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WHO Sees Pandemic on Wrong Path; U.S. Vaccine Pace: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) — The pandemic is on the wrong trajectory after six straight weeks of increased cases, according to a World Health Organization officer, who said “vaccines will not end the pandemic.”The U.S. recorded 4 million vaccine doses on Friday, returning the pace of inoculations almost to the level before a post holiday lull, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said they would ask regulators in the U.S. and elsewhere to allow use of their vaccine in adolescents ages 12 to 15.The European Union’s drug regulator has started a review to assess blood clots in people who received Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. A Johns Hopkins University professor said AstraZeneca Plc’s shot is still safe “overall” even as some countries limit its use.Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases pass 134.5 million; deaths 2.9 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 748 million shots given worldwideWHO chief says political will missing for equitable vaccinationEurope finds some rare successes in its struggle to defeat CovidChina’s bid to ramp up vaccinations hindered by supply shortagesSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.CureVac Could Win EU Shot Approval in May (10: 04 a.m. HK)CureVac NV could win European Union approval for its vaccine as early as May, sooner than expected, a German newspaper cited a company spokesman as saying.“We’re already very far advanced in the third phase of clinical trials and are awaiting data for the final application package,” CureVac spokesman Thorsten Schueller told Augsburger Allgemeine. “We hope the approval will come in May or June.”CureVac’s boosters include Elon Musk, who deleted a Twitter post on Friday saying that the biotech sounded to be “a few months away from regulatory approval.”Covid Hampers St. Vincent Evacuation (7: 33 a.m. HK)Covid-19 is hampering efforts to evacuate people from the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, where the La Soufriere volcano began erupting Friday morning.St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said efforts to move an estimated 20,000 residents who live near the volcano were underway. But the pandemic is causing delays. Hotels that are being turned into refugee centers are asking that people be vaccinated, a request that Gonsalves said was “not unreasonable.”U.S. Vaccinations Climb (7: 05 a.m. HK)The U.S. recorded 4 million vaccine doses on Friday, returning the pace of inoculations almost to the level before a post holiday lull, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.It was the third straight day of increases, with the seven-day average now at 3.03 million doses a day. So far, 179 million doses have been administered. At this pace, it’s estimated to take another 3 months to cover 75% of the population.Brazil Health Agency Meets Ambassadors (6: 54 a.m. HK)Antonio Barra Torres, the head of Brazilian health regulator met with Russian Ambassador to Brazil Alexey Labetskiy to clarify pending issues for the approval of the Sputnik V vaccine. Torres addressed the requests for import and emergency use of Sputnik V, stressing the agency awaits the fulfillment of legal requirements to move ahead with the analysis.In a separate videoconference with the Indian Ambassador to Brazil Suresh Reddy, Torres discussed ways for the regulatory agencies of both countries to collaborate and improve the exchange of information regarding the Covaxin vaccine.J&J Symptoms No ‘Reason for Concern’ (5: 37 p.m. NY)The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is working with health departments in four states to evaluate symptoms experienced after Johnson & Johnson vaccinations but has “not found any reason for concern,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.“Many people don’t have any side effects after Covid-19 vaccines, but some people will have pain or swelling at the injection site or fever, chills, or a headache,” spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said. “These typically don’t last long and are signs that your body is building protection.”She said the states are Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia and Iowa. The symptoms include “dizziness, light headedness, feeling faint, rapid breathing, and sweating.” She said the CDC “is aware of other instances of these symptoms occurring with the other Covid-19 vaccines.”Ireland Expands Quarantine List (5: 13 p.m. NY)People traveling to Ireland from a host of countries including the U.S. and France will have to quarantine for 14 days from next week, the Irish health ministry said. From April 15, travelers from those countries will be met on arrival in Ireland and brought to a hotel for two weeks at their own expense. The quarantine can be shortened if a person tests negative after 10 days.Ireland already requires passengers arriving from more than 50 countries to stay in these hotels, while travelers from other nations are required to have a negative test within three days of travel and self quarantine when they arrive. Overall 16 countries including Canada and Belgium were added to the list Friday, while three including Israel will be removed.Colorado Hit by ‘Fourth Wave’ (5 p.m. NY)Colorado Governor Jared Polis said the state has been hit by a “fourth wave” of the coronavirus, sending hospitalizations to 404, the highest since Feb. 19. Most Covid-19 hospital patients are in the 18-50 age group, a development of “great alarm,” Polis said at a Friday news conference in Denver. Colorado has adequate hospital capacity to handle the new wave, he said.Astra Should Be in ‘Toolkit’: JHU (3: 10 p.m. NY)AstraZeneca’s vaccine has a “communication problem” rather than a “science” problem, Lauren Sauer, Johns Hopkins University’s associate professor of Emergency Medicine, said in a Bloomberg Radio interview. The vaccine could help in areas where there’s community spread, particularly among the elderly.“This is just another tool in our toolkit and part of it is about the potential risk of these rare events,” Sauer said. “But we do know that it is overall safe and quite effective especially in our older population.”Germany’s Paul Ehrlich Institute said it has now counted 42 cases of a rare type of brain blood clot in people who were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot. All but seven of the cases were in women aged 20 to 63, the drug safety oversight body said. Doctors also found low blood platelet counts in 23 of the cases. Eight people died.France Reaches Vaccine Record (2: 23 p.m. NY)France administered a record 510,267 vaccine doses on Friday, bringing the total number of shots given since the inoculation campaign began to 14.1 million. The country is speeding up vaccinations after a sluggish start as it battles a resurgence of the virus. The government reported 41,243 new cases and 301 deaths in the past 24 hours.Illinois Cases Jump (1: 50 p.m. NY)Illinois, like many of its Midwestern neighbors, is seeing cases jump even as its daily vaccinations accelerate to stop the pandemic. Confirmed and probable cases on Friday rose to 4,004, the highest since late January, as the number of daily vaccinations reported rose to a record 164,462, according to the state department of public health. Vaccine eligibility will expand to all residents 16 and over statewide on April 12.Germany Reported to Weigh Curfews (1: 39 p.m. NY)Germany’s first draft of an agreement between federal and state officials for unified nationwide lockdown rules to curb Covid-19 infections includes a nightly curfew and business closures, Business Insider reported.A 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew would be triggered when local seven-day incidence rates rise above 100 infections per 100,000 people, according to the report.Pfizer Seeks Approval for Young Teens (1: 15 p.m. NY)Pfizer and its partner BioNTech SE said they would ask regulators in the U.S. and elsewhere to allow use of their Covid-19 vaccine in adolescents ages 12 to 15.The companies said in a statement that they had requested that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expand the vaccine’s emergency-use authorization and that they plan to request similar rulings from other regulators worldwide in coming days.If the requests are granted, it could pave the way for many more schoolchildren to be vaccinated before the next school year.Italy Relaxes Restrictions (11: 31 a.m. NY)Italy eased lockdown restrictions, lifting some curbs that have been weighing on the economy in the region surrounding Milan and across the country as the latest virus resurgence slows.Health Minister Roberto Speranza will sign a decree later on Friday to shift six regions classified as high-risk “red” areas to medium-risk “orange” status, his office said in a statement.Michigan Seeks Aid Amid Surge (10: 35 a.m. NY)Governor Gretchen Whitmer called for Michiganders to voluntarily suspend social activities for two weeks, and asked the federal government to prioritize additional vaccines to the state, to help slow the spread in the hottest Covid-19 spot in the nation.The U.S. needs a program that allocates additional vaccines to states that are experiencing surges, Whitmer said Friday at a press briefing. In the meantime, she urged high schools to shift to remote learning, diners to avoid indoor seating and youth sports to suspend games and practices.WHO Warns on Covid Trajectory (8: 24 a.m. NY)The pandemic is on the wrong trajectory after six weeks in a row of increases in cases and deaths, according to Maria van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead officer on Covid-19.“Vaccines will not end the pandemic,” she said at a media briefing, saying physical distancing, wearing masks, avoiding crowds and working from home are tools that need to go hand-in-hand with vaccine rollouts.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
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