USA TODAY follows COVID-19 news as a pair of vaccines join the US fight against a virus that has killed more than 335,000 Americans since the first reported death in February. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates on vaccine distribution, including who gets vaccines and where, as well as other information on COVID-19 through the USA TODAY Network. Subscribe to our Coronavirus watch bulletin for updates directly to your inbox, join our facebook group or scroll our detailed answers to readers’ questions for everything you need to know about the coronavirus.
In the headlines:
► Britain on Wednesday authorized the emergency use of a second COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the first country to give the green light to an easy-to-handle vaccine that its developers hope will become the “vaccine of the world”. Britain has bought 100 million doses of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and British drug maker AstraZeneca, and plans to start injections within days. The shot is expected to be used in many countries due to its low cost, availability and ease of use. It can be kept in refrigerators rather than in the ultra-cold storage that some other vaccines require.
►California has extended its regional home order for Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley, where critical care capacity is 0%. Dr Mark Ghaly, Secretary of State for Health and Human Services, said the order was in effect “for the time being” with no expiration date set for the restrictions, the Los Angeles Times reported. Ghaly said the ICU projections will determine when the orders are lifted.
► A senior Texas health official on Tuesday ordered providers to start offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people over 65 and those with health conditions, including pregnancy, who are at greater risk of ‘a serious case of COVID-19. Texas State Department Commissioner of Health Services Dr John Hellerstedt and Governor Greg Abbott urge providers to distribute vaccine as quickly as possible amid COVID-19 hospitalizations and spike in new cases .
► The Cleveland Browns added three more players to their COVID-19 roster on Tuesday a few days before Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh. There are now a total of nine players on the COVID-19 reserve roster.
► Luke Letlow, elected member of Congress from Louisiana, died Tuesday with COVID-19. Letlow, 41, was admitted to a hospital on December 19, a day after announcing he had tested positive for the virus. He won the 5th congressional district seat earlier this month in a run-off ballot against fellow Republican Lance Harris.
► Alaska’s largest city to ease some COVID-19 restrictions starting Friday. Acting Anchorage Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson announced Tuesday that bars and restaurants can reopen for domestic service at 25% capacity; Gyms, retail stores and personal care services can operate at 50% capacity; and training facilities can reopen at 25%. “We have reduced the cases. We’ve freed up space in our hospitals, and now we’re in a slightly better position, ”Quinn-Davidson said. “The decisions we make in Anchorage have a ripple effect across the state.”
► Americans who set up direct deposit through the Internal Revenue Service could receive their stimulus payment as early as Tuesday evening, according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Paper checks will begin mailing on Wednesday, according to a Treasury Department press release. The new stimulus package includes a direct payment of $ 600 to eligible Americans, or $ 1,200 for couples.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 19.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 338,500 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. World totals: over 81.9 million cases and 1.78 million deaths.
Here’s a look at some of today’s top stories:
Will shopping centers survive COVID-19?
In recent years, the future of malls has been questioned as online shopping has gained momentum and mainstay retailers like Sears and Macy’s have struggled financially and closed their stores. Then came COVID-19.
Now, with the deployment of coronavirus vaccines in the United States, leading malls are expected to rebound in the new year, retail experts predict. But those who were struggling before the COVID-19 crisis may disappear faster, as shoppers bypass them for malls offering a more upscale experience, or simply choose to click and buy online.
“In 2021, good shopping centers will continue to perform well,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy GlobalData. “It is the weak who will suffer… The future of the mall is not doomed or completely redundant. It’s just that 2021 will be a year of calculating underperforming properties. ”
– Charisse Jones et Kelly Tyko
Colorado confirms first known U.S. case of new variant of COVID-19
Colorado has confirmed the first known US case of a new strain of coronavirus that was first identified in the UK.
“Today we discovered Colorado’s first case of variant B.1.1.7 of COVID-19, the same variant discovered in the UK,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said Tuesday afternoon. “The health and safety of the Coloradans is our top priority and we will be monitoring this case, along with all COVID-19 indicators, very closely. “
The Colorado state lab confirmed the case and notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the governor’s office said in a statement. The patient is a man in his 20s who is recovering in isolation in Elbert County, outside Denver. He has no travel history and no close contact. Public health officials were investigating.
– Grace Hauck
Infected mink escaped from outbreak-stricken Oregon farm
Oregon state officials confirmed that a mink infected with coronavirus escaped from a quarantined farm in November following an outbreak that affected both mink and humans . The runaway mink was caught on Dec. 13 by a team of state biologists, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, and tested positive for low levels of the virus just over a week later.
Five possums and two cats were also captured around the same time as the mink. None of the other animals tested positive for COVID-19.
“There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 circulates or has been established in nature,” Dr. Ryan Scholz, veterinarian for the Oregon Department of Agriculture, said in a statement. “Yet we take this situation very seriously and continue to inspect and trap near the farm.
Contribuer: The Associated Press