Coronavirus updates Minnesota begins vaccine lottery; world on brink of

COVID-19 has killed more than 421,000 Americans in a year, and infections have continued to mount despite the introduction of a pair of vaccines late in 2020. USA TODAY is tracking the news. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox, join our Facebook group or scroll through our in-depth answers to reader questions. Winning a new lottery in Minnesota could be a lifesaver. State residents can start signing up Tuesday for a vaccine lottery after a first-come-first-served inoculation website crashed amid overwhelming demand. Less than 5% of the state’s population had received a shot as of Sunday. Gov. Tim Walz has unveiled a series of changes to vaccine distribution efforts, including  a pop-up, mass vaccination event for teachers, school staff and child care workers at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul starting Thursday and ending Monday. The state has reserved 15,000 doses for the event. The push comes amid revelations that a highly contagious coronavirus variant initially discovered in Brazil has landed in the U. S. – in Minnesota. The state Department of Health said the resident had recently traveled to Brazil and became ill during the first week of January. Brazil’s variant seems to be able to evade natural antibodies developed from contracting COVID-19. Though that could mean potential weakening of the effectiveness of current vaccines, current vaccines will still offer some protection. This variation of the virus joins others in circulation in the U. S. – including ones first seen in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and most recently, California.►Some travelers to England will have to quarantine in hotels amid concerns about new variants under a proposal Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil Tuesday or Wednesday, the BBC reported. Most foreigners from high-risk countries are already denied U. K. entry, so the new rules will mainly affect returning U. K. residents.►As of last week, Alaska had administered more COVID-19 shots per capita than any state in the nation, according to CDC data, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Missouri ranked last of the 50 states.►Starting Tuesday, travelers flying into the U. S. from foreign countries will be required to present proof of a recent coronavirus test with a negative result.►In California, the state with the most infections, health officials lifted regional stay-at-home orders on Monday, citing a decline in the numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations and intensive care unit patients.►Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine protects against two variants of the coronavirus that have emerged from Britain and South Africa, though not as strongly against the latter, according to a company study.

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