The U.S. hit another grim milestone with over 300,000 people now dead from COVID-19.
The disease continues to spread at alarming rates across the country, reaching a record last week of over 3,000 dead from the virus in a single day. More than 16.2 million Americans have been infected this year and an average over 2,400 people are dying each day.
The first vaccinations began in the U.S. on Monday, just days after the Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s plan is to first inoculate health workers and elderly residents of long-term care facilities, followed by essential workers.
Even with progress on vaccine production and distribution, CDC head Robert Redfield has warned that, at the rate the virus is currently spreading, another 150,000 Americans could be dead from COVID-19 by February.
President-elect Joe Biden welcomed the FDA panel’s recommendation to authorize the vaccine as a “bright light in a needlessly dark time,” but noted that “vaccines don’t equal vaccinations.” Many more Americans will get infected and die from the virus in the coming months, even as the incoming Biden administration aims to distribute 100 million shots in its first 100 days.
“To live through our first holiday season without [my father] is a pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” Carol Lewis, a member of the nonpartisan grassroots survivor group COVID Survivors for Change, said in a release. Her father died of COVID-19 at age 86.
“In honor of him and the 300,000 others killed by this pandemic, I am begging people to please be responsible for a few more months. The holiday gatherings you’re missing aren’t worth the risk.”
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