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U.S. approaching 500,000 COVID deaths

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As the number of COVID deaths in the U.S. inches closer to 500,000, efforts to vaccinate the country move forward. More than 63 million Americans have received at least one shot. Lilia Luciano reports.

Video Transcript

- COVID weary nation is about to hit an unfathomable death toll. Today's New York Times front page shows the deaths as beginning with one dot reported in Washington state. In just one year the death and darkness has spread across the country claiming the lives of some half a million people. We get more now from CBS's Lilia Luciano in Inglewood, California. Lilia, good evening.

LILIA LUCIANO: Good evening, Jerrica. The US has the world's worst COVID death toll making the race to vaccinate that much more critical.

Long lines today at LA vaccination sites to help ward off another catastrophic surge.

DR ANTHONY FAUCI: People decades from now Dana are going to be talking about this as-- as a terribly historic milestone.

LILIA LUCIANO: The rapid spread of variance posing a risk of new spikes, but the number of Americans hospitalized for COVID is half of what it was a month ago. Reducing the virus spread, more vaccine sites for vulnerable communities. California's governor visiting this one today at an LA church.

GOV GAVIN NEWSOM: We're seeing things turn around.

LILIA LUCIANO: UPS and FedEx rushing to deliver vaccines after winter storms held up six million doses affecting all 50 states. The White House says those shipments are on the way.

JEN PSAKI: We've been able to get about two million of those six million doses out. We expect to rapidly catch up this week.

- Can you pull your sleeve up just a little bit?

LILIA LUCIANO: More than 63 million Americans have received at least one shot. And California is setting aside 10% of vaccine doses for teachers to help reopen schools faster.

And what about teachers? What's the-- what's the calculation of when every teacher who wants the vaccine will be able to get one in California?

GOV GAVIN NEWSOM: That is a question that not anyone can answer because it's predicated on this knowledge that Dr. Fauci and President the United States do not yet have. That is the availability of manufactured supply.

LILIA LUCIANO: The governor says California has vaccinated more than seven million people and large sites like this one are open seven days a week giving shots and boosting hope at the pandemic's epicenter. Jerrica.

- Lilia Luciano for us in Inglewood, California. Thank you.