"We are still facing a dark winter," warned US President-elect Joe Biden as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen in the United States. On Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the US hit 10 million, including 237,000 deaths. "The challenge before us right now is still immense and growing," he said, urging Americans to wear masks.
"The goal of mask-wearing is not to make your life less comfortable, or to take something away from you," he said. "It is to give something back to all of us. A normal life."
The remarks came hours after American drugmaker Pfizer and German pharmaceutical company BioNTech announced that data analysis shows their COVID-19 vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. Biden called the news "positive" but stressed that the vaccine, even if it's approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, "will not be widely available for many months yet to come."
"Projections still indicate we could lose 200,000 more lives in the coming months before a vaccine can be made available to everyone," he added.
Meanwhile, health experts have expressed serious concerns that the US was ill-prepared for the upcoming winter season and the holidays when the COVID-19 pandemic could spiral into its deadliest phase.
As of Tuesday morning, the overall number of global coronavirus cases in the US has increased 10,051,722, while the deaths have surged to 238,201, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
The two tallies currently account for the highest in the world, making the US the worst-hit country.
The US is heading into a fall holiday season marked by family gatherings and longer indoor periods, while the signs of further Covid-19 restrictions are basically non-existent, according to an article published by The Guardian.
Washington's strategy toward the pandemic boils down to one word -- hope, which is not a strategy, said Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean of the Emory School of Medicine and Grady Health System in Georgia. He predicted that the daily number of new cases could reach 200,000 by Thanksgiving which falls on November 26, if the country's public health measures continue as they currently operate.
"We are heading into the very worst of the pandemic right now," Megan Ranney, an emergency room doctor at Brown University told The Guardian, adding that the fate of the country in the pandemic depends much on the next two months.
The situation could be exacerbated as US businesses are exhausting their pandemic relief aid, an ominous sign foreboding more layoffs and bankruptcies, the report said.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported a record-high average daily increase of Covid-19 cases at nearly 100,000, a new milestone since the onset of the pandemic in the country.
Global cases surpass 50.8 million
The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 50.8 million, while the deaths have surged to 1,262,370, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
As of Tuesday morning, the total caseload and death toll stood at 50,812,345 and 1,262,372, respectively, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.
The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 10,051,722 and 238,201, respectively, according to the CSSE.
India comes in second place in terms of cases at 8,553,657, while the country's death toll soared to 126,611.
The other countries with more than a million confirmed cases are Brazil (5,675,032), France (1,856,292), Russia (1,781,997), Spain (1,381,218), Argentina (1,250,499), the UK (1,216,747) and Colombia (1,149,068), the CSSE figures showed.
Brazil currently accounts for the second-highest number of fatalities at 162,628.
The countries with a death toll above 20,000 are Mexico (95,027), the UK (49,329), Italy (41,750), France (41,049), Spain (39,345), Iran (38,749), Peru (34,879), Argentina (33,907), Colombia (32,974) and Russia (30,546).