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U.S. COVID-19 cases rise; More than 12,000 deaths in past 3 days

Emergency personnel lead a patient to a waiting ambulance at Martin Luther King Hospital in Los Angeles, Calif., on Wednesday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Emergency personnel lead a patient to a waiting ambulance at Martin Luther King Hospital in Los Angeles, Calif., on Wednesday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 29 (UPI) -- For the first time in several days, the number of new coronavirus cases in the United States has increased significantly, and deaths nationwide remain near record levels, according to updated data Friday.

The data from scientists at Johns Hopkins University show about 168,600 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday -- an increase of roughly 16,000 cases from the day before.

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The spike is the largest in several days and just the third time cases have increased by that amount in the last three weeks, according to the data.

Since peaking with a record 300,000 on Jan. 2, the trajectory for new daily cases has largely been on a gradual decline.

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According to the data, there were also another 4,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday -- the third straight day deaths nationwide have been at that level. There have been more than 12,000 deaths in the past three days alone.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 25.8 million cases in the United States and about 433,300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 26.2 million coronavirus vaccines have been administered nationwide since they were approved in mid-December, and 48.4 million have been distributed to health centers.

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The White House COVID-19 Response Team, President Joe Biden's chief coronavirus advisory body, will give its second briefing on Friday.

The Biden administration, which is aiming for 100 million vaccinations by May, will give the briefings three times per week.

Other COVID-19 news Friday:

  • Johnson & Johnson said late-stage clinical trials have shown its vaccine to be about 66% effective against COVID-19, including a new variant strain first identified in South Africa.
  • Novavax says its vaccine has proven to be about 90% effective in fighting the main COVID-19 strain, but a bit less effective against the South African variant.
  • Marcia Fudge, Biden's nominee for head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said at her confirmation hearing the pandemic will influence her leadership.
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