The U.S. neared half a million deaths from coronavirus-borne disease COVID-19 on Monday as experts prepared for a meeting of the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee later this week to review Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate.
The J&J vaccine would fundamentally change the vaccination program if approved as it is a single dose and does not meet the refrigeration requirements of the existing approved vaccinations, which require every two doses every week.
President Joe Biden will hold a candlelit ceremony later Monday to honor the U.S. dead and to recognize the devastating toll the nation took from the pandemic that erupted about a year ago.
With 4% of the world’s population, the US has about a quarter of the world’s cases – 28 million of the world’s 111.5 million – and about a fifth of the world’s death toll – 499,075 of a total of 2.47 million. according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The death toll is well above government projections last March, when the Trump administration It is estimated that 100,000 to 240,000 people could die.
The US has more than twice as many cases as India and Brazil, the next two hardest hit countries, and more than twice as many as Brazil and Mexico, the two countries with the second and third highest death rates.
“It’s something breathtaking when you look at the numbers, almost unbelievable, but it’s true,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert. said NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “This is a devastating pandemic, and historical. People will be talking about it for decades and decades and decades.”
There is room for optimism, however, as the number and number of hospitalizations are clearly declining and the vaccination program is on track to meet Biden’s goal of 100 million doses in the first 100 days of his presidency. Biden is now plan to step up these efforts and intends to vaccinate all eligible adults against the coronavirus by the end of summer.
The limited supply of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines has slowed the pace of vaccinations – and that was before extreme winter weather delayed the delivery of about 6 million doses last week. However, the US is on the verge of a supply breakthrough as production begins and the expectation is that a third vaccine will soon be available.
“It’s one thing to have the vaccine and it’s very different to get it in someone’s arms,” Biden said Friday when touring Pfizer’s manufacturing facility in Portage, Michigan. The company will double its vaccine shipments in the coming weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vaccine Tracker shows that at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning, 75.2 million vaccine doses were dispensed, 63 million doses were given, and 43.6 million Americans received one or more doses.
The US added 55,195 new cases on Sunday. according to a New York Times Tracker. The US saw an average of 66,393 new cases per day for the past week, a 44% decrease from the average two weeks ago.
There were 56,159 COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals on Sunday. according to the COVID Tracking Project, from 58,222 the day before. This is the lowest level since November 7th.
Raymond James analyst Chris Meekins said average daily cases are down 74% from the January peak, hospital admissions are down 53% and deaths are down 43%.
“The Senate will hold a hearing with vaccine manufacturers on February 23 to further speed up vaccinations,” Meekins wrote in a message to customers. “We also continue to monitor variants in the US that are becoming increasingly relevant. On Wednesday, CDC Director Dr. Wallensky on the importance of slowing the spread to prevent further mutations. “
In other news:
• An FDA advisory committee of independent experts will meet Thursday to discuss and then vote on whether to take advantage of the Johnson & Johnson-developed investigational vaccine
the risks outweigh Jaimy Lee from MarketWatch reported. The regulator does not need to follow the committee’s advice, but it often does. The FDA is expected to release its report on J & J’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday ahead of the report “Adcom” meeting this will take place all day Thursday. In the cases of vaccines that had already been granted emergency approval, the FDA granted them one day after the meetings of the advisory committee for those vaccines. This means that J & J’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate may get approved as early as Friday.
• UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to do so Detail on Monday in Parliament the path to the gradual lifting of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in England, pending continued success of the ongoing vaccination campaign. The government stands ready to reopen elementary and secondary schools on March 8 after a two-month closure after Christmas, as reported in the UK press on Monday. Non-essential retail stores could reopen in late April, but pubs and restaurants will remain closed unless newspapers say they can’t have outdoor dining informed by the government Officer.
and Oxford University reduced hospital admissions by up to 85% and 94%, respectively. “These results are important as we move from expectation to clearly demonstrating the benefit of vaccines. Throughout the Scottish population, the results showed a significant effect in reducing the risk of hospitalization with a single dose of vaccine, ”said Dr. Jim McMenamin, director of the National COVID-19 Incident at Public Health Scotland, in a statement.
• United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres hit authoritarian regimes that he said had used the pandemic as an excuse to counter dissent. Guterres wrote in the Guardian. The crisis has curbed years of human rights advances, and abuses have “thrived because poverty, discrimination, the destruction of our natural environment and other human rights abuses have created tremendous fragility in our societies”. Guterres renewed his criticism of rich countries more than 130 countries without a single dose. “If the virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in parts of the global south, it mutates again and again. New variants could become more transmissible and deadly, and potentially jeopardize the effectiveness of current vaccines and diagnostics. This could prolong the pandemic significantly and allow the virus to plague the global north again – and delay the world’s economic recovery, ”he wrote.
• China posted record sales of $ 1.2 billion in movie tickets last Lunar Holiday, representing one-tenth of the world’s box office for 2020 in six days. Variety reported. It was the first time China had a one-day box office of more than 1 billion renminbi, or $ 155 million, for five consecutive days. More than 160 million people attended more than 2.9 million screenings during the holiday season.
• India’s Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine maker, has been instructed to “prioritize India’s enormous needs while meeting the needs of the rest of the world,” executive director Adar Poonawalla said in a tweet. The institute made the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford.
Around 63 million people have recovered from COVID-19, data from Johns Hopkins shows.
Brazil has the second highest death toll after the US at 246,504 and ranks third with 10.2 million cases.
India ranks second in the world with 11 million and fourth with 156,385 deaths.
Mexico has the third highest death toll at 180,107 and the 13th highest at 2 million.
There are 4.1 million cases and 120,810 deaths in the UK, the highest in Europe and the fifth highest in the world.
China, where the virus was first discovered late last year, has had 100,774 confirmed cases and 4,833 deaths, according to official figures.