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New Coronavirus Strains Emerge

The number of global coronavirus cases surpassed 100 million as nations struggle to deal with new, more transmissible strains of the virus. The United States has the most cases in the world, with more than 25 million. India is second with more than 10 million cases, while Brazil ranks third with more than eight million. Over two million people have died from COVID-19.

The number of cases has doubled since reaching 50 million on November 7. The sharp rise over the past few months has been fueled by many factors, including increased holiday travel, people engaging in indoor activities due to cold weather, and several mutations that have made the virus more infectious.

A new strain discovered in the United Kingdom late last year has forced the country to enact strict new lockdowns as the number of cases skyrocketed. That strain has been detected in at least 60 countries, and health officials are worried it may also be more deadly than the current virus. Several other mutations have been discovered in California, South African, and Brazil.

Health officials have said the vaccines that have been approved should be able to provide protection against the new strains, but administering the vaccines has been challenging due to the limited supply.

In the United States, President Joe Biden signed several executive orders to help increase the supply and distribute them across the country. He said that he believes the U.S. can begin vaccinating at least 1.5 million people per day. If the U.S. can keep up that pace during his first 100 days in office, it would result in 75 million people getting both doses of the vaccine.

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