► Disneyland Resort in Anaheim will soon be transformed into a mass coronavirus vaccination site for Southern California residents, Orange County officials announced Monday.
►1 million California health care workers, nursing home residents and staff will receive the COVID-19 vaccine by week’s end, Gov. Gavin Newsom promised Monday. The state is struggling with a surge that is overwhelming hospitals and forcing them to ration care and beds, leading to the latest grim marker of 30,000 deaths.
► Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for the coronavirus in what is believed to be the first cases among such primates in captivity. The park’s executive director, Lisa Peterson, said Monday that eight gorillas that live together at the park are believed to have the virus and several have been coughing.
► Indiana is the latest state to report its first case of a more contagious COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, bumping the total of states that have identified the strain to 10.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 22.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 376,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 90 million cases and 1.9 million deaths.
📘 What we’re reading:
The Trump administration is expected to deliver new guidelines Tuesday that aim to speed up vaccine rollout to people over the age of 65 and others at risk instead of holding back vaccines for a second dose. Federal officials have been holding back enough vaccine doses to guarantee booster shots to everyone who got the first dose.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said it was now time to move “to the next phase on the vaccine program” and expand the pool of those eligible to get the first dose. That also means expanding the number of places where people can be vaccinated by adding community health centers and additional drug stores.
“We now believe that our manufacturing is predictable enough that we can ensure second doses are available for people from ongoing production,” Azar told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. “So everything is now available to our states and our health care providers.” Read more here.
Multiple lawmakers have said they tested positive for the coronavirus after the Capitol riot. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said Jan. 12 that she tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering in a secured room with other lawmakers on Jan. 6.
“I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one,” Jayapal wrote on Twitter.
On Sunday, the attending physician for Congress said elected officials and their staff were potentially exposed to someone infected with COVID-19 while the U.S. Capitol was locked down during an armed incursion by pro-Trump rioters. Multiple representatives have announced they have tested positive.
During the past week, a record 22,676 people died from COVID-19, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. That’s more Americans dying every day than the 2,977 victims on Sept. 11, 2001.
Four states with the largest share of hospital beds occupied with COVID-19 patients – California, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia – are struggling to keep pace with the unprecedented surge.
In Los Angeles, public hospitals are preparing to shift to crisis mode, and the county has instructed ambulances to not send patients to overburdened hospitals if they can’t be revived in the field. More than two dozen Georgia hospitals have no available beds in intensive care units, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
While public health officials are optimistic widespread vaccination will provide a glimmer of hope this spring, there’s no respite now for doctors and nurses in overburdened emergency rooms and intensive care units.
– Ken Alltucker
The U.S. is entering the second month of the biggest vaccination drive in history with a major expansion of the campaign, opening football stadiums, major league ballparks, fairgrounds and convention centers to inoculate a larger and more diverse pool of people.
After a frustratingly slow rollout involving primarily health care workers and nursing home residents, states are moving on to the next phase before the first one is complete, making COVID-19 shots available to such groups as senior citizens, teachers, bus drivers, police officers and firefighters.
Across the U.S., where the outbreak has entered its most lethal phase yet and the death toll has climbed to about 375,000, politicians and health officials have complained over the past several days that too many shots were sitting unused on the shelves because of overly rigid adherence to the federal guidelines that put an estimated 24 million health care workers and nursing home residents at the front of the line.
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim will be one of the sites able to vaccinate thousands of Southern California residents, Orange County officials announced Monday.
A Chinese study, published Friday in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet, found that more than 75% of COVID-19 patients reported symptoms six months after hospital discharge.
In what the British journal said was the largest study so far of so-called “COVID-19 longhaulers,” researchers looked at 1,733 patients from Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus originated last year.
More than 60% of patients reported fatigue and muscle weakness, about 25% reported sleep difficulties and hair loss, and 23% reported anxiety and depression.
Contributing: The Associated Press