More than 3,800 Americans died of COVID-19 on Thursday though the number of hospitalized patients and confirmed cases continued their downward trajectory as Johnson & Johnson vows to have enough vaccines to inoculate 100 million Americans by the spring.
The latest data from The COVID Tracking Project shows that 184,864 Americans tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday.
As of early Friday morning, there were at least 119,927 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
Wednesday was America’s second deadliest day on record since the start of the pandemic - 4,229 fatalities.
But the death count dropped slightly on Thursday to 3,889. Since the pandemic began, 410,102 people in the US have died from COVID-19.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The latest COVID-19 figures show a slight drop in the number of new infections on Thursday, according to The COVID Tracking Project
As of early Friday morning, there were at least 119,927 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Wednesday was America’s second deadliest day on record since the start of the pandemic - 4,229 fatalities. But the death count dropped slightly on Thursday to 3,889
The data indicates that the case count as well as the number of hospitalized patients is on a downward trajectory
Since the pandemic began, 410,102 people in the US have died from COVID-19. Overall, more than 24.6 million Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus
Overall, more than 24.6 million Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus.
While the number of fatalities remains high, public health officials do see reasons for optimism as hospitalization rates as well as the rates of infection are showing signs of decline.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
There is also eager anticipation for a third COVID-19 vaccine that is set to be approved by the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.
Dr. Mark McClellen, a company board member, told CNBC on Thursday that the nation’s COVID-19 vaccine supply will receive a huge boost in the coming weeks ‘if the clinical trial works out.’
Dr. Mark McClellen, a board member with New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, believes that the single-shot vaccine that is expected to be approved by the company within weeks will enable 100 million Americans to be inoculated by the spring
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose shot, which would mean the rollout would be faster and people who receive the jab would likely be protected from coronavirus in a matter of weeks after the injection. The above image is a file photo illustration showing vials with stickers reading 'COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine'
‘I do know that J&J is making a very large supply, going all out with its production, both here in the US and elsewhere around the world, with the goal of having perhaps enough vaccines for 100 million Americans by spring, by this April or so,’ McClellan, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said on Thursday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said on Thursday that Johnson & Johnson could have enough data on the vaccine to begin analysis within a week or two.
McClellan told CNBC that the company is currently conducting a large scale clinical trial.
‘The independent scientists who are overseeing that study should be taking a close look in the very near future based on those results, and we’ll see how fast the vaccine could go forward,’ McClellan said.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose shot, which would mean the rollout would be faster and people who receive the jab would likely be protected from coronavirus in a matter of weeks after the injection.
The two vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorization - Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech - require two doses.
Health officials said that the US is expected to approve the low-cost AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine in April.
The rollout of the vaccination program in the US has been sluggish as less than half of the nearly 38 million doses of vaccine that have been distributed thus far have made their way into people’s arms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On average, about 883,000 Americans have been vaccinated over the course of the past six days.
But at least a dozen states are reported vaccine shortages in the face of surging demand.
Officials in New York City and San Francisco warn that they will be completely out of vaccines by the end of the week.
New York City also had to shut down 15 vaccination sites temporarily due to the short supply.
McClellan told CNBC that ‘the supply will be increasing, but not probably enough to keep up with the large number of Americans who really want to get vaccinated now.’
McClellan, a health policy expert at Duke University, believes the Biden administration will implement policies that will speed up vaccine distribution.
‘It’s going to be challenging, but I think the supply will be there over the next couple of months to vaccinate even more than 100 million Americans,’ he said.
In the first order he signed since arriving at the White House, Biden on Wednesday mandated masks and physical distancing in all federal buildings and the development of a testing program for federal employees for COVID-19, in a first step to combat a pandemic that has already claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Americans.
Biden's order says federal employees, contractors and others in federal buildings or on federal lands should 'wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.'
The president directed agencies to 'immediately take action...to require compliance with CDC guidelines' and for employees to wear masks and engage in social distancing. He called for all Americans to wear masks for 100 days.
America's death toll is the highest in the world despite the country accounting for less than five percent of the global population.
It comes on the heels of a recent CDC projection that the national death toll could rise even higher to as high as 508,000 by February 13 - a figure higher than the population of Atlanta.
In October, Biden vowed to require masks on airplanes and on interstate transportation, but he did not take that action on Wednesday. The transportation order is expected on Thursday, officials said.
U.S. airlines, which have been requiring masks without a legal requirement for months, support Biden's planned mandate.
Biden's order on Wednesday directs the CDC to 'promptly develop ... a testing plan for the federal workforce,' adding it will be 'based on community transmission metrics and address the populations to be tested, testing types (and) frequency of testing, positive case protocols.
On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded the second deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic with 4,229 deaths with a total death toll of 406,162
It is second only to January 12 with 4,327 and marks the third time the daily death toll has surpassed 4,000. Pictured: Medical personnel move a deceased patient to a refrigerated truck serving as make shift morgues at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City, April 2020
Wednesday also marked one year to the day since the first case of the virus was recorded in Washington state with more than 24.4 million people since testing positive
The president said agencies may make exceptions to mask requirements, but must 'require appropriate alternative safeguards.'
The Biden administration must implement new testing requirements for nearly all international air passengers that begin Tuesday, following a CDC order