The grim milestones are piling up as the United States experiences another surge in coronavirus cases. Nearly 300,000 new cases were reported on Saturday. The cumulative death toll crossed more than 350,000 the same day, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard.
Saturday’s total of 299,087 new cases marks a new single-day high for the U.S. Though COVID-19 deaths on Saturday totaled 2,398, down from the record high of 3,750 on Dec. 30. More than 4.2 million people have received the initial vaccination dose as of Saturday, according to the CDC. That number is far below the government’s goal of having 20 million people in the U.S. vaccinated by the end of December.While vaccinations continue, public health officials say it’s still important to continue social distancing practices, including wearing masks, washing hands and watching how close people get to others.
The New UK Coronavirus Mutations, Explained
A new, seemingly more contagious variety of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes Covid-19 — that has been spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom has now been found in the United States in at least two locations.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced December 30 that the new strain, known as B.1.1.7 (we’ll call it the UK variant, for simplicity’s sake), was detected in the southern part of the state. It’s the second report of the UK variant in the US in as many days, following news that the variant was found in a male Colorado National Guard member in his 20s with no history of travel, a sign that the virus is spreading locally.
“There is a lot we don’t know about this COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious,” said Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, in a statement.