COVID-19 has killed more than 438,000 Americans, and infections have continued to mount despite the introduction of a pair of vaccines late in 2020. USA TODAY is tracking the news. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox, join our Facebook group or scroll through our in-depth answers to reader questions.
Planning on taking public transportation anytime soon? You're going to need a mask.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order late Friday requiring people on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares to wear a face mask while waiting, boarding, traveling and disembarking. The order applies to those traveling into, within or out of the U.S.
The agency said violating the rules could result in criminal penalties. The order will be enforced by the Transportation Security Administration, as well as other federal, state and local authorities, the CDC said. It goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday.
The CDC said it "does not intend to rely primarily on these criminal penalties but instead strongly encourages and anticipates widespread voluntary compliance as well as support from other federal agencies in implementing additional civil measures."
In the headlines:
►A second U.S. state reported a case of the coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed a case of the B.1.351 variant in his state Saturday. South Carolina reported at least two cases of the variant earlier this week. Meanwhile, Minnesota has confirmed a case of the Brazil variant, and several states have reported dozens of cases of the U.K. variant
►Hundreds of people gathered outside the Michigan State Capitol on Saturday to protest the pause on some high school winter sports in the state, according to local news reports. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delayed the start of four "contact" sports until late February.
►Johnson & Johnson said Friday data from its late-stage trial in the U.S. and seven other countries showed its one-shot vaccine had an overall 66% effectiveness in preventing moderate to severe illness. Once fully protected, there were no deaths in the vaccinated group and several among the placebo-recipients, though the company did not detail those cases. The vaccine doesn't need to be kept frozen, allowing it to be distributed through normal vaccine supply chains without the need for new, expensive equipment.
►Nine Roman Catholic nuns in southern Michigan have died in January due to a COVID-19 outbreak at their retirement home, which had previously gone months without a single case.
►The Australian Open is expected to begin Feb. 8 with crowds of up to 30,000 each day. Victorian state sports minister Martin Pakula said crowds would be at about 50% of previous years, with 390,000 people expected over the two weeks.
►The Biden administration on Friday announced it is running ahead of its initial vaccination goal, with an average of 1.2 million shots a day administered over the previous seven days. Biden said earlier in the week he’s hoping to get to 1.5 million vaccinations a day.
►The European Union's drug regulator on Friday authorized AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine for use in all adults despite concerns that not enough data exist to prove it works in older people. On Thursday, Germany’s vaccination advisory committee said in a draft recommendation that the vaccine should only be given to people aged 18-64 for now.
►Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced stricter restrictions on travelers in response to new, likely more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus — including making it mandatory for travelers to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense when they arrive in Canada and suspending airline service to Mexico and all Caribbean destinations until April 30.
📈 Today's numbers: The U.S. has more than 26 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 438,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 102.3 million cases and 2.2 million deaths. About 49.2 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 27.8 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we're reading: Applications to medical school for this coming fall are up 18%, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, and many school officials specifically note that the number of applicants from traditionally underrepresented Americans is helping to drive the surge. Read more.
NYC neighborhood struggles to vaccinate Latino residents
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged Friday a vaccine site in Washington Heights administered shots to mostly white people who came from outside the predominantly Latino neighborhood.
"Somehow instead of focusing on the Latino community of Washington Heights, a place that really was hit hard by COVID, instead the approach was somehow conducive to folks from outside of the community coming and getting vaccinated, but not folks who live right there in Washington Heights – totally backwards," the mayor said in a press conference, according to a transcript.
Philadelphia cuts ties with vaccine distribution startup led by 22-year-old
After considering health providers at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University, city officials said they chose the startup based on COVID-19 testing sites they had set up last year. City officials have not announced a new site operator.
Freezer failure leads to middle-of-the-night vaccination rush in Seattle
Seattle hospitals rushed out COVID-19 vaccines to hundreds of people in the middle of the night after a freezer they were being stored in failed.
It’s not clear what caused the freezer failure Thursday night, but the UW Medical Center’s Northwest and Montlake campuses and Swedish Health Services' clinic at Seattle University put out emergency calls on social media and each administered more than 800 doses of vaccine late that night and into the morning. Not a single dose went to waste.
"Thank you to everyone who came together to get these doses administered!" Swedish health Services said on Twitter Friday afternoon.
Vaccinated US Rep. Stephen Lynch tests positive for COVID-19
A Massachusetts congressman who has received both doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has tested positive for the virus.
The office of U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch said Friday that the lawmaker had had a negative test result before attending President Joe Biden’s inauguration. The office says Lynch’s positive test result came after a staff member in his Boston office tested positive earlier this week.
A statement says Lynch isn’t displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. Lynch will self-quarantine and vote by proxy in Congress in the coming week.
Lynch is the second member of the state’s congressional delegation to test positive in as many days. On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan announced she had tested positive after repeatedly testing negative.
Colorado mayor compares COVID-19 restrictions to George Floyd's death
The mayor of a Colorado village compared county COVID-19 restrictions to the death of George Floyd in a statement he later said was a "poor choice," according a local outlet.
Snowmass Village Mayor Bill Madsen was advocating for lighter COVID-related restrictions during a meeting of the Pitkin County Board of Health on Thursday when he drew a comparison to the death of Floyd, a Black man who died after a police officer in Minneapolis held his knee to Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes.
"We are creating a tremendous amount of ill will in the community," Madsen said, according to the Aspen Daily News. "To hearken back to the George Floyd scenario, we have put our foot on the throat of the restaurant industry and they can’t breathe."
He later walked back his comments: "I was just trying to make the point that the restaurant industry is suffering, and that was probably a bad choice of words," Madsen said. "It was a poor choice. … I just wanted to make sure the restaurant industry is being heard, and I think throughout this whole process they haven’t felt that way."
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID news: J&J vaccine trial; Canada tightens travel restrictions