US surpasses 300,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths

Washington, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The United States on Monday surpassed 300,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths, a somber record that was attained on the same day that the vaccine began to be administered to the public – albeit to priority groups first – and amid one of the most lethal periods since the pandemic began early this year.

At 3:45 pm, according to the independent tally being kept by The Johns Hopkins University, 300,267 people had died in the US from Covid-19, putting this country in the No. 1 spot in terms of absolute numbers of deaths, while more than 16.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases have been detected here.

The terrible landmark was hit at a time when the daily number of Covid-19 deaths is similar to the number of people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (2,977) or in Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor (2,403), both events over which Washington went to war.

Just in the first five days of December, one million new coronavirus cases were registered in the US, and in one week so far this month, Covid-19 exceeded cardiac disease as the main cause of death in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

The record number of deaths was hit after a nationwide vaccination campaign was launched with the sending of 2.9 million doses to more than 600 distribution points around the country, which is registering more than 200,000 new infections each day.

Authorities hope that the Pfizer vaccine – which last Friday received emergency distribution authorization from the Food and Drug Administration – and the upcoming approval of three other vaccines developed by Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, will enable all Americans who want the vaccine to be able to get it by the second quarter of 2021.

However, given the complicated logistics and relative scarcity of the vaccine at this point, the great majority of Americans will have to wait weeks or months to be inoculated.

The first American to receive the vaccine was African American critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay, who works at a hospital in Queens, where last April more than 3,500 Covid-19 patients were treated.

In an appearance before reporters, Lindsay said that her job is heavily rooted in science and went on to assure the public that the vaccine is safe. She said she has seen the alternative to getting vaccinated – namely serious illness and, all too often, death – and she encouraged everyone to get vaccinated, follow the recommendations of health experts and not to give up.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, on whose prediction models the White House has often relied, calculates that when President Donald Trump – who has been widely criticized for his response to the pandemic – leaves office on Jan. 20, 2021, more than 380,000 Americans will have died from Covid-19 and by April 1 more than half a million people will have lost their lives to the pneumonia-like and highly transmissible disease.


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