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Health News Roundup: What you need to know about the coronavirus right now; California governor issues regional lockdown plans as ICUs near capacity and more

Across the country, state health departments are preparing local hospitals for the first shipments of Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizes it, possibly as early as mid-December.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 04-12-2020 18:43 IST | Created: 04-12-2020 18:31 IST
Health News Roundup: What you need to know about the coronavirus right now; California governor issues regional lockdown plans as ICUs near capacity and more
Representative picture. Image Credit: Unsplash

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: U.N. chief pans countries who ignored facts U.S. expert Fauci backtracks on criticism of UK on vaccine: NBC

U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Friday he was reacting to gloating by a British television interviewer when he criticized the country's quick approval of the first coronavirus vaccine. Fauci, longtime director of a leading U.S. government health agency and member of the White House coronavirus task force, apologized for his comments late on Thursday.

UK hopes for millions of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses this year: minister

Britain hopes that millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered by the end of the year but the total will depend on how quickly it can be manufactured, Britain's business minister Alok Sharma said on Friday. Britain approved Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, jumping ahead of the rest of the world in the race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history.

Coronavirus claims 1.5 million lives globally with 10,000 dying each day

Over 1.5 million people have lost their lives due to COVID-19 with one death reported every nine seconds on a weekly average, as vaccinations are set to begin in December in a handful of developed nations. Half a million deaths occurred in just the last two months, indicating that the severity of the pandemic is far from over. Nearly 65 million people globally have been infected by the disease and the worst affected country, United States, is currently battling a third wave of coronavirus infections.

Swiss expand coronavirus risk quarantine list, add United States

Switzerland has expanded its list of countries https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/empfehlungen-fuer-reisende/quarantaene-einreisende.html with a high risk of coronavirus infection from which new arrivals must quarantine themselves for 10 days, the Federal Office for Health said on Friday. The United States has been added to list, which also now includes more areas of neighbouring Italy and Austria, as well as Hungary, Poland and Portugal. It takes effect from Dec. 14.

Russian state employees describe pressure to join vaccine trials

In late September, Moscow municipal official Sergei Martyanov sent a series of text messages to his subordinates: "Colleagues!!!... What is this sabotage???" Martyanov was expressing dismay at his staff's apparent reluctance to volunteer for the human trials of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, named after the Soviet-era satellite that triggered the space race. The official in the Moscow department of city property said many quota spots for his staff to join the trial remained unfilled.

California governor issues regional lockdown plans as ICUs near capacity

California's governor on Thursday announced plans to impose COVID-19 stay-at-home orders on a regional basis, with tougher social and economic restrictions to be triggered when intensive care units near maximum capacity at a region's hospitals. The latest constraints, unveiled as coronavirus infections and hospitalizations soared further, will take effect after 48 hours in any of five designated geographic regions where available ICU space falls to 15% of capacity or less, Governor Gavin Newsom said.

Norway to use three vaccines to stop COVID-19 from early 2021

Norway plans to use the three vaccines developed by Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and BioNTech in its first push to inoculate its population against COVID-19, Norway's health minister said on Friday. In the first quarter of 2021, Oslo expects to receive a total of 2.5 million doses, covering 1.25 million people - or 23% of the population, pending approval of the vaccines from European regulators.

COVID-19 cases in England dropped during lockdown, survey finds

COVID-19 case numbers dropped in England during its second national lockdown, Britain's Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday. There were 521,300 cases in the community in England in the week to Nov. 28, compared to 633,000 the week before. That equates to 1 in 105 people having COVID-19, compared to 1 in 85 a week earlier, the ONS said.

Analysis: First U.S. delivery of COVID-19 vaccine will leave out many high-risk workers

The U.S. government's first shipment of millions of coronavirus vaccine doses to be divided among states and federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, will fall far short of protecting high priority groups such as healthcare workers, a Reuters analysis has found. Across the country, state health departments are preparing local hospitals for the first shipments of Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizes it, possibly as early as mid-December.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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