J&J vaccine available in 1-2 days, CEO says; House passes $1.9 trillion relief plan — 5 COVID-19 updates

The FDA authorized Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 27, and on Feb. 28, the CDC officially recommended the vaccine's immediate use. 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be available to eligible Americans within one to two days, CEO Alex Gorsky said in a March 1 interview on NBC's Today.  

The company intends to deliver 20 million vaccines to Americans this month and 100 million doses by June, Paul Stoffels, MD, vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer for Johnson & Johnson, told CNN March 1.  

Johnson & Johnson also revealed plans to test its vaccine in infants, pregnant women and people who are immunocompromised, reports The New York Times. The plans were part of the company's application to the FDA for emergency use approval.  

Four more updates:

1. COVID-19 hospitalizations are continuing to fall, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project. Nationwide, 47,352 people were hospitalized as of Feb. 28. In early January, this figure surpassed 130,000. Regionally, the Northeast has the highest hospitalization rate at 186 per 1 million people, while the Midwest has the lowest at 95 per 1 million people and is approaching figures not seen since last summer.

2. The House passed President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan early Feb. 27, sending the proposal to the Senate for debate this week. The House bill includes $20 billion for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and $50 billion for testing and tracing efforts. It also includes $1,400 stimulus checks and funding for state and local governments, school reopenings and more. For more info on the relief package, click here.

3. COVID-19 testing volume has decreased 30 percent in the U.S. since early January, according to COVID Tracking Project data cited by The New York Times. The U.S. recorded fewer than 10 million tests in the week ending Feb. 24, down from nearly 14 million weekly tests in early January. Experts told NYT several factors may contribute to this decrease, including fewer virus exposures, less travel and weather-related testing site closures.

4. Variants first detected in California, New York, Brazil, Britain and South Africa have been circulating in Houston at low levels for six to eight weeks, reports The New York Times. Researchers at Houston Methodist Hospital have performed genetic sequencing on 20,000 viral genomes from patients since March 2020. Their work makes Houston the first city to find all of the variants, according to NYT.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in U.S.

Cases: 28,606,340

Deaths: 513,092

Americans receiving at least one vaccine dose: 49,772,180

Counts reflect Feb. 28 and March 1 data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University and the CDC.


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