Today’s In Crisis headlines

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(NEW YORK) — Here are today’s In Crisis headlines:

COVID-19 numbers
Here’s the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections and deaths.

Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 67,740,458
Global deaths: 1,547,711.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 283,747.
Number of countries/regions: at least 192
Total patients recovered globally: 43,639,453

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 14,956,227 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 283,747.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 35,034.
U.S. total patients recovered: 5,714,557
U.S. total people tested: 205,934,174

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 1,395,859 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks third in the world after Maharashtra, India, which has 1,855,341 reported cases, and England, which has 1,490,720 reported cases.  Texas is fourth, with 1,382,358 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

UK begins administering COVID-19 vaccine; White House vaccine “summit” scheduled for today
Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old former jewelry shop assistant, on Tuesday morning became the first person in the U.K. not involved in a clinical trial to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  Keenan received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which cannot be distributed in the U.S. until the Food and Drug Administration meets Thursday to consider Pfizer-BioNTech’s Emergency Use Authorization request, which the FDA is expected to grant.  Pharmaceutical company Moderna’s FDA EUA meeting is scheduled for December 17.  Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, the FDA on Tuesday published trial documentation for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that shows it provided substantial protection against COVID-19 within ten days of the first dose, compared to a placebo.

There’s word many Americans may have to wait months longer to be vaccinated. A New York Times report, confirmed by ABC News, says the Trump administration declined when Pfizer offered in late summer to sell the U.S. additional doses, beyond the U.S. agreement to purchase enough to fully vaccinate 50 million people.  A senior White House official says that report is “false,” and notes the administration wasn’t willing to buy more vaccine without making sure it was first authorized by the FDA.  The New York Times says the U.S. may now have to wait until June while Pfizer-BioNTech fulfills commitments to other countries.

President Trump is scheduled today to host what’s being called a ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Summit’ at the White House.  The president is expected to sign an executive order that would prioritize Americans’ access to COVID-19 vaccines before the United States helps other countries, according to multiple White House officials. The White House did not invite anyone from President-elect Biden’s health team to attend, nor will representatives from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna be there.  It’s unclear whether such an executive order is enforceable or whether it can or would have any legal effect on agreements that pharmaceutical companies have already entered into.

US approaches 15 million COVID-19 cases, posts more record hospitalization numbers
After a slowdown in reporting and testing over Thanksgiving, week-over-week data shows dramatic increases in new COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S., according to an internal memo from the Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News.  Thirty-seven states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new cases, with one jurisdiction at a plateau and 18 declining.  At least 1,341,309 new cases were confirmed during the period of December 1-7, an 18.8% increase from the previous seven-day period, with at least 15,202 deaths recorded during the same period – a dramatic 50.6% increase in new deaths compared with the previous week.  The number of total coronavirus cases in the U.S. is rapidly approaching 15 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, with at least 14,956,227 reported cases as of Tuesday morning.

The U.S. also continues to post consecutive new single-day COVID-19 hospitalization records.  The Covid Tracking Project reports 102,148 people were hospitalized on December 7, boosting the seven-day average to 100,814, also a new record.  The DHS internal memo additionally notes 29% of hospitals across the country have more than 80% of their ICU beds filled, and that 20% of inpatients have COVID-19.  Hospitals across the nation, particularly smaller ones, are reporting increasing struggles to find beds for new COVID-19 patients, and in some cases are also experiencing shortages of medical personnel to treat them.

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