US opens more distance in worldwide race against coronavirus

A victim of the COVID-19 virus is evacuated from the Mulhouse civil hospital, eastern France, on March 23, 2020. The picture is still grim in parts of Europe and Asia as variants of the virus fuel an increase in new cases and the worldwide death toll closes in on 3 million. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, File)

Northwell Health nurse inoculates Local 28 Sheet Metal Worker Demetrius Buttelman on Wednesday with the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine during a news conference at the Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool, File)

The United States opened more distance between itself and much of the rest of the world Thursday, nearing the 200 millionth vaccine administered in a race to protect the population against COVID-19, even as other countries, rich and poor, struggle with stubbornly high infection rates and deaths.