US records most deaths in 1 week; Pfizer vaccine meets FDA criteria for authorization — 5 COVID-19 updates

Over the past seven days, the U.S. recorded 15,813 COVID-19 deaths, surpassing a weekly record that stood since mid-April, reports The New York Times

The nation also set a new daily death record Dec. 7 with 2,885 new deaths. The previous record was set April 17, when the U.S. saw 2,232 deaths, per the NYT. 

The U.S. is averaging nearly 200,000 cases each day, a 15 percent increase from the average two weeks prior, according to NYT. 

Four more updates:

1. The FDA said it doesn't have any specific safety concerns about Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. In a Dec. 8 document published ahead of a Dec. 10 advisory meeting, the FDA said data from Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine trials was consistent with agency recommendations for emergency use authorization. The drugmakers are slated to deliver the first 100 million vaccine doses to the U.S. However, the country may not receive a second batch of the vaccine until June because the U.S. passed on a deal to secure additional doses this summer, according to The New York Times.  

2. More than 100,000 U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations have been reported each day since Dec. 2, reports The New York Times. These figures surpass the number of daily virus hospitalizations seen during the spring and summer, which hit highs around 60,000 patients.

3. President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on COVID-19 vaccines Dec. 8, according to The Hill. The order, which the president will sign during a summit on Operation Warp Speed at the White House, is designed to ensure Americans receive COVID-19 vaccines before they are distributed to other nations.

4. Prolonged travel and family gatherings around Christmas could cause more virus spread than Thanksgiving, Anthony Fauci, MD, said in a Dec. 7 interview with CBS News as part of the Milken Institute Future of Health Summit. The nation's top infectious disease expert encouraged Americans to avoid travel this month and said he will not be spending Christmas with his adult daughters for the first time in more than 30 years.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 14,956,227
Deaths: 283,747
Recovered: 5,714,557

Counts reflect data available as of 8:35 a.m. CST Dec. 8.

More articles on public health:
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, state by state: Dec. 8
25 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Dec. 8
First COVID-19 memorial to break ground in New Jersey


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