Officials work to speed up vaccine rollout

(NBC News) Hospitals across the country are sounding the alarm as rising COVID-19 case numbers push them to the breaking point.

It comes as federal officials work to speed up vaccination rollout, saying starting this week pharmacies can begin to administer shots.

“No excuses, we should have gotten 20 distributed and 20 into the arms of people. By 20 I mean 20 million,” Dr. Anthony Fauci says.

Officials are encouraging states to open vaccinations to more priority groups simultaneously and speeding up a plan to administer shots in pharmacies.

“These partners can then administer the vaccine to groups like those over a certain age or occupations and eventually the general public,” says Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

Nationwide, one person is dying of the virus every 34 seconds.

One Los Angeles hospital has activated its Crisis Care Standards, not yet rationing care, but preparing to make difficult decisions.

Others have been forced to cancel surgeries for non-COVID patients.

Meanwhile, Georgia is now the latest state to confirm a case of the more infectious U.K. strain of the virus.

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