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Philadelphia International Airport last month. President Biden’s new executive orders require all travelers in the United States to wear masks. related to Stephanie Reynolds’ credit to the New York Times.
A year before the worst global health crisis of the century, much of the world feels frozen in time.
Countries that eased their borders after imposing restrictions at the start of the pandemic are tightening them again in an effort to find new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus. Some are tightening travel restrictions or introducing new rules for travelers.
In the United States, President Biden has signed several executive orders to prevent a pandemic, including a requirement to quarantine foreign travelers upon arrival in the United States, although it is unclear how this will be implemented.
He also signed an executive order requiring the wearing of masks for many types of interstate travel. Passengers must be able to travel in airports, commercial aircraft, public trains and marine vessels, including ferries, and certain other forms of public transportation, such as B. Intercity buses, with masks on.
While the United States is only making travel less attractive, European countries are moving forward with plans to tighten their borders.
EU leaders agreed to restrict non-essential travel within the bloc and from third countries to slow the spread of both variants, which are already present in several countries in the region.
Leaders of the 27 countries in the bloc, who met via conference call last Thursday, agreed to take coordinated action in response to these options, which scientists say come from Britain and South Africa and appear to be far more contagious than others.
Some EU countries have already restricted access for their neighbours, which is generally avoided in the largely borderless bloc but tolerated by exceptional circumstances.
After a conference call in the office of President Emmanuel Macron, it was announced that France will make PCR testing mandatory for all travelers from other European Union countries starting at midnight Sunday. The test must be carried out at least 72 hours before departure.
In the United Kingdom, which became a member on 1. January completed its withdrawal from the bloc, with flights from Latin America and Portugal banned for fear of a variant first discovered in Brazil. A no-fly zone has also been imposed from South Africa, where another highly contagious variant was discovered last month.
Overall, the UK itself is isolated from more than a dozen countries.
And in China, where the virus got out of control during the 2020 Chinese New Year holiday, authorities are advising against travel during the holiday, which begins on the 12th. The month of February begins. New Year’s Eve is usually the time of the largest annual migration of people in the world.
Beijing limits the number of passengers on public transport and has extended the quarantine period for travelers returning from abroad. Schools are closed and authorities said on Wednesday that people returning home for the holidays should be tested for the virus and quarantined at home for 14 days.
National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei has blamed travelers returning from abroad and workers handling imported food for the recent outbreak.
Three cases of locally transmitted coronavirus were confirmed on Thursday in Shanghai, China’s largest city, the first in the city in about two months.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking in the White House briefing room on Thursday, called the pandemic a historic, highly negative. related Doug Mills/New York Times credit story.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a longtime government expert on infectious diseases, returned to the White House reassured and warned.
Dr. Fauci, who has been ousted by President Donald J. Trump. Trump, however, embraced by President Biden, appeared in the White House briefing room on Thursday to discuss the pandemic with reporters.
He doesn’t mince words and seems to think he doesn’t need it anymore.
Historically, and in a very negative way, he saw the pandemic as such, with the total number of cases in the United States approaching 25 million.
He warned that the nation is still in a very dire situation, although the number of cases seems to be fluctuating, and pointed to other infectious variants of the virus that could lead to an increase in incidence in the coming months.
Dr. Fauci, who is currently Mr. Fauci’s chief medical advisor, says vaccines currently used in the United States have proven effective against new variants.
And even if the variants result in a reduction in vaccine efficacy, the drugs would still provide good protection, he said, pointing to their important buffering effect.
If necessary, he said, vaccines can be adjusted.
It’s not very expensive, he says. With the platforms we have, we can do it.
However, the federal and state governments have failed to vaccinate Americans on a large scale. And that’s more important than ever, Dr. Fauci said. The more viruses spread, the greater the chance of mutation.
If you can suppress that with a very good immunization campaign, then you can really avoid this harmful effect that you can get from mutations, he said.
If the U.S. can vaccinate 70 to 85 percent of the population by mid-summer, he predicts we will reach some degree of normality by the fall.
On Thursday, as he talked about the challenges ahead without the president looking over his shoulder, Dr. Fauci seemed to be enjoying his own return to normalcy. When asked how it was, he took a few pauses before giving his opinion.
It’s liberating in a way, he said.
In Italy, lab technicians are working through Shutterstock to produce an antibody developed by Eli Lilly.Credit…Riccardo Antimiani/EPA.
An unusual experiment to protect employees and residents of retirement homes from the coronavirus has been successful, drug manufacturer Eli Lilly announced Thursday.
A drug containing monoclonal antibodies – laboratory-grown virus fighters – has prevented symptomatic infections in residents exposed to the virus, even in the weakest elderly who are most vulnerable. This is the preliminary result of a study conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers found an 80 percent reduction in illness among residents who received the drug compared to those who received placebo, and a 60 percent reduction in illness among staff, Eli Lilly said.
A total of 965 nursing home residents participated in the study: 666 staff and 299 residents. The data have not yet been peer-reviewed or published. The company plans to present the results at a future medical meeting and publish them in a peer-reviewed journal, but has not provided a timeline.
The drug, bamlanivimab, has received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration, allowing it to be administered to symptomatic patients in the early stages of their infection. This study looked at whether a drug can stop an infection before it starts.
It was an unusual experience: In trucks equipped with mobile laboratories, health workers rush to homes as soon as a single infection is detected. They then set up temporary infusion centers to administer the drug.
Although the study has been completed, Dr. Daniel Skowronski, Eli Lilly’s Chief Scientific Officer, said the company will continue to rush to retirement homes in its research network if an outbreak is detected.
Everyone gets the drugs, he says.
A nursing home resident receives a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine this month in Budapest.Credit…Zoltan Balog/EPA, via Shutterstock
For several months now, the Hungarian government has been praising the capabilities of the Russian vaccine Sputnik. In November, the Foreign Minister announced discussions with his Russian counterparts on the possibility of producing a Russian vaccine in Hungary. On Thursday, the country approved the use of a Russian vaccine and one produced by AstraZeneca.
And on Friday, after meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow, Hungary’s foreign minister said Hungary would buy two million doses of the Russian vaccine.
This makes Hungary the first EU country to catch up with the bloc’s supply chain, which President Viktor Orban says is too slow.
What I need, and what the Hungarian people need, is not a declaration, but a vaccine, Orban said. And if she’s not from Brussels, she must be from somewhere else.
The European Union has approved two coronavirus vaccines, one from Moderna and one from Pfizer and BioNTech. The bloc is expected to make a decision this month on approving AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
Each EU member state distributes vaccine doses according to the size of its population and the bloc has ordered 2.3 billion doses of different vaccines, some of which are under development.
But a glitch at Pfizer’s plant in Poors, Belgium, delayed or halted deliveries to Europe and other countries, causing disappointment. The company promised to resume shipments by mid-February and said the improvements would boost production.
In a radio interview on Friday morning, Mr Orban described the level of vaccine protection in the EU as simply unacceptable. He went on to say: It is not possible that the Hungarian population is dying because the purchase of vaccines in Brussels is slow.
Some Hungarian experts have expressed concern that the government’s approach could increase scepticism about vaccines, which could hinder a national immunization plan.
The Hungarian authorities suddenly approved these two vaccines under political pressure, explains Dr Ferenc Falus, former Hungarian Chief Medical Officer, referring to the AstraZeneca and Sputnik vaccines. It would have been better if they had waited for the approval of the European Union Medical Agency. This is particularly incomprehensible in the case of Astra, which will receive EU approval in a few days’ time.
The European Medicines Authority said the developer of the Sputnik vaccine had asked the agency for a scientific opinion. This is well before the company is ready to submit data for regulatory review, let alone apply for a marketing authorisation for the vaccine in the EU.
Dave Chappelle has been running socially disconnected reality shows since June.Credit…Owen Sweeney/Invision, via Associated Press.
Comedian Dave Chappelle has tested positive for coronavirus and canceled several upcoming shows at the Stubb Amphitheater in Waller Creek, Austin, Texas, a spokeswoman told The Associated Press.
The venue’s website indicated that four performances had been cancelled through Tuesday.
Chappelle, who has been doing social far shows in Ohio since June with a quick test for the public and himself, moved his shows to Austin over the winter, a spokesman said.
Mr. Chappelle is asymptomatic and quarantined, she says.
Joe Rogan, the comedian and podcast host who played with Mr. Chappelle, was scheduled to perform on Friday and Saturday and apologized for the cancellation. We will reschedule them as soon as possible, Rogan said in an Instagram post early Friday.
Chappelle’s positive test result came about three months after he hosted Saturday Night Live and commented on the pandemic in a monologue that also heavily influenced the presidential election.
Remember life before Covid? said Mr. Chappelle. Yes. Every week there was a mass shooting. Does anyone remember? Thank God for Covid. Someone must have locked up those white killers and kept them in the house.
We are looking forward to the Covid 19 vaccination on Friday in London. Credit…John Sibley/Reuters
Britain has been reporting deaths from the eye coronavirus for weeks, hospitals remain overcrowded and there are concerns that it could take months to control the spread of the highly transmissible variant, which was first discovered in the Kent region of England last year.
Still, the vaccination numbers offered a glimmer of hope: Nearly five million people have received the first dose of the vaccine in Britain, the government said on Friday. This represents about 8% of the population.
Fewer than 500,000 people have received a second injection because the NHS prioritises the first injection and second injections are given within 12 weeks of the first.
Since authorities introduced new restrictions on chain blocking in England this month, the UK has recorded the highest number of daily deaths and remains one of the hardest hit countries in Europe. Nearly 95,000 people have died in British hospitals from the coronavirus, and authorities have said the lockdown in England could continue throughout the spring.
The situation is so bleak that authorities are considering offering 500 pounds (about $680) to anyone who tests positive for the virus to encourage people to comply with quarantine regulations, according to British news reports.
There are also concerns that reducing the supply of Pfizer vaccines, as has happened in other countries, could slow vaccine uptake and that variations in vaccination coverage within the country could disadvantage certain regions.
But six weeks after the vaccine became the first Western country to be licensed, Britain is among those advocating a mass vaccination campaign. For comparison: In the United States, about 4.5 percent of the population is vaccinated; in most European countries, it is less than 2 percent.
In the UK, racecourses, rugby pitches and religious buildings have been turned into vaccination centres, alongside 1,200 hospitals and health facilities. More than two million people have been vaccinated in the past seven days, twice as many as two weeks ago.
At this rate, Britain may not meet its goal of vaccinating 13.9 million people by mid-February, but officials said they could meet the target if they keep up the pace.
Elsewhere in Europe, European Union members urged the bloc to speed up the delivery of vaccine doses, and several leaders expressed disappointment Thursday with the pace of implementation.
Romanian and Polish government officials said Pfizer had halved the doses of the vaccine supplied to their country, and Italian officials threatened legal action against the US vaccine maker.
Leaders want to speed up vaccination, Charles Michel, president of the European Council, told a group of EU leaders.
Covid-19 patients in Lviv, Ukraine, this month. Credit…Eugene the Kid/Presse Associée
KIEV, Ukraine – After the revolution seven years ago, Ukrainians discovered that their deposed president had used state money to build a large palace with a private zoo, a golf course and a garage full of vintage cars.
In order to prevent a recurrence of this type of corruption, a number of reforms have been introduced, including the obligation to disclose almost all government contracts, to prevent secret bribes from ending up in the pockets of high-ranking officials.
This review, which would be a rare success for the country’s anti-corruption campaign, has helped cover tens of millions of dollars a year in drug trafficking.
But to secure the supply of the coronavirus vaccine, Ukraine has had to largely abandon the rule – a decision the government says is not its own, but rather a demand from the pharmaceutical giants that control the supply.
During negotiations with national governments, pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have insisted that the terms of many agreements are trade secrets and therefore must be kept secret.
Medical advocacy groups have criticized these measures, arguing that governments are far better placed than Ukraine to spend huge sums on doses, but they are only too happy to accept such secrecy.
This demand prompted the Ukrainian government to sideline a state-owned public procurement company, created to prevent transplants in the medical system, because it was required by law to disclose the terms of all contracts.
This is due to extremely strict rules of confidentiality and secrecy that the purchasing company cannot respect under Ukrainian law, Deputy Health Minister Svetlana Shatalova said at a press conference on Thursday.
Non-disclosure agreements allow pharmaceutical companies to negotiate prices, delivery times and other terms for vaccine contracts without having to compare these agreements with those of other countries with governments or their nationals.
According to the document, which an EU official published on social media in December and quickly deleted, the EU agreed to a lower price for Pfizer’s vaccine – 12 euros, or about $14.60 per dose – compared to the U.S. government, which agreed to pay $19.50 per dose. European countries often pay much lower prices for drugs than the United States.
Queue for virus tests at a Beijing school on Friday. linked to the Thomas Peter/Reuters credit…
Nearly two million Beijing residents were tested for the coronavirus on Friday as the city rushed to stop the worst outbreak in mainland China since the virus was discovered.
Health authorities set up temporary testing sites in two major districts of the Chinese capital Beijing after three cases of local transmission were confirmed there on Thursday.
Authorities in Shanghai, China’s economic capital and largest city, also tested hospital staff after two health workers tested positive on Thursday. Six new cases were reported in Shanghai on Friday.
New infections were also reported on Friday in four northern provinces – Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin and Shanxi – and in the eastern province of Shandong. This brings the total number of new cases across China this week to at least 500.
Although the number of active cases is still much lower than in the United States and other countries, the epidemic threatens to undermine the government’s success in eradicating the virus and restoring normalcy in China.
In recent weeks, more than 28 million people have been trapped in some form of isolation across China, especially in the northern regions. Authorities fear that new infections could trigger another major outbreak during the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of people travel across the country to celebrate with their families.
Last January, the coronavirus spread far beyond its original epicenter, the city of Wuhan in central China, in part by people returning home for the New Year holiday – weeks before health officials in Beijing recognized the risk of human-to-human transmission.
This month, Beijing authorities closed all schools, restricted the number of passengers on public transport and extended the quarantine period for travellers returning from abroad from two to three weeks.
Central authorities are also requiring anyone entering the country for the new year to first test negative for the virus and then remain in quarantine for 14 days – a measure that could deter many people from returning to their hometowns for a seven-day holiday.
At other events around the world:
- Hungary has signed an agreement to buy Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, making it the first EU country to do so, Reuters reported. Hungary is the only EU member so far to have rejected the bloc’s unified approach, as frustration grows over delays in delivering Western vaccines to Europe. This agreement came days after the Hungarian Medicines Agency approved the use of the British vaccine AstraZeneca and the Sputnik V vaccine. The European Medicines Agency has not yet approved the Russian or AstraZeneca vaccines. In a live feed posted to his Facebook page on Friday, Hungary’s foreign minister said during a briefing with Russia’s health minister that the vaccines would be delivered in three installments, with details of the size of the shipments to be announced later.
- Bangladesh will launch a nationwide coronavirus vaccination campaign, starting with a donation to India – two million doses of vaccine – by next week. Bangladesh, with a population of about 163 million, will also buy 30 million additional doses from India, said Mukhbur Rahman, secretary of the health ministry. He said Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, had promised to cover the doses for 20% of the population of Bangladesh. The operational plan includes freedom fighters in Bangladesh’s War of Independence, Rahman said, referring to the 1971 conflict with Pakistan that led to the creation of Bangladesh. The country’s health minister told reporters this week that 42,000 volunteers have been trained for the vaccination course.
We need more vaccines, says New York City mayor, postponingappointments.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has called on the federal government to send more doses of coronavirus vaccine to New York City and said New York City should postpone vaccination dates.
Forty-five thousand New Yorkers were vaccinated yesterday. This number is constantly increasing. Soon we will be at 50,000 or more a day. If we have the vaccine. We have to do this. And I think it’s terribly sad because we have so many people who want a vaccine and so many opportunities to give it. What the hell is going on here? We have even had to cancel meetings due to lack of supplies. We need more vaccine, and we need it now. I think President Biden is very focused and will use the defense bill to get as much money from us as he can. So, for anyone who has seen the meeting moved, I feel for you because it’s not fair to you. This shouldn’t have happened. But I also believe that help will come soon. All New Yorkers who have already received the first dose of the vaccine should continue to schedule a second dose. And these deadlines will certainly be met in the coming days. It’s not the meetings I had to reschedule. By the end of the day, about 300,000 second boxes will have been delivered to New York. The idea is that we can continue to meet the delivery schedule for our second doses for the next few days and even weeks, but use this stockpile in part to bring in more first doses of vaccine, with the idea that future deliveries may overwhelm our second doses over time.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has asked the federal government to send more doses of the coronavirus vaccine to New York City and said New York should reschedule vaccination dates. CreditCredit…Mary Altaffer/Associate Press
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday called on the federal government to provide more doses of coronavirus vaccine after saying the city had been forced to postpone thousands of immunization appointments and temporarily close 15 of the city’s immunization centers this week.
We have the personnel, we have the facilities, we just need the vaccine, de Blasio said at the press conference.
In New York City, 45,000 doses were taken Wednesday, according to the mayor, exceeding the 500,000 dose since the vaccination campaign began. He said the city is capable of processing 50,000 cans a day if supplies are provided.
But while the Biden administration has made increasing the supply of the Covid-19 vaccine a central part of its strategy to combat the coronavirus, federal health officials and corporate leaders say it is impossible to increase the immediate supply of vaccine before April because of manufacturing capacity. The administration should first focus, experts say, on the system of national and local immunization centers, which have proven unable to manage the current flow of vaccines.
The two state-mandated vaccines are two-dose vaccines and according to Dr. Dave Choksha, the city’s public health commissioner, New York City was to receive 300,000 second doses by the end of Thursday. Appointments for the second dose scheduled in the next few days will be kept, he said, because there is enough for them to receive the second dose.
The idea is that we can continue to take the second dose over the next few days and even weeks, but that we can partially use these supplies to administer more of the first dose of vaccine, the idea being that future supplies can fill our second dose over time, Dr. Chokshi said. The city has not yet used the second dose for the first, according to a City Hall spokesman.
On Thursday, de Blasio said he hoped the Biden administration would provide more guidance to New York City in addressing the public services problem.
There is not a large supply of vaccines. For the most part, vaccines are delivered weekly as they are produced. (The exception is a small emergency reserve that the Biden Administration says is maintained).
New York is not the only major U.S. city with a vaccine shortage.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the San Francisco Department of Health expects to run out of cans on Thursday because the city’s allocation is much lower than it was a week ago and the state has not replaced any cans that were supposed to be discarded.
Health officials across California say they have difficulty making those appointments because they are not sure how much vaccine they will receive from week to week, the paper says.
There is good news: The California State Epidemiologist has approved 330,000 doses of Moderana vaccine after the state temporarily suspended distribution due to possible allergic reactions.
Due to the high number of coronavirus-related deaths, a crematorium in Meissen, Germany, is struggling to keep coffins on hand. Credit…Philip Singer/ EPA, via Shutterstock
Despite initial successes in the fight against the pandemic, German health authorities have now recorded a total of 50,000 deaths due to Covida since the virus was first detected in the country almost a year ago. And 30,000 of those deaths have occurred in the last nine years. December is in.
It’s not just about the numbers. These are people who died alone, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference on Thursday. It is the families who mourn them. We have to be aware of that all the time.
Daily reports of new infections across the country are in the midst of a week of containment. Authorities recorded 17,862 new cases on Thursday, nearly 4,500 fewer than the previous week. But rising mortality rates are generally associated with spikes in infection rates.
In response to the first wave of the coronavirus, Germany quickly and effectively blocked it. Experts attribute the country’s relatively low early mortality rate to high screening rates, well-equipped hospitals and the young age of many people who first become infected.
Since mid-December, however, the number of deaths per day has risen steadily to above 1,000 in a country of some 83 million people.
Earlier this month, at a mortuary in Meissen, in the eastern part of the country, photos were taken of coffins stacked in three piles. And last Thursday – the worst day of the pandemic in the country so far – 1,244 people died of covid in 24 hours.
A demonstration on the treatment of a patient with covidosis was held in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, on Wednesday. Credit…Byambasuren Byamba-Ochir/ Agence France-Presse – Getty Images
The Mongolian prime minister resigned after protests in the capital Ulaanbaatar against the government’s response to the pandemic.
The country’s parliament on Friday approved the resignation of Prime Minister Khurelsukh Uhnaiah to replace him as chief of staff, state media reported. The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Health have also resigned.
Protesters took to the streets Wednesday after a widely circulated video showed the hasty transport of a Covid 19 patient and her newborn baby from the hospital to a quarantine facility. The protesters were protesting the treatment of the patient, who was still in her nightgown and slippers when she was escorted out of the hospital. Some protesters wore nightgowns and slippers to support the woman.
The World Health Organization praised Mongolia’s rapid response to the onset of the pandemic, closing its borders and halting much of its coal mining. The mining industry accounts for nearly half of export earnings and provides some of the highest-paying jobs in the country.
And although Mr Khurelsukh won a landslide election victory last year, the government is facing the discontent of a booming economy and unemployment. In his letter of resignation, he stated that he would accept the public’s request.
I remember the second time I thought I was going to die, said Laura M. Holson, a reporter and editor at The Times…… Adam Ferguson of The New York Times…
Laura M. Holson, a reporter and editor for The Times, caught Covid during an outbreak in New York City last April, but the acute phase of the disease was just the beginning. Here she tells her story.
I remember the second time I thought I was going to die.
The first time this happened was on the 17th. In April 2020, when I was in pain and coughing nine days prior, I realized I had a Covid-19, my temperature rose to 101.8, I could barely breathe, and my doctor told me I had bacterial pneumonia.
The second time I thought I was going to die, it was different, but strangely similar. It was the 22nd. June, almost three months after the initial diagnosis. By this time, the cough had subsided and I was well past the acute phase of Covid-19, which was negative twice. The tightness in her chest disappeared and was replaced by a pain that ate at her. I lost two pounds when nausea affected my appetite and my heart seemed to burn for no reason. I was so tired, sometimes I fell asleep in the chair. And the fever continued.
On this cloudless June day, the outside temperature rose to a comfortable 85 degrees. I was sitting on the couch and working on my laptop when around 4pm the chest pain I had felt in the early days of Covid suddenly returned. My pulse began to quicken, and the heat scarf that had wrapped itself around my shoulders went up my neck and swallowed my head. I started to sweat. I feel like air is being squeezed out of my lungs. Breathe, I said to myself. BLOW. I got up, gasped, and went to the window to look outside.
Could it happen again?
Orange picking in New South Wales in October. Neighboring Victoria is one of the last states in Australia to allow Pacific Islanders to help out on farms.Credit…Lucas Koch/EPA, via Shutterstock
About 1,500 people from Pacific Island countries are expected to fly to Victoria, Australia, to pick fruit on farms there. While this will help alleviate the agricultural labor shortage that has plagued the sector for months as a result of the coronavirus, it also points to the greater health risks and economic impacts that poor, non-white people face during the pandemic.
The state of Victoria is one of the last states in Australia where Pacific Islanders can help out on farms. Nearly 200 workers from Vanuatu travelled to the Northern Territory in August to pick mangoes, and other states have since followed suit.
As the summer progressed, news came of fruits and vegetables rotting in the fields because there were no workers to harvest them.
Farmers say they have had difficulty recruiting locals, while some Australians reply that farmers have been reluctant to recruit locals because they are not as exploited as outsiders. The sector has also been the subject of recent reports of underpayment and exploitation of workers.
The influx of backpackers and seasonal foreign workers, who make up a large part of the industry, has stalled since the country closed its borders last March to combat the spread of the virus.
Pacific Island workers will have to be quarantined in the Australian island state of Tasmania for two weeks before they can enter Victoria, the Victorian government announced on Friday. In return, 330 Tasmanians stranded abroad can return home and be quarantined in hotels in Melbourne.
Victoria relaxed its pandemic restrictions after 16 consecutive days without a single case of community-acquired infection.