Story at a glance

  • More than 77,000 people lost their lives in December.
  • As of Wednesday, more than 427,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 while more than 25.5 million cases have been confirmed.
  • Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Wednesday that the agency’s latest forecast suggests the U.S. could see between 479,000 to 514,000 deaths by Feb. 20.

January has outpaced December as the deadliest month since the coronavirus pandemic began a year ago with several days left until the month is out. 

More than 79,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 this month alone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. December previously held the grim record of most deaths reported in a month. More than 77,000 people lost their lives last month, while 6.4 million contracted the virus in the U.S.


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The record-breaking death count this month comes as the U.S. is experiencing a slight decrease in the number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, likely due to a natural plateauing of infections following the surge driven by the holiday season. The seven-day average for daily new cases is more than 164,000, and more than 108,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. The seven-day average for new deaths is more than 3,300. 

As of Wednesday, more than 427,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 while more than 25.5 million cases have been confirmed.  

Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Wednesday that the agency’s latest forecast suggests the U.S. could reach between 479,000 to 514,000 deaths by Feb. 20. 

“Our case rates remain extraordinarily high and now is the time to remain vigilant,” Walensky said during the White House COVID-19 task force briefing. 

The alarming number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. underscores the need to get vaccines in the arms of as many Americans as possible to rein in the deadly virus. 

The Biden administration pledged this week to increase the overall weekly vaccination distribution to states, tribes and territories, upping the current 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses starting next week. 

President Biden also said he anticipates there will be enough doses of vaccine for 300 million people by the end of the summer. 


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Published on Jan 27, 2021