COVID-19 cases pass 28 million in U.S., deaths near 500,000

By Allen Cone
COVID-19 cases pass 28 million in U.S., deaths near 500,000
Local residents wait their turn to receive a COVID-19 vaccination shot at the Kedren Community Health Center in South Los Angeles on Tuesday. To boost vaccination among people of color, L.A. county plans more sites, better messaging and access to transit. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- COVID-19 cases in the United States passed 28 million and deaths were only few thousand from 500,000 as the nation ramps up vaccination distribution after bad weather hampered distribution.

Infections reached 28,076,756 according to tracking by Johns Hopkins through Saturday, a rise of 71,510. And fatalities are at 497,648, an increase of 1,844.


Since the first case was announced in the state of Washington on Jan. 21, 2020, cases have averaged 70.722.

After reaching a peak of 299,786 on Jan. 2, infections have subsided. On Monday the cases were 53,970, the lowest since 49,307 on Oct. 18.

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It took 13 days to climb one million and it was nine days from 26 million to 27 million.

Also, hospitalizations have dropped dramatically to 59,882 through Friday, the lowest since 62,119 on Nov. 10, after a high of 132,474 on Jan. 6, according to The COVID Tracking Project.


And fatalities also have been subsiding but not quite as dramatically as hospitalizations and cases.

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On Friday, the increase was 2,706 compared with a record 4,401 on Jan. 12. Since the first death was announced on Feb. 29, they have averaged 1,394. On Monday it was 941, the lowest since 898 Nov. 29.

Until last week, New York had recorded the most deaths except for the beginning when the virus' U.S. epicenter was in Washington state.

But California is now No. 1 with 48,825, including a U.S.-high 481 Saturday.

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New York is at 46,703, including 110 Saturday. The state only counts confirmed deaths though New York City also includes probable cases.

A distant third is Texas with 41,213, including a 227 rise Friday followed by Florida at 29,692, including 218 Friday; Pennsylvania in fifth at 23,480 with 67 increase.

California leads in cases with 3,435,186, including 6,668 Saturday. Texas is third at 2,583,617 with an increase of 6,586 Friday as the state contends with a massive power failure from cold weather. Florida ranks third with 1,863,707 with an increase of a U.S.-high 7,280. The only other states with more than 2 million are Illinois at 1,172,824 with a 1,922 increase and New York with 1,572,175, including 7,692 reported Saturday.


Because of the winter storm, vaccine distribution has been hampered.

But "things are getting back to normal," Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to the White House Covid-19 response team, told CNN on Friday.

He said states will be receiving more vaccines they "have ever received before because we're going to be shipping this week's doses and next week's doses."

About 1.85 million Americans received vaccinations on Friday. This is above the goal of 1 million vaccinations per day before Joe Biden became president on Jan. 20.

On Biden's inauguration, the U.S. administered nearly 1.5 million shots with the seven-day average for the previous week about 966,000 shots a day.

In all, 41,977,401 people have now received at least one dose of the vaccine and 17,039,118 people have been fully vaccinated since the first shot on Dec. 14, according to CDC data Friday.

That means 12.6% of the U.S. residents have received at least one shot. Most of them have been administered to medical personal and people 65 and older.

In all, 78.1 million doses have been distributed to states.

During a White House news briefing earlier Friday, Slavitt said that there is a backlog of about 6 million Covid-19 vaccine doses due to bad weather, which has affected all 50 states. That includes more than 2,000 vaccine sites are located in areas with power outages and unable to receive doses.


California has had the most vaccines administered at 6,964,603, followed by Texas at 4,542,622 and Florida at 4,198,4512, according to the CDC.

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