Running Out of Oxygen; Vax Rollout Still Slow; COVID-Free Countries

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As Los Angeles County runs out of supplemental oxygen, ambulance crews have been instructed not to bring patients to the hospital if there’s little hope of survival and to declare them dead on the scene to preserve hospital capacity. (Washington Post)

As of Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. EST, the unofficial U.S. COVID-19 toll is 21,052,689 cases and 357,385 deaths, up almost 228,000 cases and 3,757 deaths from Tuesday at the same time.

Tuesday’s single-day death total marked a record high, surpassing the previous record from less than a week ago. (CNN)

More than 4.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. as of Jan. 5, according to CDC data. About 17 million have been distributed.

Facing harsh criticism for the slow pace of immunizations, the Trump administration said it’s speeding up plans to deliver the coronavirus vaccine in pharmacies. (Politico)

Kansas, Georgia, Arizona, Louisiana, and Virginia have administered the lowest proportion of their allotted vaccine doses; the Dakotas have administered the highest. (USA Today)

Houston Methodist is offering employees a $500 bonus for their work during the pandemic — but only if they get a COVID-19 vaccine. (Houston Chronicle)

With limited supply as production ramps up, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine within 21-28 days. (Reuters)

Studies to determine whether Moderna vaccine doses can be halved to double the supply may take 2 months, the National Institutes of Health said. (Reuters)

A Mendocino County hospital vaccinated 850 people in 2.5 hours after a refrigerator failed. (Napa Valley Register)

A handful of countries remain COVID-free, but life there still has changed. (The Guardian)

The Curative COVID-19 test used by Congress has a high rate of false negatives, the FDA warned. (CBS News)

Wealthy donors received COVID-19 vaccines by invitation from a high-end Florida nursing home. (Washington Post)

COVID-19 “literally decimated our staff,” said one emergency room nurse: KHN/The Guardian look at how the virus is killing medical workers of color.

WHO criticized China for stymieing the UN’s probe into COVID-19’s origins. (Wall Street Journal)

Researchers announced an international study to investigate links between COVID-19 and cognitive decline. (Washington Post)

The Grammy awards have been postponed until March due to COVID-19. (CNN)

In other news:

  • After the New York Times reported on Northwell Health’s recent lawsuits against 2,500 patients for medical debt, the hospital system said it would stop suing patients during the pandemic and would rescind legal claims filed in 2020.
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan officially merged, the companies announced. (FierceHealthcare)
  • State medical boards often fail to discipline physicians who repeatedly harm their patients, a CBS News investigation reported.
  • Nearly one in four doctors said they’ve been personally attacked on social media. (JAMA Internal Medicine)
  • Judy George covers neurology and neuroscience news for MedPage Today, writing about brain aging, Alzheimer’s, dementia, MS, rare diseases, epilepsy, autism, headache, stroke, Parkinson’s, ALS, concussion, CTE, sleep, pain, and more. Follow

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