Udayavni Special

US records over 2.1 lakh new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins


Team Udayavani, Dec 4, 2020, 9:49 AM IST

 

Washington: The United States recorded more than 210,000 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University, in an all-time high for the country since the start of the pandemic.

The U.S. recorded 3,157 deaths on Wednesday alone, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. That’s more than the number of people killed on 9/11 and shattered the old mark of 2,603, set on April 15, when the New York metropolitan area was the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.

The number of Americans in the hospital with the coronavirus likewise hit an all-time high Wednesday at more than 100,000, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The figure has more than doubled over the past month. And new cases per day have begun topping 200,000, by Johns Hopkins’ count.

The three main benchmarks 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.

Keeping health care workers on their feet is considered vital to dealing with the crisis. And nursing home patients have proven highly vulnerable to the virus. Patients and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care centers account for 39% of the nation’s COVID-19 deaths.

As authorities draw up their priority lists for the vaccine, firefighter groups asked the Minnesota governor to placed in the first group. The Illinois plan gives highest priority to health care workers but also calls for first responders to be in the first batch to get the shot. Other states are struggling with where to put prisoners in the pecking order.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said he wants teachers to get priority so schools can stay open. Two California lawmakers asked for that, too, saying distance learning is harming students’ education.

“Our state’s children cannot afford to wait,” wrote Republican Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham and Democratic Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell. “This is too important to overlook or sweep aside.”

The Utah Department of Health placed the state’s first order for its vaccine allotment Thursday.

Utah officials said frontline health care workers will take top priority, with the five hospitals treating the most COVID-19 patients getting the first doses. State health officials said that additional doses likely will be available in February and March for more hospital workers, and essential workers — including police officers, firefighters and teachers — also will be prioritized.

Texas is putting hospital staff, nursing home workers and paramedics at the top of the list, followed by outpatient medical employees, pharmacists, funeral home workers and school nurses. Nursing home patients did not make the cut for the first phase.

Advocates strongly expressed frustration over the way some states are putting medical workers ahead of nursing home residents.

“It would be unconscionable not to give top priority to protect the population that is more susceptible or vulnerable to the virus,” said John Sauer, head of LeadingAge in Wisconsin, a group representing nonprofit long-term care facilities.

He added: “I can’t think of a more raw form of ageism than that. The population that is most vulnerable to succumbing to this virus is not going to be given priority? I mean, that just says we don’t value the lives of people in long-term care.”

Iowa, which expects to get 172,000 doses over the next month, will make them available first to health care workers and nursing home residents and staff, while an advisory council will recommend who comes next to “minimize health inequities based on poverty, geography” and other factors, state Human Services Director Kelly Garcia said.

For example, prison inmates and residents of state institutions for the disabled aren’t in the first round but will be put ahead of others, she said.

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