This Week in Coronavirus: December 4 to December 10

Here’s our recap of the past week in the coronavirus pandemic from our tracking, policy analysis, polling, and journalism.

The U.S. surpassed 15.6 million total cases this week as an independent Food and Drug Administration panel of outside advisers supported emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

At KFF, our new analysis provides national and state-level estimates of the number of health care workers and long-term care residents who are expected to be part of the group first in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine. KHN reports that there won’t be enough to vaccinate everyone in the priority group in the first few weeks. Meanwhile advocacy groups for certain workers are already pushing to be next in line as “people who keep society functioning.

In an event held today by KFF and the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute, panelists discussed racial health disparities that have surfaced during the pandemic and what could be done to assure equity as COVID-19 vaccines come to market. This was part of a larger discussion on racism and discrimination in health care.

The economic impact of the pandemic has contributed to job losses, but as analysts write in Policy Watch this week, declines in employer sponsored insurance are far less than overall declines in employment and may have been offset by strong enrollment in Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces.

Here are the latest coronavirus stats from KFF’s tracking resources:

Global Cases and Deaths: Total cases worldwide reached 69.6 million this week – with an increase of nearly 4.4 million new confirmed cases in the past seven days. There were approximately 75,600 new confirmed deaths worldwide, bringing the total for confirmed deaths near 1.6 million.

U.S. Cases and Deaths: Total confirmed cases in the U.S. passed 15.6 million this week. There was an increase of nearly 1.5 million confirmed cases between Dec. 4 and 10. Approximately 15,800 confirmed deaths in the past week brought the total in the United States to 292,100.

Race/Ethnicity Data: Hispanic individuals made up a higher share of cases compared to their share of the total population in 42 of 46 states reporting cases. In 6 states (OR, WA, MA, NC, PA, and NH), Hispanic peoples’ share of cases was more than 2.5 times their share of the population. Black individuals made up a higher share of cases/deaths compared to their share of the population in 27 of 50 states reporting cases and 30 of 49 states reporting deaths. In 4 states (ME, VT, NH, and MI) the share of COVID-19 related deaths among Black people was at least two times higher than their share of the total population. COVID-19 continues to have a sharp, disproportionate impact on American Indian/Alaska Native as well as Asian people in some states. In 7 states, the share of COVID-19 related deaths among AIAN people was at least two times higher than their share of the total population (AK, NM, MT, AZ, MS, WA and NE).

State Social Distancing Actions (includes Washington D.C.) that went into effect this week:

Extensions: AL, GA, ID, IN, IA, ME, MI, ND, OH, RI, TN, WA

New Restrictions: CA, MA, MS, NC, PA, UT, WY

Enhanced Face Covering Requirement: MS, UT, WY

The latest KFF COVID-19 resources:

  • How is the Number of People with Employer-Based Health Coverage Changing During the Pandemic? (Policy Watch)
  • Options to Make Medicare More Affordable For Beneficiaries Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond (Report)
  • Estimates of the Initial Priority Population for COVID-19 Vaccination by State (News Release, Issue Brief)
  • Racism and Discrimination in Health Care – Experiences Today and Actions to Address Going Forward (Archived Recording)
  • How Has the Pandemic Affected Health Coverage in the U.S.? (Policy Watch)
  • State of the U.S. Health System: 2020 Update (Issue Brief, Dashboard)
  • Updated: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker – Updated as of December 11 (Interactive)
  • Updated: State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus (Interactive)
  • WTO Delays Decision On Proposal To Waive Intellectual Property Rules For COVID-19 Drugs, Vaccines (KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report)

The latest KHN COVID-19 stories:

  • Demand for COVID Vaccines Expected to Get Heated — And Fast (KHN, NBC News)
  • Opinion: It’s Time to Scare People About COVID (KHN, New York Times)
  • What Seniors Can Expect When COVID Vaccines Begin to Roll Out (KHN, CNN)
  • Tracking COVID’s Spread Inside a Tight-Knit Latino Community
  • (KHN, CNN)
  • A Child’s Death in the Heartland Changes Community Views About COVID (KHN, NPR)
  • With Pandemic Surging, Ohio Gov. DeWine Dials Back His Aggressive Response (KHN, US News)
  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: Obamacare Alum Andy Slavitt Takes Stock of the COVID Pandemic — So Far (KHN)
  • Farmworkers, Firefighters and Flight Attendants Jockey for Vaccine Priority (KHN, NBC News)
  • Going Home for the Holidays? For Many Americans, That’s a Risky Decision (KHN, USA Today)
  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Vaccines Coming Soon but COVID Relief Bill Still Stalled (KHN)
  • Supply Is Limited and Distribution Uncertain as COVID Vaccine Rolls Out (KHN)
  • A Battle-Weary Seattle Hospital Fights the Latest COVID Surge (KHN, NPR)
  • I Found My Secret to Feeling Younger and Stronger. The Pandemic Stole It Away. (KHN, New York Times)

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