Tue 15 December 2020:
The global pandemic has brought an unfathomable count of deaths to the United States – more than 300,000 Americans have perished. In recent weeks, the number of deaths on a single day have been comparable to the most tragic days in national memory. Despite the promise of an FDA approved vaccine, experts fear that the winter will be worse
But it is the country’s record-setting levels of infections that has health experts on edge. The US recorded over 231,000 infections on Friday, an all-time high, and while confirmed cases have gradually declined to more than 190,000 on Sunday, the rate of daily infections is far higher than at any time in the US outbreak.
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- The latest analysis from the APM Research Lab has found that death rates among Indigenous people have accelerated the fastest in the past four weeks. Though the methods and underlying data varies, the finding is supported by a recent latest CDC report that stated that indigenous Americans experience mortality rates 1.8 times that of non-Hispanic white Americans. The disparity is particularly pronounced among people between 20 and 49 years of age.
- Throughout the pandemic, Black Americans have experienced 3.7 times more hospitalizations and 2.8 times more fatalities than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts.
- Recent reporting by the New York Times on a number of scientific studies have shown that the disparities in incidence and mortality among racial groups can be explained by social and environmental factors, such as job exposure.
Deaths also hit a record high on Friday when over 3,300 people were killed by COVID-19, but as deaths tend to lag behind infections the US is bracing for a somber increase in fatalities.
The spikes are largely related to people choosing to gather indoors as temperatures dip across much of the nation, and as people come together for the winter holidays.
- Economic recovery has slowed down in November, as the US added just 245,000 jobs after more robust gains of 638,000 and 672,000 jobs in October and September, respectively. Though unemployment fell to 6.7%, over a third of this group has been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer.
- 12 million Americans are set to lose their unemployment benefits by the end of the month, as the Cares Act expires and Congress stalls on passing another relief bill.
Amid the somber upticks, the US began rolling out over the weekend the first of two expected coronavirus vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine received emergency use authorization for those 16 and older on Friday and began destribution on Sunday.
A second mRNA vaccine from Moderna is expected to also be considered for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration in the coming weeks.
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