US adds over 55,000 cases in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins

News Desk

WASHINGTON: The United States on Sunday recorded 55,187 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, Johns Hopkins University reported in its real-time tally.

The world s hardest-hit country now has a total caseload of 4,229,624, the Baltimore-based university showed at 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Monday).

An additional 518 deaths brought the overall death toll to 146,909.

After a drop in infection rate in the late spring, the US has seen a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, particularly in southern and western states such as California, Texas, Alabama and Florida.

The last time the daily number of new cases clocked in below 60,000 was almost two weeks ago, on July 13.

Scientists agree that an increase in death rates follows the spike in infections by three to four weeks.

The daily death toll for the past four days exceeded 1,000.

– US doubles spending on potential virus vaccine to nearly $1 billion –

The United States has doubled its investment — to nearly $1 billion — to expedite development of a potential COVID-19 vaccine by American firm Moderna, which on Monday begins the decisive final phase of clinical trials.

The government now plans to spend up to $472 million on top of the previously announced $483 million, the Moderna biotechnology company announced Sunday.

Moderna said the added investment was justified by its decision, in conjunction with the government, to “significantly” expand a Phase Three clinical trial of a candidate vaccine to include 30,000 participants.

In a small, initial trial, Moderna s experimental vaccine produced coronavirus antibodies — which should help fend off the disease — in the bodies of all 45 participants.

In the expanded trial starting Monday, half the 30,000 participants will receive a 100-microgram dose of the vaccine, while the rest will be given a placebo.

The United States has suffered more than 146,000 coronavirus deaths, leading the world in that grim category, even as the number of new cases has continued to surge.

It has announced massive investments in a huge effort to expedite vaccine development and get millions of Americans vaccinated by early next year.