Gov Gavin Newsom said California is facing its ‘most intense and urgent’ stage of the pandemic on Tuesday
California has increased its body bag supply by 5,000 and put dozens of mobile morgues on standby as the state faces its ‘most intense’ coronavirus surge yet.
Governor Gavin Newsom warned of the possibility of thousands deaths in the coming weeks at a press conference on Tuesday as California reported more than 32,300 new COVID-19 cases and a seven-day average positivity rate of 10.6 percent – the highest since the start of the pandemic.
The state’s seven-day average for daily deaths has risen almost three-fold in the last month to 163 this week. The 142 new fatalities reported Tuesday raised the death toll to 21,188, out of more than 1.6 million total cases.
Newsom said he has activated California’s coroner mutual aid and mass fatality program to coordinate the response of coroners and morgues as the death rate continues to climb.
The state recently distributed 5,000 additional body bags to Los Angeles, San Diego and Inyo counties, he said, while 60 53-foot refrigerated storage units were put on standby in counties and at hospitals where morgues could soon reach capacity.
‘We’re going through perhaps the most intense and urgent moment since the beginning of this pandemic,’ Newsom said. ‘This is a deadly disease, and we need to be mindful of where we are. We are not at the finish line yet.’
The governor’s grim update came as the seven-day average for daily deaths around the US reached a new high of 2,472, with 2,918 reported in the preceding 24 hours, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
More than 17,000 Americans died of COVID-19 last week alone, marking the deadliest week since the pandemic began and a 10 percent increase in deaths compared to the previous seven days.
America continues to weather a devastating surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, setting new records in several categories on Tuesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project
The seven-day average for daily deaths around the US reached a new high of 2,472 on Tuesday
Nearly 113,000 people nationwide are currently hospitalized with the virus – the highest number at any point during the pandemic. The seven-day average for hospitalizations also broke a record with 109,031 after nine consecutive days of gains
Nearly 113,000 people nationwide are currently hospitalized with the virus – the highest number at any point during the pandemic. The seven-day average for hospitalizations also broke a record with 109,031 after nine consecutive days of increases.
Offering a glimmer of hope amid the harrowing latest tallies is the roll out America’s first COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, which began arriving at hundreds of locations around the country on Monday, just three days after receiving emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
But experts say the vaccine alone won’t be able to bring the pandemic to its knees as they plead with the public to be cautious over Christmas and New Years.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has projected that COVID-19 deaths – which surpassed a grim milestone of 300,000 just hours after the first vaccines were administered Monday, could exceed 500,000 by April 1 if current behaviors remain in place.
The US added nearly 190,000 new coronavirus cases and 2,918 deaths on Tuesday
More than 17,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 in last week alone, marking the deadliest week since the pandemic began
COVID-19 infections are still increasing in the US with total cases topping 16.5 million
Coronavirus deaths have increased 10 percent in the last week compared to the previous seven days. Wyoming, Utah and Colorado saw the largest increases in deaths last week. North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa currently have the highest number of deaths per 100,000 people based on a seven-day average
States in the West have experienced the worse of the country’s latest surge in infections, accounting for 738 cases per million people (or 31 percent of total infections), according COVID Tracking Project data over the weekend. The Midwest had 722 cases per million yesterday, while the Northeast had 628 and the South had 559 per capita.
The West’s lead has been driven by California – the nation’s most populous state – where the positivity rate has jumped more than four percent over the past two weeks.
Even more troubling is the Golden State’s hospitalization rate, which has risen by 68 percent since December 1, Newsom said Tuesday.
Intensive care unit admissions increased by 54 percent during that period, bringing available ICU capacity to 5.7 percent.
Two out of five California regions – San Joaquin Valley and Southern California – currently have less than two percent of ICU beds available. Newsom said surge staffing and management will go into effect when a region hits zero percent.
California reported more than 32,300 new COVID-19 cases and 142 new deaths on Tuesday. The state’s seven-day average positivity rate currently stands at 10.6 percent – the highest since the start of the pandemic
California’s seven-day average for daily deaths has risen almost three-fold in the last month to 163 this week
California’s hospitalization rate has risen by 68 percent since December 1, with 15,198 people hospitalized as of Tuesday. Intensive care unit admissions increased by 54 percent during that period, bringing available ICU capacity to 5.7 percent
Newsom watches as ICU nurse Helen Cordova receives Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles on Monday
San Joaquin Valley, Southern California and Greater Sacramento – which together account for 77 percent of the state’s population, were placed under a stay-at-home order after their ICU availability dropped below 15 percent, triggering the closures of many nonessential businesses and limiting resident activity for at least three weeks.
Los Angeles County imposed even harsher restrictions than those set by the state earlier this month amid a more than 300 percent surge in average daily hospitalizations.
As of Monday nearly half of the county’s ICU beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients as officials warned it could be more than half by the weekend.
‘Our reality is frightening at the moment,’ Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
In more positive news, Newsom on Tuesday said the first 33,150 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine had already arrived in California and more are on the way this week. He said if the Moderna vaccine gets the green-light from the FDA, the state expects to receive 2.1 million doses of both options by the end of the month.
As cases and hospitalizations surge in the West, the Midwest has continued to see declines in rates per capita for both categories, despite still leading for the latter.
The Midwest also has the most deaths per capita over a seven-day average, driven by spikes in North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.
South Dakota’s infections declined 17 percent last week compared to the previous seven days and Iowa’s cases were down 25 percent. North Dakota still saw an increase of 13 percent but that has slowed considerably from previous weeks.
Deaths are a lagging indicator and can potentially surge weeks after infections.
Hospitalization rates per one million people are broken down by region in the chart above – with the Midwest in the lead
Western states are now outpacing the Midwest with 738 infections per million people. The West alone accounts for 31 percent of all reported cases in the country
COVID-19 cases are still increasing nationally with infections last week totaling a record 1.6 million, which is up 15 percent compared to the previous week. Washington, Tennessee and California saw the largest spikes last week. Rhode Island, Tennessee and Ohio are currently seeing the most infections per 100,000
COVID-19 cases are still increasing nationally with infections last week totaling a record 1.6 million, which is up 15 percent compared to the previous week.
Rhode Island, Tennessee and Ohio are currently seeing the most infections per 100,000, according to CDC data.
The devastating toll is only expected to grow in coming weeks, fueled by holiday travel and family gatherings.
Hundreds more hospitals geared up to vaccinate their workers on Tuesday as federal regulators issued a positive review of a second COVID-19 vaccine needed to boost the nation’s largest vaccination campaign.
The FDA said its preliminary analysis confirmed the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, bringing it to the cusp of authorization. A panel of outside experts will offer their recommendation on Thursday, with a final FDA decision expected soon thereafter.
The positive news comes as hospitals ramped up vaccinations with the shot developed by Pfizer. The first vaccine deliveries provided a measure of encouragement to exhausted doctors, nurses and hospital staffers around the country.
Dr Anthony Fauci called the rollout of the vaccine this week a ‘bittersweet moment’ given the rising daily numbers of deaths, cases and hospitalizations.
‘We are still in a terrible situation – the deaths, hospitalizations, the number of cases,’ he told ABC’s Good Morning America.
‘We’re really starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have to get people vaccinated as quickly as we can. We have to adhere to public health measures in order to blunt the acceleration of the numbers we’re seeing every day.’
Addressing the skepticism surrounding the vaccine, Fauci said the speed in which the vaccine was created was not ‘at the sacrifice of safety’.
‘People, understandably, are skeptical about the speed, but we have to keep emphasizing speed means the science was extraordinary that got us here,’ he said.
The CDC is planning to encourage Americans to wear a sticker saying they got vaccinated in an effort to encourage people to get the shots.
The agency has already designed a sticker that reads: ‘I got my COVID-19 vaccine!’
The intensive care nurse in New York City who was the first to receive the vaccine yesterday immediately put on a sticker that read: ‘Crushing COVID-19, got my vaccine’.
Dr. Joseph Varon, left, medical staff members Gabriel Cervera Rodriguez, second from left, Elizabeth Gamboa, third from left, and Stephanie, right, perform tracheostomy procedure on a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas on Monday as virus hospitalizations soar
Medical staffers watch a screen while performing tracheostomy procedure on a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit patient at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas on Monday
A medical staff member Demetra Ransom prepares to draw blood from a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on Monday
Staff members help a newly arriving 81-year-old African American COVID-19 patient get settled into the ICU ward at Roseland Community Hospital on Monday in Chicago, Illinois
CDC wants people to wear COVID-19 vaccine stickers to boost support
The CDC has designed these stickers for Americans to wear after they’re vaccinated
The CDC is planning to encourage Americans to wear a sticker saying they got vaccinated in an effort to motivate people to get the shots.
The agency has already designed an orange and white sticker that reads: ‘I got my COVID-19 vaccine!’
Sandra Lindsay, the intensive care nurse in New York City who was the first to receive the vaccine yesterday, immediately put on a sticker that read: ‘Crushing COVID-19, got my vaccine’.
Just half of Americans say they want to get vaccinated, while about a quarter don’t and the rest are unsure, according to a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Health Research.
Dr Anthony Fauci addressed the skepticism surrounding the vaccine, saying the speed in which it was created was not ‘at the sacrifice of safety’.
That nurse, Sandra Lindsay, got vaccinated at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens yesterday during a livestream with New York Gov Andrew Cuomo.
Vaccinations continued to roll out throughout the morning with healthcare workers from Ohio to Louisiana rolling up their sleeves to get the shot after shipments of the frozen vaccine vials began to arrive at hospitals across the country.
Healthcare workers are among the first to receive the vaccine. General Gustave Perna, who is in charge of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed, said vaccinations will start in nursing homes this week.
In New York City, Lindsay said she felt relief after becoming the first to be given the shot.
‘It didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine,’ Lindsay said. ‘I feel hopeful today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history. I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe.’
With a countdown of ‘3-2-1,’ workers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center gave the first injections to applause.
In New Orleans, Steven Lee, an intensive care unit pharmacist at Ochsner Medical Center, summed up the moment as he got his own vaccination: ‘We can finally prevent the disease as opposed to treating it.’
Other hospitals around the country, from Rhode Island to Texas, unloaded precious frozen vials of vaccine – with staggered deliveries set to continue throughout the day and into today.
‘This is the light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s a long tunnel,’ New York Gov Andrew Cuomo said.
‘New York state did what we believe is the first vaccination in the United States.
‘We have 170,000 dozes from Pfizer, 346,000 from Moderna. We have 90 distribution sites. Today we’re in the process of administering 10,000 vaccines. New York came out of the blocks very quickly and very aggressively. The vaccine only works if we take it.’
The first 2.9 million doses began to be shipped to distribution centers around the country on Sunday from Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The pharmaceutical giant said the first shipments will deliver millions of doses to 64 states, US territories and major cities, as well as five federal agencies.
NEW YORK: An intensive care nurse in New York, Sandra Lindsay, is among the first in the country to receive a COVID-19 shot this morning. She was vaccinated at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens just before 9.30am this morning during a livestream with New York Gov Andrew Cuomo
OHIO: Ohio State employee Stacey Boyer receives the Pfizer vaccine in Columbus, Ohio on Monday afternoon (left). CONNECTICUT: Healthcare worker Connor Paleski is given the vaccine outside of Hartford Hospital in Connecticut (right)
KENTUCKY: Dr. Jason Smith receives his COVID-19 vaccination at the University of Louisville Hospital on Monday
FLORIDA: Nurse Vanessa Arroyo gets her vaccine shot at Tampa General Hospital (left)
WHO IS FIRST IN LINE FOR COVID-19 VACCINE?
First phase – starting now:
Health care workers
Nursing home and long-term care facility residents
Second phase – January 2021
Non health care essential workers
People with chronic health conditions
Later phases – by spring 2021
Moderna vaccine gets initial nod from panel of FDA scientists who say it protects against COVID-19 raising hopes a second US jab will get approved THIS WEEK as hospitals scramble to rollout Pfizer’s shot
Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine has a good review from the FDA so far, according to documents published by agency scientists on Tuesday, bringing the U.S. a step closer to having enough doses of various shots to protect the most vulnerable Americans.
The vaccine could get emergency approval by the end of this week.
Approval of Moderna’s shot would bring a much-needed second supply of vaccines as the U.S. rolls out the limited and delicate supply of Pfizer’s shot.
The massive undertaking began over the weekend with the first vaccinations doled out Monday. But only 2.9 million doses were set to go out with Pfizer’s initial shipment.
Operation Wap Speed aims to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of this month – but that goal won’t be possible without the immediate approval of Moderna’s shot.
Hundreds more U.S. hospitals are set to begin vaccinating their workers Tuesday as federal regulators issued a positive review of a second COVID-19 vaccine shot needed to boost the nation’s largest vaccination campaign.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in documents posted online that its initial review confirmed the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), bringing the shot to the cusp of U.S. authorization.
A panel of outside experts will offer their recommendation Thursday, with a final FDA decision expected soon thereafter.
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan calls the vaccine ‘toxic waste’ that will cause harm
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has called the coronavirus vaccine ‘a free shot of toxic waste’ in a speech urging his followers not to take it.
Farrakhan, 87, was speaking virtually at the National Afrikan/Black Leadership Summit on Saturday when he made the comments.
Farrakhan, whose allegedly anti-Semitic, anti-white and anti-gay comments have previously prompted the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center to label him an extremist, said: ‘We are so frightened over this Covid, now they’re getting us ready for this vaccine.
‘Do you believe satan is concerned about vaccinating you? You trust him? After all he has done to destroy us? How could you allow him to stick a needle into you, saying he’s helping you?
‘Those of you who are health professionals, they want you to take it first. You notice they’re offering you money now? This devil…offers you $1,000 or $1,500 to take a shot. They give you free shots of toxic waste.’
A poll released last week already shows less than a quarter of black Americans plan to get vaccinated.
The positive news comes as hospitals across the U.S. begin ramping up vaccinations with the shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech’s, which the FDA cleared last week.
Packed in dry ice to stay at ultra-frozen temperatures, shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are set to arrive at 400 additional hospitals and other distribution sites on Tuesday, one day after the nation’s death toll surpassed a staggering 300,000.
The first three million shots are being strictly rationed to front-line health workers and elder-care patients, with hundreds of millions more shots needed over the coming months to protect most Americans.
A second vaccine can’t come soon enough as the country’s daily death count continues to top 2,400 amid over 210,000 new daily cases. The first vaccine deliveries have provided a measure of encouragement to exhausted doctors, nurses and hospital staffers around the country.
In Florida, government officials expect to have 100,000 doses of the vaccine by Tuesday at five hospitals across the state.
Vaccinations were also expected to kick off Tuesday in New Jersey, which is dividing some 76,000 doses among health workers and nursing home residents.
The federal government is coordinating the massive delivery operation by private shipping and distribution companies based on locations chosen by state governors.
Following another initial set of deliveries Wednesday, officials with the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed in Washington said they will begin moving 580 more shipments through the weekend.
‘We’re starting our drumbeat of continuous execution of vaccine as it is available,’ Army Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer for Warp Speed, told reporters Monday. ‘We package and we deliver. It is a constant flow of available vaccine.’
Shots for nursing home residents won’t begin in most states until next Monday, when some 1,100 facilities are set to begin vaccinations.
Perna and other U.S. officials reiterated their projection that 20 million Americans will be able to get their first shots by the end of December, and 30 million more in January.
That projection assumes swift authorization of the Moderna vaccine up for review this week.
COVID-19 vaccines are here – now what? Everything you need to know about the newly-approved shot and when you can get it
The US has finally approved its first coronavirus vaccine and began dosing some of the most at-risk people, including health care workers, on Monday.
But the supply of Pfizer‘s vaccine is scarce. The firm shipped out just 2.9 million doses, beginning over the weekend.
The rollout of coronavirus vaccines will have many stages and is the most massive vaccination campaign ever undertaken in the US.
DailyMail.com breaks down what will happen next.
Health care workers are among the first to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the US – but younger, healthy people who don’t work on the front lines could be waiting months
WHAT VACCINES ARE AVAILABLE NOW AND CAN I GET ONE?
As of Monday, the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech is the first and only one approved for use in the U.S – but more are on the way.
Regulators on Friday gave it the emergency green light for inoculating any one 16 or older.
Over the weekend, the first round of the shots were shipped out to all 50 states.
By Monday morning, just after 9am ET, the first American to ever get a COVID-19 jab outside a clinical trial, an ICU nurse named Sandra Lindsay, was vaccinated in New York.
Most other states have also administered their first doses.
But they will probably run out in the coming weeks, governors told Operation Warp Speed, so only select groups of people are eligible to get the shot in this first wave or vaccinations, dubbed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) phase 1A.
Between now the end of the 2020, the U.S. only expects to vaccinate about 20 million people.
WHO CAN GET VACCINATED THIS YEAR, AND WHEN WILL MORE SHOTS BE AVAILABLE TO MORE PEOPLE?
On December 1, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted on who should be the top priority groups for vaccination in the U.S.
The group of experts decided that it is most important to vaccinate health care workers and residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities where at-risk people tend to live in very densely packed conditions.
Health care workers are exposed over and over to coronavirus. If too many of them get sick, not only does that mean more COVID-19 cases and people who can potentially spread the disease, it means fewer professionals able to care for other coronavirus patients.
That is a quick recipe for a health care system overwhelmed by the disease.
So the group agreed that health care workers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 need to be protected as early as possible.
Most people who will get their first of two required doses of Pfizer’s vaccine on Monday will be health care workers who are at particularly high risk due to the field they work in – such as ER and ICU nurses and doctors – or because they work in health care settings and have other risk factors, such as diabetes.
Equally, they voted that people living in congregate settings need to be protected, especially elderly people with weak immune systems.
People in nursing homes will probably start receiving vaccines at the end of this week, and large programs marked by partnerships between CVS and Walgreens and nursing homes will help fuel widespread vaccination of nursing home patients.
They are expected to begin in earnest on December 21, with Pfizer’s vaccine, and December 28 with Moderna’s vaccine.
But each state can decide if it wants to follow those exact recommendations.
So, for example some states will let prisoners get vaccines in the first wave to prevent massive prison outbreaks.
The goal is to get about 40 million of the most at-risk people vaccinated as soon as possible.
WHO CAN GET A COVID-19 SHOT IN THE NEXT WAVE THAT STARTS AFTER THE NEW YEAR?
The CDC hasn’t decided yet.
Its expert committee will meet again on December 18 to decide who should be in the next round of vaccinations.
They are considering recommending people 70 and over or 60 and over, as well as non-health care essential workers.
People in each of these groups are at high-risk either because of their ages, or because they cannot work from home and are in jobs that require them to be exposed over and over to other people who may have coronavirus.
CDC experts could also recommend the next doses go to people with underlying health conditions like heart disease and diabetes who are more likely to get severely ill or die of COVID-19.
Vaccinations for these groups will most likely start in February, but could launch as early as January.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday he expects the U.S. could well have 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by the end of February.
WHO WILL GET VACCINES LATER, AND WHEN?
Dr Anthony Fauci estimates that a health, average American will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine by late March or early April.
People 50 and over could be in a separate next wave or lumped together with younger people in general.
Although the vaccine is approved for people 16 and older, and Pfizer and most other vaccine-makers are testing their shots in children, kids are at low risk of getting severely ill and don’t seem to spread the disease as much as adults.
So the youngest Americans will be among the last vaccinated.
There isn’t much data on how pregnant women respond to Pfizer’s vaccine, but scientists are continuing to study how they fare.
In the meantime, U.S. doctors recommend that pregnant women choose for themselves whether they get vaccinated or not.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that U.S. women should not be prohibited from getting the vaccine.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER SHOTS?
On Thursday, December 17, the FDA will have a hearing about Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.
Just as was the case with Pfizer’s vaccine, the FDA is expected to approve Moderna’s vaccine the following day, Friday, December 18.
Its rollout is expected to follow the same timeline as Pfizer’s, with deliveries over the weekend, and vaccinations beginning on Monday.
AstraZeneca said Monday that it would likely be able to apply for emergency approval.
Johnson & Johnson’s trial was delayed after reports of potentially dangerous side effects.
Trials have resumed, but the company has not given a date when they think they will seek approval.
WHERE CAN I GET A COVID-19 VACCINE WHEN I’M ELIGIBLE?
That, too, will depend on and vary widely based on what state you live in.
Already, dozens of retailers have signed on to help give out coronavirus vaccines, including Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, Kroger stores, Costco Albertsons and Publix.
But for the next few months, vaccines will likely be available in a much smaller subset of locations.
Some states are having private health care system partners largely run the show.
Others, like Arizona, are setting up mass vaccination sites on fair grounds and still others are calling in the national guard to orchestrate the logistics.
Doctors’ offices and other health providers will eventually have the shots too.
But in the meantime, mahy states aren’t even entirely sure how many doses of coronavirus vaccines to expect this week, let alone in the coming weeks.
WHERE CAN AMERICANS GET COVID-19 VACCINES ONCE THE FDA AUTHORIZES THEM?
Dozens of retailers have signed on to administer coronavirus vaccines for free through a partnership with the HHS.
‘The vast majority of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, and our new agreement with pharmacy partners across America is a critical step toward making sure all Americans have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines when they are available,’ HHS Secretary Alex Azar said last month.
- These stores are gearing up to give coronavirus shots:
- Walmart (including Sam’s Club)
- Walgreens (including Duane Reade)
- CVS (and Long’s)
- Rite Aid
- Kroger stores (including: Big-Y Pharmacy and Wellness Center, Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Super One Pharmacy, FRESH by Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Coborn’s Pharmacy, Cash Wise Pharmacy, MarketPlace Pharmacy, Hartig Drug Company, King Kullen, Food City Pharmacy, Ingles Pharmacy, Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Pharmacies, Save Mart Pharmacies, Lucky Pharmacies, SpartanNash, Price Chopper, Market 32, Tops Friendly Markets, ShopRite, Wegmans, Weis Markets, Acme Fresh Markets)
- Good Neighbor Pharmacy and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation’s PSAO
- Health Mart Systems, Inc.
- H-E-B, LP
- LeaderNET and Medicine Shoppe, Cardinal Health’s PSAOs
- Managed Health Care Associates (MHA)
- Publix Super Markets
- Food Lion
- Giant Food
- The Giant Company
- Hannaford Bros Co
- Stop & Shop
- Winn Dixie Stores (including Harveys and Fresco Y Mas)