COVID Live Updates: United States surpasses 20 million cases

COVID Live Updates: United States surpasses 20 million cases

NEW YORK (WABC) — On Friday, the number of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million, nearly twice as many as the No. 2 country, India, and nearly one-quarter of the more than 83 million cases globally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Health officials say they are bracing for a surge in coronavirus cases with the New Year.

More than 345,000 Americans died from COVID-19 last year.

There’s also a push to get more people vaccinated after the country fell short of the goal of getting 20 million vaccinated by 2021.

So far, only 2.7 million people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in the US.

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Here are more of today’s headlines:

NY hospitalizations, positivity rate dip
A day after New York surpassed 30,000 COVID-19 deaths, the number of patients being treated for the coronavirus in the state’s hospitals dipped, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday. Total hospitalizations dropped by 49 to 7,886. New York’s daily positivity rate also dropped slightly from 7.76% the day before to 7.52%, as the state reported 16,497 new positive test results. An additional 166 deaths were reported.

Doctor identifies case of COVID-related psychosis in patient
The physical impacts of COVID-19 are playing out in overcrowded hospitals across the United States, but there are growing concerns over the mental impacts of the virus. Research is uncovering cases of severe psychosis in coronavirus patients. A patient in Los Angeles undergoing care for COVID-19 also developed a severe mental disorder.

Kirk Cameron hosts another maskless gathering in California
Despite warnings from public health officials to stay home on New Year’s Eve, a number of public gatherings took place throughout Southern California, including another maskless event hosted by actor Kirk Cameron. In recent weeks, Cameron has openly defied COVID-19 mandates and hosted two caroling events in Thousand Oaks as the region deals with a surge in deaths and cases. Few, if any, could be seen wearing masks or distancing from each other at those events.

US adds record death count for 2nd consecutive day
The United States reported another single-day record high in COVID deaths for the second consecutive day, with the 3,744 deaths reported Wednesday surpassing the previous 3,725 deaths reported Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As the year 2020 soon comes to an end, the new tally puts the December death toll above 73,000 with more than 6 million confirmed cases. A reported 125,220 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, another national record, making December by far the worst month on record for cases, deaths, and hospitalizations. At least 342,734 lives have been lost to COVID-19 in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic, representing approximately 18.9% of the total global death toll of 1.8 million people.

NYC vaccine goal, Day of Remembrance announced
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Thursday revealed one resolution he has for the New Year and announced a Day of Remembrance for New Yorkers who lost their lives due to COVID. He said NYC’s goal is to vaccinate 1 million people by the end of January.
“The most important New Year’s resolution I could possibly offer you in the month of January 2021, we will vaccinate one million New Yorkers,” de Blasio said. “This city can do it. The amazing health care professionals of this city are ready.”

De Blasio also announced a Day of Remembrance to honor those who died from coronavirus. He declared Sunday, March 14, 2021, as the official date. March 14 is the day the first person died of coronavirus in the city.

Fired employee deliberately spoiled COVID-19 vaccine, Wisconsin health system says

A Wisconsin health system official said Wednesday that 500 doses of coronavirus vaccine that had to be discarded after they were left unrefrigerated now appear to have been deliberately spoiled by an employee. Aurora Medical Center first reported on the spoiled doses on Saturday, and said they had been accidentally left out overnight by an employee at their facility in Grafton. In a statement late Wednesday, Aurora said the employee involved “today acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration.” Aurora’s statement said they had fired the employee and referred the matter to authorities for further investigation. Their statement said nothing about a possible motive for the action, and health system officials didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking more information.

McConnell says Congress has provided enough pandemic aid
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all but shut the door on President Donald Trump’s push for $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks, declaring Congress has provided enough pandemic aid as he blocked another attempt by Democrats to force a vote. The GOP leader made clear Wednesday he is unwilling to budge, despite political pressure from Trump and even some fellow Republican senators demanding action. Trump wants the recent $600 in aid increased threefold. But McConnell dismissed the idea of bigger “survival checks” approved by the House, saying the money would go to plenty of American households that just don’t need it. McConnell’s refusal to act means the additional relief Trump wanted is all but dead.

TSA screens more than 1 million passengers for 5th straight day
The TSA says it screened more than one million passengers at airport checkpoints for a fifth straight day Wednesday. Officials said it was the third busiest day since the coronavirus pandemic began, with more than 1.1 million passengers screened nationwide. The TSA says checkpoint traffic has exceeded a million people nine days out of the last two weeks.

Papa John’s sets aside $2.5M to give bonuses to frontline workers
Papa John’s employees are getting a holiday bonus. The pizza chain’s frontline workers, 14,000 of them, are being rewarded for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Papa John’s allocated $2.5 million for the special year-end bonuses. The company said its employees’ dedication and great customer service were key to the company’s success during a difficult time. The pizza giant said it also hired 30,000 new team members in 2020–many who lost their previous jobs due to the pandemic.

Dawn Wells, Mary Ann on ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ dies of COVID-19 at 82
Dawn Wells, best known for her role as on the classic sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” died Wednesday from complications related to COVID-19. She was 82.

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