Pfizer and BioNTech said they will seek Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for their COVID-19 vaccine within days.
More than a quarter-million people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, the Johns Hopkins University tally recorded on Wednesday, marking a bleak new milestone for the pandemic.
The US, which has now registered 250,029 fatalities, has by far the highest national death toll, ahead of Brazil with 166,699 deaths, India with 130,993 deaths and Mexico with 99,026.
President Donald Trump has consistently downplayed the threat of the virus, seldom wearing a mask and holding large, packed rallies while campaigning for the November 3 election that he lost to Joe Biden.
Trump – who has not conceded the race – and his administration appear to be blocking the transition of power to President-elect Biden until the Trump campaign’s legal challenges are settled.
On Wednesday, Biden warned, “There’s a whole lot of things that we just don’t have available to us,” including real-time data on personal protective equipment and the distribution plan for COVID-19 vaccines.
Keeping this information could slow his transition’s team’s ability to prepare to handle the virus, Biden has said.
Social distancing, mask-wearing and other measures are followed unevenly in some parts of the US despite a surge in recent cases and deaths.
New York City cancelled in-person classes and shuttered schools on Wednesday, retreating from its position as one of the first large school systems to reopen.
The country has recently recorded more than 1,000 deaths and 150,000 new cases each day.
Regions like the Midwest that largely avoided the first and second waves of coronavirus infections in 2020 are also seeing alarming spikes.
Two trial vaccines have recently performed well in tests, offering hope for the US and world.
Biden has appealed to Americans to wear masks and socially distance until a vaccine become widely available.