US COVID Vaccine Program Accelerates to Approximately 3 Million Doses Daily Last Week

The U.S. COVID-19 vaccination program continues in overdrive, setting a record Saturday of more than four million doses administered, though experts continue to urge Americans to follow safety measures and wear face masks in public and at a distance. The vaccine program averaged 3 million doses a day over the past week, according to Cyrus Shahpar, COVID-19 data director at the White House Response Team.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker shows that as of 6:00 a.m. ET Sunday, 207.9 million doses had been delivered to states, 165 million doses had been administered, and 106, 2 million Americans had received at least one dose, equivalent to 32% of the population. At this point, 61.4 million Americans are fully vaccinated, meaning they have received two injections of the two-dose vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc. PFE, + 0.62% and German partner BioNTech SE BNTX, -0 , 34% and Moderna Inc. MRNA, -1.68%, or one of Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ vaccines, + 1.02% from a single injection. That is equivalent to 18.5% of the population. In the age group 65 and over, 29.9 million people are fully vaccinated, more than half (54.8%) of that population. Johnson & Johnson said it would take over manufacturing of its vaccine at a Baltimore plant run by Emergent BioSolutions Inc. EBS, -1.36%, where a batch of 15 million doses had to be discarded last week after a production problem that involved workers confusing components of the J&J vaccine with those intended for the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca PLC AZN, + 0.36% AZN, -1.03% and the University of Oxford, according to media reports. Regulators had not yet cleared the Emergent plant when J&J discovered the quality issue during a routine inspection, and none of the lots had been shipped for use in vaccine manufacturing. Emergent said Monday that it will move manufacturing of the AstraZeneca vaccine elsewhere. J&J will take over the manufacturing of your vaccine and install a new leadership team and technical, quality and other personnel. The United States is unlikely to face a “true” fourth wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, but the country should wait a few more weeks before easing mitigation efforts, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, as Mike Murphy of MarketWatch reported. . Speaking to CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” Gottlieb acknowledged that young people were causing new coronavirus outbreaks in many states, but that vaccination efforts should prevent another devastating wave of the virus. The United States added at least 36,670 new cases Sunday, according to a New York Times tracker, and at least 277 people died. Those numbers may not be reported due to hospital staff downsizing on weekends. The United States averaged 64,019 cases a day last week, 18% more than the average two weeks earlier. COVID-19 cases are on the rise in 27 states and the District of Columbia, with more outbreaks seen as schools reopen. Don’t Miss: How 6 Feet Became 3: Meet An ER Doctor Behind Research Showing Children Are Still Safe In School With A New Standard Of Social Distancing “Infection Is Changing Its Contours In Terms Of who is being affected by it right now? “Gottlieb said, according to a transcript from CBS News. “I think we need to stick to strict mitigation in schools,” Gottlieb told CBS News, adding that maintaining mask requirements and social distancing measures are crucial to avoid intermingling in large groups. “If you’re taking those steps in schools, I think schools can be safer and I think the benefits of being in school outweigh the risks.” See now: Americans have grown tired of wearing masks and social distancing before; Here’s what happened next In other news: • Britain plans to test a number of measures including “coronavirus status certifications” over the next several weeks to see if they can allow people to safely return to mass gatherings in stadiums sports, night clubs and concerts. Associated Press reported. People attending a variety of events this month and in May, including a club night and key FA Cup football matches, will need to undergo before and after tests. The trials will also collect evidence on how ventilation and different approaches to social distancing could allow large events to occur. Officials are also developing plans to test COVID-19 passports that are expected to show whether a person has received a vaccine, recently tested negative for the virus, or has any immunity due to having had coronavirus in the previous six months. The UK also plans to reopen for travel using a “traffic light” system. • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings NCLH, + 5.83% has sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in which it describes its plan to resume cruise operations in the United States in July. The company said its plan includes a requirement that its guests and crew be fully vaccinated, as well as strict health and safety protocols. “Norwegian is confident and optimistic that the CDC will agree that mandatory vaccination requirements eliminate the need for [Conditional Sailing Order] and therefore requests for the lifting of the order of Norwegian vessels, allowing them to sail from US ports as of July 4, “Norwegian said in a statement. See also: Vaccines are here. That is no reason to suspend the search for effective COVID-19 treatments. • Delta Air Lines canceled about 100 flights on Sunday due to staff shortages, and opened the middle seats a month earlier than expected to carry more passengers, ”reported AP. The airline says it had more than 1 million passengers in recent days, the highest number since before the coronavirus pandemic began last year. “We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience, and most have been rebooked for the same day of travel,” the airline said in a statement Sunday.

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Covid-19, a virus that many experts believe came to us from bats, has been transmitted from humans to pets and other animals. Here’s why some scientists are concerned that the alleged spills could perpetuate a cycle of infection. Photo: Markus Scholz / Zuma Press

• There are growing calls in Germany for the introduction of coronavirus restrictions across the country amid confusion and frustration over different agreements across the country as the infection rate continues to rise, The Guardian reported. Most Germans favor a more unified approach to the crisis, which is now in its third wave, according to a YouGov poll. Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for stricter and more unified rules across the country, but state leaders have frequently overruled them. • India has become the second country after the United States to register more than 100,000 new COVID cases in one day, NPR reported. There is an increase in South Asia. The prime minister and president of Pakistan are among those who have tested positive in recent weeks. A week-long lockdown began in Bangladesh on Monday. But in most of India, shops, factories and even cinemas remain open as the government seeks to avoid the economic pain felt in 2020 when GDP fell almost 24%. Latest Counts The global count of coronavirus-borne diseases rose above 131.3 million on Monday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll surpassed 2.85 million. At least 74.5 million people have recovered from COVID, the data shows. The United States continues to lead the world for cases, with 30.7 million, or about a quarter of the global count, and deaths, with 555,001. Brazil ranks second worldwide in cases with 12.9 million and also second with a death toll of 331,433. India ranks third globally in cases with 12.6 million and fourth in deaths with 165,101. Mexico ranks third for deaths with 204,147 and 13th highest for cases with 2.3 million. The UK has 4.4 million cases and 127,078 deaths, the highest in Europe and the fifth highest in the world. China, where the virus was first discovered late last year, has had 101,877 confirmed cases and 4,841 deaths, according to its official figures.