Even with four days remaining, January is already the deadliest month of the coronavirus pandemic the U.S. has seen thus far.

More than 79,000 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported this month, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker, surpassing last month’s record mark by more than 1,000, CNN reported.

The rising death toll comes as new, more contagious variants of the virus begin to appear in the U.S. The number of overall cases in the U.S. have began to slow somewhat, however, with the 146,460 reported Tuesday far fewer than the one-day record of 300,372 logged on Jan. 2.

President Biden nevertheless has warned that the pandemic will worsen before it gets better even as vaccines are distributed throughout the country. The new president aims to have 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days of his presidency, but is still encouraging Americans to wear face masks during that time.

As of Wednesday, roughly 44.4 million doses of vaccine have been distributed in the U.S., though only about 23.5 million have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The U.S. currently has 25.4 million coronavirus cases and more than 425,000 virus-related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins data.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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