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For the first time, more than 3,000 Covid-19-related deaths were recorded in the United States on Wednesday. More than 290,000 people have died from the coronavirus across the country since the beginning of the pandemic this spring.
As at least 15 U.S. states step up their own efforts to encourage people to take a Covid-19 vaccine, countries across the world are hurtling ahead with unprecedented plans to vaccinate millions of vulnerable adults and frontline healthcare workers.
- Map of U.S. hot spots and worldwide Covid-19 cases.
- Tracking surges in states across the country this winter.
- Map of travel restrictions and which states have a mask mandate.
- Click here for more of NBC News' Covid-19 coverage.
Germany reports highest one-day virus increase
BERLIN — Germany has reported its highest one-day total of new coronavirus cases, while the number of deaths linked to COVID-19 has climbed above 20,000.
The national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, said Thursday that 23,679 new cases were confirmed over the previous 24 hours. That’s just above the previous record of 23,648 from Nov. 20.
A partial shutdown that started Nov. 2 has succeeded in keeping the surge from picking up speed, but the number of daily new cases have remained around the same high level in recent weeks rather than falling. Momentum is building for a harder lockdown over Christmas and New Year, and some regions already are introducing new restrictions.
That’s partly because deaths, which have been relatively low in Germany compared with several other European countries, have increased markedly. Another 440 deaths were reported on Thursday, following a single-day record of 590 on Wednesday.
That brought the total so far to 20,372. Germany has reported some 1.24 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
Inside the Covid vaccine distribution plan
Nearly 223,000 new cases reported as U.S. tops previous highs
On Wednesday, the United States saw more coronavirus cases than it had ever seen before in a single day. It was also the country's deadliest day in the pandemic.
The U.S. reported 222,994 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, according to an NBC News tally. The previous daily-case record was set a week ago on December 3, when the U.S. recorded 219,394 cases.
More than 3,100 Covid-deaths were also recorded.
Only half in U.S. want vaccine, AP-NORC poll finds
WASHINGTON — As states frantically prepare to begin months of vaccinations that could end the pandemic, a new poll finds only about half of Americans are ready to roll up their sleeves when their turn comes.
The survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows about a quarter of U.S. adults aren’t sure if they want to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Roughly another quarter say they won’t.
Many on the fence have safety concerns and want to watch how the initial rollout fares — skepticism that could hinder the campaign against the scourge that has killed nearly 290,000 Americans. Experts estimate at least 70 percent of the U.S. population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, or the point at which enough people are protected that the virus can be held in check.
In the survey of 1,117 American adults conducted Dec. 3-7, about 3 in 10 said they are very or extremely confident that the first available vaccines will have been properly tested for safety and effectiveness. About an equal number said they are not confident. The rest fell somewhere in the middle.
The margin of error is ±3.9 percentage points for the full sample.
FDA authorizes at-home test kit that doesn't require prescription
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized a Covid-19 home collection kit that does not require a prescription, the agency announced.
LabCorp’s home collection kit must be sent away for analysis, but a top FDA official said that it removes a step. There are other collect-at-home kits, but this is the first authorized for sale over-the-counter at stores or online, the agency said.
The LabCorp Pixel COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit involves a person collecting a nasal swab and then sending it in. If positive, users get a call from a health care provider. Negative results are emailed or available online, the FDA said.
Dr. Brian Caveney, chief medical officer and president of LabCorp Diagnostics, said in a statement that the authorization could help more people get tested and reduce the spread of the virus.
The FDA last month granted emergency authorization to a test that is taken at home and gives results at home, but that needs a prescription and is for people who health providers suspect have Covid-19.
LA cancels annual homeless count, citing Covid safety concerns
Los Angeles County is postponing its annual homeless count, a federally mandated survey that stretches across the region and helps to determine funding allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
HUD granted the exemption as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and concerns by public health officials who said there was no safe way to mobilize thousands of volunteers in California's most populous county without exposing people to Covid-19.
“Since the pandemic first came to our region, LAHSA has put the health and safety of our clients, volunteers and community first. We did not come to this decision easily, but it is the safe one, and the right one,” said Heidi Marston, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority executive director.
According to the 2020 homelessness count, which was conducted in January, the number of unhoused people in L.A. county increased by nearly 13 percent. The city of L.A. experienced a 16 percent increase in the number of residents experiencing homelessness.
Cleaning supplies in short supply
More than 200 attend State Department holiday party
More than 200 people attended a “holiday cheer” reception hosted by the State Department on Tuesday night at Blair House, the presidential guest house, a U.S. official tells NBC News.
The number of guests who attended was far short of the more than 370 who had RSVP’d to attend the event for the Diplomatic Corps — foreign ambassadors posted to Washington.
Of the roughly 200, about 70 were State Department staff and their guests. That means about 130 were members of the diplomatic corps and their families.
Among those who attended were ambassadors from Afghanistan, Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Hungary, Iceland, Jordan, South Sudan, Nepal and the Netherlands. No ambassadors from G-7 countries attended, and the only ambassador from a G-20 nation who attended was Argentina's.
The attendees walked over to Blair House after attending a tour and open house at the White House, where they were given arrival times in an attempt to space out the guests at the White House.
Tayo Help fighting Covid-19 misinformation in the Filipino community
A group of Filipino professionals is working to provide the Filipino community with reliable information on Covid-19 through a new website, Tayo Help. The group, led by journalist Leezel Tanglao, launched the initiative to connect the community to resources, debunk misinformation and collect data on the Filipino community.
“Essentially, what we're building now is an information infrastructure for community resilience so that we're not always being so reactive, but we're always, constantly being proactive in responding to crises like this,” Tanglao told NBC News.
Tayo means “us” in Tagalog, a major language of the Philippines.
“We felt like it was very appropriate for this project because by helping us as a community, we are actually helping everyone else. ... That's one of the big goals for this project," Tanglao said.
Tayo Help was launched in October and is part of the Caretaker Project, run by the Filipino Young Leaders Program. The group received a grant from the Booz Allen Foundation earlier this year that helped launch the project.
More than 3,000 Covid deaths reported Wednesday
For the first time, more than 3,000 Covid-related deaths were recorded across the country Wednesday, according to an NBC News tally.
The previous single-day record was set April 22, when 2,861 deaths were reported.
More than 290,000 people have died from the coronavirus across the United States since the beginning of the pandemic this spring.
As of Thursday, in the past week, the U.S. has averaged 208,179 cases per day and 2,307 deaths per day. That's up from 161,158 cases and 1,213 deaths per day four weeks ago.