Our Response to COVID-19: Information
Good evening,

January 8, 2021 -- This week, many of the most infected countries are experiencing new peaks of massive surges in their new infections and deaths. The US broke through the 300,000 single-day number, Brazil saw a one-day surge of 87,134 cases on Thursday, both the UK and South Africa, countries that have exhibited a more aggressive new strain of the virus, have both peaked multiple times in the last week, with record new cases and record new deaths. Even Japan, having controlled its viral spread for most of the first two waves of 2020, never breaching through 2,000 daily cases since the start of the pandemic, is now exhibiting out-of-control contagion, with a one-day record of 6,906 new cases on Friday. In Europe, Portugal had also been held as a good example of strong viral spread control, broke through the 10,000 daily mark, twice this week, and experienced a record surge in daily deaths. The global surge has not spared neighboring Spain, which saw its national numbers double since Christmas, braking through 25,000 new daily cases, also on Friday. In the United States, 5 states have now counted over 1 million cumulative cases, with top-ranked California ranking 7th in the world in confirmed infections within its borders. In the last week, the world confirmed a record of 4.85 million new infections, and covid-19 killed 85,647 more people globally.

COVID-19 in the world today:

  • COVID-19 Global cases: 89,343,183 (+831,758)
  • COVID-19 Global deaths: 1,921,119 (+14,907)
  • COVID-19 Global death rate: 2.15%
  • COVID-19 Global testing*: 1,275,538,442 confirmed tests (+6,617,918)
  • COVID-19 Global positivity rate: 7.00%
  • COVID-19 Global single-day positivity rate: 12.49%

*: incomplete data set.
Tip: click on any of the graphs for larger and clearer images and click on READ MORE to view the complete articles. Also, please forgive the occasional typos.
Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine appears to work against mutation in new coronavirus strains, study finds | cnn.com
(CNN)A new study provides early evidence that a Covid-19 vaccine might be effective against two new coronavirus strains first identified in South Africa and the UK, despite a concerning mutation.

The two strains share a mutation known as N501Y that scientists worry could allow the virus to evade the immune protection generated by a vaccine.

In research posted online Thursday, scientists found that antibodies from people who had received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine showed "no reduction in neutralization activity" against a version of the virus that carries the N501Y mutation, which they created in the lab.

In order to do this, researchers tested the virus against blood from 20 people who had received two doses of the vaccine as part of a clinical trial. 

The N501Y mutation is located in the coronavirus' spike protein -- the same structure targeted by vaccines. The virus uses this protein to enter the cells it attacks.

This particular mutation appears to help the virus attach to human cells, which may partly explain why these new strains appear to be more transmissible. But it is just one of many mutations in both strains that scientists have worried could make the virus less susceptible to vaccines or treatments.

Spain COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 9
  • 2,075,816 cases (+25,456) peak
  • 51,874 deaths (+199)
  • 27,839,319 tests
  • positivity rate 7.36%
  • 24hr positivity rate: N/A
South Africa COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 16
  • 1,192,570 (+21,980) peak
  • 32,425 deaths (+616)
  • 7,043,680 tests (+75,413)
  • positivity rate 16.93%
  • 24hr positivity rate: 29.15%
Japan COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 41
  • 265,299 cases (+6,906) peak
  • 3,857 deaths (+66) peak
  • 5,288,555 tests (+83,262)
  • positivity rate 5.02%
  • 24hr positivity rate: 8.29%
Great Britain COVID-19 data

  • global rank: 5
  • 2,957,472 cases (+68,053) peak
  • 79,833 deaths (+1,325) peak
  • 58,860,706 tests (+628,976)
  • positivity rate 5.02%
  • 24hr positivity rate: 10.82%
In the US
Many of the most infected states are peaking again this week. 40 states have reported at least 1,000 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours. Today the nation peaked with 306,449 new coronavirus infections -- breaching through the 300,000 symbolic number for the first time -- and covid-19 has killed 3,969 Americans in the last 24 hours, after reporting over 4,000 daily deaths two days in a row, with a staggering 4,245 24-hour deaths reported on Thursday. 131,889 covid-19 patients are now hospitalized in the United States, with a record 23,886 in ICU and 7,909 people fighting for their life currently on ventilators. In the last week, covid-19 has killed 21,553 Americans and infected 1,722,087 more of our neighbors.
New York COVID-19 data

  • national rank: 4
  • 1,135,582 cases (+18,653) peak
  • 39,298 deaths (+149)
  • 26,816,135 tests (+243,903)
  • positivity rate 4.23%
  • 24hr positivity rate 7.65%
Georgia COVID-19 data

  • national rank: 7
  • 736,926 cases (+13,296) peak
  • 11,314 deaths (+84)
  • 5,994,450 tests (+14.746)
  • positivity rate 12.29%
  • 24hr positivity rate: 90.17%
‘Things Will Get Worse,’ Fauci Warns, as U.S. Hits a New Daily Death Record | nytimes.com
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, predicted on Thursday that the daily death toll from the coronavirus would continue to rise for weeks to come, and counseled patience with the vaccination program gearing up across the nation.

Hours later, officials across the United States reported yet another daily record for deaths, over 4,000. The total for the pandemic in the U.S. has surpassed 365,400.

In an interview with NPR, Dr. Fauci said the high toll was likely to continue and was probably a reflection of increased travel and gatherings over the holidays.

“We believe things will get worse as we get into January,” he said.

He stressed that it was still possible to “blunt that acceleration” by strictly adhering to public health measures like social distancing and mask-wearing.

“Now’s not the time to pull back on this,” he warned.

The virus has exacted a punishing toll across the United States. In recent days, Wyoming and Arizona been among the states that have recorded high per capita rates of virus deaths, according to a New York Times database. On Thursday, Florida reported more than 19,800 cases, the state’s highest single-day total.

Dr. Fauci advised Americans to be patient with the snags and delays that have slowed the vaccination effort and provoked widespread frustration.

So far, at least 5.9 million people in the United States have received a dose of one of the two Covid-19 vaccines that have been authorized for use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That figure is far short of the goal federal officials had set to give at least 20 million people their first shots by the end of December.

COVID-19 in the USA

  • Cases: 22,461,696 (+306,449) new peak
  • Deaths: 378,204 (+3,969)
  • Death rate: 1.68%
  • Testing: 267,213,048 individual tests (+2,066,644)
  • Positivity rate 8.40%
  • Single-day positivity date: 14.83%
US top 5 infected states:

  1. California: 2,629,498 COVID-19 cases, 29,222 deaths
  2. Texas: 1,941,212 COVID-19 cases, 30,190 deaths
  3. Florida: 1,449,252 COVID-19 cases, 22,675 deaths
  4. New York: 1,135,593 COVID-19 cases, 39,298 deaths
  5. Illinois: 1,017,322 COVID-19 cases, 19,108 deaths
In California
It appears California's new infections may have peaked, but the state's new deaths peaked again yesterday with 679 new deaths. Yesterday's number of new infections is the highest in three weeks (since December 16, 2020).
New Covid-19 Travel Advisory: Californians Told To Stay Within 120 Miles Of Home| deadline.com
Amid the national tumult on Wednesday, a newly-issued California Travel Advisory got little attention.

Set forth by the California Department of Public Health, the guidance seeks to restrict residents’ movements further. What’s more, it includes the idea that “non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering California.

“Amid the current COVID-19 surge,” reads the text “it is imperative that California take steps necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 and contain new sources of infection,”

The advisory is called a “recommendation,” and replaces the previous, less-stringent order issued in November.

It has three main points:

1. Except in connection with essential travel, Californians should avoid travel to any part of the state more than 120 miles from their places of residence.

2. Non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering California.

3. All persons arriving returning to California from other states or countries should self-quarantine for 10 days after arrival, except for those engaged in essential travel.

The Health Officer Order is in addition to the state’s Stay-at-Home Order issued in late November which implemented a statewide curfew and requires masks in all activities where individuals will be or can be in contact with non-household members

In the last seven days, California has confirmed 283,841 new covid-19 cases and the disease has killed 2,928 more Californians.

  • COVID-19 California cases: 2,629,498 (+50,842)
  • COVID-19 California deaths: 29,222 (+679) new peak
  • COVID-19 California death rate: 1.11%
  • COVID-19 California testing: 35,027,330 individual tests (+266,975)
  • COVID-19 California positivity rate: 7.51%
  • COVID-19 California single-day positivity rate: 19.04%
In the Central Valley
The Madera County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Update:

1/8/2021: Reporting 84 cases from the public, 15 from Valley State Prison, and 14 from the Central California Woman’s Facility (total 113 cases) bringing the total number of reported cases to 11,645. 
Of the 11,645:
  • 2,924 active case (including 30 Madera County residents hospitalized in Madera County)
  • 8,595 recovered (126 released from isolation)
  • 126 deceased 
Including its prison population, Madera County is averaging 144 new cases per day (90 per 100K), with 1,011 new cases revealed over the last 7 days. We need to get down to an average of 11 cases per day or 77 cases over 7 days to switch from purple to red (from "widespread" to "substantial" contagion risk).

Today, the seven local counties together reported 3,908 new infections and 33 new coronavirus deaths. In the combined 7 counties, COVID-19 has infected 236,711 people and has killed 2,224 residents of our region since it claimed its first central valley victim, in Madera, on March 26, 2020.

Our friends and neighbors are needlessly dying, many families are suffering. Science and the courage to follow its logic will solve this pandemic, any other discourse is inadequate.
COVID-19 in Madera + 6 local counties (+% is the positivity rate)

  • Mariposa: 308 cases (+12), 4 deaths, 12,237 tests, 2.52+%
  • Merced: 21,506 cases (+367), 279 deaths
  • Madera: 11,645 cases (+113), 126 deaths, 144,240 tests, 8.07+%
  • Fresno: 72,557 cases (1,153), 711 deaths ( 1/1/2021 data), 605,674 tests, 11.98+%
  • Tulare: 36,936 cases (+322), 455 deaths (+13)
  • Kings: 17,086 cases (+96), 110 deaths, 221,941 tests, 7.70+%
  • Kern: 76,673 cases (+1,941), 539 deaths (+16), 359,777 tests, 21.34+%

COVID-19 in the 7 counties together

  • 7 counties cases: 236,711 (+3,908)
  • 7 counties deaths: 2,224 (+33)
  • 7 counties death rate: 0.94%
The 7 counties graphs, above and below, represent data from the week ending on January 8, 2021. The data set needed for the report was not fully available until earlier this week, and I expect similar delays for this last week of the year. 18,724 new covid-19 cases and 104 new covid-19 deaths were confirmed in the last 7 days in our area of the central valley.
Keep observing the simple yet proven safety habits of physical-distancing, mask-wearing, and frequent hand-washing, that will help drive down new infections and new deaths, to a level low enough so as to give us a chance to reopen our schools for onsite education and thus, reopen our economy. Nothing else will work until we have massively administered a safe and effective covid-19 vaccine -- currently estimated by vaccinating up to 85% of the population -- to finally reach herd immunity.
From our hearts to yours,

Fredo and Renee Martin
Workingarts Marketing, Inc.

PS: We welcome comments and questions. If you wish to review previous reports, we now host past issues here.