Today’s In Crisis headlines


(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: 73,613,809
Global deaths: 1,638,565.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 303,867.
Number of countries/regions: at least 191
Total patients recovered globally: 41,732,783 (revised tally)

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 16,725,039 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 303,867.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 35,831.
U.S. total patients recovered: 6,298,082 (no update available)
U.S. total people tested: 220,869,970

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 1,652,718 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks second in the world after Maharashtra, India, which has 1,886,807 reported cases.  England, which has 1,618,678 reported cases, ranks third in the world, while Texas is fourth, with 1,512,531 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

FDA authorizes first COVID-19 at-home test
Getting tested for COVID-19 is about to become much easier.  The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized the first at-home test for the virus that doesn’t require a prescription, nor does it require a physician to administer or a lab to process the results.  The Ellume COVID-19 Home Test, which will retail for about $30, “detects fragments of proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from a nasal swab sample from any individual 2 years of age or older,” the FDA states, and delivers results in about 15 minutes that can be shared with healthcare agencies.  It can also be used by people who display no symptoms, unlike other tests.  FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn called the authorization “a major milestone in diagnostic testing for COVID-19.”  Ellume says it “plans to manufacture and deliver 20 million Ellume COVID-19 Home Tests to the U.S. within the first half of 2021.”

COVID-19 vaccination distribution good so far, say officials; Moderna EUA FDA meeting tomorrow
Operation Warp Speed (OWS) officials on Tuesday said that distribution of the vaccine is going to plan, with 570 locations around the country receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine of Tuesday evening.  Vaccine distribution will continue daily, with shipments beginning today and through the weekend so that by Sunday, the vaccine should be at 1,217 locations nationwide.  OWS also said on Tuesday that they’re prepared for the Moderna vaccine’s Emergency Use Authorization as early as Thursday, which is when the Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to consider Moderna’s EUA request, which the FDA is expected to approve. 

The distribution of the Moderna vaccine is expected to be on a much larger scale because there is more of it, with nearly six million initial doses currently ready to ship to 3,285 U.S. locations.  That’s double the amount of Pfizer-BioNTech first doses because Moderna has had more time to manufacture and accumulate vaccine since mid-November.  And while Moderna uses the same technology as Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine and showed similarly strong protection against COVID-19, Moderna’s is easier to handle and transport because it doesn’t require storage at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, a does Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine.

US COVID-19 deaths up 11% from last week, says HHS; California records record case increase
The number of reported COVID-19 deaths saw a major increase over the last week, according to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News.  According to the memo, there were 17,247 deaths recorded December 6-15, marking an 11.4% increase in new deaths compared with the previous week.  On Monday, the U.S. saw the total number of reported COVID-19 deaths exceed 300,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, which Wednesday morning reports at least 303,867 U.S. deaths, the highest number in the world. 

Thirty-eight states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new cases, with two jurisdictions at a plateau and 16 declining. California continues to be the hardest-hit state, with 1,652,718 total confirmed cases as of Wednesday morning and 32,326 new COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday.  California ordered 5,000 more body bags in anticipation of escalating deaths and has dozens of refrigerated trucks on standby as the state experiences its “most intense” COVID-19 surge to date, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. 

California currently has the third-highest number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S., with 21,501 reported, according to Johns Hopkins University, the third-highest reported fatality rate in the nation, after New York and Texas.  California’s 14-day average positivity rate is now 10.7%, the highest it’s been since the beginning of the pandemic. Two weeks ago, that rate was 6.9%.

The U.S. set yet another single-day record Tuesday for total COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 112,816, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

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