Transcript for 64,000 Americans die of COVID-19 in 1st 3 weeks of 2021
We begin tonight with the covid-19 crisis. One year in, and America now on track for its deadliest month yet with the variant spreading that may be more lethal, and still more chaos and confaugs in the vaccine rollout. Images from Arizona highlighting what is still happening here, a victim loaded into a truck. Nearly 64,000 Americans have died of covid-19 in the first three weeks of 2021. That surge driving the total U.S. Lives lost to more than 416,000. Health officials expect we'll hit 500,000 fatalities by February. That uk variant that British officials have said may be up to 30% deadlier is now in 22 states with researchers racing to identify it. While Friday saw the nation's highest single day number of vaccines given, some 1.6 million doses, the rollout remains inconsistent, with some patients waiting hours and some states running out of supply, including right here in New York. We will have more on the vaccine in just a moment, but we begin with covid's deadly grip on the nation. ABC's Trevor Ault leads us off from New York City. Reporter: Tonight, with January on track for more coronavirus cases and deaths than any month so far, new concerns about the uk variant, with some British officials warning it could be up to 30% more deadly. Scientists are stressing more research is needed as to whether the variant is indeed deadlier. Bottom line, these are serious situations that we follow very closely, and if necessary, we will adapt to it. Reporter: With the variant now confirmed in at least 22 states, Stanford medicine launching large-scale surveillance in the bay area to identify it or any other variant. This virus is quite transmissible, and some of these new variants may be even more transmissible. Reporter: On average this week, an American death from covid-19 was reported every 30 seconds. This Georgia school district losing two teachers within hours of each other, sparking protests against schools re-opening there. Teachers and staff shouldn't have to die to be able to do their job. Reporter: And some states that were already ravaged by the virus over the summer are once again seeing a surge. While we wish that this pandemic would be behind us at this time, we're definitelnot there. Reporter: Florida reporting a record-tying 277 deaths Friday along with 14,000 new cases. The CDC says Arizona has the highest number of cases per capita in the country. To think back, it's hard, and you'd rather just not, because if you think back, it hurts. Reporter: Phoenix nurse melody nungaray-ortiz fighting back tears thinking about the chaos and heartbreak she and her team fight through every day. Sorry, it's fine. The painful memories going back nearly a year now. And Trevor Ault joins us outside a hospital here in New York. Trevor, while cases and deaths nationally both started to trend down, there are still many areas seeing troubling numbers, including right here in new York. Reporter: That's right, Tom. New York has now climbed back into the top five states in terms of new daily cases per capita. And here in New York City, a third of the city's zip codes, home to millions of people, have seen the positivity rate climb above 10%. Tom? Trevor Ault leading us off tonight.
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