The United States now has more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University showed Friday.
There have been 100,717 cases including 1,544 deaths as of 6:00 pm Eastern time (3:30 am IST).
The biggest cluster by far is in New York, home to almost half the cases, overwhelming the hospital system.
The United States has around 15,000 more confirmed cases than the second country on the list, Italy, and 20,000 more than China, where the disease was first identified but has since peaked.
The US death rate based on confirmed cases is about 1.5 per cent, compared to around 10.5 per cent in Italy.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
This death rate figure could fall, as greater testing reveals more people who are positive but asymptomatic.
It may also rise if more cities and states find themselves in a similar position to New York, which has seen more than 500 deaths and is experiencing a drastic shortage of hospital beds, personal protective equipment and ventilators.
"We're still seeing a rising number of cases, a rising number of hospitalizations, rising number of intensive care unit admission, a rising number of patients with the mechanical ventilators," Thomas Tsai, a professor of health policy at Harvard told AFP.