Covid hospitalizations plunge 10% in 24 states and cases decline nationwide as Fauci says one-shot vaccine is WEEKS away

CORONAVIRUS hospitalizations have plunged 10 per cent in 24 states as Dr Anthony Fauci revealed a one-shot vaccine is just weeks away from approval.

Although cases across the country rose by 189,000 on Friday, data from The Covid Tracking Project revealed there were 3,685 fewer hospitalizations compared to the day before.

As of Friday night, more than 24.6million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.

At least 410,383 people have died from Covid across the United States.

But, in a sign the country could be turning a corner, figures from The Covid Tracking Project show hospitalizations are falling in half of the nation's states.

The biggest drops in hospitalizations were reported in Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, Mississippi, South Dakota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

There have also been steady declines in Arizona and California. 

According to a New York Times database, new cases of the deadly bug have also dropped 21 per cent in the last two weeks.

"We’re definitely on a downward slope, but I’m worried that the new variants will throw us a curveball in late February or March," Caitlin M. Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the New York Times.

"We’re watching to make sure that those reopenings don’t escalate our rates again."

Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told the newspaper that his experts had expected cases to peak in January, before declining.

Dr Allison Arwady, the commissioner of public health for Chicago, said on Thursday: "Everything's moving the right way."

In another hopeful sign, Fauci said the US is "real close" to approving a third coronavirus vaccine – the first single-dose jab.

Appearing on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Friday, Fauci said the shot, developed by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, is just two weeks away from approval.

"No more than two weeks from now the data will be analyzed in a similar fashion the way we analyzed it with the Moderna and the Pfizer candidate," Fauci said.

"That is an independent data and safety monitoring board.

"We'll look at the data, determine if it's ready to be given to the company so that they can go to the FDA and ask to see if they can get an emergency use authorization."

He added: "I don't want to get ahead of them but I have to tell you I would be surprised if it was any more than two weeks from now that the data will be analyzed and decisions would be made."

The new vaccine is "really good news" as it will make it easier for the public to receive protection in a single-dose shot, Fauci said.

"That's really important because you can expect to start to see results 10, 14 days or so right after," the 80-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said.

"But it has a less stringent cold chain requirement, which is really good."

It earlier emerged that fewer than half of the nearly 38million vaccine doses shipped by the federal government have actually made it into the arms of Americans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week.

A key problem is organizing the distribution of vaccines to smaller clinics and pharmacies – rather than just to large medical centers and retail pharmaceutical chains.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said just 67 per cent of healthcare workers in New York have received a vaccine dose.

He warned that if the federal government does not find a way to quickly ramp up production, everyone would suffer.

"The hospital workers are the people who, if they get sick, the hospital capacity will collapse," Cuomo said at a news conference.

"If the hospital capacity collapses, we have to close the economy."

The warning comes after at least ten Americans experienced an anaphylactic reaction after getting the Moderna Covid vaccine.

Fauci also revealed he was "knocked out" by the jab.

The ten detected cases of anaphylaxis – a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction – occurred after more than four million first doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered, according to the CDC.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System monitored 4,041,396 first doses of the vaccine between December 21, 2020 and January 10, 2021.

Despite the frightening reactions, there were no anaphylaxis-related deaths, according to the report.

Among the 10 patients – all female – nine had an onset of anaphylaxis within 15 minutes.

The remaining patient had an onset of anaphylaxis after a half hour.

Speaking at a White House event, Fauci said: "I was hoping that I wouldn’t get too knocked out. I did for about 24 hours. Now I’m fine," according to The Hill.

"Fatigued. A little achy. You know. Chilly. Not sick," he added.

The nation's top infectious disease expert received his second dose of the vaccine on January 19.

Dr Fauci received his first shot of the Moderna vaccine on live TV just days before Christmas.

As some Americans are getting their second doses of Covid vaccines, a new study warned that "super Covid" strains in the US could increase infection rates to such a degree that even vaccinating all Americans won’t stop the coronavirus.

Highly infectious variants detected in the US, factored in with the efficacy of vaccines, result in a reproduction rate above zero that means every Covid-19 case will lead to another, according to a University of East Anglia analysis.

Dr Fauci has estimated that 75 to 90 per cent of the population needs to take the jab for the country to reach herd immunity. 

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