Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to mark 50m Covid vaccine doses given in US – live

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10.50am GMT

Yesterday Joe Biden announced increased plans to distribute masks in the US to help combat the spread of Covid. A White House statement said:

The Administration will deliver more than 25 million masks to over 1,300 Community Health Centers across the country as well as 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens, reaching some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations.

Recipients will be encouraged to take an individually wrapped package of two masks for each person in their household. These masks will be no cost, high-quality, washable, and consistent with the mask guidance from the CDC. All of these masks will be made in America, and will not impact availability of masks for health care workers.

10.46am GMT

Overnight the Washington Post has reported that a coronavirus variant detected in California this winter rapidly became dominant in the state over five months and now makes up more than half of the infections in 44 counties. One of the risks to vaccination roll-out globally is that mutations in the coronavirus may evade the vaccine. Joel Achenbach and Carolyn Johnson write:

The United States has been ramping up scrutiny of the shape-shifting virus, and scientists have identified many genetically distinct variants, but there is continued uncertainty and debate over which of these mutations are significant and to what extent. The variant identified in California has emerged as potentially the first homegrown “variant of concern” in the United States, though it has not yet been designated that by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The variant contains a mutation that scientists suspect is enhancing the virus’s ability to bind to human receptor cells. If truly more transmissible, as the new study contends, the California variant joins a growing list of virus variants circulating in the United States.

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Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to mark 50m Covid vaccine doses given in US – live

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