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Coronavirus update: U.S. hits new tragic records in deaths, cases, hospitalizations

Anjalee Khemlani
·Senior Reporter
·2 min read
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The U.S. crossed another tragic milestone Wednesday, hitting record numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths nationally.

Several reports show more than 260,000 cases and more than 4,100 deaths — the highest single-day numbers. Hospitalizations, meanwhile, surpassed 132,000 and continue to climb as health experts warn of a mid-January peak.

Ellen Prosser, known as Nell, who is 100 years old, receives the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from Dr Nikki Kanani at the Sunrise Care Home in London, as the government continues to ramp up the vaccination program. (Kirsty O'Connor/Pool Photo via AP)
Ellen Prosser, known as Nell, who is 100 years old, receives the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from Dr Nikki Kanani at the Sunrise Care Home in London, as the government continues to ramp up the vaccination program. (Kirsty O'Connor/Pool Photo via AP)

Vaccinations continue for priority throughout the country. While the federal government originally anticipated 20 million doses by the end of December, the nation is only nearing that number of shipments this week.

Acting Defense Sec. Chris Miller said in a statement that Operation Warp Speed is nearing 20 million.

“On behalf of Operation Warp Speed, I am proud to report that today, 811,600 additional vaccines were distributed to the American people. Today’s great work brings the total number of vaccine doses distributed to 19,633,525,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking the rate of vaccinations, which continue to be slower than anticipated — even as health leaders like National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins believe the country is on track for 1 million doses per day.

The latest report from the CDC shows that more than 5 million — or about 25% of the vaccines distributed— have been administered. In some instances, hesitancy from minorities and lower wage earners who are part of priority groups has contributed, some experts say.

There are over 21 million cases in the U.S. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
There are over 21 million cases in the U.S. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said states should move on to the next priority groups if the demand in the top group slows.

Meanwhile, questions still remain about the durability of protection from existing vaccines. Moderna (MRNA) CEO Stéphane Bancel said at an event Wednesday that he believes the company’s COVID-19 vaccine can last for “a couple of years.”

Experts previously said they expected several months efficacy at best. As more time passes from the first vaccinations, real world durability will unfold. Meanwhile, tests are ongoing to determine the effectiveness of the vaccines against the new U.K. and South Africa virus strains.

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