New COVID-19 deaths in U.S. rise to highest level in 2 weeks

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Feb. 25 (UPI) -- New coronavirus cases in the United States remain on a downward trend, but the number of additional deaths is the highest in two weeks, according to data Thursday from Johns Hopkins University.

The data show an addition of almost 75,000 COVID-19 cases nationwide on Wednesday, a slight increase over the day before but still way down from the peak in the middle of January.

Deaths, however, spiked to about 3,200 on Wednesday, according to the data. That's the highest single-day toll since Feb. 10, when 3,300 died.

Since the start of the pandemic a year ago, there have been 28.34 million cases and about 505,900 related deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins.

The rising availability of coronavirus vaccines is the primary cause for the reduction in cases over the last few weeks, experts say. So far in the United States, about 88.7 million doses have been distributed and about 66.5 million doses have been administered.

President Joe Biden will participate Thursday afternoon in the National Governors Association winter meeting, which is expected to discuss vaccine distribution efforts in the states. Biden will meet with the group at about 4 p.m. EST.

Other COVID-19 updates on Thursday:

Pfizer and BioNTech say in their first real-world test that their coronavirus vaccine has been 94 effective in preventing symptomatic coronavirus cases. It's the first nontrial report on any vaccine's effectiveness.Moderna, the manufacturer of the other vaccine available in the United States, says it will soon begin testing a different version of its vaccine on the variant strain first identified in South Africa.
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