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US COVID-19 death toll surpasses 300k as vaccine rollout beings

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(NEW YORK) — The first COVID-19 vaccine was distributed in the U.S. Monday, which also coincided with the nation officially reporting over 300,000 deaths due to the virus.

Long Island Jewish Medical Center critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay became the first person in New York and, possibly, the first American to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services, stressed the importance of all Americans getting inoculated and said that 20 million Americans should receive the first dose by the end of the month.

Azar adds that, by March, that number should climb to 100 million.

However, officials continue to express concern over the number of Americans who say they will not receive the vaccine and are working on an information media blitz to assuage concerns. 

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams announced that he will be receiving the vaccine when it becomes available to him, telling Good Morning America, “I will be getting it when they tell me I can get it — that’s how confident I am in its safety.”

As of Monday night, the COVID-19 death toll stands at 300,479 deaths, reports Johns Hopkins University.  The virus has also infected over 16.5 million Americans since COVID-19 was first reported in the country — which is nearly double the population of New York City, America’s most populous city.

The U.S. added over 190,000 new cases on Monday, the 41st straight day the nation suffered over 100,000 new positive cases.

The highest number of daily new infections was on December 11, where 231,775 new cases were confirmed.  

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