More than 3,800 Americans died of COVID-19 on Thursday though the number of hospitalized patients and confirmed cases continued their downward trajectory as Johnson & Johnson vows to have enough vaccines to inoculate 100 million Americans by the spring.
The latest data from The COVID Tracking Project shows that 184,864 Americans tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday.
As of early Friday morning, there were at least 119,927 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
Wednesday was America’s second deadliest day on record since the start of the pandemic – 4,229 fatalities.
But the death count dropped slightly on Thursday to 3,889. Since the pandemic began, 410,102 people in the US have died from COVID-19.
The latest COVID-19 figures show a slight drop in the number of new infections on Thursday, according to The COVID Tracking Project
As of early Friday morning, there were at least 119,927 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Wednesday was America’s second deadliest day on record since the start of the pandemic – 4,229 fatalities. But the death count dropped slightly on Thursday to 3,889
The data indicates that the case count as well as the number of hospitalized patients is on a downward trajectory
Since the pandemic began, 410,102 people in the US have died from COVID-19. Overall, more than 24.6 million Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus
Overall, more than 24.6 million Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus.
While the number of fatalities remains high, public health officials do see reasons for optimism as hospitalization rates as well as the rates of infection are showing signs of decline.
There is also eager anticipation for a third COVID-19 vaccine that is set to be approved by the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.
Dr. Mark McClellen, a company board member, told CNBC on Thursday that the nation’s COVID-19 vaccine supply will receive a huge boost in the coming weeks ‘if the clinical trial works out.’
Dr. Mark McClellen, a board member with New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, believes that the single-shot vaccine that is expected to be approved by the company within weeks will enable 100 million Americans to be inoculated by the spring
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose shot, which would mean the rollout would be faster and people who receive the jab would likely be protected from coronavirus in a matter of weeks after the injection. The above image is a file photo illustration showing vials with stickers reading ‘COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine’
‘I do know that J&J is making a very large supply, going all out with its production, both here in the US and elsewhere around the world, with the goal of having perhaps enough vaccines for 100 million Americans by spring, by this April or so,’ McClellan, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said on Thursday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said on Thursday that Johnson & Johnson could have enough data on the vaccine to begin analysis within a week or two.
McClellan told CNBC that the company is currently conducting a large scale clinical trial.
‘The independent scientists who are overseeing that study should be taking a close look in the very near future based on those results, and we’ll see how fast the vaccine could go forward,’ McClellan said.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose shot, which would mean the rollout would be faster and people who receive the jab would likely be protected from coronavirus in a matter of weeks after the injection.
The two vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorization – Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech – require two doses.
Health officials said that the US is expected to approve the low-cost AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine in April.
The rollout of the vaccination program in the US has been sluggish as less than half of the nearly 38 million doses of vaccine that have been distributed thus far have made their way into people’s arms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On average, about 883,000 Americans have been vaccinated over the course of the past six days.
But at least a dozen states are reported vaccine shortages in the face of surging demand.
Officials in New York City and San Francisco warn that they will be completely out of vaccines by the end of the week.
New York City also had to shut down 15 vaccination sites temporarily due to the short supply.
McClellan told CNBC that ‘the supply will be increasing, but not probably enough to keep up with the large number of Americans who really want to get vaccinated now.’
McClellan, a health policy expert at Duke University, believes the Biden administration will implement policies that will speed up vaccine distribution.
‘It’s going to be challenging, but I think the supply will be there over the next couple of months to vaccinate even more than 100 million Americans,’ he said.
In the first order he signed since arriving at the White House, Biden on Wednesday mandated masks and physical distancing in all federal buildings and the development of a testing program for federal employees for COVID-19, in a first step to combat a pandemic that has already claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Americans.
Biden’s order says federal employees, contractors and others in federal buildings or on federal lands should ‘wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.’
The president directed agencies to ‘immediately take action…to require compliance with CDC guidelines’ and for employees to wear masks and engage in social distancing. He called for all Americans to wear masks for 100 days.
America’s death toll is the highest in the world despite the country accounting for less than five percent of the global population.
It comes on the heels of a recent CDC projection that the national death toll could rise even higher to as high as 508,000 by February 13 – a figure higher than the population of Atlanta.
In October, Biden vowed to require masks on airplanes and on interstate transportation, but he did not take that action on Wednesday. The transportation order is expected on Thursday, officials said.
U.S. airlines, which have been requiring masks without a legal requirement for months, support Biden’s planned mandate.
Biden’s order on Wednesday directs the CDC to ‘promptly develop … a testing plan for the federal workforce,’ adding it will be ‘based on community transmission metrics and address the populations to be tested, testing types (and) frequency of testing, positive case protocols.
On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded the second deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic with 4,229 deaths with a total death toll of 406,162
It is second only to January 12 with 4,327 and marks the third time the daily death toll has surpassed 4,000. Pictured: Medical personnel move a deceased patient to a refrigerated truck serving as make shift morgues at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City, April 2020
Wednesday also marked one year to the day since the first case of the virus was recorded in Washington state with more than 24.4 million people since testing positive
The president said agencies may make exceptions to mask requirements, but must ‘require appropriate alternative safeguards.’
The Biden administration must implement new testing requirements for nearly all international air passengers that begin Tuesday, following a CDC order last week. Under the new rules, all U.S.-bound passengers age 2 and over must get negative COVID-19 test results within three calendar days of travel.
Biden’s team also announced it would reimpose entry bans on most non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and most of continental Europe after former President Donald Trump, in one of his last acts in office, issued an order Monday lifting them effective the same day the new testing rules take effect.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the new administration planned ‘to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.’
Tech giant Amazon on Wednesday offered to put its vast operation to work helping President Biden get 100 million Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 in the next 100 days.
Chief of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business Dave Clark sent a letter to Biden urging that its workers get vaccinated as early as possible and offered to put the company’s resources to work in the broader vaccination effort.
The tech giant is the second largest employer in the US with more than 800,000 employees, most of whom are ‘essential workers’ who can’t do their jobs from home, according to a copy of the letter obtained by AFP.
‘We are committed to assisting your administration’s vaccination efforts as we work together to protect our employees and continue to provide essential services during the pandemic,’ read the letter.
The grim milestone comes on the Inauguration Day of President Joe Biden, who signed a federal order mandating masks on federal property (pictured) and has pledged to vaccinate 100 million Americans in 100 days
Biden tweeted about his mask mandate Wednesday
Amazon has agreements in place with a health care provider to administer vaccines on-site at its facilities, including fulfillment centers, data centers, and Whole Foods Market grocery stores, according to Clark.
‘We are prepared to move quickly once vaccines are available.,’ Clark said in the letter.
‘Our scale allows us to make a meaningful impact immediately in the fight against Covid-19, and we stand ready to assist you in this effort.’
Uber has also offered logistical assistance. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi last month urged U.S. states to ensure rideshare drivers get quick access to Covid-19 vaccines so they can help with broader distribution plans.
Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this week the new president’s goal of seeing 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine injected within his first 100 days in office is ‘absolutely’ achievable.
Those claims came after President Biden’s pick to lead the CDC said the Trump administration ‘muzzled’ U.S. scientists when they were needed most.
Dr Rochelle Walensky said that it is her responsibility to ‘fix that,’ she told JAMA editor Dr Howard Bauchner in a Tuesday interview for the journal’s podcast.
The HIV researcher, with no ‘on the ground’ experience running a public health agency, is inheriting an unprecedented pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans in less than a year, a CDC that has fumbled at nearly every turn of its response and a disastrous vaccine rollout.
A new CDC ensemble forecast projects the U.S. coronavirus death toll will be between 465,000 and 508,000 by the week ending February 13 (above)
The forecast predicts that between 22,500 and 23,300 deaths from the virus will be reported each week for the next four weeks (above)
Chief among the CDC’s problems were communication gaffs that left it at odds with the White House or retracting previous advice and replacing it with Trump administration-approved guidance.
Officials who tried to warn Americans of how dire the pandemic could get, such as Dr Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, simply disappeared after angering the Trump administration.
Communication will be a top priority for Dr Walensky. Ironically, she plans to take a page from former President Trump’s book and streamline CDC’s public messaging through Twitter and other social media platforms.
It also comes on the heels of the CDC predicting that up to 508,000 Americans could die of COVID-19 in less than one month.
The forecast predicts that between 22,500 and 23,300 deaths from the virus will be reported each week for the next four weeks. For the week ending February 13, the ensemble forecast projects that reported COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. will be between 17,000 and 29,300.
This means that, in the first 24 days in office for President Biden, anywhere from 465,000 to 508,000 Americans will have died from COVID-19. The latter figure is higher than the population of Atlanta.
More than 38,000 Americans died from coronavirus in the first two weeks of 2021, and the numbers only appear to be increasing.
Health experts said widespread vaccination could help curb the surge of cases, but rollout has been slow.
More than 35.9 million doses have been distributing but just about half – 17.2 million – have been distributed, according to a CDC tracker. Pictured: A senior citizen receives a COVID-19 vaccine at the Corona High School gymnasium in Corona, California, January 15
Staff and volunteers distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to people as they remain in their vehicles at The Forum in Inglewood. The Forum is one of five mass-vaccination sites that opened Tuesday in Los Angeles County, January 19
More than 37.9 million doses have been distributing but just about half – 17.2 million – have been distributed, according to a CDC tracker.
And in New York City officials were forced to reschedule 23,000 vaccine appointments this week alone.
Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Wednesday that the city would run out of doses altogether by Friday.
De Blasio heightened alarm about the city’s dire shortage of vaccines and called for something to be done to free up more doses at a press conference on Wednesday.
At his own press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged shortages around the state and but shifted blame toward the federal government.
Cuomo said that the state currently has just 145,780 doses remaining and warned that the supply would run out in a maximum of three days.
‘What is clear now is we’re going to be going from week to week – and you will see a constant pattern of, basically, running out, waiting for the next week’s allocation and then starting up again,’ he said. ‘We’re trying to smooth it out, but we’re also trying to get it out as fast as possible.’
The seven million New Yorkers currently eligible to receive vaccines are currently facing wait times of three months or more to get appointments.
Cuomo has projected that it could be six months before all of those currently eligible get their jabs if the federal government doesn’t step in and increase supply.
Just under 908,000 people in the state have received their first doses of the vaccine to date, representing 84 percent of the supply already provided by the federal government, Cuomo said.
The Forum in Inglewood began vaccination distribution serving as a COVID-19 vaccination site, while also serving as a COVID-19 testing site. Amazon on Wednesday offered to put its vast operation to work helping President Biden get 100 million Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 in the next 100 days
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk