A Year in, Covid-19 Cases Have Reached Every U.S. County
- A year ago, health authorities announced the first confirmed U.S. Covid-19 case in Snohomish County, Wash., near Seattle.
- It appears to be the last county in the U.S. to record a coronavirus case, according to a Wall Street Journal review of state records and data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
- The virus spread from big cities to thinly populated rural counties before finally reaching even the most remote areas that worked diligently to keep the virus at bay.
- To identify the last of more than 3,000 counties that appear touched by the virus, The Journal reviewed data from Johns Hopkins and individual states to verify that Covid-19 has reached each county in the 48 contiguous states and Hawaii.
- Alaska doesn’t have formal counties, but its dashboard of coronavirus data shows cases in all of the state’s boroughs and census areas for which the state is reporting.
Covid-19 Has Nearly Wiped Out the Flu—How Do We Keep It From Coming Back?
- It is a small bright spot amid Covid-19, although the number of people saved from a flu death pales next to the number dying from the new pandemic.
- The WHO says the measures people and governments are taking to prevent the spread of Covid-19, such as wearing masks and limiting public gatherings, have probably helped keep the flu in check.
- Another hypothesis holds that the broad spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, in countries like the U.S. may play a role in blocking the flu by lifting people’s immunity against other viruses.
- One study in the spring of 2020 in New York City found that people testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 were far less likely to be carrying other common viruses such as influenza viruses.
Lilly Antibody Drug Prevents Covid-19 in Nursing Homes, Study Finds
- Eli Lilly & Co. said its antibody-based drug prevented Covid-19 among many residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, results that point to the drug complementing vaccines while inoculations increase.
- The drug, called bamlanivimab, reduced the risk of both staff and residents getting sick with Covid-19 by about 57% compared with a placebo, Lilly said Thursday.
- The effect was more pronounced among residents, the company said, an 80% reduction in risk of Covid-19.
- The findings signal the potential for a new preventive weapon that could augment the fledgling Covid-19 vaccination effort to stem the pandemic.
- Lilly said it would ask U.S. health regulators to widen the drug’s authorized use to include protecting people in long-term-care facilities where someone has recently been diagnosed with Covid-19.
- Lilly disclosed the data in a news release and said it plans to publish full results in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Fed-Up Executives Plot a Faster Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout
- The national rollout of Covid-19 vaccine doses, they agreed, wasn’t going fast enough.
- By the end of the stroll, they had sketched the outline of a plan to speed things up: Combine the logistics technology of Honeywell International Inc., the expertise of health system Atrium Health, and the real estate of Tepper Sports & Entertainment to inoculate thousands more people a day than the average North Carolina vaccination site currently does.
- The North Carolina executives aren’t the only business leaders stepping in to offer private-sector expertise to help more Americans get Covid-19 shots.
- Washington state this week said that private companies will lend expertise to accelerate its vaccine rollout, among them Starbucks Corp.
- , which will provide help with vaccine-administration facility layout and has started working on ways to reduce patient wait times.
Biden’s Agenda Depends on Success in Curbing Covid-19 Pandemic
- WASHINGTON—President Biden’s success in achieving some of his biggest policy objectives—curbing climate change, expanding health coverage and overhauling immigration laws—will depend in large part on his success in combating the coronavirus pandemic, which he sought to jump-start Thursday with a national road map and a series of executive orders.
- Health experts both inside and outside the new administration agree that while accelerating vaccinations will help restore normalcy and spur momentum for Mr. Biden’s broader political agenda, the opposite is also true: Failing to slow the spread of Covid-19 could also overshadow his presidency.
- Mr. Biden’s national strategy announced Thursday is part of a blizzard of activity to curb the virus in his first 100 days, including a federal mask mandate, the administration of 100 million vaccines, the establishment of 100 federally supported vaccination centers, and reopening of most kindergarten-through-eighth-grade schools.
Jobless Claims Are Expected to Stay Elevated After Last Week’s Jump
- Layoffs likely remained elevated last week as the labor-market recovery stalls this winter amid surging coronavirus cases, tightened business restrictions and a wary public.
- Economists expect about 925,000 workers filed for jobless benefits last week, with the number holding nearly steady after claims for unemployment benefits jumped at the start of January.
- As Covid-19 infections increased into the winter, states and localities imposed new capacity restrictions on businesses such as restaurants.
- Delayed filings by workers over the Christmas and New Year holidays, as well as $300 a week in extra jobless benefits included in a coronavirus-relief package signed into law last month, also could have factored into the large claims increase for the week ended Jan. 9.
- Still, the four-week moving average for claims, which smooths out weekly volatility, rose in the week ended Jan. 9.
Biden Faces Early Hurdles on Nominees, Covid-19 Relief
- In the coming weeks, Mr. Biden must balance confirming his cabinet nominees, making progress on his legislative agenda and grappling with the expected Senate impeachment trial of his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
- While Mr. Biden delivered a message of unity during his inaugural address, lawmakers said this week it was unclear how quickly his cabinet nominees would be confirmed, and Senate leaders were battling behind the scenes about a power-sharing agreement needed to proceed with the president’s legislative priorities.
- Mr. Biden notched an early victory Wednesday night when the Senate confirmed his first cabinet-level pick, Avril Haines, the nominee for director of national intelligence.
- The president plans to press Congress to pass another Covid-19 relief package as well as broad immigration legislation, two measures that face significant headwinds on Capitol Hill.
Europeans Clash With Pfizer, BioNTech Over Covid-19 Vaccine Deliveries
- and BioNTech SE after officials said the companies had unexpectedly cut their deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines and put their immunization schedules at risk.
- The Italian government asked the country’s attorney general to study whether it can take legal action after Pfizer cut deliveries of its vaccine for this week by 29% as it retools its Belgium factory, a government spokeswoman said Wednesday.
- Separately, the German state of Hamburg said Pfizer had delivered fewer vials of vaccine to the city than expected this week.
- The companies have said they were on schedule to deliver the number of doses they had promised.
- A Hamburg government spokeswoman said the state has struggled to extract the sixth dose as special syringes are required and authorities haven’t been able to purchase them in sufficient quantities.
United Airlines Offers Grim Outlook but Seeks to Rebuild
- on Wednesday said it expects the coronavirus pandemic will continue to weigh on travel demand this year as the airline turns its focus to rebuilding itself.
- United reported a net loss of $1.9 billion for the fourth quarter, compared with a profit of $641 million in the same period a year earlier.
- While the outlook for the next few months remains dim for airlines, United said it has gotten a handle on how to survive its immediate challenges and outlined the broad strokes of its plan to exceed its 2019 profit margins by 2023, through a combination of returning travel revenue and cost-cutting.
- said it lost $12 billion in last year, also its worst-ever annual performance.
- The two airlines’ dismal results reflect the damage the pandemic has inflicted on airlines.
- are set to report fourth-quarter results next week.
Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Helps U.K. Lead Race to Reach Nursing Homes
- More than four million of the most at-risk people in the U.K., almost 8% of the adult population, have been vaccinated with at least one shot of vaccine.
- Among them are more than half of the frailest group of all: the 300,000 elderly residents of nursing homes who can’t travel to get a shot.
- The key to reaching them has been mobile vaccination teams armed with a shot developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca PLC.
- Together with a network of family doctors and vaccination hubs in sports centers, hotels and cathedrals, this shot has helped the country to stay on track toward a target of vaccinating its 15 million most vulnerable people by mid-February.
- The government says the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has also been authorized in India, Morocco and some countries in Latin America, has been a game changer in reaching people tucked away in smaller nursing homes.