U.S. COVID-19 deaths surge back to more than 3,000 a day as hospitalizations spike to another record

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U.S. COVID-19 deaths surge back to more than 3,000 a day as hospitalizations spike to another record


While good news on the COVID-19 vaccine front keeps coming, the U.S. just suffered one of its worst days this year as the daily death toll spiked back above the grim 3,000 mark and hospitalizations jumped by nearly 2,500 to another record.

The daily number of new COVID-19 cases slipped to 201,674 on Tuesday from 201,732 the day before, according to data provided by the New York Times. The average new cases per day over the past week was 215,974, up 4% from the average two weeks earlier.

Then it goes downhill from there. At least 3,239 people died from COVID-19 on Tuesday, up from 1,963 on Monday. While that is below the one-day record of 3,611 seen on Dec. 16, it’s the third-highest one-day total, the Times data show. It was the fifth time the daily death toll topped the 3,000 mark since the pandemic began, and all five of those days have occurred this month.

And hospitalizations jumped to a record 117,777 on Tuesday, shattering the previous record of 115,351 the day before, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The one-day increase in hospitalizations of 2,426 was the most since the 2,475 seen on Dec. 8, and the daily record was the 18th set this month.

Overall, the U.S. has now recorded a total of 18,325,434 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University data, and the total death toll rose to 324,496.

On the bright side, Pfizer Inc.
PFE,
+2.16%

and BioNTech SE
BNTX,
-0.54%

announced Wednesday a second agreement with the Trump administration to supply an additional 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine, from production facilities in the U.S., doubling the total number of doses delivered to the U.S. government. The companies said Trump administration will pay $1.95 billion for the additional 100 million doses.

That leaves the government with options to buy up to an additional 400 million doses.

In July, the companies said the Trump administration would pay $1.95 billion for the first 100 million doses, and will have the option to acquire up to an additional 500 million doses. There was a New York Times report out earlier this month that the U.S. government had passed when given the opportunity to buy additional doses, which Trump administration officials denied.

Wednesday’s news comes less than two weeks after Moderna Inc.
MRNA,
+2.69%

said the U.S. government had exercised its option to buy an additional 100 million doses of the biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, which rolled out this week, to bring the confirmed order commitment to 200 million doses.

Canada said Wednesday that it has authorized Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for adults, with the government having committed to buying 40 million doses of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, reported of vaccinations keep growing. There have now been 30 states, up from 23 on Tuesday, that have publicly reported vaccinations, according to a MarketWatch analysis of JHU data. And total reported vaccinations nearly doubled to 472,489 as of Wednesday morning from 244,706 the day before. The states leading the way were Texas with 60,631 doses administered, followed by New York with 50,000 and Florida with 49,932.

Also read: How many people have to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to reach herd immunity? ‘The faster we do it, the faster we get back to life.’

Also on the vaccine front, an Oxford University professor said on BBC Radio that the COVID-19 vaccine candidate made by AstraZeneca PLC
AZN,
+0.34%

AZN,
-1.42%

and Oxford was expected to get the thumbs up from Britain’s medical regulator shortly after Christmas day, as MarketWatch’s Lina Saigol reported.

And separately, Merck & Co. Inc.
MRK,
+0.96%

said Wednesday that it signed a $356 million deal with the U.S. government to develop, manufacture and distribute an experimental COVID-19 therapy.

Regarding the new strain of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, that appears to have bubbled up out of the U.K., and prompted many countries to issue travel restrictions from the U.K., MarketWatch’s Jaimy Lee reported: Here’s what we know so far about the new strain of COVID-19.

Global tallies

The number of global confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbed to 78,380,606, according to JHU data, and the death toll reached 1,724,562. At least 44.2 million people have recovered.

The U.S. was the world leader, as it accounted for 23.4% of the cases and 18.8% of the deaths.

India was a distant second in cases at 10,099,066 and was third in deaths at 146,444, while Brazil was a distant second in deaths at 188,259 and third in cases at 7,318,821.

Mexico was fourth in deaths at 119,495 and 13th in cases at 1,338,426.

Italy had the fifth most deaths globally, and the most in Europe, at 70,373, and was eighth globally in cases at 1,991,378. The U.K. was sixth with a death toll of 69,156 and sat sixth in cases at 2,155,846.

Russia was fourth globally, and led Europe with 2,905,196 cases, and was ninth in deaths at 51,810. Germany was 14th in deaths at 28,527, and was 10th in cases at 1,579,033.

China, where the virus was first discovered late last year, has had 95,281 confirmed cases and 4,767 deaths.



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