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Biden: US ‘on track’ to have enough vaccines for all adults by May
Joe Biden has said that the US expects to have enough coronavirus vaccines for all adults by the end of May, two months earlier than anticipated, as his administration announced that the drugmaker Merck would help produce Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved shot.
With the bolstered supply, Biden also announced he would be using the powers of the federal government to direct all states to prioritize vaccinating teachers and said the federal government would provide the doses directly through its pharmacy program.
He challenged states to administer at least one dose of the vaccine to all educators by the end of March as part of his administration’s efforts to reopen more schools across the nation.
“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” said Biden.
The president described the partnership between the two drug companies as a “major step forward” in expanding vaccine access to every American, and likened the partnership to the spirit of national cooperation during the second world war:
Brazil registers national record daily death toll
Brazil on Tuesday posted a national single-day record for Covid deaths with 1,641 people dying from the disease, according to Health Ministry data.
That surpassed the previous single-day high of 1,595 Covid deaths recorded in late July 2020, as Brazil faces a new peak in coronavirus cases and the hospital system is pushed to the brink of collapse.
More than 257,000 people have died of Covid in Brazil, according to the official count, making it the deadliest outbreak after that of the United States.
Roughly 10.6 million people have been infected since the pandemic began, according to the Health Ministry, with 59,925 new cases reported on Tuesday.
Brazilian state governors said on Tuesday they would join together to buy Covid vaccines and bypass the federal government, which has been slow to roll out its vaccine program.
168m children worldwide have missed school for a year
Worldwide, more than 168 million children have had their schools completely shut for almost a year, according to UNICEF, due to coronavirus lockdowns.
One in seven children – 214 million – have missed more than three-quarters of in-person learning.
Here is what else the study found:
- Two thirds of countries that have remained largely closed are in Latin America and the Caribbean, affecting nearly 98 million
- Of the 14 countries, Panama has kept schools closed for the most days, followed by El Salvador, Bangladesh, and Bolivia.
Unicef explains the impact of school closures which, they say:
Have devastating consequences for children’s learning and wellbeing. The most vulnerable children and those unable to access remote learning are at an increased risk of never returning to the classroom, and even being forced into child marriage or child labor.”
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest developments for the next few hours.
Our top line this morning: A staggering 168m children worldwide have had their schools closed for the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Unicef. We’ll have more on this soon.
Here are the other key recent developments:
- Italy’s government on Tuesday ordered the closure of all schools in areas hardest hit by Covid-19 and extended curbs already in place on businesses and movement until after Easter amid worries over the highly contagious UK variant.
- Turkey added a further 11,837 new coronavirus cases to its tally on Tuesday, health ministry data showed – the country’s highest daily figure since 7 January.
- Tunisia has detected its first cases of the more transmissible variant of the coronavirus first discovered in the UK, the country’s health ministry said on Tuesday in a statement reported by Reuters.
- German chancellor Angela Merkel wants to begin relaxing coronavirus restrictions from next week, a draft document seen by AFP shows, hoping that reinforced numbers of rapid antigen tests and vaccines will allow the country to unlock.
- Venezuela has received 500,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine President Nicolas Maduro said, as well as protective material for healthcare workers.
- Nigeria’s first Covid-19 vaccines, Oxford/AstraZeneca shots from the international Covax scheme, landed in the capital city Abuja today, Reuters reports.
- The uptake of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine in France stood at 24% as of 28 February, a health ministry official said on Tuesday, well below the country’s target of between 80 and 85%.
- Spain will buy 17m more doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine as part of a new deal negotiated by the European Union, government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero said on Tuesday.
- American pharmaceutical Merck & Co Inc will help manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine in an agreement due to be announced on Tuesday by President Joe Biden, a White House official said on Tuesday.
- Greek officials have announced plans to expand the public health system’s capacity to admit Covid-19 patients following an emergency meeting chaired by prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Source: The Guardian
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