COVID-19: U.S. surpasses 300,000 new cases for first time

A medical worker is inoculated with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Hansen Dam vaccination site in Los Angeles on Thursday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Jan. 9 (UPI) — The United States reported 300,594 new cases and 3,895 new coronavirus deaths Friday, and Navajo Nation officials have placed the reservation under a weekend lockdown.

Friday’s number of new cases surpassed a record of 297,000, set last week, and represents a 40% increase from two weeks ago.

The number of deaths Friday is down slightly from Thursday’s record of 4,085, but is up 29% from 14 days ago, according to The New York Times.

As of Friday, 370,119 people in the United States have died from the novel coronavirus and the United States has logged 21.9 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that health officials have reported three cases of a COVID-19 variant first identified in Britain last month — two in Saratoga County and one in Nassau County.

At least 63 cases of the variant have been identified in eight U.S. states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The variant appears to be more contagious, but not necessarily more deadly or more severe, and a study published this week suggests the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine may be effective against variants of the virus.

According to a New York Times analysis, 151,000 people in the United States have been fully vaccinated — that is, they have received both doses of one of the approved vaccines — against COVID-19.

The Navajo Nation began a 57-hour weekend lockdown Friday amid a rising number of cases on the largest Native American reservation in the United States.

Under an emergency order from the Navajo Department of Health, which went into effect at 8 p.m. Friday and will continue until 5 a.m. Monday, all Navajo Nation residents must remain at home with the exception of essential workers and cases of emergencies.

“We have far too many people contracting COVID-19 and we are losing many of our people,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said. “As president, I am disheartened, and at times overwhelmed with grieving families and hearing of the loss of community members and I’m certain many of you are as well.

“I thank the majority of our people for adhering to the public health emergency orders, but we all have to do more to hold each other accountable. Too many are still putting themselves and others at unnecessary risks. Government and public safety can only do much with limited resources, so please do your part and stay home as much as possible,”

The Navajo Department of Health reported 237 new COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths in the Navajo Nation on Friday.

Those numbers bring the total number of deaths on the reservation to 866 and the total number of positive cases to 24,776 — 12,680 of whom have recovered.


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