At least 3,124 people in the United States died from COVID-19 on Wednesday, a grim new record as the country grapples with the worst phase of the pandemic thus far.
Johns Hopkins University reported the figure late Wednesday amid a surge in infections around the nation following the Thanksgiving Day holiday period. More than 220,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday alone, and U.S. hospitals have already begun reporting a frightening limit in intensive care beds.
The country last broke the daily record for coronavirus fatalities last Wednesday, when over 2,800 people died from the virus, surpassing a record of about 2,600 deaths set in mid-April when the U.S. was scrambling early in the pandemic. COVID-19 cases are still rising in almost every state.
More than 289,000 people have now died from the virus in America, and the country is on track to surpass 300,000 deaths by the end of the year.
The news has been more optimistic in some other countries. This week, the U.K. began inoculating citizens with the first approved coronavirus vaccine, made by Pfizer and the German company BioNTech. The vaccine has shown to be more than 90% effective in trials, and Canada followed Britain this week in approving its widespread use.
The Food and Drug Administration is currently considering emergency use applications from Pfizer and for another vaccine made by Moderna. A decision on the Pfizer vaccine is expected to come within days.
Health care workers and nursing home residents are expected to be the first people in the U.S. to get vaccinations. The U.S. government signed a deal for 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, but it will only be enough to inoculate 50 million Americans because the vaccine requires two doses.
Former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have all said in recent weeks that they would be willing to be inoculated, possibly on television, to convince their fellow Americans to do the same.
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