February 17, 2021

In the last week, the number of new COVID-19 cases has declined by 16 percent worldwide, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, with North America, South America, and Europe seeing the biggest drops in new infections. Additionally, there has been a 10 percent drop in the number of global deaths.

The United States has seen its number of new infections fall by 23.7 percent over the last week, with experts saying there are a few reasons why this is happening, including the fact that more people are receiving the coronavirus vaccine and the adoption of social distancing measures.

The Washington Post examined case data, and found that the rolling daily average of new coronavirus infections in the U.S. hit a record high of 248,200 on Jan. 12, and has steadily decreased ever since. On Sunday, the average was 91,000, the lowest number since November. Catherine Garcia

January 24, 2021

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced on Sunday he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Lopez Obrador tweeted that he is experiencing mild symptoms and has received medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he said. "We will move forward." The president added that he will continue to work through his illness, and a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for Monday will still take place.

Mexico has been hit hard by the coronavirus, with the country recording more than 1.7 million cases and at least 149,084 deaths. Close to 30 public hospitals in Mexico City have reported they are at 100 percent capacity, and residents there have been encouraged by the mayor to stay home as much as possible. Lopez Obrador has been criticized throughout the pandemic for his slow response, the fact that he rarely wears a mask, and the scarcity of testing across the country. Catherine Garcia

December 24, 2020

More than one million Americans have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the coronavirus fight remains dire as hospitalizations climb to their highest peak since the beginning of the pandemic.

By mid-week, more than 119,000 people were receiving in-patient treatment in the U.S., per The Washington Post. And while the start of immunizations has bolstered some spirits, the process has faced various challenges, with White House vaccine chief Moncef Slaoui saying Wednesday it likely won't be possible to hit the 20 million vaccination mark by the end of 2020. Dr. Anthony Fauci also revealed in an interview published Thursday that in order to achieve herd immunity, the vaccination rate may need to be as high as 90 percent. Currently, around 0.3 percent of the U.S. population has been vaccinated. Marianne Dodson

December 4, 2020

Juan Williams, one of the co-hosts of the Fox News talk show The Five, confirmed to The Hill on Thursday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Williams said he has been tested weekly, and on Thursday, he was notified that his Monday test came back positive. A second test conducted on Thursday also came back positive. Williams told The Hill he is experiencing flu-like symptoms, including chills and headaches, and is isolating at a hotel in Washington, D.C.

On Wednesday, Williams taped a live episode of The Five from the studio in New York, with the co-hosts all sitting about seven feet apart. A Fox News spokesperson told The Hill that the network "will continue to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our staff, including broadcasting The Five via home studios for the foreseeable future."

The spokesperson added that Fox News has implemented "strict company-wide protocols adhering to all CDC and state guidelines, including regular testing of all in-studio, on-air personalities, mask mandates, and daily health assessments for all employees entering the building." Catherine Garcia

August 23, 2020

President Trump on Sunday announced that the Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for the use of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patients.

The FDA said more than 70,000 patients have been treated with convalescent plasma, which is taken from people who have recovered from COVID-19, and the "known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product." Trump called the move "historic" and claimed the treatment will "save countless lives."

There is no conclusive evidence that using convalescent plasma works, and Denise Hinton, the FDA's chief scientist, said this "should not be considered a new standard of care for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. Additional data will be forthcoming from other analyses and ongoing, well-controlled clinical trials in the coming months."

Trump, who has touted the use of everything from disinfectants to antimalarial drugs to treat COVID-19, recently accused the FDA of "making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics." Benjamin Corb of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology told The Associated Press Trump's Sunday announcement has "conspicuous timing. President Trump is once against putting his political goals ahead of the health and well-being of the American public." Catherine Garcia

July 30, 2020

Herman Cain, the former pizza mogul and brief frontrunner in the 2012 Republican presidential primary, has died of COVID-19. It is not known for sure where he contracted the virus, but he came down with symptoms nine days after attending President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa on June 20, and posted a picture online of himself there in a group of people without masks.

In other news, Bill Montgomery, the 80-year-old co-founder of the conservative student group Turning Point USA, has also died of COVID-19. It has not been reported where he might have come down with the virus, but the other founder of TPUSA, Charlie Kirk, has repeatedly spread misinformation about the pandemic in general and masks in particular. On Kirk's podcast last weekend, he stated he refuses to wear a mask, and falsely suggested that doing so might make you sicker. The official TPUSA Twitter account deleted a tweet mocking mask-wearing after Montgomery's death.

The whole conservative movement has been trying to deny, downplay, and disregard this pandemic from the start. The resulting collateral damage now includes several prominent figures in their own ranks. But even that might not be enough to convince them to shift direction — 66-year-old Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Tex.) recently tested positive, but he suggested on TV that it might have been from wearing a mask. Ryan Cooper

July 22, 2020

The number of Americans infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus is anywhere from two times higher than the reported rate to 13 times higher, depending on the area of the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The report is based on an analysis of antibody tests, which indicate whether a person has been infected, and it's the largest of its kind so far. The U.S. has 3.9 million reported COVID-19 cases and 142,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

About 40 percent of people infected with the new virus never develop symptoms, and they can spread the disease throughout a community without even knowing it. Increased testing would catch some of these silent spreaders and help contain the disease, The New York Times says.

Researchers have also narrowed down their calculation of how deadly COVID-19 is, estimating now that between 5 and 10 people of every 1,000 infected with the coronavirus will die from it, The Wall Street Journal reports. That fatality rate, between 0.5 and 1.0 percent, makes COVID-19 much deadlier than the seasonal flu and less dangerous than Ebola and other recently discovered infectious diseases.

"It's not just what the infection-fatality rate is, it's also how contagious the disease is, and COVID is very contagious," Eric Toner, an emergency medicine physician and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells the Journal. "It's the combination of the fatality rate and the infectiousness that makes this such a dangerous disease." Peter Weber

July 15, 2020

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on Wednesday he has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the first governor known to be infected by the virus.

Stitt said he was tested on Tuesday, and while he feels "a little bit achy," overall he is "fine." He is isolating away from his family.

In March, Stitt faced backlash after posting a photo online showing him with his children at a crowded restaurant, not wearing masks; he later deleted the picture. Stitt also pushed to quickly reopen the state in May, and he said Wednesday that despite the number of coronavirus cases climbing in Oklahoma — a record 1,075 new cases were just recorded — he won't impose new statewide restrictions or a mask mandate.

"I know that some businesses are mandating masks and that's great," he said. "But you can't pick and choose what freedoms you're going to give people. So if the businesses want to do it, if some local municipalities want to do it, that's fine. But again, we also respect people's rights to stay home if they want, to run their businesses, or to not wear a mask."

Stitt, who attended President Trump's Tulsa rally on June 20 and did not wear a mask, also said he is "pretty shocked" that he is the first governor to test positive for COVID-19. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads