Aug. 12 (UPI) -- For the third day in a row, new COVID-19 cases in the United States have totaled fewer than 50,000 -- the first time in more than a month that the daily national tally was under that mark for three days.
The case count Tuesday was 46,800, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
There were 47,000 cases Sunday and 49,500 on Monday. The United States averaged around 60,000 new cases per day during July.
The last time new U.S. cases were under 50,000 for three days was July 4-6.
Updated figures Wednesday from Johns Hopkins showed there have been 5.141 million cases and 164,500 deaths in the United States since the start of the pandemic.
COVID-19 deaths, however, rose Tuesday to 1,300 after averaging about 500 the previous two days, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow had registered the world's first approved COVID vaccine and said he'd given it to his daughter. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. expert on infectious diseases, said he has "serious doubts" about the claim.
Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a National Geographic Magazine forum he's skeptical of the "Sputnik V" vaccine in part because the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, where it was developed, has yet to release any clinical data.
It's also not believed that the vaccine passed through stage-three human trials, a key step for any vaccine.
"I hope that the Russians have actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective," Fauci said. "I seriously doubt that they've done that."
"We have half a dozen or more vaccines," he added. "So if we wanted to take the chance of hurting a lot of people or giving them something that doesn't work, we could start doing this, you know, next week if we wanted to. But that's not the way it works."
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the United States is not competing with Russia to produce a vaccine.
"There point is not to be first with a vaccine," Azar told ABC's Good Morning America. "The point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective for the American people and the people of the world."
In Texas, the state became the latest Tuesday to surpass 500,000 COVID-19 cases, the Department of State Health Services reported.
Gov. Greg Abbott said new cases are continuing a gradual decline, but acknowledged that some parts of the state still have high hospitalization rates. He warned that trend will have to change before statewide restrictions on bars and other businesses are lifted.
"We have to remain vigilant to slow the spread of COVID-19," he said.