By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The trend of deaths from COVID-19 is down 40% over the past month and the number of vaccinations continues to grow. This weekend there was a record number of doses administered in Philadelphia.

COVID infections and deaths are slowing but there’s still a sad parade of funerals happening.

READ MORE: Philadelphia Students To Remain Virtual As Mediation Process Between School District, Teachers' Union On Phased Reopening Nearing End

Among the victims taken by COVID-19 was Philadelphia Firefighter John Evans, a 37-year veteran. His funeral is Tuesday.

Evans worked at Ladder 18 in Nicetown-Tioga for almost three decades.

He’s among the 23,000-plus killed by COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, New Jersey has more than 20,000 victims and in Delaware, there are roughly 1,300 COVID deaths.

“For all those families that have lost someone, my condolences,” said Dr. Ala Stanford, founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium.

Nationally, COVID-19 has now claimed half a million lives.

“This is a horrible landmark that we’ve now reached and even though the numbers are coming down, we really can’t declare victory quite yet, because we have vaccines that are clearly the light at the end of the tunnel but we know there are variants out there,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

READ MORE: Delaware County Company Develops 'The Hurricane,' Device Using UVC Technology To Kill Coronavirus

The variants could cause another spike in cases but the vaccines appear to work on most.

“I’m encouraged that more people are being vaccinated,” said Dr. Stanford.

Dr. Stanford and the Black Doctors Consortium held a 24-hour “vaxathon” over the weekend where people waited hours in the snow and overnight.

“Somewhere around midnight, when we were counting, we could see we were going to exceed our supply,” she said.

In the middle of the night, the city delivered an extra 2,000 doses to the Liacouras Center, where they ended up giving over 4,000 vaccinations.

There are there are brighter days, and the light is at the end of the tunnel.

Dr. Stanford’s group is focusing on minority communities hardest hit by the virus. She’s hoping to do additional special events soon to get the vaccine to more people.

For the people who were waiting hours outside the Liacouras Center overnight Friday, they allowed people over the age of 75 to wait inside.

MORE NEWS: Fourth Bucks County Resident, Raechel Genco, Arrested For Alleged Role In Capitol Riot

Philadelphia is expecting another vaccine boost next week when FEMA opens a mega-site at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Stephanie Stahl