The United States is taking another grim milestone as it fails to meet the end-of-year goal of administering 20 million COVID-19 vaccines.
The United States has passed 20 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, another grim milestone as states struggle to distribute vaccines.
The United States, which for months has recorded the highest number of infections and deaths linked to the novel coronavirus in the world, recorded just over 20 million infections on Friday around noon.
The tally is almost double that of India, which, with more than 10.2 million cases, is the second largest infection in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The United States has seen an increase in COVID-19 infections over the holiday season, as gatherings and travel across the country fueled the spread of the virus – and officials and healthcare workers have warned that hospitals were being pushed to their limits.
Johns Hopkins University reported this week that the United States had a record single-day death toll on Dec. 30 at 3,927. The country has now recorded more than 346,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The latest figures come as Donald Trump’s administration missed its end-of-year target of administering COVID-19 vaccines to 20 million people.
About 2.8 million people in the United States had received a vaccine on the last day of 2020, according to government figures, very short of the goal.
Trump has faced widespread criticism for his handling of the pandemic, which was a major issue during the November US presidential elections which saw the Republican leader defeated by Democrat Joe Biden.
Biden critical the vaccine rollout this week, claiming on Dec. 29 that “the vaccine distribution and administration effort is not progressing as it should.”
The US president-elect has vowed that his administration will adopt a scientific and factual response to the pandemic.
To date, the United States has approved two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use: Doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Inc vaccines have been shipped to states across the country, which are responsible for their deployment.
Healthcare workers and residents of long-term care homes were among the first to be vaccinated.