An additional 92,000 are projected to die from the virus in roughly the next three weeks, according to a cumulative forecast published by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
In Pennsylvania, officials say the number of hospitalizations is close to double the peak seen in the spring. The governor of Louisiana said earlier this week that the state is experiencing a “huge rise” in infections and hospital care. And in Arizona, officials on Tuesday recorded record-breaking Covid-19 hospital care and intensive care unit.
Hundreds of thousands of infections are added to the country’s total every day, and the United States has reported more than three million new infections since the beginning of the month.
Echoing the warnings of other leaders, LA officials added that “they have not yet fully seen the impact of the carryover around Christmas and New Year.”
States are expanding vaccination groups
Some experts have encouraged states to open up vaccination entitlements to several groups to facilitate vaccine administration.
In New Jersey, residents aged 65 and older, as well as residents aged 16-64 with certain chronic health conditions, can already register to be vaccinated, officials said Wednesday. California has also expanded its eligibility guidelines to include residents 65 and older. A state health department press release added that health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities in California continue to be a top priority for vaccinations.
“There is no higher priority than the efficient and equitable distribution of vaccines as quickly as possible to those facing the most severe consequences,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “People aged 65 and over are now the next groups who are eligible to start vaccinations. For those who are not yet eligible for vaccinations, here’s the turn.”
The announcements are similar to announcements by state leaders, including Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, who earlier this week said residents 65 and older, or those who already had a medical condition, could schedule an appointment for Covid-19 vaccinations.
“My top priority is not to try to overcome this epidemic with tougher and tougher commands,” Reeves said. “It’s getting better vaccination in spreading the vaccine, and we’re focusing on that now.”
Mass vaccination centers are opening
And as they expand the list of vaccinators, states are offering new options for where residents can shoot.
“This plan is in motion,” he said, adding that the city will provide further details when the plan was developed.
But Blasio’s announcement came about a day after he and New York Mets owner Steve Cohen said a 24-hour vaccine mega site would be set up at Citi Field in Queens later this month.
In Hawaii, officials said Wednesday they will open two new Covid-19 mass vaccination sites, which they hope will be able to vaccinate between 3,000 and 4,000 people a day in a few weeks.
The site can vaccinate up to 7,000 people a day, Andrew Do, acting chairman of the county supervisory board, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
That’s how pharmacies help
Pharmacies also play a key role in facilitating the administration of vaccines.
On Wednesday, the head of one of the largest pharmacy chains in the country expressed optimism that he could soon administer up to a million doses of vaccine a day.
“We very much hope that the federal program will open soon and open more direct distribution to pharmacies across the country, which will open up access,” Karen Lynch, executive vice president of CVS Health, said at the annual JP Morgan Health Conference on Wednesday. .
CVS can deliver 25 million vaccines a month, Lynch said through its nationwide retail locations.
“We have great availability,” Lynch added, saying the company’s 10,000 stores could reach about 85% of the U.S. population.
Walgreens also announced earlier this week that it is expected to deliver about 30 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine across the country by the end of this summer as the vaccines become available to the general public.
The drugstore chain said it would employ and train staff and increase digital and telephone booking options to prepare for the introduction of a wider vaccination.
“We’re making sure everyone is ready after that as soon as the vaccines become mass-available, and we think it’s likely to be March, April,” Walgreens CEO Walgreens said at the conference.
CNN’s Amanda Watts, Alexandra Meeks, Gregory Lemos, Lauren del Valle, Jamiel Lynch, Michael Nedelman and Sarah Moon contributed to this report.