US

COVID hospitalizations hit new record and deaths hit 300K on the first day of vaccine rollout

As the first Pfizer vaccines were administered in the US on Monday, the country hit a new devastating record for hospitalizations with more than 110,000 people being treated for COVID-19.

The virus continues to grip the country with more than 193,000 new cases and 1,358 deaths recorded on Monday and a new record of 110,549 patients hospitalized with the virus, according to The COVID Tracking Project

Monday’s hospitalization number shattered a single-day record set Sunday when 109,331 hospitalizations were reported.  The seven-day rolling average of hospitalizations is now 107,856.

Western states are now outpacing the Midwest with 739 infections per million people. The West alone accounts for 31 percent of all reported cases.

The tragic numbers come the same day the US’ COVID-19 death toll surpassed the grim 300,000 milestone, mere hours after the first virus vaccines were administered. 

On Monday the nation hit a new record for hospitalizations with 110,549 people being treated for COVID-19. Monday’s hospitalization number shattered a single-day record set Sunday when 109,331 hospitalizations were reported

Western states are now outpacing the Midwest with 739 infections per million people. The West alone accounts for 31 percent of all reported cases in the country

Western states are now outpacing the Midwest with 739 infections per million people. The West alone accounts for 31 percent of all reported cases in the country

Also on Monday the US COVID-19 death toll surpassed the grim 300,000 milestone, mere hours after the first virus vaccines were administered

Also on Monday the US COVID-19 death toll surpassed the grim 300,000 milestone, mere hours after the first virus vaccines were administered

Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care nurse in New York City, was the first to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens this morning during a livestream with New York Gov Andrew Cuomo. 

Just hours later, the number of Americans to die from coronavirus amid the pandemic ticked over the 300,000 mark. The seven-day rolling average for deaths is now just over 2,400 per day.   

President Donald Trump had congratulated the country this morning just moments after the ICU nurse received her dose: ‘First Vaccine Administered. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!’ 

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.

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

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

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

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

Colorado Governor Jared Polis opens the shipping box bearing the state's first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine at the laboratory for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment early Monday

Colorado Governor Jared Polis opens the shipping box bearing the state’s first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine at the laboratory for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment early Monday

Pharmacist Chris Martin, with UCHealth, holds the first COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Monday

Pharmacist Chris Martin, with UCHealth, holds the first COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Monday

COVID-19 infections are still increasing in the US with total cases topping 16million

COVID-19 infections are still increasing in the US with total cases topping 16million

Today there are more than 16.5million cases of COVID-19 across the US and more than 300,400virus related deaths

Today there are more than 16.5million cases of COVID-19 across the US and more than 300,400virus related deaths

In New York City, Lindsay said she felt relief after becoming the first to be given the shot.  

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

Over 70s

Over 65s

Over 60s

Over 50s

People with chronic health conditions

Later phases – by spring 2021

Young adults

Children

‘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 Tuesday. 

“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. 

On Sunday the country reported 190,920 new cases, 1,389 new deaths, and 109,331 hospitalizations from COVID-19. 

In the face of the surge in all three metrics, health officials are pinning their hopes of bringing the virus to its knees with a vaccine. 

President Donald Trump tweeted just moments after the ICU nurse received her dose: 'First Vaccine Administered. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!'

President Donald Trump tweeted just moments after the ICU nurse received her dose: ‘First Vaccine Administered. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!’

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

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

NEW YORK: Dr Yves Duroseau from Lennox Hill Hospital is inoculated with the vaccine by Dr Michelle Chester from Northwell Health at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens this morning. Duroseau said he lost an uncle to COVID-19 and urged Americans not to fear the vaccination

OHIO: Ohio State employee Stacey Boyer receives the Pfizer vaccine in Columbus, Ohio on Monday afternoon

CONNECTICUT: Healthcare worker Connor Paleski is given the vaccine outside of Hartford Hospital

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

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

LOUISIANA: Chief nursing officer Debbie Ford is comforted by a pharmacist after receiving the vaccine shot at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans

FLORIDA: Nurse Vanessa Arroyo gets her vaccine shot at Tampa General Hospital (left). 

Christy Ruffell, left, manager of clinic nursing standards at UCHealth Medical Center, administers the Covid-19 vaccine to CNA Luis Perez at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins on Monday

Christy Ruffell, left, manager of clinic nursing standards at UCHealth Medical Center, administers the Covid-19 vaccine to CNA Luis Perez at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins on Monday

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar described Monday’s vaccine distribution as ‘historic’ and said he’ll watch frontline health care workers get vaccinated in Washington DC.

‘I’m just excited that I’m going to get to see some frontline health care workers today, as part of the plan to George Washington Hospital vaccination, and get to see them getting vaccinated – some of the first people in the county,’ Azar told NBC’s Today.

Azar predicted that Americans will be able to just go into their pharmacy by late February to get a COVID-19 vaccine, similar to how the flu vaccine is administered.

‘I think we could be seeing that (general public vaccination) by late February going into March. It really, again, is going to be up to our nation’s governors, but with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine, we’ll have, as I said, as many as 100 million shots in arms by the end of February.’ 

The Trump administration is now rushing to roll out its $250 million vaccination public education campaign – Building Vaccine Confidence – in the same week that the first Americans received initial doses.

The public campaign, which includes a wave of advertisements, will begin this week across the country and is targeting those who are hesitant to take the vaccine but could be persuaded to, the New York Times reports.

It was delayed six weeks after health secretary Azar ordered an internal review following scrutiny from Democrats.

The initial campaign, which Democrats said was propaganda for Trump’s reelection, was supposed to feature celebrities like Dennis Quaid and Billy Ray Cyrus.

Mark Weber, the federal official who is behind the campaign, said it will now be a ‘science-based approach’. 

‘This is exciting; the vaccines have been developed in record time,’ he said. ‘But we have to be careful not to generate demand before they are available to the broader public.’  

Weber, who has a marketing degree, said the campaign was battling a ‘credibility factor right now’.

Dr Anthony Fauci also acknowledged the challenges given the divisiveness currently within the US.

‘When you have an anti-science element together with a divisiveness in the country, it will be challenging,’ he said. ‘But you know, we’ve done challenging things before.’ 

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla admitted this morning that he was initially skeptical the drugmaker could even produce the vaccine at such historic speeds. 

‘I was hoping, I was aspiring and I was driving everything so we could do it. But deep inside me I thought it was a very stretch goal and there is a small possibility to make it but we made it,’ he told CNBC’s Squawk Box.  

COVID-19 vaccines are here – now what? Everything you need to know about the newly-approved shot and when you can get it 

The U.S. 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 U.S. 

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

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. 

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)
  • Albertsons
  • Costco 
  • 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)
  • CPESN 
  • Good Neighbor Pharmacy and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation’s PSAO
  • Health Mart Systems, Inc.
  • H-E-B, LP 
  • Hy-Vee 
  • LeaderNET and Medicine Shoppe, Cardinal Health’s PSAOs
  • Managed Health Care Associates (MHA)
  • Meijer 
  • Publix Super Markets 
  • Food Lion
  • Giant Food
  • The Giant Company
  • Hannaford Bros Co 
  • Stop & Shop
  • Winn Dixie Stores (including Harveys and Fresco Y Mas)     

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.   




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