Another day of record COVID-19 deaths in U.S.; 7,500 dead in last 2 days

A physician fills a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center Northwell Health in New York City on December 14. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Dec. 31 (UPI) — For the second day in a row, the United States has set a new record for most coronavirus deaths in a single day — and added another 230,000 cases.

According to updated data Thursday from Johns  Hopkins University, close to 3,750 patients died on Wednesday — surpassing the previous record, set only a day earlier, by about a dozen deaths.

This month, there has been an average of about 2,500 deaths per day, twice November’s figure, according to Stat.

The new figure means that roughly 7,500 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States in the past two days.

The data also showed 229,000 new cases nationwide on Wednesday, the second straight day the count has exceeded 200,000.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 19.76 million cases and about 342,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

Hospitalizations nationwide also reached another all-time high, 125,000, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday that U.S. officials are considering spreading out the initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

The plan has been to reserve part of the early supplies for second doses for priority groups like healthcare workers and nursing home residents.

Both vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna call for the two doses to be given weeks apart to achieve 95% efficacy, although evidence from clinical trials showed significant effect after the first dose.

Fauci told NBC’sToday” Thursday that a single dose could “still get the job done,” which might allow other people outside the top priority group to start receiving the vaccine.

“If done properly, you can do a single dose, reserve doses for the second dose, and still get the job done,” he said. “But there’s a lot of discussion about whether or not you want to spread out the initial vaccination by getting more people vaccinated on the first round.”

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