The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported Saturday that the U.S. had passed the 12 million mark in COVID-19 cases.
“We want to call on every American to increase their vigilance,” Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said this week of the exploding numbers in U.S. cases.
Friday, U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, said they have filed for emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use their COVID-19 vaccine, saying they are poised to begin distribution within hours of receiving approval.
The application comes after the companies said testing shows the vaccine has an effectiveness rate of 95%, with no serious safety concerns observed to date.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday that the FDA could decide about emergency use for the vaccine candidate within weeks.
Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said Friday she expects the number of new daily cases to reach 20,000 per day, up from just under 5,000 per day currently, if Canadians maintain their current number of personal contacts.
However, she warned that number could spike to 60,000 a day by the end of December if Canadians increase their level of contact with other people, a possible scenario with the Christmas holiday season looming.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on Canadians to stay home and follow public health rules to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s acting health minister has called his country’s coronavirus infection rate “terrifying.”
“Three weeks ago, we registered 200 cases. Two weeks ago, the number increased to 500 and this week the number has jumped to 700 positive cases,” Osma Abdurrahim said this week in Khartoum.
Abdurrahim, who has recovered from COVID-19, is urging all Sudanese to be vigilant about wearing face masks and following all preventive measures to avoid contracting and transmitting the virus.