Even as the United States and other countries continue their COVID-19 vaccination programs, infections are increasing globally faster than ever.
A record 5,363,616 new cases were reported during the week ending Saturday, according to USA TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. At this rate, nearly nine cases are being reported every second. Growth of cases is being driven by an impressive spike in India, which now reports more than 1.5 million infections every week. Just a month ago, that number was around 200,000.
The United States, which opened immunization eligibility for all adults on Monday, Brazil and Turkey are the other countries reporting more than 400,000 cases per week. Along with India, the four countries account for the most new cases globally, according to USA TODAY analysis.
Deaths from COVID-19 are still below the peak of more than 100,000 per week. About 83,000 weekly deaths are currently reported, a rate of around eight people dying every minute.
– Mike Stucka
Also in the news:
►Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said her state could see a drop in infections after leading the nation’s daily rate of COVID-19 cases for weeks. State health officials said on Friday that the seven-day average positivity rate had fallen in recent days to 17.1%, but remained above the December high of 14.4%.
►The United States has reported that 32% of adults are fully vaccinated and that more than 50% of the American adult population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
►Pfizer / BioNTech says they will provide an additional 100 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine to the European Union this year. The EU Executive Board exercised an option to purchase additional doses, bringing the total number of vaccines to be delivered to the EU in 2021 to 600 million.
►Public schools in Chicago, the third largest district in the country, reopened Monday for the first time since education was totally remote amid the pandemic more than a year ago.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 31.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 567,600 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 141.7 million cases and 3 million deaths. Nearly 264.5 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the United States and 211.5 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we read: She contracted COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies may have saved his life. Read the full story.
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FDA halts production of J&J vaccine at ailing Baltimore plant
The Food and Drug Administration has ordered production of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to stop at a Baltimore plant, raising questions about the company’s ability to deliver the 100 million doses it has promised to the US government by the end of June.
Last week, the FDA inspected the Baltimore plant of Emerging BioSolutions Inc., entrepreneur J&J whose quality control issues ruined 15 million doses of the single-injection vaccine. On Friday, the agency asked Emergent not to resume manufacturing and to quarantine all vaccine material already produced there.
Johnson & Johnson have said they intend to meet their 100 million dose pledge – they have delivered around 18 million – and that “it is premature to speculate on any potential impact this may have on the schedule. of our vaccine deliveries. “
Use of the J&J vaccine has been halted nationwide to investigate its possible links to rare but dangerous blood clots.
All U.S. adults now eligible for vaccine
Every American adult is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
New Jersey, Massachusetts and Oregon were among a handful of states that opened the vaccine to all adults on Monday, a deadline set by President Joe Biden. Now the White House has turned its attention to persuading Americans to get the hits.
“My friends, I have good news,” Biden said in a video posted to Twitter. “Everyone is eligible today to receive the vaccine. We’ve had enough, you need to be protected, and you in turn need to protect your neighbors and your family.
“So please take the vaccine.”
Being anxious about getting the vaccine is normal, expected, and can be resolved with education and role models, experts say.
“People who have questions deserve to have those questions answered. It’s fair and it’s on us, ”said Dr Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s vaccine research group.
UK bans travel from India, where soaring cases lead to capital shutdown
The UK will ban most travel from India from Friday over fears of a new variant of the coronavirus. UK residents will be allowed entry but will need to be quarantined for 10 days. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said 103 cases of the variant first identified in India, known as B.1.617, have been detected in the UK, most of them linked to international travel.
An explosive spike in infections has prompted authorities to impose a week-long shutdown in India’s capital New Delhi to prevent its healthcare system from collapsing. Indian officials have said they will expand vaccine eligibility to all people over the age of 18 from May 1. India is a major producer of vaccines, but the crisis has forced it to delay exports of vaccines abroad. The country administered 120 million doses to its population of nearly 1.4 billion.
The virus is now spreading faster in India than at any time during the pandemic, said Bhramar Mukherjee, a biostatistician at the University of Michigan who has tracked infections in the world’s second most populous country. The 15 million cases in India rank second in the world behind the 31.6 million in the United States.
Israel moves closer to normal: outdoor mask mandate lifted, schools reopen
Israel lifted an outdoor mask mandate and completely reopened its education system in the latest easing of restrictions following its mass vaccination campaign.
About 56% of Israel’s population has been fully vaccinated, the highest percentage in the world, according to a New York Times database. The number is considerably higher – 81% – for those 16 and over, the age limit for the Pfizer vaccine.
New daily infections in Israel have fallen from a high of around 10,000 a day in January to less than 200, and hospitalizations are minimal. The use of masks in indoor public spaces is still required.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine break could be lifted this week, Fauci says
The break on use of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine will likely be lifted by Friday, although some restrictions may be needed, Dr Anthony Fauci said on Sunday.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS “Face the Nation” that “you don’t want to get ahead of yourself and decide you know the full spectrum of that, which is one of the reasons they stopped and why, hopefully on Friday we will find out. “
Fauci, who also forwarded his message to NBC’s “Meet the Press”, said he doubts the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will simply “cancel” the J&J vaccine and continue to allow only two-dose vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.
“Everything is on the table,” Fauci said. “My guess is that we’ll continue to use it in some form or another. I seriously doubt they’ll just cancel it. I don’t think that will happen. I think there will probably be some sort of ‘warning or restriction or risk assessment. “
States began halting use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week after federal health officials recommended a “cautionary” hiatus due to rare but dangerous blood clots.
France to start international travel next month
France will begin lifting travel restrictions on international travel with the United States and other non-European Union countries from next month, French President Emmanuel Macron told CBS News.
Macron told “Face the Nation” that officials in Paris are working to develop a way for “French, European but also American citizens” who are vaccinated to travel more freely by this summer. Macron said he had discussed with the White House potential plans to lift certain travel restrictions between France and the United States, although talks are still in their infancy.
Macron said that, ideally, travel would be open “to vaccinated U.S. citizens, with a special pass,” suggesting that a so-called vaccine certificate or passport would be required to travel to France.
– Matthew Brown
Contribute: The Associated Press