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The U.S. should start seeing a "significant decrease" in COVID-19 mortality by the end of January, as the most at-risk populations are vaccinated, Moncef Slaoui, the top scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.

The big picture: Slaoui noted that "between 40–50% of all deaths" have been elderly people in nursing homes, who along with health care workers should be fully immunized "by the end of the month of December or by the middle of the month of January."

  • "I'm hopeful by the end of all the month of January we should already see quite a significant decrease in the mortality and severe morbidity associated in the elderly population," he added.

By the numbers: More than 270,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S., according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. 101,190 people are currently hospitalized with it.

Worth noting: Slaoui called Biden's plan to ask Americans to wear a mask for his first 100 days in office "a good idea."

  • "It's never too late. ... We have a light at the end of the tunnel, but we will not all have the vaccine in our arms before May or June, so we need to be very cautious and vigilant," Slaoui said.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Florida police arrest data scientist who challenged state on COVID-19 dashboard

Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard displayed on a computer screen. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Rebekah Jones, a former Florida health department data scientist who says she was wrongly fired last year, has been charged with one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Driving the news: Jones turned herself in Sunday night after a warrant was issued for her arrest. Authorities raided her home last month, causing outcry online after she tweeted a video of the incident.

Updated 21 hours ago - Sports

2 tennis players test positive for coronavirus ahead of Australian Open

A tennis player (C) leaves hotel quarantine for a training session in Melbourne on Tuesday. The players to test positive for COVID-19 have not been publicly identified. Photo: William West/AFP via Getty Images

Two tennis players are among seven people involved in the Australian Open to test positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Melbourne, health authorities in the state of Victoria said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Some tennis stars including men's world No. 1 Novak Djokovic had sent a letter demanding Victorian authorities ease strict coronavirus quarantine rules for players ahead of the season-opening tennis major's start on Feb. 8.