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72K New COVID Cases, 476 Deaths In US

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72286 new coronavirus cases were reported in the United States on Monday, taking the national total to 31268132. This is higher than the 7-day average of 69030.

476 new deaths were reported in the country on the same day, which is less than half of the weekly average of 985. With this, the COVID death toll in the U.S. increased to 562533, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus infections are surging disproportionately in Michigan, placing it among the worst of the nation's hot zones. More than 10000 cases were reported in the state on Monday alone, prompting CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky to call on the authorities to "shut things down" rather than try to lean more heavily on vaccines.

She said CDC's most recent data show that the seven-day average for new cases has increased about 3 percent over the prior seven-day period.

Hospital admissions also continued to increase. The most recent seven-day average — a little over 5,300 admissions per day — is a 6.6 percent increase from the prior seven-day period. And deaths decreased 5.2 percent to a seven-day average of 684 per day.

Vaccinations continue to increase, with more than 3 million vaccines delivered across the country daily. A record high of 4.6 million doses were administered on Saturday.

"We are now 82 days into the 100-day mark and have administered more than 166 million vaccinations towards the President's goal of 200 million vaccinations in the first 100 days," the CDC chief said while giving an update on the Biden administrations fight against the pandemic.

White House Senior Advisor for COVID Response Andy Slavitt said at a White House briefing that more than 72 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against the virus. Twenty-eight percent of adults are now fully vaccinated across the U.S.

Significant progress has been made in vaccinating Americans above the age of 65. Seventy-eight percent have now had at least their first shot. Slavitt announced that on Monday, a new federally run mass vaccination site was opened in Central Point, Oregon.

"By next week, we will have opened a total of 36 mass vaccination sites, with a combined capability of administering 124,000 shots per day".

"And in states like Michigan, where we are seeing troubling metrics, we are taking action by deploying resources in four critical areas: shots in arms, personnel, testing, and therapeutics," Slavitt told reporters.

Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said that herd immunity is an "elusive concept" and there is no definitive percentage of the population that needs to be vaccinated to achieve it. A return to normalcy is "not going to be like a light switch going on and off," he told BBC Radio 4 Today.

Meanwhile, a new study says that though the UK variant of the coronavirus spreads more easily than older strains, it doesn't cause more severe disease among hospitalized patients. The new variant, clinically known as B.1.1.7, is lately dominating in some countries, including the United States and the U.K.

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