Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:


— Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. hit another one-day high at over 4,300 with the country’s attention focused largely on the fallout from the deadly uprising at the Capitol. The nation’s overall death toll from COVID-19 has eclipsed 380,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, and is closing in fast on the number of Americans killed in World War II, or about 407,000. Confirmed infections have topped 22.8 million. Arizona and California have been among the hardest-hit states. The country is now in the most lethal phase of the outbreak yet, even as vaccines are being rolled out.

— State leaders around the U.S. are increasingly pushing for schools to reopen this winter — pressuring them, even — as teachers begin to gain access to vaccines against the raging pandemic. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine offered to give vaccinations to teachers at the start of February, provided their school systems agree to resume at least some in-person instruction by March 1. And Arizona’s governor warned schools that he expects students back in the classroom despite objections from top education officials and the highest COVID-19 diagnosis rate in the nation over the past week.

— An ongoing study suggests that older American adults are showing resilience and perseverance despite struggles with loneliness and isolation during the pandemic. That’s according to the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, conducted by the social research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. It’s part of a longer-term study designed to track the physical and emotional well-being of a group of older Americans over time. Only 9% of older adults reported having “fair or poor overall mental health” during the pandemic. Nevertheless, the study found that general happiness has declined and an increasing number report occasional feelings of depression or isolation.

THE NUMBERS: The U.S. is averaging about 249,000 new cases per day, and about 3,300 deaths. The death toll in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic now stands at more than 381,000.

QUOTABLE: “I know of a woman who had her husband sit in front of a computer literally all day and just click the refresh button until an appointment came up.”


— Meika Mark, a ninth-grade English teacher in Orange County, New York, who got vaccinated Tuesday using a link a friend texted her.

ICYMI: Three House Democrats announced they tested positive for COVID-19, prompting concern that last week’s insurrection at the Capitol has also turned into a super-spreader event threatening the health of lawmakers and their staffs. Those who tested positive were among dozens of lawmakers who were whisked to a secure location when a group of insurrectionists who support President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. It’s not certain where and when lawmakers caught the illness, but the Capitol’s attending physician notified all House lawmakers of possible virus exposure and urged them to be tested.

ON THE HORIZON: Officials are preparing for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, which will look different from other presidential inaugurations because of last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. Security will be extremely tight around the area. The event was already going to be pared down because of COVID-19.


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