US surpasses 250,000 coronavirus deaths as pandemic surges

The number of lives lost to COVID-19 continues to climb in the United States as the holiday season draws near.

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The pandemic continues to surge in the United States as more and more citizens fall ill with COVID-19 with fatal consequences.

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According to data reported by NBC News, the country recorded a quarter-million deaths, crossing the 250,000 mark on Wednesday morning. In the last month, there has been a 42% increase in the number of fatalities due to coronavirus. The data revealed the weekly average climbed from 821 per day in October to 1,167 now.

The New York Times reported the states of Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Wisconsin have all counted more deaths over the past week than in any other seven-day span since the pandemic began. On Friday, public health officials counted more than 181,000 new cases across the country, more than ever before. Health professionals fear the number of positive cases and trauma will only continue to trend in a negative direction.

“It’s getting bad and it’s potentially going to get a lot worse,” Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told the Times. “The months ahead are looking quite horrifying.”

“We can expect the case and death count to continue to rise exponentially unless we take serious measures to mitigate the virus,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a historian of epidemics at the University of Michigan. “All of this is terrible news.”

As the virus continues to spread, pharmaceutical companies hope to soon loosen COVID-19’s grasp on the country. As theGrio reported, both Pfizer and Moderna say their vaccines are over 90% effective in preventing coronavirus infections. Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president, said multiple companies with working immunizations is important, according to the report.

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A healthcare worker hands off a coronavirus testing sample for processing at the Lee Davis Community Resource Center on June 25, 2020 in Tampa. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

“That should give us all hope that actually a vaccine is going to be able to stop this pandemic and hopefully get us back to our lives,” he remarked. “It won’t be Moderna alone that solves this problem. It’s going to require many vaccines.”

The Food and Drug Administration approved The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit, the first at-home coronavirus testing kit this week, according to a statement.

“While COVID-19 diagnostic tests have been authorized for at-home collection, this is the first that can be fully self-administered and provide results at home,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said. “This new testing option is an important diagnostic advancement to address the pandemic and reduce the public burden of disease transmission.”

According to the Lucira Health website, the kit can provide results indicating a positive or negative coronavirus diagnostic in up to 30 minutes. Individuals 14 and older are instructed to swab their nose, stir the sample into the provided vial and wait for the results which can come in as little as 11 minutes. The company hopes to have the kit available nationally through health care providers by early spring 2021.

“Antigen tests detect viral proteins and can provide results quickly. However, they are not diagnostically definitive and are more likely to miss an active coronavirus infection, or positive result, compared to molecular tests. Molecular tests like Lucira’s are 50 to 60 times more sensitive than antigen tests, and considered the ‘gold standard’ for determining if someone is infected,” Lucira Health CEO Erik Engelson said in a press release.

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Lucira’s single-use device has been in the works for over five years. What initially began as a flu test kit was shifted to COVID-19 efforts once the pandemic started.

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