Health News Roundup: US nears 500,000th COVID-19 death; Trials of retooled vaccines for variants could take months and more

The country had recorded more than 28 million COVID-19 cases and 499,510 lives lost as of Monday morning, according to a Reuters tally of public health data, although daily deaths and hospitalizations have fallen to the lowest level since before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 23-02-2021 11:07 IST | Created: 23-02-2021 10:31 IST
Health News Roundup: US nears 500,000th COVID-19 death; Trials of retooled vaccines for variants could take months and more

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

A day that will live in infamy: U.S. nears 500,000th COVID-19 death

The United States on Monday closed in on the staggering milestone of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths just over a year to the day since the coronavirus pandemic claimed its first known U.S. victims in Santa Clara County, California. The country had recorded more than 28 million COVID-19 cases and 499,510 lives lost as of Monday morning, according to a Reuters tally of public health data, although daily deaths and hospitalizations have fallen to the lowest level since before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Trials of retooled vaccines for variants could take months: U.S. FDA

Drugmakers should test any COVID-19 vaccines that have been retooled to combat new variants of the coronavirus in clinical trials designed to track the immune response of hundreds of subjects, which could take months, U.S. regulators said on Monday. Vaccine developers may need to modify their shots to provide protection against new variants of the coronavirus that turn up in the United States should they fail to elicit an immune response in their current form, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.

Pregnant women being infected at higher rates; COVID-19 from UK variant lasting longer

The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Pregnant women infected by COVID-19 at higher rate.

Fauci says U.S. political divisions contributed to 500,000 dead from COVID-19

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said political divisiveness contributed significantly to the "stunning" U.S. COVID-19 death toll, which on Monday surpassed 500,000 lives lost. The country had recorded more than 28 million COVID-19 cases and 500,054 fatalities as of Monday afternoon, according to a Reuters tally of public health data.

'One-way road to freedom': Johnson sets out cautious lockdown exit plan

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a map out of lockdown for England on Monday that would keep some businesses shuttered until the summer, saying caution was necessary to ensure there were no reversals on a "one-way road to freedom". After imposing one of the strictest lockdowns in the western world in January to counter a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus, Johnson said Britain was now in a position to enjoy the fruits of one of the world's fastest vaccine programs.

Pfizer to ship 13 million COVID-19 vaccine doses per week to U.S. by mid-March, says executive

Pfizer Inc expects to deliver more than 13 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine per week to the United States by the middle of March, more than doubling its shipments from early February, a top Pfizer executive said in prepared testimony ahead of a Tuesday congressional hearing. Pfizer has shipped around 40 million doses to locations across the United States so far and is on track to deliver 120 million doses of its two-dose regimen by the end of March, said John Young, Pfizer's chief business officer.

Australia to ramp up COVID-19 vaccination drive as more doses arrive

Australia will ramp up its COVID-19 immunization drive with more shots to be rolled out from next week, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Tuesday after a second shipment of the vaccine reached the country overnight. About 166,000 doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and Germany's BioNtech arrived late Monday, authorities said, as the country entered the second day of a nationwide inoculation program.

White House working to fix federal COVID vaccine tracking system, says official

The U.S. government is working to correct problems with the federal system for tracking the shipment and administration of COVID-19 vaccines after state officials said it was not accurately reflecting the progress of the vaccine rollout, a top U.S. healthcare official said on Monday. "We are actively working on the vaccine tracker, we recognize their challenges... and we are working to fix them imminently," said Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a news briefing.

Vietnam details priorities for first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations

Vietnam's government said on Tuesday health workers, diplomats and military personnel would be among the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when the country starts its inoculation program next month. The Southeast Asian country with a population of 98 million said it will receive 60 million vaccine doses this year, including half under the WHO-led COVAX scheme.

U.S. COVID-19 deaths fall for third week as cases see steep drop

Deaths from COVID-19 in the United States fell for a third straight week last week, as cases and hospitalizations both showed steep drops. The positive trends come as the U.S. death toll from the pandemic hit 500,000, though health experts have warned about a possible resurgence in cases due to new and more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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