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US tops 25M confirmed coronavirus cases

Workers place bodies of coronavirus victims in cold storage trailer at Brooklyn Hospital Center on March 31, 2020. (Gardiner Anderson/New York Daily News/TNS)

The United States surpassed 25 million confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases Sunday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, as the country’s death toll pushes toward 420,000.

The tally is likely an undercount of the full extent of the virus, according to experts, as testing was not widely available during the early stages of the pandemic and asymptomatic individuals are less likely to get tested.

The U.S. total is more than double the next-highest number of confirmed cases in a country — over 10 million, held by India — an area with about four times the population.

The milestone of 25 million cases comes almost one year after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first positive test in the U.S.

It took under 10 months to reach 10 million cases, according to the COVID Tracking Project, before a surge of transmission during the holiday season catapulted the country’s totals to 15 million by Dec. 8 and 20 million by Jan. 2.

“A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. We’re 400,000 dead expected to reach well over 600,000,” President Joe Biden said Friday. “Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted. Job losses are mounting again. We need to act. No matter how you look at it, we need to act.”

Biden last week unveiled a national action plan to stem the spread of the virus and address needs of increased testing and vaccine supplies.

Nationwide hospitalizations have seen a slight dip in recent days, prompting hope that the peak of hospitalizations are in the rear-view mirror, but deaths continue a precipitous rise with over 3,400 deaths recorded in the U.S. alone today.

The U.S. reached 400,000 deaths last week — just two weeks after the country reached 350,000 deaths, just over a month after 300,000 deaths were tallied and almost four months after 200,000 deaths were reported. The U.S. counted 100,000 deaths by May, 2020.

The promise of two vaccines given emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, one by Pfizer and BioNTech and another by Moderna, has been tampered slightly as New York has administered 88% of its first doses received — highlighting a shortage of the immunizations as officials call on the federal government to send more shots to the state.

“As our week six allocation finishes arriving to providers today, New York has already administered 88% of its first doses, demonstrating once again that the problem we face is lack of supply from the federal government,” Governor Cuomo said.

“We have the operational capacity to do over 100,000 doses a day — we just need the dosages. In the meantime, the state will continue working around the clock to get shots into arms quickly, and providers must continue administering to their assigned priority populations in order to ensure equity of distribution during this time of limited supply,” he added.

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(c) 2021 Staten Island Advance

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