Coronavirus updates: CDC warns UK strain may already be in US; Pfizer nears deal with feds for 70M more vaccine doses; 322K US deaths

 Coronavirus updates: CDC warns UK strain may already be in US; Pfizer nears deal with feds for 70M more vaccine doses; 322K US deaths


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, received his first dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.


USA TODAY is keeping track of the news surrounding COVID-19 as a pair of vaccines join the U.S. fight against a virus that has killed more than 320,000 Americans since the first reported fatality in February. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates on vaccine distribution, including who is getting the shots and where, as well as other COVID-19 news from across the USA TODAY Network. Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates directly to your inbox, join our Facebook group or scroll through our in-depth answers to reader questions for everything you need to know about the coronavirus.

In the headlines: 

New York is conducting tests to ascertain whether the new coronavirus strain that’s spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom has reached the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. All of the approximately 4,000 tests performed so far have come out negative, but the CDC acknowledges the strain might have found its way to America. “Given the small fraction of US infections that have been sequenced, the variant could already be in the United States without having been detected,” the agency wrote on its website.

Antarctica is no longer the only continent without a coronavirus case, as passengers on a military boat from the Antarctic Peninsula to Chile tested positive for COVID-19.

►Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, told the news outlet Newsy that she intends to retire but is first willing to help the incoming Biden administration combat the pandemic. 

►South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has tested positive for COVID-19, days after his wife, Peggy, was confirmed infected. Both tested negative eight days ago before attending a White House party. Gov. McMaster, 73, has mild symptoms with a cough and slight fatigue and will isolate for 10 days and be monitored for additional symptoms.

►Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gave two thumbs-up after being vaccinated Tuesday. “I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated so that we can have a veil of protection over this country that will end this pandemic,” Fauci said.

►The COVID-19 relief package was designed to throw a financial lifeline to Americans struggling because of the pandemic, but a break for CEOs is drawing scrutiny: business meal deductions. President Donald Trump says it will help struggling restaurants.

►2020 has been the deadliest year in U.S. history, and deaths are expected to top 3 million for the first time, mainly because of the pandemic. Preliminary numbers show the country will have more than 3.2 million deaths, or at least 400,000 more than in 2019.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 18.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 322,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. It was only eight days ago the country reached 300,000 COVID fatalities. The global totals: More than 77.9 million cases and 1.71 million deaths. 

Here’s a closer look at today’s top stories: 

Report: Deal for another 70M-plus Pfizer vaccine doses is near

The U.S. gove

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Redak staff

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