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US records new high in single-day Covid-19 cases
Washington, December 13, 2020
The United States has recorded a new high for single-day Covid cases after more than 244,000 people tested positive for the virus, as the country, currently the hardest-hit by the pandemic, is preparing the distribution of the first vaccine against the disease.
In its latest update on Saturday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 244,011 new cases and 3,013 fatalities, which increased the overall infection tally and death toll to 16,045,596 and 297,789, respectively.
The new data brought the seven-day average daily case increase to a record-high of more than 209,000 cases, and the seven-day average daily death increase to nearly 2,400, highest since late April.
There are over 108,000 people currently hospitalized due to the disease across the US, a new all-time record since the onset of the pandemic, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Cases and hospitalizations have kept soaring in the country recently, pushing medical centers to a breaking point and leaving health care staff burned out with extreme pressure.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday issued authorisation for emergency use of the Covid-19 vaccine of American drugmaker Pfizer in partnership with German company BioNTech, the first vaccine in the US.
The authorisation came amid one of the worst days of the pandemic for the US, with record numbers of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations.
The emergency use authorisation allows the vaccine to be distributed in the country and used for people 16 years of age and older.
The first shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will begin arriving in the states on Monday, US media quoted an official as saying on Saturday.
Shipping companies UPS and FedEx will deliver the vaccine to nearly 150 state locations, Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of President Donald Trump's administration's Operation Warp Speed, was quoted as saying.
Perna said the vaccine was timed to arrive on Monday morning so that health workers would be available to receive the shots and then begin giving them.
A key CDC panel met on Saturday and voted unanimously to recommend Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, according to the US media reports.
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an outside group of medical experts that advises the agency, voted 11 to 0 to recommend the vaccine for use in people 16 and older under the FDA's emergency authorization, according to a CNBC report.