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US may reach 514,000 deaths by Feb. 20 — CDC

White House Coronavirus Coordinator Jeff Zients is saying in the Biden administration’s first formal briefing on the pandemic that officials will always hew to the science and level with the public.

Rochelle Walensky, the new head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says her agency’s latest forecast indicates the US will record between 479,000 to 514,000 deaths by February 20.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to head the Centers for Disease Control, speaks during a news conference at the Queen Theater December 8, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

Zients says the federal Department of Health and Human Services is acting Wednesday to make more professionals available to administer vaccinations. The government will authorize nurses and doctors who have retired to administer vaccines, and professionals licensed in one state will be able to administer shots in other states. Such measures are fairly standard in health emergencies.

The US leads the world with 25.4 million confirmed cases and more than 425,000 deaths.

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