Overnight Health Care: US sets record for daily COVID-19 deaths with over 3,800 | Hospitals say vaccinations should be moving faster | Brazilian health officials say Chinese COVID vaccine 78 percent effective

Overnight Health Care: US sets record for daily COVID-19 deaths with over 3,800 | Hospitals say vaccinations should be moving faster | Brazilian health officials say Chinese COVID vaccine 78 percent effective
© Getty Images

Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care. 

Even amid the fallout from the pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol on Wednesday, the pandemic is taking an increasingly deadly toll. 

Let’s start there. 


US sets record for daily COVID-19 deaths with over 3,800

The United States set another record for the most coronavirus deaths in a day on Wednesday, with 3,865, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

The death toll is only mounting as cases and hospitalizations also rise. More than 132,000 Americans are in the hospital with COVID-19, also a record, as the number keeps climbing, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The country is averaging more than 200,000 new cases every day.

A staggering total of more than 361,000 Americans have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins.

Big picture: Many Americans are fatigued with pandemic restrictions, despite the urgings of public health officials to maintain them. President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE has been largely silent on the crisis as he focuses on reversing the election outcome and as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.

Many governors also have been reluctant to impose new restrictions.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines, but the distribution effort is off to a slow start as Trump administration officials say they are working to speed it up.


Read more here

How is that vaccination campaign going? Hospitals say it should be moving faster

The American Hospital Association on Thursday called on the Trump administration to take action to speed up coronavirus vaccinations, saying it is concerned about the “slow pace” so far. 

Hospitals are at the center of the first stage of vaccinations for health care workers, but they said in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar that they “have seen a number of barriers” so far. 

Richard Pollack, the CEO of the American Hospital Association, wrote that there are problems with lines of communication. 

An eyebrow-raising line: “It is unclear who is responsible for answering questions or by what mechanism all interested parties will receive the answers to these questions that should shape their actions going forward,” he wrote. 

Pollack also advised that the administration could hold update calls where hospitals can ask questions, as has already been done around distribution of the coronavirus treatment remdesivir. “On the calls, relevant federal leaders provided brief updates and stakeholders were encouraged to ask questions or raise problems that needed to be resolved. A similar strategy might serve you well here,” he wrote.

Read more here

Brazilian health officials say Chinese COVID-19 vaccine 78 percent effective  

A COVID-19 vaccine developed by a Chinese company is effective, Brazilian officials said Thursday, announcing results of a large clinical trial. 

Brazil’s Butantan Institute tested the vaccine in more than 12,000 health workers in phase three trials and found it was 78 percent effective at preventing illness. The vaccine prevented all workers from developing mild or serious illness from COVID-19.

Beijing-based Sinovac has already sold more than 300 million doses to low- and middle-income countries, according to The New York Times.

Brazil and Indonesia will roll out the vaccine this month, according to Reuters.

Read more here.


A cruise maybe not the safest thing right now: Carnival cruises canceled through March

Three cruise lines owned by Carnival Corp. announced this week that they would extend their suspension of service through the spring in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In statements on the company's website, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line all announced extensions of the suspensions through at least March, with Holland America pausing services additionally through April and Princess Cruises suspending service through May.

"We are sorry to disappoint our guests, as we can see from our booking activity that there is clearly a pent-up demand for cruising on Carnival. We appreciate their patience and support as we continue to work on our plans to resume operations in 2021 with a gradual, phased in approach,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, in a statement.

Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a no-sail order suspending U.S.-based cruise services in the middle of the pandemic last spring, but White House officials reportedly ordered it be allowed to expire. Critics at the time accused the administration of attempting to appease the cruise industry.

Read more here

Something to monitor after the Capitol siege: COVID


Third House lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19 this week

There's a COVID outbreak in the Capitol, and members who were sheltering during Wednesday's riot were packed together in tight quarters. So it's worth monitoring if we see more positive tests as a result. 

Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.) announced early Thursday morning that he tested positive for COVID-19, hours after voting on the House floor in support of a challenge to Arizona's presidential election results.

A statement from LaTurner's office said that he is currently asymptomatic and would not cast any more votes on the House floor in the wee hours of Thursday morning. The statement said that he learned of his test result "late Wednesday evening."

"Congressman LaTurner is following the advice of the House physician and CDC guidelines and, therefore, does not plan to return to the House floor for votes until he is cleared to do so," the statement said.

LaTurner is the third House member to have tested positive for COVID-19 this week, following Texas GOP Reps. Kay Granger and Kevin Brady.

What we’re reading: 


Scientists monitor a coronavirus mutation that could affect vaccine strength (STAT

Why coronavirus vaccinations in France are lagging so far behind (Washington Post) 

Get ready for a lot of Biden executive orders on health care (JAMA) 

U.S. vaccine rollout hindered by faulty coordination, messaging (Bloomberg)

State by state:

As COVID-19 surge continues, here's how some Tennessee schools are starting spring semester (Tennessean)

Illinois is first in the nation to extend health coverage to undocumented seniors (Kaiser Health News)

Texas, Connecticut health officials identify states’ first cases new COVID strain found in UK (CNBC