By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 72.2 million people and killed over 1.6 million worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Here’s how the news developed Monday. All times Eastern:
Dec 14, 8:28 pm
US sets new record for hospitalizations
The U.S. set a new record for hospitalizations Monday, the COVID Tracking Project reported.
At least 110,549 Americans are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, according to the health data.
“AZ and NV have the highest hospitalizations per million people in the country. Current hospitalizations in AZ have surpassed the state’s peak in the summer,” the tracking project tweeted.
The seven-day averages for key health data points also reached new records Monday, the tracking project reported.
The seven-day average of newly recorded cases was 213,293, the seven-day average for newly reported hospitalizations was 107,856 and the seven-day average for newly recorded fatalities was 2,435, according to the health data.
Dec 14, 6:43 pm
National Guard to help distribute vaccine
Members of the National Guard will help distribute the coronavirus vaccine in 26 states and territories, a National Guard official said during a press briefing Monday.
National Guard commanders from Ohio, West Virginia and Oklahoma detailed the limited role their members will play in their respective states.
It will work with state departments of health to break down the large 975-batch Pfizer packages into smaller packages as needed, and use rented vehicles and equipment to transfer packages from main hubs to satellite sites for further distribution.
-ABC News’ Matt Seyler contributed to this report
Dec 14, 4:14 pm
COVID-19 has now killed 300,267 Americans
The number of Americans killed by COVID-19 rose to 300,267 confirmed deaths on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The grim milestone comes after the United States logged 3,124 deaths in a single day last week, the highest one-day death toll reported since the outbreak began.
Dec 14, 3:18 pm
Still unclear how long COVID-19 vaccine protection lasts: FDA
One of the biggest unanswered questions scientists have about the COVID-19 vaccine is how long virus protection will last after people get two doses. While more research needs to be done before any official guidance is released, Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, said early vaccine trials may provide clues.
At the very least, a two-shot vaccination should offer at least several months of protection, Marks explained during an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association on Monday.
“It’s at least probably on the order of four to six months,” Marks said. “The question is, will it reach out to a year? Hopefully, yes. But I think we’ll have those data in the not so different future.”
-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.
Dec 14, 2:19 pm
20 million Americans to get 1st vaccine dose by end of December: HHS secretary
Twenty million Americans should be able to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December, and another 30 million by the end of January, Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services, said during a Monday news briefing. By the end of March, 100 million people are projected to receive a first dose.
Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed, said that long-term care facilities in four states would work in tandem with CVS and Walgreens to start vaccinating patients and staff this weekend. An estimated 1,100 long-term care and nursing home facilities will begin vaccination next Monday.
-ABC News’ Luis Martinez contributed to this report.
Dec 14, 12:49 pm
Texas hospital gives its 1st COVID-19 vaccine to worker who cleans emergency room
A hospital in Texas gave its first COVID-19 vaccine Monday morning to an environmental services worker who cleans the emergency room.
Methodist Dallas Medical Center is one of four Texas hospitals receiving vaccine shipments Monday. The initial shipment will allow the hospital to give the first dose of the two-part vaccine to 5,000 of its front-line employees.
-ABC News’ Jim Scholz contributed to this report.
Dec 14, 11:41 am
2nd health worker vaccinated in NY lost family member to COVID-19
Dr. Yves Duroseau, head of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, became the second health care worker to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Monday in New York.
“I’m very thankful for this moment,” Duroseau told reporters. “This is a hopeful day.”
Duroseau encouraged Americans, especially those in high-risk communities, to get the vaccine when it’s available to them.
“I saw a lot of devastation. I saw it personally in my family,” he said. In addition to a family member who is currently hospitalized, Duroseau had a “dear uncle” die of COVID-19.
“It is very important to not fear the vaccination,” he added. “We cannot continue to have 3,000 people die a day.”
Until the vaccine is more widely available, it’s crucial for Americans to continue social distancing, especially over the holidays. “We have to resist the temptations to gather,” Duroseau said.
Dec 14, 9:58 am
Critical care nurse becomes 1st New Yorker, possibly 1st American, to receive vaccine
Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York City, became the first person in the state of New York to be vaccinated against COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial.
Lindsay was administered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on live television. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said she is also likely the first to receive the shot in the United States since the vaccine was approved for emergency use.
Watch LIVE as the first person in New York gets vaccinated: https://t.co/a3p8QOtK6w
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 14, 2020
Dec 14, 8:21 am
‘I will be getting it,’ US surgeon general says of COVID-19 vaccine
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said he plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as he’s allowed to.
“I will be getting it when they tell me I can get it — that’s how confident I am in its safety,” Adams told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Monday on Good Morning America.
Adams said the priority is administering the vaccine to nursing home residents and health care workers.
“I still practice medicine. I also travel around the country and deploy as part of my job as surgeon general,” he noted. “So I imagine I’ll be in that first tier. But again, we want to make sure we’re getting the people who are most likely to be impacted vaccinated first.”
“We also recognize that there’s a symbolic part of someone like me getting vaccinated, giving people confidence that they can get vaccinated,” he added.
Adams advised those who aren’t in the priority group to get vaccinated against the flu in the meantime and to discuss any concerns they have regarding the COVID-19 vaccine with a health care professional.
“You should be going right now to get your flu shot if you haven’t already and talk to your doctor about vaccinations,” he said. “Get your questions answered because it is ok, it is normal to have questions. What’s not normal is to let misinformation rule you. Vaccines will sometimes give you a sore arm. They can give you a little bit of a mild fever or you can feel a little bit bad, but that’s normal — that means the vaccine is actually working.”
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was authorized for emergency use in the United States on Friday. A final analysis of a massive Phase 3 clinical trial showed the vaccine is roughly 95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, which Adams said “means we can put this pandemic away if we get enough people vaccinated.”
“We still need to be careful into the at least second quarter of next year because these vaccines were tested with an outcome of severe disease, not a prevention of infection,” he added. “So we don’t know yet whether they will prevent infection, but they could prevent you from being in the hospital and ultimately passing from this virus. Still incredibly important to get vaccinated, but we’re going to need to continue to wear our masks, wash our hands and watch our distance as we slowly start to reopen with the assistance of these great vaccines.”
Dec 14, 7:34 am
FedEx says it has completed 1st deliveries of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in US
FedEx announced Monday morning that it has “safely” completed its first deliveries of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses across the United States.
“We’re honoured to be able to use our network to transport these critical vaccines in the U.S., and eventually the world,” the Memphis-based shipping giant posted on its official Twitter account.
The vaccine was authorized for emergency use in the United States on Friday.
Dec 14, 5:09 am
US reports over 190,000 new cases
There were 190,920 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 41st straight day that the U.S. has reported over 100,000 newly diagnosed infections. Sunday’s tally is less than the country’s all-time high of 231,775 new cases confirmed on Dec. 11, according to Johns Hopkins data.
An additional 1,389 deaths from the disease were also registered nationwide on Sunday, down from a peak of 3,300 fatalities on Dec. 11, according to Johns Hopkins data.
A total of 16,256,754 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 299,177 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 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.
Dec 14, 4:28 am
Los Angeles receives its first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses
A first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses has arrived in Los Angeles.
The precious cargo touched down at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday night.
“This is a major milestone for science, our country and our community,” the airport posted on its official Twitter account, alongside photos of a FedEx plane. “Thank you to all those who made this delivery possible, and are part of the incredible effort to distribute vaccines around the world.”
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use that was developed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. Pfizer had said it expects to have vaccine doses shipping out of its facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Sunday morning.
U.S. Army Gen. Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s vaccine program, said the first shipments are expected to arrive at 145 sites across the country by Monday, 425 sites on Tuesday and another 66 sites on Wednesday.
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