The new case count for COVID-19 in the West Piedmont Health District stayed steady from Saturday, with 59 new cases and 1 hospitalization and no deaths reported by the Virginia Department of Health. That ended two consecutive days of multiple deaths in the district. The 7-day average number of cases is now down to 74 after having been 98.1 as recently as last Monday and on a steady decline from an all-time high of 122 on Jan. 9, despite the two deadly outbreaks at long-term care facilities. Henry County added 24 of the cases, and Franklin County had 23. Patrick County added 10 and Martinsville 2. Since the pandemic began, the district now has seen 8,958 cases, with 534 hospitalizations and 157 deaths…In the U.S. COVID-19 cases today will surpass 25 million, and deaths from COVID-19 could surpass 420,000, or more than 25% of the cases and about 20% of deaths worldwide….Health officials reiterate how the sign-up for vaccine will go forward starting Monday….Two outbreaks with more cases and now six deaths in 48 hours are the latest news in the West Piedmont Health District….In Virginia the already questionable success of asking its most skeptical and underserved communities for trust lies in incomplete state figures that show when race has been recorded, 71% of those vaccinated have been white. Whites account for less than half of COVID-19 hospitalizations, but make up 59% of health care workers prioritized in the first phase of distribution….Even Joe Biden’s goal of 1 million doses in 100 days if that 100-day is achieved, it will be only the beginning. Experts estimate that 60% to 70% of the population would need to be vaccinated to extinguish the spread of the coronavirus. Anthony Fauci, who is being retained by Biden as the government’s top infectious disease adviser, recently raised his estimate to 80% to 90%. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 death toll is 410,000 and counting. This Q&A answers questions about that….Britain is expanding a coronavirus vaccination program that has seen almost 6 million people get the first of two doses — even as the country’s death toll in the pandemic approaches 100,000….The Virginia Department of Health reports this morning there have been 472,447 cases and 6,078 deaths statewide — that’s actually down by one since Saturday. Some 20,7012 people have been hospitalized. Henry County has had 3,538 cases, with 246 hospitalizations and 67 deaths. Martinsville has had 1,290 cases, with 110 hospitalizations and 31 deaths. Patrick County has had 991 cases including 75 hospitalizations and 28 deaths. Franklin County has had 3,139 cases, 103 hospitalizations and 31 deaths. Danville has reported 3,346 cases (63 deaths), and Pittsylvania County has had 3,859 (45 deaths). Johns Hopkins University’s real-time map showed 98,838,834 cases worldwide and 2,122,587 deaths. In the U.S. there have been 24,995,600 cases and 417,456 deaths because of COVID-19.

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