The United States added 30,102 deaths in the first 13 days of December, bringing its death toll since the beginning of the pandemic to 298,569. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The United States has added more than 30,000 COVID-19 deaths in the first two weeks of December, as California reported 30,000 new cases for the third consecutive day on Sunday.
A total of 30,102 people have died in the first 13 days of December while the U.S. death toll since the beginning of the pandemic stands at 299,168 since the start of the pandemic, according to data gathered by John's Hopkins University. The United States has also recorded 16,252,989 cases, adding 219,510 on Saturday.
The surge of deaths comes as the first vials of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 were shipped to states on Sunday and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield approved it to be administered to patients.
California, which leads the nation with a total of 1,551,766 cases, added 30,334 new cases on Saturday, its third consecutive day with more than 30,000 cases. The state also added 122 new deaths, bringing its death toll to 20,969 and in third place.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday hailed the shipment of the vaccine as "the beginning of the end."
"We can do this. Wear a mask. Stay home as much as possible. Let's crush this curve and get to the finish line," Newsom wrote on Twitter.
Texas had reported the second-highest total of COVID-19 cases at 1,328,213 with an additional 6,479 and the second-highest death toll at 23,911 with 111 more.
Third place Florida reported 8,958 new COVID-19 cases, after reporting more than 10,000 cases for six consecutive days, for a total of 1,125,931 since the start of the pandemic. The state also added 81 deaths, bringing its toll to 19,866 -- fourth in the nation.
The Center for Public Integrity made public a Dec. 6 White Hosue coronavirus task force report urging mitigation efforts preventing indoor gatherings outside of immediate households and requiring mask-wearing in the state to increase.
Illinois reported 7,216 new cases for the nation's fourth highest total at 848,904 and 115 new deaths for a total of 14,291.
New York reported 10,194 new cases on Saturday for the nation's fifth highest total at 775,160 and 106 deaths, bringing its toll to 27,781, the highest in the nation with 35,475 including probable ones though only New York City includes those.