Roundup: U.S. sees record-high daily COVID-19 deaths as new administration takes office

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The United States registered a record high of over 4,300 daily COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday as the new administration took office.

A total of 188,156 new cases and 4,383 deaths were reported across the country on Wednesday, according to the data updated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Thursday.

Currently, the country averages about 194,000 daily increase of cases and 3,000 deaths, CDC data show.

More than 122,000 people were being hospitalized as of Wednesday, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

Nationwide, COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact communities of color. In Arizona, Indigenous people are 3 times more likely to have been hospitalized with COVID-19 than their white neighbors, according to the tracking project.

California on Wednesday became the first state in the United States to register more than 3 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. The Golden State is the most populous U.S. state with a population of around 40 million.

Official statistics showed that it took about 10 months for California to reach the threshold of 1 million confirmed cases on Nov. 13, 2020, and another six weeks to hit the 2 million mark on Dec. 24, 2020. The state went on to hit the 3 million mark in four weeks.

U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled his national strategy for COVID-19 response on Thursday, and signed additional executive orders to combat the pandemic.

The orders include improving supply chains for the pandemic, keeping workers safe, ensuring equitable response, promoting safe travel, and expanding treatment for COVID-19.

Biden said his plan also begins with an "aggressive" vaccination campaign, calling the vaccine rollout in the country a "dismal failure" thus far.

COVID-19 death toll in the nation may top 500,000 next month, and cases will continue to mount, Biden said. Things are going to continue to get worse before getting better, he added.

Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Thursday his "best-case scenario" is getting 85 percent of Americans vaccinated by the end of summer.

"If we get 70 percent to 85 percent of the country vaccinated, let's say by the middle of the summer, I believe by the time we get to the fall, we will be approaching a degree of normality," Fauci said at a White House press briefing.

The COVID-19 pandemic was at the top of Biden's agenda on his first day in office. His inauguration came at a time when the country recorded over 24 million COVID-19 cases and over 400,000 deaths.

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