The number of new daily cases continues to soar, as well. The country reported over 253,100 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the seven-day average up over 222,600, the highest it’s ever been, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. That’s an indication of more deaths to come over the next few weeks as diagnosed people are hospitalized and some die.
Arizona, California and West Virginia reported record-high daily deaths, based on a seven-day average, according to Hopkins data. The seven-day average of daily new cases continues to grow by at least 5% in 47 states and the District of Columbia, indicating an expanding outbreak.
Across the country, more than 132,400 are hospitalized with Covid, the highest yet, according to the COVID Tracking Project, which was established by journalists at The Atlantic.
The grim numbers come as U.S. officials race to pick up the pace of what’s been a slower-than-anticipated rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Federal officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Trump vaccine czar Moncef Slaoui have acknowledged that they had hoped the vaccine would be rolled out faster.
More than 17.2 million doses of vaccine had been distributed as of Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but just over 5.3 million doses have actually been administered. Top officials at the CDC, including Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, have said they expect the rollout to pick up speed this month.