By MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER, IVAN PEREIRA, EMILY SHAPIRO and JULIA JACOBO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 105 million people worldwide and killed over 2.3 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 developed over the weekend. All times Eastern:
Feb 07, 8:33 pm
US sees first day since early November with fewer than 100,000 new cases
States reported 96,003 new coronavirus cases Sunday, the first day the U.S. has seen under 100,000 new cases since Nov. 2, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Meanwhile, the number of people hospitalized continues to decrease. States reported 81,439 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, the lowest number since Nov. 19. There were 1,474 deaths reported.
However, the data is missing updates from a handful of states, some of which regularly do not report on the weekend and some of which are having technical difficulties.
According to the COVID Tracking Project, 41 states and Washington, D.C., have seen a decline in the seven-day average of cases, while the rate in nine states is staying relatively the same.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 26,996,534 confirmed coronavirus cases and 463,339 deaths in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.
Feb 07, 3:18 pm
Chicago, San Francisco school districts strike tentative deals with teachers unions over in-person learning
The battles over in-person learning between teachers and the school districts in Chicago and San Francisco may temporarily be over.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced in a press conference Sunday that “at long last” a tentative agreement has been reached. Students will return to the classroom in stages, with pre-K students starting on Feb. 11, kindergarten through fifth grades on March 1 and sixth through eighth grades on March 8.
It is unclear when high school students will be slated to return to in-person learning. Public schools in Chicago had been fully remote since the pandemic began last spring.
In San Francisco, teachers unions have agreed to return to in-person learning when the city progresses to the red tier, California’s second-least most restrictive level. The city is currently in the purple tier, the state’s most restrictive mode in the reopening plan.
ABC News’ Meredith Deliso, Joshua Hoyos and Matthew Fuhrman contributed to this report.
Feb 07, 12:46 pm
Reported cases down 50% in US, but ICU occupancy remains high in several states, report finds
The number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are continuing to decline nationwide, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
There has been a four-week downward trend of reported COVID-19 cases – resulting in a 50% decline since the peak on Jan. 8.
However, the rates of adult occupancy in intensive care units remain high in several states, the report found.
So far, 39,037,964 vaccine doses have been administered, with 9% of the population (30.3 million people) having received one or more doses and 3% of the population (8.3 million people) having received two doses.
Since President Joe Biden was sworn in on Jan. 20, 22,512,683 doses have been administered toward his 100 million goal.
ABC News’ Josh Margolin and Arielle Mitropoulos contributed to this report.
Feb 07, 12:11 pm
Cases of UK variant could be doubling every 10 days in the US, study finds
Cases of the more contagious U.K. variant of the COVID-19 virus is spreading rapidly through the U.S., as much as doubling every 10 days, a new study suggests.
The study has not peer reviewed, so it has not been scrutinized for inaccuracies or context by specialists.
It is still not known whether the U.K. variant is more virulent or deadly, but it is more transmissible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned last month that the U.K. variant could become predominant in the U.S. by March if spread the way it did in the U.K.
Vaccines don’t seem to be strongly impacted by the U.K. variant, but scientists are concerned about the efficacy of the vaccines against the South African variant.
-ABC News’ Eric Strauss
Feb 07, 11:03 am
Winter storm shuts down vaccination sites in NY, NJ
A second storm bringing heavy snow to the Northeast has shut down vaccination sites in at least two states.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy both announced that appointments for Sunday would be rescheduled due to the inclement weather.
Mass vaccination sites located indoors, such as the newly opened Yankee Stadium, will continue as scheduled as they have the infrastructure and equipment in place to ensure people can safely enter and exit the location, according to ABC New York station WABC-TV.
Feb 06, 10:40 am
9% of Americans have received 1 or more vaccine doses
Nine percent of Americans — 28.9 million people – have received one or more vaccine doses, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Two percent of Americans — 7.5 million people — have received two doses, the report said.
Deaths are down 4% since the peak on Jan. 13, while hospital admissions have decreased 37% since the Jan. 9 peak, the report said.
ABC News’ Josh Margolin and Brian Hartman contributed to this report.
Feb 06, 10:36 am
New York’s 7-day average positivity rate at lowest in 2 months
New York state’s seven-day average positivity rate has fallen to 4.58% — the lowest since Dec. 2, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.
New York has 7,804 COVID-19 patients in hospitals — the lowest since Dec. 27, he added.
Cuomo called these numbers “a reflection of the discipline New Yorkers have shown to defeat the virus.”
People wearing facemasks walk in the Chinatown area of New York City, Feb. 5, 2021.
“Super Bowl weekend is here and while the instinct may be to celebrate together, we cannot get cocky — we must continue doing the things we know are effective at taming the virus: wear a mask, adhere to social distancing, and avoid gatherings,” he said.
ABC News’ Josh Hoyos contributed to this report.
Feb 06, 7:09 am
China approves Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for general public use
China has given approval for the domestic-made Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to the general public — not just high-risk individuals and front-line workers.
The National Medical Products Administration shared the news in a statement Saturday.
The vaccine — which was given emergency approval in China last July — has already been sold to at least 10 other countries and is being given to people in at least five other countries.
China previously said shots will be given without cost to citizens.
Feb 05, 6:32 pm
Iowa to lift mask mandate starting Sunday
Iowa will roll back several COVID-19 restrictions starting Sunday, including a requirement that masks be worn indoors.
Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a new proclamation Friday that does not include any requirements around facial coverings.
Under a previous proclamation, set to expire Saturday, masks were required in indoor public spaces when social distancing for at least 15 minutes was not possible.
The new proclamation also does not impose any restrictions on public gatherings, which previously had to follow social distancing and other guidelines.
Regarding gatherings, the new proclamation states, “I strongly encourage that all businesses or other employers remaining open with in-person operations take reasonable measures under the circumstances of each establishment to ensure the health of employees, patrons and members of the public, including social distancing practices, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health.”
The governor has been loosening restrictions in recent weeks around public gatherings for sports, restaurants and bars as new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have trended downward from peaks in November.
Iowa, which initially issued its mask requirement in mid-November, will be one of 15 states that doesn’t have a statewide mask mandate, according to a tally by Masks4All.
Feb 05, 5:36 pm
Delta to offer vaccines to Atlanta workers
Delta will offer vaccinations to Georgia employees who are 65 and older starting on Monday, a company spokesperson confirmed to ABC News.
A health care provider will administer the vaccines in a section of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Concourse C) and space at the Delta Flight Museum from Feb. 8 to Feb. 14. Delta’s headquarters are located in Atlanta.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo last week that 690 Delta employees had received at least one vaccination shot.
“We continue to work with federal and state authorities to prioritize immunizations for frontline Delta people,” Bastian wrote in the memo. “While healthcare workers and our most vulnerable are already getting their shots, I strongly encourage each of you to get vaccinated when your time comes.”
ABC News’ Mina Kaji contributed to this report.
Feb 05, 4:36 pm
Global vaccinations surpass COVID-19 infections: WHO
The number of COVID-19 vaccinations around the world now surpasses infections, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said during a Friday news briefing. “In one sense, that is good news and a remarkable achievement in such a short time frame.”
On the other hand, he noted, those vaccinations have not been distributed equally.
“More than three quarters of those vaccinations are in just 10 countries that account for almost 60% of global GDP,” Tedros said. “Almost 130 countries with 2.5 billion people [have] yet to administer a single dose. Some countries have already vaccinated large proportions of their population who are at lower risk of severe disease or death.”
Tedros urged drug companies to share their technology and data to ensure more equitable access.
“The longer it takes to vaccinate those most at risk everywhere, the more opportunity we give the virus to mutate and evade vaccines,” Tedros said. “Unless we suppress the virus everywhere we could end up back at square one.”
ABC News’ Kirit Radia contributed to this report.
Feb 05, 3:44 pm
In New York, people with certain chronic conditions eligible for vaccines starting Feb. 15
People with certain chronic conditions will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations on Feb. 15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during a Friday press conference. Underlying conditions are a key risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness and death. Cuomo posted the full list of conditions on Twitter Friday afternoon, which included people with cancer, heart conditions, chronic kidney disease, severe obesity and those who are pregnant.
Feb 05, 11:33 am
8% of US population has received 1 or more vaccine doses: HHS
So far, 8% of the U.S. population has received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccines, according to official figures released Friday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In total, 35,203,710 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide. About 27.9 million people — 8% of the population — have received one or more doses, while 6.9 million people — 2% of the population — have received two doses.
Feb 05, 11:17 am
US announces deployment of over 1,000 troops to help with vaccinations
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration announced Friday that more than 1,000 active-duty military personnel will be deployed across the country to assist with COVID-19 vaccinations.
The announcement was made during a press briefing held by members of the White House COVID-19 response team in Washington, D.C.
Feb 05, 10:51 am
US Senate approves budget resolution to pass $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package
The U.S. Senate approved a budget resolution early Friday morning that would allow for the passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without the threat of a filibuster from Republican lawmakers who oppose it.
Vice President Kamala Harris broke a 50-50 tie in the Senate by casting a vote in favor of the Democratic measure, which was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The resolution now goes back to the House for final approval.
Biden has said he hopes to garner Republicans’ support for his sweeping COVID-19 relief package, billed as the American Rescue Plan, though Democrats are working to push it through Congress with or without the GOP.
Feb 05, 9:41 am
Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine effective against UK variant, researchers say
University of Oxford researchers said Friday that the COVID-19 vaccine they developed with British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca remains effective against a new, more contagious variant of the novel coronavirus currently circulating in the United Kingdom.
A preprint of ongoing work to assess effectiveness of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine shows that the existing version has similar efficacy against the so-called B117 variant to previously circulating variants. The preprint also describes recent analysis showing that the vaccination “results in a reduction in the duration of shedding and viral load, which may translate into a reduced transmission of the disease,” according to a press release from the university.
“Data from our trials of the ChAdOx1 vaccine in the United Kingdom indicate that the vaccine not only protects against the original pandemic virus, but also protects against the novel variant, B117, which caused the surge in disease from the end of 2020 across the UK,” Andrew Pollard, professor of pediatric infection and immunity at the University of Oxford and chief investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said in a statement.
The B117 variant was first identified last September in Kent, England, and has since spread to dozens of other countries.
“We are working with AstraZeneca to optimize the pipeline required for a strain change should one become necessary,” Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford and chief investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said in a statement. “This is the same issue that is faced by all of the vaccine developers, and we will continue to monitor the emergence of new variants that arise in readiness for a future strain change.”
Feb 05, 8:11 am
Ghana’s Parliament reduces sessions amid COVID-19 outbreak
The Parliament of Ghana will reduce its sessions to twice a week after dozens of lawmakers and legislative staff tested positive for COVID-19.
Addressing lawmakers on the floor Thursday, Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin said at least 15 members of Parliament and 56 staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. They have been asked to self-isolate while steps are being taken to have members of their household tested as well.
There are still 48 members of Parliament who have yet to be tested, according to Bagbin.
Starting next week, Ghana’s Parliament will only sit on Tuesdays and Thursdays in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Only the lawmakers and staffers who are needed on those days will be allowed inside the building, Bagbin said.
Schools reopened across the West African nation in January, following a 10-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. But as COVID-19 infections rise again, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday reimposed a ban on social gatherings.
Ghana has confirmed at least 63,883 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including 390 deaths, according to the latest data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Feb 05, 7:24 am
New vaccine helpline in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County gets over 15,000 calls per second
The Allegheny County Health Department in Pennsylvania said 750 residents made appointments to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on Thursday through a new phone registration offered by the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s 211 helpline.
The call center began receiving calls well before the official start time at noon on Thursday. In the first five minutes following the announcement of the phone registration, there were 653 calls into the helpline. More than 15,000 calls were coming in per second throughout the day, attempting to reach the center, according to a press release from the Allegheny County Health Department.
“We have known for a while that the demand for vaccines far outweighs the supply, and today’s phone registration only underscores that,” Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, said in a statement Thursday. “While we realize that there were many, many people who were frustrated because they did not receive an appointment, we also were able to serve 750 individuals who may not have had the opportunity to schedule otherwise.”
The 211 helpline is for only scheduling vaccination appointments for Allegheny County residents who are 65 and older. Appointments are for the Allegheny County Health Department’s Point of Dispensing inside the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Monroevile, about 10 miles east of Pittsburgh. Other vaccine providers in the county have separate registration systems, the health department said.
Feb 05, 5:49 am
US reports over 5,000 new deaths for first time
A staggering 5,078 fatalities from COVID-19 were registered in the United States on Thursday, marking a new single-day record, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
It’s the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic that the U.S. has recorded more than 5,000 deaths from the disease in a single day. Thursday’s tally far exceeds the country’s previous all-time high of 4,466 new deaths registered on Jan. 12, Johns Hopkins data shows.
There were also 122,473 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed nationwide on Thursday, down from a peak of 300,282 newly confirmed infections on Jan. 2, according to Johns Hopkins data.
COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend last month.
A total of 26,679,554 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began and at least 455,869 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, then reaching 200,000 on Nov. 27 before topping 300,000 on Jan. 2.
So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use — one developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and another developed by American biotechnology company Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. More than 35 million vaccine doses have been administered nationwide, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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