Viking Call

Upper Merion High's Student Newspaper


March COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Timeline: Important Milestones (January 2021 – February 2021)

As more vaccines have been distributed and administered, COVID-19 cases have been declining. Here are the various important COVID milestones from January 2021 to February 2021:

January 1 — The United States tops 20 million coronavirus cases.

January 2 — U.S. reaches record 1.2 million air travel numbers, the most since Dec. 23, 2020.

January 5 — 2021 Grammy Awards postponed to broadcast virtually in March due to COVID.

January 6 — New COVID Variant Emerges in USA (26 confirmed cases in CA, 22 in FL, 2 in CO, 1 in GO, and 1 in NY)

January 11 — Bay Area ICU availability drops to 0.7%. University of California plans for resuming in-person classes in the fall 2021.

January 12 — All foreign air passengers entering the US now required to test negative for COVID-19 before boarding their planes (order takes effect January 26). 

January 13 — CDC Estimates COVID-19 Vaccinations Have Surpassed 10 Million First Doses. 

January 14 — Biden Unveils $1.9 Trillion COVID Package ($1,400 stimulus checks). 

January 19 — U.S Passes 24 Million COVID Cases (Just 6 Days After Passing 23 Million Cases) and Passes 400,000 Deaths. SBA reopens the Paycheck Protection Program loan portal to all lenders.

January 20 — US COVID death toll exceeds 400,000. COVID-19 cases per capita (100,000 people): Illinois (8,495); California (7,585); Texas (7,363); Florida (7,263); New York (6,467). 

January 21 — President Biden Signs 10 COVID Response and Vaccination Executive Orders (Activating the Defense Production Act to Speed Up Vaccine Distribution)

January 28 — CDC Estimates COVID-19 Vaccinations Have Surpassed 25 Million Doses. 

January 29 — Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered in a single dose, unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses. J&J vaccine is 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe illness, and 85% effective against the most serious symptoms. 

February 1 — CDC requires all people to wear masks on public transportation.

February 7 — Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (CA) office revises indoor church COVID guidelines after the Supreme Court lifts ban on indoor worship, but allows restrictions on singing and chanting.

February 12 — CDC releases guidelines for reopening schools. Includes masks, social distancing, etc, but does not require teacher vaccination. CA expands vaccine eligibility to people ages 16-64 who are severely disabled or have high medical risks. Total CA hospitalizations drops below 10,000 for the first time since December 7, 2020. 

February 13 — CDC Estimates COVID-19 Vaccinations Have Surpassed 50 Million Doses. 

February 22 — US COVID death toll exceeds 500,000. In remembrance, Biden holds candle lighting ceremony at White House.

February 27 — FDA issues Emergency Use Authorization for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

February 28 — 78th Annual Golden Globe, the first major awards show of 2021, airs virtually.

March 2 — Biden says that the US will have enough vaccines for all US adults by the end of May. Governor Greg Abbott (TX) lifts the mask mandate and reopens businesses 100%. 

Coronavirus Variants: New Worldwide Mutations of COVID-19 

Since the beginning of January 2021, new variants of COVID-19 have all been increasingly prevalent, each from different places in the world. Here are the major variants and their differences in transmission and lethality:

U.K. Variant (B.1.1.7): Spreads more quickly and easily than other variants. 

South African Variant (B.1.351): Spreads more easily and makes reinfection more likely. 

Brazilian Variant (P.1): Raises concerns about transmissibility and potential reinfection. 

U.S. (CA, OH) Variants (CAL.20C): Spreads more easily than other strains.

The new strains have no significant symptom or lethality changes compared to the original virus.

Nevertheless, there’s no evidence yet that the virus has mutated in ways to evade the current vaccines, but research is still ongoing.


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