COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 79,685,587 (79,632,049)
Total U.S. deaths: 970,116 (968,343)
Total global cases: 466,313,781 (464,103,184)
Total global deaths: 6,067,720 (6,060,570)
Moderna seeks approval for fourth shot
Moderna has announced that it will apply for emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a fourth shot of its COVID-19 vaccine. It follows Pfizer’s announcement earlier this week that it is doing the same thing.
"The request to include adults over 18 years of age was made to provide flexibility for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and healthcare providers to determine the appropriate use of an additional booster dose of mRNA-1273, including for those at higher risk of COVID-19," the company said in a statement.
Without going into specifics, the Moderna statement said real-world evidence “continues to confirm the effectiveness and robust safety profile of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.” Meanwhile, clinical trials are ongoing for Moderna's Omicron-specific booster.
Large study finds ivermectin didn’t reduce severe COVID-19 symptoms
Scientists who are testing some existing antiviral drugs as potential treatments for COVID-19 report that ivermectin did not reduce severe cases of the virus requiring hospitalization. The drug is one of several that have sparked controversy because it is being used as a treatment without FDA approval.
In a large trial, nearly 1,400 COVID-19 patients at risk of severe disease received either ivermectin or a placebo. The researchers say those getting the drug didn’t achieve better protection than those who received a placebo.
The subjects had all tested positive for the virus and had underlying conditions that put them at risk. “There was no indication that ivermectin is clinically useful,” Edward Mills, one of the study’s lead researchers, told the Wall Street Journal.
Getting COVID-19 not inevitable, experts say
In the last two years, nearly 80 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19. That means millions more haven’t, and health experts say it’s not inevitable that they will.
Scientists who have tracked the spread of the virus and its variants say there are several reasons that millions of Americans haven’t gotten sick. They point to careful behavior on one hand but also say genetics may play a role.
They also say most people who haven’t gotten infected have been fully vaccinated and boosted. Doctors tell ABC News that it's impossible to disregard the effect that vaccination rates have had on preventing infections among Americans.
Around the nation
Vermont: Vermont residents are now able to pick up free at-home COVID-19 tests that offer rapid results at many health department testing sites. The Vermont Department of Health said the change in testing follows recent simplified guidance for what to do if you or someone you've been in contact with tests positive for COVID-19.
Nevada: Because of a sharp drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, state officials have announced that they will end the long-standing practice of daily data reports and instead report weekly. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services will update its dashboard each Wednesday with numbers through the preceding Monday.
California: Cases of the coronavirus are down, but one of the state’s top health experts says they aren’t out. Dr. Warner Greene, a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes, points to the rapid spread of the Omicron subvariant in Europe. He says what happens in Europe with COVID-19 tends to happen in the U.S four to six weeks later.
Missouri: State health officials say they will end a program that offers state residents free COVID-19 tests through the mail. The tests are then processed by a laboratory to provide results within 72 hours. The state will end the program on March 31, citing a lack of demand.
Kentucky: Gov. Andy Beshear has vetoed a Republican-backed bill to terminate the state’s emergency COVID-19 declaration before it is scheduled to expire. Beshear said he vetoed the measure because he said it would cut off extra food assistance to struggling Kentuckians.