With coronavirus sweeping the world, it̵
USA TODAY keeps track of the news surrounding COVID-19 as a pair of vaccines join the US fight against a virus that has killed nearly 385,000 Americans since the first reported death in February. Keep updating this page for the latest updates on coronavirus, including who gets the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna as well as other top news from across the US 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 coronavirus.
In the headlines:
► The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis received the first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Thursday. The 84-year-old has advocated for everyone to get the vaccine, calling it an “ethical option” performed not only for one’s own health, but for “the lives of others”.
► A global team of researchers arrived in Wuhan, China on Thursday, where coronavirus was first discovered, to investigate its origin.
► Pfizer, which with BioNTech developed the first COVID-19 approved for use by the federal government, has raised the prices of 193 branded medicines this month. While the median increase is a modest 0.5%, the price increase was approx. 5% for several of Pfizer’s most popular drugs.
► The Mississippi Health Department said the state could not take more agreements for coronavirus vaccinations because of a “monumental wave” in demand after government Tate Reeves announced that more people are eligible for the shots.
► Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Wednesday that he is removing pandemic mandates issued by his predecessor. Under the new rules, which take effect Friday, restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos are no longer required to close at 6 p.m. 22 and will not be required to limit capacity to 50%.
► A new Ipsos study showed that residents in several other countries were more reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine than Americans. China ranked highest in vaccine acceptance with 80% of respondents saying they would get it. France ranked the lowest with only 40%. The United States stayed in the middle with 69%.
► Coronavirus deaths in the United States hit another day’s high of more than 4,300. The nation’s total death toll from coronavirus has overshadowed 384,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. It is fast approaching the number of Americans killed in World War II, about 405,000. The United States recorded 4,327 deaths on Tuesday.
► California Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that the state is removing restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines for all residents age 65 and older. But Los Angeles County, the region hardest hit in the state, has already said it will continue to prioritize health care workers. About 1 in 3 people in the county have been infected with COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, officials said Wednesday.
📈 Today’s figures: The United States has more than 23 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 384,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Total sums: More than 92.3 million cases and 1.97 million deaths.
📘 What we read: The seasonal flu has almost disappeared, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That speaks volumes about the transmissibility of COVID-19, health experts say. Read more here.
More university students received COVID than pre-school and school-age children when they returned to teaching
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study Wednesday that suggests COVID-19 transmission may be more of a concern among college students than younger children attending school.
The study, published in the agency’s weekly report on morbidity and mortality, showed that the COVID-19 case did not increase among preschool and school-age children from zero to ten in the summer and fall.
In contrast, cases increased markedly among young adults ages 18 to 24 in mid-July and early September, “suggesting that young adults may contribute more to the transmission of society than younger children,” the CDC said.
The agency admits that COVID-19 cases are likely to be underestimated among children and adolescents, as asymptomatic infection occurs more frequently in these age groups.
Moderna needs at least 3K young volunteers for vaccine trials
Not enough young people are signing up for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trial, a federal official said this week, possibly delaying vaccination clearance for this age group.
Moncef Slaoui, the scientific director of Operation Warp Speed, the government’s vaccine effort, said on Tuesday that while a vaccine study in adults goes to 800 volunteers a day, the teenage trial gets only approx. 800 pr. Month.
The study needs at least 3,000 participants, he said, to provide valid safety and efficacy data and obtain FDA approval.
“It’s really very important for all of us, for the entire population of America, to realize that we can not have this indication unless young people aged 12 to 18 decide to participate,” Slaoui said.
– Karen Weintraub
Some Wisconsin hospitals offer vaccines to staff who do not care about patients
Faced with absenteeism at vaccination clinics and remaining doses, some Wisconsin hospital systems offer COVID-19 vaccines to staff who do not work with patients or in medical settings, under an interpretation of the vaccine prioritization guidelines that federal counselors say is a stretch.
At least one hospital system – attorney Aurora – has opened vaccine appointments for all employees. In other health care systems, employees listed as administrators or PR specialists have received vaccines, according to social media.
Wisconsin is still completing the first phase of its vaccine rollout plan, which includes long-term care facilities and health care staff with a focus on frontline hospital staff.
The decisions of some hospitals to include staff working from home and not interacting with patients have raised eyebrows in Wisconsin and other states.
– Daphne Chen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
What will COVID-19 look like in the future? Maybe another cold, the study says
SARS-CoV-2 “could join the ranks of mild, cold-causing … human coronavirus in the long run,” according to a model developed by researchers at Emory University and Penn State University.
The model, published Tuesday in peer-reviewed journal Science, compares the deadly virus to four common cold coronaviruses plus SARS and MERS viruses that appeared in 2003 and 2012, respectively.
Researchers determined from the model that if coronavirus continues to circulate in the general population and most people are exposed to it from childhood, it could be added to the list of common colds.
Study authors admit that the model makes some assumptions about coronavirus and colds that are not yet known, but a home message is “the critical need for broad-scale vaccination may diminish in the short term,” said study author Ottar Bjornstad, who teaches entomology and biology. at Penn State University.
Contribution: Associated Press
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