Wednesday, March 3, 2021

nearly 500,000 dead in the United States, deconfinement in sight in England


Virus: nearly 500,000 dead in the United States, deconfinement in sight in England

The United States is approaching on Monday the sad bar of half a million deaths from the coronavirus at a time when the rhythm of vaccinations offers a glimmer of hope, as in England where Boris Johnson presents a “progressive” deconfinement plan.

One year after the announcement, on February 29, 2020, of the first death of Covid-19 in the United States, the country is preparing to cross the threshold of 500,000 people who have succumbed to the disease, with 498,879 deaths counted Monday at 01:30 GMT by Johns Hopkins University, whose figures refer to.

“It’s terrible”, “we have not known anything like it for more than 100 years, since the pandemic of 1918”, reacted Sunday the immunologist Anthony Fauci, adviser to the American president Joe Biden, to the evocation of this macabre level. “It’s something that will go down in history.”

The threshold of 400,000 deaths was exceeded in January, on the eve of the inauguration of Joe Biden, who made the fight against the epidemic the top priority of his start in office.

“500,000! That’s almost 70,000 more than all the Americans who died in World War II,” he lamented on Friday.

But during his speech at a Pfizer vaccine factory in Kalamazoo (Michigan), the 46th President of the United States also underlined how much the current rhythm of vaccinations was a bearer of hope. “I believe that we will get closer to normal by the end of this year,” he said.

– 600 million doses –

With an average of 1.7 million daily injections, which is expected to increase in the coming weeks, he said he was confident in the ability to reach 600 million doses (enough to vaccinate the entire population) available from here at the end of July.

The cold snap in the country nevertheless slowed down the campaign: the distribution of 6 million doses was delayed and the 50 American states are affected, according to Andy Slavitt, adviser to the White House.

More than 61 million people have so far received one of the two vaccines authorized in the United States (Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna), of which 18 million have received the two required injections.

Another encouraging sign: after a peak in the epidemic in January, the weekly average of deaths and that of new cases are clearly down, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

Worldwide, the pandemic has killed more than 2.46 million people since the end of December, according to a report established by AFP on Sunday.

– “Prudent” –

Re-confined in early January, England sees the end of the tunnel: the effects of the “lockdown” and the vaccination campaign, which is in full swing, are being felt, with a drop in the number of contaminations, hospitalizations and deaths.

So much so that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will outline a deconfinement plan in Parliament on Monday that he wants “cautious” and “progressive”, in order “not to undo the progress” made and the “sacrifices” made. In sight, the upcoming reopening of schools, perhaps from March 8.

In the United Kingdom, one of the most affected European countries with more than 120,000 deaths from the virus, each of the four nations of the country decides on its strategy for deconfinement. Schools in Scotland and Wales are gradually reopening from Monday.

While schools must also reopen their doors Monday in Germany, in ten regional states out of sixteen, experts warn of a third epidemic wave in this country.

“We see that the numbers are increasing again. It’s annoying and it creates some uncertainty. Therefore, we must continue to be careful, to test and vaccinate,” urged Minister of Health, Jens Spahn on Sunday.

In Italy, it is the variants and the gatherings of the weekend, favored by a particularly sunny weather, which arouse fears.

“I am obviously worried. The resurgence of contagions is largely due to the English variant,” said Massimo Galli, a prominent Italian virologist, in an interview published Sunday by the daily Il Messaggero. “All the data points in the direction of the increase in new cases.”

– Australia vaccinates –

Elsewhere in the world, where more than 205 million doses of anti-Covid vaccines have been administered, governments continue to rely on injections in an attempt to come to terms with the pandemic.

Australia gave the real kick-off of its vaccination campaign on Monday: some 60,000 doses are ready to be injected this week, to healthcare workers, police officers, employees of quarantine hotels or residents of retirement homes.

This launch was, however, clouded by anti-vaccine protests in some major cities and by the hostile reactions expressed by some spectators in the men’s final of the Open tennis on Sunday.

Some 20,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines – intended for medical teams – also arrived Sunday in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza from the United Arab Emirates and via the Egyptian border.

In Israel, where 48% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, malls and street shops were reopened on Sunday, as part of the third deconfinement since the start of the pandemic.



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