New COVID-19 cases, deaths in U.S. decline; storm disrupts vaccine shipments

Masked women cross the normally busy Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis, Mo., during a snowstorm on Monday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Feb. 16 (UPI) — New coronavirus cases and deaths in the United States continue to decline, according to updated data Tuesday from Johns Hopkins University — but a severe winter storm is delaying vaccines from reaching some areas.

On Monday, there were about 53,900 new COVID-19 cases nationwide, the data show, which is the fewest for any day since November.

There were also just under 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the United States Monday, the fewest daily toll since the middle of October.

Both figures were a decline from Sunday and continue a sharp downward trend since the middle of January.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been about 27.7 million COVID-19 cases nationwide and 486,400 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

Since vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were approved in December, about 52.9 million doses have been administered in the United States and more than 70 million doses have been distributed, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A powerful winter storm that has swept across the United States this week, meanwhile, is expected to delay vaccine shipments to some areas in Florida and Texas.

A power outage in Houston on Monday has health officials scrambling to distribute doses before they spoil. Both vaccines must be stored at freezing temperatures.

The storm is also forcing some locations to close vaccination centers, including Texas, Alabama and Kentucky.

President Joe Biden will travel to Wisconsin on Tuesday to hold a town hall event in Milwaukee, where he will answer questions from Americans concerned about the pandemic and the federal vaccination effort.

Other COVID-19 updates on Tuesday:

  • Biden’s administration will extend federal moratoriums on home foreclosures and extend the window to apply for forbearance through June.
  • The Australian government has approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for use and will begin distribution next week.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Biden’s top medical adviser, has been awarded Israel’s Dan David prize for his response to the pandemic.


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