Coronavirus updates: US marks deadliest day since pandemic began – National News

Written by on January 10, 2021


Myriam Borzee/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 87.3 million people worldwide and killed over 1.8 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 Thursday. All times Eastern:

Jan 07, 6:36 pm
LA morgues overwhelmed, forcing county to use coroner to store bodies

Because Los Angeles’ mortuary system is overwhelmed, the LA County Coroner is now beginning to step in and pick up bodies and store them until mortuaries can handle them.  

This is so bodies don’t remain in personal homes and nursing homes for days waiting for a funeral home with space, officials said

“We will actually go out, pick up the person, bring them to our office, provide some safe and secure storage until the time the mortuary is able to take custody of their loved one,” Los Angeles County Coroner Chief of Operations Brian Elias told ABC News.

The coroner is adding a new temporary morgue next week made up of mainly refrigerated containers to help deal with the crush.  Before the pandemic, LA’s crypt could hold around 500 bodies.  They expanded that months ago to handle between 1000-1200. And next week it will expand that number again. Earlier this week, the LA County Coroner had about 750 bodies it was holding.

Every six seconds, someone is being diagnosed with COVID-19 and every eight minutes, someone is dying, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti told CNN Thursday.

“I am asking for folks across America, if you can spare a doctor or nurse, please were Americans, send it here,” Garcetti said.

-ABC News’ Alex Stone

Jan 07, 5:49 pm
4,000 deaths confirmed in US over 24 hours for 1st time

There were at least 4,279 deaths recorded between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 5 p.m. Thursday, marking the first time the U.S. has surpassed 4,000 daily COVID deaths since the pandemic began, according to a count by ABC News.

In the first week of 2021, the U.S. reported more cases of COVID-19 than at any point in the pandemic so far, the second-highest number of deaths, and the most people hospitalized with the disease, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

In the U.S., more than 21.5 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, with at least 364,218 deaths.

The coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 1.89 million people worldwide. Over 87.7 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Jan 07, 4:05 pm
Pence gets 2nd vaccine dose

Vice President Mike Pence received a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at his home Thursday, his press secretary, Devin O’Malley, told ABC News.

Second lady Karen Pence also received a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, her Director of Communications, Kara Brooks, told ABC News.

ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and Elizabeth Thomas contributed to this report.

Jan 07, 3:12 pm
Massachusetts hospitals stretched to limit, governor escalates hospitals to ‘highest level of concern’

Massachusetts is escalating all hospitals to Tier 4 status, the “highest level of concern,” which indicates active, ongoing constraints warranting Department of Health intervention, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday.

The number of people in hospitals has jumped by 145% and intensive care unit admissions leapt by 111% over the last six weeks, Baker said.

Hospitals were 65% full on Thanksgiving but are now 84% full, he said. ICU capacity went up from 50% at Thanksgiving to 75%.

“Our hospital capacity limits are being stretched to their limit,” Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said.

Hospitals with severe capacity constraints may begin on Thursday to request a temporary exemption from the mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in the ICU, Baker said.

A hospital system may exercise this exemption only if it has capacity of less than 20% across its system for more than seven days, and if the chief executive officer has attested in writing that all nonessential invasive procedures have stopped.

The governor also said he’s extending the state’s restrictions around gatherings and businesses through Jan. 24. Gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and most businesses, including restaurants, are limited to 25% capacity.

ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos contributed to this report.

Jan 07, 2:50 pm
Big upticks expected in NYC, Texas, DC area, Atlanta: PolicyLab

Daily cases may double in most New York City boroughs within the next four weeks, while in the Washington, D.C. area, case numbers are expected to grow well into January, models from PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia predict.
 
PolicyLab’s latest forecast shows cases doubling in the Atlanta area in January. Across Georgia, ventilator use has been up 60% since Christmas, PolicyLab said.

In Texas, “projections for Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin show no signs of slowing in the coming weeks,” PolicyLab said. “These forecasts come as Texas climbs to 45% COVID ICU occupancy and 200 deaths a day.”
 
In the Pacific Northwest, “concerns are growing,” PolicyLab said, “as some of the highest transmission rates in the country were observed in the state of Washington this past week.”

The Seattle area could see cases double over the next few weeks, PolicyLab said.
 
Hard-hit Los Angeles is “near its peak,” according to PolicyLab’s model.

ABC News’ Brian Hartman contributed to this report.

Jan 07, 2:26 pm
UK variant detected in Pennsylvania, Texas, Connecticut

The COVID-19 variant first found in the United Kingdom has now been detected in eight states, with officials announcing cases Thursday in Pennsylvania, Texas and Connecticut.

In Pennsylvania, the case was confirmed in Dauphin County, which encompasses Harrisburg.

“This individual tested positive after known international exposure. A case investigation and contact tracing were performed to identify, inform and monitor anyone who was in close contact with this individual,” state officials said. “The individual had mild symptoms, which have since been resolved while they completed their isolation at home.”

“Pennsylvania has been preparing for this variant by working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has been sending 10-35 random samples biweekly to the CDC since November to study sequencing and detect any potential cases for this new COVID-19 variant,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a statement. “Public health experts are in the early stages of working to better understand this new variant, how it spreads and how it affects people who are infected with it.”

The variant was also confirmed for the first time in Texas on Thursday, officials said. The case was in Harris County, which encompasses Houston.

The man has had no history of travel and is stable in isolation, Harris County officials said.

Epidemiologists are working to identify and quarantine his close contacts.

In Connecticut, two unrelated cases were confirmed in New Haven County, Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday.

The two people are between the ages of 15 and 25 and both “recently traveled outside Connecticut — one to Ireland and the other to New York State — and both developed symptoms within 3 to 4 days of their return,” Lamont’s office said.

“They are in the process of being re-interviewed by public health officials in light of the identification of the UK variant as the cause of their illnesses,” his office said. “One individual has completed their self-isolation period, and the other is self-isolating at their home and will remain there until they are 10 days past the onset of symptoms and they are symptom free.”

COVID-19 mutates regularly and the variant first detected in the U.K. has now been confirmed in at least eight states: Georgia, New York, Colorado, California, Florida and now Pennsylvania and Texas. While it appears to spread more easily, there’s no evidence that it’s more deadly.

Jan 07, 12:03 pm
12 states hit record number of hospitalizations

The number of patients currently hospitalized nationwide is at a record high, according to ABC News’ analysis of COVID Tracking Project data.

In the last three months, the national number of patients currently hospitalized has quadrupled, surging by 322% since early October.

On Wednesday, 12 states hit a record number of current hospitalizations: Arizona, California, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

Wednesday marked the deadliest day on record for the U.S., with 3,865 COVID-19 deaths reported — a record death toll for the second consecutive day, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. has now surpassed 361,000 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths, which signifies that at least 1 in every 915 Americans has now died from COVID-19.

The average number of daily cases in the U.S. is now the highest it has been since the beginning of the pandemic, up by 21% in the last week, after it surpassed 216,000 for the first time on Wednesday.

Jan 07, 11:00 am
South Africa buys 1.5 million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

South Africa announced Thursday that it will import 1.5 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by England’s University of Oxford and British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

South African Health Minister Dr. Zwelini Mkhize said the country will be receiving 1 million doses later this month, followed by 500,000 doses in February. Mkhize said the healthy ministry has purchased the doses directly from the Serum Institute of India, which has a licensing agreement with AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s drug regulatory body is “fine-tuning and aligning all the regulations processes to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays or regulatory impediments to activate this rollout,” Mkhize said.

The country’s health care workers in both public and private hospitals — an estimated 1.25 million people — will have first priority in getting the vaccine, according to Mkhize.

The announcement comes as South Africa grapples with a new, more contagious variant of the novel coronavirus. Some hospitals are reportedly already at capacity amid the recent surge in infections.

South Africa has reported more than 1.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including at least 30,524 deaths, according to the latest data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The country of 60 million people has by far the highest number of diagnosed infections in Africa.

Jan 07, 10:04 am
UK variant detected in Pennsylvania

The COVID-19 variant first found in the United Kingdom has now been detected in Pennsylvania, Secretary of Health Dr. Health Dr. Rachel Levine said Thursday.

This case was confirmed in Dauphin County, which encompasses Harrisburg.

“This individual tested positive after known international exposure. A case investigation and contact tracing were performed to identify, inform and monitor anyone who was in close contact with this individual,” state officials said. “The individual had mild symptoms, which have since been resolved while they completed their isolation at home.”

“Pennsylvania has been preparing for this variant by working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has been sending 10-35 random samples biweekly to the CDC since November to study sequencing and detect any potential cases for this new COVID-19 variant,” Levine said in a statement. “Public health experts are in the early stages of working to better understand this new variant, how it spreads and how it affects people who are infected with it.”

COVID-19 mutates regularly. The variant first detected in the U.K. has now been confirmed in at least six states: Georgia, New York, Colorado, California, Florida and now Pennsylvania.

Jan 07, 9:13 am
1 in every 4 or 5 people testing positive in LA

Los Angeles County reported 258 new deaths and 11,841 new cases on Wednesday.

County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday, “Today, I am more troubled than ever before.”

During the summer, 1 in every 10 people tested were positive; now, 1 in every 4 or 5 people are testing positive, she said.

The rate of transmission this month is almost double that of December and Los Angeles County hospitals are admitting more patients than they can discharge, she said.

Some paramedics told ABC News they’ve seen as many as 22 ambulances stacked up in hospital parking lots this week. They said they felt helpless waiting.

“They signed up to take care of people, not wait with people in agony,” EMT Bill Weston told ABC News.

“This is by far the worst disaster I’ve ever been involved in,” he said.

Jan 07, 8:43 am
787,000 workers filed for unemployment insurance last week

About 787,000 workers lost their jobs and filed for unemployment insurance last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

This is a decrease of 3,000 compared to last week’s figure — but the weekly tally still remains highly elevated by historical standards.

The DOL also said that more than 19 million people were still receiving some form of government unemployment benefits as of the week ending Dec. 19. For the comparable week in 2019, that figure was 1.8 million.  

The latest data shows the ongoing pain to the labor market brought on by the pandemic-induced recession. It also comes some nine months since the virus arrived in the U.S., but as cases and hospitalizations continue to reach record highs across the country.

Thursday’s initial unemployment claims data also comes a day ahead of Friday’s highly anticipated job’s report from the DOL, which is set to provide more details on the economy and the road towards a recovery.

Jan 07, 5:58 am
Japan declares state of emergency in greater Tokyo area

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures on Thursday, amid soaring COVID-19 infections and a growing death toll.

A state of emergency declaration gives the governors of those respective regions the authority to ask residents for cooperation in efforts to curb the spread of the virus. There are currently no legal ramifications for non-compliance.

“This global infection has surpassed our imagination and it has turned into a harsh struggle,” Suga said Thursday evening in televised remarks. “However, I believe that we can overcome the situation. In order to do so, once again, we ask people to have a limited lifestyle.”

Under the state of emergency, which takes immediate effect and will last for one month, Suga said governors will ask residents to refrain from dining out and to stay home after 8 p.m. unless for essential reasons. They will also ask companies to decrease the number of employees commuting to work by 70%.

Suga said bars and restaurants will be asked to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. and to close by 8 p.m. Governors may disclose the name of the businesses that don’t comply, while those that do will be given 1.8 million Japanese yen ($17,000) per month.

Spectator events will be limited to an audience of 5,000 people. Schools will not be asked to close, according to Suga.

“If we do that, I believe we can overcome the COVID crisis,” he said.

Suga’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe, declared a nationwide state of emergency relatively early in the pandemic in April, which lasted for a month. At that time, residents were asked to reduce person-to-person contact by 80% and to practice “jishuku,” or “self-restraint,” by staying at home and closing non-essential businesses.

The move comes after days of record-high numbers of newly confirmed COVID-19 infections. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed 5,946 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the country’s cumulative total to 257,196 confirmed cases with at least 3,790 deaths.

Jan 07, 4:39 am
US sees record number of COVID-19 deaths for second straight day

There were a record 3,865 new deaths from COVID-19 registered in the United States on Wednesday, marking the deadliest day since the start of the pandemic, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It’s the second straight day that the country has logged a record number of fatalities from the disease within a 24-hour reporting period. Wednesday’s count tops the previous day’s peak of 3,775 deaths, Johns Hopkins data shows.

Meanwhile, 253,145 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed nationwide on Wednesday, marking the second consecutive day that the country has reported more than 200,000 newly confirmed infections. Wednesday’s tally is less than the all-time high of 297,491 new cases, which the country logged the previous day, according to Johns Hopkins data.

COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the holidays followed by a potentially very large backlog.

A total of 21,305,026 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 361,279 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 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 and reaching 200,000 for the first time on Nov. 27.

Jan 07, 12:46 am
US could see 438,000 total deaths from COVID-19 by end of month, CDC says

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest ensemble forecast projects a total of up to 438,000 deaths from COVID-19 could be reported nationwide by Jan. 30.

At least 361,072 deaths from the disease have been reported since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The CDC predicts that 12,900 to 24,900 new deaths will likely be reported in the last week of the month.

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