U.S. coronavirus death toll surpasses 300,000 on day vaccine arrives

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More than 300,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the United States today, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The milestone comes as the first Americans receive Pfizer’s newly authorized coronavirus vaccine, which he hopes will turn the tide in the fight against the virus.
The arrival of the vaccine comes at a time of crisis. The United States has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations for eight days in a row, and the number of patients requiring intensive care is up 80% from a month ago.

In Los Angeles County, California, new cases of COVID-19 have increased 370% in just one month – and there are no more intensive care beds in the state’s Central Valley. In New Jersey, which currently has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the country, Governor Phil Murphy warned that the coming weeks “are going to be hell”.

Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb warned on Sunday that coronavirus infections would likely peak in January, in part because Americans ignore warnings from health officials and travel during the holiday season .

“The pressure is going to be on the health care system, and we need to keep the health care system from getting to the max,” Gottlieb said in an interview with “ Face the nation. “” They probably won’t see the peak load on hospital resources until mid-January, late January. ”

Local leaders have put in place drastic new restrictions in recent weeks to curb the spread of the virus. New York City close meals inside as early as Monday, and Mayor Bill De Blasio warned the city could face a complete shutdown in the coming weeks. Leaders in California, Philadelphia, Virginia and a number of other states put in place curfews, shut down indoor meals and shut down other non-essential businesses.

Since the FDA cleared Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use on Friday night, the company has run to distribute nearly 3 million doses in more than 600 locations across the country. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Monday hosted a TV update who saw intensive care nurse Sandra Lindsay receive one of the first doses of the vaccine.

Northwell health workers receive first doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
Nurse Sandra Lindsay receives Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from Dr. Michelle Chester at Northwell Health Long Island Jewish Medical Center in the Queens neighborhood of New York on Monday, December 14, 2020.

Mark Lennihan / AP Photo / Bloomberg via Getty Images

“I believe this is the weapon that will end the war. This is the start of the last chapter of the book, ”Cuomo said Monday.

In Louisville, Kentucky, nurse LaShawn Scott also received a dose. “I can feel relief now, I know we still have a long way to go, but I can see that light at the end of the tunnel now,” Scott said.

FedEx and UPS, the companies responsible for distributing the vaccine, told CBS News that they made all Monday vaccine deliveries on time or in advance.

Pfizer will deploy 2.9 million doses of the vaccine this week and 2.9 million next week. A total of 20 million doses of the vaccine are expected to be delivered by the end of the year. Each person vaccinated will need two shots, three weeks apart.

As CBS News previously reported, Pfizer has committed to deliver up to 100 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the first quarter of 2021. A second Modern vaccine is also seeking emergency clearance from the FDA and could begin deployment next week.

Bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled on Monday a pair of coronavirus relief bills designed to help U.S. workers and small businesses survive the rest of the pandemic. A $ 748 billion bill is expected to include funding for the paycheck protection program, unemployment insurance and more money for vaccine development and distribution. A $ 160 billion bill, which is expected to face more resistance in the Republican-controlled Senate, would provide public and local funding.

Mola Lenghi, Jonathan Vigliotti and Kris Van Cleave contributed to the report.

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