[NFA] As the events that unfolded in Washington on Wednesday captured the nation's attention, the raging coronavirus pandemic claimed its highest U.S. death toll yet, killing more than 4,000 people in a single day, according to a Reuters tally.
As the events that unfolded in Washington on Wednesday captured the nation's attention, the raging coronavirus pandemic claimed its highest U.S. death toll yet, killing more than 4,000 people in a single day, according to a Reuters tally.
COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 132,000, setting a grim record for the fourth day in a row, with more than 250,000 new cases, taking the total case tally to more than 21 million.
The deadly virus - surging in most of the nation - is hammering parts of California most severely, including the Los Angeles metropolitan area, pushing hospitals to their limits.
The latest surge is compounded by the rapid spread of a new, highly transmittable COVID-19 variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom in December and has now spread to several U.S. states, including New York, Florida, Colorado, California and now Pennsylvania.
All of this comes as yet another variant has been detected – this one in South Africa.
Scientists have said newly developed vaccines should be equally effective against both variants, but there is much scientists still don't know.
On Wednesday, the leading U.S. infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said in an interview to the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
That the South Africa variant was more complicated than the UK one.
DR. FAUCI: "The one from the Republic of South Africa is a little bit more complicated because it overlaps a bit with the mutation in the UK, but it's a little bit more complicated because some of those mutations might have a negative impact on the efficacy of some of the monoclonal antibodies that are used so we're looking into that very carefully." With stretched healthcare systems across the country, federal and local officials announced steps to speed the sluggish pace of inoculating Americans.
They plan to start distributing COVID-19 vaccines through pharmacies around the country this week - earlier than expected - as states have struggled to use up the supplies they have been allocated.