By MORGAN WINSOR and ERIN SCHUMAKER, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 90.4 million people worldwide and killed over 1.9 million of them, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Here’s how the news is developing Monday. All times Eastern:
Jan 11, 1:13 pm
Japan identifies new COVID-19 variant: WHO
Japan has identified a new variant of COVID-19, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said during a Monday news conference.
Japanese health officials alerted the WHO of the new variant, which is different than COVID-19 variants first identified in the U.K. and in South Africa, over the weekend. High transmission of the virus in much of the world is giving it more chances to mutate and evolve into new variants.
“Most notably, transmissibility of some variants of the virus appears to be increasing,” Tedros said. “This can drive a surge of cases and hospitalizations, which is highly problematic for health workers and hospitals already close to breaking point,” he added.
“At present, the variants do not seem to show increased severity of disease,” Tedros said.
Jan 11, 12:36 pm
Single greatest cause of line-of-duty officers deaths last year was COVID-19
COVID-19 killed more law enforcement officers in the line of duty than anything else in 2020, according to a new report.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund report found that 145 of the 264 federal, state, military, tribal and local law enforcement officer deaths last year were related to COVID-19, with that number expected to rise as more deaths from the virus are confirmed. Other officer fatalities in 2020 included car crashes, heart attacks, stroke and firearm deaths.
Last year marked the highest number of line-of-duty law enforcement deaths since 1974.
Jan 11, 11:35 am
One American death from COVID-19 is reported every 30 seconds
It’s just over a week into 2021 and the United States has already seen its worst week on record for both COVID-19 infections and deaths.
In the first 10 days of the month, the country has recorded some 2.35 million COVID-19 cases and more than 28,000 deaths from the disease. That works out to be around 163 Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 every minute, and approximately one American death from the disease reported every 30 seconds, according to an ABC News analysis of data compiled by The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the U.S. outbreak.
The U.S. has not seen a day with fewer than 100,000 new cases in more than two months, with a record-high average of 243,000 newly confirmed infections every day. In the last week alone, that average of daily cases has increased by approximately 16.3%.
Sunday marked the 41st consecutive day with more than 1,000 fatalities from COVID-19 reported nationwide. The country’s average of daily deaths jumped by 21.4% in the last seven days.
Meanwhile, more than 129,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 across the U.S. — a number that has hovered around 130,000 for the last several days.
At the current rate, January could surpass December’s staggering COVID-19 totals to become the nation’s hardest hit month of the pandemic.
Jan 11, 11:11 am
Pope Francis’ personal doctor dies from COVID-19
Pope Francis’ personal doctor has died of complications related to COVID-19, the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano announced Saturday.
Fabrizio Soccorsi, 78, was being treated for cancer at a hospital in Rome at the time of his death, according to the newspaper.
Soccorsi was chosen by the pontiff to be his personal physician in 2015.
In an interview with Italian television channel Canale 5 that aired Sunday night, Francis said COVID-19 vaccinations will begin at the Vatican next week and that he will get the shot.
Jan 11, 10:42 am
Palestinian health ministry approves Russian vaccine
Sputnik V, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Russia, has been registered by the Palestinian Ministry of Health for emergency use in Palestinian self-ruled territory, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund announced Monday.
The first shipment of doses is expected to arrive next month, according to a press release from the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is responsible for worldwide marketing of the vaccine.
The RDIF didn’t say how many doses would be shipped to the Palestinian Authority — which governs parts of the West Bank under interim peace deals with Israel — but that supplies would be facilitated by manufacturing partners in India, China, South Korea and other countries.
As of Jan. 5, the World Health Organization had recorded more than 157,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the occupied Palestinian territories, including at least 1,578 deaths.
Jan 11, 9:29 am
Moderna vaccine doses arrive in France
More than 50,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. biotechnology company Moderna are expected to arrive in France on Monday, according to a statement from the country’s health ministry.
France should have nearly eight million doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of June, the health ministry said.
Last week, the European Medicines Agency authorized the Moderna vaccine for use across the European Union. Another COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech was approved two weeks earlier. Both vaccines are administered in two doses.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran told Europe 1 radio that the Moderna doses will then be sent to towns and cities with the highest virus circulation. The doses should reach vaccination centers by Wednesday, he said.
By the end of the weekend, Veran said, more than 100,000 people should have received a first dose of the vaccine.
France has faced criticism for a slow vaccine rollout compared to its EU neighbors.
Jan 11, 7:24 am
Mexico detects first case of UK variant
A new, more infectious variant of the novel coronavirus that was first detected in the United Kingdom has now been discovered in Mexico.
The strain, called B117, was confirmed in a 56-year-old foreign citizen who had traveled from Amsterdam to Mexico City on Dec. 28, and then to the northeastern city of Matamoros the following day. The individual was asymptomatic when he arrived in the country, according to Mexico’s director general of epidemiology, Jose Luis Alomia Zegarra.
After testing positive for COVID-19, the man was admitted to a Mexican hospital last week where he remains intubated, Zegarra said.
Genomic sequencing of the patient’s sample that tested positive for COVID-19 revealed its B117 lineage. More than 500 suspected cases of the U.K. variant have been tested in Mexico, but this is the country’s first verified case, according to Zegarra.
Mexican health authorities are tracking contacts of the patient, including people who traveled on the same flight. Two individuals who showed symptoms have since tested negative for COVID-19, while another 31 are asymptomatic and remain in isolation. Officials have been unable to locate 12 others, Zegarra said.
The highly contagious strain has become prevalent in London and other parts of southeast England, after first being identified in the English county of Kent in September. The B117 variant has since been detected in over a dozen other countries.
Jan 11, 6:40 am
Seychelles becomes first African nation to roll out COVID-19 vaccine
Seychelles, an island nation of just under 100,000 people, has begun immunizing its population against COVID-19 with a vaccine developed by China’s state-owned pharmaceutical company, Sinopharm.
Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan became the first African head of state to receive the Sinopharm vaccine on Sunday, as the country officially launched a national COVID-19 immunization campaign — the first in Africa to do so. The Seychelles Ministry of Health began administering the shot to priority groups on Monday, starting with health care professionals and other front-line workers, according to a press release from the president’s office.
Last month, China authorized Sinopharm’s vaccine for general use after the company announced that preliminary data from late-stage trials had shown it to be 79.3% effective. The shot is administered in two doses.
The United Arab Emirates donated 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to Seychelles. India offered 100,000 doses of another COVID-19 vaccine developed by England’s University of Oxford and British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which are due to arrive in Seychelles at the end of the month, according to the president’s office.
“With such a robust vaccination campaign, Seychelles aims to be the first country in the world to vaccinate at least 70% of its over 18 population,” Ramkalawan said in a statement Sunday. “From there, we will be able to declare Seychelles as being COVID safe. This will allow us to reopen our economy.”
Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago located off the coast of East Africa, has reported 508 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including at least one death, according to the latest data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jan 11, 5:44 am
US reports over 213,000 new cases
There were 213,905 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Sunday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
It’s the sixth straight day that the country has reported more than 200,000 newly confirmed infections. Sunday’s tally is less than the all-time high of 302,506 new cases, which the country logged on Jan. 2, Johns Hopkins data shows.
An additional 1,814 new deaths from COVID-19 were also registered nationwide Sunday, down from the country’s peak of 4,194 fatalities on Jan. 7, according to Johns Hopkins data.
COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the holidays followed by a potentially very large backlog.
A total of 22,409,131 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 374,329 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.
Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of the pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.
The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4 and reaching 200,000 for the first time on Nov. 27.
Jan 11, 5:16 am
WHO experts probing virus origins travel to China, as country marks one year since 1st COVID-19 death
A group of experts from the World Health Organization are set to arrive in China on Thursday for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
China’s National Health Commission confirmed the upcoming visit in a brief statement Monday, saying the WHO team would be meeting with Chinese scientists to conduct joint scientific research on the virus’ origin. It’s unclear exactly where they will be carrying out their research and whether they will travel to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus was first detected in December 2019.
The visit follows negotiations between both sides, with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressing disappointment last week over delays with the probe.
Meanwhile, China marked one year on Monday since confirming its first death from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. China’s National Health Commission has since reported more than 87,000 cases of COVID-19 on the Chinese mainland, including at least 4,634 deaths, though those figures are believed to be much higher.
Jan 11, 4:30 am
Russia detects first cases of UK variant
A new, more contagious variant of the novel coronavirus that was first detected in the United Kingdom has now been discovered in Russia.
The strain, called B117, was confirmed among four Russian citizens who had tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning from the U.K., Russia’s chief sanitary doctor, Anna Popova, told reporters Sunday evening.
After being identified in England in late December, B117 has become prevalent in London and other parts of southeast England.
Last month, Russia joined the growing list of countries to suspend flights from the U.K. amid rising COVID-19 infections and concerns about the highly infectious variant there.
With more than 3.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, Russia has the fourth-highest tally of diagnosed infections in the world, followed by the U.K., according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Russia confirmed 23,315 new cases and 436 additional deaths from the disease on Sunday, according to the country’s coronavirus headquarters.
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