10 states open up vaccine eligibility to all adults this week; Florida’s variant cases more than double, CDC says: Live COVID-19 updates

Ten states will open eligibility for coveted vaccines to all adults this week ahead of President Joe Biden’s goal to make every American adult eligible for vaccination by May 1.

Kansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas will remove vaccine restrictions for those 16 and older Monday. Minnesota will follow on Tuesday; Indiana and South Carolina on Wednesday; and Connecticut Thursday. California will also open up eligibility to all residents 50 and older Thursday. 

In all, 46 states and the District of Columbia have pledged to meet Biden’s goal of having all Americans eligible for a vaccine by May 1.

While 143 million vaccine doses have been administered across the nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 180 million have been distributed, a 37 million dose disparity.

But the U.S. pace of about 2.5 million shots a day is picking up, with 3.5 million doses administered on Saturday and 3.4 million on Friday. Even at 3.5 million daily inoculations, it would take more than 10 days to clear a 37 million backlog. 

Also in the news:

►San Diego Comic-Con organizers announced on the official website Saturday that a “Comic-Con Special Edition” would be held as a three-day event starting the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, and continuing to Nov. 28. 

►Australia’s third-largest city, Brisbane, will enter a three-day lockdown Monday evening after the coronavirus was found spreading in the community.

►The United Kingdom, which has the most COVID-19 deaths in Europe but has enjoyed more success with its vaccination program, is replacing its stay-at-home mandate with a message to stay local, allowing small outdoor gatherings and sports.

►COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective at protecting pregnant women and likely provide protection for their babies as well, according to a new study. 

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has over 30.26 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 549,300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 127 million cases and 2.78 million deaths. More than 180.6 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 143.4 million have been administered, according to the CDC.

📘 What we’re reading: How this small town of 16,000 near the US-Canada border has given out 50,000 vaccines.

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Stuck in Mexico: Americans who test positive can’t come home right away

Travelers don’t need a COVID-19 test to fly to Mexico, but they can’t board a flight back to the U.S. from any international destination without showing a negative test taken no more than three days before departure or proof of recovery from COVID. Travelers who’ve been stuck say they were told they faced 10 to 14 days in isolation.

When the requirement was announced Jan. 12, travelers rushed to cancel plans or shift their vacation plans to U.S. vacation spots that don’t require COVID tests. But the bookings rebounded as some hotels announced free testing and a free quarantine stay if they tested positive. Read more here.

Korey Mudd’s positive test extended the honeymoon with his wife, Alisha, in Mexico for nine nights longer than planned.

“Ultimately, we had pushed it off so many times already, we decided we were going to go ahead and go for it,” he said. “It would have been better just to stay home.”

– Dawn Gilbertson

Florida’s variant cases more than double, CDC report says

Florida, which was already the country’s hardest-hit state for two kinds of coronavirus variants, more than doubled its tally of variants in a report released Sunday by the CDC. Florida had reported 1,075 variant cases through Thursday. Sunday’s report added another 1,255, bringing the state to 2,330.

The U.S. as a whole reported another 2,303 variant cases Sunday, more than double the worst increase ever seen in the thrice-weekly CDC updates. The previous record was set on Tuesday.

That brings the country to 10,985 known coronavirus variants, a tally that more than doubled in the last two weeks as new coronavirus cases overall in the U.S. stopped their extended decline.

Most of the variant cases in Florida and the U.S. overall are of B.1.1.7, which was first seen in the United Kingdom, spreads more easily and may be more likely to kill its victims. But Florida also nearly doubled its case count of P.1, a variant first seen in Brazil, adding another 19 cases to reach 42.

— Mike Stucka

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