Jan. 27 (UPI) — New coronavirus cases across the United States have declined and the trend is continuing a gradual slide, but deaths related to COVID-19 spiked on Tuesday — to the fourth-highest one-day toll since the pandemic began, according to updated data from Johns Hopkins University.
Updated data Wednesday show there were about 146,600 new cases nationwide on Tuesday, a decline of a few thousand from the previous day but far below the average for January. In fact, the daily national case count has not exceeded 200,000 since Jan. 16.
Deaths on Tuesday, however, dramatically rose to about 4,100 nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins. Only three other days of the coronavirus era have seen more.
Since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago, there have been about 25.5 million coronavirus cases in the United States and 425,300 COVID-19 patients have died, according to the data.
Experts say part of the reason for the gradual decline in cases is greater distribution of vaccines.
Since two vaccines were approved in December, about 23.6 million doses have so far been administered nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials have distributed about 44.4 million doses.
President Joe Biden said Tuesday that there should be enough vaccine for 300 million Americans by the end of this summer.
“To a nation waiting for action, let me be clearest on this point: Help is on the way,” the president said after announcing the U.S. government has bought another 200 million doses.
Most experts, including the World Health Organization, don’t believe the vaccine will be prevalent enough to allow the United States to reach herd immunity until sometime in 2022.
Herd immunity occurs when enough people are immune to a disease that the virus ultimately has nowhere else to spread.
Other COVID-19 updates Wednesday:A pharmacist in Wisconsin, who admitted to believing various conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine claims, has pleaded guilty to destroying hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine.South Korea’s prime minister says the government in Seoul is willing to share excess vaccines with North Korea.Pharma company Eli Lilly says a monoclonal antibody treatment has proven to reduce hospitalizations for high-risk coronavirus patients by 70%.