US sets record for most COVID-19 deaths reported in one day

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ATLANTA (CNN) – The United States on Tuesday set a record for the most COVID-19 deaths reported in one day since the start of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
As of Tuesday evening, 4,197 deaths were reported, according to JHU. This is not the full total for Tuesday, however, as final numbers arrive overnight.

The only other time the death toll exceeded 4,000 was on January 7, when a total of 4,194 deaths were reported, according to JHU data..

Before Tuesday’s record toll, the United States had averaged more than 3,223 COVID-19 deaths per day over the past week, according to JHU data.

After widespread concerns about delays in vaccinations, the Trump administration will now immediately release reserved second doses, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said.

Such a plan had already been announced by President-elect Joe Biden.

More than 9 million people have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and more than 27 million doses have been distributed, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means that a third of the vaccines that have been issued have been issued.

Six states – North Dakota, West Virginia, Connecticut, South Dakota, Montana, and Tennessee – have administered enough first doses to account for more than half of the doses they received.

Meanwhile, seven states – Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Hawaii, Virginia, Idaho and California – administered less than a quarter of the doses they received.

Operation Warp Speed ​​officials on Tuesday defended the slow rollout of vaccines, saying states were sticking too strictly to guidelines designating healthcare workers and nursing home residents to be vaccinated first . They said the rollout would pick up speed soon and called on states to open up vaccination to all people 65 years of age and older and younger people with chronic illnesses.

Over the past week, an average of 248,650 new COVID-19 infections have been reported each day.

The massive surge in COVID-19 across the country has been fueled by the vacation trips and occasional home gatherings that experts have warned against.

“That’s what we were afraid of – people let their guard down on Christmas and New Years,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.

New vaccination strategies

The federal government withheld about half of the available doses from vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer to ensure that everyone who receives a first dose receives their needed second dose on time.

Doses of Pfizer vaccine should be spaced 21 days apart, and Moderna doses should be spaced 28 days apart.

But on Tuesday, Azar said, “We don’t need to hold back the reserve doses anymore.”

“Every dose of vaccine that sits in a warehouse without entering an arm could mean one more life wasted or another busy hospital bed,” Azar said.

If any problems arise with vaccine production, any new dose will be designated as a second dose.

In addition to immediately releasing reserved doses, HHS announced that vaccines will be distributed to states based on which jurisdictions receive the most doses in guns and where the most elderly people live.

This new strategy will begin in two weeks, Azar said on Tuesday.

“We will allocate them based on the rate of administration indicated by states and the size of the population 65 and over in each state. We are giving states two weeks’ notice of this change to give them time. to plan and improve their reports if they think their data is faulty, ”Azar said.

“This new system strongly encourages states to ensure that all vaccinations are correctly reported, which is not currently the case, and it strongly encourages states to ensure that the doses are working,” he said. he declares.

“We need the doses to get to where they will be delivered quickly and where they will protect the most vulnerable.

Millions of doses are ready to use

About 9 million people have now received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 25.4 million doses have been distributed in the United States, according to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Amid a deployment that has been much slower than some officials had hoped, more states are abandoning CDC guidelines and adopting their own approach to administering the vaccine, according to a new analysis.

Timelines vary across the country and “access to COVID-19 vaccines during these first months of the U.S. vaccination campaign can depend largely on where you live,” the Kaiser Family said. Foundation, which studies health policy, in a report released Monday. .

The report found that 40 states are still in phase 1a – when the CDC recommends immunizing healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities – in whole or in part. Ten states and Washington DC were in phase 1b. Only Michigan has moved on to at least part of Phase 1c, according to the report.

For phase 1b, the CDC recommends immunizing people aged 75 and older and essential frontline workers and for phase 1c, the agency recommends immunizing people 65 years of age and older, younger people with high risk conditions and other essential workers.

States “are making the decision to vaccinate as many people as possible” and bypass vaccine prioritization recommendations, Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, said Monday.

“I think where people are now is that they have the vaccine and they just want to get it out,” Offit said.

Without the “public health infrastructure for mass immunization” in place, states must learn to manage mass immunizations in real time, and some learn faster than others, he added.

How States are Strengthening Immunization Efforts

In at least 10 states, members of the National Guard help administer vaccines. Other states have asked dentists, retirees and students to participate in the process.

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott visited a mass COVID-19 vaccination site on Monday and said the state planned to open about 28 similar sites in 18 counties.

“These vaccination centers will speed up vaccine distribution and ensure effectiveness in communities across the state,” the governor said.

In California, 1 million healthcare workers, residents and nursing home staff will receive the vaccine by the end of the week, the governor pledged Monday, as part of an “all hands on” action. the bridge ”to serve the most vulnerable residents.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter to Azar requesting permission to purchase up to 100,000 doses of vaccine for the state.

“We remain ready to accelerate the distribution to put doses in the weapons”, declared the governor.

The letter comes after Whitmer and other state leaders urged government officials to hand out the vaccine doses currently withheld by the Trump administration.

CDC to require all air travelers to the United States to test negative

The CDC on Tuesday announced an order requiring all airline passengers entering the United States to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding flights to the United States.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” CDC director Robert Redfield said in a statement. “But when combined with a period of stay at home and daily precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier and more responsible by reducing the spread on planes,” at airports and destinations. ”

The ordinance will go into effect Jan. 26, the CDC said.

The rule is similar to one put in place last month for passengers from the UK to the US, which requires passengers to test negative within three days of boarding their flight.

For the UK’s requirement that was passed last month, airlines may be subject to criminal penalties if they fail to comply, and passengers may face criminal penalties if they willfully give false information or misleading.

The-CNN-Wire ™ and © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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