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Jan. 5 Coronavirus updates: Supreme Court justices will receive vaccine

Fauci on Biden vaccination plan of 100M doses in first 100 days: "It can be done."
Image: A person sits alone while commuting on the Staten Island Ferry amid the coronavirus pandemic
A person sits alone while commuting on the Staten Island Ferry amid the coronavirus pandemic on Monday in New York.Angela Weiss / AFP - Getty Images

Live coverage has ended, please click here for NBC News' latest reporting on Covid-19.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown in England to slow down the spiral in new cases of Covid-19 on the same day the U.K. started the rollout of AstraZeneca's vaccine.

The increase in cases is likely fueled by a new and more transmissible variant of the virus that was first detected in England in November.



699d ago / 7:07 PM UTC

FDA warns Congress about Covid test that may give false results

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The Office of the Attending Physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, is responding to a public FDA warning issued yesterday that the coronavirus test administered on the Hill can be subject to false results, according to a memo obtained by NBC News.

In the memo, Monahan writes, “The Office of Attending Physician is presently monitoring a notice released this evening by the FDA regarding the performance characteristics of the Curative test to detect coronavirus using the RT-PCR system. This test system in presently used in the CVC test center at the Capitol. This test uses a tip-of-the-nose swab obtained by our patients under medical supervision.”

Monahan asserts the test "is the most accurate available" and inaccurate results plague all Covid-19 testing.

He adds they expect more information in the coming days from the FDA. The memo was fiorst reported by Politico. 

Testing at the Capitol was made available in November to all members, staff and reporters working on the Hill after months of pushback to the idea from House and Senate leadership.

There is a heavy reliance on this testing system by the thousands who work in the building on a daily basis. The full House and Senate return from all across the country as they prepare to certify the Electoral College results Wednesday.

Click here for the full story. 

699d ago / 6:29 PM UTC
699d ago / 5:17 PM UTC

Beloved Oklahoma physical therapist dies from Covid: 'All she wanted to do was help people'

On their first date 25 years ago, Chris Kalinski realized that Rose Giroux, the woman he would eventually marry and have two sons with, knew just about everybody in Norman, Oklahoma.

They met at the physical therapy office where Rose had just started working and Chris, a college student, had been receiving treatment from a different therapist.

On that first date, they went to the store to buy ingredients to cook a romantic dinner together. Once inside, they split up, each tackling half of the grocery list.

"I walk into the freezer section and I see her talking to somebody — and it was my dad," Chris said. "I walked up and I go, 'I didn't know you knew each other, did you meet my dad like randomly or what?,'

"She said, 'Oh no, he's one of my patients.'"

Rose had a reputation around Norman of being the caretaker for just about everybody. So, when she died of Covid-19 on Nov. 23 — just six days shy of what should have been her 49th birthday — it came as a great comfort, but little surprise, to her husband to receive letters from strangers and hear stories from those whose lives she had touched.

Click here to read the full story.

699d ago / 5:03 PM UTC

Sandy Hook massacre first responder dies from Covid-19

One of the first Connecticut state troopers to respond to the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012 has died from Covid-19. 

Retired Trooper First Class Patrick Dragon of Brooklyn, CT died from the virus on Jan. 2 at Hartford Hospital, the Connecticut State Police said in a statement on its Facebook page. 

Trooper First Class Patrick Dragon.
Trooper First Class Patrick Dragon.Connecticut State Police

Dragon was an officer with the Connecticut State Police for 20 years and retired in 2018. During his time with the agency, Dragon served as a patrol trooper, resident trooper and as a detective in the Eastern District Major Crime Squad and the Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit. 

Upon his retirement, he worked as a police dispatcher for the Foster Police Department in Foster, RI. He was remembered as a kind and caring friend to all who met him, Foster Police Department Chief David Breit said in a statement

699d ago / 4:21 PM UTC

Cleveland Browns head coach, 4 others test positive

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, two other coaches and two players have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the NFL team's first playoff game in nearly two decades.

"Our facility is currently closed while contact tracing is taking place. The team will continue to consult with the league and medical experts to determine the appropriate next steps as the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and the entire community remains our highest priority," the team said in a statement Tuesday.

The Browns are scheduled to play Sunday at 8:15 p.m. against the Pittsburgh Steelers, in their first postseason appearance since 2002. 

699d ago / 4:18 PM UTC

Italy extends travel restrictions another week

ROME — The Italian government has extended travel restrictions and other measures for another week in its modified Christmas season lockdown to try to head off a new surge in coronavirus infections.

A decree approved by the Cabinet early Tuesday extends the measures to Jan. 15. At the same time, the government agreed to begin letting high school students return to class starting next week, but only in limited numbers. High schools have been on remote learning since the end of October, though elementary and middle schoolers have been attending in-person school since the start of the academic year.

Italy, the first country in the west to be slammed by the virus, has been trying to control its latest wave of infections with localized restrictions. After two months of restrictions, infections have plateaued but hospitals are still under pressure, hundreds of people are still dying every day and officials fear cases could surge again due to holiday get-togethers.

Italy has reported over 75,600 confirmed virus deaths in the pandemic, but experts say many COVID-19 deaths were not counted early in the pandemic.

699d ago / 2:26 PM UTC

U.S. closes in on 21 million Covid-19 cases

The country is on the verge of counting its 21 millionth Covid-19 case, after recording 222,349 cases and 1,822 deaths Monday.

As of Tuesday morning, the U.S. has 20.9 million cases and 354,313 deaths according to NBC News' tally.

The U.S. averaged 2,569 deaths and 213,000 cases per day the past week. Four weeks ago that number was an average of 2,390 deaths and 225,000 cases per day.

Monday, Rhode Island set single-day records of 78 deaths and 4,759 cases and 78 deaths, although the state had reported zero cases and deaths since Dec. 30 2020.

699d ago / 2:19 PM UTC
699d ago / 1:41 PM UTC

Netherlands last E.U. country to administer vaccinations

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch government came under heavy criticism from lawmakers Tuesday for its Covid-19 vaccination plan that only starts to administer its first shots on Wednesday, making it the last European Union nation to begin vaccinations.

“This is outrageous," Geert Wilders, leader of the largest Dutch opposition party, said during a debate that was arranged during Parliament's winter recess. “It is not a strategy, but chaos — total chaos — and the preparations were poor and too late.”

Last month, the Netherlands watched from the sidelines as other E.U. nations began vaccinations on Dec. 27 in what European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called a “ a touching moment of unity.”

Wilders called the Netherlands “the village idiot of Europe.”

The Netherlands took delivery of thousands of doses of the vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech late last year. But they have remained in freezers in a central storage location while the government finalized its vaccination plans, despite having months to work out how and where to administer the shots.

“What a failure by this Cabinet, that they are still in the freezer!" said Lodewijk Asscher of the Labor Party.

699d ago / 1:14 PM UTC
699d ago / 12:48 PM UTC

'Not good enough': Calif. Governor says vaccine rollout too slow

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California Governor Gavin Newsom criticized the slow rollout of Covid-19 vaccine in his state, where 1.3 million doses have been shipped but only 454,000 doses have been injected so far.

That means only one percent of the state's 40 million residents have received any coronavirus vaccine, according to the governor.

California reached new highs in daily Covid-19 cases during the holiday season even as officials there said that a new, more infectious British virus Coronavirus variant had been discovered in residents with no history of travel

Hospitals in the state are struggling with more than 22,000 Covid-19 patients, with 4,700 of them in intensive care units, according to the state's Department of Public Health. 

Labor unions and producers on Sunday called for film and television production in Southern California to be paused "until more hospital beds become available."

Across the country local governments are struggling to distribute vaccine doses as quickly as they receive them.

The federal government has largely left state governments to decide how to distribute vaccine that they receive; for his part, Newsom said, “the vaccines don’t arrive magically in some state facility.”

699d ago / 12:29 PM UTC

Indonesia prepares to begin vaccinations, prioritizing working-age people over the elderly

As Indonesia prepares to begin mass inoculations against Covid-19, its vaccination plan looks strikingly different to the U.S. and other Western countries, prioritizing working-age adults instead of the elderly.

The country will begin its inoculation program on Jan. 13, the country's health minister said on Tuesday, and President Joko Widodo is scheduled to get the first shot. Indonesia's first doses will be of the vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech, whose clinical trials involved people between the ages of 18 and 59.

Authorities have said they would await recommendations from the country's drug regulators to decide on vaccination plans for the elderly. By vaccinating more socially mobile and economically active groups first, the government hopes it can quickly reach herd immunity. 

Economists have argued a successful vaccination program covering around 100 million people will help jumpstart the economy, as they are more likely to resume economic activity such as spending and production.

699d ago / 11:27 AM UTC

Mexico approves Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

MEXICO CITY — Mexico approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for emergency use Monday, hoping to spur a halting vaccination effort that has only given about 44,000 shots since the third week of December, about 82% of the doses the country has received.

Prior to this, the Pfizer vaccine was the only one approved for use in Mexico. Mexican regulators approved the AstraZeneca shot on Monday.

Assistant Health Secretariat Hugo López-Gatell said he erroneously reported approval for Chinese vaccine-maker CanSino, noting it had not yet submitted full study results for safety and efficacy.

Mexico has pinned much of its hopes on the inexpensive, one-shot CanSino vaccine. “It will makes things a lot easier for us,” López-Gatell said.

699d ago / 11:21 AM UTC