As the US gets the vaccination drive off the ground in various states, the country reported a new daily record death toll of 4,470 in the last 24 hours.
According to John Hopkins coronavirus resource centre’s live tracker, the US recorded 235,000 new infections. It is the first time the country has surpassed 4,000 fatalities in 24 hours since the pandemic began last year.
At least 131,000 patients are now hospitalized in the US with coronavirus.
There are over 22 million COVID-19 cases in the United States and over 380,540 deaths. Amid the surge in cases, US authorities have declared that air travellers entering the country will need a negative coronavirus test before departure with the policy coming into effect on January 26.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said on Tuesday that the US-Canada border will remain closed to all non-essential travellers until February 21 amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
The US-Canada border was initially closed in March 2020 and has been renewed monthly since then for travellers with only trade in goods and essential travel allowed.
The virus has spread rapidly across the border in Canada which has reported 17,000 deaths.
Representative Brad Schneider of Illinois became the third Democratic member of the US Congress to test positive for coronavirus on Tuesday after the Capitol Hill storming.
Schneider lashed out at those who have refused to wear masks saying: “After narrowly escaping a violent mob incited by (President Donald Trump) to attack the Capitol and its occupants, I was forced to spend several hours in a secure but confined location with dozens of other Members of Congress.”
“Several Republican lawmakers in the room adamantly refused to wear a mask… even when politely asked by their colleagues,” Schneider said, adding,”I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff.”
Two other Democrats – Pramila Jayapal from Washington and Bonnie Watson Coleman had tested positive for the virus earlier.