The COVID-19 pandemic has now killed more than 405,000 people in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University, reaching a grave new milestone on the day President Joe Biden promised to curb the pandemic.
"We will need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. We are entering what may well be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus,” Biden said Wednesday in his inaugural address.
One of Biden’s first moves as president was implementing a mask mandate on federal property and bringing America back into the World Health Organization.
The United States leads the world in both the number of fatalities and total infections, with more than 24.4 million confirmed cases, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The Western state of California on Tuesday became the first in the United States to post more than 3 million total COVID-19 cases.
Multiple states, including New York and Florida, have reported they are running out of vaccine, with some residents saying they have had their vaccine appointments canceled.
Multiple European Union countries and Canada have complained about reduced shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, with Italy threatening to pursue legal action against the company. Pfizer announced on Friday a temporary reduction in vaccine shipments as it upscales its plant in Belgium.
Brazil is also running into problems with its mass vaccination drive. The country has granted emergency approval for vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Chinese-based Sinovac, but Brazil’s domestic biomedical laboratories have not received the necessary ingredients from China to produce the vaccines. Officials have blamed bureaucratic issues in China for the shipment delays.
Meanwhile, India, which has produced its own coronavirus vaccine, began supplying doses to neighboring countries Wednesday. India’s Foreign Ministry announced it would ship 150,000 doses to Bhutan and 100,000 to the Maldives.