The U.S. saw another slight dip in new cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19, but hospitalizations rose to another record and the death tolls are rising in most states, but Moderna Inc. provided a glimmer of hope by saying it was requesting emergency approval of its vaccine candidate on Monday.
There were at least 136,313 new cases on Sunday, according to a New York Times tracker , which is down from 151,247 on Saturday and from 205,460 on Friday. The daily average of the past week has been 162,007, up 8% from the average two weeks ago.
There were at least 818 new COVID-19-related deaths on Sunday, the Times data show, with deaths rising in 34 states and Puerto Rico. The states with the highest deaths per capita were New Mexico, Wyoming, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota.
The number of people currently hospitalized rose to a record 93,219 on Sunday, breaking Saturday’s record of 91,635, according to the COVID Tracking Project . In comparison, the hospitalization peaks of the previous case surges were 59,712 on July 23 and 59,773 on April 21.
Overall, the U.S. is first in the world by far in cases with 13.49 million and deaths with 267,600, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University .
While new COVID-19 case counts appear to have stabilized for now, there are worries cases will surge again following the big increase in traveling for the Thanksgiving holidays.
Data from the Transportation Security Administration showed that 1.18 million travelers went through TSA checkpoints on Sunday, the most since March 16. That’s the fourth day the number of travelers topped the 1 million mark since the weekend before Thanksgiving, even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged people not to travel to try to stem the spread of COVID-19.
That prompted Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases to say in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he was worried about yet another big outbreak:
“What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, that we might see a surge superimposed upon that surge that we’re already in. And when I give that message, I don’t want to frighten people, except to say, it is not too late at all for us to do something about this.”
And Dr. Deborah Birx, who is the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said Sunday that those who have traveled and gathered for Thanksgiving “need to be tested,” about five to 10 days later.
On the bright side, Moderna /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA +1.67% announced on Monday that a “primary” analysis of Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273 demonstrated a 94.1% efficacy rate, which is in line with the findings two weeks ago of the first interim analysis which demonstrated 94.5% efficacy. The company said that data, and given that there was no new serious safety concerns identified, that it would request “today” for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Read more about Moderna requesting regulatory approval .
Also on the vaccine front, the U.K. government has told hospitals to get ready to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE +0.60% and its partner BioNTech SE /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX +1.08% as soon as next Monday, as it is expected to be approved by the country’s regulators within days .
In the U.S., the CDC advisory committee on immunization practices is meeting virtually on Tuesday , Dec. 1, regarding the distribution and allocation of COVID-19 vaccines. Registration isn’t required to watch the live-meeting webcast .
Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federal of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said although he welcomed the news that a viable COVID-19 vaccine may be imminent, a vaccine in-and-of-itself isn’t enough to end the pandemic.