coronavirusblog

New Zealand has kept its community spread of the coronavirus low by keeping tight border controls, but on Sunday the country of 5 million reported its first suspected community case since November. And officials say it might involve a more transmissible variant of the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says letting the science speak on the pandemic got him "into a little bit of trouble" during the Trump administration.

Trailers for the latest 007 movie, No Time to Die, have been all over the Internet since late 2019. Its theatrical release has slipped from April, to November, to April 2021. And MGM says it will now slip again, to Oct. 8, a year and a half past the film's first scheduled premiere.

As slow as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been in the United States, some estimates say billions of people around the world won't be vaccinated for COVID-19 until 2022 or 2023.

Bloomberg has been publishing a map that shows the level of vaccine distribution in different countries and virtually the entire continent of Africa — more than 50 nations — is blank.

When Super Bowl LV kicks off next month in Tampa Bay, Fla., some special guests will be in attendance – thousands of health care workers from around the country.

Japanese officials are swatting away rumors and reports that the government has concluded that, with the Tokyo Olympics 151 days away and much of the country in a COVID-19 state of emergency, the games cannot be held.

Updated at 10:06 a.m. ET

"I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization," Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday, informing the WHO's executive board that President Biden has reversed former President Donald Trump's move to leave the U.N.'s health agency.

The U.S. will also fulfill its financial obligations to the WHO, Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, said, as well as cease a drawdown of U.S. staff who work with the organization.

Most of us don't have to think too often about the logistics of dying and about what closure, like wakes, funerals, memorials, actually requires.

But Todd Beckley has to. The Los Angeles County-area funeral director says he's never experienced anything like the coronavirus pandemic. He says that Inglewood Cemetery Mortuary where he works is so overwhelmed, they're using "every embalming table, every gurney, every table."

And there is a waiting list 23 families long.

The night before their inauguration, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris stood near the Lincoln Memorial and marked more than 400,000 people killed by the coronavirus. On Wednesday, the Biden administration takes responsibility for fighting the pandemic.

Updated at 8:02 p.m. ET

Steven Brandenburg, the Wisconsin pharmacist accused of intentionally trying to spoil hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine doses last month, has been charged with attempted criminal damage to property.

Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET

Four-hundred lights around the Lincoln Memorial's reflecting pool were lit Tuesday evening to honor the 400,000 people in the U.S. who have died from COVID-19.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris both spoke.

In Los Angeles County, an environmental regulator has temporarily relaxed limits on the number of cremations that can be performed each month, citing a backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Roy Cooper watches while Tracy Toner gives a COVID-19 vaccination to Duke nurse Arianna Motsinger at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham on Monday, December 21, 2020.
Shawn Rocco / Duke Health

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of Jan. 11.

6:40 p.m. - The number of North Carolina counties experiencing critical community spread of COVID-19 has risen. According to an alert from state health officials, 86 of the state's 100 counties are listed as red under North Carolina's three-tier coding system. That's the most serious designation -- with a positivity rate of greater than 10% and hospital systems experiencing high impact from COVID cases. Eighty-four counties were listed as red when the state issued its last alert on January 6. Thirteen counties are listed as orange, with substantial community spread, and only one county is listed as yellow, experiencing significant spread of the viral infection. - Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

Rebekah Jones, the data scientist who helped create Florida's COVID-19 dashboard, has turned herself in to police, in response to an arrest warrant issued by the state.

Jones is charged with one count of "offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices," the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a statement Monday.

Cheers erupted in hospital wards across India on Saturday as a first group of nurses and sanitation workers rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated against COVID-19, at the start of what's likely to become the biggest national vaccination campaign in history.

India aims to vaccinate 300 million people by July, though it could take an additional two or more years to inoculate all nearly 1.4 billion Indians. The shots are voluntary. Hospitals and clinics have been setting up and rehearsing for weeks.

The White House push to vaccinate against the coronavirus will have a new name and new leadership under the Biden administration.

The "Operation Warp Speed" name will be retired, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Friday. She said there was an "urgent need to address the failures of the Trump team approach to vaccine distribution." Psaki did not say what the new name will be.

The coronavirus pandemic appears to have shortened the average life expectancy in the United States, according to new research, and the impact is most dire for racial and ethnic minorities.

The deaths caused by COVID-19 have reduced overall life expectancy by 1.13 years, according to the analysis by researchers at the University of Southern California and Princeton University.

That would be the largest single-year decline in life expectancy in the past 40 years and cut U.S. life expectancy to 77.48 years — the lowest it's been since 2003, the researchers say.

Health care workers across the country have been under tremendous strain as they grapple with surging coronavirus caseloads — with no end to the pandemic in sight.

This month, the U.S. hit a staggering new record of more than 302,500 new cases daily, according to Johns Hopkins University. Just this week, the country reached an all-time single-day high of 4,462 deaths.

Lydia Mobley, an intensive care unit nurse, has witnessed the abysmal human toll firsthand.

Pandemic Fuels Record Overdose Deaths

Jan 14, 2021

After their son died, Jackie and Robert Watson found a stack of popsicle sticks in his Milwaukee apartment. He'd written an affirmation on each one.

"I am a fighter." "Don't sweat the small stuff." "My kids love me."

Brandon Cullins, 31, had been working with a drug counselor, who advised him to write the messages to himself.

Picking up the popsicle sticks, the Watsons were able to see how hard their son wanted to kick his battle with cocaine. But they also wondered why he hadn't asked them for help.

In Los Angeles, COVID-19 cases continue to soar at an astonishing rate. In the first seven days of the year, for instance, roughly seven people died each hour.

It's 8:45 a.m. on a weekday in Washington, D.C., and if anyone needs a reminder why the coronavirus vaccine is important, there's one arriving at the Takoma Metro stop: an almost empty train pulling up to an almost empty subway platform at the height of rush hour.

Israel's health minister announced Thursday the country would vaccinate Palestinian prisoners against COVID-19, after Israel's president said withholding vaccines was against Israel's Jewish and democratic values.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said the prisoners would be vaccinated early next week, on Monday or Tuesday. The minister informed NPR of the decision before making a public announcement.

Updated at 9:35 a.m. ET

A team of 13 World Health Organization scientists have now arrived in Wuhan, China, where they will investigate the origins of the coronavirus that has caused a global pandemic. Nearly 2 million people have died due to COVID-19, with more than 92 million infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.

As COVID-19 deaths and illnesses mount, essential workers — who are denied the chance to work from home — are struggling to stay safe. And it's far from clear whether the federal government is doing enough to protect them, according to a former top federal workplace safety official.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration official, Deborah Berkowitz, said the Trump administration has neglected COVID-19 safety at meatpacking plants and many other workplaces.

As India embarks this weekend on what may become the biggest national vaccination campaign in the world, some scientists have raised questions about one of the two vaccines the country of 1.4 billion people has authorized for emergency use against COVID-19.

More than 5 million vaccine vials arrived early Wednesday at hundreds of hospitals and clinics across India. Inoculations start Saturday. India aims to vaccinate 300 million people by July.

Eleven million people are under lockdown in Hebei province after a new cluster of coronavirus infections.

Since Jan. 2, Hebei has reported more than 600 new positive cases, 544 of which were from the capital city of Shijiazhuang. To identify all potential patients, health officials have completed one round of mass testing of all the city's residents, and a second one is being carried out this week.

The Greater Sacramento Region of California lifted its regional stay at home order Tuesday after a month-long shutdown. The order restricted most California residents from early December, locking down regions when ICU bed availability dropped below 15%. Restaurants transitioned to take-out and pick-up orders only, gyms and salons closed and private gatherings of any size were prohibited.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that all air passengers entering the United States will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight. The new rule will go into effect Jan. 26.

In this file photo dated Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, a bottle of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on a table before being utilized in Topeka, Kansas.
Charlie Riedel / AP

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of Jan. 4.


5:40 p.m. - A county in southeastern North Carolina where older adults make up a large share of the population is appealing to Gov. Roy Cooper to provide more doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. Brunswick County Board of Commissioners Chairman Randy Thompson sent a letter to the governor outlining concerns about having enough vaccine for high-risk individuals who want it. Nearly a third of Brunswick County's residents are 65 or older, and are now eligible to get a shot after the state revised the priority groups this week. That's about 46,000 people. Thompson says the county's allocation of 1,500 doses a week is inadequate.

Last summer, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Congress that if the U.S. didn't get the coronavirus outbreak under control, the country could see 100,000 new cases per day.

Six months later, the U.S. is adding, on average, more than 271,000 new cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over the past 24 hours, 3,700 new deaths were recorded.

That brings the total number of reported cases in the U.S. to more than 22 million since the start of the outbreak — with a death toll of 373,000.

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