In about one year into the coronavirus pandemic, the United States death toll has surpassed the grim milestone of 500,000. Currently, the U.S. has reported more deaths than any other nation, and on a per capita basis only follows behind that United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Italy and Portugal.
The staggering death toll has but the coronavirus as one of the leading causes of death in the nation, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the virus killing at least 100,000 people in the past five weeks and reducing the country's life expectancy by one year.
Fortunately, the U.S. coronavirus death rate has begun to fall from its winter peak, when the pandemic's deadliest day on Jan. 12 took about 4,400 lives. Now, about 2,000 Americans die from their infections on average each day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. This rate has improved from the nation's high of over 3,000 per day in mid-January.
Since President Joe Biden took office in late January, his administration has been working to increase the amount of vaccines shipped weekly to states as the nation continues its massive nationwide roll out. On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced that it will now supply states with 14.5 million doses of either the Pfizer
"Today on his weekly governors call with America's governors, our COVID coordinator Jeff Zients announced the fifth consecutive week of supply increases," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated during a press conference on Tuesday. "States will now receive 14.5 million doses this week, up from 8.6 million doses per week when the president took office."
Moveover, the supply of coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. is also expected to substantially increase next month as manufacturers increase the pace of their production, company executives from the major vaccine developers Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson
Pfizer's Chief Business Officer John Young told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee in written testimony that the drugmaker expects to deliver over 13 million doses per week of its vaccine to the U.S. by mid-March. That is more than double the roughly 4 to 5 million weekly doses the company delivered at the beginning of February.
"We are on track to make 120 million doses availed for shipment by the end of March and an additional 80 million doses by the end of May," Young stated. "We anticipate all 300 million contracted doses will be made available for shipment by the end of July, enabling the vaccination of up to 150 million Americans."
Moderna's President Dr. Stephen Hoge told Congress that the company expects to deliver 40 million doses per month by April, which will be about double the drugmaker's current production rate.
"As we work to meet these goals, we are continually learnings and working closed with our partners and the federal government to identify ways to address bottleneck and accelerate out production," Hoge stated in his written testimony, highlighting on how the company has recently proposed to the FDA to allow 15 doses to be drawn from each vial to address constraints in its production lines.
Finally, Johnson & Johnson's Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Richard Nettles told Congress that the company is able to ship more than 20 million doses to the U.S. by the end of March, pending the one-shot coronavirus vaccine candidate's emergency use authorization approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which could happen by the end of the week.