UK variant detected in 4 states; COVID-19 hospitalizations hit record high — 5 updates

The U.S. surpassed its previous COVID-19 hospitalization record Jan. 4, with 128,210 virus patients hospitalized, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.  

The holidays have significantly affected testing data, with testing decreasing in 33 states, reports The COVID Tracking Project. Despite testing data dropping, the seven-day average for COVID-19 cases is higher than pre-holiday figures and increasing in many states. Hospitalization data remains the most stable despite reporting disruptions. 

Four more updates:

1. FDA leaders have dismissed the idea of delaying second vaccine doses, according to a Jan. 4 statement from FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and Peter Marks MD, PhD, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. Some public health experts have suggested changing the dosing schedule may help vaccinate more Americans faster. However, the FDA officials said such a move would be "premature," adding that the available data "continue to support the use of two specified doses of each authorized vaccine at specified intervals."

2. More than 500,000 inmates and guards at U.S. correctional facilities have contracted COVID-19, according to a New York Times analysis of 2,600 prisons, jails and immigration detention centers nationwide. The number of cases reported in these facilities has jumped by nearly 84 percent in the past two months.

3. New York reported its first case of the U.K. COVID-19 variant Jan. 4, making it the fourth state to identify the more contagious virus strain, according to CNBC. Colorado, California and Florida have also detected the variant. For the latest on this news, click here.

4. New York City has only administered about 25 percent of its vaccine supply, or 110,000 doses, reports The New York Times. During a Jan. 4 media briefing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened to fine hospitals $100,000 if they do not use up their share of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the week. Statewide, about 300,000 people have received their first vaccine dose, accounting for just 46 percent of allotted doses.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 20,825,423
Deaths: 353,640

Counts reflect data available as of 9:15 a.m. CST Jan. 5.

More articles on public health:
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, state by state
23 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Jan. 5
COVID-19 test positivity rises in infants, young adults: 4 CDC findings


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