Here’s what’s happening Tuesday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:
THREE THINGS TO KNOW TODAY:
— Executives from the major COVID-19 vaccine producers have told Congress to expect a big jump in the delivery of doses over the coming month. And looking ahead to summer, Pfizer and Moderna executives said Tuesday that they expect to complete delivery of 300 million doses each. Johnson & Johnson aims to provide an additional 100 million doses. That would be more than enough to vaccinate every American adult. President Joe Biden has said that every American who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by the end of July. The hearing comes as U.S. vaccinations continue to accelerate after a sluggish start and recent disruptions caused by winter weather. The death toll in the U.S. from the coronavirus has now surpassed 500,000.
— Agricultural groups and anti-hunger organizations are pushing the Biden administration to continue a $6 billion program to give food that farmers would have plowed under to millions of Americans left reeling by the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture began the Farmers to Families Food Box program in April 2020 after many people were shocked to see farmers destroy crops even as food banks were being overwhelmed by demand from people suddenly out of work. If the USDA extends the program, it will be a rare example of the new administration retaining rather than dismantling an initiative started under former President Donald Trump.
—. The White House is promising an increase in coronavirus vaccines this week after the pace of vaccinations was slowed by limited supplies and last week's extreme weather. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that states can expect about 14.5 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine this week, an almost 70% increase in distribution over the past month. From coast to coast, states scrambled Tuesday to catch up on vaccinations.
THE NUMBERS: According to data through Monday from Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. fell over the past two weeks, from roughly 110,877 on Feb. 8 to 70,281 on Monday. Over the same period, the seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths also fell, from nearly 2,743 on Feb. 8 to about 1,938 on Monday.
QUOTABLE: “I had people reaching out to buy a piece of art to save my gallery,” said Eden Stein, owner of Secession Art and Design in San Francisco, which sells the works of about 70 creators. “That money not only supported my family, it supported the artists and their communities.”
ICYMI: President Joe Biden is targeting federal pandemic assistance to the nation’s smallest businesses and taking steps to further equity in what is known as the Paycheck Protection Program. The administration is establishing a two-week window, starting on Wednesday, in which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees — the overwhelming majority of small businesses — can apply for the forgivable loans. Biden’s team is also carving out $1 billion to direct toward sole proprietors, such as home contractors and beauticians, the majority of which are owned by women and people of color.