Biden shares relief package, appoints Warp Speed head; hospitalizations level off — 4 COVID-19 updates

As data stabilizes after the holidays, the U.S. is still recording more than 200,000 new COVID-19 cases and 3,000 deaths each day, the highest levels of the pandemic, reports The COVID Tracking Project. 

The majority of holiday-related virus case and death backlogs have been reported, though test backlogs are still occurring, according to The COVID Tracking Project. Current COVID-19 hospitalizations seem to have leveled off this week, though there are still more than twice the number of hospitalized patients now compared to prior surges. 

Three more updates:

1. At least 28 states have started vaccinating older people against COVID-19 per new federal guidelines that open eligibility to those 65 and up, reports The New York Times. While the change allows millions more people to receive the vaccine, it's also created confusion as Americans try to navigate a patchwork of evolving policies, according to the Times.

2. President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief package Jan. 14 that includes more than $400 billion to fight the COVID-19 pandemic directly. For a full breakdown on the relief proposal, click here.

3. President-elect Biden has selected former FDA commissioner David Kessler, MD, to lead Operation Warp Speed, reports The New York Times. The president-elect also appointed seven other members to his COVID-19 task force Jan. 15. Click here to learn more.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 23,315,721

Deaths: 388,725

Counts reflect data available as of 8:50 a.m. CST Jan. 15.

More articles on public health:
29 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Jan. 15
4 former CDC directors on the vaccine rollout, variants and more: 7 insights
States ranked by percentage of COVID-19 vaccines administered


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