The global case tally for the coronavirus illness COVID-19 rose above 90 million on Monday, and the U.S. topped 22 million confirmed cases, after setting a record for new cases in a single day of more than 300,000 on Friday.
It was the first time the U.S. has counted more than 300,000 cases in a single day since the start of the outbreak, confirming the worst fears of experts who had urged Americans not to travel during the recent holiday season or to mingle with other households. It comes after a record of more than 4,000 deaths were recorded on Thursday, or more than died in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“Amid the flurry of news about runoff elections and riots hitting your inbox already in the new year, you may have missed the fact that COVID remains out of control in the U.S., as we record more than 241,600 cases per day on average, more than 3,100 fatalities per day on average, and more than 129,000 Americans currently hospitalized with the deadly virus,” Raymond James analyst Chris Meekins wrote in a note to clients.
The U.S. counted at least 208,338 cases on Sunday, according to a New York Times tracker, and at least 1,777 people died. Weekend numbers are generally underreported because staffing at hospitals and health care centers is reduced. In the past week, the U.S. has averaged 254,866 cases a day, the tracker shows. The U.S. continues to lead the world by cases, at 22.4 million, and fatalities, at 374,348, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
“Amid the flurry of news about runoff elections and riots hitting your inbox already in the new year, you may have missed the fact that COVID remains out of control in the U.S., as we record more than 241,600 cases per day on average, more than 3,100 fatalities per day on average, and more than 129,000 Americans currently hospitalized with the deadly virus.”
— Chris Meekins, analyst, Raymond James
Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday that last week’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump was likely a superspreader event, adding his voice to the many that had raised that concern last week.
“I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event,” Redfield said in an interview with newspaper group McClatchy. “You had largely unmasked individuals in a nondistanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol.”
Separately, the Office of Attending Physician said lawmakers, who were forced to shelter in place in small rooms during the riot with some refusing to wear face masks, may have been exposed to the virus, the Washington Post reported, another concern raised by some lawmakers last week.
The CDC’s vaccine tracker, meanwhile, shows that as of 9.00 a.m. ET Friday, just 6.7 million Americans had received a vaccine, and just 22 million had been distributed. The vaccine program has lagged all of its original targets since the first emergency authorizations were granted to the vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc.
and German partner BioNTech SE
, and one developed by Moderna Inc.
with much fanfare in December.
Operation Warp Speed, the federal government program set up to accelerate development of vaccines and therapies for COVID-19, had initially promised 100 million doses would be delivered by end-December, later revising that number to 40 million and then 20 million.
President Donald Trump has left it to states to administer the vaccine program — tweeting that it was “up to the states to administer” and then calling some states “very slow” — meaning that stressed state health departments, which have already had to deal with testing, contact tracing, public information campaigns and deciding when or whether schools or businesses should be open or closed, are now tasked with handling the biggest public health effort in decades.
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In other news:
• China has agreed to allow a team of experts from the World Health Organization to enter the country to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported. The news comes days after efforts to block the visit led to criticism from the United Nations. The team are expected to travel to the city of Wuhan, where the pandemic is understood to have originated.
• Indonesia has become the first country to grant emergency use authorization outside China for the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, Reuters reported. Interim data from a late-stage human test of the vaccine showed it is 65.3% effective, Indonesia’s food and drugs authority BPOM said. That meets the WHO’s minimum efficacy rate of 50%.
• Germany’s BioNTech is aiming to supply up to 2 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, up from an earlier goal of 1.3 billion, after receiving emergency use authorization in both the U.S. and EU. In a regulatory filing, the company said it has committed to supplying more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine, which it co-developed with Pfizer. The partners are making the vaccine at six manufacturing sites and are aiming to expand the label to include pediatric indications, pregnant women and other sub-populations
• Malaysia is planning strict restrictions on movement for more than half the country as it struggles to fight a surge in new cases, the Guardian reported. Malaysia had eased restrictions after infections fell to close to zero, but cases have crept up again. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, announced a two-week partial lockdown to be imposed in the worst-hit parts of the country from Wednesday, with all non-essential businesses to close. “Our health care system is at breaking point, the situation today is indeed very alarming,” Yassin said in a nationally televised address.
• England’s chief medical officer, Prof. Chris Whitty, said the country was facing a major health emergency unless people strictly abide by the lockdown rules set by the government, with the National Health Service threatening to be overwhelmed by the number of COVID patients, MarketWatch’s Pierre Briançon reported. More than 81,000 people have died from the coronavirus disease in the U.K., the world’s fifth-highest toll. That is twice as much as more populous Germany. The government on Monday opened seven mass vaccination centers, with up to 50 such facilities planned, as it tries to reach 15 million of the country’s most vulnerable by mid February.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide climbed above 90.3 million on Monday, the Johns Hopkins data show, and the death toll rose above 1.9 million. About 50 million people have recovered from COVID-19.
Brazil has the second highest death toll at 203,100 and is third by cases at 8.1 million.
India is second worldwide in cases with 10.5 million, and third in deaths at 151,160.
Mexico has the fourth highest death toll at 133,706 and 13th highest case tally at 1.5 million.
China, where the virus was first discovered late last year, has had 96,882 confirmed cases and 4,792 deaths, according to its official numbers.