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the coronavirus crisis

U.S. sets record for most COVID-19 deaths in 1 day

The U.S. set a new record Thursday for the most COVID-19 deaths in one day, as at least 4,051 people died of the coronavirus.

This was the first time more than 4,000 deaths were reported in one day. In California, more than 1,000 people have died of the virus in the past two days, with one person dying of COVID-19 every eight minutes in Los Angeles County. The state's two-week positivity rate has reached 12.9 percent, a record high, and nearly 23,000 people are hospitalized with the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, told NPR on Thursday the increase in coronavirus cases is likely a reflection of people traveling over the holidays and attending gatherings. "We believe things will get worse as we get into January," he said, but people can still do their part to "blunt that acceleration" by wearing masks and social distancing.

Fauci urged people to remain vigilant, as the country's vaccination program is starting to ramp up. So far, only 5.9 million people have received the vaccine in the U.S., a far cry from the Trump administration's promise that 20 million vaccines would be administered by the end of 2020. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the U.S. has recorded more than 21.6 million coronavirus cases and more than 365,000 deaths.