US reaches record daily toll of 3,309 coronavirus deaths Saturday

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The U.S. has reached a record 3,309 daily coronavirus deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The deaths reported Friday exceeded by 6% the previous high of 3,124 deaths reported Wednesday.

The U.S. also reached a record daily confirmed infections at 231,775, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. That’s nearly 4,000 more than the previous high on Dec. 4.

The increases come as millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer start rolling into hospitals on Monday.

The first vaccines will go to hospital staff and other health care professionals.

The U.S. leads the world in confirmed cases at 15.9 million and deaths at more than 296,000. The coronavirus has caused more than 1.6 million global deaths.

U.S. officials say the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine will begin arriving in states Monday morning. Trucks will roll out Sunday morning as shipping companies deliver Pfizer’s vaccine to nearly 150 distribution centers across the United States.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump hasn’t publicly acknowledged this week’s record number of coronavirus deaths, hospitalizations and cases. He hailed the vaccine but made no mention of the toll the virus has taken.

The Federal Aviation Administration says pilots may receive the COVID-19 vaccine but may not fly for 48 hours.

The FAA says it is requiring the observation period “to maintain the highest level of safety” in the airspace it regulates. The 48-hour observation also applies to air traffic controllers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved emergency use of a vaccine developed by Pfizer and shipments are expected in various states on Monday.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses taken three weeks apart. The 48-hour period applies after both doses.

The FAA says it will monitor reaction to the vaccine. It requires similar waiting periods after aviation employees receive other vaccines, such tuberculosis and typhoid.

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