While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for January 27

Coronavirus

Vaccine supply boost. The Biden administration is giving states an approximately 17% boost in vaccine next week following complaints around the U.S. of shortages so severe that some vaccination sites had to cancel tens of thousands of appointments with people waiting for their first shot.

Detailed figures posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website Tuesday showed that the government plans to make about 10.1 million first and second doses available next week, up from this week’s allotment of 8.6 million. The figures represent doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The increase comes as vaccination sites around the U.S. are canceling large numbers of appointments because of vaccine shortages. Governors and top health officials have complained about inadequate supplies and the need for earlier and more reliable estimates of how much is on the way so that they can plan accordingly.

Amid the rising frustration, the Biden White House scheduled its first virus-related call with the nation’s governors Tuesday. President Joe Biden planned to give an update on efforts to bolster the vaccine supply and put more shots into Americans’ arms more quickly, press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Downward trend. COVID-19 trends continue to go down in Indiana this month.

The 7-day positivity rate in the state is now below 10%, and more importantly, fewer Hoosiers are dying every day compared to December.

December was the deadliest month for COVID-19 in Indiana. After a tough few weeks, the trends are now going in the right direction.

“Yes, way down from last month but still high,” said Dr. Paul Calkins, associate chief medical executive at IU Health. “I hope we keep going down.”

As of Monday, 1,976 patients were in the hospital for COVID-19 in Indiana. Hospitalizations have not been this low since early November. It’s still pretty high though, compared to previous months.

COVID-19 hospitalizations began to pick up in late September. On Labor Day, there were 839 COVID-19 patients in Indiana hospitals.

In January, fewer Hoosiers are dying of COVID-19 every day compared to December. But again, the number is still much higher than early September.

On Labor Day, the state saw an average of nine COVID-19 deaths. On January 20, the 7-day average was 48 deaths. It is an improvement from January 1 when Indiana recorded an average of 75 COVID-19 deaths at that time.

Moderna recommendation. Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is “not recommended” for pregnant women, according to a news release Tuesday from the World Health Organization.

“While pregnancy puts women at a higher risk of severe COVID-19, the use of this vaccine in pregnant women is currently not recommended, unless they are at risk of high exposure (e.g. health workers),” the release states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that while COVID vaccines in pregnant women haven’t been studied clinically, they believe the Moderna vaccine is unlikely to pose a risk since it is an mRNA vaccine, not a live vaccine, and will be degraded quickly “by normal cellular processes.”

The WHO and CDC recommend that the vaccine be offered to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and in a group recommended for vaccination, such as healthcare workers. Women who receive it should not stop breastfeeding because of the vaccine.

Anyone under 18 should not yet receive the vaccine pending further tests, according to the organization, and older people with an expected life span of three months or less should be individually assessed.

Jail lockdown. Officials at the Bartholomew County jail are working to contain a COVID-19 outbreak that has infected nearly half the inmates in the building.

This past weekend, 91 of 211 inmates tested positive for COVID-19, along with four jail employees.

Indiana State Health Strike teams came to the jail to test all inmates after several inmates developed symptoms and tested positive over the course of the last week.  

Sheriff Matt Myers says jail staff have moved cell blocks in order to keep inmates who tested positive separate from those who tested negative. Four inmates who refused to be tested are also in quarantine.

Lockdown at the jail means no visitors, including attorneys, are being allowed in the building. Sheriff Myers expects that to last until the end of February.  Meanwhile, Myers says the staff will continue to follow sanitation and screening protocols outlined by the health department.

100 million cases. The global total of confirmed coronavirus cases topped more than 100 million as the effort to end the pandemic has turned to a race between the vaccinating the public and virus variants.

The milestone was reached just over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China and less than two weeks after the global death toll exceeded two million.

The United States has the highest total number of confirmed coronavirus cases for a single country at 25.3 million according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Close behind, India has more than 10.6 million confirmed cases and Brazil has more 8.8 million.

More than 19.2 million Americans have received their first shot of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is well short of the hundreds of millions who experts say will need to be inoculated to vanquish the outbreak. The CDC reports that more than 41.4 million doses have been distributed across the country.

Health experts have warned that the more contagious and possibly more deadly variant sweeping through Britain will probably become the dominant source of infection in the U.S. by March. It has been reported in over 20 states so far. Another mutant version is circulating in South Africa.

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