This Week in Coronavirus: January 8 to January 14

During the 51st week since the first coronavirus case appeared in the United States, the U.S. surpassed 23.3 million total cases and 388,700 deaths due to the pandemic. Here’s our recap of the past week in the coronavirus pandemic from our tracking, policy analysis, polling, and journalism.

With the country’s coronavirus pandemic continuing unabated as cases and deaths increase and a more contagious variant of the virus spreads, there is greater focus on vaccine distribution troubles. KFF President and CEO Drew Altman’s op-ed in The Washington Post calls for a simplified process to fit our “fragmented, multi-layered health system.”

A new analysis examines the different approaches states are taking to manage the limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines and balance the desire to vaccinate those at greatest risk first with the need to ensure a fast and effective statewide vaccination effort.

One of the high-priority groups for vaccination are residents and staff of long-term care facilities (LTCFs). The latest data, published this week in a new analysis of the patterns of infections and deaths in LTCFs since the start of the pandemic, outlines that most states saw their highest numbers of LTCF cases and deaths due to COVID-19 in the last two months of 2020. KHN reports that only a quarter of the COVID-19 vaccine doses allocated to Walgreens and CVS through the federal program to vaccinate residents and staff of these facilities has been distributed so far.

Watch a recording of the discussion KFF Medicare and Medicaid policy analysts had this week with long-term care stakeholders, who shared their perspectives on the pandemic response and the ensuing vaccine rollout. In a KFF literature review of more than 30 studies done to analyze these trends so far, cases and deaths were associated with LTCFs that included a relatively large share of Black or Hispanic residents, for-profit status, a large number of beds, and/or an urban location.

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of color. In addition to Black and American Indian and Alaska Native people, Hispanic people are overrepresented in coronavirus cases, more likely to suffer worse outcomes, and hit harder by the economic impact of the pandemic than their peers. The latest analysis from the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor examined Hispanic vaccine hesitancy this week and found that 71% of Hispanic adults said they will “definitely get” the COVID-19 vaccine, with some generational variation. For the non-citizen immigrant population — which represents approximately 13 million members of the U.S. workforce and significant shares of workers categorized as “essential” — our analysis outlines the potential barriers to vaccine rollout.

Drew Altman highlighted another sector of the population that presents a challenge for vaccination efforts: rural America. More than a third of rural Americans say they either will not or probably won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine – a level of overall hesitancy similar to that of Black Americans.

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 nearly 5 million new confirmed cases in the past seven days. There were approximately 95,200 new confirmed deaths worldwide, bringing the total for confirmed deaths to nearly 2 million.

U.S. Cases and Deaths: Total confirmed cases in the U.S. reached 23.4 million this week. There was an increase of nearly 1.7 million confirmed cases between Jan. 7 and Jan. 14. Approximately 23,400 confirmed deaths in the past week brought the total in the United States to 388,700.

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

Extensions: AK, DC, MI, MN, MT, NM, NV, UT

Rollbacks: IL, OK, WA

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)

The latest KHN COVID-19 stories:

  • Hospitals’ Rocky Rollout of Covid Vaccine Sparks Questions of Fairness (KHN)
  • Feeling Left Out: Private Practice Doctors, Patients Wonder When It’s Their Turn for Vaccine (KHN, CNN)
  • In Search of a Baby, I Got Covid Instead (CHL, New York Times)
  • Is Your Covid Vaccine Venue Prepared to Handle Rare, Life-Threatening Reactions? (KHN, NBC News)
  • Are You Old Enough to Get Vaccinated? In Tennessee, They’re Using the Honor System (KHN, NPR)
  • Health Workers Unions See Surge in Interest Amid Covid (KHN, NPR)
  • One Ambulance Ride Leads to Another When Packed Hospitals Cannot Handle Non-Covid Patients (KHN)
  • California Budget Reflects ‘Pandemic-Induced Reality,’ Governor Says (KHN)
  • Lost on the Frontline: New this week (KHN, The Guardian)
  • CVS and Walgreens Under Fire for Slow Pace of Vaccination in Nursing Homes (KHN, CNN)
  • Delicate Covid Vaccines Slow Rollout — Leading to Shots Given Out of Turn or, Worse, Wasted (KHN, CNN)
  • Vaccination Disarray Leaves Seniors Confused About When They Can Get a Shot (KHN)
  • California Counties ‘Flying the Plane as We Build It’ in a Plodding Vaccine Rollout (KHN)
  • 5 Reasons to Wear a Mask Even After You’re Vaccinated (KHN)
  • When Covid Deaths Aren’t Counted, Families Pay the Price (KHN, The Guardian)
  • Geography Is Destiny: Dentists’ Access to Covid Shots Depends on Where They Live (KHN)
  • Journalists Examine How Covid Polarizes Communities (KHN)

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