The United States reported 3,979 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday night, the highest number of deaths reported in a single day since the pandemic began.

According to a story covered by Western Mass News and CNN, it's the third day in a row of record deaths from the disease, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, while the number of people who have been infected topped more than 21.56 million.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent forecast projected there will be between 405,000 and 438,000 deaths by the end of the month. The previous forecast, published December 30, projected up to 424,000 deaths by January 23.

The ongoing spread of the virus and climbing number of deaths comes even as the US is working to distribute vital Covid-19 vaccines -- a process that has been criticized for being too slow.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Thursday that states able to vaccinate beyond phase 1a recommendations -- which include health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities -- should do so.
The guidance by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that identifies prioritized groups for vaccination, Adams said, are "recommendations -- not mandates." He shared a picture of other groups identified phases 1b and 1c, including frontline essential workers, people age 75 and older, and those with high-risk conditions, among others.
Meantime, hospitals are being flooded with coronavirus patients, with a record 132,476 patients in US hospitals on Wednesday, and 132,370, the second highest number, on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
There is, of course, more information and data to be found in this story. Check it out at Western Mass News' website here.
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