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US reaches nearly a quarter million daily COVID-19 cases

Health experts say the record could increase as cases surge in various parts of the country and health care systems struggle to keep up.

WASHINGTON — The United States added a record of nearly a quarter million coronavirus cases in the past day.

Health experts say the record could increase as cases surge in various parts of the country and health care systems struggle to keep up.

Along with 249,709 new cases, there were an additional 2,814 reported deaths nationwide in the past 24 hours. That pushed the confirmed U.S. death toll past 313,000, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

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California led the case surge with 48,221 more infections. Almost 17,000 people are hospitalized in California and health officials are scrambling to find enough beds for patients. Texas, Florida, New York and Tennessee all registered more than 10,400 new cases.

The seven-day rolling average for new cases in the U.S. rose in the past two weeks from 183,787 to 219,324 on Friday, an increase of nearly 20%.

Health officials are concerned about future cases brought on by travel and gatherings during the holidays and New Year’s.

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Gen. Gustave Perna, an Army general in charge of COVID-19 vaccines, said Saturday that the government now is on track to get approximately 20 million doses to states by the first week of January, a combination of the newly approved Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

He says 2.9 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses have been delivered so far.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Credit: AP
Nurse Cathy Pitts prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP)