By Tomi Kilgore, MarketWatch
The U.S. suffered through one of its worst days on the COVID-19 front since the pandemic started, with the daily death toll jumping to more than 3,400, on the same day it reached an “early but important” milestone of more than 1 million vaccinated.
Daily new cases of COVID-19 rose to 227,522 on Wednesday from 201,674 on Tuesday, according to data provided by the New York Times . The death toll increased to 3,411 from 3,239, to mark the second-worst day since the pandemic began.
Hospitalizations grew by 1,702 to a record 119,463 on Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project , to hit a daily record for the 19th time this month. The daily average of new cases over the past week was 213,472 cases, up 2% from the average two weeks before.
Overall, the U.S. has reported a total of 18,495,851 cases and 326,871 deaths, as of midday Thursday, data from Johns Hopkins University show .
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that more than 1 million people have been vaccinated since the first dose was administered on Dec. 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late Wednesday.
That means, however, the U.S. will fall dramatically short of the stated year-end target for vaccinations of about 20 million.
Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific advisor to the Trump administration’s “Warp Speed” program, told the media later Wednesday that objective was unlikely to be met , as the process of immunizations is happening slower than originally expected.
“There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S., but supply will increase in the weeks and months to come,” the CDC said in a statement on its website . “The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available.”
The statement came after Pfizer Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE +1.77% and BioNTech SE /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX -4.91% announced Wednesday an agreement with the Trump administration for the supply of an additional 100 million doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine, to bring the total supply deal to 200 million doses. The U.S. government has an option to buy up to an additional 400 million doses.
The CDC continued to stress that until every person in the U.S. is able to get a vaccine, Americans would be asked to social distance, wash their hands and wear makes in public.
And for the holidays, the CDC continued to recommend American postpone travel plans and stay home.
The number of global confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbed to 78,936,951, as of midday Thursday, according to JHU data, and the death toll reached 1,735,131. At least 44.5 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 10,123,778 and was third in deaths at 146,756, while Brazil was a distant second in deaths at 189,220 and third in cases at 7,365,517.
Mexico was fourth in deaths at 120,311 and 13th in cases at 1,350,079.
Italy had the fifth most deaths globally, and the most in Europe, at 70,900, and was eighth globally in cases at 2,009,317. The U.K. was sixth with a death toll of 69,157 and held at sixth in cases at 2,156,077.
Russia was fourth globally, and led Europe with 2,934,695 cases, and was ninth in deaths at 52,434. Germany was 14th in deaths at 28,960, and was 10th in cases at 1,610,326.
China, where the virus was first discovered late last year, has had 95,298 confirmed cases and 4,767 deaths.