AstraZeneca vaccine may cut virus transmission; COVID-19 deaths fall in 25 states — 5 updates

No state saw more than 500 COVID-19 hospitalizations per million people Feb. 2, the first time that's occurred since Nov. 2, reports The COVID Tracking Project. 

Weekly death averages declined more than 10 percent in 25 states this week, while nine states saw death averages increase by 10 percent or more during the same time frame, according to the Tracking Project

Four more updates: 

1. The federal government will send 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to pharmacies Feb. 11, reports The New York Times. About 6,500 retail pharmacies will receive doses Feb. 11, the start of a federal program announced last fall that aims to eventually deliver vaccines to 40,000 pharmacies and expand the number of sites where vaccines are available. The doses sent to pharmacies won't cut into doses allocated to states, said Jeffrey Zients, the White House's COVID-19 response coordinator. 

2. AstraZeneca's vaccine may significantly reduce virus transmission, according to early research published Feb. 2 in The Lancet's preprint section. Researchers at the University of Oxford found a 67 percent reduction in positive swabs among those who received at least one vaccine dose. The research is the first to provide evidence that a COVID-19 vaccine can reduce virus transmission, according to The New York Times. Researchers also found that a single dose was 76 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 over a three-month period. 

3. One vaccine dose may be sufficient for COVID-19 survivors, according to two separate studies published Feb. 2 by preprint server medRxiv. Some people who have already been sick with COVID-19 have reported intense side effects after one vaccine dose, leading researchers to believe two doses may not be necessary. Read more here

4. Rhode Island is the only state that hasn't expanded vaccine eligibility, reports The New York Times. The state is in the first phase of its vaccine campaign, offering access to healthcare workers and long-term care residents. All other states have widened eligibility to older Americans, as well. 

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 26,437,262

Deaths: 446,913

Counts reflect data available as of 8:55 a.m. CST Feb. 3.

More articles on public health:
What the CDC knows about the nation's first 13 million COVID-19 vaccine recipients
COVID-19 hospitalizations by state 
Only 5% of COVID-19 vaccines given went to Black Americans


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