US breaks 4,000 deaths from COVID-19 in 24 hours for 1st time

The United States hit the grim milestone as hospitals begin to buckle over an influx in cases and the new variant becomes present in eight states.
3:06 | 01/08/21

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Transcript for US breaks 4,000 deaths from COVID-19 in 24 hours for 1st time
We're going to switch gear answer get the latest on the coronavirus emergency. The U.S. Tallied more than 4,000 deaths in one day but there is some good news about the effectiveness of the vaccines. Kaylee Hartung joins us from los Angeles, California, with the latest. Good morning, Kaylee. Reporter: Hey, good morning, George. The virus, it's in a race with the vaccine and the virus, it's getting a little bit faster with the help of that new highly contagious variant that's spreading. The risk of infection right now, it's higher than ever and the pressure that that's putting on hospitals and first responders here, it's crushing. This morning, for the first time since the pandemic began, more than 4,000 deaths confirmed in just 24 hours. We have had a situation where we now are averaging between 200,000 and 300,000 infections per day and between 2,000 and 3,000 deaths per day. Every day is a new record for the number of people hospitalized with covid-19. Reporter: And now that highly contagious variant of the virus detected in eight states across the country. This variant has the potential to throw jet fuel on an already dangerous situation. Reporter: Andovernight potential good news on the vaccine front. In a new study that has not not been peer reviewed researchers from pfizer and the university of Texas have found that pfizer and biontech's vaccine is likely to protect against the new variants. Moderna also offering promising news on their effectiveness. We believe for potentially a couple years. Reporter: Nearly 6 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered. Still dramatically short of the projected 20 million vaccinations by the end of last December. As the virus spreads like wildfire with infections on the rise in 42 states a new model finds nearly 60% of covid cases are likely transmitted by people who don't have any symptoms. In California on average, there's a new case every six seconds. And first responders in southern California say hospitals here already look like a disaster It looks like a bomb went off, yeah. It's like people bleeding, there's people with stomach pain, covid patients lined up all down the street, you know, it's bad. Reporter: Ambulances are waiting up to 17 hours outside hospitals and running out of oxygen for their patients. Waiting here our patient was -- they literally had the oxygen tubing and had a connector so two patients were using the same oxygen flow at the same time so it's -- resources are really low. That was your best option. That was the only option. Reporter: And with ambulances piled up outside so many southern California hospitals, some have put a surge plan in place, they'll put one emt crew in charge of as many as eight patients. That means you put seven ambulances back on the streets to respond to 911 calls but that cannot shortcut the wait that some patients may have to endure to get a bed inside one of those hospitals, Michael. Thank you so much for that,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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