By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) - Florida on Tuesday became the third US state to hit the one million mark in coronavirus cases as the country continues to grapple with COVID-19, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The state has recorded 1,008,166 infections and 18,679 deaths, weeks after Texas and California hit the grim mark. Both currently have more than 1.2 million cases each.
On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said schools will stay open amid rising cases while remaining steadfast in his opposition to lockdowns and mandates.
He said closing schools is "the biggest public health blunder in modern American history."
In all, the US has more than 13.6 million infections since the first case was recorded in January. Since February, nearly 270,000 people have died in the country.
US biotechnology firm Moderna announced Monday that its vaccine efficacy against COVID-19 is 94.1% after phase 3 trials, saying it would immediately file for Emergency Use Authorization in the US and Europe.
It said 20 million doses will be available in the US by the end of 2020 and it plans to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.
US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said Tuesday they have also applied to the European Medicines Agency for the authorization of their vaccine.