In Miami, several frontline health workers received their shots on Tuesday, while in Vermont, an emergency department nurse became the first person in the state to be vaccinated.
“The women and men who received these first doses represent thousands of health heroes in every corner of Vermont,” said Dr. John Brumsted, president and CEO of the University of Vermont Health Network.
About 20 million people are expected to receive their first vaccines by the end of the month. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said officials would soon provide a dashboard with the number of Covid-19 vaccinations taken, “so that we know exactly how we are getting the shots. in arms. “
The vaccinations will eventually change the country’s grim trajectory, but not for a few months, experts said. Until then, experts say people should wear masks, avoid crowded indoor spaces and try to protect each other this holiday season.
“What people need to know is that we are still in a dangerous and critical phase of this pandemic, and tens of thousands of American lives are at stake, really, every week, and we can flatten the curve.” , adm. Brett Giroir, HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, told CNN’s John Berman on Wednesday.
A green light for a second Covid-19 vaccine in the United States could be in a few days and would bring millions of more vaccines to Americans.
Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisers will meet on Thursday to discuss authorization for emergency use of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine. In the hopes that the FDA will agree, vaccine advisers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also scheduled meetings for Saturday and Sunday to discuss Moderna’s vaccine candidate and upcoming phases of distribution.
Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, which is very similar to the already licensed one from Pfizer, appears to be “very promising,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory group.
“It appears to be around 95% effective in preventing disease, including 100% effective in severe disease, approximately 95% effective in preventing disease in people over 65, of different ethnic and racial backgrounds,” said Offit told CNN.
The number of remaining hospital beds decreases
The devastating numbers prove that the pandemic is still far from over – and that the virus is rampant in many American communities. Stressed hospitals across the country continue to see an influx of patients and the number of available beds is dwindling.
Los Angeles County has reported fewer than 100 intensive care unit beds remaining, an alarming new low for the nation’s most populous county.
“We all need to work together to avoid as many hospitalizations and deaths as possible while waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine to become widely available,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “I ask everyone to stay strong and focus all of their efforts to stop the outbreak. ”
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said “the hospitalization rate is not good” with the city reporting around 2.89 hospitalizations per 100,000 population (officials want that number to be less than 2) .
He said the number of hospitalizations was “an indicator of the bigger problem we still face and which we will be fighting for weeks now”.
Numbers across the country could rise even more if Americans choose to travel and congregate again for the upcoming holidays. Experts have warned for weeks against traditional celebrations to prevent further spread of the virus, which in turn could lead to a new wave of cases.
Governors of the Northeast and Midwest released a video urging Americans to “double down” on safety measures like masks and social distancing during the holiday season and to reconsider their travel plans.
“This is perhaps the most difficult time in our fight against Covid-19, especially as the holidays approach. Until the vaccine is available to everyone and we eradicate this virus once and for all, we must continue to protect each other, “the governors of Kentucky and Illinois said in a message. video.
“If you are planning to travel or reunite with other households for the holidays, we urge you to reconsider,” the Ohio governor added.
According to data shared with CNN by the Center for New Data, more than four million people in the United States have spent Thanksgiving away from home – including more than 1.6 million who have traveled out of state for the holidays, despite an advance warning from the CDC urging against Thanksgiving travel.
1.6 million children have had Covid-19
As local and state leaders try to find a way forward, the American Academy of Pediatrics said on Tuesday that nearly 180,000 children were diagnosed with Covid-19 between November 26 and December 10, bringing the total number of children with Covid-19 in the United States to more than 1.6 million since the start of the pandemic.
It comes as a new study released by the CDC suggests that even in children and adolescents, meeting people with Covid-19 and attending gatherings with people outside their homes may be associated with an increased likelihood of positive test for the virus.
But attending a school or daycare in person “was not associated with an increased likelihood” of a positive Covid-19 test, according to the study.
When it comes to in-person classes, the U.S. government needs to dramatically step up Covid-19 testing for schools to reopen and keep them open, according to a new report from the Rockefeller Foundation.
The roadmap, released Wednesday, calls for a dramatic increase in Covid-19 testing to 300 million tests per month, specifically for teachers, students and staff to reopen the nearly 100,000 public schools across the country. ‘here March and keep them open.
He says students should be tested for Covid-19 at least once a week and teachers and staff twice a week.
“In the coming months, the Rockefeller Foundation expects an avalanche of pooled, rapid, point-of-care Covid-19 tests that will allow this type of proactive testing to take place on a regular basis,” the foundation said. , “And as testing becomes more and more prevalent, support is more and more widespread for using it. ”
“We are running out of time,” he warns. “Perhaps no institution in American life is more important to the present and future functioning of society than its K-12 school system. ”
CNN’s Tina Burnside, Deidre McPhillips, Nadia Kounang, Lauren Mascarenhas and Shelby Lin Erdman contributed to this report.