COVID-19 has killed more people in 2021 than 2020, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows.
The disease was reported as the underlying cause of death or a contributing cause of death for an estimated 377,883 people in 2020, accounting for 11.3% of deaths, according to the CDC. As of Monday, more than 770,000 people have died from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. That means over 15,000 more people have died in 2021 than last year from COVID-19 – and there's still more than a month left.
The CDC figures only account for reported deaths, and it's likely that more people died in 2020 due to COVID-19 than the recorded number; 2020 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. weren’t tracked until February. New COVID infections are now on the rise in 38 states and health officials have been bracing for the possibility of a surge in cases over the winter.
Experts say the surge is being driven by a combination of factors: the seasonality of the virus, waning immunity and many still unvaccinated Americans. Despite the rising cases, fully vaccinated family members can “absolutely” enjoy the holidays together inside without wearing masks, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.
Also in the news:
►The Department of Defense announced Monday that it’s awarded Pfizer $1.4 billion for an additional 200 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, which will be distributed internationally.
►Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Monday condemned rioters in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities over the weekend as “idiots” and said police and prosecutors would bring them to justice. The riots broke out during protests against lockdown measures.
►SOMOS Community Care, a physician-led network of doctors, will host joint Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway and Vaccine Drives throughout New York City’s most-vulnerable, at-risk neighborhoods Tuesday.
►Germany health officials said the rapid rise in coronavirus cases means it’s likely everyone in the country who isn’t vaccinated will have caught COVID-19 by the end of the winter.
►Connecticut is experiencing a more rapid increase in COVID-19 cases than any other state: The state has averaged 738 daily cases over the last week, which represents a 116% increase over two weeks earlier, the Hartford Courant reported.
📈Today's numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 47.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 771,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 257.8 million cases and 5.15 million deaths. More than 196 million Americans – 59.1% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘What we're reading: How to stay safe this Thanksgiving, even as the COVID pandemic remains a threat.
More boosters ahead? Dr. Fauci isn't sure
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Monday during a White House press briefing that he isn’t sure if Americans will need another COVID-19 boosters in the future.
“The honest answer is that we do not know at this point, but we’re collecting data,” Fauci said. “We may not need to get boosted every six months or so but if we do, we’ll address it. We’ll find the data, make it public and address it accordingly.”
Fauci said multiple studies from across the globe have made it clear that boosters “significantly enhance protection” from COVID-19. The hope is that the booster dose gives the immune response “a chance to mature and strengthen” significantly, he said, and last longer than the second dose, which waned in effectiveness after several months. Boosters are currently available at more than 80,000 locations nationwide, according to the White House.
-- Lindsay Schnell
Report: Over 95% of federal workers in compliance with vaccine mandate
More than 90% of federal workers received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday’s deadline set by President Joe Biden, a U.S. officials said Monday. In all, more than 95% of federal workers are in compliance with the Biden mandate, the official said, either by being vaccinated or having requested an exemption. The official spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t authorized to speak on the record before the date was to be release later Monday.
Biden announced in September that more than 3.5 million federal workers were required to undergo vaccination, with no option to get regularly tested instead, unless they secured an approved medical or religious exemption. A U.S. official said the vast majority of federal workers are fully vaccinated, and that a smaller number have pending or approved exceptions to the mandate.
Pfizer says vaccine 100% effective for kids 12-15 years old
Updated, Phase 3 trial findings show that a two-dose series of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for kids ages 12-15 was 100% effective against the coronavirus, measured seven days through over four months after the second dose. No serious safety concerns were observed, the companies said.
Effectiveness was consistently high across gender, race and ethnicity demographics, obesity and comorbidity status, the companies said. Pfizer and BioNTech plan to submit these data for scientific peer review for potential publication.
“These additional data provide further confidence in our vaccine’s safety and effectiveness profile in adolescents,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “We look forward to sharing these data with the FDA and other regulators.”
Andrew Cuomo misrepresented COVID nursing home toll, report says
The New York Assembly's investigation into former Gov. Andrew Cuomo's conduct in office concluded the Democrat's administration misrepresented how many nursing home residents died of COVID-19, according to a lawmaker who reviewed the committee's still-secret report. The report, compiled by the New York City law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, covers a wide array of allegations of misconduct by Cuomo, including sexual harassment claims and the participation of his staff in writing his book on the coronavirus pandemic.
Other topics include the Cuomo administration's manipulation of data on COVID-19 deaths as presented to the public. The Associated Press and other news organizations reported on gaps in the state's statistical accounting of fatalities, including the administration's decision to exclude from its nursing home death totals thousands of patients who died after being transferred to hospitals.
The Davis Polk investigators confirmed news reports that the state Department of Health wanted to include those hospital deaths in the state's nursing home fatality count.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID deaths in 2021 surpass 2020 toll, CDC data shows: Updates