*One year ago, on January 20, the first coronavirus case in the U.S. was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A man in Washington state tested positive for the virus after returning from Wuhan, China, where the pandemic outbreak originated.
The following day, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a call with journalists that “the risk to the American public is low,” but more information on the virus was developing daily.
In April, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator, warned that up to 240,000 Americans could die of coronavirus even if measures to curb the spread were followed “almost perfectly.”
More than 24 million cases of the coronavirus have been diagnosed in the U.S. More than 400,000 Americans have lost their lives to Covid-19, representing the highest death toll in the world.
According to a tally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15.7 million coronavirus vaccine shots have been administered to nearly 13.6 million Americans.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
As President Joe Biden takes office, he has pledged to make the pandemic a top priority by asking Americans to wear masks for 100 days. Yesterday, he signed his first executive order, the “100 Days Masking Challenge,” requiring mask-wearing on federal property. All governors, public health officials, mayors and business leaders will also be urged to implement mask-wearing, physical distancing and other public safety measures.
Researchers say Covid-19 vaccines might not be as effective against a coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa.
“We do now have very compelling data both from our labs and from many other labs around the world to support the fact that these mutations are problematic,” said Penny Moore, associate professor at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa.
The variant, discovered in more than a dozen other countries, is believed to be able to evade antibodies created by the vaccines. Study results are expected within the next week or two.
source: NBC News