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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — The United States set a record on Tuesday for the most COVID-19 deaths reported in one day since the start of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
As of Tuesday evening, 4,197 deaths were reported, according to JHU. This is not the complete total for Tuesday, though, because final numbers come in overnight.
The only other time the number of deaths has gone over 4,000 took place on Jan. 7 when 4,194 total deaths were reported, according to JHU data.
Prior to Tuesday's record-setting death toll, the US had averaged more than 3,223 Covid-19 deaths a day over the past week, JHU data showed.
After widespread concerns about delays in vaccinations, the Trump administration will now release reserved second doses immediately, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
Such a plan had already been announced by President-elect Joe Biden.
More than 9 million people have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and more than 27 million doses have been distributed, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means one-third of vaccines that have been delivered have been given to people.
Six states — North Dakota, West Virginia, Connecticut, South Dakota, Montana, and Tennessee — have administered enough first doses to account for more than half of the doses they've received.
Meanwhile, seven states — Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Hawaii, Virginia, Idaho and California — have administered less than a quarter of the doses they've received.
Officials with Operation Warp Speed defended the slow rollout of vaccines Tuesday, saying states were sticking too rigidly to guidance designating health care workers and nursing home residents to be vaccinated first.
They said the rollout would speed up soon, and asked states to open up vaccination to everyone 65 and older and to younger people with chronic conditions.
Over the past week, an average of 248,650 new COVID-19 infections has been reported every day.
The massive surge of COVID-19 nationwide has been fueled by holiday travels and casual at-home gatherings that experts had warned against.
"This is what we were afraid of — people letting their guard down over Christmas and New Year's," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. — Courtesy CNN
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