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Coronavirus

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By LAURAN NEERGAARD and MATTHEW PERRONE
today

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Documents created by Pfizer for the meeting with the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel, as Pfizer seeks approval for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine, are seen on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. The meeting of outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration represented the next-to-last hurdle before the expected start of the biggest vaccination campaign in U.S. history. Depending on h...


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Just when the U.S. appears on the verge of rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine, the numbers have become gloomier than ever: Over 3,000 American deaths in a single day, more than on D-Day or 9/11. One million new cases in the span of five days. More than 106,000 people in the hospital.

The crisis across the country is pushing medical centers to the breaking point and leaving staff members and public health officials burned out and plagued by tears and nightmares.

All told, the crisis has left more than 290,000 people dead nationwide, with more than 15.5 million confirmed infections.


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The United States on Wednesday crossed an ominous new threshold of more than 3,250 lives lost to COVID-19 in a single day while public health officials stepped up preparations for a vaccine campaign of historic scope ahead of final regulatory review.

Steady movement toward a vaccine rollout on the eve of a critical review by leading U.S. medical experts comes as COVID-19 caseloads surged alarmingly higher, straining healthcare systems in some pandemic hot spots to the breaking point.

Intensive care units at hundreds of hospitals in cities and rural communities across the country were reported to be at or near capacity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data showed.


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Deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. have soared to more than 2,200 a day on average, matching the frightening peak reached last April, and cases per day have eclipsed 200,000 on average for the first time on record, with the crisis all but certain to get worse because of the fallout from Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

Virtually every state is reporting surges just as a vaccine appears days away from getting the go-ahead in the U.S.


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Americans couldn’t resist the urge to gather for Thanksgiving, driving only slightly less than a year ago and largely ignoring the pleas of public health experts, who begged them to forgo holiday travel to help contain the coronavirus pandemic, data from roadways and airports shows.

The nation’s unwillingness to tamp down on travel offered a warning in advance of Christmas and New Year’s as virus deaths and hospitalizations hit new highs a week after Thanksgiving. U.S. deaths from the outbreak eclipsed 3,100 on Thursday, obliterating the single-day record set last spring.


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The U.S. recorded over 3,100 COVID-19 deaths in a single day, obliterating the record set last spring, while the number of Americans in the hospital with the virus has eclipsed 100,000 for the first time and new cases have begun topping 200,000 a day, according to figures released Thursday.

The three benchmarks altogether showed a country slipping deeper into crisis, with perhaps the worst yet to come, in part because of the delayed effects from Thanksgiving, when millions of Americans disregarded warnings to stay home and celebrate only with members of their household.


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U.S. hospitals slammed with COVID-19 patients are trying to lure nurses and doctors out of retirement, recruiting students and new graduates who have yet to earn their licenses and offering eye-popping salaries in a desperate bid to ease staffing shortages.

With the virus surging from coast to coast, the number of patients in the hospital with the virus has more than doubled over the past month to a record high of nearly 100,000, pushing medical centers and health care workers to the breaking point. Nurses are increasingly burned out and getting sick on the job, and the stress on the nation’s medical system prompted a dire warning from the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Reuters | Equities.com |

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday said a shorter quarantine period of seven days with a negative COVID-19 test and 10 days without a test would work for individuals showing no symptoms after virus exposure, providing alternatives to the current 14-day standard.

The CDC said it still recommends a 14-day quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19 as the best way to reduce its spread, calling the shorter options alternatives it hopes will increase compliance.

“Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to follow critical public health action by reducing the economic hardship associated with a longer period, especially if they cannot work during that time,” CDC official Henry Walke told reporters on a conference call.


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Drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday they’ve won permission for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, the world’s first coronavirus shot that’s backed by rigorous science — and a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic.

The move allows Britain to become one of the first countries to begin vaccinating its population as it tries to curb Europe’s deadliest outbreak.


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Nearly 37,000 Americans died of COVID-19 in November, the most in any month since the dark early days of the pandemic, engulfing families in grief, filling newspaper obituary pages and testing the capacity of morgues, funeral homes and hospitals.

Amid the resurgence, states have begun reopening field hospitals to handle an influx of patients that is pushing health care systems — and their workers — to the breaking point. Hospitals are bringing in mobile morgues. And funerals are being livestreamed or performed as drive-by affairs.