Georgia surpasses 700,000 coronavirus cases

caption arrowCaption
In perhaps as soon as two weeks from now, Georgia is planning to add people 65 and older, police officers and other first . responders to the current cohort of persons eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, Gov. Brian Kemp’s office announced late Wednesday. In a news release, Kemp said seniors, law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders would be added to the current Phase 1A group eligible for vaccination. This planned expansion could begin within two weeks, if the state can obtain enough doses. At present, Phase 1A includes health care workers and staff and residents of long-term care homes. Vaccine rollout has been slow nationally compared to projections earlier this year by the Trump administration. Georgia public health officials stress that it will take months for the general public to be vaccinated, . and officials fear another spike in cases following Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Residents should continue to wear face coverings, practice social distancing and wash hands to help stop the spread of the virus

Georgia has recorded more than 700,000 confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to the latest figures released Thursday afternoon by the state Department of Public Health.

The latest numbers include 701,308 cases, along with 11,511 deaths. On Wednesday, those numbers stood at 695,400 cases and 11,411 deaths. Over the last 24 hours, 5,969 more cases have been reported and 105 more deaths.

Georgia ranked sixth worst in the nation for the rate of new coronavirus infections last week and the state vaulted up the rankings in the rate of new fatalities amid a surging death toll from the third wave of the pandemic, according to a new federal report.

ExploreAJC's full coronavirus coverage

Georgia ranked 14th in the rate of new COVID-19 deaths last week, up from 43rd a week earlier in the latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report, the final one under the Trump administration.

On Wednesday, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted the overall U.S. coronavirus death toll to rise to more than 500,000 by the middle of February. The CDC’s latest national forecast predicted 17,000 to 29,300 new deaths will likely be reported in the week ending Feb. 13, with between 465,000 to 508,000 COVID-19 deaths to have occurred by then.

caption arrowCaption
2020 becomes deadliest year in U.S. history, CDC finds

According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. continues to lead the world in overall cases — 24.4 million — and deaths, with more than 406,000.

Early in his Oval Office tenure, President Joe Biden is putting forth a national COVID-19 strategy to ramp up vaccinations and testing, reopen schools and businesses and increase the use of masks, including a requirement that they be worn for travel.

The administration is also depending on Congress to provide $1.9 trillion for economic relief and COVID-19 response.

ExploreBiden puts forth virus strategy, requires mask use to travel

Biden’s top medical adviser on COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci, also announced renewed U.S. support for the World Health Organization after it faced blistering criticism from the Trump administration, laying out new commitments to tackle the coronavirus and other global health issues.

Fauci said early Thursday the U.S. will join the U.N. health agency’s efforts to bring vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to people in need, whether in rich or poor countries and will resume full funding and staffing support for WHO.

Biden also is seeking to expand testing and vaccine availability, with the goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office.

caption arrowCaption
Biden announces members of COVID-19 task force

The Democratic president has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin setting up vaccination centers, aiming to have 100 up and running in a month. He’s ordering the CDC to begin a program to make vaccines available through local pharmacies starting next month. And he’s mobilizing the Public Health Service to deploy to assist localities in vaccinations.

Biden has set a goal of having most K-8 schools reopen in his first 100 days, and he’s ordering the departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide clear guidance for reopening schools safely.

ExploreFlorida soon requiring residency proof for COVID vaccines

On Wednesday, the CDC also said about half of the 31 million doses distributed to the states by the federal government have been administered so far. Only about 2 million people have received the two doses needed for maximum protection against the virus.

About the Author

Editors' Picks