By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
The global case tally for the coronavirus illness COVID-19 rose above 90 million on Monday, and the U.S. topped 22 million confirmed cases, after setting a record for new cases in a single day of more than 300,000 on Friday.
It was the first time the U.S. has counted more than 300,000 cases in a single day since the start of the outbreak, confirming the worst fears of experts who had urged Americans not to travel during the recent holiday season or to mingle with other households. It comes after a record of more than 4,000 deaths were recorded on Thursday, or more than died in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“Amid the flurry of news about runoff elections and riots hitting your inbox already in the new year, you may have missed the fact that COVID remains out of control in the U.S., as we record more than 241,600 cases per day on average, more than 3,100 fatalities per day on average, and more than 129,000 Americans currently hospitalized with the deadly virus,” Raymond James analyst Chris Meekins wrote in a note to clients.
The U.S. counted at least 208,338 cases on Sunday, according to a New York Times tracker, and at least 1,777 people died. Weekend numbers are generally underreported because staffing at hospitals and health care centers is reduced. In the past week, the U.S. has averaged 254,866 cases a day, the tracker shows. The U.S. continues to lead the world by cases, at 22.4 million, and fatalities, at 374,348, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
“Amid the flurry of news about runoff elections and riots hitting your inbox already in the new year, you may have missed the fact that COVID remains out of control in the U.S., as we record more than 241,600 cases per day on average, more than 3,100 fatalities per day on average, and more than 129,000 Americans currently hospitalized with the deadly virus.”
Chris Meekins, analyst, Raymond James
Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday that last week’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump was likely a superspreader event, adding his voice to the many that had raised that concern last week.
“I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event,” Redfield said in an interview with newspaper group McClatchy. “You had largely unmasked individuals in a nondistanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol.”
Separately, the Office of Attending Physician said lawmakers, who were forced to shelter in place in small rooms during the riot with some refusing to wear face masks, may have been exposed to the virus, the Washington Post reported, another concern raised by some lawmakers last week.
The CDC’s vaccine tracker, meanwhile, shows that as of 9.00 a.m. ET Friday, just 6.7 million Americans had received a vaccine, and just 22 million had been distributed. The vaccine program has lagged all of its original targets since the first emergency authorizations were granted to the vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE +0.89% and German partner BioNTech SE /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX -0.41% , and one developed by Moderna Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA -1.51% , with much fanfare in December.
Operation Warp Speed, the federal government program set up to accelerate development of vaccines and therapies for COVID-19, had initially promised 100 million doses would be delivered by end-December, later revising that number to 40 million and then 20 million.
President Donald Trump has left it to states to administer the vaccine program — tweeting that it was “up to the states to administer” and then calling some states “very slow” — meaning that stressed state health departments, which have already had to deal with testing, contact tracing, public information campaigns and deciding when or whether schools or businesses should be open or closed, are now tasked with handling the biggest public health effort in decades.