Georgia reaches 500,000 COVID-19 case milestone on record day

Georgia hit an ominous pandemic milestone twice, just a week before Christmas.

First the state hit 500,000 confirmed cases. Georgia. It took 27 days, from Nov. 21 until Dec. 18, to climb from 400,000 to 500,000 cases of COVID-19 in the state.

In comparison, It took from Sept. 18 to Nov 21 to climb from 300,000 to 400,000. That’s about 64 days.

Georgia also set a single day record of 6,149 cases. The previous record came on Dec. 10 at 6140. The state has now had 4 days in December with at least 5,000 cases, a number it had never reached before in this pandemic.

Vaccine supply limited

Meanwhile, Georgia and other states are getting fewer doses of the Pfizer vaccine than they expected, but leaders say the Moderna vaccine could fill that gap.

This week, Georgia distributed 84,000 Pfizer doses, but the state was originally supposed to be getting about 99,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week. That number is now closer to 60,000, about 40% fewer doses than health officials expected.

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Gov. Brian Kemp confirmed that number at a news conference at Grady Hospital Thursday evening.

Kemp said that state leaders are expecting that Georgia will get about 174,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week.

“I keep telling people, I wish it was a lot more, but it could be zero right now,” he said.

Pfizer said they are not having production issues and no shipments have been put on hold or delayed.

“We have millions of doses sitting in our warehouse, but as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses,” the company said in a statement.

The U.S. government said it is merely a misunderstanding about delivery scheduling, and that each state will get its allotment.

Kemp said that once the vaccine is available to the general public, it will create a real logistical challenge.

The state has a 62-page plan on how to distribute the vaccine, which is broken up into four phases. Frontline health workers, long-term care facilities essential workers will get the vaccine before the general public will.

“When we get to the general public, it’s going to be a difficult logistical lift that we have, so we’re continuing to focus on that,” Kemp said.