Biden to issue mask mandate today; new US variant may be driving California's surge — 6 COVID-19 updates

U.S. COVID-19 deaths surpassed 400,000 Jan. 19, reports The New York Times.  

Daily virus hospitalizations have, on average, decreased on 13 days in January and increased on six days this month, according to a Jan. 19 tweet from The COVID Tracking Project.   

Five more updates:

1. The American Red Cross is warning of a convalescent plasma shortage, a treatment used to help COVID-19 patients, reports Fox and CBS affiliate KRQE. Pampee Young, MD, PhD, CMO at American Red Cross, urged Americans who've recovered from the virus to donate blood so infected patients could receive blood transfusions. 

2. One of President-elect Joe Biden's first executive orders will require masks in all federal buildings, reports The Wall Street Journal. The order is just one of 17 executive actions he is slated to take during his first day in office. 

3. Anthony Fauci, MD, will lead a U.S. delegation at the World Health Organization's annual meetings this week, reports CNBC. The decision, which came from President-elect Biden, will reverse the outgoing administration's plan to withdraw from the WHO. 

4. COVID-19 vaccine trials are underway for children, with early results expected this summer, reports Bloomberg. Pfizer and Moderna started recruiting children for their trials late last year, and AstraZeneca will start testing its vaccine in 12- to 18-year-olds in February. 

5. A newly identified California variant may be driving a statewide COVID-19 surge, according to NBC's KNTV. Public health officials said a new COVID-19 variant, known as L452R variant, is increasingly being identified in multiple counties across California and has been linked to several outbreaks in Santa Clara County, including one at Kaiser San Jose (Calif.) Medical Center. Read more here

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 24,255,934

Deaths: 401,820

Counts reflect data available as of 8:55 a.m. CST Jan. 20.

More articles on public health:
New variant found in Germany; vaccination rates lag among Black Americans — 7 COVID-19 updates
Pandemic is out of control, most Americans say: 4 survey findings
California COVID-19 deaths cause air quality agency to lift limit on cremations


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