1,000+ troops to help vaccine distribution; at-home test surge coming; Johnson & Johnson applies for authorization. Latest COVID-19 updates.
More than 1,000 active duty troops will begin supporting vaccination sites around the United States, starting later this month in California, White House senior COVID-19 advisor Andy Slavitt announced Friday.
Slavitt said that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin OK’ed the move and troops’ mission in California would being within 10 days.
The White House COVID-19 Response Team also announced Friday that the government would be supporting six additional companies to surge at-home COVID-19 test supplies to more than 60 million by the end of summer.
The government is boosting at-home testing supply through the Defense Production Act, said Tim Manning, COVID-19 supply coordinator. The news comes on the heels of an announcement Monday that the government would help boost production from Australian company Ellume to provide the U.S. with 8.5 million at-home tests.
“The country is well behind in where we need to be in testing,” Manning said.
Manning also announced that the government would be invoking the Defense Production Act to support manufacturing of the Pfizer vaccine and of rubber medical gloves for health care workers.
COVID-19 has killed more than 456,000 Americans, and infections have continued to mount 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. Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletterfor updates to your inbox, join our Facebook group or scroll through our in-depth answers to reader questions.
In the headlines:
►An estimated 631,000 Americans will have died from COVID-19 by June 1, according to the latest forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
►Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued a new statewide mask order an hour after the Republican-controlled Legislature voted to repeal his previous mandate Thursday.
►The White House is studying a proposal to send masks to all Americans, a notion the Trump administration considered but discarded. “There are a range of options on the table to help protect more Americans from the coronavirus and encourage people to mask up,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday, adding that no decision has been made on the idea.
►The FDA’s advisory committee will meet Feb. 26 to discuss Johnson & Johnson’s application for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine, the agency announced Thursday.
►Paperwork problems in Indiana led the United States to report a record 4,941 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, nearly 500 people worse than the previous record, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
►California lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at hastening the reopening of Disneyland, which has been shuttered since March, and other California theme parks.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has 26.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 456,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 105 million cases and 2.2 million deaths. More than 57.4 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and about 35.2 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: The digital divide, even a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, remains a hurdle for online schooling. There are still thousands of students who can’t get reliable WiFi. Read the full story.
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The content of the article:
- 1 Iowa governor lifting mask requirements effective Sunday
- 2 Mask violations on planes, trains, buses could result in fines up to $1,500
- 3 The latest updates on school reopenings around the US
- 4 FDA will draft guidance to work with vaccine, drug and testing companies on COVID-19 variants
- 5 Fighting on the frontlines of COVID-19 while his team plays in the Super Bowl
- 6 Senate clears way for COVID-19 relief package
- 7 Workers who lost jobs due to COVID-19 have found higher-paying positions
- 8 California prison with worst virus outbreak slapped with record fine
- 9 How a secret military experiment left Black Georgians wary of COVID vaccine
- 10 Johnson & Johnson applies for FDA authorization for single-shot vaccine
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Maximo Michua, 74, holds his sleeve as Kathryne Acuna (R), Director of Ambulatory Clinical Services at Kaiser Permanente, administers his Covid-19 vaccine on the opening day of a large-scale Covid-19 vaccination site at a parking structure at Cal Poly Pomona University in Pomona, California on February 5, 2021. Frederic J. Brown, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Kansas Air National Guard Maj. Cortney Neblett, left, gives a COVID-19 vaccine shot to Master Sgt. Thomas Lafountain, right, during a clinic for Kansas National Guard personnel, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, at Air National Guard’s base south of Topeka, Kan. The Kansas National Guard received 1,100 doses from the U.S. Department of Defense. John Hanna, APFullscreen
Doryl Wolfe, 76, of Cortlandt Manor receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Christina Gilkes at Save Mor Drugs in Croton-on-Hudson Feb. 4, 2021. Tania Savayan, The Journal NewsFullscreen
People with appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine wait on line at the Westchester County Center in White Plains on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. Appointments scheduled for the past two-days were rescheduled for today due to the inclement weather. John Meore, The Journal NewsFullscreen
A senior receives a COVID-19 vaccine from a health care worker after arriving on a bus to a vaccination site at Anquan Boldin Stadium in Pahokee, Fla., on Feb. 3. Greg Lovett, The Palm Beach Post/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Benefits nurse Marissa Lencioni administers the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Great Falls resident Mick Cabbage during the vaccination clinic on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, in the Family Living Center building at Montana ExpoPark. The three day clinic, which is by appointment only, will inoculate 1500 people with their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The next round of vaccination appointments will be opened to people 70 years and older on January 28th via the www.benefis.org/COVIDvaccine portal. RION SANDERS, GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
UT Medical Assistant Laila Green administers COVID-19 vaccines, volunteering for Shelby County Health Department at the site of the former Appling Emissions Station on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 in Memphis.
Joe Rondone, The Commercial Appeal / USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Drivers line up recently to enter the COVID-19 vaccination site at 301 George Perry Blvd in ElPaso. The wait was over 3.5 hours long and the line of vehicles stretched out for more than 2 miles.
Samuel Gaytan, El Paso Times/ USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
People arrive for COVID-19 vaccination at a drive through setup at Coors Field baseball stadium on January 30, 2021, in Denver, Colorado. Chet Strange, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Those waiting to be vaccinated line up at an empty store next to Shoprite in Byram, N.J. Shoprite has taken appointments from members of the community and is administering the vaccine. Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
John Bernard receives his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from registered nurse Adrienne Bond during a vaccine clinic at the Vanderburgh County Health Department in Evansville, Ind., Jan. 26, 2021. He brought his 101-year-old mother, Evelyn Bernard, to the clinic too so they could both get vaccinated. Sam Owens, Evansville Courier and Press via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
The line of those with appointments for the Kitsap Public Health District and the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management’s first community COVID-19 vaccine clinic stretches down the sidewalk at the former St. Michael Medical Center in East Bremerton, Wash. on Jan. 26, 2021. Meegan M. Reid, Kitsap Sun via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Palm Desert resident Luther Wood, 82, celebrates his Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination at Eisenhower Health’s clinic for patients age 75 and older on Jan. 26 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Vickie Connor, The Desert Sun via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Security guard Andrea Rapini sits at a COVID-19 vaccination site that closed after running out of the vaccine in John Prince Park in Lake Worth Beach, Fla., on Jan. 27. Gov. Ron DeSantis turned vaccine distribution over to Publix pharmacies in the area. GREG LOVETT, The Palm Beach Post via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Corpus Christi firefighter cadet Marcus Maldonado gives Samuel Sanchez a COVID-19 vaccine outside this home during the first day of the Senior Vaccination Program in Corpus Christi, Texas on Jan. 26, 2021.
Fd Home Vaccinations 3 Courtney Sacco, The Corpus Christi Caller Times via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Dr. Thomas Ballard, 82, of San Francisco, receives the Moderna COVID vaccine at a mass vaccination site at City College of San Francisco on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. San Francisco launched its first mass vaccination facility at City College of San Francisco to administer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The effort comes as American healthcare workers and organizations push for a faster distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Martin Klimek, USA TODAYFullscreen
Hundreds of people who made an appointment to be vaccinated against COVID-19 stand in a line that wraps around a building at the Delco Activity Center in northeast Austin, Texas, on Jan. 23. Ricardo B. Brazziell, Austin American-Statesman/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Workers from Sparrow Healthcare talk to a woman Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, as she approaches a checkpoint at the Sparrow Laboratories Drive-Thru Services site at Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing. It is Sparrow’s first day of public vaccinations for those 70 and older, and for frontline essential workers. Matthew Dae Smith, Lansing State Journal/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Systems analyst Michelle Amos rolls a cart from patient to patient doing registration as Ohio State University medical employees receive their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021.
Adam Cairns, Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Clay County residents wait in line for the start of Monday morning’s vaccination effort at the Clay County Fairgrounds. The early appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations begin to line up at the Clay County Fairgrounds west of Green Cove Springs early Monday morning, Jan. 18, 2021. Ascension St. Vincent’s is holding the event for Clay County Residents 65 and older from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and plan to provide approximately 2,500 vaccinations.
Bob Self, Florida Times-Union/USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Jack Horneman of Townville gets his COVID-19 vaccine from Missy Cooley, LPN, during the AnMed Health Covid-19 Vaccine clinic at the Anderson Civic Center Saturday, January 16, 2021. Ken Ruinard, USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Revonda Wood, RN, pulls a dose from a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vial at the AnMed Health Covid-19 Vaccine clinic at the Anderson Civic Center Saturday, January 16, 2021. Ken Ruinard, USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Century Village residents wait before appointments are handed out for the COVID-19 vaccine in West Palm Beach, Florida on Jan. 11, 2021. The community will receive 3,000 doses to use starting on Wednesday. Greg Lovett, The Palm Beach Post-USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Karen MacDonald, a nurse at Gates Middle School in Scituate, Mass. lays out her syringes while getting ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to first responders on Jan. 11, 2021. Robin Chan, Wicked Local via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Gabriel Fernandez, a registered nurse from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, injects a COVID-19 vaccine into the arm of an Emergence Health Network client with developmental disabilities at the EHN DayHab center in East El Paso on Jan. 7, 2021. Aaron E. Martinez, El Paso Times via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
A line of Duval County residents snakes around the campus of the Mandarin Senior Center on Hartley Road on Jan. 11, 2021, as people wait for COVID-19 vaccine injections at one of the two City of Jacksonville vaccine sites which opened Monday. Bob Self, Florida Times-Union via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Century Village resident Maria Cole shows identification to make an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine in West Palm Beach, Florida on Jan. 11, 2021. The community will receive 3,000 doses to use starting on Jan. 13, 2021. Greg Lovett, PALM BEACH POST via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Medical professionals from Oregon Health & Science University load syringes with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-thru vaccination clinic in Portland, Ore., Jan. 10, 2021. The clinic is a partnership between the Service Employees International Union and Oregon Health & Science University, aiming to vaccinate Oregon’s 32,000 home health care workers and their patients. Pool photo by Kristyna Wentz-GraffFullscreen
James Hill, 69, who served separate stints in both the Army and Navy, left, holds his sleeve as Brent Myers, a CVS pharmacist, readies to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination, at the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Jackson, Miss., Jan. 9, 2021. Hill was among the first residents to receive the Pfizer covid vaccination. Residents and staff at two of the four veterans homes were inoculated on Saturday with the vaccinations planned for the two other homes next week. The veterans homes were among the hardest hit senior living facilities by the virus. Rogelio V. Solis, APFullscreen
Patient care technician Carolyn Nesby, 62, holds still as medical assistance care coordinator Beatriz Pantoja administers the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at Rosewood Zaragosa Health Center in East Austin on Jan. 8, 2021. Bronte Wittpenn, Austin American-Statesman via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Certified medical assistant Maria Lawlor administers the Moderna coronavirus vaccine to Michael Burns, 62, at Rosewood Zaragosa Health Center in East Austin on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Currently, vaccines generally are restricted to¤first responders, health care personnel, people 65 and older, and those 16 and older with at least one chronic medical condition. Bronte Wittpenn, Austin American-Statesman/ USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
Nurses have COVID-19 vaccines drawn and ready to administer as people pull into a bay at the former State Farm building in Murfreesboro, Tenn. to receive their first dose on Jan. 4, 2021. Helen Comer, The Daily News Journal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
A woman takes a selfie with the medical worker who administered her COVID-19 vaccination at a drive-thru at Broadbent Arena in Louisville, Ky. on Jan. 4, 2021. Pat McDonogh, The Courier Journal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Paulette Brown gets the Moderna vaccine, Jan. 3, 2021 during the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s vaccination point distribution at Brownsville Community Center in Pensacola, Fla. John Blackie, Pensacola News-Journal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
April Smith, RN, puts a bandage on Jeanne Biada, 66, after vaccinating her and her husband, Gregory Biada, 68, during a COVID-19 vaccine distribution run by the Collier Department of Health at North Collier Regional Park in Naples. Fla. on Jan. 4, 2021. Alex Driehaus, Naples Daily News via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Herbert Bello, 88, receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the King’s Point clubhouse in Delray Beach, Fla. on Dec. 30, 2020. GREG LOVETT, Palm Beach Post via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Seniors stand in line to make an appointment to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine outside the King’s Point clubhouse in Delray Beach, Fla. on Dec. 30, 2020. GREG LOVETT, Palm Beach Post via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Kellie Grover, left, receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine through the Knox County Health Department at the Knoxville Expo Center on Monday, January 4, 2021.
Brianna Paciorka, News Sentinel / USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
A health-care worker reacts as she receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Lake-Sumter State College in Leesburg, Fla., on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. Long lines of cars were at the site as the Lake County vaccines are currently being given to people who are 65 years and older and front line workers. Stephen M. Dowell /Orlando Sentinel via APFullscreen
Nurse Shanteria Johnson, who is with the Medical Reserve Core at the Alachua County Health Department, draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination session for local firefighters at the Gainesville Professional Firefighters Union Hall in Gainesville Fla., Dec. 31, 2020. Brad McClenny, The Gainesville Sun via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Cape Coral residents wait in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 30, 2020 during first day of vaccinations in the city at Cultural Park Theater. The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is offering COVID-19 vaccine to high-risk frontline health care workers and those 65 and older. Ricardo Rolon, The News-Press via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Winona McCain, 71, a resident at Patewood Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Greenville, S.C., raises her fist after receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Jamie, a pharmacist with CVS on Dec. 28, 2020. MATT BURKHARTT, The Greenville News via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Friends Terri Kado,66, right and Patty Tubbs,68, from Fort Myers Beach wait in line for the the COVID-19 vaccine in the early morning hours of Dec. 30, 2020 at Lakes Park Regional Library in Fort Myers, Fla. The two were having a pleasant experience and were watching the moon as it moved through the sky. To them the vaccine brings a peace of mind and a positive start to the New Year. They got in line at 12:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Andrew West/The News-Press, The News-PressFullscreen
CHEMED nurse and vaccine coordinator Tzipporah Zar shows a sticker patients get after they get their first shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Center for Health Education, Medicine and Dentistry in Lakewood, N.J., on Dec. 28, 2020. Gustavo Martinez Contreras, Asbury Park Press via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District personnel administer COVID-19 vaccinations to colleagues during a test drive-thru event at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in Corpus Christi, Texas on Dec. 23, 2020. Courtney Sacco, The Corpus Christi Caller Times via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Serena Russo, RN, holds a sign before her vaccination in Fitchburg, Mass. The Highlands Skilled nursing and Rehabilitation offered vaccines to their staff, Dec. 29, 2020. Christine Peterson, Worcester Telegram via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Jessica Miles, left, of CVS, gives resident Wanda Kilgore a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Linley Park Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Anderson, S.C., Dec. 29, 2020. The first dose of the vaccine was administered to 51 residents and 32 staff, with the second dose planned for Jan. 26, 2021. Ken Ruinard, Anderson Independent Mail via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Pharmacists prepare doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Life Care Center of Kirkland on Dec. 28, 2020 in Kirkland, Wash. The Life Care Center of Kirkland, a nursing home, was an early epicenter for coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S. Karen Ducey, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Henry Jackson, an employee of Lee Health in the transportation services department is one of the first front-line workers for Lee Health to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was administered at Lee Health Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers, Fla. on Dec. 22, 2020. Andrew West, The News-Press via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Chief Nursing Officer Robin L. Steaban, left, who administered the vaccine, stands with nurse practitioner Lisa Flemmons, Dr. Todd Rice, nurse Cody Hamilton and respiratory therapist Sophie Whitaker after they received a COVID-19 vaccine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 17, 2020. George Walker IV, THE TENNESSEAN via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
The CVS Health team arrives with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Sivercrest Health and Rehabilitation Center in Crestview, Fla. on Dec. 21, 2020. This was one of the first administrations of the vaccine in the state. Michael Snyder, The Northwest Florida Daily News via USA Today NETWORKFullscreen
Nurse practitioner Franklin Grauzer receives a high-five from his daughter, Emerson, 5, after he received a COVID-19 vaccine at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West in Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 17, 2020. Andrew Nelles, The Tennessean via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
VA pharmacist Wes Romanello carefully fills syringes of the COVID-19 vaccine to give to Chillicothe VA staff in Chillicothe, Ohio on Dec. 23, 2020. Robert McGraw, Chillicothe Gazette via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
VA nurse Sarah Hembre, left, gives Ed Tassy, a veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq and now works at the VA as a physician assistant, the first Moderna COVID-19 vaccine delivered to the VA on Dec. 23, 2020. The VA received 1,000 doses to give to VA personnel and patients. Robert McGraw, Chillicothe Gazette via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Dr. Theresa Maresca from the Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB), lets a collegue write on her arm For the Love of Native People over the spot where she received a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, at the SIHB, on Dec. 21, 2020 in Seattle, Wash. The Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) received 500 doses of the FDA-approved Moderna COVID-19 vaccine today. Karen Ducey, Getty ImagesFullscreen
A member of FDNY EMS gives a thumbs up while receiving the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on Dec. 23, 2020 in New York City. Members of FDNY EMS were given doses of the Moderna coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine allotted for the department. Michael M. Santiago, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Dr. Cletus Oppong, who specializes in occupational medicine, is the first to receive the first round of the Moderna vaccine by Clinical Pharmacist Erin Conkright on Dec. 24, 2020, at the Owensboro Health Regional Hospital in Owensboro, Ky. “It’s an exciting day,” said Oppong. Alan Warren, The Messenger-Inquirer via APFullscreen
Command Sgt. Maj. John Raines of the Mississippi National Guard, looks away as he receives a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in his arm, by a fellow guard member, Dec. 23, 2020, in Flowood, Miss. One hundred doses of the vaccine were administered to both Mississippi Air and Army National Guard service members who serve as first responders and currently assist with the administering of the COVID-19 test at Mississippi Department of Health drive through community testing sites across the state. Rogelio V. Solis, APFullscreen
Tim King, a citizen of the Cherokee nation and a Cherokee language speaker, receives ther COVID-19 vaccine at the Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Center Dec. 17, 2020, in Tahlequah, Okla. On his left arm is a tattoo of a dreamcatcher with the word Cherokee. Mike Simons, APFullscreen
Long-term care patient Carlos Alegre receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from licensed vocational nurse Virgie Vivar at Birch Patrick Skilled Nursing Facility at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center on Dec. 21, 2020 in Chula Vista, Calif. 72-year-old Alegre is the first patient to receive the vaccine in San Diego County. Long-term care patients and frontline workers are among those in the CDCÕs highest priority group for vaccination. Mario Tama, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Hartford HealthCare employee Wilfredo Rivera reacts after receiving the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 as Hartford HealthCare Nurse Laura Bailey, right, looks on at Hartford Hospital, Dec. 21, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. Hartford HealthCare was the first in the state to administer the Moderna vaccine. Jessica Hill, APFullscreen
Nursing student Abriana Martinez administers the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to Dr. Erik Pronske at the University of Texas Health Austin Dell Medical School on Tuesday December 15, 2020. Jay Janner, Austin American-StatesmanFullscreen
Lerma Ballesteros, left, a technical laboratory assistant with Diagnostic Laboratory Services, remains rock steady even as she is administered a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination during a temporary clinic conducted by Department of Public Health and Social Services workers and other support staff at the Okkodo High School cafeteria in Dededo on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Rick Cruz/PDNFullscreen
Pharmacy manager John Wininger prepares the COVID-19 vaccine at McLaren Greater Lansing hospital on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Lansing, Mich. Nick King, Lansing State Journal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Marie Branham, right, resident services director at Atria Springdale assisted living community, receives the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine from CVS pharmacist Shereen Keshta at the facility in Louisville, Ky. on Dec. 21, 2020. Sam Upshaw Jr., Courier Journal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Rochester General Hospital received the new Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and started vaccinating some of their high-risk healthcare workers on December 15, 2020. Nancy Nicoletta, assistant director of pharmacy, brings up a bag of the vaccine. The vaccine has to be kept at a very cold temperature. Tina MacIntyre-Yee/ Rochester Democrat and ChronicleFullscreen
Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss. on Dec. 20, 2020. While shipments of the vaccine are rolling out to many health care workers and nursing homes across the country, it could be months before itÕs available for the general public. Paul Sancya, APFullscreen
Dr. Julie Kennerly-Shah draws out a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as its distributed to healthcare workers on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center East in Columbus, Ohio. Vaccine shipments began arriving in Ohio on Monday and frontline health care workers have been the first to receive the vaccine. Joshua A. Bickel, Columbus DispatchFullscreen
RN Gisela Bunch administers the vaccine for COVID-19 to CVI outreach coordinator Lynde Sain at Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital in Germantown, Tenn., on Dec. 17, 2020. Ariel Cobbert, The Commercial Appeal via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Allison Wynes, a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) nurse practitioner, records a video for her friends announcing she had received one of first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, on the 12th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa. Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-CitizenFullscreen
Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in New York. Mark Lennihan, APFullscreen
Courtney Schneider, 40, of Grand Rapids and her son, Elliot Schneider, 8, of Grand Rapids wave flags at the FedEx plane carrying the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Dec. 13, 2020. Rodney Coleman-Robinson, Detroit Free Press via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Susan Deur of Plainwell, center, and Nancy Galloway of Plainwell, applaud and cheer as they watch the trucks carrying COVID-19 vaccine leave at Pfizer Global Supply in Portage, Mich., Dec. 13, 2020. Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press via USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Dece. 13, 2020. POOL PHOTO BY MORRY GASHFullscreen
Nurse Chris Nelson gets the COVID-19 vaccine at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. Andrew Craft, USA TODAY NetworkFullscreen
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Iowa governor lifting mask requirements effective Sunday
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will lift the state’s limited mask requirement Sunday, along with the social distance and other limitations she had in place for businesses and social gatherings.
Her latest coronavirus emergency proclamation, issued Friday afternoon and effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, instead “strongly encourages Iowans, businesses and organizations to take reasonable public health measures consistent with guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health,” Reynolds’ spokesperson Pat Garrett said.
Since mid-November, Reynolds, a Republican, has required Iowans two years of age and older to wear masks if they were in indoor areas and spent 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of a person not in their households. The rule carried several exceptions. Her previous proclamation also required social distancing between groups at bars, restaurants, casinos, fitness centers and other establishments, as well as at social gatherings and sporting events.
Mask violations on planes, trains, buses could result in fines up to $1,500
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Friday that it will recommend fines ranging from $250 to $1,500 for people who do not abide by the new transportation mask order issued by President Joe Biden on his second day in office.
The agency said it could also “seek a sanction amount that falls outside these ranges,” in the announcement and noted the higher fines would apply to repeat offenders.
Biden’s order requires people to wear masks in airports, bus and train terminals and on trains, planes, buses and public transportation.
TSA has been charged with implementing Biden’s executive order and subsequent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mask-wearing rules that took effect Feb. 1 and built on the order.
Although the TSA is most commonly associated with airport checkpoints, fines will apply to offenders across those various transportation types. TSA said on Twitter the agency has “provided transportation system operators specific guidance on how to report violations so that TSA may issue penalties to those who refuse to wear a face mask.”
– Julia Thompson
The latest updates on school reopenings around the US
►Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered all Virginia school systems to develop options for in-person instruction by March 15, and also wants the systems to consider summer-school for all students in an effort to help them “catch up” on lessons lost during the pandemic, he announced Friday.
►Public school students did not return to classrooms this week in the nation’s third-largest school district. Chicago Public Schools initially planned for 70,000 K-8 students to return this past Monday, but classes have remained online amid ongoing negotiations between the teachers union and City Hall.
►In Philadelphia, the teachers’ union told its members not to show up to school buildings on Monday ahead of a planned reopening on Feb. 22, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
FDA will draft guidance to work with vaccine, drug and testing companies on COVID-19 variants
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced late Thursday that it is developing guidance to help vaccine, drug and testing manufacturers adapt to the growing threat of COVID-19 variants.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported at least 618 cases of the coronavirus variants from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa across 33 states.
Existing vaccines, treatments and tests still work well, emphasized the FDA’s acting commissioner Janet Woodcock. But now is the time to get ready for a future when they may not.
“We must prepare for all eventualities,” she said in a call with reporters.
– Karen Weintraub
Fighting on the frontlines of COVID-19 while his team plays in the Super Bowl
When Laurent Duvernay-Tardif wakes up Friday, he will think about work, the one he left behind and the one that lies ahead. A bye week, practice and travel, he’ll think as his Kansas City Chiefs prepare for Super Bowl 55. Then, his focus will turn to his other work.
Duvernay-Tardif became the first of 69 active NFL players to opt out of the 2020 season due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic and has been working as an orderly/nurse in a long-term care facility in Montreal.
He has fed patients, changed soiled linens, administered IVs, drawn blood, handed out medication, performed COVID-19 tests and conducted patient exams.
“At the beginning, it was hard. It was a big event when I opted out. But then you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to wake up at 5:30 in the morning and go change diapers for a couple months,” he told USA TODAY. Read more about Duvernay-Tardif and other NFL players who opted out of the season here.
– Lorenzo Reyes
Senate clears way for COVID-19 relief package
The Senate early Friday set the stage for the passage of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package that President Joe Biden is pushing.
The 51-50 vote to approve a budget resolution paving the way for Biden’s American Rescue Plan fell along party lines with every Democrat in favor and every Republican opposed. Vice President Kamala Harris, in her role as president of the Senate, broke the tie around 5:30 a.m.
The resolution allows Democrats to use a process known as “reconciliation” to bypass a Senate filibuster for budget-related bills. Without it, Democrats would need at least 60 votes, including 10 Republicans, a tall order given the opposition from GOP lawmakers.
Later Friday, House Democratic leaders expressed confidence that the bill would pass Congress before March 15, when enhanced unemployment benefits are set to end.
Committees in the House and Senate will now start working on several aspects of Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which would provide $1,400 direct payments to individuals, $160 billion to distribute COVID-19 tests and vaccines, and hundreds of billions to cash-strapped state and local governments to stay afloat and open schools.
– Ledyard King, Nicholas Wu and Joey Garrison
Workers who lost jobs due to COVID-19 have found higher-paying positions
While the U.S. economy is far from healed from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many permanently laid-off workers are finding new jobs and often for more pay and at higher levels than their previous positions, according to a recent survey by Skynova.
Skynova, which provides online invoicing services for businesses, found that 65% of employees who lost their jobs permanently due to COVID-19 but continued to look for work have landed new positions.
Even more surprising: About 57% of laid-off workers are earning more money in their new roles, including 57.4% of blue-collar workers and 56.5% of white-collar employees, the survey shows. Also, 58.8% of blue-collar workers and 50.8% of white-collar staffers said their new jobs are at higher levels than their old ones. About 56% overall said they’re receiving better benefits.
Brandon Boyd was furloughed then permanently laid off from his communications jobs for an events company. Now, he’s in a marketing coordinator position for Mercyhurst University. While it pays about $4,000 a year less than his old job, he’s offsetting that gap with free online classes at the school that will allow him to earn a Master’s degree. He’s also benefiting from other career development opportunities.
“It’s going to end up being better for me,” he said.
– Paul Davidson
California prison with worst virus outbreak slapped with record fine
California workplace safety regulators announced Thursday that a state prison rocked by one of the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreaks has been hit with by far its largest pandemic-related fine yet against an employer.
The $421,880 fine against San Quentin State Prison is several times higher than any others levied by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal/OSHA. Only a few others exceed $100,000, and most are several thousand dollars.
The announcement comes days after the state’s inspector general said corrections officials’ poorly planned attempts to protect inmates from the coronavirus at a Southern California prison “caused a public health disaster” at San Quentin, north of San Francisco. The outbreak sickened 75% of the inmate population, and led to the deaths of 28 inmates and a correctional officer there.
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Motorists line up to take a coronavirus test in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in Los Angeles. Ringo H.W. Chiu, APFullscreen
A clinician cares for a COVID-19 patient at Providence St. Mary Medical Center amid a surge in COVID-19 patients at the hospital and across Southern California on Jan. 6, 2021 in Apple Valley, California. The hospital is operating at over 200 percent of its normal ICU (Intensive Care Unit) capacity and is currently converting some patient rooms into ICU rooms to treat the increase in COVID-19 patients requiring ICU-level care. California has issued a new directive ordering hospitals with space to accept patients from other hospitals which have run out of ICU beds due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mario Tama, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Registered nurse Kennoka Williamson wears personal protective equipment (PPE) as she attends to patients in a suspected Covid-19 patient triage area set up in a field hospital tent outside the emergency department of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Community Hospital on Jan. 6, 2021 in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Los Angeles, Calif. PATRICK T. FALLON, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Two nurses put a ventilator on a patient in a COVID-19 unit at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., Jan. 7, 2021. Jae C. Hong, APFullscreen
A nurse dons personal protective equipment (PPE) to attend to a patients in a Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Community Hospital on Jan. 6, 2021 in Los Angeles, Calif. PATRICK T. FALLON, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Registered nurse Merri Lynn Anderson, right, tends to her patient in a COVID-19 unit at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Jae C. Hong, APFullscreen
A nurse wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) including a personal air purifying respirator (PAPR) looks through a door into a patients room in a Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Community Hospital on Jan. 6 2021 in Los Angeles. PATRICK T. FALLON, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Patients lie on stretchers in a hallway in the overloaded Emergency Room at Providence St. Mary Medical Center amid a surge in COVID-19 patients in Southern California on Jan. 5, 2021 in Apple Valley, Calif. Mario Tama, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Rebecca Gonzalez-Schafer works in the temporary patient information booth set up in the parking lot at Providence St. Mary Medical Center amid a surge in COVID-19 patients in Southern California on Jan. 5, 2021 in Apple Valley, Calif. Mario Tama, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Registered nurse Yeni Sandoval manages medication for a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in Tarzana, Calif. on Jan. 3, 2021. Approximately four weeks ago, the hospital had a very manageable census, and very small amounts of patients in the ICU, but since Thanksgiving it seems like the census has been doubling every 10 days and they’ve gotten to a point where 80% of the hospital is filled with patients with COVID-19, and 90% of the ICU is now filled with COVID-19. APU GOMES, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Memorial Hospital registered nurse Kari Carrell cares for a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit on Dec. 29, 2020, in Bakersfield, Calif. Alex Horvath, Bakersfield Californian via APFullscreen
People stroll on the Venice Beach Boardwalk in Los Angeles, Dec. 27, 2020. In Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, county estimates show that about 1 in 95 people are contagious with the coronavirus. Damian Dovarganes, APFullscreen
Registered nurse Leslie Clark, right, collects a nasal swab sample from a mans as administrative worker Sander Edmondson works on his computer at a COVID-19 testing site in Los Angeles, Dec. 27, 2020. Hospitals in central and Southern California are quickly running out of intensive care unit beds for coronavirus patients and state officials are poised to extend the strictest stay-at-home orders there as conditions worsen before the post-holiday surge hits. Jae C. Hong, APFullscreen
COVID-19 patient Efrain Molina, center, gets a fist bump from nurse leader Edgar Ramirez at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Dec. 22, 2020. Jae C. Hong, APFullscreen
Registered nurse Romina Pacheco disinfects her powered air purifying respirator after tending to a patient in a COVID-19 unit decorated with Christmas stockings with nurses’ names written on them at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, Calif., Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. Jae C. Hong, APFullscreen
People wait in line to register for a COVID-19 test at a free walk-up testing site in Van Nuys, Calif. Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City are taking mobile COVID-19 testing to residents at pop-up testing sites in various neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAYFullscreen
Volunteers look over the interior of a temporary building they are constructing next to the emergency room entrance at University of California, Irvine Medical Center. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY NETWORKFullscreen
Physical therapist Alireza Akbarpour, right, helps Maria Herrera exercise in a COVID-19 unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jae C. Hong, APFullscreen
A worker hands a testing kit to a woman at a free COVID-19 pop-up testing site in Van Nuys, Calif. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAYFullscreen
Dr. Mher Onanyan takes a short break while waiting for an X-ray of a COVID-19 patient’s lungs at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jae C. Hong, APFullscreen
Nurses treat a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jae C. Hong, APFullscreen
Registered nurse Melanie LaMadrid checks on a patient in a COVID-19 unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jae C. Hong, APFullscreen
Clinicians work after manually proning a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Sharp Grossmont Hospital on December 14, 2020 in La Mesa, California. According to state figures Southern California, which includes San Diego County, currently has only .5 percent of its ICU (Intensive Care Unit) bed capacity remaining amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Sharp HealthCare is the largest health system in San Diego County and is currently treating approximately 400 COVID-19 patients in its four acute hospitals. Mario Tama, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Doctor Ali Jamehdor, Chief Director of the Emergency Room of the Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center, stands in front of a Covid-19 triage tent for patients with symptoms in Long Beach, California, on December 17, 2020. APU GOMES, AFP via Getty ImagesFullscreen
Clinicians work in the former lobby of Providence St. Mary Medical Center, which has been converted into a care space to treat suspected COVID patients, amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in Southern California on December 23, 2020 in Apple Valley, California. Mario Tama, Getty ImagesFullscreen
Juliet Babayan holds a gift for her sister Violet Bonyad as they visit through a window at the Ararat Nursing Facility on Christmas Eve on December 24, 2020 in Mission Hills, California. Mario Tama, Getty ImagesFullscreen
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How a secret military experiment left Black Georgians wary of COVID vaccine
Black Americans are more hesitant than white Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The reasons for that hit close to home in Savannah, Georgia, where a classified military operation in the 1950s dropped hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes – mosquitoes that many believe were infected with disease – on Carver Village.
“They didn’t tell anybody, and it happened,” said Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis. “And so that leaves some apprehension, especially when you have residents of that area who’ve been there since the ’50s. And so my job as neighborhood president, and also as chairman of the County Commission, is to kind of calm the storm down to let them know that this vaccination is not like that.”
The Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been tracking attitudes about the vaccine for months, indicates 43% of Black adults in the U.S. are taking a “wait and see” approach to the vaccine, according to results of a poll completed Jan. 18. That compares to 26% of white adults in the same poll who say that when an FDA approved vaccine for COVID-19 is available to them for free, they would wait and see how it is working for other people. Read more here.
– Mary Landers, Savannah Morning News
Johnson & Johnson, whose single-dose COVID-19 vaccine provided 66% protection against the disease in international trials, requested emergency-use authorization from the FDA on Thursday.
If it gains clearance, the J&J offering could serve as another valuable tool in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic at a time when vaccine demand outstrips supply. The company said it expects to deliver 100 million doses before the end of June.
The J&J vaccine demonstrated higher effectiveness in U.S. trials (72%) than in overall testing, though it didn’t perform as well as the vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna (both above 94%). But the J&J product has two distinct advantages: It requires only one shot – the company is exploring whether a second one would improve protection – and it can be stored at refrigerator temperatures. The other two vaccines need to be frozen.