This Week in Coronavirus: January 22 to January 28

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

The world surpassed 100 million COVID-19 cases this week, with the United States accounting for a quarter of them. The U.S. also accounts for one-fifth (433,200) of the world’s nearly 2.2 million reported deaths.

A new analysis shows that COVID-19 is currently the number one cause of death in the country. As of January 26, 2021, an average of more than 3,000 people per day died of COVID-19 in the U.S. this month, nearly 50% higher than the next leading cause.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor reports the public’s eagerness to get a vaccine is rising across racial and ethnic groups, though Republicans and rural residents remain the most reluctant groups.  Nearly half (47%) of the public want to get the vaccine as soon as they can or have already been vaccinated. That is significantly higher than the third (34%) of the public in the most-eager “as soon as possible” category in December.

Data and analysis related to vaccine acceptance and hesitancy, trusted messages and messengers, demographic breakouts, and people’s experiences, are now featured in a new dashboard for the Monitor. The dashboard will be updated regularly to reflect the latest data and current issues.

As KHN reports on the challenge of ramping up vaccine production, Drew Altman dives into the discussion about how many vaccinations are needed, and by when, for herd immunity. Here are his estimated goalposts on the calendar and what it would take to vaccinate 70% of the country’s population by then:

July 4 → 2.4 million doses/day

Labor Day → 1.9 million doses/day

Jan 1, 2022 → 1.2 million doses/day

Reporting from KHN continues to show that vaccination is lagging for Black Americans and highlights the lack of data about who is being vaccinated. But there are disparities long before the point of getting shots in arms. KFF analysts this week examined why racial diversity within COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials is important, the clinical trial participation barriers among people of color, and examine the racial/ethnic composition of clinical trial participants for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines.

President Biden issued an executive order this week to reopen enrollment into the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces for a special period in order to reduce the number of uninsured during the ongoing pandemic. An analysis finds that nearly 9 million uninsured Americans could get free or subsidized health insurance with the reopening. Another brief looks at opportunities to expand health coverage enrollment during the pandemic.

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

Global Cases and Deaths: Total cases worldwide stand at 101.5 million this week – with an increase of 3.9 million new confirmed cases in the past seven days. There were approximately 99,500 new confirmed deaths worldwide, bringing the total for confirmed deaths to nearly 2.2 million.

U.S. Cases and Deaths: Total confirmed cases in the U.S. approached 25.8 million this week. There was an increase of about 1.1 million confirmed cases between Jan. 21 and Jan. 28. Approximately 22,800 confirmed deaths in the past week brought the total in the United States to 433,200.

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

Extensions: CO, DE, IN, NH, NC, SC, WY

Rollbacks: CA, IL, NM, ND, OH, WY

The latest KFF COVID-19 resources:

  • KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: Nearly Half of the Public Wants to Get a Vaccine as Soon as They Can or Has Already Been Vaccinated (News Release, Report)
  • How Quickly We Need To Ramp Up Vaccinations To Get To Herd Immunity (Full Column, Axios Column)
  • Marketplace Eligibility Among the Uninsured: Implications for a Broadened Enrollment Period and ACA Outreach (News Release, Issue Brief)
  • Key Issues for State Medicaid Programs When the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Ends (Issue Brief)
  • Racial Diversity within COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials: Key Questions and Answers (Issue Brief)
  • Opportunities and Resources to Expand Enrollment During the Pandemic and Beyond (Issue Brief)
  • COVID-19 is the Number One Cause of Death in the U.S. in Early 2021 (Issue Brief)
  • Analyzing Recent Trends in Medicaid/CHIP Applications: What We Do and Do Not Know (Issue Brief)
  • Updated: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker – Updated as of January 29 (Interactive)
  • Updated: State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus (Interactive)


The latest KHN COVID-19 stories:

  • Why Even Presidential Pressure Might Not Get More Vaccine to Market Faster (KHN, Daily Beast)
  • ‘We’re Not Controlling It in Our Schools’: Covid Safety Lapses Abound Across US (KHN)
  • Poll: Nearly Half of American Adults Now Want the Covid Vaccine — ASAP (KHN)
  • Remdesivir, Given to Half of Hospitalized Covid Patients in U.S., Is Big Win for Gilead — Boosted by Taxpayers (KHN, SF Chronicle)
  • Big Business Boosts Vaccine Effort, but It’s ‘Complex Choreography’ to Get Shots in Arms (KHN, NPR)
  • Vaccine Ramp-Up Squeezes Covid Testing and Tracing (KHN, LA Times)
  • Amid Covid Health Worker Shortage, Foreign-Trained Professionals Sit on Sidelines (KHN, US News)
  • If I Have Cancer, Dementia or MS, Should I Get the Covid Vaccine? (KHN, CNN)
  • California’s Top Hospital Lobbyist Cements Influence in Covid Crisis (KHN, LA Times)
  • Anti-Vaccine Activists Peddle Theories That Covid Shots Are Deadly, Undermining Vaccination (KHN, CNN)
  • Lost on the Frontline: New this week (KHN, The Guardian)
  • Readers and Tweeters Fight Stigma and Salute Front-Line Workers (KHN)
  • Huge Gaps in Vaccine Data Make It Next to Impossible to Know Who Got the Shots (KHN, The Guardian)
  • As Vaccine Rollout Expands, Black Americans Still Left Behind (KHN, NBC News)
  • Can the US Keep Covid Variants in Check? Here’s What It Takes (KHN, NBC News)
  • Vaccination Chaos Fuels Push to Recall Newsom (KHN, Daily Beast)
  • New Covid Cases Plunge 25% or More as Behavior Changes (KHN)
  • Kids Already Coping With Mental Disorders Spiral as Pandemic Topples Vital Support Systems (KHN, NPR)
  • Pandemic Sends a Couple Into Indefinite Long Distance Though Just Miles Apart (KHN, NPR)
  • At Colorado’s Rural Edges, Vaccines Help Assisted Living Homes Crack Open the Doors (KHN, Denver Post)
  • Journalists Stay on Top of Rocky Vaccine Rollout (KHN)

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