COVID-19 deaths in 2021 topped the 2020 total this week, with data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing an increase in cases nationwide ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
There have been 771,576 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic, although that number is currently on the decline. As of January 1 of this year, 386,233 people have died from the virus, up from 385,343 last year.
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In 2020, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to an April CDC report on preliminary United States mortality data, and the numbers only take into account reported deaths.
The global death toll from the pandemic topped 5 million on Monday.
The United States averages over 90,000 new infections a day, and the total number of cases is in the tens of millions.
People visit the “In America: Remember” public art installation near the Washington Monument on the National Mall on Monday, September 20, 2021 in Washington, DC (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
CDC director Rochelle Walensky said on Monday that the seven-day average of reported coronavirus infections had increased by 18%.
Connecticut, for example, is seeing a faster increase in the number of cases than any other state, with an average of 738 daily cases over the past week.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate of 3.07% is the highest since early September, and average daily cases are the highest since mid-September.
According to state data, unvaccinated residents are four times more likely to test positive than those who are vaccinated and make up the vast majority of people hospitalized with severe symptoms.
As of last week, 74% of all residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state.
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Doctors said the spike is a sign residents need to be more careful and continue to follow best practices like masking.
“We have to embrace normalcy at this point, but we have to be smart about it,” said Dr Ulysses Wu, infectious disease specialist at Hartford HealthCare, at the Hartford Courant. “Who are you going to spend time with, how many people will be coming and what is their immunization status? “
Four of the five states with the largest recent increase in virus cases are in New England, according to the newspaper.
Other hot spots have developed in cold states like Michigan, Minnesota and New York, sparking a rush for hospitals.
Walensky and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pushed the estimated 60 million unvaccinated Americans to get vaccinated, and last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC have recommended booster shots for all adults 18 and older who have received a vaccine. Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at least six months after their second dose.
More than 36 million people have already received a dose of the vaccine beyond their initial vaccination.
While the three vaccines used in the United States continue to offer strong protection against serious illness and death from COVID-19, the effectiveness of injections against milder infections may decline over time.
“As the winter months approach, when respiratory viruses are more likely to spread, and with plans for increased travel and gatherings during the holiday season, it was important to strengthen the overall protection of people. against illness and death from COVID-19, ”Walensky said.
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“The most tragic are the vaccine-preventable deaths that we still see from this disease,” she said. “Even in our updated data, unvaccinated people have a 14 times higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than vaccinated people. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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