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New COVID-19 cases climb back above 70,000 in US as vaccinations make progress

 New COVID-19 cases climb back above 70,000 in US as vaccinations make progress
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The rate of daily coronavirus cases in the United States has grown to the highest level it has been since late February, a timeframe that represented the end to a peak in infection rates during the pandemic. 

The U.S. reported more than 78,000 cases on Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, representing a spike of more than 10,000 cases from the previous day.

The last time daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. reached such a level was in late February, The Wall Street Journal reported, which came at the tail end of the pandemic's worst wave of daily infection rates.

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On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that new coronavirus cases in the United States had surged by double digits over the previous seven days.

The U.S. has recorded more than 30 million coronavirus cases overall and nearly 554,000 people have died of the resulting disease.

The increase comes as a number of states have broadened their vaccine eligibility and more than 2.9 million vaccine doses are being administered each day, according to the Journal.

The new rate of infections comes as public health officials urge Americans to not ease up on health guidelines like social distancing and mask-wearing that have been put in place to slow the spread of the virus.

"I'm going to lose the script, and I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now I'm scared," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said this week during a White House COVID-19 response team briefing.

The federal government is rushing to distribute millions of vaccines to at-risk Americans while some states have defied health officials' pleas, reopening their economies and lifting mask mandates.

“This is deadly serious," President BidenJoe BidenKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' US officials testify on domestic terrorism in wake of Capitol attack MORE said of the rising cases this week. "If we let our guard down now we could see the virus getting worse not better."