Friday, February 26, 2021

Covid-19 – The United States exceeds 500,000 dead


The United States passed half a million deaths from the coronavirus on Monday, a grim milestone recalling how serious the health situation remains around the world, despite the glimmer of hope that vaccines constitute.

Joe Biden on February 22, 2021.

AFP

“More Americans have died in this pandemic than in WWI, WWII and the Vietnam War combined,” President Joe Biden said in a proclamation on Monday, less than a year after the announcement , on February 29, 2020, of the first death from the virus in the United States.

The Democratic President also ordered flags on all federal buildings to be half-masted for five days. “This is something that will go down in history,” said immunologist Anthony Fauci, adviser to US President Joe Biden.

The threshold of 400,000 deaths had been exceeded a month earlier, on the eve of the inauguration of Joe Biden, who made the fight against the epidemic the top priority of his start in office.

In the United States, the current rhythm of vaccinations (1.7 million daily injections on average) gives hope, however. “I believe that we will get closer to normality by the end of this year,” Joe Biden said on Friday.

More than 44.1 million people have already received at least one dose of the two vaccines authorized in the United States (Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna), of which 19.4 million have had the two required injections. According to Joe Biden, 600 million doses, enough to vaccinate the entire population, will be available by the end of July.

And the United States may well have a third vaccine authorized by the end of the week, that of Johnson & Johnson, on which a committee is due to issue an advisory opinion on Friday. A timid optimism echoed on Monday, the announcement of the reopening of New York cinemas, scheduled for March 5, with a maximum level of 25% of the usual capacity and a limit of 50 spectators per room.

“Cautious” deconfinement

Like the New York cinemas, the United Kingdom should gradually reopen after the restrictions imposed in early January in the face of an explosion in the epidemic linked to the variant that appeared in Kent. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday presented a progressive plan to bring the European country hardest hit by Covid-19 out of containment, with more than 120,000 dead.

The British government has announced it is targeting a reopening of non-essential shops and museums from April 12 in England. Cinemas, hotels, stadiums (with a maximum of 10,000 people) and restaurants will follow from May 17th. The aim is to lift the last restrictions in June.

The schools will reopen on March 8. With each nation deciding on its deconfinement strategy, schools are gradually reopening from Monday in Scotland and Wales. The vaccination campaign launched in December is in full swing: one in three adults has received a first dose. By mid-April, those over 50 should all have received a first dose.

In Germany, despite fears of a third epidemic wave linked to the British variant, schools reopen Monday in most of the country with drastic sanitary conditions, after two months of closure.

On the other hand, containment measures will be imposed over the next two weekends in France, on part of the Côte d’Azur, with reinforced controls at the airports in the region and at the Italian border.

Patience

Worldwide, the pandemic has killed more than 2.46 million people since the end of December, according to a report established by AFP on Monday. Governments everywhere are relying on injections to try to end the pandemic: more than 210 million doses of anti-Covid vaccines have been administered worldwide.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, however, denounces “vaccine nationalism”, stressing that “alone, ten countries have shared more than three quarters of the doses of vaccine against Covid-19 administered to date”.

The Sanofi laboratory has announced that it will produce in France the vaccine against the Covid-19 of its American competitor Johnson & Johnson. Without being able to offer its own remedy at this stage, Sanofi had already agreed to manufacture from the summer that of its competitor Pfizer / BioNTech.

Urged to prioritize India, the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker that produces AstraZeneca’s vaccine under the Covishield name, has called on countries awaiting supply to be “patient. “.

India wants to vaccinate 300 million people by July and is behind schedule with just over 11 million doses administered. In the most affected state of the country, Maharashtra (110 million inhabitants), home to the economic capital Bombay, new restrictions were imposed on Monday after an upsurge in contamination.

Australia on Monday gave the real kick-off of its vaccination campaign. Some 60,000 doses are ready to be injected this week, with healthcare workers, police officers or residents of retirement homes. This launch was however marked by anti-vaccine protests in some large cities.

AFP



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