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Jan. 27 Coronavirus updates: Oklahoma to return $2 million worth of hydroxychloroquine

The U.S. remains the leader in recorded cases with more than 25.5 million infections.
Image: People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus walk through a subway station in Beijing
People in Beijing walk through a subway station on Wednesday. China has given more than 22 million Covid-19 vaccine shots to date as it carries out a drive ahead of next month's Lunar New Year holiday, health authorities said Wednesday.Mark Schiefelbein / AP

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

Global Covid-19 cases topped 100 million as virus mutations continue to create new concerns, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

The milestone comes less than three months after the world hit 50 million cases, and just over a year after the first case was diagnosed in the U.S., which remains the leader in recorded cases with more than 25.5 million infections.



Moderna confirms talks with federal government to deliver another 100 million doses

558d ago / 3:51 PM UTC

Moderna confirmed Wednesday it was in discussions with the federal government to deliver another 100 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine later this year.

“To date, the U.S. government has agreed to purchase 200 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine,” the drugmaker said in a statement. “This new purchase would bring the U.S. government’s confirmed order commitment to 300 million doses.”

President Joe Biden revealed Tuesday the government was working to buy 200 million more vaccine doses, which would be enough to inoculate every American by the end of the summer.

Biden to sit out Covid briefing as part of a new plan to talk to Americans

558d ago / 3:22 PM UTC

WASHINGTON — When the Biden administration holds its first coronavirus briefing Wednesday, there will be no cameo from the president, no speakers behind the White House podium jousting with reporters, and no data coming from outside the federal agencies involved in the pandemic response.

And in a sign of the awareness of the risks of putting people in a room together, the briefing won't even be held in person.

It will be a different scene from the coronavirus news briefings of the Trump administration, which often became freewheeling televised spectacles with the president jockeying with journalists. It's one of the clearest signs yet of how President Joe Biden is taking a vastly different approach when it comes to talking to the American people.

From the start of the pandemic, public health officials have been making the case that combating the virus requires a communal effort.

Biden and his pandemic advisers argue that changing the way information gets to the public will be one of the primary ways to turn around the trajectory of the pandemic.

Click here to read the full story.

Japan's PM apologizes after politicians break rules and visit nightclubs

558d ago / 2:07 PM UTC

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga apologized Wednesday after lawmakers from his ruling coalition visited nightclubs, despite his government's call for people to avoid unnecessary outings to stop the spread of Covid-19.

"I'm terribly sorry that this happened when we are asking people not to eat out after 8 p.m. and to avoid nonessential, nonurgent outings," Suga told Parliament. 

Japan this month issued a state of emergency in Tokyo to curb a sharp rise in cases. Japanese people vented on Twitter at the double standards of politicians. "I want them to quit! " one user wrote. Another said they were "unqualified to represent the public." 

Sanofi to lend rival Pfizer-BioNTech a hand with vaccines in Europe

and

558d ago / 1:30 PM UTC

French drugmaker Sanofi will help rivals Pfizer and BioNTech manufacture 125 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for the European Union, the company announced Wednesday.

The news comes as the E.U. struggles with the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, falling behind other parts of the world, including the U.S. and the neighboring U.K.

Sanofi will manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in its Frankfurt facility this summer.

“We are very conscious that the earlier vaccine doses are available, the more lives can potentially be saved,”  Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said. “We have made the decision to support BioNTech and Pfizer in manufacturing their Covid-19 vaccine in order to help address global needs, given that we have the technology and facilities to do so.”

January now the deadliest month of the pandemic

558d ago / 1:11 PM UTC

The U.S. has counted 80,677 reported Covid-19 deaths in January as of Wednesday morning, more than December's 77,124 dead and the the most in any month of pandemic, according to an NBC News tally. 

On Tuesday, the country counted 169,687 cases and 3,718 reported deaths, bringing the totals to 25.5 million cases and 426,586 deaths as of Wednesday morning.

The U.S. has averaged 3,367 deaths and 169,687 cases per day in the last week. Four weeks ago, that number was 2,615 deaths and 224,938 cases.

These states set single-day records:

  • Alabama, 234 dead
  • Hawaii, 59 dead
  • Tennessee, 192 dead

At-home Covid tests offer promises — and challenges

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558d ago / 12:12 PM UTC

Three new completely at-home Covid-19 tests are hitting the market soon, promising to deliver results within minutes.

The BinaxNowLucira and Ellume tests all offer slight variations on a similar approach: swab, insert and get results without even leaving your kitchen table, in 30 minutes or less.

The tests offer promising accessibility: No visits to a doctor or clinic, or scheduling a drive-through at a pharmacy. And, since patients don’t have to leave home, it's easier for them to take the test, decreasing the risk they might infect others.

“If millions of Americans tested themselves at home twice a week we would start to see dramatic reductions in cases within a month or two,” said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Read the story here.

558d ago / 11:43 AM UTC

China administered more than 22M vaccine doses so far

558d ago / 11:41 AM UTC

BEIJING — China has given more than 22 million coronavirus vaccine shots to date as it carries out a drive ahead of next month’s Lunar New Year holiday, health authorities said Wednesday.

The effort, which began six weeks ago, targets key groups such as medical and transport workers and has accelerated vaccinations in China. About 1.6 million doses had been given over several months before the campaign began.

“The carrying out of vaccination has been ongoing in a steady and orderly manner,” Zeng Yixin, vice chairman of the National Health Commission Said at a news conference.

He said that 22.76 million doses had been administered as of Tuesday. It’s not clear how many people that represents since the vaccine is given in two doses, and some may have received their second shot.

China, which largely stopped the spread of the virus last spring, has seen fresh outbreaks this winter in four northern provinces. About 1,800 new cases have been reported since mid-December, including two deaths.

Authorities are strongly discouraging people from traveling during the Lunar New Year holiday, a time when Chinese traditionally return to their hometowns for family gatherings.

Poorer countries will lag 6 to 8 months behind richer nations in vaccine rollout

558d ago / 11:31 AM UTC

Poorer countries face a best-case scenario of a 6 to 8 month lag behind richer nations in getting access to Covid-19 vaccines to protect their populations against the pandemic disease, the philanthropist Bill Gates said on Wednesday.

In an interview with Reuters, Gates called the rollout of the first Covid-19 shots a "super hard allocation problem" that was putting pressure on global institutions, governments and drugmakers.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has so far committed some $1.75 billion to the global response to the pandemic, including via funds for the COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative co-led by the World Health Organization, and via direct support for some vaccine makers. It hopes to start some deliveries next month.

"The total number of doses that GAVI (and COVAX) will have in the first half of the year is still very modest," he said. "Yes, they will get some doses out, but if you compare when they will reach the same percentage of coverage as the rich countries — that's where I'd say it's six to eight months, best case."

Covid-19 home test vending machine unveiled in New York City

558d ago / 11:30 AM UTC

900 Holocaust survivors have died of Covid-19, Israel says

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558d ago / 10:14 AM UTC

Around 900 people who survived the Holocaust died from Covid-19 in Israel during the pandemic, according to the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

The figures were released Tuesday, a day ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, an international day of remembrance to honor the millions of European Jews and other groups killed during the Holocaust between 1941 and 1945.

Some 5,300 Holocaust survivors contracted the virus last year, Israel reported. All Holocaust survivors are over the age of 75 — World War II ended 75 years ago — and approximately 17 percent are over 90. There are around 179,600 survivors living in Israel.

Japan prepares for vaccine drive

558d ago / 9:32 AM UTC
Image: Participants take part in a mock inoculation exercise on Wednesday in Kawasaki, Japan as the country prepares for a Covid-19 vaccination drive. It's the last major industrial country to start vaccinations.
Participants take part in a mock inoculation exercise on Wednesday in Kawasaki, Japan as the country prepares for a Covid-19 vaccination drive. It's the last major industrial country to start vaccinations.Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters