Dec. 31 (UPI) -- For the second day in a row, the United States has set a new record for most coronavirus deaths in a single day -- and added another 230,000 cases.
According to updated data Thursday from Johns Hopkins University, close to 3,750 patients died on Wednesday -- surpassing the previous record, set only a day earlier, by about a dozen deaths.
This month, there has been an average of about 2,500 deaths per day, twice November's figure, according to Stat.
The new figure means that roughly 7,500 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States in the past two days.
The Florida Department of Health on Thursday announced the first identified case of a variant of COVID-19 first discovered in Britain in the state's Martin County.
"The individual is a male in his 20s with no history of travel. The Department is working with the CDC on this investigation. We encourage all to continue practicing COVID-19 mitigation," the Health Department said in a tweet.
The announcement comes after the new variant of the virus was detected in Colorado and California earlier this week.
The data also showed 229,000 new cases nationwide on Wednesday, the second straight day the count has exceeded 200,000.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 19.76 million cases and about 342,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
Hospitalizations nationwide also reached another all-time high, 125,000, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday that U.S. officials are considering spreading out the initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
The plan has been to reserve part of the early supplies for second doses for priority groups like healthcare workers and nursing home residents.
Both vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna call for the two doses to be given weeks apart to achieve 95% efficacy, although evidence from clinical trials showed significant effect after the first dose.
"If done properly, you can do a single dose, reserve doses for the second dose, and still get the job done," he said. "But there's a lot of discussion about whether or not you want to spread out the initial vaccination by getting more people vaccinated on the first round."
Other COVID-19 developments Thursday:
- Authorities are investigating a fired Wisconsin health worker who officials say intentionally ruined hundreds of doses of Moderna's vaccine.
- The first New Year's Eve of the coronavirus era is underway and will still feature many traditional celebrations worldwide. The parties, however, are dramatically more muted.