COVID hospitalizations drop for SIXTH day as Biden enters office with post-Christmas surge slowing

The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped for the sixth day in a row on Tuesday even as the nation’s death toll surpassed 400,000 – more than the number of Americans who died in World War I, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined. 

There were 144,047 newly recorded cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to The COVID Tracking Project. The latest data indicates that 2,141 Americans died of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The grim milestone of 400,000 deaths was reached this week as Joe Biden is set to take the oath of office on Wednesday.

As President Trump leaves the stage, Biden assumes the highest office in the land while vowing to vaccinate 100 million Americans during his first 100 days.

After a terrible autumn, some of the hardest-hit states have started to see consistent declines in the number of cases in recent weeks, including the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas.

For the sixth day in a row, there has been a nationwide drop in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients

For the sixth day in a row, there has been a nationwide drop in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients

For the sixth day in a row, there has been a nationwide drop in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients

According to The COVID Tracking Project, COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise in just two states - Idaho and North Dakota. Hawaii has seen an astonishing 56 per cent drop in the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday compared to a week ago. Alaska and Vermont also saw substantial drops in the number of hospitalized patients week-to-week - 23 per cent each

According to The COVID Tracking Project, COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise in just two states - Idaho and North Dakota. Hawaii has seen an astonishing 56 per cent drop in the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday compared to a week ago. Alaska and Vermont also saw substantial drops in the number of hospitalized patients week-to-week - 23 per cent each

According to The COVID Tracking Project, COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise in just two states – Idaho and North Dakota. Hawaii has seen an astonishing 56 per cent drop in the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday compared to a week ago. Alaska and Vermont also saw substantial drops in the number of hospitalized patients week-to-week – 23 per cent each

Other states that have reported drops in the number of COVID-19 cases include Michigan, Tennessee, Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, Alaska, and Oregon.

Meanwhile, the number of those hospitalized with COVID-19 on January 19 compared to a week earlier has fallen in 19 states and stayed about the same in 30 states including the District of Columbia.

According to The COVID Tracking Project, COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise in just two states – Idaho and North Dakota.

Hawaii has seen an astonishing 56 per cent drop in the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday compared to a week ago.

Alaska and Vermont also saw substantial drops in the number of hospitalized patients week-to-week – 23 per cent each.

Other states with significant drops in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations are Wyoming (17 per cent); South Dakota (17 per cent); Michigan (16 per cent); Wisconsin (15 per cent); West Virginia (15 per cent); and Colorado (15 per cent).

Other states that have reported a downward trajectory in the number of hospitalizations include Rhdoe Island, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, California, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Oregon.

Coronavirus cases are decreasing across the United States with 44 states showing a week-over-week drop in infections and deaths declining in 18 states, new data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

Nearly every state has seen a fall in the number of people testing positive in the last seven days aside from Maine, South Carolina and Virginia, which are all on the rise. Three states – Delaware, New Jersey and Texas – report no changes.

Biden will have his work cut out for him, as the country hardest hit by the pandemic struggled to meet the demand for vaccines to stem the spread of infection.

States including Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina and Vermont have shown signs of vaccine supply strain and are asking for more doses of both approved vaccines, one from Pfizer-BioNTech and the other from Moderna.

The number of deaths has spiked since Christmas.

During the past three weeks, US coronavirus fatalities have surpassed 63,700 compared with 52,715 deaths in the three weeks prior to Christmas, an increase of 21 per cent, according to a Reuters analysis.

The daily COVID-19 death numbers crossed 4,000 for the first time on January 6.

Eighteen US states, including California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington reported their highest daily death numbers in January, according to the Reuters tally.

The number of coronavirus cases has risen across all US regions and on Tuesday crossed 24 million since the pandemic started.

While seriously ill patients are straining healthcare systems in parts of the country, especially in California, the national rate of hospitalizations has leveled off in the past two weeks and was near 124,000 on Tuesday.

Biden, due to be sworn in on Wednesday, has proposed a $1.9trillion aid package that includes $415billion to bolster the response to the virus and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, some $1trillion in direct relief to households, and roughly $440billion for small businesses and communities hardest hit by the pandemic.  

Nearly every state has seen a decline in the number of people testing positive in the last seven days. John Hopkins say of this graph: 'The greener the background, the bigger the downward trend of new cases in this state. The redder the background, the bigger the upward trend of new cases in this state'

Nearly every state has seen a decline in the number of people testing positive in the last seven days. John Hopkins say of this graph: 'The greener the background, the bigger the downward trend of new cases in this state. The redder the background, the bigger the upward trend of new cases in this state'

Nearly every state has seen a decline in the number of people testing positive in the last seven days. John Hopkins say of this graph: ‘The greener the background, the bigger the downward trend of new cases in this state. The redder the background, the bigger the upward trend of new cases in this state’

A total of 44 states are showing a week-over-week drop in infections with just three states - Maine, South Carolina and Virginia - increasing and three states - Delaware, New Jersey and Texas - reporting no changes (above)

A total of 44 states are showing a week-over-week drop in infections with just three states - Maine, South Carolina and Virginia - increasing and three states - Delaware, New Jersey and Texas - reporting no changes (above)

A total of 44 states are showing a week-over-week drop in infections with just three states – Maine, South Carolina and Virginia – increasing and three states – Delaware, New Jersey and Texas – reporting no changes (above)

Daily new cases have also fallen from a peak of 283,204 on January 8 to 144,047 on Tuesday, January 19 - a sharp drop in 11 days (above)

Daily new cases have also fallen from a peak of 283,204 on January 8 to 144,047 on Tuesday, January 19 - a sharp drop in 11 days (above)

Daily new cases have also fallen from a peak of 283,204 on January 8 to 144,047 on Tuesday, January 19 – a sharp drop in 11 days (above) 

On Tuesday, the US surpassed a COVID-19 death toll of 400,000 - more than the number of Americans who died in World War I, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined

On Tuesday, the US surpassed a COVID-19 death toll of 400,000 - more than the number of Americans who died in World War I, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined

On Tuesday, the US surpassed a COVID-19 death toll of 400,000 – more than the number of Americans who died in World War I, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined

Daily new cases have also fallen from a peak of 283,204 on January 8 to 137,885 on Tuesday, January 19 – a 51 percent drop in 11 days. The seven-day rolling average of 200,407 is the lowest that figure has been since the new year. 

However, Dr Anthony Fauci, says masks and social distancing aren’t going anywhere any time soon and that the nation may have to prepare for the fact that COVID-19 is here to stay.

‘We have to make that as a possibility. We’ve got to be prepared for that,’ said Fauci told morning show The National Desk on Tuesday.

‘Right now we’re fortunate enough to have a vaccine that is extremely efficacious for the strain that now is circulating in our own country. We may need to make modifications, as new strains that are different come in.’ 

The nation’s top infectious disease expert says normalcy may only occur when the majority of the country is vaccinated.   

‘When we get the country to be 70 percent to 85 percent vaccinated, and we get this blanket or umbrella of herd immunity so that the level of virus is so low in society that it’s not really a threat to anybody, then we can start coming down on the stringency of the public health measures,’ Fauci said. 

‘Bottom line is that if you get vaccinated, you can’t throw away the masks, because you could be infected and conceivably infect others.’  

Just 14.7 million Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning, and only about 54 percent of vaccine doses distributed to states have been administered to people, according to data from Bloomberg.    

It comes as the U.S. reached two grim milestones.

On Monday, California became the first state to record more than three million coronavirus infections. 

President-elect Joe Biden (right) and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, pay homage to the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. Biden will be sworn into office on Wednesday

President-elect Joe Biden (right) and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, pay homage to the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. Biden will be sworn into office on Wednesday

President-elect Joe Biden (right) and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, pay homage to the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. Biden will be sworn into office on Wednesday

Biden has set a goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office. The image above shows Vivian Johnson, 94, of Littleton, North Carolina, receiving the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the University of North Carolina's Friday Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Tuesday

Biden has set a goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office. The image above shows Vivian Johnson, 94, of Littleton, North Carolina, receiving the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the University of North Carolina's Friday Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Tuesday

Biden has set a goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office. The image above shows Vivian Johnson, 94, of Littleton, North Carolina, receiving the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the University of North Carolina’s Friday Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Tuesday

Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday (pictured) masks and social distancing aren't going anywhere any time soon and that the nation may have to prepare for the fact that COVID-19 is here to stay

Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday (pictured) masks and social distancing aren't going anywhere any time soon and that the nation may have to prepare for the fact that COVID-19 is here to stay

Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday (pictured) masks and social distancing aren’t going anywhere any time soon and that the nation may have to prepare for the fact that COVID-19 is here to stay

The news of California’s milestone was not entirely unexpected – but the speed at which the state reached this figure is stunning.

The first coronavirus case in The Golden State was confirmed on January 25, 2020.  It took 292 days to reach one million infections on November 11 and 44 days to top two million on December 24 

This means it took just 25 days to record three million cases. 

California’s caseload is also far ahead of other large states. Texas currently has more than two million infections and Florida is just above 1.5 million.

A caseload surge that began last fall has strained  the state’s hospitals and especially intensive care units as a percentage of the infected – around 12 percent – become sick enough weeks later to need medical care.    

However, the overall trend in the country could mean the post-COVID Christmas surge is slowing.

Dr. Edison Liu of The Jackson Laboratory said the broader trends could mean the US is starting to flatten the curve.

‘Flattening the curve means we’ve stopped the exponential rise of infection; that whatever intervention we have worked. But that’s only the first step. What we’re really looking for is a consistent downward trend,’ he said.

North Dakota has emerged as America’s unlikely leader in the battle against the coronavirus, racing ahead of most of the nation in the vaccine rollout and battling back from being the worst COVID hotspot in the nation with an 80 percent decline in active cases since mid-November.  

The latest data show encouraging downward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations

The latest data show encouraging downward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations

The latest data show encouraging downward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations 

cases topped two million on December 24, meaning it took just 25 days to record three million cases. Pictured: A registered nurse tends to a Covid-19 patient in the ICU at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California, January 11

cases topped two million on December 24, meaning it took just 25 days to record three million cases. Pictured: A registered nurse tends to a Covid-19 patient in the ICU at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California, January 11

cases topped two million on December 24, meaning it took just 25 days to record three million cases. Pictured: A registered nurse tends to a Covid-19 patient in the ICU at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California, January 11

Some states like California are floundering with vaccination rollout, using a meager 40 percent of doses distributed to it. 

However, North Dakota is flying through the doses sent to it by the federal government, using 78 percent of its allotted doses and vaccinating just shy of seven percent of its population. 

State officials acknowledge that North Dakota’s small population size is an advantage. But it also gave health care workers a head-start with training before vaccine doses arrived, and has set up a flexible plan to let people 65 or older, people with two or more underlying conditions, and child care and school workers get priority access to vaccines. 

California and New York may be known for their top-notch hospitals and medical schools, but they are struggling to get people vaccinated amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has blamed the federal government for his state only getting 5.14 percent of its population vaccinated by Monday, and asked for federal permission to order doses directly from Pfizer. 

But the Empire State has only used a little over half (53 percent) of what the Trump administration has shipped to it, and its stiff plan for prioritizing people saw precious doses of vaccine thrown out earlier this month. 

California lags even further behind, vaccinating just 3.3 percent of its population with the massive allotment of 3.5 million doses sent to it by the federal government. 

And in Florida, which was the third state to reach one million COVID-19 cases, more than 40,000 people are overdue for their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine – a worrying sign that poor organization could leave at-risk residents unprotected. 

North Dakota has given nearly 53,000 of the 76,275 doses sent to it, and kept up a consistent flow of administering vaccines since its first doses arrived last month (pictured), according to the state's health department

North Dakota has given nearly 53,000 of the 76,275 doses sent to it, and kept up a consistent flow of administering vaccines since its first doses arrived last month (pictured), according to the state's health department

North Dakota has given nearly 53,000 of the 76,275 doses sent to it, and kept up a consistent flow of administering vaccines since its first doses arrived last month (pictured), according to the state’s health department 

Active coronavirus cases have fallen by 80% and the number of new daily infections in the state is a fraction of what it had been a month ago when North Dakota was among the nation's top hotspots

Active coronavirus cases have fallen by 80% and the number of new daily infections in the state is a fraction of what it had been a month ago when North Dakota was among the nation's top hotspots

Active coronavirus cases have fallen by 80% and the number of new daily infections in the state is a fraction of what it had been a month ago when North Dakota was among the nation’s top hotspots 

Cumulative deaths have increased in North Dakota, but the state has drastically bent the curve of fatalities since it climbed steeply last month, reaching a peak of 499 deaths in November, followed by 278 in December and 37 so far in January

Cumulative deaths have increased in North Dakota, but the state has drastically bent the curve of fatalities since it climbed steeply last month, reaching a peak of 499 deaths in November, followed by 278 in December and 37 so far in January

Cumulative deaths have increased in North Dakota, but the state has drastically bent the curve of fatalities since it climbed steeply last month, reaching a peak of 499 deaths in November, followed by 278 in December and 37 so far in January 

North Dakota administered 3,222 vaccines on January 14 alone, according to its latest data. Nearly six percent of its population has had their first shot, and nearly one percent have already received their second. 

Meanwhile, the state has 1,377 active cases of COVID-19 as of Monday – just a little over 10 percent as many as it saw at its November peak of 10,195. 

Deaths in North Dakota continue to climb, but have leveled off since November.   

Throughout much the nation, a game of federal and state he-said-she-said continues, and is doing little to speed the sluggish rollout. 

Houston, Texas, officials say they are receiving sporadic shipments of small numbers of vaccine doses. 

‘Right now, having (doses) one day and then running out, it just creates a lot of chaos,’ said Galveston County health director Dr Philip Keiser on Monday, according to Houston Public Media. 

About 31.1 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been sent to US states by the federal government, according to tracking from Bloomberg. 

While West Virginia races to the head of the pack, vaccinating nearly nine percent of its population in just a month, California and Alabama rank worst, getting shots in the arms of just 3.3 percent and 2.7 percent of their residents, respectively. 

Mass vaccination sites opened in larger states like New York, California and Florida, but rates of shot administration remain low. 

Some of the states that have most vocally blamed the federal government for the vaccine rollout are among the slowest to use the doses sent to them.  

California has vaccinated just 3.3 percent of its population and used a little over a third of its allotted doses, despite turning Disneyland and Dodger Stadium into mass vaccination sites.  

Only about 3% of Americans have gotten their first doses of coronavirus vaccines, with the highest rates in West Virginia and the Dakotas, and the lowest rates of vaccination are in Alabama and Arizona 

More than half of all doses of coronavirus vaccines distributed to US states are sitting on the shelves, with the highest rates of unused shots in California and Texas – despite the former being  one of the worst hotspots for COVID-19 in the country 

New York is faring a little better using up 53 percent of its doses and vaccinated about 5.4 percent of its population. 

Southern and Sun Belt states are struggling. Alabama and Arizona have each vaccinated just 2.7 percent of their populations. 

That’s particularly worrisome for Arizona, which has had more coronavirus infections per capita than any where else in the world.  

The surprise leaders in the race remain West Virginia and the Dakotas.  

West Virginia was the only state in the union turned down the federal government’s partnership with CVS and WalGreens to help vaccinate its nursing home residents. 

And now it’s vaccinated 8.6 percent of its population – more than than any other states. 

North and South Dakota have vaccinated nearly seven and 6.45 percent of their respective populations. 

A senior federal official told DailyMail.com that the US will meet its goal of distributing 50 million doses to states this week.  

But at this rate, it could be weeks before all of those doses make it into Americans’ arms. 

States have given fewer than half of the doses the federal government has shipped – 46 percent – yet some say they are running out of doses. 

Reports emerged last week that there was no federal stockpile of second doses to increase states’ supplies – after HHS Secretary Alex Azar promised that the reserve would be released – triggering panic. 

Federal officials say that the number of doses made available to states each week has increased, but that the notion that the government ever had a stockpile was incorrect. 

In fact, a senior administration official told DailyMail.com that some states are not completing all their orders for new doses each week, leaving them shorthanded. 

Yet states, including Texas, say they’re on pace to run out of doses of vaccine by next week if they continue to administer as many as possible. 

Los Angeles is among the worst hotspots for coronavirus in the US and health workers are racing to vaccinate at-risk people - including nursing home residents in Pasadena (pictured, file), but the state has used just 27.5% of its allotted doses

Los Angeles is among the worst hotspots for coronavirus in the US and health workers are racing to vaccinate at-risk people - including nursing home residents in Pasadena (pictured, file), but the state has used just 27.5% of its allotted doses

Los Angeles is among the worst hotspots for coronavirus in the US and health workers are racing to vaccinate at-risk people – including nursing home residents in Pasadena (pictured, file), but the state has used just 27.5% of its allotted doses 

Since it began over a month ago, the US coronavirus vaccine rollout has been plagued by a game of federal and state ‘he said, she said,’ and little seems to have changed.  

The emergence of more infectious coronavirus variants, including the UK’s ‘super-covid,’ should be a ‘clarion call’ to Americans to get vaccinated, said Dr Anthony Fauci during a Sunday Meet the Press appearance. 

But the uptake has been slow.  

Experts say yet another factor is holding up the rollout: ‘We’re underselling the vaccine’ Dr Aaron Richterman, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pennsylvania told the New York Times.  

He’s not alone in thinking that attempts to temper expectations and keep Americans from ripping of their masks as soon as they get their first doses of COVID-19 vaccines may be misguided. 

‘It’s driving me a little bit crazy,’ Dr Ashish Jha of the Brown School of Public told the Times. 

Vaccines made by both Moderna and Pfizer are more than 94 percent effective at preventing COVID-19, and that should be the focus of public messaging, the experts say. 

That’s not to say that questions still being researched – such as rather the shots prevent infection or transmission altogether – should be concealed, nor that warnings about potential side effects shouldn’t be clear. 

But, Dr Jha and Dr Richterman worry that the emphasis on what’s unknown is fueling hesitancy and slowing the uptake of shots. 

One California epidemiologist on Sunday called for Moderna to put a hold on 330,000 doses from one lot that have already been distributed after ‘fewer than 10’ people had possible severe allergic reactions to the shots within 24 hours. 

Moderna, the FDA and the CDC are all investigating the incidences, but said in a statement to Fox News that vaccination is never without risks. 

The reactions all happened within the observation period while the recipients were still at the vaccination site in San Diego.  

Health care workers and nursing home residents were put first in line for coronavirus vaccines. 

But during the first weeks of the rollout, staggering numbers of health care workers turned down the shots. 

One Illinois veterans nursing home said that while about 90 percent of its elderly residents had said ‘yes’ to the shot, some 80 percent of staff had said ‘no.’ 

Nurses in Texas and California – two of the nation’s worst hotspots for COVID-19 – said they and about half of their colleagues planned to refuse or delay vaccination.

In New York, four doses of vaccine had to be thrown out because willing recipients working in health care could not be found in time to use the shots before they expired. 

Amid suspicion that resistance among health care workers and rigid state plans for who could be vaccinated when were the problem, federal officials urged vaccination to be opened up to people 65 and older. 

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