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US Passes 12 Million Confirmed Coronavirus Cases: Coronavirus UpdatesExBulletin

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Travelers wait to check their bags for an American Airlines flight at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people not to travel on Thanksgiving. Patrick Fallon / AFP via Getty Images .

Rock legend Patrick Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

Travelers wait to check their bags for an American Airlines flight at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people not to travel on Thanksgiving.

Patrick Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

Cases of COVID-19 are increasing at an alarming rate in nearly every state as Thanksgiving approaches.

The cumulative number of cases exceeded 12 million on Saturday, six days after crossing the previous million, or six days after the previous million.

As of Friday alone, there were more than 195,000 new confirmed cases and 1,878 deaths reported, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

More than 255,000 people died in total on Saturday afternoon.

And according to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 1,000 hospitals, spread across all 50 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico, say they are “sorely” understaffed. And that number is expected to increase after the holidays.

To avoid an even sharper increase in the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people not to travel at all on Thanksgiving. The CDC says Thanksgiving should only be spent with people who are actively living in your own household for at least 14 days before the holidays, as echoed by many health professionals.

“Travel can increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19,” the CDC said Thursday. “Postponing the trip and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.”

Meanwhile, two COVID-19 vaccines appear to be very effective. The first, created by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, is said to be 95% effective. The second, created by the biotechnology company Moderna Inc., has been reported to be 94.5% effective.

Pfizer officially asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve its vaccine for emergency use on Friday. Moderna is expected to do the same soon. Vaccines could be available to medical staff as early as December.

But even once approved, wider vaccine distribution could take months and face logistical challenges to ship the vaccine, store it and avoid shortages. And some healthcare professionals say that while potential vaccines may look promising, treating so many patients with the virus can take a toll on hospital staff.

“At this point, it won’t just depend on the availability of drugs, but the availability of staff,” said Dr. Abraar Karan, intern at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“A lot of us are exhausted,” Karan told Morning Edition.

It comes as two jobless federal pandemic relief programs, which currently provide a lifeline to millions of Americans, are at risk of expiring as Congress stalls on a new government bill. relief. About 12 million Americans could lose their aid on Boxing Day.

More than 25 members of Congress, at least 150 workers from Capitol Hill, President Trump and several people in Trump’s orbit have tested positive for the virus. This week, Donald Trump Jr. announced on Instagram that he too “had the ‘rona.”

“You wouldn’t know from what I felt or saw,” he said on Instagram Friday. “I was totally asymptomatic.”

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