Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: Number of vaccinated Americans surpass confirmed cases

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- There are now more people vaccinated in the U.S. than the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

"With more and more people getting vaccinated each day, we are starting to turn a corner," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

The CDC issued new guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated, allowing Americans who have received the full dose of vaccines to get together indoors in small groups with vaccinated family and friends without masks or social distancing.

Fully vaccinated grandparents can visit and even hug family members who aren't vaccinated, as long as no one is high risk.

Still, with new variants of the virus in the U.S., the CDC is urging even vaccinated Americans to wear masks and social distance when in public.

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Here are more of today's headlines:

Alaska becomes first state to allow anyone over 16 to get vaccine
The governor of Alaska announced Tuesday night that effective immediately, Alaska will become the first state to allow anyone over the age of 16 to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

LIRR to restore previous timetable by March 29 after cuts spark COVID concerns
The Long Island Rail Road will restore service at the end of the month after planned service cuts this week sparked social distancing concerns amid wide criticism of packed trains.

'COVID arm': Some develop delayed skin reaction after Moderna vaccine shot
Some people who have received a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are having a delayed reaction that causes a red, and sometimes bumpy rash on the arm.

The New England Journal of Medicine published numerous photos of what some of those so-called "COVID arm" rashes look like. Still, doctors say fear of a rash is not a reason to skip your chance at getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Texas mom of 5 in coma after family, including newborn, contracts COVID-19
While mask-wearing and pandemic restrictions are becoming even more controversial in Texas, for one family, the issues are clear.

Victoria Gallardo, a 33-year-old mother of five, is in a medically induced coma fighting for her life after contracting COVID-19. Her husband said they took the virus seriously, wearing masks and social-distancing, but their 9-year-old daughter caught the virus and started showing symptoms one day at school.

Disney says it plans to reopen its California theme parks with limited capacity by late April
Disney CEO Bob Chapek says the company plans to reopen its California theme parks, Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure Park, with limited capacity by late April.

This comes after state health officials said it would allow certain outdoor activities to resume with capacity restrictions, including the reopening of theme parks, as early as April 1. The loosening of those restrictions was prompted by improving COVID-19 trends across the state.

New York Edge's Learning Labs aim to ease remote learning burden for parents
New York Edge, the largest provider of after-school programs in New York City, is ramping up efforts to aid working parents who are continuing to struggle with managing their child's remote learning during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As thousands of families across New York City juggle the continuous shifts, New York Edge's Learning Labs are offering a safe educational environment for children on the days they are scheduled for virtual school -- easing the burden for parents who need assurance that their children are cared for during the workday.

NJ designates March 9 as 'COVID-19 Heroes Day'
Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation Tuesday designating March 9 of each year as "COVID-19 Heroes Day" in New Jersey. "It is my honor to sign this bill recognizing the heroic efforts of those who have been serving on the front lines," he said. "These heroes have brought us to this moment where we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel."

NY expands vaccine eligibility
New York is expanding its vaccine eligibility to include individuals age 60 and above starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday. It was previously for ages 65+. Starting March 17th, public-facing public employees will become eligible for the vaccine. Not-for-profit public-facing emergency-facing employees, essential public workers, and public-facing building workers also will be eligible.

NYC hiring 2,000 vaccine workers
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city is hiring 2,000 vaccine center workers. They will be hired from within the neighborhoods of 33 task force locations. To apply, visit So far, New York City has administered 2,405,191 doses of the COVID vaccine. That's more than the population of the city of Houston.

Mayor's relief plan for taxi medallion owners betrays cab drivers, union says
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $65 million relief fund for financially distressed taxi medallion owners, immediately drawing the ire of cab drivers and the union that represents them, who called the plan a "betrayal." A protest is planned outside Gracie Mansion Tuesday afternoon over the plan, which uses federal stimulus money to offer loans of up to $20,000 to restructure medallion debt and up to $9,000 in debt payment support.

House gears up for vote on Biden's COVID relief bill
The US House of Representatives is gearing up for a final vote on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan in an effort to send it to the White House to be signed into law later this week. After the Senate passed its version of the bill over the weekend, the House had initially been expected to vote on the revised legislation Tuesday, but now it appears the chamber is on track for a final vote Wednesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters a final vote will come "Wednesday morning at the latest" and that the timing depends on when they get the bill back from the Senate, but that there are no hang-ups to the legislation.

"It depends on when we get the paper from the Senate," Pelosi said on Monday. "It has to be very precise, and it takes time to do that. It has some changes that they have to precisely write. It could be that we get it tomorrow afternoon and then it has to go to Rules. And we'd take it up Wednesday morning at the latest."

University will pay students to avoid traveling for spring break
One university in California is so set on encouraging students to stay in town for spring break amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they're willing to pay them. As part of a city-campus partnership, UC Davis students could get a $75 Spring Break Grant if they agree to stay in town and not travel during the time period. Spring break is March 22 - 25.

"We're trying to give the students a positive experience during this period of time by offering these incentives," UC Davis' Melissa Blouin told KXTV.

NJ residents relaxing social distancing measures as COVID cases decline, survey finds
Governor Phil Murphy is visiting a community based COVID-19 vaccine site at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Cathedral in Paterson Tuesday, this as a new survey finds New Jersey residents are relaxing social distancing measures as cases decline. The study, conducted by researchers from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Northeastern, Harvard and Northwestern universities and published by the COVID States Project, indicates that as coronavirus case numbers decreased in 2021, hesitation regarding behaviors like going to work, going to the gym, taking mass transit, and being in a room with people outside the home decreased. The emphasis on handwashing also became more relaxed.

"The critical question now is how residents respond to case counts going down and vaccination rates going up, while more transmissible and likely more deadly coronavirus variants are spreading around the country," said lead author Katherine Ognyanova, an assistant professor of communication at Rutgers University-New Brunswick's School of Communication and Information. "At this time, our data shows New Jerseyans are letting their guard down."

When did you realize the COVID pandemic changed everything?
Many of us had a moment, most often occurring in March 2020, when we realized that COVID-19 had completely changed our lives forever. Even though we've managed to move forward and adapt to a new normal, that memory still sticks with us. Tell us: What was that moment to you?

Top 7 COVID vaccine questions answered
You had questions about COVID-19 vaccines and 7 On Your Side is getting you answers from doctors on the front line of the pandemic.


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