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COVID-19: Joe Biden will release ALL available vaccine doses

President-elect Joe Biden will distribute all doses of coronavirus vaccines Pfizer and Moderna provide to the US as soon as they are available, reversing the Trump administration’s strategy of holding back half the supply as booster doses for those who get their first shots, a transition team spokesperson told CNN. 

President-elect Jo Biden’s transition team said he will release all available doses of coronavirus vaccines 

‘The President-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible,’ said transition spokesman TJ Ducklo said. 

‘He supports releasing available doses immediately, and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now. 

‘He will share additional details next week on how his Administration will begin releasing available doses when he assumes office on January 20th.’ 

Releasing all available doses would double the supply of vaccines to US states, in the hopes of speeding the agonizingly slow rollout.  

The US has only vaccinated 6.25 million people against coronavirus, despite distributing nearly 21.5 million doses of the shots and fewer than two percent of Americans have gotten their first shots, Bloomberg data reveals. 

But some of the states that have gotten through the doses allocated to them fastest  got smaller initial shipments, raising questions over whether the additional doses could simply clog an already-sluggish distribution and administration chain. 

Patience is wearing thin in the US, where a record 4,085 people died of COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the death toll to more than 365,000, with nearly 275,000 new infections in the past 24 hours. 

President-elect Biden will release all available doses of coronavirus vaccines in an effort to speed the US rollout that has seen just 6.25 million Americans vaccinated - less than 2% of the population - and ending Trump's plan to hold back doses

President-elect Biden will release all available doses of coronavirus vaccines in an effort to speed the US rollout that has seen just 6.25 million Americans vaccinated – less than 2% of the population – and ending Trump’s plan to hold back doses 

More than 21 million doses of  COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed to states but some like North Dakota have received fewer than promised

More than 21 million doses of  COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed to states but some like North Dakota have received fewer than promised 

Vaccination is off to a ‘rocky start,’ Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr Francis Collins, admitted, adding that he was unsurprised by the stumbling blocks the US has hit so far. 

Nationally, the rollout effort is in chaos, with every state, county, city and even hospital creating its own plan. 

As a result, the success of each of these programs varies wildly from state to state. While millions of doses of precious COVID-19 vaccine are sitting on shelves in some states, others are quickly getting shots and arms. Some cities and counties are running out of doses before the federal government can restock them. 

North Dakota leads the pack for turning doses delivered into shots-in-arms. It has used 62 percent of its 43,950 doses – more than any other state. 

West Virginia – a state known for some of the worst health problems in the nation and the seat of ‘deaths of despair’ – has already vaccinated more than four percent of its residents, the highest percentage of any state, according to Reuters. 

BEST AND WORST: North Dakota and West Virginia have consistently used more  than half of the doses allocated to them, while Mississippi an Georgia have struggled to give out a third of their supplies

BEST AND WORST: North Dakota and West Virginia have consistently used more  than half of the doses allocated to them, while Mississippi an Georgia have struggled to give out a third of their supplies

States in the South have struggled. Mississippi has given out just 18 percent of nearly 160,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine sent there. Georgia hasn’t done much better, using less than 20 percent of its doses. 

Those states as well as Alabama and South Carolina have vaccinated just one percent of their populations, falling below even the abysmal national vaccination rate. Just 1.8 percent of Americans have gotten their first doses of vaccines. 

Dr Anthony Fauci said that starting close to the holidays is in part to blame for the delays in the US vaccine rollout  and Americans should ‘give it a little slack’ as anger mounts over the slow rollout. But he added that: ‘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.’ 

WHERE THE VACCINE ROLLOUT IS GOING WELL: STATES THAT GOT FEWER DOSES THAN EXPECTED AND HAVE FLEXIBLE PLANS ARE AVOIDING DELAYS

North Dakota was promised more than 9,750 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine per week, but was initially only receiving about half that many. The state was short-changed on Moderna doses too, but by a smaller margin. 

The state is slated to receive about 10,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine a week this month.  

Disappointing initial allocations turned out to have a silver lining: while states like New York are leaving hundreds of thousands of doses on the self – igniting fury from Governor Andrew Cuomo – North Dakota is flying through them. 

‘I think the biggest challenge is not having enough doses for (getting) everybody vaccinated who wants to be vaccinated,’ state Immunization Director Molly Howell told the Dickinson Press. 

‘I think so far things have gone well. I haven’t been sitting here thinking, ‘oh I wish we had done this,’ or ‘we could have done that.” 

She added that the state may run into delays as they receive higher volumes of vaccine doses, and still thinks the timeline between the arrival of dose in North Dakota and actual vaccinations could be shorter. 

But things are going smoothly in long-term health care facilities, where  the manager of one chain said they were seeing no delays between the delivery of vaccine doses and their administration.  

‘A lot of people are looking to us as a state, because after the first week we had, I believe, something like 90% of doses allocated to our state in arms – which was really unheard of elsewhere,’ says Gretchen Garofoli, a pharmacist and clinical associate professor at West Virginia University, told NPR.  

West Virginia has also gone its own way in some respects of the rollout. 

While most states partnered with pharmacy giants CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate care home residents and staff through a federal program, West Virginia is the only state that declined. 

Garofoli says that the state has a large number of small family-run pharmacies, especially in rural areas. 

So West Virginia has tapped up these local shops to take on the vaccination effort, delivering doses to 250 pharmacies – and it seems to be working, as the state becomes the unlikely dark horse, leading the nation for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

WHERE THE ROLLOUT IS GOING WORST: GEORGIA, MISSISSIPPI, SOUTH CAROLINA AND ALABAMA HAVE ONLY VACCINATED 1% OF THEIR POPULATIONS  

As a whole the US has only vaccinated 1.8 percent of the population – but some states are falling behind even that painfully slow rate. 

Mississippi has the nation’s worst rate. The state has given out only 28,000 doses of vaccine, inoculating 0.95 percent of its population. 

Alabama is fairing little better. With 49,000 doses injected, the state has vaccinated exactly one percent of its population. 

Georgia and South Carolina have eked out slightly better results, vaccinating 1.16 percent and  1.17 percent of their populations, respectively. 

Rigidity has proved a recipe for disaster. As of January 4, Mississippi was still trying to get its health care workers  inoculated. It requires workers to schedule appointments at drive-thru vaccination sites. 

That might now be feasible for Mississippi nurses and doctors. The state hit its peak of 1,500 hospitalized coronavirus patients on January 5 – but health officials there suspect the worst is yet to come.  

HOW CONNECTICUT IS VACCINATING AT TWICE THE RATE OF NEW YORK WITH A FLEXIBLE ROLLOUT AND ‘LAST-MINUTE’ DOSE SHARING

Connecticut has led the race to vaccinate residents against COVID-19 since it received its first doses – thanks, in part, to a willingness to play a little fast and loose.  

The Constitution State was one of the first in the U.S. to get shots in the arms of more than two percent of its population, with at least 93,000 immunized as of Thursday.  

What’s more, Gov Ned Lamont (D) said on Monday that, by the end of the week, all nursing home residents and staff who want an initial dose of the jab will have received it.

By comparison, Connecticut’s neighbor, New York, has had a sluggish rollout.

The Empire State, with five times Connecticut’s population, has administered just 313,000 jabs to frontline health care workers and nursing home staff and residents.

New York has used just one-third of the vaccine doses allocated to it by the federal government, and vaccinated just 1.6 percent of its population. 

In New York City – which has seen more deaths than any other city in the nation – only about 145,000 people have received at least one dose – 1.7 percent of the city’s population.

So why the discrepancy?  

Public health experts say that New York has been more rigid in its definition of who classifies a healthcare worker, qualifying fewer people to get the vaccines, and does not have a plan –  like Connecticut’s – to send unused doses from one location to another.

The result is a painfully slow rollout and hundreds of thousands of doses of vaccines sitting on shelves in New York. 

Connecticut has administered at least 93,000 initial doses of its coronavirus vaccine (blue bar, right)  – inoculating more than 2% of its population, compared to 313,000 doses for New York (red bar, right), which has vaccinated just 1.6% of its population 

Connecticut has also used more doses of its distributed coronavirus jabs at 62% compared to just 33.5% for New York

Connecticut has also used more doses of its distributed coronavirus jabs at 62% compared to just 33.5% for New York

Over the last week, Connecity has used between 50% and 65% of its vaccine supply with New York has used between 40% and 28%

Over the last week, Connecity has used between 50% and 65% of its vaccine supply with New York has used between 40% and 28%

Public health experts say Connecticut has been more lax in its definition of who classifies a healthcare worker, qualifying more people to get immunized. Pictured: Nurse Susan McCarthy gives the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to Lino Fernandes, an Environmental Services Aide, at Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut, December 15,

Public health experts say Connecticut has been more lax in its definition of who classifies a healthcare worker, qualifying more people to get immunized. Pictured: Nurse Susan McCarthy gives the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to Lino Fernandes, an Environmental Services Aide, at Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut, December 15,

There is no single national vaccine rollout plan and instead each state has had to come up with its own plan.

Despite sharing a border, New York’s and Connecticut’s plan differ drastically especially with who is included in each state’s first phase.

New York’s first phase is very rigid and includes solely frontline healthcare workers as well as residents and staff in nursing homes and care facilities.

Meanwhile, Connecticut’s first of three phases is much more lax and more loosely defines who is classified as a healthcare worker.

This includes:

  •  Doctors, nurses, and allied healthcare providers seeing patients
  • Licensed pharmacists and registered pharmacy technicians working on site in pharmacies 
  • Custodial, dietary, administrative & support staff working in patient care settings 
  • Students doing clinical rotations  
  • School nurses
  • First Responders actively responding to medical 911 calls or involved in care for COVID or suspected COVID cases
  • Home health providers, homemaker companions, PCAs 
  • Dentists, dental hygienists, and other oral health staff 
  • Death care workers entering healthcare settings, homes, or with exposure to decedents 

Dr Howard Forman, director of the Yale School of Public Health Health Care Management Program, told Medium that Connecticut is letting healthcare facilities determine who qualifies as a phase one candidate. 

‘If you look at New York, it’s far more prescriptive as to who is a health care worker and who is a frontline and who is a patient-facing health care worker,’ he said. 

‘I think our hospitals and health care systems have it in their interest to vaccinate health care workers and frontline health care workers first, but you also want to make sure that if you have doses around, that you are getting them out there as quickly as possible.’ 

He added that New York’s strictness may be causing a conundrum for hospitals.

What’s more, New York Gov Andrew Cuomo (D) has said that if hospitals or healthcare systems vaccinate someone out of the state-designated order, they face a $1 million fine.

But, at the same time, any hospital that does not use all its COVID-19 vaccine supply within seven days of receipt is slapped with a $100,00 fine. 

‘I think [Lamont] put fewer rules in place than a state like New York did about who can get the doses and who can’t get the doses,’ Forman told Medium. 

‘I don’t think he scared people [distributing vaccines] by saying: ‘If you go anywhere outside these lines I am going to take you to jail.’ 

‘I think right now we need compassionate stewardship so that we get through this process as well as we can.’ 

Meanwhile, New York has been very rigid, only giving out vaccines to frontline workers and nursing home residents and staff. Pictured: A staff member at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitationreceives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacist Craig Brandt in Brooklyn, New York, Janaury 4

Meanwhile, New York has been very rigid, only giving out vaccines to frontline workers and nursing home residents and staff. Pictured: A staff member at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitationreceives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacist Craig Brandt in Brooklyn, New York, Janaury 4

This more broader definition has led to more people per 100,00 being given their first dose in Connecticut than in New York.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker, 2,830 per 100.000 Connecticut residents have received an initial dose.

In New York, this rate falls to 1,819 per 100,000.

What’s more, a tracker from Bloomberg shows that Connecticut has used 62.1 percent of the shots that the federal government had distributed to the state so far.

By comparison, New York has used just 31 percent.

The slow pace of the rollout in New York has led to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio clashing with Cuomo. 

De Blasio has called for more flexibility in vaccine administration with all essential workers being include in the phase one plan.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov Andrew Cuomo have clashed over how to distribute coronavirus vaccines. Pictured:  De Blasio at a press confrence on Thursday

De Blasio has called for more flexibility and Cuomo has argued that guidelines need to be followed strictly. Pictured: Cuomo at a press conference on Wednesday

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (left) and New York Gov Andrew Cuomo (right) have clashed over how to distribute coronavirus vaccines with de Blasio calling for more flexibility and Cuomo arguing that guidelines need to be followed strictly  

De Blasio has argued for eliminating fines and including first responders in the city's first vaccination phase. Pictured: Dr Scott Asnis, a dentist, receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Nassau County Community College in Long Island, New York, January 5

De Blasio has argued for eliminating fines and including first responders in the city’s first vaccination phase. Pictured: Dr Scott Asnis, a dentist, receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Nassau County Community College in Long Island, New York, January 5

On Thursday, for example, the mayor announced a plan to offer coronavirus vaccines to most New York Police Department officers

However, Cuomo has pushed back, insisting hospital staff and everyone in nursing homes be inoculated first. 

‘Police who are not health care workers are not yet eligible,’ the governor said at his own press conference.

‘We need to get the health care population done first because they are the front line, as I mentioned before.’ 

De Blasio has also criticized Cuomo’s implementation of fines. 

‘Give [hospitals] the freedom to vaccinate and they will vaccinate thousands, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions,’ de Blasio said’What they don’t need is to be shamed. What they don’t need is more bureaucracy. What they don’t need is a threat of fines.’

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Trump defends ‘successful’ vaccine distribution and blames the states for ‘very slow’ rollout

President Donald Trump has blamed the slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines on the states as he praised his administration’s ‘successful’ distribution of the doses amid growing backlash over the disastrous program.

Trump appeared to respond to mounting criticism of the vaccine rollout on Friday after new data revealed only a quarter of the shots distributed to states have been administered since early December. 

As of New Year’s Day, 3.17million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered. That is just 25 per cent of the 12.4million doses that have been delivered to states, according to an analysis from Bloomberg.  

Trump however has defended his administration’s efforts, saying it’s the states that are moving at a slow pace when it comes to vaccinating the population.  

‘Some States are very slow to inoculate recipients despite successful and very large scale distribution of vaccines by the Federal Government. They will get it done!’ Trump said on Twitter.

Trump defended his administration's efforts, saying the states are moving at a slow pace when it comes to vaccinating the population.

President Trump on Friday defended his administration’s ‘successful’ distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and blamed the states for the slow rollout after Senator Mitt Romney urged the federal government to develop a comprehensive plan for 

The tweet appeared to be in response to Senator Mitt Romney and President-elect Joe Biden, who both spoke out in harsh terms about the clumsy effort to distribute vaccines hours earlier. 

In an emotional statement released on Friday, Romney, a Republican but frequent Trump critic, warned the delays would be ‘deadly’ if the government does not urgently undertake new strategies to boost vaccination efforts.   

‘That comprehensive vaccination plans have not been developed at the federal level and sent to the states as models is as incomprehensible as it is inexcusable,’ Romney said in a statement that was perhaps aimed as much at the incoming Biden administration as the outgoing Trump one.

‘It was unrealistic to assume that the health care workers already overburdened with Covid care could take on a massive vaccination program,’ Romney said.

The senator also highlighted the fact that the program is ‘woefully behind’ despite it only targeting frontline workers and long-term care residents – the ‘two easiest populations to vaccinate’.    

He called on the government to ‘enlist every medical professional, retired or active, who is not currently engaged in the delivery of care’ to be drafted into a crash program of government-run vaccination sites across the country.

‘This could include veterinarians, combat medics and corpsmen, medical students, EMS professionals, first responders, and many others who could be easily trained to administer vaccines,’ he proposed.

Romney also proposed a scheme to ‘Schedule vaccinations according to a person’s priority category and birthdate: e.g., people in group A with a January first birthday would be assigned a specific day to receive their vaccination.’ 

Referring to his experience overseeing the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Romney also included what could be seen as a pitch to the Biden administration to offer his own assistance, saying: ‘I have experience organizing a major logistical event,’ though adding humbly that it was ‘nothing on the scale of what is called for today.’    

As of Friday, West Virginia has still vaccinated the highest percentage of its population, followed by South Dakota and Maine. Kansas continues to lag the farthest behind in population vaccinated, with just 0.42% of all residents having received the jab

As of Friday, West Virginia has still vaccinated the highest percentage of its population, followed by South Dakota and Maine. Kansas continues to lag the farthest behind in population vaccinated, with just 0.42% of all residents having received the jab

A table shows for each state, vaccine doses received and administered, and the percentage of shots used. Maine has now distributed the highest percentage of its available vaccine, with more than 50% of doses administered

A table shows for each state, vaccine doses received and administered, and the percentage of shots used. Maine has now distributed the highest percentage of its available vaccine, with more than 50% of doses administered

Earlier, a senior Trump administration official told CNN correspondent Kristen Holmes that while Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said that officials were considering releasing 20 million doses that are being held in reserve for required booster shots, federal officials now do not currently view this as viable option,

The move came as a repudiation of the strategy in the UK, where doses are being shipped as soon as they are produced, relying on future production to fill the need for booster shots. 

Critics of the UK strategy have argued that it runs the risk of wasting millions of first doses if the vital boosters aren’t available on time, and point out that at least for now, U.S. states already have far more doses than they are able to quickly get into arms. But proponents of the UK strategy argue that it will double the speed of vaccinations.

It came as the total number of Americans infected in the pandemic topped 20 million since March, and coronavirus hospitalizations hit an all-time high for the fourth day in a row on New Years Eve, with nearly 125,400 people receiving inpatient treatment.  

Daily deaths remained harrowing at 3,419 on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins, after two consecutive record-setting days with over 3,700 daily deaths on both Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Biden took a swipe at the Trump administration’s oversight in a tweet on Friday, writing: ‘Let me be clear: The Biden-Harris Administration will spare no effort to make sure people are getting vaccinated.’    

Biden has vowed to invoke the Defense Production Act and ensure that 100 million vaccines are administered in his first 100 days in office, though he has offered few concrete details on how this would be achieved.

Even as the slow rollout leaves most people without any opportunity to get the vaccine for now, Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s ‘quite possible’ that COVID-19 vaccines will become mandatory to attend school or travel outside the country.

‘I’m not sure it’s going to be mandatory from a central government standpoint, like federal government mandates. But there are going to be individual institutions that I’m sure are going to mandate it,’ Fauci, who will be chief medical adviser to Biden, told Newsweek.

‘A citywide school system might require it in some cities but not other cities. And that’s what I mean by things not being done centrally but locally,’ he said.

Asked if the U.S. government could issue a ‘vaccine passport’ to authorize travel abroad, as Israel has done, Fauci responded: ‘Anything is on the table. Anything is possible, of course.’ 

Meanwhile, Florida’s agriculture commissioner this week called on Governor Ron DeSantis to deploy the National Guard to assist the vaccination campaign, saying in a letter to the Republican governor that the effort had been ‘very chaotic’ so far. 

President-elect Joe Biden took a swipe at the Trump administration's oversight in a tweet on Friday, writing: 'Let me be clear: The Biden-Harris Administration will spare no effort to make sure people are getting vaccinated'

President-elect Joe Biden took a swipe at the Trump administration’s oversight in a tweet on Friday, writing: ‘Let me be clear: The Biden-Harris Administration will spare no effort to make sure people are getting vaccinated’

Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican but frequent critic of President Donald Trump, issued statement on Friday urging the U.S. government to immediately enlist veterinarians, combat medics and others in a dramatic proposal to boost vaccinations

Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican but frequent critic of President Donald Trump, issued statement on Friday urging the U.S. government to immediately enlist veterinarians, combat medics and others in a dramatic proposal to boost vaccinations

Even as the slow rollout leaves most people without any opportunity to get the vaccine for now, Dr. Anthony Fauci says it's 'quite possible' that COVID-19 vaccines will become mandatory to attend school or travel outside the country

Even as the slow rollout leaves most people without any opportunity to get the vaccine for now, Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s ‘quite possible’ that COVID-19 vaccines will become mandatory to attend school or travel outside the country

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, said in the letter on Wednesday that there is a lack of ‘clear direction’ on vaccination procedures for healthcare workers.

‘Instead of efficient, centralized distribution management by the state of Florida, distribution has been left to hospitals and county health departments,’ Fried wrote. ‘While you characterize this as ‘cutting out the middle man,’ vulnerable residents are left without answers or clear direction from overwhelmed local agencies on when, where and how to receive the vaccine.’ 

The state’s Republican party hit back in a statement, saying: ‘It’s nice to see that Commissioner Nikki Fried is taking time out of her vacation to send out an ill-informed, irresponsible letter on social media that prioritizes politics over helping Floridians who are interested in the vaccine.’ 

‘Commissioner Fried’s insinuation that the Governor is not properly utilizing the Florida National Guard is ridiculous,’ the statement added. 

‘In fact, the Governor mobilized the Florida National Guard weeks ago to form strike teams with the Florida Department of Health to begin vaccinating residents of long-term care facilities, making Florida the first state in the nation to begin vaccinating long-term care residents.’ 

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida's only statewide elected Democrat, said in the letter on Wednesday that there is a lack of 'clear direction' on vaccination procedures for healthcare workers, and called for National Guard assistance

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, said in the letter on Wednesday that there is a lack of ‘clear direction’ on vaccination procedures for healthcare workers, and called for National Guard assistance

In Fort Myers, Florida, seniors camped out overnight on Wednesday to wait in line for vaccines after Governor Ron DeSantis opened vaccination to anyone over 65 on a first-come, first-served basis

In Fort Myers, Florida, seniors camped out overnight on Wednesday to wait in line for vaccines after Governor Ron DeSantis opened vaccination to anyone over 65 on a first-come, first-served basis 

Cape Coral, Florida residents wait in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday morning during first day of vaccinations in the city. Florida is offering vaccines to high-risk frontline health care workers and those 65 and older

Cape Coral, Florida residents wait in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday morning during first day of vaccinations in the city. Florida is offering vaccines to high-risk frontline health care workers and those 65 and older

Florida has administered just 176,729 out of the 783,600 doses it has received so far, or 22.6 percent, according to CDC data as of December 30. 

The state, which opened up vaccination to anyone over the age of 65 on a first-come, first-served basis, has witnessed chaotic scenes, with elderly residents brawling outside of pharmacies over line cutting, and bundling up to wait overnight for the shots.

The National Guard is currently being used by governors in at least 26 states to assist in COVID-19 vaccine distribution in some capacity, according to a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau.

It’s unclear whether any state is using medically trained guardsmen to administer the jabs. Most are relying on the Guard for shipping and logistics help.

According to the new data, Maine is now leading the way in efficiency in administering the vaccine. The Pine Tree state has administered 51.1 percent of the doses that the state has received, a higher ratio than any other state, according to Bloomberg.

Washington DC, South Dakota, Connecticut and Montana follow Maine as the next most efficient states.

West Virginia, which is among the states utilizing the National Guard in vaccine rollout, has vaccinated the highest percentage of its total population, with 2.5 percent of all residents having received a shot.

The Mountain State is also number five in efficiency, having administered 43.4 percent of the doses that have been shipped to the state so far. 

Music producer Emilio Estefan, 67, receives a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from Nadia Johnson, RN from Jackson Health System, at Jackson Memorial Hospital-Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday in Miami, Florida

Music producer Emilio Estefan, 67, receives a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from Nadia Johnson, RN from Jackson Health System, at Jackson Memorial Hospital-Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday in Miami, Florida 

On the other hand, the worst performing states include Kansas, where just 10.6 percent of the doses delivered to the state have been administered, as well as Georgia (16.4 percent) and Oregon (18.8 percent).

New York City has administered only 88,410 doses so far, or 25.4 percent of those delivered to the city already. 

California, the new pandemic epicenter, has administered just 335,983 doses, or 22.8 percent of the 1,476,425 doses that the state has received. 

The failures in vaccine rollout have been blamed on various factors, including lack of federal oversight, chaos in distribution, ‘woke’ governors setting convoluted priorities for initial distribution, and the simple lack of staff to administer jabs in overstretched healthcare systems. 

Why the vaccine rollout has proceeded so slowly:

  • Shipping delays created chaos in the first weeks, a mistake General Gustave Perna apologized for
  • Overstretched hospitals have struggled to find enough staffers to administer the shots
  • Some governors have issued increasingly convoluted restrictions on who gets the jabs
  • Local and state officials complain that their public health offices are underfunded
  • Some healthcare workers have refused the vaccine, with a shocking 50% declining in some areas 
  • Cold storage requirements create logistical hurdles and tight windows for administering the vaccine  

Federal public heath officials, including Fauci and Surgeon General Jerome Adams, have blamed poorly funded state and local health offices for the sluggish vaccine rollout.

‘We would have liked to see it run smoothly and have 20 million doses into people today,’ Fauci told the Today Show on Thursday. ‘Obviously it didn’t happen and that’s disappointing. Hopefully, as you get into January the gaining of momentum will get us to the point where we want to be.’ 

Asked if the federal government should take over the process of administering vaccines, which is now being managed at the state level, Fauci responded: ‘rather than stepping in and taking over, I think it would be better to work with them and give them more resources.’

The federal government has said that for every dose shipped, it is holding back a second dose in reserve as well as a safety stock, which would bring the total number of vaccine doses closer to 40 million.

That plan has raised criticism, with some calling on the government to release all available doses, and rely on new production to fill the need for the required second doses.

The Pfizer vaccine requires a booster dose after 21 days to be effective, and the Moderna shoot after 28 days. Failing to deliver the required boosters could result in millions of doses effectively being wasted.

On Thursday, Fauci said that spreading out the initial doses of vaccine to more people is ‘under consideration.’ 

‘I still think, if done properly, you can do a single dose, reserve doses for the second dose, and still get the job done,’ he said on the Today Show, ‘but there’s a lot of discussion about whether or not you want to spread out the initial vaccination by getting more people vaccinated on the first round.’ 

Others point out that if states are unable to quickly administer the doses they already have available, flooding distribution channels with another 20 million doses, rather than holding them in reserve for booster shots, would make little difference.

Up to 60% of US health workers refuse to get COVID vaccines over fears of side effects 

Thousands of health care and frontline workers across the US are refusing to get COVID-19 vaccines as the rollout of the shots in America continues to sputter.

Up to half of health care workers in one California county and a Texas hospital say they will not get the shot, 60 percent of nursing home staff in Ohio are turning down the jab and 40 percent of frontline workers in Los Angeles won’t get it either, polls reveal.

Respondents to a number of surveys cite fears of dangerous side effects, health care worker forum posters say they feel they are being used as guinea pigs and experts blame misinformation.

Although life-threatening side effects are rare, examples of them cropped up in the first days of the vaccine rollout with two health care workers in Alaska – one of whom had no history of allergies – suffering anaphylactic shock minutes after getting the first dose of Pfizer ‘s vaccine.

As well, it has become increasingly clear that large numbers of healthcare workers are actually declining to take the vaccination. 

In Southern California’s Riverside County, a shocking 50 percent of frontline healthcare workers have refused the vaccine, leaving public health officials scrambling to figure out how to distribute the unused doses, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29 percent of healthcare workers were ‘vaccine hesitant,’ a figure slightly higher than the percentage of the general population, 27 percent. 

The poll found the top reasons for not wanting to get vaccinated included fears about side effects, a lack of trust in the government to ensure the vaccines were safe, concerns about the role of politics in the development of the vaccines, and belief that the dangers of COVID-19 had been exaggerated.

Although clinical trials showed the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be safe and effective, many healthcare workers apparently feel skeptical about the speed at which they were brought to market, which was unprecedented. 

Meanwhile, some governors have been criticized for setting convoluted requirements on who receives the initial rounds of vaccines.

States ultimately control distribution, but the CDC recommended that frontline healthcare workers and nursing home resident be prioritized for the initial round.

Following that, the CDC recommended frontline essential workers and those over the age of 75 take priority. 

This week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo faced criticism for prioritizing drug addicts in rehab over the elderly in the general population.  

During Cuomo’s press briefing on Monday, the governor said that shots would be given to ‘priority populations’ and that when more vaccines become available the populations will be expanded and that residents of ‘OASAS’ — the state Office of Addiction Services and Supports would be next in line to receive the jab.

‘These are congregate facilities. Congregate facilities are problematic. That’s where you have a lot of people in concentration,’ Cuomo said. 

Adding to the concerns, millions of the doses that have already been shipped are due to expire next month. Phizer’s vaccine lasts only 30 days in the shipping freezer it is distributed in, which can also be used for on-site storage.

While it is possible to extend the vaccine’s shelf life up to six months with ultra-low-temperature freezers, supplies of the specialized freezers have been severely constrained as hospitals and pharmacies rush to snap up the limited supplies.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said Thursday that 60% of nursing home workers are refusing vaccine. Up to 40% of health care workers in Los  Angeles and 50% in Riverside County are refusing shots, according to the Los Angeles Times

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said Thursday that 60% of nursing home workers are refusing vaccine. Up to 40% of health care workers in Los  Angeles and 50% in Riverside County are refusing shots, according to the Los Angeles Times 

A health-care worker reacts as she receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Lake-Sumter State College in Leesburg, Florida on New Years Day. Long lines of cars were at the site as the Lake County vaccines are currently being given to people who are 65 years and older and front line workers

A health-care worker reacts as she receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Lake-Sumter State College in Leesburg, Florida on New Years Day. Long lines of cars were at the site as the Lake County vaccines are currently being given to people who are 65 years and older and front line workers

Once the vaccine is thawed from deep freeze, it must be used within five days or be thrown out — a requirement that has also created issues.

In Kentucky, a Walgreens in Lexington was blasted by Governor Andy Beshear for handing out vaccines to the general public, after a batch of doses that the pharmacy had thawed for nursing homes could not be distributed before they expired.

Ultimately, the key bottleneck appears to be the number staffers available to administer the jabs. 

Under optimal conditions, a single nurse working a 12-hour shift could administer just 72 doses a day, assuming the nurse took no breaks and gave one shot every 10 minutes, including the time it takes to check for a history of allergies and enter the patient’s information into record systems.

To administer a million doses a day nationwide, as Biden has vowed, that would require nearly 14,000 staffers working full time on vaccines — even as many health systems are stretched to the limit handling COVID patients.  

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Biden slams sluggish vaccine rollout after just 3M got shots in December

The sluggish and at times chaotic rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the country continues to draw strong criticism, particularly from Democrats, as new data reveals just a quarter of the shots distributed to states have been administered, even as Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that it is ‘possible’ the jabs could be required for school or travel.  

As of New Year’s Day, 3.17 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered. That is just 25 percent of the total number of doses that have been delivered to states, according to an analysis of the data from Bloomberg. 

President-elect Joe Biden took a swipe at the Trump administration’s oversight in a tweet on Friday, writing: ‘Let me be clear: The Biden-Harris Administration will spare no effort to make sure people are getting vaccinated.’   

Biden has vowed to invoke the Defense Production Act and ensure that 100 million vaccines are administered in his first 100 days in office, though he has offered few concrete details on how this would be achieved.

Even as the slow rollout leaves most people without any opportunity to get the vaccine for now, Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s ‘quite possible’ that COVID-19 vaccines will become mandatory to attend school or travel outside the country.

West Virginia has vaccinated the highest percentage of its population, followed by South Dakota and Maine. Kansas lags the farthest behind in population vaccinated, with just 0.42% of all residents having received the jab

A table shows for each state, vaccine doses received and administered, and the percentage of shots used. Maine has now distributed the highest percentage of its available vaccine, with more than 50% of doses administered

A table shows for each state, vaccine doses received and administered, and the percentage of shots used. Maine has now distributed the highest percentage of its available vaccine, with more than 50% of doses administered

‘I’m not sure it’s going to be mandatory from a central government standpoint, like federal government mandates. But there are going to be individual institutions that I’m sure are going to mandate it,’ Fauci, who will be chief medical adviser to Biden, told Newsweek.

‘A citywide school system might require it in some cities but not other cities. And that’s what I mean by things not being done centrally but locally,’ he said.

Asked if the U.S. government could issue a ‘vaccine passport’ to authorize travel abroad, as Israel has done, Fauci responded: ‘Anything is on the table. Anything is possible, of course.’ 

Meanwhile, Florida’s agriculture commissioner this week called on Governor Ron DeSantis to deploy the National Guard to assist the vaccination campaign, saying in a letter to the Republican governor that the effort had been ‘very chaotic’ so far. 

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, said in the letter on Wednesday that there is a lack of ‘clear direction’ on vaccination procedures for healthcare workers.

‘Instead of efficient, centralized distribution management by the state of Florida, distribution has been left to hospitals and county health departments,’ Fried wrote. ‘While you characterize this as ‘cutting out the middle man,’ vulnerable residents are left without answers or clear direction from overwhelmed local agencies on when, where and how to receive the vaccine.’ 

The state’s Republican party hit back in a statement, saying: ‘It’s nice to see that Commissioner Nikki Fried is taking time out of her vacation to send out an ill-informed, irresponsible letter on social media that prioritizes politics over helping Floridians who are interested in the vaccine.’ 

President-elect Joe Biden took a swipe at the Trump administration's oversight in a tweet on Friday, writing: 'Let me be clear: The Biden-Harris Administration will spare no effort to make sure people are getting vaccinated'

President-elect Joe Biden took a swipe at the Trump administration’s oversight in a tweet on Friday, writing: ‘Let me be clear: The Biden-Harris Administration will spare no effort to make sure people are getting vaccinated’

Even as the slow rollout leaves most people without any opportunity to get the vaccine for now, Dr. Anthony Fauci says it's 'quite possible' that COVID-19 vaccines will become mandatory to attend school or travel outside the country

Even as the slow rollout leaves most people without any opportunity to get the vaccine for now, Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s ‘quite possible’ that COVID-19 vaccines will become mandatory to attend school or travel outside the country

‘Commissioner Fried’s insinuation that the Governor is not properly utilizing the Florida National Guard is ridiculous,’ the statement added. ‘In fact, the Governor mobilized the Florida National Guard weeks ago to form strike teams with the Florida Department of Health to begin vaccinating residents of long-term care facilities, making Florida the first state in the nation to begin vaccinating long-term care residents.’ 

Florida has administered just 176,729 out of the 783,600 doses it has received so far, or 22.6 percent, according to CDC data as of December 30. 

The state, which opened up vaccination to anyone over the age of 65 on a first-come, first-served basis, has witnessed chaotic scenes, with elderly residents brawling outside of pharmacies over line cutting, and bundling up to wait overnight for the shots.

The National Guard is currently being used by governors in at least 26 states to assist in COVID-19 vaccine distribution in some capacity, according to a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau.

It’s unclear whether any state is using medically trained guardsmen to administer the jabs. Most are relying on the Guard for shipping and logistics help.

According to the new data, Maine is now leading the way in efficiency in administering the vaccine. The Pine Tree state has administered 51.1 percent of the doses that the state has received, a higher ratio than any other state, according to Bloomberg.

Washington DC, South Dakota, Connecticut and Montana follow Maine as the next most efficient states.

West Virginia, which is among the states utilizing the National Guard in vaccine rollout, has vaccinated the highest percentage of its total population, with 2.5 percent of all residents having received a shot.

Music producer Emilio Estefan, 67, receives a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from Nadia Johnson, RN from Jackson Health System, at Jackson Memorial Hospital-Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday in Miami, Florida

Music producer Emilio Estefan, 67, receives a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from Nadia Johnson, RN from Jackson Health System, at Jackson Memorial Hospital-Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday in Miami, Florida 

On the other hand, the worst performing states include Kansas, where just 10.6 percent of the doses delivered to the state have been administered, as well as Georgia (16.4 percent) and Oregon (18.8 percent).

New York City has administered only 88,410 doses so far, or 25.4 percent of those delivered to the city already. 

California, the new pandemic epicenter, has administered just 335,983 doses, or 22.8 percent of the 1,476,425 doses that the state has received. 

The failures in vaccine rollout have been blamed on various factors, including lack of federal oversight, chaos in distribution, ‘woke’ governors setting convoluted priorities for initial distribution, and the simple lack of staff to administer jabs in overstretched healthcare systems. 

Why the vaccine rollout has proceeded so slowly:

  • Shipping delays created chaos in the first weeks, a mistake General Gustave Perna apologized for
  • Overstretched hospitals have struggled to find enough staffers to administer the shots
  • Some governors have issued increasingly convoluted restrictions on who gets the jabs
  • Local and state officials complain that their public health offices are underfunded
  • Some healthcare workers have refused the vaccine, with a shocking 50% declining in some areas 
  • Cold storage requirements create logistical hurdles and tight windows for administering the vaccine  

Federal public heath officials, including Fauci and Surgeon General Jerome Adams, have blamed poorly funded state and local health offices for the sluggish vaccine rollout.

‘We would have liked to see it run smoothly and have 20 million doses into people today,’ Fauci told the Today Show on Thursday. ‘Obviously it didn’t happen and that’s disappointing. Hopefully, as you get into January the gaining of momentum will get us to the point where we want to be.’ 

Asked if the federal government should take over the process of administering vaccines, which is now being managed at the state level, Fauci responded: ‘rather than stepping in and taking over, I think it would be better to work with them and give them more resources.’

The federal government has said that for every dose shipped, it is holding back a second dose in reserve as well as a safety stock, which would bring the total number of vaccine doses closer to 40 million.

That plan has raised criticism, with some calling on the government to release all available doses, and rely on new production to fill the need for the required second doses.

The Pfizer vaccine requires a booster dose after 21 days to be effective, and the Moderna shoot after 28 days. Failing to deliver the required boosters could result in millions of doses effectively being wasted.

On Thursday, Fauci said that spreading out the initial doses of vaccine to more people is ‘under consideration.’ 

‘I still think, if done properly, you can do a single dose, reserve doses for the second dose, and still get the job done,’ he said on the Today Show, ‘but there’s a lot of discussion about whether or not you want to spread out the initial vaccination by getting more people vaccinated on the first round.’ 

Others point out that if states are unable to quickly administer the doses they already have available, flooding distribution channels with another 20 million doses, rather than holding them in reserve for booster shots, would make little difference.

As well, it has become increasingly clear that large numbers of healthcare workers are actually declining to take the vaccination. 

In Southern California’s Riverside County, a shocking 50 percent of frontline healthcare workers have refused the vaccine, leaving public health officials scrambling to figure out how to distribute the unused doses, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29 percent of healthcare workers were ‘vaccine hesitant,’ a figure slightly higher than the percentage of the general population, 27 percent. 

The poll found the top reasons for not wanting to get vaccinated included fears about side effects, a lack of trust in the government to ensure the vaccines were safe, concerns about the role of politics in the development of the vaccines, and belief that the dangers of COVID-19 had been exaggerated.

Although clinical trials showed the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be safe and effective, many healthcare workers apparently feel skeptical about the speed at which they were brought to market, which was unprecedented. 

Meanwhile, some governors have been criticized for setting convoluted requirements on who receives the initial rounds of vaccines.

States ultimately control distribution, but the CDC recommended that frontline healthcare workers and nursing home resident be prioritized for the initial round.

Following that, the CDC recommended frontline essential workers and those over the age of 75 take priority. 

This week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo faced criticism for prioritizing drug addicts in rehab over the elderly in the general population.  

During Cuomo’s press briefing on Monday, the governor said that shots would be given to ‘priority populations’ and that when more vaccines become available the populations will be expanded and that residents of ‘OASAS’ — the state Office of Addiction Services and Supports would be next in line to receive the jab.

‘These are congregate facilities. Congregate facilities are problematic. That’s where you have a lot of people in concentration,’ Cuomo said. 

Adding to the concerns, millions of the doses that have already been shipped are due to expire next month. Phizer’s vaccine lasts only 30 days in the shipping freezer it is distributed in, which can also be used for on-site storage.

While it is possible to extend the vaccine’s shelf life up to six months with ultra-low-temperature freezers, supplies of the specialized freezers have been severely constrained as hospitals and pharmacies rush to snap up the limited supplies.

Once the vaccine is thawed from deep freeze, it must be used within five days or be thrown out — a requirement that has also created issues.

In Kentucky, a Walgreens in Lexington was blasted by Governor Andy Beshear for handing out vaccines to the general public, after a batch of doses that the pharmacy had thawed for nursing homes could not be distributed before they expired.

Ultimately, the key bottleneck appears to be the number staffers available to administer the jabs. 

Under optimal conditions, a single nurse working a 12-hour shift could administer just 72 doses a day, assuming the nurse took no breaks and gave one shot every 10 minutes, including the time it takes to check for a history of allergies and enter the patient’s information into record systems.

To administer a million doses a day nationwide, as Biden has vowed, that would require nearly 14,000 staffers working full time on vaccines — even as many health systems are stretched to the limit handling COVID patients.  

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Dr Anthony Fauci says life will return to normal by fall of 2021 if vaccines distribution speeds up

The country’s top infectious disease specialist, Dr Anthony Fauci, says be believes there will be ‘some semblance of normality’ by the fall 2021 should vaccine distribution speed up and enough people decide to be vaccinated. 

Fauci’s remarks were made during an online discussion of the pandemic with California Governor Gavin Newsom.

‘Assuming that the broad vaccination campaign progresses as it should through May, June and July, by the time we get to the early fall, we will have enough good herd immunity to be able to really get back to some strong semblance of normality – schools, theaters, sports events, restaurants,’ Fauci said.     

Dr Anthony Fauci (right) told Gov Gavin Newsom on Wednesday that if the US is able to ‘diligently vaccinate’ people in 2021, the nation could return to normal life by early fall 

Fauci also noted that a highly infectious variant of the coronavirus had been detected in Newsom’s state just a day after it was found in Colorado.  

Fauci explained that such variants are normal given that viruses mutate frequently. 

‘They make a living out of mutating. The more you mutate, the more you replicate,’ he said. ‘It appears that this particular mutation does make the virus better at transmitting from one person to another.

‘We likely will be seeing reports from other states – Colorado was the first place to do that and I think we will start seeing it as if you have that much of a prominence of this in the UK with all the travel not just directly to the United States but through other countries intermittently like when you go from the UK to France, France to the Unites States etc. then Canada has cases.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, prepares to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, prepares to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week

‘And so I don’t think the Californians should feel this is something odd. This is something that is expected,’ Fauci said. 

However, he noted that anyone infected with earlier forms of coronavirus during the pandemic do not appear to get re-infected by this particular strain. 

The variant which emanated from the UK is also not believed to be any more severe in the symptoms it causes. 

It has also been detected in several European countries including Canada, Australia, India, South Korea and Japan. 

The current strain of vaccines are also thought to be effective against the strain. 

Medical experts say that the colder weather coupled with the failure of many Americans to take public health warnings seriously or to avoid social gatherings and unnecessary travel over holidays is keeping the level of infections high

Medical experts say that the colder weather coupled with the failure of many Americans to take public health warnings seriously or to avoid social gatherings and unnecessary travel over holidays is keeping the level of infections high

Florida: The sunshine state is one of the Republican-led states prioritizing vaccinating the elderly ahead of frontline workers. Tom, 69, and Judy Barrett, 67, from Marco Island wait in line in the early morning hours of Wednesday at Lakes Park Regional Library in Fort Myers for the vaccine. They had been waiting in line since 8.30pm on Tuesday and by 6am Wednesday the line stretched for blocks

Florida: The sunshine state is one of the Republican-led states prioritizing vaccinating the elderly ahead of frontline workers. Tom, 69, and Judy Barrett, 67, from Marco Island wait in line in the early morning hours of Wednesday at Lakes Park Regional Library in Fort Myers for the vaccine. They had been waiting in line since 8.30pm on Tuesday and by 6am Wednesday the line stretched for blocks

Medical experts say that the colder weather coupled with the failure of many Americans to take public health warnings seriously or to avoid social gatherings and unnecessary travel over holidays is keeping the level of infections high. 

‘As we get into January, the feeling is that we’re going to gain momentum to be able to catch up,’ he told Newsom.

He also said that he believed the general public would be able to receive the vaccine by April. 

The US has only administered about 10 percent – less than 2.6million – of the 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccine it promised to give to Americans by the end of 2020, despite having distributed more than 12million doses to states and territories.

CDC data reveal that as of 9am on Wednesday morning fewer than 2.6million people had received their first doses of Moderna or Pfizer’s vaccines – both of which are difficult to ship and handle because they need to be stored at freezing temperatures.

The bottleneck is caused by officials on state and federal level who have failed to create plans to get those shots into the arms of Americans according to a former FDA official who told DailyMail.com that the failure is akin to dropping the baton on the last leg of the vaccine race. 

As of Wednesday morning, the US had distributed 12.4 million doses of vaccine and given out fewer than 2.6 million, according to CDC data updated Wednesday evening

As of Wednesday morning, the US had distributed 12.4 million doses of vaccine and given out fewer than 2.6 million, according to CDC data updated Wednesday evening 

While Americans continue to wait to be vaccinated, the UK on Wednesday authorized a vaccine by AstraZeneca that will almost certainly accelerate vaccine distribution there because it is cheaper, far easier to ship, handle and store than the Pfizer and Moderna alternatives.

Yet US regulators have no intention of approving the more efficient shot until April – two months after AstraZeneca’s US trial will have enough data to prove to the FDA that it works.   

In the US, the federal government has left distribution plans almost entirely up to individual states, where health departments are already stretched thin by surging COVID-19 cases. 

So far, 341,000 have died from Covid-19 in the United States alone as the pandemic has raged largely out of control across much of the United States for weeks.

California, the country’s most populous state with 40 million, has become the latest flashpoint, as hospitals in and around Los Angeles report intensive care units filled to capacity.  

The first case of the 'super-COVID-19' strain has been found in California, Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday

The first case of the ‘super-COVID-19’ strain has been found in California, Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday

State officials extended strict stay-at-home orders indefinitely in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley on Tuesday as both regions reel from surges in hospitalizations and zero intensive care unit capacity

State officials extended strict stay-at-home orders indefinitely in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley on Tuesday as both regions reel from surges in hospitalizations and zero intensive care unit capacity

On Wednesday, the country hit a pandemic record of more than 3,900 deaths and 125,000 hospitalizations in a single day as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that there could be 82,000 more fatalities in the next 24 days.  

For the ninth day this month, deaths have exceeded 3,000. On Wednesday, the US reported 3,903 new deaths, bringing the country’s total to 341,505, according to The COVID Tracking Project. 

Hospitalizations increased again on Wednesday to 125,220. The US has recorded hospitalizations over 100,000 for the 29th consecutive day. New daily recorded infections hit 225,671. 

According to the CDC, the national ensemble forecast predicts that 12,400 to 24,300 new deaths will likely be reported in the week ending January 23, 2021. 

The national ensemble predicts that a total of 383,000 to 424,000 COVID-19 deaths will be reported by this date. On the high end of the model, that could mean that more than 82,000 people could die within the next month. 

There have been more than 19.6 million confirmed cases in the US and at least 341,505 deaths

There have been more than 19.6 million confirmed cases in the US and at least 341,505 deaths 

The U.S. reported 225,671 new COVID-19 cases on December 30

The U.S. reported 225,671 new COVID-19 cases on December 30

On Wednesday, the US reported 3,903 new deaths, bringing the country's total to 341,505

On Wednesday, the US reported 3,903 new deaths, bringing the country’s total to 341,505

The United States has recorded more than 3,000 deaths and 125,000 hospitalizations (pictured in Houston on Tuesday) in a single day

The United States has recorded more than 3,000 deaths and 125,000 hospitalizations (pictured in Houston on Tuesday) in a single day 

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More than a million Americans flew on Sunday despite COVID-19

U.S. air travel hit a pandemic-high on Sunday following Christmas, with at least 1.28 million Americans flying, according to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) data. 

It was the sixth day in a row that nearly or more than one million people crisscrossed the country on airplanes despite warnings from public health officials like Dr Anthony Fauci to avoid travel and gatherings during the holidays to slow that rampant spread of COVID-19. 

Dr Fauci echoed President-elect Joe Biden’s concern that the ‘darkest days’ may be yet to come for the U.S. 

‘The reason I’m concerned and my colleagues in public health are concerned also is that we very well might see a post-seasonal, in the sense of Christmas, New Year’s, surge, and, as I have described it, as a surge upon a surge, because, if you look at the slope, the incline of cases that we have experienced as we have gone into the late fall and soon-to-be-early winter, it is really quite troubling,’ he said on CNN. 

‘We are really at a very critical point.

‘So I share the concern of President-elect Biden that as we get into the next few weeks, it might actually get worse.’ 

Over the past 10 days, more than 10.2 million Americans have been screened by TSA, compared to more than 24 million in the same time period last year.  

More than 184,000 new infections are being recorded a day on average, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. 

Another 1,209 COVID-19 deaths were reported on Sunday, and the total death toll had reached well over 333,000 by Monday morning. 

One in every 1,000 Americans has died of the virus in just 11 months since the first case was identified in Washington state. 

With well over 19 million total coronavirus cases recorded in the U.S., one in every 17 Americans has been infected.  

While new daily cases and deaths are down from the mid-December peaks, hospitals across much of the country are running out of room to care for severely ill COVID-19 patients. 

More than 100,000 people have now been hospitalized for coronavirus in the U.S. for 26 days in a row – nearly every day this month. 

California has once again emerged as a top hotspot in the country. Nearly 96 out of every 100,000 people diagnosed a day and there were no ICU beds left available in the Southern or Central regions as of Sunday, according to the state health department. 

Federal and state officials are scrambling to rollout vaccines, but so far only two million vaccinations have been confirmed – a number U.S. testing czar Admiral Brett Giroir says is ‘probably an underestimate.’ 

On Sunday, TSA screened at least 1.28 million American travelers whose flight crisscrossed the country despite U.S. health officials warnings against Christmas travel. It was the greatest number of travelers seen since March 15

On Sunday, TSA screened at least 1.28 million American travelers whose flight crisscrossed the country despite U.S. health officials warnings against Christmas travel. It was the greatest number of travelers seen since March 15 

About a million people a day have been screened for the past six days, according to TSA data. Pictured: Masked, but tightly packed travelers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Sunday

About a million people a day have been screened for the past six days, according to TSA data. Pictured: Masked, but tightly packed travelers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Sunday 

Passengers walked through crowded terminals at Dulles International Airport on Sunday. Health officials have warned that even if the risk of transmission on a flight is low, spread could happen in tightly packed airports or other travel hubs

Passengers walked through crowded terminals at Dulles International Airport on Sunday. Health officials have warned that even if the risk of transmission on a flight is low, spread could happen in tightly packed airports or other travel hubs 

The ‘viral wildfire’ spread of coronavirus, as one California scientists has dubbed it, isn’t the only reason a vaccine can’t come soon enough. 

A more contagious variant of the virus that was identified earlier this month in the U.K. is creeping closer to the U.S. with four cases identified in British Columbia, according to CBC News.  

If the new variant is imported to the U.S., it could help fuel even more rapid spread of the deadly disease among Americans.

In an effort shore up defenses against the new strain, U.S. officials are now requiring anyone traveling from the U.K. to test negative for COVID-19 before entering the country. 

Dr Anthony Fauci endorsed the preemptive move, and said the U.S. views the strain as a potential threat ‘to follow very closely’ he told the Associated Press. 

‘We’re looking at it very intensely now.’ 

More than 100,000 Americans have been in U.S. hospitals for COVID-19 for the past 26 days in a row (blue), as daily average daily infections (red) remain about 170,000 and average daily fatalities (gray) exceed 2,000

More than 100,000 Americans have been in U.S. hospitals for COVID-19 for the past 26 days in a row (blue), as daily average daily infections (red) remain about 170,000 and average daily fatalities (gray) exceed 2,000 

California has again become a top hotspot for COVID-19 with more than 260,000 new cases reported in the past week - including more than 50,000 on Sunday - while Tennessee is seeing the highest infection rate per capita at nearly 120 per 100,000 residents

California has again become a top hotspot for COVID-19 with more than 260,000 new cases reported in the past week – including more than 50,000 on Sunday – while Tennessee is seeing the highest infection rate per capita at nearly 120 per 100,000 residents 

So far, Dr Fauci and other scientists from around the globe don’t believe the new variant is any more deadly or able to evade vaccines.  

Still, a form of coronavirus that spreads more quickly must be ‘taken very seriously,’ Dr Fauci warned.

With or without the new strain making its way into the U.S., the accelerating spread of coronavirus is threatening to overrun hospitals and is already sending parts of the country into the grimly familiar territory of business closures, flooded funeral homes and medical care rationing.  

A repetition of the last holiday’s horrors seems to loom imminently. 

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suddenly begged Americans not to travel or gather in person, urging virtual visits or, if people did join for feasts, that they do so outdoors or with masks if they had to be inside. 

Thanksgiving travel was down about 40 percent compared to 2019, but more than a million people travelled each of three days leading up to the holiday. 

The aftermath was undeniable. Two week after Thanksgiving, average daily infections had surged past 210,000 in the U.S., figures never before seen in the American pandemic. 

By the time Christmas week rolled around, things were no better, with daily cases averaging well about 210,000 and daily deaths exceeding 2,000. 

More than 20,000 people were being treated for COVID-19 in California hospitals as of Sunday, and both the Southern and San Joaquin Valley regions were had 0% ICU capacity

More than 20,000 people were being treated for COVID-19 in California hospitals as of Sunday, and both the Southern and San Joaquin Valley regions were had 0% ICU capacity 

Tennessee’s hospitals are yet to be overwhelmed, but it is seeing more new cases a day per capita than any other state with nearly 120 new infections per 100,000 residents a day 

This time, health officials had kept up their same warnings since Thanksgiving, warning not only against travel, but even against gathering with any non-household members. 

But the Christmas season only brought more travel, smashing Thanksgiving records, when the U.S. saw more air, bus, car and train travel than it had since March. 

On Christmas Day, more than 616,000 Americans were screened by TSA. 

On Sunday, at least 1,284,599 people were screened – far and away the greatest numbers since March 15. 

It’s about half as many as flew on the same day last year, but a worrying sign that public health guidance is being ignored. 

Several recent studies suggest the risk of infection in-flight is exceedingly low – less than a fraction of a percent. 

But that doesn’t mean that travel isn’t a ripe opportunity for coronavirus to spread. 

In the last seven days, an average of 56.7 out of every 100,000 people in the U.S. have been newly diagnosed with COVID-19 a day. 

If the same proportion of yesterday’s travelers had been unknowingly infected in the past week, then 29,000 covid-positive people stood in crowded security lines, boarded airplanes, ate airport food and waited for baggage after their flights. 

Of course, that’s likely an overestimate, considering that about 60 percent of people with coronavirus develop symptoms, reducing the likelihood they would feel well enough to travel or would knowingly take the risk of spreading the virus if they had symptoms that suggested they had it.  

On the other hand, with infection rates that high in the U.S., it’s unlikely that no one with the virus traveled and came within six feet of other passengers. 

For example, California’s health department estimates that about one in every 95 people in Los Angeles were contagious with coronavirus ass of Saturday. 

New daily cases are down slightly in Arizona, but remain high per capita at 88 per 100,000. More than 1,2000 new cases were reported yesterday, as well as three confirmed deaths

New daily cases are down slightly in Arizona, but remain high per capita at 88 per 100,000. More than 1,2000 new cases were reported yesterday, as well as three confirmed deaths 

Oklahoma has the fourth highest infection rate for the past week, with more about 83 new cases per capita per day

Oklahoma has the fourth highest infection rate for the past week, with more about 83 new cases per capita per day 

Both Southern California – the most densely populated region of the state – and the San Joaquin Valley had zero percent of ICU capacity available as of Sunday, according to the state health department.   

San Joaquin and Southern California could have their stay-at-home orders lifted Monday if they’ve gained hospital capacity, but Sacramento residents will be required to stay home until at least New Year’s Day, and Bay area residents will be under the same restriction until at least January 8. 

More than 50,000 new cases were confirmed in California on Saturday (although this in part reflects a reporting delay from Los Angeles) and another 237 deaths were recorded (Sunday’s data had not yet been posted at the time of publication). 

A record 20,000 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in the state yesterday, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. 

At least 75 military medics from the Army and Air Force are being deployed in California as back up for the overwhelmed hospital systems there.  

While California is reporting the grimmest total cases, hospitalizations and deaths a day of any state, Tennessee is being hit hardest compared to its much smaller population. 

According to the CDC, nearly 120 people per capita had been diagnosed there per day in the past week. 

More than 3,000 residents are hospitalized and nearly 70 people died in the state yesterday. 

Daily case rates are also worrying in Arizona and Oklahoma, with 88 and 83 per 100,0000 residents, respectively, testing positive each day on average.  

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Dr. Fauci warns Americans the ‘worst is yet to come’ with a post-Christmas surge in COVID cases

Dr. Anthony Fauci issued a warning to the American people that he believes the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is yet to come as the US is likely to suffer the effects of a holiday season travel boom.

In appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Fauci, a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, was asked by host Dana Bash whether he agrees with President-elect Joe Biden that the darkest days of the pandemic lie ahead.

Citing 200,000 new cases of COVID-19 being reported each day, and with 2,000 Americans dying of the virus daily, Fauci insisted: ‘We are at a really critical point.’

‘We very well might see a post-seasonal [surge] in the sense of Christmas/New Year’s,’ he said. ‘I’ve described it as a surge upon a surge because if you look at the slope, the incline of cases as we have experienced as we have gone into the late fall and soon to be early winter, it is really quite troubling.’

He continued: ‘If you put more pressure on the system by what might be a post-seasonal surge because of the traveling and the likely congregating of people for the good warm purposes of being together for the holidays, it’s very tough for people to not do that. And, yet, even though we advise not to, it’s going to happen.

‘So I share the concern of President-Elect Biden that as we get into the next few weeks, it might actually get worse.’

Dr. Anthony Fauci issued a warning to the American people that he believes the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is yet to come as the US is likely to suffer the effects of a holiday travel boom

As many as 85 million Americans are thought to have traveled to celebrate the holiday season with their loved ones. 

While the vast majority were believed to have traveled by car, as many as 1.1 million people were screened at airports across the country on December 26 alone. 

The weekend before Christmas, between December 18 and December 21, 3.2 million people were reported to have traveled – breaking the record for the biggest weekend of air travel since the pandemic began. 

While Fauci said there is no guarantee that a post-festive period surge of the virus will happen, he said ‘certainly there is a danger of that’.

‘When you travel, you see pictures on the TV screens, Dana, of people at airports crowding in lines, trying to stay physically separated but it’s so difficult to do that. And that, generally, is followed when people get to the destination they want to be, that you’re going to have mixing of household people at a dinner or at a social function.

‘Those are the things that naturally happen and as much as we advise against it, nonetheless it happens. And that is one of the reasons why we are concerned about that being a real risk situation for the spread of the infection.’

Data released by Johns Hopkins University indicated on Saturday revealed that one out of every 1,000 Americans has died of coronavirus, with the country’s death toll now at 331,116.

Fauci’s remarks came shortly after he was asked by Bash whether he suffered any side effects when he received his first shot of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday.

‘The only thing I had was about maybe six to ten hours following the vaccine, I felt a little bit of an ache in my arm. That lasted maybe 24 hours, a little bit more,’ Fauci said.

‘Then it went away and completely other than that, I felt no other deleterious type of effects. It was better than an influenza vaccine.’

Fauci, President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President Mike Pence and a number of other high profile government figures have already received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. President Trump, however, has so far not.

Dr. Fauci insisted that he would recommend Trump get vaccinated as soon as possible, though said the decision ultimately lies with the president and his physician.

‘My recommendation – I’ve said this before – I would get him vaccinated, Fauci said. ‘He is still the president of the United States. A critical person. 

‘I recommended that Vice President Pence get vaccinated and he did. I was there with him when he will got vaccinated. 

‘So my recommendation for the president remains the same but the final decision, obviously, is up to him,’ Fauci said.  

More than 5 million people passed through the nation’s airport security checkpoints between Friday and Tuesday last week

More than 5 million people passed through the nation’s airport security checkpoints between Friday and Tuesday last week

As many as 1.1 million people were screened at airports across the country on December 26 alone

As many as 1.1 million people were screened at airports across the country on December 26 alone

He went on to predict that with the distribution of both Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines in the upcoming months, US health experts should see the general population reach significant herd immunity by the end of next summer.

Earlier this week, Fauci said he believes that for the US to successfully achieve herd immunity, as many as 90 percent of the population may need to be vaccinated.

So far around 1.9 million Americans have received the first does of a vaccine since December 4, which is less than one percent of the population.

He acknowledged that he had incrementally increased his estimates from earlier in the year, when he tended to say only 60% to 70% would need to be inoculated for herd immunity to be reached.

Pressed on the issue on Sunday, Bash asked Fauci why he wasn’t ‘straight’ with the American people from the outset, rather than moving the goal posts this late into the pandemic.

‘No, actually, Dana, I don’t think it will be interpreted as being straight or not. We have to realize that we have to be humble and realize what we don’t know,’ Fauci responded.

‘These are pure estimates and the calculations that I made 70%, 75%, it’s a range. The range is going to be somewhere between 70% and 85%.

‘The reason I started saying 70%, 75% I brought it up to 85. That is really not leap. It was based on calculation and extrapolation from measles.’

Fauci continued by reiterating ‘we need to be humble and [admit] nobody knows for sure.’

‘I think 70% to 75% for herd immunity for COVID-19 is a reasonable estimate. In fact, most of my epidemiology colleagues agree with me.’

Facui’s remarks came shortly after he was asked by Bash as to whether he suffered any side effects when he received his first shot of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday

Facui’s remarks came shortly after he was asked by Bash as to whether he suffered any side effects when he received his first shot of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday

Data released by Johns Hopkins University indicated on Saturday revealed that one out of every 1,000 Americans has died of coronavirus since the pandemic began in March, with the country’s death toll now at 331,116

Data released by Johns Hopkins University indicated on Saturday revealed that one out of every 1,000 Americans has died of coronavirus since the pandemic began in March, with the country’s death toll now at 331,116

The infectious disease expert said he believes most Americans should have access to the vaccine by late March or early April, with as much as 85 percent of the population vaccinated by the ‘middle to the end of Summer’.

‘I hope by the time we get to the fall, we will reach that critical percentage of people that we can really start thinking about and return to some form of normality,’ he said. 

He also addressed a mutation of the coronavirus has been identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa, insisting he is ‘looking at it intensively now’.

While the new strand of the virus is said to be considerably more transmissible, Fauci insisted there’s no evidence to suggest that it’s anymore deadly

‘Obviously, this is something we always take seriously and concerning whenever you get a mutation, but I think the American public needs to remember and realize that these are viruses and continually mutating all the time.’

Fauci also assured that scientists in the UK believe the new strand of the virus is still susceptible to the vaccine.

‘Having said that, you take something like this very seriously, you follow it very carefully, and you make whatever adjustments you need to do based on data as it evolves,’ he said.

‘I would get him vaccinated,’ Fauci said of Trump, adding though that the decision ultimately lies with the president and his physician

‘I would get him vaccinated,’ Fauci said of Trump, adding though that the decision ultimately lies with the president and his physician

In response to the discovery of the new strand, the US is now requiring all passengers arriving from the UK to provide a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of departure.

The motion, announced late Thursday, came after increasing pressure from lawmakers such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to enact such a policy.

When asked by Bash whether he believed it was a mistake to not implement the policy earlier, Fauci said, ‘I’m not going to say whether it was a mistake or not.’

‘Obviously, I think the move to put some form of restriction on travel and restriction could either be blocking out travel completely, which the decision was made not to do that, but I think it’s prudent and a good idea to do some form of testing and not let somebody on the plane from the UK, unless they have a documented negative COVID-19 test.

‘So I agree with that. I mean, you could argue about the timing, whether it should have been done a few days before.’

LA is investigating whether super-infectious COVID strain from UK is behind surge in cases

Public health officials in California are investigating whether the super-infectious COVID-19 strain from the United Kingdom is behind a surge in cases there with hospitals statewide overrun with coronavirus patients.

A terrifying graph by 91-DIVOC shows how daily cases are surging far beyond any other state with the seven day average of positive tests at around the 40,000 mark. The next state, Texas, is at 11,990 as of Sunday. 

The situation is so dire that the top public health official in LA, the country’s most populous county, said that on average one COVID-19 patient is dying every 10 minutes and hospital staff are being forced to place gurneys into gift shops.

Health inspectors and authorities stepped up enforcement at restaurants and shopping malls over the post-Christmas weekend as they desperately seek to curb a coronavirus surge that already has filled some hospitals in California well beyond normal capacity.

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told The LA Times tests are being carried out to see if the new mutant strain – which may spread up to 70 per cent more easily than other strains of the virus – is there. 

She said: ‘I think everyone at this point that’s seeing these kinds of surges is obviously looking to see, “Do we have that particular variant?” When I spoke with the state Department of Public Health, they indicated that they’ve been looking and didn’t think they had seen [it]. But you know, you have to know what you’re looking for.’

When population is taken into account California’s case rate, 100.5 average new confirmed per 100,000 people a day over the past seven days, is surpassed only by Tennessee at 119.7. 

One out of every 1,000 Americans has now died of COVID-19 with December set to be the deadliest month since the pandemic began with 63,000 Americans dead because of the virus; November saw 36,964 deaths. 

On Christmas Eve, California became the first state in the nation to exceed 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases. 

A terrifying graph by 91-DIVOC shows how cases there are surging far beyond any other state with the seven day average of positive tests at around the 40,000 mark; the next state, Texas, is at 11,990 as of Sunday

A terrifying graph by 91-DIVOC shows how cases there are surging far beyond any other state with the seven day average of positive tests at around the 40,000 mark; the next state, Texas, is at 11,990 as of Sunday

When population is taken into account California's case rate, 100.5 average new confirmed per 100,000 people a day over the past seven days, is surpassed only by Tennessee, 119.7

When population is taken into account California’s case rate, 100.5 average new confirmed per 100,000 people a day over the past seven days, is surpassed only by Tennessee, 119.7

Hospitals in Southern California are being overrun with COVID-19 patients, forcing the governor to impose a statewide lockdown. An ambulance crew waits with a patient outside the Coast Plaza Hospital emergency room in Los Angeles on Saturday

Hospitals in Southern California are being overrun with COVID-19 patients, forcing the governor to impose a statewide lockdown. An ambulance crew waits with a patient outside the Coast Plaza Hospital emergency room in Los Angeles on Saturday

Hospitals throughout California are operating at beyond normal capacity due to a surge in coronavirus cases. The above image shows patients being treated inside a hallway at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California, on Tuesday

Hospitals throughout California are operating at beyond normal capacity due to a surge in coronavirus cases. The above image shows patients being treated inside a hallway at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California, on Tuesday

Ambulance crews wait to admit patients outside of the MLK Community Hospital emergency entrance during a surge of coronavirus disease cases in Los Angeles on Saturday

Ambulance crews wait to admit patients outside of the MLK Community Hospital emergency entrance during a surge of coronavirus disease cases in Los Angeles on Saturday

The latest data indicated on Sunday that the COVID-19 death toll in the United States reached 331,929 people.

The grim milestone coincides with figures from the Census Bureau which found that as of the last week of December, the total population of the US stood at around 330,750,000.

Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease specialist at the Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN January’s projections are ‘nightmarish’. 

As of Saturday evening, more than 1.9 million Americans have been administered a vaccine for COVID-19. 

Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said he is worried about Americans being hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19.  

The US government said Thursday it will now require all airline passengers arriving from the UK to test negative for COVID-19 starting Monday. The  new mutant strain is spreading in Britain, prompting many countries to shut their borders to travelers from there.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement Thursday that all airline passengers arriving from the UK must test negative within 72 hours of departure. 

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said of the rise in cases: ‘This [the case surge] happened devastatingly quickly. Everybody I talked to said this acceleration was beyond any model and any expectation, so then people say ‘What broke down?’ and I’ve got to think it’s partly the strain that was out there.’ 

Crowding at Los Angeles County shopping malls came under scrutiny before the holiday.

Several of them were cited and fined up to $500 for violating COVID-19 measures, which could include not keeping occupancy below 20 per cent capacity and not prohibiting eating and drinking, the Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday.

‘We’re going to take a hard look this weekend at the shopping malls because the pictures we’ve been seeing are … another little mini-disaster,’ county public health director Barbara Ferrer said.

‘The occupancy is supposed to be down to 20 per cent. But when you look around, they look way more crowded than 20 per cent.

‘And that just means a complete breakdown of what we are requiring.’ 

An ambulance crew leaves Kaiser Peminente Hospital emergency room during a surge of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles on Saturday

An ambulance crew leaves Kaiser Peminente Hospital emergency room during a surge of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles on Saturday

Mercy Air flight paramedic Bob (left) and flight nurse Zach (right) stand next to a patient inside the ED at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California on Tuesday

Mercy Air flight paramedic Bob (left) and flight nurse Zach (right) stand next to a patient inside the ED at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California on Tuesday

Nurses are seen above working in a makeshift emergency room erected under a tent for coronavirus patients at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center on Wednesday in Cotton, California

Nurses are seen above working in a makeshift emergency room erected under a tent for coronavirus patients at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center on Wednesday in Cotton, California

Dr. Mher Onanyan tends to a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Tuesday

Dr. Mher Onanyan tends to a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Tuesday

Nurses treat a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Tuesday

Nurses treat a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Tuesday

Southern California remains at zero percent of its ICU (Intensive Care Unit) bed capacity amid the spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Clinicians are seen above caring for a patient in the lobby of Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California, on Wednesday

Southern California remains at zero percent of its ICU (Intensive Care Unit) bed capacity amid the spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Clinicians are seen above caring for a patient in the lobby of Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California, on Wednesday

Registered nurse Katelyn Musslewhite cares for a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California, on Wednesday

Registered nurse Katelyn Musslewhite cares for a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California, on Wednesday

Juliet Babayan (right) waves goodbye to her sister Violet Bonyad (seated) and caregivers after bringing a present for Violet and visiting through a window at the Ararat Nursing Facility on Christmas Eve in Mission Hills, California

Juliet Babayan (right) waves goodbye to her sister Violet Bonyad (seated) and caregivers after bringing a present for Violet and visiting through a window at the Ararat Nursing Facility on Christmas Eve in Mission Hills, California

Health officials were waiting to see whether people followed their pleas and avoided Christmas and New Year’s festivities that could lead to a new round of infections and threaten to extend stay-at-home orders in several regions of the state.

They repeated warnings before the holiday week that Thanksgiving gatherings where people didn’t wear masks or observe social distancing have resulted in a surge.

Beverly Hills police halted a plan for a secret New Year’s Eve dinner at La Scala after the Italian restaurant circulated invitations to a ‘discreet’ meal that would violate the county’s ban on indoor dining.

In Sonoma County in California’s wine country, a Native American casino announced it was canceling a planned private New Year’s Eve indoor event that could have drawn as many as 4,000 people.

The Graton Resort and Casino is on sovereign native land that isn’t subject to state or county health orders, but it had come under scrutiny for the event.

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have mounted exponentially in recent weeks and are breaking new records.

Ferrer said on Thursday that ‘a person now dies every 10 minutes in LA County from COVID-19 – and since many of these deaths are preventable, our collective focus should be on doing right to save lives.

‘I hope we can each find the strength and courage to take responsibility for each other’s well-being.’

On Saturday, the state reported more than 30,000 new COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, a 22 per cent decrease from the previous day.

Officials said the change was due to a glitch keeping the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health from reporting its daily cases and deaths.

There were 36 new deaths reported.

The first coronavirus case in California was confirmed on January 25.

It took 292 days to get to 1 million infections on November 11. Just 44 days later, the number topped 2 million.

The crisis is straining the state’s medical system well beyond its normal capacity, prompting hospitals to treat patients in tents, offices and auditoriums. 

As of late Saturday, California reported more than 2.07 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 24,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic

As of late Saturday, California reported more than 2.07 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 24,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic

California public health officials reported that nearly 380,000 new tests were conducted on Friday. The 14-day average positivity rate stood at 12.1 per cent

California public health officials reported that nearly 380,000 new tests were conducted on Friday. The 14-day average positivity rate stood at 12.1 per cent

Nearly 20,000 Californians were hospitalized due to COVID-19 as of late Saturday. Statewide, there were just under 1,400 ICU beds available

Nearly 20,000 Californians were hospitalized due to COVID-19 as of late Saturday. Statewide, there were just under 1,400 ICU beds available

California public health officials also reported an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive patients who were admitted to the ICU

California public health officials also reported an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive patients who were admitted to the ICU

The above map shows how Southern California is home to the largest concentration of COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized as of Friday

The above map shows how Southern California is home to the largest concentration of COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized as of Friday

The above map shows that 55 of California's 58 counties are experiencing 'widespread' cases of COVID-19

The above map shows that 55 of California’s 58 counties are experiencing ‘widespread’ cases of COVID-19

As of Saturday, California had record numbers of COVID-19 patients in the hospital and in ICUs, at nearly 19,000 and more than 4,000, respectively.

The figures showed no increase in hospitalizations, and there were a few more ICU beds available, for a total of around 1,390 statewide, according to the California Department of Public Health.

However, ICU capacity varied between the five regions of the state. 

The Northern California region had 34 per cent of ICU capacity while the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions were technically at 0 per cent capacity, meaning that they had no more regular ICU beds available.

Hard-hit hospitals were resorting to surge capacity by putting patients in areas not originally designated for the same level of care, such as post-operative recovery rooms. 

Hospitals have also hired extra staff and canceled elective surgeries – all to boost capacity before the cases contracted over Christmas and New Year’s show up in the next few weeks.

‘Everything is backed up all the way to the street,’ Dr. Oscar Casillas, the medical director of the emergency department at Martin Luther King Jr Community Hospital in South Los Angeles, told The New York Times.

During normal times, the hospital is set up to serve about 30 people at a time, most of them low income Latinos.

Over the last week, however, the hospital has been inundated with more than 100 patients per day.

This has forced hospital staff to utilize all available space, including the lobby and the gift shop, where gurneys holding patients are stashed.

The hospital waiting room is now a special tent that was erected outside to handle the overflow. 

‘Every day is scary,’ Lisa Thompson, an intensive care nurse at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, told the Times.

‘We’re all stressed before we even come to work. Tons and tons of patients. We can’t even keep up with the amount of patients coming into the hospital.’

In a span of 10 months, California has become the viral epicenter of the nation.

‘In the beginning, especially, you saw all these pictures and videos from New York and you think, “Oh my God, it can never get that bad here”,’ said Mendy Hickey, the quality director at St. Mary’s. 

‘And while we have all the supplies we need, it is that bad here and we have no staff to take care of patient

 

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Anthony Fauci’s wife throws him a surprise Zoom party for his 80th birthday

Dr Anthony Fauci’s wife had to get creative this year to surprise her top epidemiologist husband with an 80th birthday celebration amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and his wife, bioethecist Christine Grady, were not going to risk being labelled hypocrites by traveling, or inviting guests over to their house, in violation of the strict COVID restrictions that Fauci has been preaching since the outset of the outbreak.

Determined to surprise her husband anyway, Grady turned to Zoom, and worked quietly behind the scenes to get more than a dozen friends and family from across the US and around the world to log in at the same time to wish an unsuspecting Fauci a happy birthday.  

Master of surprises: Dr Anthony Fauci (left) said his wife of 35 years, Christine Grady (right), on Sunday threw him a surprise party on Zoom to celebrate his 80th birthday (pictured above arriving at a state dinner at the White House in October 2016) 

Fauci and his wife agreed that this year, their three daughters (pictured in this undated photo), who live in different parts of the US, would not visit for the milestone birthday

Fauci and his wife agreed that this year, their three daughters (pictured in this undated photo), who live in different parts of the US, would not visit for the milestone birthday  

Fauci, who turns 80 today, shared news of his socially distanced online surprise party organized by his wife of 35 years with The Guardian. 

‘She is a genius at fooling me,’ Fauci told the newspaper. ‘I mean, it’s very tough to fool me. But she threw surprise birthday parties for my 50th, 60th and 70th birthdays.’

This year, Fauci and Grady, director of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, agreed that their three grown daughters, who live in different parts of the country, would not visit for their father’s milestone birthday.

‘Because I have been telling the country to limit travel, and I don’t want to be one of those health officials who tells the world to do something and then they go out and have a party themselves,’ Fauci explained.

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has proclaimed Christmas Eve to be 'Dr Fauci Day'

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has proclaimed Christmas Eve to be ‘Dr Fauci Day’

The plan was for Fauci and Grady to enjoy a quiet dinner for two at home on Thursday, followed by a Zoom session with their daughters. 

But unbeknownst to her husband, Grady, 68, had another plan in mind. 

For the past year, Fauci has worked 18-hour days, seven days a week, without taking a day off.

Last Sunday, Grady told Fauci he had to be home from work by 5.30pm, ostensibly to connect with their daughters on Zoom, as they did every weekend.

At 5pm, Fauci said one the the federal agents protecting him due to death threats approached him, saying he needed to head home shortly.

Fauci initially brushed off the reminder, but the agent persisted, stressing that his wife said he had to get home by 5.30pm.

‘I should have known what’s going on,’ Fauci said, ‘but he was none the wiser.’

As soon as Fauci walked inside his house, he heard about 15 voices yell ‘Surprise!’ from a computer.

Dr Fauci received a COVID vaccine from Moderna in Washington DC on Tuesday

Dr Fauci received a COVID vaccine from Moderna in Washington DC on Tuesday 

Thanks to Grady’s birthday subterfuge, some of Fauci’s closest friends from as far away as Italy and Switzerland were able to log into Zoom simultaneously to celebrate his birthday.

Fauci has encouraged all Americans to refrain from traveling this holiday season, and celebrate the festive period with those inside their immediate households.

It was not the only surprise that Fauci has received on his birthday: Dr Jill Biden on Thursday tweeted a recording of her and President-elect Joe Biden serenading the top COVID scientist with their rendition of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song.

‘Hey, pal, happy birthday,’ the future commander-in-chief says in the 17-second clip. 

Also this week Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser week proclaimed Christmas Eve to be ‘Dr Fauci Day.’

‘Dr. Fauci has been a hero to our nation during this incredibly difficult year, working tirelessly to save lives and guide our nation’s response to and recovery from the pandemic,’ Bowser said in a statement. 

The honor prompted mockery from right-wing TV personalities, chief among them Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, who dubbed Fauci the ‘Patron Saint of Wuhan.’  

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Fauci says 70-90% herd immunity necessary to beat Covid pandemic

Dr Anthony Fauci, who initially estimated between 60 to 70 percent for immunity, has gradually been moving the goal posts in recent weeks as it emerged that COVID-19 was becoming more transmissible

Dr Anthony Fauci now says it could take up to 90 percent herd immunity across the United States to end the COVID-19 pandemic as three mutant strains of the virus are discovered and December becomes the deadliest month of the outbreak so far. 

Despite initially saying herd immunity could be reached at between 60 to 70 percent, Fauci believes it may now take closer to 90 percent in order for life to return to normal.  

Fauci, who initially estimated between 60 to 70 percent for immunity, has gradually been moving the goal posts in recent weeks as it emerged that COVID-19 was becoming more transmissible.

He said he didn’t reveal his higher estimates publicly weeks ago because he feared Americans were hesitant about taking the COVID-19 vaccine. The infectious disease expert received his initial dose of the vaccine on live TV this week. 

‘When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,’ Fauci told the New York Times. ‘Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85.

‘We need to have some humility here. We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I’m not going to say 90 percent.’ 

The CDC revealed on Wednesday that more than one million Americans have already received a COVID-19 vaccine. It is not yet clear how long it will take to reach 90 percent herd immunity given the rate of vaccinations across the country so far. 

Most Americans have been told that it could be six months or more before they are eligible for the vaccine shots as priority is given to healthcare workers, nursing home residents and, in some cases, top government officials. 

Despite the US vaccination campaign getting underway this month, December has already become the deadliest month of the entire COVID-19 pandemic. 

With eight days left of the month, December has already recorded more than 57,700 deaths. It exceeds the 52,000 deaths recorded in the entire month of April during the initial peak of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States

With eight days left of the month, December has already recorded more than 57,700 deaths. It exceeds the 52,000 deaths recorded in the entire month of April during the initial peak of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States

At least 3,359 Americans died on Wednesday, marking the third deadliest day of the pandemic so far. The seven-day rolling average for deaths is now more than 2,600

At least 3,359 Americans died on Wednesday, marking the third deadliest day of the pandemic so far. The seven-day rolling average for deaths is now more than 2,600

With eight days left of the month, December has already recorded more than 57,700 deaths. It exceeds the 52,000 deaths recorded in the entire month of April during the initial peak of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. 

At least 3,359 Americans died on Wednesday, marking the third deadliest day of the pandemic so far. 

The number of people hospitalized with the virus hit a record 119,463 and there were 228,131 new infections recorded.

More than 326,000 Americans have now died of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic and there have been 18.4 million confirmed cases. 

In a week where more than one million Americans received the first doses of a vaccine, it has emerged that there are three new mutant COVID-19 strains discovered in the UK, South Africa and Nigeria.

Fauci has already warned the strain discovered in the UK is likely to have already spread in the US. 

The CDC said it is monitoring the strains found in the African countries but couldn’t confirm if those mutations had been discovered in the US yet. 

Another new variant of coronavirus – known as P681H – has now emerged in Nigeria, Africa’s leading public health official revealed on Thursday.     

There were 228,131 new infections recorded on Wednesday, bringing the seven-day rolling average down slightly to 211,000

There were 228,131 new infections recorded on Wednesday, bringing the seven-day rolling average down slightly to 211,000

The number of people hospitalized with the virus hit a record 119,463 on Thursday. Hospitalizations are currently rising in eight states compared to last week

The number of people hospitalized with the virus hit a record 119,463 on Thursday. Hospitalizations are currently rising in eight states compared to last week

Three new mutant COVID-19 strains discovered in the UK, South Africa and Nigeria 

Another new variant of COVID-19 seems to have emerged in Nigeria, health officials have revealed. 

The news comes after Britain and South Africa both reported new variants that appear to be more contagious, leading to new travel restrictions and fears it could have spread to US.

‘It’s a separate lineage from the UK and the South African lineages,’ John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said.

Medics do not currently believe the new strain is more infectious than previous strains discovered in the UK and South Africa. 

The strain found in South Africa is believed to be more contagious than the one found in the UK and is feared to be even more infectious and driving a surge of infections among young people. 

Fauci has already warned the strain discovered in the UK is likely to have already spread in the US. 

The CDC said it is monitoring the strains found in the African countries but couldn’t confirm if those mutations had been discovered in the US yet.

A handful of countries immediately banned flights from South Africa and Britain. The United States has not issued any bans. 

John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said the new strain it is different to the ones found recently in the UK and South Africa.

Medics do not currently believe the new strain is more infectious than previous strains. 

It comes after a strain discovered in South Africa late last week has now been found in the UK, which is already battling its own mutant strain. 

The strain found in South Africa is believed to be more contagious than the one found in the UK and is feared to be even more infectious and driving a surge of infections among young people. 

A CDC spokesperson told DailyMail.com the agency is aware of the situation in Africa and is monitoring the implications for the United States. 

They could not confirm if the South African strain has been detected in the US yet.  

Two cases of that variant have already been detected in the UK in people who had traveled from South Africa in recent weeks. 

The two cases were discovered in separate parts of Britain through random routine sampling, which picks out only around one in 10 tests carried out. The fact that they were detected through random sampling and that they are thought to have been infected by separate travelers suggests there are many more cases of the variant already in Britain. 

It has prompted fears the variant may have already spread to the US.

A handful of countries immediately banned flights from South Africa and Britain. The United States has not issued any bans. 

Drug makers Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines against the variants, but believe the drugs will be effective against the mutant virus. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would order international travelers to quarantine for 14 days on arrival and provide contact information to government officials. Sheriff’s deputies will make visits to enforce the order on those arriving from Britain, the mayor said. Travelers found to violate those orders face fines of $1,000 per day, de Blasio said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked airlines to screen British travelers for COVID-19 following the emergence of the variant there. 

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee this week ordered a 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving from the UK, South Africa or other countries where the new variant had been detected. 

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Covid US: Cuomo tells NY hospitals to test for new mutant strain

Cuomo tells New York hospitals to start testing for new mutant strain of COVID so the US can ‘isolate it immediately’ as Fauci says it’s already here

  • Cuomo said he has asked hospitals across New York to start testing for the mutant strain that has been detected in the UK 
  • Dr. Fauci said earlier on Tuesday that the strain was likely already in the US 
  • The mutant strain is 70% more infectious than what has previously been seen 
  • It has not yet been detected in the US but Cuomo is ordering hospitals to test for it now when they see new cases of COVID
  • The new strain has sent the UK into lockdown and 40 countries have cut them off 
  • British Airways, Delta and Virgin are all introducing mandatory COVID tests before people can fly in to NYC  

Cuomo (pictured on Monday) said he had told NY hospitals to start testing for the new mutant strain

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is telling hospitals to start testing for the new mutant strain of COVID that has been identified in the UK, Europe and Australia so that the US can ‘isolate it immediately’. 

Speaking on a call with reporters on Tuesday, Cuomo said he’d told hospital systems across the state to start performing the ‘complex’ test that identifies the strain. 

The new mutant strain is said to be 70 percent more infectious than what has been seen before. It has sent the UK into panic mode and has prompted more than 40 countries to cut off flights from Britain. 

No cases of it have been identified in the US yet but Dr. Anthony Fauci and other science experts say it is only a matter of time and is probably already here. 

Cuomo agreed with them on Tuesday and said he wanted to weed it out. 

‘Dr Fauci said something that is frightening. He thinks the variant is already here. I’ve asked hospitals all across our state to test for the variant specifically,’ Cuomo said.

‘If it’s here, we want to know it and isolate it immediately. Let’s learn from the spring. 

Outside the UK, cases of the new strain have already been identified in Denmark, Gibraltar, the Netherlands, Australia and Italy, with experts saying it is probably already in the US too

Outside the UK, cases of the new strain have already been identified in Denmark, Gibraltar, the Netherlands, Australia and Italy, with experts saying it is probably already in the US too 

A woman is getting her coronavirus test as people line up for free COVID-19 test ahead of Thanksgiving in Queens of New York City

A woman is getting her coronavirus test as people line up for free COVID-19 test ahead of Thanksgiving in Queens of New York City

‘Fauci says he thinks it’s here. If it’s here, where? Where is it?’

WHAT THE AIRLINES ARE DOING

British Airways

Mandatory COVID-19 tests on all flights to NYC starting December 22.

No mandatory tests on all other flights. The airline also flies to LA, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Miami

Delta and Virgin 

Mandatory tests on all flights to the US, starting with NYC and Atlanta from December 24. 

Travelers will be required to take a LAMP or PCR test up to 72 hours prior to departure adding another layer of safety when they travel. 

The airline also operates flights to Orlando and one-stop routes to other US cities 

They are telling people with flights booked to monitor their website for information.  

United Airlines

No mandatory COVID-19 tests on any flights. 

Twice daily flights from London to the US scheduled for 2021 

American Airlines 

Partner with BA. No mandatory tests on flights

New York’s COVID numbers are the third best in the country after Hawaii and Vermont. 

The statewide positivity rate is 5.89 percent and it varies by region; Mohawk Valley is higher than 8 percent but New York City is just over 4 percent. 

Manhattan’s test positivity rate is 2.75 compared to Staten Island’s which is more than 5 percent. 

Despite the low rates, Cuomo has ended all indoor dining across NYC which brings the restaurant industry to its knees. He has said a total shutdown is however avoidable. 

He has also persuaded three airlines – Delta, British Airways and Virgin – to mandate COVID tests for passengers coming to the UK. 

On Monday, the three airlines agreed to his request. He fumed again on Tuesday that the federal government has done nothing. 

‘I have been talking to people in the federal government. First, it’s a transition point and the federal officials I have spoken to are aware of it. 

‘There are various levels of concern. They, frankly, have various levels of engagement.

‘What New York did is a very simple model for them to replicate. This comes down to simple testing. To not do it is gross negligence. 

‘There’s no reason not to do it, especially when you know it’s spreading and when you know it’s dangerous,’ he said.  

Fauci said earlier in the day that mandating negative COVID tests on all flights to the US from the UK was ‘under active discussion’. 

Cuomo said he was powerless to do more than he already has. 

It’s unclear why he has only appealed to three of the airlines that fly into New York every day when the mutant strain is already traveling globally. 

‘I think the US should say that we test before anyone comes from any country because the UK variant now has already migrated,’ he said.

‘The virus was in China – the virus got on an airplane and within days the virus goes global.   

‘I would say – mandatory testing of anyone coming from any country. I can’t do it. 

‘We don’t control the borders. If I could do it, I would do it. What I did yesterday was an extraordinary measure. I called airlines and asked to be added to a country protocol. They agreed.

‘That’s what I think the US should do.’

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Fauci says he will have a better relationship with Biden than Trump

Dr Anthony Fauci has said he expects to have a better relationship with Joe Biden than he did with Donald Trump, saying he will likely be ‘dealing with him directly much more’.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he was currently spending much of his time trying to reassure people that the vaccination is safe, and encourage them to continue to take COVID-19 seriously.

He avoided mentioning the president by name, in an interview with The New York Daily News, but said he was working to counter ‘mixed messages’, and said he was dismayed by reputable scientists being attacked.

Trump has called Fauci ‘an idiot’ and said he has been ‘a disaster’.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, was vaccinated on Tuesday

On Tuesday afternoon he spoke to The New York Daily News and said he was feeling fine

On Tuesday afternoon he spoke to The New York Daily News and said he was feeling fine

Fauci was furious when the Trump campaign put excerpts from a Fauci interview into their advertising, suggesting that Fauci was endorsing the president.

‘I do not and nor will I ever publicly endorse any political candidate,’ Fauci said in response.

‘They’re sticking me right in the middle of a campaign ad, which I thought was outrageous.’

Fauci has tried very hard not to antagonize the president, who is reportedly furious at Fauci’s approval ratings. But he accepted that he would likely have a closer relationship with Biden than Trump, who has in recent months appeared disinterested in the pandemic.

‘I believe that my relationship with President-elect Biden will be on a much more frequent basis until we get this COVID-19 under control, in the sense of dealing with him directly much more,’ said Fauci.

‘He is very much interested in personally seeing that this gets under control and that’s very clear from the conversations I’ve had with him.’

Fauci has had a difficult relationship with Donald Trump, who called the doctor an 'idiot'

Fauci has had a difficult relationship with Donald Trump, who called the doctor an ‘idiot’

Biden has asked Fauci to continue in his current role – a job which he has held since 1984.

Fauci, who turns 80 on Christmas Eve, was given the coronavirus vaccination on Tuesday, a day after Biden.

‘I’m fine,’ he said. ‘I really didn’t notice anything. Right now I feel like nothing happened.’

Fauci said a major part of his job was now working on the public health messages, and told the paper that he spent time on social media on a daily basis addressing skepticism about the safety of the vaccine, in particular among Latino and black communities.

He said many were questioning whether the vaccine was rushed, and approval was only granted under pressure by the government or pharmaceutical companies.

‘When you have mixed messages, or when you have a situation where scientists of some repute are questioned, then people get confused,’ he said.

‘So that’s the reason we’ve got to be very consistent as much as we possibly can.’

Fauci spoke out against the 'mixed messages' from the government which 'confused' people

Fauci spoke out against the ‘mixed messages’ from the government which ‘confused’ people

Fauci said the speedy development of the vaccine was due to advances in medical technology, and said it was encouraging for future pandemics.

‘The fact that we’ve now shown that using this vaccine platform technology is extraordinary in doing something in amazingly record time, we can now apply this in the future to other new viruses that emerge,’ he said.

‘To be sure, we’re going to have the emergence of new viruses.

‘We’ve had them forever, before recorded history.

‘If this was a decade ago, it would have taken truly years to get a safe and effective vaccine.’

Fauci said he expects to have a closer working relationship with Biden than Trump

Fauci said he expects to have a closer working relationship with Biden than Trump

The Brooklyn-born doctor said that he was confident his hometown would recover from the pandemic, which has seen many businesses collapse and an estimated 250,000 people move away.

‘I have every confidence that New York City, the New York metropolitan area, will come through fine,’ he said.

‘We need to get (New Yorkers) vaccinated. Once you get the vaccine going, they will be fine.’

Nearly 25,000 people have died in the city, and another 388,000 were infected.

‘I was born and raised on the streets of New York,’ said Fauci. ‘I’m a New Yorker in my DNA.

‘I think New York did quite well after you got hit really badly. You got a sucker punch. You recovered, and then you did actually quite well in keeping the level of infection down.’

He stressed the vaccine’s development did not signal an instant end to the need for the social distancing, masks and hand-washing that remain crucial to stopping the viral spread.

‘I think you just need to keep practicing the public health measures that we all talk about and we’ll be fine,’ he said.

‘I do believe we will.’

Fauci, asked if he would continue to wear a mask, replied: ‘Oh, you bet. Yeah.’