COVID Live Updates: US experiences deadliest day since start of pandemic

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- According to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Tuesday was the deadliest day since the start of the pandemic with 3,775 deaths were reported.

The previous record was set on December 30 when 3,744 deaths were reported.

The latest figure brings the total U.S. death toll from COVID-19 to at least 357,385, per to JHU.

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Here are more of today's headlines:

Mega vaccination sites in NJ
The first mega sites will open Friday at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall in Morris County and the Rowan College of South Jersey.

COVID NJ vaccinations for first responders
Gov. Phil Murphy announced New Jersey police and fire professionals can receive their vaccinations effective Thursday. They are technically part of the phase 1b category, as stated in New Jersey's 182-page plan for vaccine distribution, but the state is able to open vaccination to them based on available supply. They will be the first in the 1b category to get the vaccine.

COVID variant in NY
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it appears there is evidence that the COVID variant in Saratoga Springs was actually connected to U.K. travel. He said "if we had tested people from the U.K. before they got here, we wouldn't have had the U.K. travel spread."

Requesting testing
Cuomo is requesting U.S. Customs and Border Protection to test anyone coming in from out-of-country. He asked them to either require international travelers arriving at NY airports show they were tested before admission or allow the port authority staff to request of people coming through customs to request whether or not they were tested.

"It's just that simple and it makes total common sense," he said. "We have a UK strain case that we found in Saratoga. Dr. Zucker has been very aggressive in contact tracing."

New vaccine sites set to open in NYC
More vaccination sites are set to open across New York today, as the state expands its COVID-19 vaccine program.
The move comes with word that 30 percent of New York City's healthcare workers are choosing not to get vaccinated. One of the current vaccination sites is the Gotham Health clinic, located not far from Yankee Stadium in the Melrose section of the Bronx.

Amazon offers at-home COVID-19 test
Amazon is trying to make it easier for people to get tested for COVID-19 from the comfort of their own home.
The FDA authorized testing kit called Dxterity is now available on the tech company's website.
One kit is currently available for $110, or you can get a 10-pack for $1,000.

Iconic Birdland Jazz Club in danger of closing for good due to COVID pandemic
Another iconic New York venue is in danger of closing its doors forever due to the coronavirus pandemic. The legendary Birdland Jazz Club on West 44th Street has been a fixture in the community since it was founded in 1949. The club has hosted memorable performances by the likes of Duke Ellington and Tito Puente, but the small business is experiencing severe economic hardships caused by the shutdown. Owner Gianni Valentini estimates his pride and joy has at most six months to play on.

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