The entire U.S. is on high alert over coronavirus, with the White House coronavirus task force warning in its latest report that ‘the COVID risk to all Americans is at an historic high.’
‘We are in as very dangerous place,’ the task force said in the report, sent to states Tuesday, and obtained by NBC News.
The report warned that the post-Thanksgiving surge of infections and hospitalizations threatens to ‘compromise COVID patient care, as well as medical care overall.
On Tuesday, U.S. recorded its highest single-day death toll since April 30 with 2,597 fatalities, according to analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
For the fourth day in a row, the number of Americans hospitalized for COVID-19 hit a record-high on Tuesday, with 98,691 people getting inpatient treatment, data from the Covid Tracking Project show.
Climbing deaths and hospitalizations in the U.S. underscore the urgent need to get a coronavirus vaccine approved – but Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisors aren’t scheduled to decide whether to give emergency authorization to Pfizer’s jab until next week, despite the shot getting the green light from officials in the U.K.
More than 180,000 new infections were recorded across the country on Tuesday, with states including Kentucky, California, Delaware, Tennessee, Texas and Arizona hitting single-day highs for new cases, while Florida became the third state in the nation to hit one million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.
Nursing homes in the U.S. saw more new coronavirus infections last week than they have since the spring surge, according to an American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living report released Tuesday.
There were 16,257 new infections the week of November 15 alone, and more than 2,000 nursing home residents died that week.
Single-day death toll records were also set in Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin on Tuesday and hospitalizations reached record highs in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, among others.
State officials are citing delays in reporting due to the Thanksgiving holiday as bloating the official tallies, but Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) documents obtained yesterday by CNN showed that the federal government considers almost the entire U.S. a coronavirus ‘hotspot.’
The Covid Tracking Project clarified: ‘A handful of states reported data for more than one day today, a result of data disruptions caused by the Thanksgiving holiday.
‘On the other hand, CO, NJ, TX, WA, and WY only published partial updates today.’
More than 838,000 new infections have been recorded since Thanksgiving, which former medical adviser to the White House, Dr Jonathan Reiner, told CNN could be ‘the mother of all superspreader events’ as an estimated 50 millions Americans took to the skies, roads and rails to travel for the holiday, despite warnings against gathering from the CDC and Dr Anthony Fauci.
Fauci warned on Monday that the US could see ‘surge upon surge’ leading into the coming Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years.
He noted in a Tuesday interview with WNBC that the virus will likely continue to spread rapidly for months to come, until between 75 and 85 percent of Americans get a coronavirus vaccine.
He estimated that, with that level of uptake, normalcy might return in the late summer or fall, and that the willingness of New Yorkers to get vaccinated would be particularly important.
‘Since New York has many tourists, it probably is going to be the entire country,’ he told the outlet.
But a vaccine is still at least a week away – and likely more.
Pfizer applied for emergency use authorization of its vaccine on November 20, but the FDA won’t meet to discuss whether or not to approve the request until December 10.
In a bout of mixed messaging, Operation Warp Speed head Dr Moncef Slaoui said Tuesday that the vaccine would be in Americans’ arms starting within 24 to 48 hours of emergency approval.
Yet Warp Speed documents obtained by CNN said that the shots were expected to be delivered on December 15, with a four-day window for ‘review.’
It’s unclear which the real delivery date will be, or what more FDA regulators would be reviewing after the public discussion of the shot on the tenth.
Meanwhile, the UK has already approve the same shot, based on the same data, as of today.
The country also lifted its national lockdown today, and Brits will start getting vaccines next week.
It has left many Americans wondering why they must wait at least a week for FDA approval for US firm Pfizer’s coronavirus jab.
Data on Moderna’s jab will be reviewed on December 17.
A vaccine advisory panel to the CDC met Tuesday and recommended that shots go first to health care workers and long-term care facility residents first in ‘phase 1a’ of distribution.
Those recommendations will become policy after a vaccine is authorized, and with the approval of CDC director Dr Robert Redfield.
Operation Warp Speed officials have promised that the first rollout of vaccines will go simultaneously to all 50 states.
Although the CDC will issue a policy on who gets vaccinated first, it will ultimately be up to states to decide who gets the vaccines first.
After considering more complicated criteria for how many doses of coronavirus a state will receive, the federal government has now decided it will dole out the shots based purely on adult population. It has already told states how many doses they are set to receive.
That means that California will receive more shots than any other state in the nation. Currently, a record 9,049 people are hospitalized for coronavirus there and yesterday the state reported 12,221 new infections.
It broke its record for new cases on Monday.
Texas will receive the second highest number of vaccine doses – and it could use them. Texas reported a record 15,182 new coronavirus cases yesterday.
It was the first state in the nation to hit one million total infections and also has a record 9,047 people hospitalized for COVID-19, according to the Covid Tracking Project.