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U.S. adds almost 200K COVID-19 cases, surpasses 15 million total

U.S. adds almost 200K COVID-19 cases, surpasses 15 million total
A healthcare worker walks in a hallway at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City on Monday. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the city would close indoor dining if the hospitalization rate increases further. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The United States has surpassed another grim milestone -- 15 million total COVID-19 cases since the health crisis began early this year.

Updated data Tuesday from Johns Hopkins University shows an addition of 192,400 U.S. cases on Monday, as well as 1,400 new coronavirus deaths.

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With the new cases, the U.S. total since the start of the pandemic is 15.16 million and the death toll is 286,230, according to Johns Hopkins.

The one-week average topped 200,000 per day for the first time on Tuesday, up 25%, according to health news website Stat. More than 15,000 patients died over the past seven days, the deadliest week since April. Hospitalizations set a record for the sixth straight day, at 102,000, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

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The rising numbers on Tuesday, however, were met with some encouraging news on the vaccine front.

The Food and Drug Administration said Pfizer's vaccine offers better than 50% protection against the coronavirus disease within 10 days of the first dose. It also said the vaccine appears to work well irrespective of recipients' race, weight or age.

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The FDA said the vaccine is "consistent" with its safety and efficacy guidelines for issuing "emergency use authorization" in the United States. The agency is expected to grant the vaccine EUA in the coming days.

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Pfizer's BNT162b2 vaccine requires two doses about three weeks apart.

That vaccine, developed by Pfizer and partner BioNTech, was distributed in Britain on Tuesday. It's the first time any Western nation began inoculating residents with a COVID-19 vaccine.

Even with the rising numbers, it's unlikely the United States has seen the full impact of family gatherings over Thanksgiving, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday.

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"We probably are just going to start seeing the brunt of what it means when you have people traveling and congregating in seemingly innocent settings," the nation's top infectious diseases expert told CNN.

"The situation is that as we enter now from the Thanksgiving holiday season into the Christmas holiday season, it's going to be challenging."

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