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US, UK hit daily Covid cases high, Fauci says worst is not over yet (REUTERS)
US, UK hit daily Covid cases high, Fauci says worst is not over yet (REUTERS)

US, UK record daily high in Covid cases, Fauci says worst is not over yet

  • On Saturday, the United States recorded 277,000 infections in one day and the United Kingdom hit a new high with over 57,000 cases in one day
  • Anthony Fauci warned just days after Christmas that the worst of the pandemic may be yet to come, and it is driving the country to a critical point

The United States on Saturday saw its highest number yet of coronavirus cases recorded in one day, with more than 277,000 infections. With infections surging, top US government scientist Anthony Fauci warned just days after Christmas that the worst of the pandemic may be yet to come, and it is driving the country to a "critical point" as holiday travel spreads the virus.

Meanwhile, with 57,725 cases in one day, the United Kingdom on Saturday hit a daily record for new coronavirus infections. In the wake of the new coronavirus strain, the country looks set to soon overtake Italy once again to become the worst-hit country in Europe with nearly 75,000 COVID-19 deaths. The fear is that with rising infections, the number of deaths will also grow over the coming weeks.

The US marked 20.4 million cases overall and just under 350,000 deaths

The hardest-hit country in the world by the pandemic, the United States has marked 20.4 million cases overall and just under 350,000 deaths.

The country has floundered in its efforts to quell Covid-19, with its vaccination program beset by logistical problems and overstretched hospitals.

More than 4.2 million people in the US have already received their first jabs, with 13 million doses distributed, but that falls well behind the 20 million inoculations that President Donald Trump's administration promised by the end of 2020.

The UK registers another record increase in COVID-19 cases in 24 hours

With 57,725 new infections registered in one day, the total number of registered cases in the country to just under 2.6 million, according to government figures. Also, it has recorded its five highest daily new infection numbers over the past five days — all above 50,000 and double the number of only a few weeks ago.

At the same time, an additional 445 fatalities put the overall death toll at 74,570.

UK's health authorities do not keep a tally of recoveries, which leaves the number of active cases in the country unknown.

The UK may have been the origin of a new strain of the coronavirus which is believed to be 70 percent more infectious than its predecessor and may be driving the new wave of transmissions. Much of the UK is under the strictest level of lockdown with the holiday season effectively cancelled this year.

In the wake of the new Covid strain, the British government is facing mounting pressure from teachers' unions to keep schools in England closed for at least another two weeks.

The government, which oversees schools in England, has already decided to keep all schools in London closed next week to try to stem new infections. Unions want the policy extended across the whole of England, expressing fears about the health of both teachers and children.

US not to follow UK's decision to delay second doses: Fauci

The United States will not follow the UK's decision to delay the second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, said Fauci.

Fauci while speaking to CNN on Friday said, "I would not be in favor of that... We're going to keep doing what we're doing,"

According to CNN, the UK government announced on Wednesday that "the UK will prioritize giving the first dose of the vaccine to those in the most high-risk group" and allow the second dose to be given up to 12 weeks later.

The UK adopted the strategy to give as many people as possible the first dose as quickly as possible, saying it affords some amount of protection.

Asked about his previous remark on whether the US should change its approach and adopt the UK's plan where Fauci answered, "that's under consideration." He told CNN Friday that this comment had been "misinterpreted."

Fauci noted that in their clinical trials, Pfizer and Moderna - the makers of the two vaccines approved in the US - studied the effectiveness of two doses a few weeks apart, not a few months apart. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said, "The fact is we want to stick with what the science tells us, and the data that we have for both (vaccines) indicate you give a prime, followed by a boost in 21 days with Pfizer and 28 days with Moderna. And right now, that's the way we're going with it, and that's the decision that is made."

(With inputs from agencies)

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