UK strain continues US spread; California vaccine rollout

COVID-19 has killed nearly 430,000 Americans, and infections have continued to rise despite the introduction of a pair of vaccines in late 2020. USA TODAY is following the news. Please keep updating this page for the latest updates. Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox, Join our Facebook group or Scroll through our in-depth answers to reader questions.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday evening that “it will be a while before we feel normal again”.

“Will we feel like we have the herd immunity that everyone was talking about at the end of the first 100 days?” she said during a CNN town hall. “I told you I would tell you the truth. I don’t think we’ll feel it there.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, reiterated on Wednesday that vaccines against emerging variants appear effective, adding that the U.S. is working with companies to develop new antibody treatments that will be effective when newer tribes develop.

A CDC report released late Wednesday shows that the UK strain of the virus is continuing to spread across the United States. The report shows 315 cases, up from 293 on Monday and 144 the week before, with California and Florida being the most affected with 92 cases each.

In the headlines:

►Pro Football Hall of Famer and Good Morning America presenter Michael Strahan has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in quarantine, the Associated Press reported, citing people familiar with the situation. Strahan doesn’t have any severe symptoms, says AP.

►Sinclair Broadcast Group announces that it is ending its America This Week show starring Eric Bolling, who has been criticized for misrepresenting a pandemic. An episode of America This Week filmed this past July featured a conspiracy theorist who suggested that Dr. Anthony Fauci made the virus and shipped it to China. There is no evidence to support this theory.

►Chicago Public Schools will resume virtual learning Thursday for approximately 3,200 pre- and special-needs students who have been in classrooms for two weeks while negotiations between the city and the teachers’ union have reached a dead end. The negotiations continue.

►California will hand over its coronavirus vaccine distribution to health insurance giant Blue Shield. Blue Shield will undertake a vaccine dispensing that was one of the slowest in the nation, the San Francisco state health department told Chronicle on Wednesday.

►Vaccine coverage for whites is on average twice that of blacks and Latinos. This found a CNN analysis of data from 14 states. Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, chairman of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Equity Task Force, said in a CNN town hall on Wednesday that she had “seen a similar pattern already emerging across the country.”

►The University of Michigan and Washtenaw County Health Department asked students Wednesday not to leave their homes to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and a contagious variant.

📈Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 25.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 429,100 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 100.8 million cases and 2.17 million deaths. According to the CDC, about 47.3 million vaccine doses have been distributed and 24.6 million administered in the United States.

📘 What we read: Minimum wage of $ 15? Another round of checks? Resistance to key pieces could cause Biden’s COVID relief plan to fail.

Vaccines: So Far, So Good – And Safe

More than 22 million Americans have been vaccinated and the few reported allergic reactions have been treated successfully, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No other serious problems have occurred, according to the CDC. While it is never possible to prove that anything is completely safe, data from several tracking systems suggest that the vaccines do not cause a large number of unusual or dangerous results.

Arizona hospital system with arthritis drug for critically ill patients

Phoenix-based Banner Health employees hope the anti-inflammatory drug tocilizumab, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, will help improve outcomes in their most critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Tocilizumab has had mixed results in COVID-19 patients in numerous studies and reports of conflicts over its usefulness in treating people infected with the new coronavirus. The drug has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, nor is it government approved for emergency use.

However, recent data on the drug’s viability gives Banner Health executives optimism for use in a select group of critically ill COVID-19 patients who are at risk of death.

But not all hospitals and hospital systems in Arizona are currently treating COVID-19 patients with the arthritis drug.

– Stephanie Innes, Republic of Arizona

CDC Report: How Schools With Low COVID-19 Spreads Are Making It Work

Personal schooling can be safe, US health researchers argue, but schools and their surrounding communities must commit to a range of public health precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

President Joe Biden and his administration have made the return to face-to-face teaching a priority and committed to reopening most schools within its first 100 days. Last week, Biden instructed the education, health and human services departments to provide clear guidelines and resources for reopening schools and daycare.

On Tuesday, two epidemiologists and a researcher from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a statement in the Journal of the American Medical Association stating that “data gathering now suggests a way to be primarily or entirely personal.” stay or return lesson delivery. “

When schools in the US and overseas reopened during the pandemic, there was “little evidence that schools have made any significant contribution to improving community transmission,” the scientists said. By taking various public health precautions, it is possible to prevent transmission in schools, the researchers concluded. Here is what you want to see.

Contributor: The Associated Press

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