18:21 GMT27 January 2021
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (278)

    California's Department of Health recorded 53,711 new COVID-19 cases and at least 293 related deaths on December 15. While the state has begun receiving its first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, surging cases of the contagious disease continue to contribute to the ballooning death toll, which presently sits at about 21,500 fatalities.

    Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that a total of 5,000 body bags had been distributed to the counties of Los Angeles, San Diego and Inyo. 

    “There is a light at the end of the tunnel — but we are still in the tunnel,” Newsom highlighted during his COVID-19 response briefing. “We’re going through perhaps the most intense and urgent moment since the beginning of this pandemic.”

    ​The governor detailed that 60 53-foot refrigerated storage units have been reserved by the state. The mobile morgues are on standby in various counties and hospitals across California.  

    The state has averaged 32,352 new COVID-19 cases and 174.6 deaths per day over the last week, according to estimates provided by the LA Times. Comparatively, California's seven-day average for November 14 was 41 deaths.  

    “This is a deadly disease, and we need to be mindful of where we are,” the governor stated. 

    Newsom's grim warnings were issued alongside the rollout of his "Vaccinate All 58" campaign, which seeks "collective, inclusive action across all 58 counties to get people vaccinated" for the novel coronavirus. 

    Essential health care workers and "those among our most vulnerable in long-term care settings" will be given priority for the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

    The second dose will be administered some three weeks after the first.

    "While we have prepared for this surge with beds and equipment, staffing shortages are real and impact our medical system," Newsom emphasized in the announcement, urging Californians to "wear a mask, reduce mixing, stay home, stop the spread and save lives." 

    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (278)


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