Pfizer and BioNTech will provide their COVID-19 vaccine to Olympic athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer, the two companies said Thursday.
Delivery of the initial doses is expected to begin at the end of May to ensure participating athletes and staff receive a second dose before they arrive in Tokyo. The Summer Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 23. The Paralympic Games will begin approximately a month later. The Games were scheduled for last summer, but have been postponed for a year due to the pandemic.
“The return of the Olympic and Paralympic Games represents a monumental moment of unity and world peace after a grueling year of isolation and devastation,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement. “We are proud to play a role in providing vaccines to athletes. And National Olympic delegations.”
Also in the news:
►The coronavirus variant first discovered in New York does not appear to lead to more serious infections, according to a study released by the CDC on Wednesday.
►CVS Health announced on Wednesday that it is accepting walk-in appointments for COVID-19 vaccines at pharmacies across the country.
►California officials say a bar owner who sold fake COVID-19 vaccine cards to undercover officers is now facing charges for multiple crimes.
►New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that Broadway shows will resume on September 14, and tickets go on sale Thursday.
►Spanish Minister of Health said the European country had detected 11 cases of the new strain of the coronavirus first identified in India.
►Vaccine maker Moderna said on Wednesday that two strategies it had tested to increase protection against variants of the coronavirus had yielded positive results, an encouraging sign in the battle against the virus as it mutates.
►Missouri Gov. Mike Parson ordered all state employees to return to work in person at the office by May 17, after many have spent most of the past 14 months working remotely.
📈 The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 32.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 579,200 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 154.76 million cases and 3.2 million deaths. More than 321.5 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the United States and 249.5 million have been administered, according to the CDC. More than 107.3 million Americans have been fully immunized.
📘 What we read: Want to know if your family or friends have received the COVID-19 vaccine? It’s not rude to ask, etiquette experts say.
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Social climbing: Everest climbers discouraged from visiting other camps
Everest ER in Nepal reports that its medics have met with Mount Everest expedition leaders in recent days to help fight respiratory illnesses, encouraging everyone to maintain “bubbles” in climbing camps and discouraging the practice. routine visits between camps. Climber Pawel Michalski posted on Facebook that more than 30 people evacuated to Kathmandu have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Everest ER said climbers were encouraged to wear masks even in their camps. Expedition leaders are urged to send all members with respiratory illness to Everest ER for further evaluation to isolate and monitor sick members of the camp. Michalski said each base was operating in “closed mode”.
“We live like islands scattered over the sea of ice,” he wrote.
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine effective against two major variants
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is effective in protecting against serious illnesses caused by two variants spreading rapidly in the United States, according to two studies published Wednesday. The vaccine protects against serious illnesses caused by both the variant first identified in the UK and the variant first discovered in South Africa, studies show. One was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the other in The Lancet.
There have been 20,915 cases of the British variant in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In April, CDC director Rachelle Walensky announced that it had become the dominant strain in the United States, and in January, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the variant could be 30% more deadly than the versions previous illnesses. But the Lancet study showed that in Israel, where the variant accounts for nearly 95% of all coronavirus cases, both doses offer more than 95% protection against COVID-19 infection, the hospitalization and death.
India under siege, battles in Southeast Asia multiply
India has already reported more cases this year than it did in 2020, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. India passed that milestone on Tuesday and reported more than 412,000 cases on Wednesday. India in 2020 reported 10.27 million cases; so far this year it is 10.81 million. On average this year, India added one case per second; the current rate is closer to five cases per second.
Meanwhile, India’s massive COVID-19 crisis is spreading beyond its borders to other countries in Southeast Asia, with infections skyrocketing across the region. In Thailand, a surge that began in April prompted health officials to rush to immunize thousands of people in Bangkok’s largest slum. Bhutan, which borders India, and Laos are also reporting outbreaks infections in recent weeks, mainly attributed to virus variants, but also non-compliance with mitigation measures.
– Mike stucka
States that lifted restrictions early have experienced short-lived booms
States that lifted trade restrictions at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have benefited from a boost in economic activity, but these gains have been limited or short-lived as other states have often caught up by a month, according to a Moody’s Analytics study. Aggressive states gained a more lasting employment advantage, but even in this critical category, other states narrowed the gap, according to Moody’s analysis.
“I don’t see that states, by aggressively reopening, are buying so much additional growth,” says Moody’s economist Adam Kamins. Learn more here.
– Paul davidson
Once grim CDC projections are now ‘quite optimistic’ for the summer
Hospitalizations and deaths are expected to drop sharply by July if the nationwide immunization program remains strong and community mitigation efforts are followed, according to a federal report released Wednesday.
Yet ignoring mitigation efforts such as masks and social distancing in some situations could lead to substantial increases in “severe COVID-19 outcomes,” even with improved immunization coverage, the CDC report says.
“High vaccination rates and adherence to preventive public health measures are essential to control the pandemic and to prevent surges in hospitalizations and deaths in the months to come,” the report said.
CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said the variants remain a “wildcard,” but so far vaccines seem to work well against them.
“Models that once projected really dark news now offer reason to hope what summer might bring,” Walensky said at a White House briefing. “The sooner we get more and more people vaccinated, the sooner we will all get back to normal.”
United States supports lifting of intellectual property rules for COVID-19 vaccines
The Biden administration will support efforts to forgo intellectual property protection for COVID-19 vaccines, a major step in attempts to end the pandemic that continues to rage in India and other parts of the country. world. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the decision in a statement Wednesday, amid World Trade Organization negotiations to relax global trade rules to allow more countries to produce more vaccines. .
“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” Tai said in the statement. “The Administration strongly believes in the protection of intellectual property, but in the service of the end of this pandemic, it supports the lifting of these protections for COVID-19 vaccines.”
She also warned that it would take time to reach the global “consensus” required to waive protections under WTO rules, and U.S. officials said this would not have an immediate effect on the EU. global supply of COVID-19 vaccines. The pharmaceutical industry has opposed the lifting of patent protections.
Contribute: The Associated Press