Latest on Covid-19 case numbers and vaccination outlook

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20 million people in the USA could be vaccinated by the end of 2020.

"Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours of the approval", Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientist advisor for Trump's Operation Warp Speed, told CNN.

Dr Slaoui said he hoped for a smooth transition and did not expect the vaccination effort to be derailed.

He said he would "be happy" to share any information already made public with the incoming Biden administration.

On Friday, Pfizer submitted an application to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, and an FDA vaccine advisory committee is slated to meet December 10.

Moderna is expected to seek approval later in December for its COVID-19 vaccine.

The latest breakthrough came on Monday as British company AstraZeneca said its vaccine could be 90% effective without any serious side effects, giving the world another important tool against the pandemic and one that is potentially cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale up than those of rivals.

He said that by May, with potentially 70 percent of the population having been vaccinated, the country could attain "herd immunity", meaning the virus can no longer spread widely - and that people can move closer to resuming their pre-coronavirus way of life.

Slaoui said they are likely to include doctors, nurses and "front-line" emergency medical personnel, as well as individuals considered to be at the highest risk of severe illness and death from the virus, such as the elderly. Most pharmacies offering COVID-19 tests in suburban Chicago were fully booked.

"We're clearly involved now in a very, very hard surge here throughout the United States and even globally", Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, told NBC.

The United States must distribute tens of millions of vaccines while also combating misinformation about vaccines spread on social media. A recent Gallup poll showed only 58 per cent of Americans would get the vaccine, up from 50 per cent in September.

Mr Biden warned last week that "more people will die if we don't coordinate".

USA healthcare workers and others recommended for the nation's first COVID-19 inoculations could start getting shots within a day or two of regulatory consent next month, a top official of the government's vaccine development effort said on Sunday.

Worldwide, almost 1.4 million people have died this year and at least 58 million cases have been registered.

Health experts worry that the surge will only worsen, as millions of Americans prepared to travel and congregate in family groups for Thanksgiving celebrations, despite warnings that they stay home to avoid spreading the disease.



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