The U.S. and a dozen different nations issued a uncommon joint assertion on Tuesday questioning the validity of a World Health Organization study into the origins of the coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, and has now killed nearly 2.8 million folks throughout the globe.
“We support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence, of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China,” reads the assertion, which was issued by the U.S. State Department in coordination with a raft of different governments, together with Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
The controversy swirled because the U.S. reported that half of all seniors have now been vaccinated. “Vaccination milestone,” tweeted Andy Slavitt, White House senior COVID adviser. “50% of all seniors have now been fully vaccinated.”
The assertion included robust help for the WHO and didn’t instantly blame China for interfering with the scientific probe. But it stated well being specialists had been delayed in finding out the origins of the virus and that even when granted entry, they had been denied “complete, original data and samples.”
“The mission of the WHO is critical to advancing global health and health security,” the assertion stated.”Scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings.”
The WHO’s director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also highlighted China’s lack of cooperation.
“I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough,” he said. “Further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions.”
– Deirdre Shesgreen
Also in the news:
►German health officials recommended restricting the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in people under 60, amid fresh concern over unusual blood clots reported in a tiny number of those who received the shots. Canada suspended use of the vaccine among people under 55.
►The University of Connecticut soccer group minimize its spring practices brief as a result of of constructive COVID-19 check outcomes and subsequent contact tracing protocols, the Hartford Courant reported. The Huskies had been one of a small quantity of FBS groups to decide out of the 2020-21 season.
►England had a glimmer of good news: London had no deaths reported for one day. During a spike in cases during January, more than 200 deaths a day linked to the virus were recorded in the capital.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has over 30.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 550,900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 128.1 million cases and 2.8 million deaths. More than 180.64 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 145.8 million have been administered, in accordance with the CDC.
📘 What we’re studying: As a rising quantity of states have eliminated eligibility necessities for getting vaccinated, it’s grow to be much less clear why some act sooner than others. Read more here.
USA TODAY is monitoring COVID-19 information. Keep refreshing this web page for the most recent updates. Want extra? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
- US tops 12K identified COVID variant cases
- Student loan payments paused for another 1.4 million borrowers
- Baylor basketball coach wants COVID testing to end for Final Four
- ‘Skating on a knife’s edge’: Scientists fear US may see fourth surge
- US surpasses 550,000 deaths as vaccine push accelerates
- California has the second-lowest rate of COVID-19 spread
The United States has reported more known coronavirus variants in the last week –nearly 4,300 – than it reported through the middle of March, a USA TODAY analysis of CDC data shows.
Tuesday night’s tally reflected more than 1,000 new cases just since Sunday’s report. The U.S. now has 12,053 known cases of variants that can spread COVID-19 more easily, dodge some treatments and immunities, or both.
California alone reported 289 new variant cases Tuesday, bringing it up to 865 known cases. Most of those are of B.1.1.7, a variant first seen in the United Kingdom. But California’s P.1 case count also exploded, moving from seven known cases on Sunday to 33 known cases Tuesday. P.1 was first seen in Brazil.
Massachusetts reported 266 new cases, bringing its total to 732.
Several states that hadn’t had much of a known variant problem suddenly have much larger problems. West Virginia went from just three known variant cases on Sunday to 53 on Tuesday, while Nevada went from 11 cases on Sunday to 63 cases on Tuesday. Idaho jumped from 18 to 32.
Ohio reported its first two cases of the B.1.351 variant first seen in South Africa.
– Mike Stucka
The Education Department announced Tuesday that it was expanding its pause on student loan payments for about 1.4 million borrowers who weren’t previously eligible for relief during the coronavirus pandemic. The newest policy applies to borrowers who had defaulted on their Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), a type of loan made by private parties then backed by the federal government. Typically, those in default hadn’t made payments in more than nine months.
The government ended the FFEL program in 2010, though millions still hold these types of loans. The action is the latest expansion of the government’s loan relief for borrowers struggling economically during the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, it had also offered more relief to borrowers with severe disabilities and those who had proven their colleges had defrauded them.
– Chris Quintana
Baylor ladies’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey says the NCAA should stop COVID testing at each the lads’s and ladies’s tournaments forward of the Final Four so no participant runs the danger of testing constructive and being dominated out. “Wouldn’t it’s a disgrace to maintain COVID testing and you have youngsters that find yourself testing constructive or one thing and they do not get to play in a Final Four?” she said.
Mulkey, whose team was eliminated Monday night, spoke hours after CDC director Rochelle Walensky warned that infections, hospitalizations and deaths are again on the rise across the nation. “Right now I’m scared,” a shaken Walensky said. “I simply fear that we’ll see the surges that we noticed over the summer season and the winter once more.”
As COVID-19 cases creep up once more throughout the nation, federal officers and epidemiologists say they’re apprehensive we may hit one other tipping level, resulting in a fourth significant surge of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Average each day reported cases are up 10% in comparison with every week earlier, knowledge from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals, with extra than 30 million COVID-19 cases reported since early final 12 months. Hospitalizations and deaths, which normally lag cases by a number of weeks, have inched upward as effectively, after a decline and plateau that started in early January.
“We’re skating on a knife’s edge right now,” stated Nicholas Reich, a biostatistician on the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Read more here.
– Karen Weintraub
More than 550,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus epidemic, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University knowledge, claiming the lives of 1 in each 600 residents. The nation remains to be averaging about 1,000 deaths per day. But greater than a dozen states will open vaccine eligibility to all adults this week in a significant enlargement of COVID-19 photographs for tens of hundreds of thousands of Americans. According to President Joe Biden, vaccine distribution will improve to a brand new excessive of 33 million this week.
It additionally comes amid a worrisome improve in virus cases and issues about balancing provide and demand for the vaccines.
“Just please maintain on a short while longer,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House briefing. Several Northeastern states and Michigan have seen the biggest increases; some are reporting hundreds or thousands more new cases per day than they were two weeks ago.
California reported the second-lowest rate of COVID-19 spread in comparison with different states within the week ending Sunday, however a prime United States public well being official on Monday described a “recurring feeling I’ve of impending doom” as infections once again are on the rise across the nation.
California ranked 49th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. Thirty-four states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before. The U.S. has surpassed 30 million coronavirus cases.
There was some good news on the vaccine front: The double-shot vaccines sweeping across the nation reduce the risk of infection by 80% after just a single dose two or more weeks after vaccination, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
California ranked 24th among states in share of people receiving at least one shot; 29.3% of its residents are at least partially vaccinated. The national rate is 28.2%, a USA TODAY analysis of CDC data shows.
– Palm Springs Desert Sun
Contributing: The Associated Press