US total Covid death toll stands at 599,945 – Johns Hopkins University figures
The total death toll in the US from Covid has reached 599,945, according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University, which is the source that the Guardian has been throughout the pandemic.
Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said at the weekend that “We have the tools to control this and defeat it,” Gottlieb said. “We just need to use those tools.”
The vaccination tracker at the Washington Post states that 174.2m people in the US have received at least one vaccine dose, with 144.9m people fully vaccinated.
Good morning. It’s Martin Belam here in London picking up the live blog baton. Fifteen months can be a long time in a pandemic. In March 2020, British prime minister Boris Johnson was telling the public that the UK could turn the tide of coronavirus in 12 weeks and “send coronavirus packing in this country”. It is June 2021 and he’s just had to push back his cherished reopening date from 21 June to 19 July.
You can expect the morning media round in the UK to be dominated by this decision, with questions about the timing of the announcement, the risk posed to the entertainment and hospitality sectors by an extra four weeks having to operate under onerous conditions or remain shut, and why the announcement was leaked to the press at the weekend, rather than being addressed in parliament first.
There will also be a steady hum of discontent. I noted last night Covid sceptic Allison Pearson saying that the presentation used percentages rather than raw numbers because the caseload and numbers of people are actually very low. It’s still a wilful decision to pretend not to understand that a small number doubling every couple of days gets you to a large number very, very quickly.
Here’s my colleague Peter Walker with our Q&A all about it, if you need to catch-up: What we know about the delay to ending Covid lockdown in England
Bolsonaro asks Pfizer to speed up vaccine delivery
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday asked Pfizer to bring forward planned delivery of Covid-19 vaccines, a government source said, aiming to speed up a slow national inoculation program, Reuters reports.
The request is a turnaround for Bolsonaro who last year ignored offers of vaccines from Pfizer, according to testimony to a Senate commission investigating delays in vaccinating the country with the world’s second-deadliest outbreak.
Bolsonaro, his chief of staff and ministers of health and foreign affairs, held a conference call with Pfizer Brasil Chief Executive Marta Diez and Pfizer Latin America Chief Executive Carlos Murillo, the president’s office said on social media.
Bolsonaro, Bolsonaro, a vaccine skeptic who opposed lockdown and social distancing, asked the Pfizer executives if deliveries for later this year could be brought forward to June, from the fourth quarter, a government official with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Pfizer Brasil declined to comment on the meeting.
Almost half a million Brazilians have died from Covid, yet only 10.3% of the country’s 210 million people have received a first vaccine dose, and just 25% have been fully vaccinated, mainly with vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd and AstraZeneca Plc.
More on the WHO’s comments, from AFP: While people in many wealthy nations are enjoying a return to a sense of normalcy thanks to high vaccination rates, the shots remain scarce in less well-off parts of the world. In terms of doses administered, the imbalance between the G7 and low-income countries, as defined by the World Bank, is 73 to one.
Many of the donated G7 doses will be filtered through Covax, a global body charged with ensuring equitable vaccine distribution.
Run by the WHO, the Gavi vaccine alliance and CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, it has to date shipped more than 87 million vaccine doses to 131 countries – far fewer than anticipated.
The WHO wants at least 70% of the world’s population vaccinated by the next G7 meeting in Germany next year.
“To do that, we need 11 billion doses. The G7 and G20 can make this happen,” said Tedros
WHO warns virus quicker than vaccines after G7 doses pledge
The WHO warned Monday that Covid-19 was moving faster than the vaccines, and said the G7’s vow to share a billion doses with poorer nations was simply not enough, AFP reports.
Global health leaders also warned the pledge was too little, too late, with more than 11 billion shots needed.
Faced with outrage over disparities in jab access, the Group of Seven industrialised powers pledged during a weekend summit in Britain to take their total dose donations to more than one billion, up from 130 million promised in February.
“I welcome the announcement that G7 countries will donate 870 million (new) vaccine doses, primarily through Covax,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists.
“This is a big help, but we need more, and we need them faster. Right now, the virus is moving faster than the global distribution of vaccines.
“More than 10 thousand people are dying every day… these communities need vaccines, and they need them now, not next year.”
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
The WHO warned on Monday that Covid-19 was moving faster than the vaccines, and said the G7’s vow to share a billion doses with poorer nations was simply not enough. Global health leaders also warned the pledge was too little, too late, with more than 11 billion shots needed.
Meanwhile the US is poised to pass the dark milestone of 600,000 deaths over the course of the pandemic, with 599,945 fatalities confirmed currently on the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
Here are the other key recent developments:
- Boris Johnson announced a four-week delay to the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in England. He said the extra delay could prevent thousands of deaths by allowing more vaccinations. No 10 said data indicated two doses of a vaccine were needed for protection against the Delta variant causing a rise in cases.
- The main impacts of that delay in England will be pubs and hospitality remain restricted to table service and with social distancing measures in place, people should still work from home where possible, theatres and entertainment venues will have their capacity held at 50% and nightclubs will have to remain closed. The limit of 30 people at weddings and receptions has been lifted though, and also for wakes – although there are still some restrictions in place on what you can do.
- The Delta variant has been detected in 74 countries and is continuing to spread, prompting fears it will become the most dominant strain globally. There is also concern that while data is being shared, countries with weaker monitoring systems may not have detected the strain’s presence.
- Indonesia said it fears rising cases will not peak until July, despite hospitals in the capital Jakarta and other parts of Java already coming close to full capacity. The country is trying to increase hospital capacity and turn hotels into isolation centres.
- Russia reported 13,721 new coronavirus cases, including 6,590 in the capital, Moscow. Authorities in St Petersburg, which is hosting a series of Euro 2020 matches, said on Monday they were tightening anti-coronavirus restrictions in an effort to curb a new spike in infections. Food courts and children’s play areas in shopping malls in Russia’s second city will be closed, and no food will be sold at Euro 2020 fan zones.
- South Africa has had to bin 2 million Johnson and Johnson doses because of a potential contamination of ingredients traced back to the US. It is another setback for the country’s vaccination campaign with the doses planned for health workers and over-60s.
- A WHO official said Africa will get priority treatment for the 870 million vaccine doses pledged by the G7 because it has emerged as one of “the most vulnerable, under-served (areas)”.
- The two main hospitals in Afghanistan dealing with Covid-19 have had to turn away patients, saying they have no more beds and are short on oxygen and medical supplies.
- Thailand’s recently launched coronavirus vaccination campaign was hit by confusion after at least 20 hospitals in Bangkok postponed Covid-19 inoculation appointments set for this week, citing delays in vaccine deliveries. A series of coronavirus outbreaks in Thai factories is also raising concerns that the export sector could be hit hard, threatening to further undermine an economy as it struggles to recover from the pandemic’s crippling blow to the crucial tourism industry.