The United States has surpassed 10 million COVID-19 cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as the country deals with a surge in infections worse than at any other point in the global pandemic.
During the past week, the United States has added an average of more than 100,000 new cases per day, double its daily infections from a month ago. About 900 people are dying each day.
Midwestern states are being hit the hardest, with hospitalization rates in the region reaching record highs.
President-elect Joe Biden met Monday with a coronavirus task force as he looks ahead to steps his administration will take to battle the pandemic when he takes office in January. Following the meeting, he urged Americans to "wear a mask" to help fight the spread of the coronavirus — "no matter who you voted for."
Biden also hailed an announcement by pharmaceutical company Pzifer that late-stage testing on its potential COVID-19 vaccine indicates it is highly effective, however Biden also cautioned that Americans still face “a dark winter.”
Pfizer announced Monday its testing on its potential COVID-19 vaccine indicates it is more than 90 percent effective, exceeding expectations and bringing a rare piece of positive news to the fight against the coronavirus.
From his Twitter account, U.S. President Donald Trump noted the reported 90 percent efficiency, calling it “SUCH GREAT NEWS,” and that the stock market was “UP BIG” as a result.
Vice President Mike Pence, who has led the current administration’s response to the coronavirus, is convening a session of his task force Monday for the first time since October 20.
As work continues toward a coronavirus vaccine with multiple companies carrying out clinical trials to test safety and efficacy, Argentina is the latest government to reach an agreement with AstraZeneca to receive doses of its vaccine candidate. The deal is for about 22 million doses to be delivered in the first half of 2021.
COVID-19 infections have spiked in other parts of the world, including in Europe, where some governments have instituted lockdown measures to try to slow the spread of the virus. Globally the number of confirmed cases is more than 50 million, with 1.2 million deaths and 33 million people recovered.
Among the areas with the highest infections per capita during the past week are the Czech Republic, Belgium, France, Austria and Italy.
Switzerland is also high on that list, and on Sunday deployed more than 200 army reservists to assist hospitals strained by new admissions.
Portugal, another hard-hit nation, is instituting new night-time curfews in some areas beginning Monday. In Poland, the surge in cases has pushed the mayor of Warsaw to cancel Wednesday’s annual Independence Day march.