Tag Archives: COVID-19

Fall ’21 Winter ’22 COVID

Fall ’21 Winter ’22 COVID

The disease continued to ravage everywhere, though there seemed to be zones of relatively less contagion where most people had chosen to get the vaccination.  In places where people continued to refuse or at least hesitate to get the effective vaccination choices, hospitals were overwhelmed.

October 1, 2021:  Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said their results (still not peer-reviewed) demonstrate their novel drug molnupiravir cut in half the rate of hospitalization and death in persons with mild to moderate disease. If authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, the pill would become the first oral medicine to fight viral infection for Covid-19. [CNN article]

3,898,466 COVID Deaths Worldwide

October 2, 2021: 235,399,322 cases; 4,810,952 deaths worldwide

719,674 COVID Deaths USA

October 2, 2021: 44,491,504 cases; 719,674 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated (+18 old) USA

October 2, 2021: 64.6% at least once; 66.9 % both

US COVID Decline

October 11, 2021: the number of Covid-19 cases in the US continued to fall infections and hospitalizations declined. The average rate of daily new cases has dropped below 100,000, to 93,814 as of October 10, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said he would like to see new daily cases well below 10,000, but the decline was a start. “Hopefully it’s going to continue to go in that trajectory downward,” he said. [CNN article]

Merck/Molnupiravir

October 11, 2021: Merck said that it had submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration to authorize what would be the first antiviral pill to treat Covid.

An approval for the drug, molnupiravir, would be a milestone in the fight against the coronavirus, experts said, because a convenient, relatively inexpensive treatment could reach many more high-risk people sick with Covid than the cumbersome antibody treatments currently being used. [NYT article]

4,913,952 COVID Deaths Worldwide

October 17, 2021: 241,456,533 cases; 4,913,952 deaths worldwide

744,546 COVID Deaths USA

October 17, 2021: 45,792,532 cases; 744,546 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated (+18 old) USA

October 17, 2021: 65.9% at least once; 684 % fully

Cold Weather Effect

October 18, 2021: the NY Times reported that even as the Delta-variant-driven virus wave was receding in much of the United States, many counties across the country’s northernmost regions were experiencing rising cases as colder weather arrived.

The top five states in new daily cases per capita were led by Alaska, which was logging the highest daily average: 125 cases per 100,000 people, according to a New York Times database. The next four states, with at least 67 cases per 100,000 people, were MontanaWyomingNorth Dakota and Idaho.

Cases were at least trending downward or holding steady in those states. The five states with the fastest rising caseloads were Vermont, Colorado, New Hampshire, Michigan and Minnesota, and the two counties with the most cases per capita in Vermont and New Hampshire were on the Canadian border.

US Falls Behind

October 24, 2021: the NY Times reported that the United States was one of the first countries to begin vaccinating its population, and by summer 2021, was leading most nations in getting shots in arms, with 67 percent of the population receiving at least one shot by July 4, 2021.

By October 2021, the United States,  despite having a surplus of doses, had fully vaccinated only 57 percent of its population, according to a New York Time tracker. Resistance remained high among some demographic groups and within some specific work force sectors, including police officers and firefighters.

That left the United States lagging behind dozens of nations in the pursuit of full vaccination. Although, with a population of about 330 million, it ranks third in the sheer number of administered doses, more than 411 million, after China’s more than 2.2 billion doses and India’s more than one billion.

 

Previous and subsequent COVID-19 posts:

Spring 2021 COVID 19

Spring 2021 COVID 19

Spring 2021 COVID 19

Spring 2021 COVID 19

2,477,878 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 21: 114,365,615 cases; 2,536,762 deaths worldwide

511,133 COVID Deaths USA

March 21: 29,202,824 cases; 524,669 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 21: 14.6% at least once; 7.1% both

Spring 2021 COVID 19

AstraZeneca

Announcement

March 22, 2021: in a late-stage study in the United States found that AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine provided strong protection against sickness and eliminated hospitalizations and deaths from the disease across all age groups.

AstraZeneca said its experts did not identify any safety concerns related to the vaccine, including finding no increased risk of rare blood clots identified in Europe.

Although AstraZeneca’s vaccine has been authorized in more than 50 countries, it has not yet been given the green light in the U.S. — and has struggled to gain public trust amid a troubled rollout. The study comprised more than 30,000 volunteers, of whom two-thirds were given the vaccine while the rest got dummy shots. [AP article]

Take Back

March 23: the following day, American federal health officials said that test results from a U.S. trial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine may have included “outdated information” and that could mean the company provided an incomplete view of efficacy data, .

A spokesman from the drug company said Tuesday it was “looking into it.” [AP article]

Update

March 24: AstraZeneca insisted that its COVID-19 vaccine was strongly effective even after counting additional illnesses in its disputed U.S. study.

The drugmaker said it had recalculated data from that study and concluded the vaccine is 76% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, instead of the 79% it had reported earlier in the week. [AP article]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

2,758,733 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 24: 125,540,591 cases; 2,758,733 deaths worldwide

558,422 COVID Deaths USA

March 24: 30,704,292 cases; 558,422 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 24: 25.3 % at least once; 13.7 % fully

Vaccine Glut

March 26: vaccine manufacturers had been steadily increasing their output, and states had snapped up new doses as quickly as the government could deliver them. but officials expected the supply of vaccines to outstrip U.S. demand by mid-May, if not sooner, and were grappling with what to do with looming surpluses . [NYT article]

Infection Curve Plateau, But…

March 26: States raced to vaccinate as many people as possible as the United States’ coronavirus infection curve continued its plateau for a third week at more than 55,000 new cases per day, a level that health experts warned could rapidly escalate into a new wave.

That prospect added further urgency to vaccination efforts, even as some states appeared confident that their inoculation levels justified loosening restrictions.

At least 31 states had pledged to make vaccines universally available to their adult populations by mid-April, and many more have announced plans to expand eligibility on or before May 1, a goal set by President Biden. Alaska, Mississippi, Utah and West Virginia have already made all adults eligible to receive shots, and some local jurisdictions have also begun vaccinating all adults.

The expansion cames at a critical juncture in the pandemic, with 25 states reporting persistently high infections, according to a New York Times database. Over the previous week, there had been a daily average of 58,579 new cases, about the same as the average two weeks earlier. [NYT article]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

2,758,733 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 28: 127,863,603 cases; 2,797,663 deaths worldwide

562,526 COVID Deaths USA

March 28: 30,962,803 cases; 562,526 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 28: 27.6 % at least once; 15.1 % fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

WHO Report

March 29: according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press, a joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 said that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,”

The findings offer little new insight into how the virus first emerged and leave many questions unanswered, though that was as expected. But the report does provide more detail on the reasoning behind the researchers’ conclusions. The team proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis. [AP article]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

Pfizer effective with young

March 31: the companies reported that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine is extremely effective in adolescents 12 to 15 years old, perhaps even more so than in adults. No infections were found among children who received the vaccine in a recent clinical trial; they produced strong antibody responses and experienced no serious side effects. [NYT article]

Vaccine production error

March 31: workers at a plant run by Emergent BioSolutions in Baltimore manufacturing two coronavirus vaccines accidentally conflated the ingredients several weeks ago, contaminating up to 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and forcing regulators to delay authorization of the plant’s production lines.

Emergent BioSolutions is a manufacturing partner to both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, the British-Swedish company whose vaccine had yet to be authorized for use in the United States. Federal officials attributed the mistake to human error.

The mix-up has delayed future shipments of Johnson & Johnson doses in the United States while the Food and Drug Administration investigated what occurred. Johnson & Johnson moved to strengthen its control over Emergent BioSolutions’ work to avoid additional quality lapses. [NYT article]

2,827,559 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 31: 129,464,126 cases; 2,827,559 deaths worldwide

565,256 COVID Deaths USA

March 31: 31,166,344 cases; 565,256 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 31: 29.4% at least once; 16.4 % fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

US Case Increase

April 5: United States coronavirus cases increased again after hitting a low point late in late March and some of the states driving the upward trend have also been hit hardest by variants, according to an analysis of data from Helix, a lab testing company.

The country’s vaccine rollout had sped up since the first doses were administered in December, recently reaching a rolling average of more than three million doses per day. And new U.S. cases trended steeply downward in the first quarter of the year, falling by almost 80 percent from mid-January through the end of March.

But during that period, states also rolled back virus control measures, and now mobility data shows a rise in people socializing and traveling. Amid all this, more-contagious variants have been gaining a foothold, and new cases are almost 20 percent higher than they were at the lowest point in March.

2,876,102 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 5: 132,529,221 cases; 2,876,102 deaths worldwide

569,282 COVID Deaths USA

April 5: 31,496,976 cases; 569,282 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 5: 32% at least once; 18.5 % fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

April 12: the virus was again surging in parts of the United States, but it was a picture with dividing lines: ominous figures in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, but largely not in the South.

Experts were unsure what explained the split, which did not correspond to vaccination levels. Some pointed to warmer weather in the Sun Belt, while others suspect that decreased testing was muddying the virus’s true footprint. [NYT article]

2,958,324 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 12: 137,249,434 cases; 2,958,324 deaths worldwide

569,282 COVID Deaths USA

April 12: 31,990,143 cases; 576,298 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 12: 35.9% at least once; 21.9 % fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

J & J paused

April 13: federal health agencies called for an immediate pause in use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine after six recipients in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination, officials briefed on the decision said.

All six recipients were women between the ages of 18 and 48. One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska was hospitalized in critical condition, the officials said. [NYT article]

Three Million Deaths

April 17: according to a New York Times database, the world’s Covid-19 death toll surpassed three million. More than 100,000 people had died of Covid-19 in France. The death rate was inching up in Michigan. Morgues in some Indian cities were overflowing with corpses.

And as the United States and other rich nations raced to vaccinate their populations, new hot spots had emerged in parts of Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

The global pace of deaths was accelerating, too. After the coronavirus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the pandemic claimed a million lives in nine months. It took another four months to kill its second million, and just three months to kill a million more. [NYT article]

3,023,317 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 17: 141,286,944 cases; 3,023,317 deaths worldwide

580,756 COVID Deaths USA

April 17: 32,361,280 cases; 580,756 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 17: 38.5% at least once; 24.3 % fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

3,071,080 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 21: 144,432,576 cases; 3,071,080 deaths worldwide

580,756 COVID Deaths USA

April 21: 32,602,051 cases; 583,330 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 21: 40.5% at least once; 33.8 % fully

India

April 22: the NY Times reported that India’s rapidly worsening coronavirus outbreak had expanded on a scale beyond any previously measured in more than a year of the pandemic: The health ministry reported 312,731 new infections, the most recorded in any country on a single day.

India’s total eclipsed the previous one-day high of 300,669 recorded coronavirus cases, set in the United States on January 8, according to a New York Times database, though differences in testing levels from country to country, and a widespread lack of tests early in the pandemic, make comparisons difficult.

Over the past two months, the outbreak in India had exploded, with reports of superspreader gatherings, oxygen shortages and ambulances lined up outside hospitals because there were no ventilators for new patients.

J & J Pause Lifted

April 23: the Food and Drug Administration announced that use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine could resume with a warning added to its label about the risk for a rare blood-clotting disorder that has occurred among young women.

The F.D.A. decided against limiting the vaccine’s use by age or gender, although some European countries had imposed such restrictions on a vaccine made by AstraZeneca because of a similar clotting disorder. [NYT article]

A Billion Shots

April 25:  the world’s seven-day average of new cases hit 774,404, according to a New York Times database. That was a jump of 15 percent from two weeks earlier, and higher than the peak average of 740,390 during the global surge of January 2021.

Despite the number of shots given around the world — more than one billion, according to a New York Times tracker — far from enough of the world’s estimated population of nearly eight billion had been vaccinated to slow the virus’s steady spread.

And vaccinations had been highly concentrated in wealthy nations: 82 percent of shots worldwide have been given in high- and upper-middle-income countries, according to data compiled by the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford. Only 0.2 percent of doses have been administered in low-income countries. [NYT article]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

3,122,449 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 25: 147,780,802 cases; 3,122,449 deaths worldwide

580,756 COVID Deaths USA

April 25: 32,824,389 cases; 586,152 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 25: 41.8% at least once; 35.9 % adults fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

April 30: Worldwide, the number of new coronavirus cases had shot upward since the beginning of March, more than doubling in two months. For the past two weeks, new global cases had exceeded their previous high point in early January. The average daily rate of new cases had been above 800,000 for more than a week.

The increase in cases was largely being driven by the uncontrolled outbreak in India, where new cases had risen sharply for the past month and showed no signs of abating. A seven-day rolling average of new daily cases in the nation exceeded 357,000, a more than fivefold increase since April 1. [NYT article]

3,193,246 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 25: 151,999,293 cases; 3,193,246 deaths worldwide

590,055 COVID Deaths USA

April 25: 33,103,974 cases; 590,055 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 25: 43.3% at least once; 38.4 % adults fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

No Global Herd Immunity

May 9: experts said that the COVID virus was changing too quickly, new more contagious variants were spreading too easily, and vaccinations were happening too slowly for herd immunity to be within reach anytime soon.

That meant if the virus continued to run rampant through much of the world, it was well on its way to becoming endemic, an ever-present threat.

According to Dr. David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, virus variants were tearing through places where people gathered in large numbers with few or no pandemic protocols, like wearing masks and distancing. [NYT article]

3,306,564 COVID Deaths Worldwide

May  9: 158,959,801 cases; 3,306,564 deaths worldwide

595,812 COVID Deaths USA

May 9: 33,476,781 cases; 595,812 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

May 9: 45.6% at least once; 43.2 % adults fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

12- to 15-Year-Olds

May 10:  the Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds in the United States, a crucial step in the nation’s steady recovery from the pandemic and a boon to millions of American families eager for a return to normalcy. [NYT article

Spring 2021 COVID 19

Masks Off!

May 13: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced that fully vaccinated adults could safely resume activities indoors or outdoors without masks or distancing, in gatherings large or small. The announcement marked a major milestone in the effort to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

“You can do things you stopped doing because of the pandemic,” Walensky said.

The new policy was based on recent real-world studies from Israel and the U.S. on people who’ve been vaccinated, she said. [NPR story]

India

May 12:  authorities announced that India had recorded 4,529 Covid-19 deaths on May 11, the pandemic’s highest single daily death toll in any country so far as the virus spread into the country’s vast hinterlands.

The previous deadliest day for a single country was recorded in the United States in January, when 4,468 people died.

Many experts believed the true number of deaths and infections in India, a country of 1.4 billion people, was even higher, and evidence had emerged across the country of large numbers of people dying from Covid who had not been officially counted.

India reported 267,000 new cases on May 11, pushing the official case tally past 25 million, with more than 280,000 deaths. [NYT story]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

3,513,719 COVID Deaths Worldwide

May  25: 169,074,090 cases; 3,306,564 deaths worldwide

595,812 COVID Deaths USA

May 25: 33,971,207 cases; 606,179 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

May 25: 49.5% at least once; 50 % adults fully

Biden Orders Inquiry

May 26: President Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, indicating that his administration took seriously the possibility that the deadly virus was accidentally leaked from a lab, in addition to the prevailing theory that it was transmitted by an animal to humans outside a lab.

In a statement, Mr. Biden made it clear that the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies had not yet reached a consensus on how the virus, which prompted a pandemic and had killed almost 600,000 Americans, originated in China. He directed them to report back to him in 90 days.

“I have now asked the intelligence community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion,” the president said. [NYT article]

EU/Digital Covid Certificate System

June 1: a digital Covid certificate system that would facilitate travel within the European Union became operational in seven countries previewing what could become a standard for post-pandemic global mobility.

The document, known as a digital green certificate, records whether people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, recovered from the virus or tested negative within 72 hours. Travelers could move freely if at least one of those three criteria was met.

Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland made the certificates available to their citizens on June 1 and accepted them for visitors. The European Commission, the bloc’s administrative branch, said the system would be used in all 27 E.U. countries as of July 1. [NYT article]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

World Surge

Malaysia

June 1: authorities in Malaysia barred people from venturing more than about six miles from home. Covid-19 patients were spilling into the hallways of overcrowded hospitals in Argentina. In Nepal, 40 percent of coronavirus tests were positive, suggesting that the virus was racing through the population.

All three nations were experiencing their worst coronavirus outbreaks since the start of the pandemic, joining countries across Asia and South America where infections had surged to record levels — a stark counterpoint to the optimism felt in the United States as summer dawned.

Deep into the second year of the pandemic, the emergence of coronavirus variants and the global gaps in access to vaccines had plunged parts of the world back into the anxious stages of Covid-19. Argentina, Malaysia South Africa and others reimposed lockdowns. Thailand and Taiwan, which kept the virus in check for much of 2020,  closed schools and nightspots in the face of new waves. [NYT article]

3,762,368 COVID Deaths Worldwide

June 8: 174,735,684 cases; 3,762,368 deaths worldwide

613,052 COVID Deaths USA

June 8: 34,242,866 cases; 613,052 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

June 8: 51.6% at least once; 53 % adults fully

Africa Vaccinations Poor

June 9: in the global race to vaccinate people against COVID-19, Africa was far behind.

In South Africa, which had the continent’s most robust economy and its biggest coronavirus caseload, just 0.8% of the population was fully vaccinated, according to a worldwide tracker kept by Johns Hopkins University. And hundreds of thousands of the country’s health workers, many of whom come face-to-face with the virus every day, were still waiting for their shots. [AP story]

G7 Vaccine Committment

June 10: world leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations committed  at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with struggling countries around the world — half the doses coming from the U.S. and 100 million from the U.K. [AP article]

Vaccine Requirement Upheld

June 12: U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes, in the Southern District of Texas,  dismissed a lawsuit brought by employees of Houston Methodist Hospital who had challenged the hospital’s coronavirus vaccination requirement.  The Hughes said that the hospital’s decision to mandate inoculations for its employees was consistent with public policy.

And he rejected a claim by Jennifer Bridges, a nurse and the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, that the vaccines available for use in the United States were experimental and dangerous.

The hospital’s employees are not participants in a human trial,” Judge Hughes wrote. “Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the Covid-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients and their families safer.” [NYT article]

3,819,429 COVID Deaths Worldwide

June 13: 176,707,690 cases; 3,819,429 deaths worldwide

615,053 COVID Deaths USA

June 13: 34,321,158 cases; 615,053 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

June 13: 51.9% at least once; 53.4 % adults fully

 

Previous and subsequent COVID-19 posts:

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Winter 2021 COVID 19

20 Million

January 1, 2021: NPR reported that the United States had recorded its 20 millionth confirmed coronavirus case since the beginning of the pandemic.

That figure was according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University, which reported 20,037,736 cases and 346,687 deaths in the U.S. at the time of publication on Friday, January 1. Over 83 million coronavirus cases had been confirmed worldwide.

The U.S. had reached 10 million cases on November 9. In less than two months, the country had doubled its total number of infections.

The nation accounts for nearly a quarter of all infections in the world and a fifth of all deaths.

1,834,663 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 1, 2021: 84,362,526 cases; 1,834,663 deaths worldwide

356,445 COVID Deaths USA

January 1, 2021: 20,617,346 cases; 356,445 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

COVID numbers accurate

January 3: US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said he had “no reason to doubt” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 death toll, contradicting President Donald Trump’s claim that the agency has “exaggerated” its numbers.

“From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers,” Adams told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” when asked about Trump’s claim.

“And I think people need to be very aware that it’s not just about the deaths, as we talked about earlier,” he added. “It’s about the hospitalizations, the capacity. These cases are having an impact in an array of ways and people need to understand there’s a finish line in sight, but we’ve got to keep running toward it.”

Earlier in the day, Trump had claimed on Twitter [account now terminated] that the number of cases and deaths of the “China Virus is far exaggerated” because of the CDC’s “ridiculous method of determination” compared to other countries, which “report, purposely, very inaccurately and low.” [CNN article]
Winter 2021 COVID 19

1,860,354 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 4, 2021: 86,095,659 cases; 1,860,354 deaths worldwide

362,123 COVID Deaths USA

January 4, 2021: 21,353,051 cases; 362,123 deaths in the United States,

Slow Rollout

January 5: inoculation efforts in many countries rolled out slower than promised, even as the count of new infections soared and record numbers flood hospitals, placing a double burden on health care providers who had also been tasked with leading the vaccination push.

And a more contagious variant spreading widely in England and detected in dozens of other countries threatened to give the virus an even greater advantage. [NYT article]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

On  January 7, 2021, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease specialist, said in a radio interview,We believe things will get worse as we get into January.”

On January 8, 2021, the United States broke its single-day record for new coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day with more than 300,000 cases.

It was the first time the country had crossed the 300,000-case mark, according to a New York Times database. Hospitalizations were also at a near-record high — 131,889, according to the Covid Tracking Project — and officials across the nation reported more than 3,890 new deaths the same day, the third-highest daily tally of the pandemic. [NYT article]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

1,921,119 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 8, 2021: 89,343,185 cases; 1,921,119 deaths worldwide

362,123 COVID Deaths USA

January 8, 2021: 22,461,696 cases; 378,204 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

January 12, 2021: 4,218 deaths were reported across the United States, according to a New York Times database, a number once unimaginable.

The death count, which set another daily record, represented at least 1,597 more people than those killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The U.S. death toll, already the world’s highest by a wide margin, was at that point about 20,000 shy of 400,000 — only a month after the country crossed the 300,000 threshold, a figure greater than the number of Americans who died fighting in World War II.

Winter 2021 COVID 19

1,968,914 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 12, 2021: 91,995,859 cases; 1,968,914 deaths worldwide

389,621 COVID Deaths USA

January 12, 2021: 23,369,732 cases; 389,621 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Biden President

January 20, 2012: President Biden signed an executive order appointing Jeffrey D. Zients as the official Covid-19 response coordinator who will report to the president, in an effort to “aggressively” gear up the nation’s response to the pandemic.

The order also restored the directorate for global health security and biodefense at the National Security Council, a group President Trump had disbanded.

Though it is not a national mask mandate, which would most likely fall to a legal challenge, Biden required social distancing and the wearing of masks on all federal property and by all federal employees.

He also started a 100 days masking challenge urging all Americans to wear masks and state and local officials to implement public measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Biden also reinstated ties with the World Health Organization after the Trump administration had chosen to withdraw the nation’s membership and funding last year. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci would head the U.S. delegation to the organization’s executive board and jumped into the role with a meeting this week. [NYT article}

Winter 2021 COVID 19

2,081,857 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 20, 2021: 97,287,117 cases; 2,081,857 deaths worldwide

415,905 COVID Deaths USA

January 20, 2021: 24,999,070 cases; 415,905 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19
January 21, Biden’s first full day

President Biden, pledging a “full-scale wartime effort” to combat the coronavirus pandemic, signed a string of executive orders and presidential directives  aimed at combating the worst public health crisis in a century, including new requirements for masks on interstate planes, trains and buses and for international travelers to quarantine after arriving in the United States.

“History is going to measure whether we are up to the task,” Mr. Biden declared in an appearance in the State Dining Room of the White House, with Vice President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, his chief Covid-19 medical adviser, by his side.

In a 200-page document called “National Strategy for the Covid-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness,” the new administration outlines the kind of centralized federal response that Democrats have long demanded and President Donald J. Trump refused. [NYT article]

January 21: Dr Fauci back

The NY Times reported that: Dr. Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease specialist, was back, this time with no one telling him what to say. And he made no effort to hide how he felt about it.

“The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know — what the evidence, what the science is — and know that’s it, let the science speak,” Dr. Fauci said, pausing for a second. “It is somewhat of a liberating feeling.”

Winter 2021 COVID 19

2,276,841 COVID Deaths Worldwide

February 3, 2021: 104,892,353 cases; 2,276,841 deaths worldwide

415,905 COVID Deaths USA

February 3, 2021: 27,150,530 cases; 461,936 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

US Vaccinations Speed Up

February 4: by this date, more than 27 million Americans had received a first COVID vaccination dose, and more than six million had been fully vaccinated.

The pace had accelerated enough that President Biden, facing criticism that his administration’s goal of giving out 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office was too modest,  raised that goal to 150 million shots.

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Steady declines

February 5, 2021

The NY Times reported that the worst of the current wave of coronavirus infections seemed to be behind us, with a seven-day rolling average of new cases trending down in almost every part of the country.

Nationally, that average peaked on January 8 at nearly 260,000 new cases; the figure for February 3, 136,442, amounted to a 47 percent drop from that peak.

Some parts of the country, including the Upper Midwest,  experienced bigger decreases in new cases than others. Four states in the region — Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa — have seen average daily cases fall by 80 percent or more.

Winter 2021 COVID 19

2,349,437 COVID Deaths Worldwide

February 9, 2021: 107,397,898 cases; 2,349,437 deaths worldwide

479,772 COVID Deaths USA

February 9, 2021: 27,799,946 cases; 479,772 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19
February 10, 2021

The NY Times reported that coronavirus-related deaths, which rose sharply in the United States beginning in November and continued to remain high, appeared to be in a steady decline, following in the tracks of new virus cases and hospitalizations, which began to drop in January.

The country had reported about 2,800 deaths a day recently, an average that excluded one anomalous day last week when Indiana announced a large number of backlogged death reports. That national average remains far above the level of early November, before the country’s recent surge, when roughly 825 deaths were being reported daily. But it is down significantly from the peak just a few weeks ago, when the average was more than 3,300 a day.

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Double-mask

February 10: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new research that found wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask offers more protection against the coronavirus, as does tying knots on the ear loops of surgical masks. Those findings prompted new guidance on how to improve mask fit at a time of concern over fast-spreading variants of the virus.

For optimal protection, the CDC said to make sure the mask fit snugly against the face and to choose a mask with at least two layers. [NPR story]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

February 11: the Biden administration said it had secured 200 million more doses of coronavirus vaccines, enough to inoculate every American adult, but President Biden warned that logistical hurdles would most likely mean that many Americans would still not have been vaccinated by the end of the summer.

The additional doses amounted to a 50 percent increase in vaccine, and would give the administration the number of doses that  Biden said last month he needed to cover 300 million people by the end of the summer. But it will still be difficult to get those shots into people’s arms. Both vaccines were two-dose regimens, spaced three and four weeks apart. Mr. Biden lamented the “gigantic” logistical challenge he faced during an appearance at the National Institutes of Health. He also expressed open frustration with the previous administration.

“It’s one thing to have the vaccine,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s another thing to have vaccinators.” [NYT article]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

US Approaching 500,000?

February 21, 2021:  Associated Press reportedA year into the pandemic, the running total of lives lost was about 498,000 — roughly the population of Kansas City, Missouri, and just shy of the size of Atlanta. The figure compiled by Johns Hopkins University surpasses the number of people who died in 2019 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, flu and pneumonia combined.

“It’s nothing like we have ever been through in the last 102 years, since the 1918 influenza pandemic,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

2,477,878 COVID Deaths Worldwide

February 21: 111,954,170 cases; 2,477,878 deaths worldwide

511,133 COVID Deaths USA

February 21: 28,765,423 cases; 511,133 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Johnson & Johnson

February 24: according to new analyses posted online by the Food and Drug Administration , the one-shot coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson provided strong protection against severe disease and death from Covid-19, and might reduce the spread of the virus by vaccinated people,

The vaccine had a 72 percent overall efficacy rate in the United States and 64 percent in South Africa, where a highly contagious variant emerged in the fall and was driving most cases. The efficacy in South Africa was seven percentage points higher than earlier data released by the company.

The vaccine also showed 86 percent efficacy against severe forms of Covid-19 in the United States, and 82 percent against severe disease in South Africa. That meant that a vaccinated person had a far lower risk of being hospitalized or dying from Covid-19. [NYT article]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Johnson & Johnson

February 27: the Food and Drug Administration authorized Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, beginning the rollout of millions of doses of a third effective vaccine that could reach Americans by early the next week.

The announcement arrived at a critical moment, as the steep decline in coronavirus cases seemed to have plateaued and millions of Americans were on waiting lists for shots.

Johnson & Johnson pledged to provide the United States with 100 million doses by the end of June. When combined with the 600 million doses from the two-shot vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna slated to arrive by the end of July, there would be more than enough shots to cover any American adult who wanted one.

Winter 2021 COVID 19

2,549,958 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 1: 115,002,808 cases; 2,549,958 deaths worldwide

527,226 COVID Deaths USA

March 1: 29,314,254 cases; 527,226 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 1: 15 % at least once; 7.5% both

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Merck & Co/ Johnson & Johnson

March 2: in a highly unusual deal, brokered by the White House, Merck & Co would help manufacture the new Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. The move would substantially increase the supply of the new vaccine and ramp up the pace of vaccination just as new variants of the virus were taking hold in the United States. [NYT article]

President Biden predicted that given the increased production capability, all adults would be able to get their vaccination(s) by the end of May, two month sooner than previously hoped.  [NYT article]

Restrictions lifted

March 8: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Texas would lift its mask rule, joining a rapidly growing movement by governors and other leaders across the U.S. to loosen COVID-19 restrictions despite pleas from health officials not to let their guard down yet.

Texas also did away with limits on the number of diners who can be served indoors.

The governors of Michigan, Mississippi and Louisiana likewise eased up on bars, restaurants and other businesses, as did the mayor of San Francisco.

Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility,” said Abbott, speaking from a crowded dining room where many of those surrounding him were not wearing masks. “It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed.” [AP article]

2,611,883 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 8: 117,744,416 cases; 2,611,883 deaths worldwide

538,628 COVID Deaths USA

March 8: 29,744,652 cases; 538,628 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 8: 17.7 % at least once; 9.2% both

Winter 2021 COVID 19

March 10: President Biden announced that he intended to secure an additional 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 single-shot vaccine by the end of this year, with the goal of having enough on hand to vaccinate children and, if necessary, administer booster doses or reformulate the vaccine to combat emerging variants of the virus. [NYT article]

American Rescue Plan

March 11: President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law, saying that an “overwhelming percentage” of the American people supported the legislation and called it an effort focused on “rebuilding the backbone of this country.”

That evening, using his first prime-time, nationwide television address to mark the end of a year that plunged the nation into health and economic crises, Bide urged people to have hope as the United States began slowly emerging from a pandemic that had killed more than 529,000 Americans, .

Speaking from the East Room of the White House a year to the day after his predecessor used an Oval Office address to announce that travel would be shut down from Europe, Biden  acknowledged the devastating impact of a virus that had shuttered restaurants and businesses, emptied sports stadiums, driven patrons from movie theaters and gyms, forced students to learn at home and left tens of millions out of work. [NYT article]

2,640,265 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 11: 119,071,630 cases; 2,640,265 deaths worldwide

543,539 COVID Deaths USA

March 11: 29,918,335 cases; 543,539 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 11: 18.8 % at least once; 9.8% both

Winter 2021 COVID 19

March 12: the NY Times reported that the Biden administration, under intense pressure to donate excess coronavirus vaccines to needy nations, moved to address the global shortage in another way: by partnering with Japan, India, and Australia to finance a dramatic expansion of the vaccine manufacturing capacity.

The agreement was announced at the Quad Summit, a virtual meeting between the heads of state of those four countries, which President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended. The goal, senior administration officials said, was to address an acute vaccine shortage in Southeast Asia, which in turn will boost worldwide supply.

CDC Report

March 15: a review of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 guidance found that some of the agency’s guidance during the Trump administration was not grounded in science or free from undue influence, according to a statement from a CDC spokesperson.

The review found that some guidance “used less direct language than available evidence supported,” “needed to be updated to reflect the latest scientific evidence” and “presented the underlying science base for guidance inconsistently,” according to the spokesperson.
Additionally, the review identified three documents that were not primarily authored by the CDC and yet were presented as CDC documents, according to the spokesperson. The agency removed two of the documents from its website, and updated and replaced the third.
President Joe Biden’s CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky ordered the review in response to concerns about some of the agency’s guidance during the first year of the pandemic under the Trump administration.  [CNN report]

2,674,363 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 15: 120,865,083 cases; 2,674,363 deaths worldwide

548,013 COVID Deaths USA

March 15: 30,138,586 cases; 548,013 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 15: 21 % at least once; 11.3% both

Winter 2021 COVID 19

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