The United States registers a record number of deaths in one day and experts fear that the new variant could make activities such as air travel more risky

The United States marked another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, when more than 4,400 COVID-19 patients died, the most in a single day since the outbreak began, and experts said that as cases continue to accelerate The worst is still the US recorded at least 4,402 deaths Tuesday, according to a New York Times tracker, and at least 229,603 new cases. The United States has averaged 249,945 cases per day last week, 37% more than the average two weeks ago.

Experts are concerned that new variants of the virus that have been detected in the UK, South Africa and Brazil are contributing to the rise, as they are estimated to be up to 70% more infectious than the original virus. While scientists say much more needs to be learned about the new variants, this may mean that certain activities, such as taking a flight, may be more risky now than weeks ago, the New York Times reported.

“We have wasted every opportunity to contain this virus. This current administration left us with a single arrow, and this time we cannot fail. It has to be our national priority ”. ”- Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine

“This uncertainty in understanding the exact mechanisms of the variant means that we do not know if our existing tools (masks, distancing and disinfection) are as effective as they were compared to an identical scenario with the regular variant,” Zeynep Tufecki, associate professor at the University of North Carolina, wrote in The Atlantic. Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor School of Medicine, said the key issue now is to accelerate the pace of vaccination, which has lagged so far all objectives. Hotez cautioned that failure to do so would mean that by mid to late spring, the death toll in the United States could reach 640,000 and equal the lives lost in the 1918 influenza pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker Disease Prevention shows that only 9 million Americans have been vaccinated so far, well below the goal of 20 million by the end of December. About 27.7 million doses have been distributed. The tracker, which has not been updated regularly since it was first released, carries the wrong date of December 20 from Tuesday. See also: Europe struggles to defend itself against new variants of COVID. Also: Flying to the US? Bring proof of a negative COVID-19 test, says the CDC. “We have no other choice,” Hotez wrote in a Twitter thread. “We have wasted every opportunity to contain this virus. This current administration left us with a single arrow, and this time we cannot fail. It has to be our national priority. ”Trump has failed to create a national plan for the vaccine program and has let the states administer it, which means they stressed out state health departments, which have already had to deal with testing, Contact tracing, public information campaigns, and deciding when or if schools or businesses should be open or closed are now tasked with managing the largest public health effort in decades. Tom Frieden, former CDC director, urged Americans not to get used to the numbers In other news: • Pharmaceutical industry organizations in the US and Europe urged governments on Wednesday not to extend the delays prescribed by COVID-19 vaccine developers between first and second injections, as the UK has started to deal with bottlenecks or current shortages Pierre Briançon reported. Governments and authorities sa National standards should “stick to the dose that has been evaluated in clinical trials,” said the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, the US Biotechnology Industry Organization. Any changes in dosage or schedule “should follow. science and be based on a transparent deliberation of available data, “they added. • Indonesia is taking a different approach to vaccination than other countries, and plans to prioritize working-age adults over older members of society when its vaccination program begins on Wednesday, MarketWatch’s Callum Keown reported. The Southeast Asian country’s food and drug authority BPOM authorized the emergency use of the Beijing-based Sinovac vaccine on Monday, and 3 million doses have been distributed to health centers across the country. Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has previously said that the country needs to vaccinate 181.5 million people, 67% of the population, to achieve herd immunity. The government has said that priority will be given to 1.3 million frontline health workers and then to regional governors, again to increase public confidence, followed by the general population. Initially targeting 18-59-year-olds is a markedly different strategy than in the US, the UK, and much of Europe, where those most at risk are at the head of the queue. • Federal officials have been told that Johnson & Johnson JNJ, -0.62%, vaccine production has been delayed up to two months with the original production schedule and will not catch up until the end of April, reported the New York Times, citing people familiar with the situation. The report quoted Operation Warp Speed’s senior manufacturing advisor that the company could catch up with initial production targets for March. Johnson & Johnson can release the results of its COVID-19 vaccine, which is unique because it only requires a single dose, in as little as two weeks, the report adds. • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. REGN, + 1.32% said the US government agreed to purchase an additional 1.25 million doses of the company’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail, MarketWatch’s Claudia Assis reported. That would bring the US supply of the cocktail, which consists of casirivimab and imdevimab antibodies, to more than 1.5 million doses. Under the new agreement, the government will purchase all finished doses of the cocktail delivered before June 30. Regeneron is already supplying doses to treat roughly 300,000 people, and Trump received the treatment when he fell ill with COVID-19 last year. • Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed officials to launch a mass vaccination program against coronavirus next week, The Guardian reported. Russia was the first country to register a vaccine in the summer, which was produced before Phase 3 trials were completed, alarming some experts. Putin told a televised government meeting that the Russian vaccine was “the best in the world.” See: These COVID-19 tax relief measures have just been expanded

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Latest Counts The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassed 91.7 million on Wednesday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, and the death toll surpassed 1.96 million. Approximately 51 million people have recovered from COVID-19. The United States continues to lead the world in cases, with 22.9 million, and deaths, with 380,825, or about one-fifth of world totals. The United States has more than twice the country with the next highest case burden, India, which has 10.5 million cases and is third in deaths with 151,529. Brazil has the second highest number of deaths with 204,690 and the third for cases with 8.2 million. Mexico has the fourth highest number of deaths with 135,682 and the thirteenth highest number of cases with 1.6 million. The UK has 3.2 million cases and 83,342 deaths, the highest in Europe and the fifth highest in the world. China, where the virus was first discovered late last year, has had 97,163 confirmed cases and 4,795 deaths, according to its official figures. What does the economy say? The prices of consumer goods and services, the cost of living, rose in December at the fastest pace since last summer, as Americans paid more to fill their gas tanks, MarketWatch’s Jeffry Bartash reported. The consumer price index advanced 0.4% last month, the government said Wednesday, marking the biggest gain since August. Economists polled by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch’s sister publications, had forecast a 0.4% rise. Read: America lost 140,000 jobs in December. However, the pace of inflation last year was still quite low, 1.4%. The annual rate increased from 1.2% in the previous month. Before the pandemic started last spring, consumer inflation was running at a much higher rate of 2.3%. “Although rising food and energy costs have pushed headline inflation moderately higher, the underlying trend remains stable,” said senior economist Sal Guatieri at BMO Capital Markets. The Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book report on the economy at 2 p.m. ET. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.00% and the S&P 500 SPX, + 0.10% were down 0.1%.