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Sandra Lindsay, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine by Michelle Chester in New York City. Photo: Mark Lennihan/Getty Images

One American became the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine outside of clinical trials yesterday, while another American became the virus' 300,000th victim in this country.

Why it matters: The milestones create an acute juxtaposition of the country's historic success in creating a vaccine for a new virus in record time, and its horrifying failure to control the pandemic in the meantime.

What we're watching: As millions of Americans get vaccinated in the coming weeks and months, thousands more will die, as the pandemic continues to be the worst its ever been.

  • The number of daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths is expected to only increase, as Americans continue to travel for the holidays and downplay the severity of the situation.
  • And yet, images of vaccines being given to health care workers across the country yesterday still serve as a reminder that there's a light at the end of this dark tunnel.

Go deeper

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

17 hours ago - Health

CDC director: “I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have"

CDC director Rochelle Walensky, newly appointed by President Biden, told Fox News on Sunday that the administration does not know the current number of COVID vaccines available for distribution — due to a lack of data gathered by the agency under Trump — making it more difficult for states to accurately plan.

Why it matters: Hospitals in states including Texas, South Carolina, New York, and California have canceled thousands of appointments due to running low on vaccines or nearly depleting their share, the New York Times reports.