COVID-19 deaths surpass 300K; Moderna vaccine may win emergency approval this week — 4 updates

The nation's COVID-19 death toll surpassed 300,000 Dec. 14, the same day the first Americans received Pfizer's vaccine. 

The U.S. is reporting an average of 2,427 deaths daily, up 300 deaths per day from this spring's peak, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.

COVID-19 hospitalizations also hit a record 110,549 on Dec. 14, according to COVID Tracking Project data.

Three more updates:

1. The average American could receive a COVID-19 vaccine by early April, Anthony Fauci, MD, said in a Dec. 14 interview with MSNBC. The nation's top infectious disease expert said most Americans could be vaccinated by late spring or early summer. By fall, "the level of infection will be so low in society we can start essentially approaching some form of normality,” Dr. Fauci said. 

2. A bipartisan group of lawmakers released a two-part relief plan Dec. 14. The first package contains $748 billion in aid for small businesses, jobless benefits and healthcare providers. The second $160 billion proposal includes more controversial measures such as state and local aid, as well as liability protections related to COVID-19. 

3. The FDA said the Moderna vaccine is highly effective against severe COVID-19, and it is expected to approve the vaccine for use Dec. 18, officials close to the matter told The New York Times. The agency confirmed Moderna's assessment that its vaccine is 94.1 percent effective, and said potential side effects — including fever, headache and fatigue — aren't dangerous. Moderna's vaccine would be the second coronavirus vaccine approved for emergency use in the U.S., after Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine.    

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 16,520,408
Deaths: 300,494

Counts reflect data available as of 8:20 a.m. CST Dec. 15.

More articles on public health:
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, state by state: Dec. 14
26 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Dec. 15
US will likely avert 'twindemic'


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