US vaccinations outnumber COVID-19 cases; reinfection more likely if variants become dominant — 7 updates

Over the last week, COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped by at least 10 percent in 38 states, reports The COVID Tracking Project.  

New COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are also declining, with the seven-day average dropping by 29 percent in two weeks, according to data from The New York Times.  

Six more updates: 

1. More Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 than have ever tested positive for the virus, according to vaccine data from Bloomberg and case data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University. As of Feb. 1, the U.S. has recorded 26.3 million total COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, while 26.5 million Americans had received one or both vaccine doses.

2. People who've already been infected by the most widely circulating novel coronavirus strain could be reinfected if the South Africa variant becomes dominant in the U.S., Anthony Fauci, MD, said in a Feb. 1 interview with CNN. "There is a very high rate of reinfection to the point where previous infection does not seem to protect you against reinfection at least with the South African variant," which is known as B.1.351, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said.

3. The U.S. government signed a $231.8 million agreement with Australia-based Ellume for 8.5 million at-home COVID-19 tests. The deal will help fund construction of Ellume's first manufacturing facility in the U.S., where the digital diagnostics company will produce the tests, which are the first prescriptionless COVID-19 rapid self-tests to receive FDA authorization.

4. Only 37.5 percent of nursing home staff received a COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC said Feb. 1. From Dec. 18 to Jan. 17, a median of 77.8 percent of residents and 37.5 percent of staff members across 11,460 skilled nursing facilities received at least one vaccine dose through the CDC Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.

5. Race and ethnicity data was only collected from 51.9 percent of people who received a COVID-19 vaccine in the first month they were available, according to a Feb. 1 CDC report. Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, chair of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 equity task force, said during a Feb. 1 media briefing that addressing this insufficient data should be an urgent priority. "We cannot ensure an equitable vaccination program without data to guide us," Dr. Nunez-Smith said.

6. Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. should receive equal access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the Department of Homeland Security said in a Feb. 1 statement. As part of this effort, immigration officials will not "conduct enforcement operations" at or near vaccine sites, DHS said. 

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 26,322,785

Deaths: 443,636

Counts reflect data available as of 8:50 a.m. CST Feb. 2.

More articles on public health:
COVID-19 test positivity falls for 2nd week in row: 4 CDC findings
COVID-19 hospitalizations by state: Feb. 2
First FEMA-run vaccination sites to open this month, official says


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