Today’s In Crisis headlines

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(NEW YORK) — Here are today’s In Crisis headlines:

President Biden to sign executive orders aimed at addressing economic crisis
On his second full day in office, President Joe Biden today plans to sign a pair of executive orders said to be aimed at expanding food assistance for tens of millions of Americans and beginning a process that will ultimately require federal contractors to pay their workers a $15 an hour minimum wage and provide emergency paid leave.  The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, though some state minimum wages are higher.  The White House says the executive orders are intended to assist Americans who are out of work and unable to pay bills due to the ongoing pandemic.  The orders will also restore collective bargaining power and other protections to workers by revoking several of former President Donald Trump’s executive orders.

Senate impeachment trial discussions continue; trial could begin mid-February
Donald Trump is no longer president but he still faces an impeachment trial in the Senate, though when that will happen remains uncertain.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday proposed delaying the impeachment trial in a meeting with new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.  The delay is designed to give the still-emerging Trump legal team time to prepare, with reports the trial may not begin until mid-February.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to formally deliver to the Senate the “incitement of insurrection” impeachment article filed against former President Trump after he was impeached in the House.  The speaker blamed the delay on as-yet unresolved questions about just how the impeachment trial would work.  

COVID-19 numbers
Here’s the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections and deaths.

Latest reported numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 97,613,676
Global deaths: 2,093,725.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 410,378.
Number of countries/regions: at least 192
Total patients recovered globally: 53,844,057

Latest reported numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 24,633,015 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 410,378.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 41,787.
U.S. total people tested: 286,510,609

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 3,100,027 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks first in the world.  England is second in the world, with 3,092,041 cases.  Texas is third, with 2,209,418 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

New US COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations trending downward as deaths top 410,000
Even as the COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. now stands at 410,378, the Covid Tracking Project reports new cases and hospitalizations are trending down.  New cases for the seven-day period beginning Thursday, January 14 decreased 20%, the lowest number of new cases for a non-holiday week since mid-November.  Also, after 16 straight weeks of increases, average weekly hospitalizations dropped a modest but encouraging 4% percent this week.  Johns Hopkins University reports that Thursday saw 188,952 new coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 3,955 reported deaths. 

Johnson & Johnson predicts 100 million vaccines for Americans by spring
As vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech continue to be administered across the U.S., fellow pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is close to distributing their own COVID-19 vaccine.  Johnson & Johnson board member and former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Mark McClellan told CNBC that “if the clinical trial works out,” the company could have “perhaps enough vaccines for 100 million Americans by spring, by this April or so.”  During remarks at the White House Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is overseeing the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response, said Johnson & Johnson would have enough data on its vaccine to begin analysis within a week or two, after which the FDA would have to approve the data and authorize the vaccine’s distribution.  Unlike current vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s requires only one injected dose, not two, and reportedly can be stored at standard refrigerator temperatures for up to three months, longer at colder temperatures.

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