The US recorded more than 5,000 Covid-19 deaths on Thursday.
The surge, the highest number to date, seems to be largely due to a backlog of data that was just released from Indiana, adding 1,500 deaths to the countrywide number, according to the Wall Street Journal. Though cases have otherwise been slowing down, the death toll is often a reflection of what happened in the weeks prior, since it’s usually a lagging indicator of the virus spread. Yesterday, there were 5,077 US deaths in total, according to John Hopkins University data, and 122,473 new cases.
Southern California and Arizona remain hotspots in the country, though the California governor, Gavin Newsom, has been easing restrictions in recent days, including the return of outdoor dining. Meanwhile, the vaccine rollout has been trudging along, with about 1.3m shots being administered every day, shy of Joe Biden’s goal of 1.5m jabs daily.
There are hopes that the approval of a new vaccine from Johnson & Johnson will speed up inoculations – especially since only one dose of that vaccine is required. The president has promised to purchase an additional 200m doses of Pfizer and Modern vaccines in coming months, as well as green-lighting the Defense Production Act, which gives the government more control of industrial production, to produce other necessary items like syringes.
For now, however, the US is still likely to see high numbers of deaths in the coming days, and hospitals remain packed. Public health officials are also trying to parse the increasing threat of the new Covid-19 variants. Originally, these new virus mutations were thought to only speed up the number of cases, but the head of Germany’s center for disease control said on Friday that the UK variant seemed to also be causing a “more difficult course of illness”, according to the Wall Street Journal.