US Nears Half a Million COVID Deaths As Experts Await FDA Meeting on J&J One Dose Vaccine

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The United States moved closer to half a million deaths from the coronavirus-borne disease COVID-19 on Monday, as experts prepared for a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee meeting later this week to review the candidate vaccine. from Johnson & Johnson. It will be a game changer on the vaccine program if you get clearance as it is a single dose regimen and does not have the refrigeration requirements of existing licensed jabs, all of which require two doses one week apart.

President Joe Biden will hold a candlelight ceremony later Monday to honor America’s dead and acknowledge the devastating toll the nation has suffered from the pandemic that erupted about a year ago. . At 4% of the world’s population, the US has about a quarter of the world’s cases (28 million of the world’s 111.6 million count) and about a fifth of the world’s death toll (499,779 of a 2.47 million, according to aggregate data). by Johns Hopkins University. The death toll is much higher than the administration’s predictions last March, when the Trump administration estimated that there could be between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths. The United States has more than double the cases suffered by India and Brazil, the next two most affected countries, and more than double the deaths suffered by Brazil and Mexico, the two countries with the second and third highest number of deaths. “It’s something that’s amazing when you look at the numbers, almost unbelievable, but it’s true,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “This is a devastating pandemic and it is historic. People will talk about this in decades and decades and decades from now. ”However, there is some room for optimism, as the number of cases and hospitalizations are on a clear downward trend, and the vaccine program is on track to meet Biden’s goal of 100 million doses in the first 100 days of his presidency. Biden now plans to step up that effort and aims to vaccinate all eligible adults against coronavirus by the end of the summer. The limited supply of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines has hampered the pace of vaccines, and that was before extreme winter weather delayed the delivery of around 6 million doses last week. But the US is on the brink of a breakthrough in supply as manufacturing ramps up and with the expectation that a third vaccine will be available soon. “It’s one thing to have the vaccine and it’s very different to have it in someone’s arms,” ​​said Biden. on Friday while touring Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Portage, Michigan. The company is set to double its vaccine delivery rate in the coming weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker shows that as of 6 a.m. ET Sunday, 75.2 million doses of vaccines had been delivered, 63 million doses had been administered, and 43.6 million Americans had received one or more doses. The United States added 55,195 new cases Sunday, according to a New York Times tracker. The United States has averaged 66,393 new cases per day over the past week, 44% less than the average two weeks ago. There were 56,159 COVID-19 patients in US hospitals on Sunday, according to the COVID Tracking Project, compared with 58,222 the day before. That’s the lowest level since November 7. Average daily cases are down 74% from their January peak, hospitalizations are down 53% and deaths are down 43%, according to Raymond James analyst Chris Meekins. “The Senate will hold a February 23 hearing with vaccine manufacturers on how to further accelerate vaccines,” Meekins wrote in a note to clients. “In addition, we continue to monitor variants in the United States that are increasingly relevant; On Wednesday, CDC Director Dr. Wallensky emphasized the importance of slowing the spread to prevent further mutations. “Read Now: These hospitals gave wealthy donors the early COVID-19 vaccines, each giving new excuses to do so In other news: • An FDA advisory committee of independent experts will meet Thursday to discuss and then vote on whether the benefits of vaccine research developed by Johnson & Johnson JNJ, -0.04% outweigh the risks, reported MarketWatch’s Jaimy Lee. The regulator is not required to follow the advice of the committee, but often does. The FDA is also expected to release its report on J & J’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, ahead of the adcom meeting. which will take place on Thursday throughout the day. In the cases of vaccines that have already obtained authorization for emergency use, the FDA granted them a day after the advisory committee meetings for those vaccines, which means that the J & J’s COVID-19 candidate vaccine may be licensed as early as Friday. • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to detail in Parliament on Monday the path to gradually lift restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic in England, depending on the continued success of the ongoing vaccination campaign. The government is set to reopen primary and secondary schools on March 8 after a two-month shutdown after Christmas, according to plans widely leaked in the British press on Monday. Non-essential retail stores could reopen towards the end of April, but pubs and restaurants will remain closed unless they can offer cookouts, according to newspapers reported by government officials. Watch now: Even a dose of Pfizer vaccine reduces the risk of coronavirus infection, says Public Health England • A study by the executive agency Public Health Scotland showed on Monday that vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc. PFE, -0.57% and the German partner BioNTech SE BNTX, -0.18%, as well as that developed by AstraZeneca PLC AZN, + 0.34% AZN, -0.42% and Oxford University reduced hospital admissions by up to 85% and 94% , respectively. “These results are important as we move from expectation to firm evidence of the benefits of vaccines. Across the Scottish population, the results showed a substantial effect in reducing the risk of admission to hospital with a single dose of vaccine, ”said Dr. Jim McMenamin, director of the National COVID-19 Incident in Public Health, in a statement. from Scotland. Dispatches from a pandemic: Are people willing to live with more deaths from COVID-19? One of Europe’s most infected cities just loosen restrictions • UN Secretary General António Guterres lashed out at authoritarian regimes that he said used the pandemic as an excuse to suppress dissent, Guterres wrote in The Guardian . The crisis has set back years of human rights advances, and the abuses “thrived because poverty, discrimination, destruction of our natural environment and other human rights failures have created enormous fragility in our societies.” Guterres renewed his criticism of rich countries for hoarding the supply of vaccines, leaving more than 130 countries without a single dose. “If the virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in parts of the global south, it will mutate over and over again. The new variants could become more communicable, more deadly, and potentially threaten the effectiveness of current vaccines and diagnostics. This could prolong the pandemic significantly, allowing the virus to return to plague the global north and delay the global economic recovery, ”he wrote. Don’t Miss: Only 50 People Are Known To Have Contracted COVID-19 More Than Once, But The New Strains Have Medical Experts On High Alert • China Has Enjoyed A Record $ 1.2 Billion In Movie Ticket Sales during the recent lunar holiday, accounting for a 2020 global box office 10th in six days, Variety reported. It was the first time that China had a one-day box office of more than 1 billion renminbi, or $ 155 million, for five days in a row. More than 160 million people attended more than 2.9 million screenings during the holiday period. • The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, was instructed to “prioritize the enormous needs of India and, along with that, balance the needs of the rest of the world,” according to CEO Adar Poonawalla in a Tweet. The institute has been manufacturing the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford. Latest Counts Approximately 63 million people have recovered from COVID-19, data from Johns Hopkins shows. Brazil has the second highest number of deaths after the United States with 246,504 and the third for cases with 10.2 million. India ranks second in the world in cases with 11 million and now fourth in deaths with 156,385. Mexico has the third highest number of deaths with 180,107 and the thirteenth highest number of cases with 2 million. The UK has 4.1 million cases and 120,987 deaths, 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 its official figures.