Coronavirus Pandemic

Virus Updates: Disneyland to Serve as Vaccination Site; Biden Receives Second Shot

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Over the weekend, the United States topped 22 million coronavirus cases and 374,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a tally by NBC News.

Meanwhile, the Capitol's attending physician warned House lawmakers Sunday they may have been exposed to someone testing positive for COVID-19 while they sheltered at an undisclosed location during the Capitol siege by a violent mob of pro-Trump supporters. One representative reported Monday that she had since tested positive.

On Friday, President-elect Joe Biden announced he will release most available COVID-19 vaccine doses to speed delivery to more people, a reversal of the Trump administration policy. Biden himself received his second dose of the vaccine Monday.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from the U.S. and elsewhere:

Disneyland to Serve as COVID-19 Vaccine Super Site in Orange County

Disneyland Resort in Anaheim has been established as the Super first Point-of-Dispensing site for COVID-19 vaccines for residents, Orange County officials announced Monday.

“The Disneyland Resort, the largest employer in the heart of Orange County, has stepped up to host the county’s first Super POD site – undertaking a monumental task in our vaccination distribution process,” said acting Chairman Andrew Do, First District, in a statement issued by the county. “We truly appreciate the support of the Orange County Fire Authority, our cities, and our residents as we continue to rollout COVID-19 vaccinations throughout the county.”

The site will have the ability to vaccinate thousands of residents daily, according to the county.

“It's important to vaccinate as many willing people as possible for COVID-19, and we need the space to do it,” said Supervisor Donald P. Wagner, Third District, said in the county's statement. “I thank Disneyland Resort and the City of Anaheim for stepping up in the shared effort to give OC residents protection against the virus.”

The Disneyland site is expected to begin operations later this week, matching a similar timeline to Los Angeles switching Dodger Stadium from a COVID-19 testing super site to a vaccination super site, NBC Los Angeles reports.

Read the full story here

President-Elect Biden Receives Second Shot of Vaccine

President-elect Joe Biden received his second dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine on Monday. The president-elect also urged Americans to continue to wear masks and social distance as case numbers and the death toll continue to climb.

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday received his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, three weeks after getting his first one with television cameras rolling in an attempt to to reassure the American public that the inoculations are safe.

Biden pulled off his sport jacket to reveal a dark, short-sleeve T-shirt underneath and said, “Ready, set, go.” Chief Nurse Executive Ric Cumin administered the Pfizer vaccine at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware, close to the president-elect's home.

Biden got his first shot on Dec. 21 in a televised procedure. The virus has now killed nearly 375,000 people in the United States — about 60,000 more than when the president-elect got his first round of vaccination — and continues to upend life around the globe.

In brief comments to reporters after his shot, Biden said he has confidence in his COVID-19 combating team to hit ambitious vaccination-rate targets after he takes office on Jan. 20. He also called the current rate of thousands of people dying daily “beyond the pale.”

NJ Rep. Says She Caught COVID-19 During Capitol Riot From Unmasked Colleagues

A New Jersey congresswoman tested positive for COVID-19, and she believes she was infected during the Capitol riots last week by other House members not wearing masks.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a Democrat who represents New Jersey's state capital Trenton and surrounding areas, said she had a positive rapid test Monday.

"She believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the U.S. Capitol building as a result of insurrectionist riots," her office said in a statement. "As reported by multiple news outlets, a number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks."

Watson Coleman said she has cold-like symptoms but feels well otherwise. She had already received one dose of Pfizer's vaccine, her office added.

Public health officials started raising the alarm even while the riot was still happening about the possibility that so many people gathered in such close quarters could lead to a new outbreak. Watson Coleman is one of the first members of Congress to get sick since.

Several States Ramp Up Vaccination Campaigns, Open New Administration Sites

After a slow start to the national vaccination campaign, states across the country are opening new vaccination sites in an attempt to speed up the inoculation rate.

In New York City, two new vaccination sites have opened with three more set to open in the coming days, NBC News York reports. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state is now on pace to vaccinate around 300,000 people per week. Nearby New Jersey has plans to open six "megasites," one of which is a former Sears store, to vaccinate around 2,000 people a day, NBC Philadelphia reports.

On the other coast, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Sunday that Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles will close to coronavirus testing on Monday and reopen Friday as a vaccination center, NBC Los Angeles reports.

Similarly, Fair Park in Dallas – the site of the Texas State Fair each year – will open a vaccination center on Monday with the goal of inoculating some 2,000 people per day, NBC DFW reports.

Pharmacies will soon begin administering shots as hospitals are pushed to the brink.

Small Businesses Can Apply for Paycheck Protection Starting Jan. 11

The Paycheck Protection Program will reopen on Jan. 11, offering forgivable loans to small businesses and allowing certain cash-strapped firms to borrow a second time, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Congress authorized up to $284 billion toward the small business loan program as part of the sweeping COVID relief act that went into effect near the end of 2020, CNBC reports.

This time, the SBA and Treasury Department have staggered the reopening.

That means at first only community financial institutions – this includes banks and credit unions that lend in low-income communities -- will be able to initiate PPP loan applications on Jan. 11.

Read the full story here

The relief package now heads to President Donald Trump for his signature. The bill would provide $600 payments to many Americans.

California Virus Deaths Top 30,000 After Deadliest Weekend

California's coronavirus catastrophe reached a staggering new level Monday as Johns Hopkins University data showed the nation’s most populous state has recorded more than 30,000 deaths since the pandemic started nearly a year ago.

Deaths have exploded since a COVID-19 surge began in October. It took California six months to record its first 10,000 deaths. But in barely a month, the total rose from 20,000 to 30,000.

Over the weekend, state officials reported a two-day record of 1,163 deaths. Hospitalizations also have exploded and many hospitals are stretched to the limit.

California ranks third nationally in coronavirus deaths, behind Texas and New York, which is in the No. 1 position with nearly 40,000.

Health officials have warned the worst is yet to come later this month, when there’s full picture on infections from the holidays.

In Los Angeles County, deaths have topped 12,000 and confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed 900,000.

Associated Press/NBC
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