The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US shot past 20 million on Friday, highlighting the challenges the nation faces in trying to bring the outbreak under control in the new year. Just two months ago, the total was half that. In addition, the US has the highest coronavirus death toll in the world: 336,000 people have died during the outbreak, Politico reports. December had the most deaths so far, at 77,500, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows. And Thursday became the fourth straight day that the number of people in US hospitals set a record, at 125,370, per CNN.
On Friday, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney called on the federal government to improve its performance in distributing coronavirus vaccines. The program "is woefully behind,” Romney said; only about 2 million Americans have received a dose. He urged President Trump's administration to establish vaccination sites at schools; retail pharmacies and hospitals have done most of the vaccinating so far. "That comprehensive vaccination plans have not been developed at the federal level and sent to the states as models is as incomprehensible as it is inexcusable," Romney said. (Read more coronavirus stories.)