CNN  — 

While hopes of vaccinating 20 million people by New Year’s Day sputtered out, the US now faces staggering new challenges in the fight against Covid-19.

Over the past week, the US has averaged 2,637 coronavirus deaths every day, according to Johns Hopkins University.

That’s an average of one Covid-19 death every 33 seconds.

December was the deadliest month yet of this pandemic, with 77,572 lives lost. And deaths are likely to accelerate as new infections and hospitalizations rise.

On Monday, more people were hospitalized with Covid-19 than any other day in this pandemic – 128,210, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

The US averaged 213,437 new infections every day over the past week, largely fueled by holiday gatherings, health experts say.

But while daily new infections soared 16% over the past week, testing has actually decreased 11.65% over the past week, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

Doctors worry this rampant spread of Covid-19 will push more hospitals beyond capacity and lead to more deaths as the vaccine rollout staggers along.

The possibility of giving half-doses of a vaccine

About 15.4 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the US, but only 4.5 million people have received their first doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

That’s far behind what officials had hoped for by now. And it means herd immunity is still many months away.

“We agree that there is a lag. We’ll work with the states,” said Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser of the federal Operation Warp Speed vaccination effort.