U.S. reaches record COVID-19 death total, Fauci said he expects this troubling trend to continue

anthony fauci helps explain why there's a new COVID death record
Photo via The White House/Flickr (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

The U.S. reached a new record COVID-19 death total on Jan. 7, as more than 4,000 people died from coronavirus complications in a single day. That’s the first for a nation that has now registered more than 365,000 deaths and could surpass the 400,000 threshold before the end of the month. 

The New York Times’ coverage of the record-setting day for COVID deaths noted Wyoming and Arizona were among states that have recorded high per capita rates of virus deaths, and Florida reported nearly 20,000 cases to register the state’s highest single-day total. 

Overall, 4,085 Americans died of COVID-19 complications on Jan. 7.

This comes amid the backdrop of a coronavirus vaccination rollout that’s been slower than expected. Just under 6 million people across the nation have received a dose of one of two FDA-approved vaccines, despite initial goals for 20 million to be vaccinated by the end of 2020. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition on Jan. 7, said, “I think it would be fair to just observe what happens in the next couple of weeks. If we don’t catch up on what the original goal was, then we really need to make some changes about what we’re doing.”

Fauci said he expected the troubling trend to continue, noting that it “likely will be a reflection of the holiday season travel and the congregate settings that usually take place socially during that period of time.” 

“Hopefully, if we really accelerate our public health measures during that period of time, we’ll be able to blunt that acceleration,” he said. “But that’s going to really require people concentrating very, very intensively on doing the kinds of public health measures that we talk about all the time. Now’s not the time to pull back on this.” 

USA Today noted the new single-day COVID death record means that an American is dying of the coronavirus every 21 seconds. The publication also noted that the U.S. set a new record for coronavirus cases in a week of 1.59 million. That’s up nearly 46,000 cases from a revised record set Wednesday, which is about 159 cases per minute.

The Centers for Disease Control’s own projections predict anywhere from 12,900-24,900 new deaths will likely be reported in the week ending on January 30, with a total of 405,000-438,000 total COVID-19 deaths at that point in the pandemic.

Sources: New York Times, NPR, USA Today, CDC

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