Health News Roundup: Pfizer says it has second doses of COVID-19; Two COVID-19 cases on Australian Open flight and more
Mexico's coronavirus death toll rises to 139,022 Mexico reported 21,366 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,106 more fatalities on Friday, according to the Health Ministry, bringing its total to 1,609,735 infections and 139,022 deaths.Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 16-01-2021 10:40 IST | Created: 16-01-2021 10:30 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Pfizer says it has second doses of COVID-19 shot on hand, expects no U.S. supply problems
Pfizer Inc has been holding on to second doses for each of its COVID-19 vaccinations at the request of the federal government and anticipates no problems supplying them to Americans, a spokeswoman said in a statement on Friday. Pfizer's comments run counter to a report in the Washington Post that the federal government ran down its vaccine reserve in late December and has no remaining reserves of doses on hand.
Two COVID-19 cases on Australian Open flight, arrivals to quarantine
Two coronavirus infections were reported on Saturday on a flight to the Australian Open, forcing two weeks of strict hotel quarantine for all the tennis players and entourage on board. The positive cases were recorded after the charter flight from Los Angeles landed in Melbourne for the tennis grand slam, according to online posts from players.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Friday said he would order increased production of syringes and other supplies to ramp up vaccinations against COVID-19 and improve upon the Trump administration rollout that he called a "dismal failure." Under Biden's plan, federal disaster-relief workers would set up thousands of vaccination centers, where retired doctors would administer shots to teachers, grocery store workers, people over 65 years old and other groups who do not currently qualify.
Fast-spreading UK coronavirus variant could be dominant in U.S. by March, CDC says
A new, highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus first discovered in Britain could become the dominant variant in the United States by March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Friday. The variant, known as B.1.1.7, is believed to be twice as contagious as the current version of the virus circulating in the United States. So far, 76 people from 10 U.S. states have been infected with the U.K. variant.
Progress reported on one-dose J&J vaccine; COVID-19 reinfections seen as rare
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. Johnson & Johnson vaccine advancing through clinical trials.
Trump administration accused of deception in pledging release of vaccine stockpile
The governors of several states accused the Trump administration on Friday of deception in pledging to immediately distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses from a stockpile that the U.S. health secretary has since acknowledged does not exist. Confusion over a vaccine supply windfall that was promised to governors but failed to materialize arose as scattered shortages emerged on the frontlines of the most ambitious and complex immunization campaign in U.S. history, prompting at least one large New York healthcare system to cancel a slew of inoculation appointments.
Brazil company requests emergency use approval for Russian vaccine
Brazilian pharmaceutical company União Química said on Friday that, together with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), it has requested regulatory approval for emergency use of Russia's COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V. The request, filed with Brazilian health regulator Anvisa, seeks approval for the use of 10 million doses of Sputnik V in Brazil in the first quarter of 2021, the company said in a statement issued in Moscow. Anvisa officials said the Russian vaccine would have to be submitted to Phase III clinical trials in Brazil before its use can be authorized.
Mexico's coronavirus death toll rises to 139,022
Mexico reported 21,366 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,106 more fatalities on Friday, according to the Health Ministry, bringing its total to 1,609,735 infections and 139,022 deaths. The real number of infected people and deaths is likely significantly higher than the official count, the ministry has said, because of a lack of widespread testing.
Global COVID-19 death toll tops 2 million
The worldwide coronavirus death toll surpassed 2 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, as nations around the world are trying to procure multiple vaccines and detect new COVID-19 variants. It took nine months for the world to record the first 1 million deaths from the novel coronavirus but only three months to go from 1 million to 2 million deaths, illustrating an accelerating rate of fatalities. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)
Biden will keep Dr. Francis Collins as National Institutes of Health director: statement
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will keep Dr. Francis Collins as head of the National Institutes of Health, his transition team said in a press release on Friday. First appointed as NIH director by former U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009, Collins will stay at the helm of America's premier health policy research agency as COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. near 400,000.
(With inputs from agencies.)