FDA panel to review J&J vaccine today; hospitalizations lower than spring, summer surges — 9 COVID-19 updates

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. have decreased every day since Jan. 12, hitting their lowest point since Nov. 4, reports The COVID Tracking Project. 

The number of Americans currently hospitalized with COVID-19 is also lower than the number of hospitalizations recorded during both spring and summer surges, according to the Tracking Project.

Eight more updates: 

1. Around 41 percent of Americans 65 and older have received a COVID-19 vaccine as of Feb. 23, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of data from 21 states and Washington, D.C. Of the 33 plus Washington, D.C., reporting data on older adults, no state has crossed the 50 percent vaccinated threshold. For a full breakdown of the analysis, click here.

2. The FDA's vaccine committee is set to meet today to vote on whether to recommend the authorization of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine. If recommended, authorization could come as early as Feb. 27, according to The New York Times. 

3. The FDA approved Feb. 25 more flexible storage and transportation conditions for the Pfizer vaccine. Undiluted frozen vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can now be transported and stored at conventional temperatures commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers for up to two weeks, as opposed to the previous ultra-low temperatures.  

4. President Joe Biden on Feb. 24 renewed the national emergency declaration for the pandemic. The declaration will continue beyond March 1.

5. One dose of Pfizer's vaccine offers strong protection in people who've already had COVID-19, according to two studies published Feb. 25 in The Lancet. Researchers in London conducted the studies, which are among the first peer-reviewed papers to explore vaccination practices for COVID-19 survivors, according to The New York Times. 

6. COVID-19 survivors have about a 90 percent lower risk of contracting the virus again within three months, according to a federally funded study published Feb. 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine. The finding is based on an analysis of commercial antibody test results for 3.2 million Americans collected between Jan. 1 and Aug. 26, 2020.

7. The U.K. will expand vaccine eligibility to people 40 and older in the next phase of its rollout, reports the BBC. Vaccine experts advising the U.K. government said an age-based rollout is less complex than prioritizing access based on occupations, which could slow down vaccination efforts.

8. California became the first state to surpass 50,000 COVID-19 deaths Feb. 24, reports The New York Times. The nation's most populous state was reporting 50,991 total deaths as of Feb. 25. 

Snapshot of COVID-19 in U.S.

Cases: 28,414,136

Deaths: 508,314

Americans receiving at least one vaccine dose: 46,074,392

Counts reflect Feb. 25 and Feb. 26 data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University and the CDC.


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