This Week in Coronavirus: January 1 to January 7

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

It’s a new year, and while Democrats won control of the U.S. Senate with the results of the Georgia runoff elections and lawmakers dealt with the riot on the Capitol during Electoral College certification, the pandemic raged on. Three days this week broke records for daily new COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. Total U.S. cases surpassed 21.5 million, and there were nearly 1.6 million new cases and about 19,300 new deaths.

A new analysis of KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor survey data finds that residents of rural America stand out as one of the groups most hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and that their views on the pandemic could pose significant challenges for the nation’s mass vaccination effort. Half of rural residents (50%) say they believe the threat COVID-19 poses has been “generally exaggerated” in the news, a belief held by fewer urban (27%) and suburban (37%) residents.

The nation’s vaccination efforts have been challenging. KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast explores the problems and strategic errors from many angles, and looks at what the Biden administration might do to speed up the effort.

With the pandemic taking a heavy toll among older Americans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and most states have placed a high priority on vaccinating residents and staff of long-term care facilities. KFF will hold an interactive web event at noon ET on Thursday, January 14 to provide the latest data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in long-term care facilities and examine how the effort to vaccinate residents and staff in long-term care settings is going, challenges experienced so far, and opportunities for improvement.

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

Global Cases and Deaths: Total cases worldwide reached 88 million this week – with an increase of 4.6 million new confirmed cases in the past seven days. There were approximately 80,300 new confirmed deaths worldwide, bringing the total for confirmed deaths to nearly 1.9 million.

U.S. Cases and Deaths: Total confirmed cases in the U.S. reached nearly 21.6 million this week. There was an increase of nearly 1.6 million confirmed cases between Dec. 31 and Jan. 7. Approximately 19,300 confirmed deaths in the past week brought the total in the United States to 365,200.

State Reports of Long-Term Care Facility Cases and Deaths Related to COVID-19 (Includes Washington D.C.) as of 1/5

  • Data Reporting Status: 50 states and DC are reporting COVID-19 data in long-term care facilities
  • Long-term care facilities with known cases: 30,802 (across 49 states and DC)
  • Cases in long-term care facilities: 1,101,783 (across 49 states and DC)
  • Deaths in long-term care facilities: 131,178 (across 50 states and DC)
  • Long-term care facility cases as a share of total state cases: 6% (across 49 states and DC)
  • Long-term care facility deaths as a share of total state deaths: 38% (across 50 states and DC)

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

Extensions: AR, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, NM, NC, OH, SC, WA, WY

Rollbacks: CO, MN, ND, OR, PA, WY

The latest KFF COVID-19 resources:

  • January 14 Web Event: A Shot in the Arm For Long-Term Care Facilities? Early Lessons from the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout to High Priority Populations (Event)
  • Updated: At-Home SARS-CoV-2 Testing: What Are the Options? (Interactive)
  • Vaccine Hesitancy in Rural America (News Release, Poll Finding)
  • Global Funding Across U.S. COVID-19 Supplemental Funding Bills (Issue Brief)
  • Updated: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker – Updated as of January 8 (Interactive)
  • Updated: State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus (Interactive)

The latest KHN COVID-19 stories:

  • Covid ‘Decimated Our Staff’ as the Pandemic Ravages Health Workers of Color in US (KHN, The Guardian)
  • Eureka! Two Vaccines Work — But What About the Also-Rans in the Pharma Arms Race? (KHN, Daily Beast)
  • Heading Off the Next Pandemic (KHN, Daily Beast)
  • ‘Last Responders’ Brace for Surge in Covid Deaths Across US (KHN, CNN)
  • Lost on the Frontline: New This Week (KHN, The Guardian)
  • Children’s Hospitals Grapple With Wave of Mental Illness (KHN)
  • San Francisco Wrestles With Drug Approach as Death and Chaos Engulf Tenderloin (KHN, Los Angeles Times)
  • Analysis: Some Said the Vaccine Rollout Would Be a ‘Nightmare.’ They Were Right. (KHN, New York Times)
  • In Fast-Moving Pandemic, Health Officials Try to Change Minds at Warp Speed (KHN, Great Falls Tribune)
  • Live Free or Die if You Must, Say Colorado Urbanites — But Not in My Hospital (KHN, Denver Post)
  • Video: The Healthy Nurse Who Died at 40 on the Covid Front Lines: ‘She Was the Best Mom I Ever Had’ (KHN)
  • As the Vulnerable Wait, Some Political Leaders’ Spouses Get Covid Vaccines (KHN, CNN)
  • Do-It-Yourself Contact Tracing Is a ‘Last Resort’ in Communities Besieged by Covid (KHN, NPR)
  • In Los Angeles and Beyond, Oxygen Is the Latest Covid Bottleneck (KHN, NBC News)
  • ‘Peer Respites’ Provide an Alternative to Psychiatric Wards During Pandemic (CHL)
  • San Francisco Wrestles With Drug Approach as Death and Chaos Engulf Tenderloin (KHN, Los Angeles Times)
  • Listen: How Operation Warp Speed Became a Slow Walk (KHN, Diane Rehm: On My Mind Podcast)

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