“Covid map: Coronavirus cases, deaths, vaccinations by country” – BBC / Source: Our World In Data

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Stock futures rose ahead of multiple earnings releases and Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen’s testimony before the Senate Finance Committee. Yellen is expected to support higher coronavirus relief spending to avoid a longer, more painful recession.

President-elect Biden rejected a move by President Donald Trump’s administration to lift travel bans for non-American citizens arriving from the European Union, the U.K. and Brazil. The current administration cited requirements for international travelers to present negative coronavirus test results or evidence that they had recovered from the disease as the reason for rescinding the travel ban, which would take effect Jan. 26. A spokeswoman for President-elect Biden said that the incoming administration plans to strengthen public health measures around international travel on advice from their medical team.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will address the nation on the eve of their inauguration to honor Americans lost to COVID-19. The incoming administration’s biggest challenge will be addressing the pandemic in its worst period, as the nation sees an average of 3,286 people dying from the disease daily and topped 400,0000 total deaths.

Former data scientist Rebekah Jones, who helped create Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard, turned herself in to police after the state issued an arrest warrant on charges that Jones illegally accessed the systems, sent a message saying it was “time to speak up” before more deaths, and downloaded and saved confidential information. Jones also announced she tested positive for the virus after her release from jail. Jones said that she is being targeted for her criticism of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ response to COVID-19.

Mutations pose a new challenge in the fight against coronavirus. As more mutations emerge, variants that can evade current tests, treatments and vaccines become more likely. 

California detected a variant first found in Denmark in outbreaks at nursing homes, jails, and a hospital in Santa Clara county. Amid rising cases in South Africa, the country’s genomic scientists identified a new variant that is 50% more transmissible than earlier versions. Yet another variant was detected in 35 patients at a Bavarian hospital, prompting German officials to discuss whether to tighten or extend lockdown restrictions.

With visitor restrictions in place in most hospitals, hospital chaplains are the last line of solace for dying coronavirus patients and grieving families on the other side of tablet and phone screens. While seasoned chaplains aren’t strangers to death, COVID-19’s impact on fatigued chaplains is unprecedented.

Shortages of PPE continue ten months into the pandemic, pushing nurses to the brink as they ration and reuse masks and struggle to maintain enough medical supplies and ventilators. The Veterans Affairs hospital system is particularly vulnerable to shortages without an effective system for tracking and delivering supplies. According to a survey by the American Federation of Government Employees, nearly 40% of VA hospital workers reported not receiving adequate PPE.

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

NYC hospitals adopt influencer strategy to promote COVID testing, complete with Misty Copeland and dogs – AdAge – 1/19/2021
“As the media landscape shifts, Health+Hospitals wanted to supplement traditional advertising with new channels, especially for audiences that are more difficult to reach,” says Wallace. “Young adults, who at times during the pandemic have been less diligent about COVID safety behaviors and testing, needed to hear from trusted messengers they follow actively.”

8 Ways People Behave in a Crisis from the Cold War to COVID-19 – The National Interest – 1/19/2021
Altruistic actions during the pandemic have included the establishment of “caremongering” and  mutual aid groups to help meet a range of basic needs, including creative initiatives to make personal protective equipment , hand sanitizer and ventilators.

Why Medical Tourism Is Drawing Patients, Even in a Pandemic – New York Times – 1/19/2021
Many people like Ms. Jackson have experienced a significant deterioration in their health because they have delayed medical procedures. The fear of large medical bills has outweighed fear of contagion for some, giving rise to an increased number of patients seeking medical treatment in a foreign country.

Forget Zoom happy hours. Here are 4 livelier ways to socialize remotely – Fast Company – 1/19/2021
Remote watch parties are getting more and more popular, but with so many streaming services available across so many platforms, it’s hard to find a service that works with everything. If you use the Chrome web browser, the excellent and free Scener extension is about as good as it gets right now.

Is COVID-19 infecting wild animals? We’re testing species from bats to seals to find out – The Conversation – 1/19/2021
Another way COVID-19 could spill over from humans into animals is through indirect infection, such as through wastewater. COVID-19 and other pathogens can be detected in waste streams, many of which end up dumped, untreated, into environments where wildlife like marine mammals may be exposed.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Bloomberg TV @BloombergTV 18 Jan On Wednesday, Joe Biden will take the oath of office as president in a ceremony dramatically reshaped by the coronavirus pandemic and still-simmering threats of violence in Washington

Kim Kozlowski @kimberkoz 18 Jan A Michigan nurse whose performance of “Amazing Grace” at a Livonia hospital went viral last year will sing at a nationwide memorial for those who have died from the coronavirus ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. via @detroitnews

Dena Grayson, MD, PhD @DrDenaGrayson 18 Jan 🇺🇸Field of Flags: 200,000 US flags are on display at the National Mall ahead of @JoeBiden’s inauguration, representing Americans—like @AlanGrayson and me—unable to travel to DC for #InaugurationDay amid the #coronavirus pandemic and security threats.#BidenHarrisInauguration

Michael K. Lavers (He/Él) @mklavers81 18 Jan I just had my last coronavirus-friendly workout with my trainer at the gym before the inauguration. Several large tour busses with troops (not sure which military branch to which they belong) parked in front of the Washington Hilton as I parked along Connecticut Avenue.

NBCWashington @nbcwashington 18 Jan D.C. has closed COVID-19 testing at all fire houses as well as Judiciary Square until after Inauguration Day. All test sites will be closed on Inauguration Day.

CONTENT FACTS

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