This Week in Coronavirus: January 15 to January 21

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

This week marked the one-year anniversary since the first patient with COVID-19 was hospitalized in the United States. At this point, coinciding with President Joe Biden’s inauguration and a new administration leading the federal response, the country has surpassed 24.6 million COVID-19 total cases and roughly 410,100 total deaths as of January 21.

On his first day in office, President Biden signed several executive orders including requiring masks and physical distancing in federal buildings and on other federal properties. On Thursday, the President signed an executive order mandating masks for interstate travel in the U.S. and released a national strategy responding to the pandemic. KHN outlines what President Biden promised during the presidential campaign and will be tracking the administration’s actions on health and COVID-19 related promises.

The latest COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor reports that half the public expect the vaccine rollout to get better under President Biden. The new report also highlights that a majority of the public, including prioritized groups like older adults and essential workers, say they don’t have enough information about where and when to receive a vaccine.

Meanwhile, an update to January 19 data on states’ COVID-19 vaccine priorities shows 12 states have moved to redefine their priority populations or open vaccine availability to people 65 and older, bringing the total number of states placing this population in the 1a or 1b category to 28. Six states moved those under age 65 with high risk medical conditions up in line as well.

A new analysis explores state-reported data on vaccination by race/ethnicity and will be regularly updated and available on KFF’s COVID-19 state data and policy tracker. While it is still early in the vaccine distribution timeline for the general public, the preliminary data provided by 16 states indicate Black and Hispanic people’s share of vaccinations is smaller than their share of cases and deaths in most of these reporting states. The data and our news reporting at KHN have also shown that vaccination is lagging by various measures for people of color.

Media reports indicate some health workers are opting not to be vaccinated, particularly among those working in long-term care facilities. A new data note examines the makeup (by race/ethnicity, income level, age, gender, education, and citizenship status) and health insurance coverage of the estimated 15.5 million health care workers with direct patient contact.

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

Global Cases and Deaths: Total cases worldwide stand at 97.5 million this week – with an increase of nearly 4.4 million new confirmed cases in the past seven days. There were approximately 95,400 new confirmed deaths worldwide, bringing the total for confirmed deaths to nearly 2.1 million.

U.S. Cases and Deaths: Total confirmed cases in the U.S. reached 24.6 million this week. There was an increase of about 1.3 million confirmed cases between Jan. 14 and Jan. 21. Approximately 21,400 confirmed deaths in the past week brought the total in the United States to 410,100.

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

Extensions: AL, ME, MD, MA, MI, NJ, OH, RI, UT, WI

Rollbacks: DC, IL, MA, MI, ND, VT

The latest KFF COVID-19 resources:

  • The COVID-19 “Vaccination Line”: An Update on State Prioritization Plans (News Release, Issue Brief)
  • We Need a Better Way Of Distributing the COVID-19 Vaccine. Here’s How To Do It. (Washington Post Op-Ed)
  • The Challenge of Vaccine Hesitancy In Rural America (Full Column, Axios Column)
  • Factors Associated With COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Long-Term Care Facilities: Findings from a Literature Review (News Release, Issue Brief)
  • Patterns in COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Long-Term Care Facilities in 2020 (Issue Brief)
  • 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 (Archived Recording)
  • Vaccine Hesitancy Among Hispanic Adults (News Release, Poll Finding)
  • Immigrant Access to COVID-19 Vaccines: Key Issues to Consider (Issue Brief)
  • Updated: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker – Updated as of January 15 (Interactive)
  • Updated: State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus (Interactive)
  • KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: January 2021 (News Release, Poll Finding)
  • Early State Vaccination Data Raise Warning Flags for Racial Equity (News Release, Policy Watch)
  • The COVID-19 Vaccine Priority Line Continues to Change as States Make Further Updates (Policy Watch Post)
  • Key Characteristics of Health Care Workers and Implications for COVID-19 Vaccination (Issue Brief)
  • Updated: Analysis of Recent National Trends in Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment (Issue Brief)
  • Updated: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker – Updated as of January 21 (Interactive)
  • Updated: State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus (Interactive)

The latest KHN COVID-19 stories:

  • Black Americans Are Getting Vaccinated at Lower Rates Than White Americans (KHN, NBC News)
  • On Trump’s Last Full Day, Nation Records 400,000 Covid Deaths (KHN, NPR)
  • Patients Fend for Themselves to Access Highly Touted Covid Antibody Treatments (KHN)
  • California Is Overriding Its Limits on Nurse Workloads as Covid Surges (KHN, NPR)
  • Lost on the Frontline: New this week (KHN, The Guardian)
  • Are Public Health Ads Worth the Price? Not if They’re All About Fear (KHN, Fortune)
  • Biden’s Covid Challenge: 100 Million Vaccinations in the First 100 Days. It Won’t Be Easy. (KHN)
  • Biden Terms Vaccine Rollout ‘A Dismal Failure’ as He Unveils Pandemic Response Plan (KHN)
  • Biden Takes the Reins, Calls for a United Front Against Covid and Other Threats (KHN)
  • Door to Door in Miami’s Little Havana to Build Trust in Testing, Vaccination (KHN, NPR)
  • Covid Vaccine Rollout Leaves Most Older Adults Confused Where to Get Shots (KHN)
  • Yurts, Igloos and Pop-Up Domes: How Safe Is ‘Outside’ Restaurant Dining This Winter? (KHN, NPR)



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