The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 surpassed the number of World War II combat fatalities on Thursday night, just hours after a committee of leading U.S. vaccine scientists recommended the Food and Drug Administration authorize the first COVID-19 vaccine for Americans.
The vaccine, though, won’t help soon enough, said Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning that the US’s daily death count will likely rival national tragedies such as the 9/11 terror attacks and Pearl Harbor for months.
“We are in the timeframe now that probably for the next 60 to 90 days we’re going to have more deaths per day than we had at 9/11 or we had at Pearl Harbor,” Redfield said during an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, The Hill reported.
One day after reporting more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths for the first time, the U.S. topped 292,000 total deaths, several hundred more than the number of battlefield deaths in WWII, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Johns Hopkins University data dashboard reported 3,124 deaths on Wednesday, a single-day toll worse than 9/11, when about 2,900 people were killed, and Pearl Harbor, which resulted in about 2,400 deaths.
New infections are booming, with some hospitals running out of beds, prompting stay-at-home orders in some places and mask mandates in 38 states.
U.S. Gloomy Days are hitting the life of People
America’s worst day: 1 died every 28 seconds
The U.S. reported a record 3,124 deaths Wednesday, meaning about 130 people died of the virus every hour or one died every 28 seconds. That’s far worse than any day of the spring or summer surges. And another dark record was broken – most deaths over a seven-day period. The 15,927 deaths equal 95 per hour, or one death every 38 seconds, breaking a record set in April.
At the current pace, the U.S. death toll from the entire pandemic could reach 300,000 in just a few days.
The U.S. also reported 227,828 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, the second-worst day on record. And the number of infections in a week set a record of almost 1.5 million, 145 new cases per minute.
Wednesday also saw a record in current hospitalizations, with 106,688. Hospitalizations never reached 60,000 at the peak of the spring or summer virus surges. – Mike Stucka
Every US county has now had at least one COVID-19 case
A county in Hawaii became the United States’ final county to have a resident test positive for COVID-19, the Maui News reported Thursday. An adult resident of Kalaupapa, Hawaii, has become the first person to contract COVID-19 in Kalawao County, reportedly the last county in the U.S. without a case in eight months of the pandemic, according to the Hawaii Department of Health, the Maui News said.
The person received a positive test result after returning on a local flight to Kalaupapa and is now in self-isolation with no symptoms.
A Vaccine – BNT162b2 to be Used for Emergency Use
After a day-long public hearing, the independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 17 to 4, with 1 abstention, to recommend the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech called BNT162b2. The FDA is expected to clear the vaccine for emergency use as early as Friday.
Mass vaccinations may begin within days in thousands of frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents.
One last important meeting will take place Sunday when an advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meets to make a final recommendation on who the vaccine should go to first. While the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices doesn’t have regulatory power, providers receiving COVID-19 vaccine sign agreements to comply with ACIP guidelines. Thursday’s meeting of VRBPAC (pronounced verb-pack) came a day after the U.S. set a new daily record for COVID-19 deaths, topping 3,000. – Elizabeth Weise and Karen Weintraub
Millions of health care workers are slated to receive the first batch of potentially lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this month. But not all of them want to be first in line. Only one-third of a panel of 13,000 nurses said they would voluntarily take a vaccine, another third said they wouldn’t and the rest said they were unsure, according to a late October survey by the American Nurses Association.