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COVID-19: Single-day U.S. virus deaths surpass 3,000



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As the United States marches closer to distributing a COVID-19 vaccine, the nation experienced one of its highest single-day death toll in its 243-year history on Wednesday, which saw over 3,000 Americans die from the novel coronavirus, making it one of the deadliest days in American history and the deadliest so far during the pandemic, the Associated Press reported Thursday afternoon.

At the time of publication, this bone-chilling number makes Wednesday deadlier than both the first day of the 1944 D-Day invasion of France (2,500) and the September 11, 2001 attacks (2,977).

For additional perspective, prior to this month, the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (2,403) was arguably the fourth-deadliest day in U.S. history, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt called “a date which will live in infamy”. Recent single-day COVID-19 death tolls have been significantly topping that of Pearl Harbor, pushing that day down the list.

The two single-deadliest days are typically agreed to be the 1862 Battle of Antietam (3,600) from the Civil War and then the 1900 Galveston Hurricane (8,000).

So far, the pandemic has taken the lives of more than 290,000 Americans, with well over 15 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Reporting 3,124 deaths on Wednesday, this makes it the deadliest day of the pandemic for the United States to date, with April 15 previously holding that record with 2,603 deaths.

Unfortunately, trends don’t point to the virus’s spread slowing down in the immediate future. In just five days, the U.S. has seen its number of cases rise by one million. On top of that, more than 106,000 infected Americans in hospitals, which is causing many of them to run low on space and staff.

New pandemic-related records, however, are being set almost every day now.

Despite the data painting a grim picture for the United States’ current situation, the future does hold some promise.

A U.S. government advisory panel endorsed Pfizer’s vaccine late on Thursday, with a final decision from the Food and Drug Administration approving the shot expected in days, per the AP. The FDA is widely expecting to follow the panel’s recommendation. While shots could start being distributed to frontline medical workers and others in days, the vaccine availability to the general public is expected to not happen for months.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’



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Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.


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