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The South African government said it would share its doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine with the African Union. linked to Andrew Testa’s credit to the New York Times.

CAPE TOWN – South Africa will share its unused doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine with the African Union, the country’s health minister said Tuesday.

South Africa, which had bought 1.5 million doses of the vaccine, decided this month to halt distribution plans after a small study failed to show that the vaccine could prevent mild to moderate cases of Covid-19, an alarming variant that has plagued the country.

The doses we bought from AstraZeneca have been donated to the African Union platform, of which we are members, and will be distributed to countries that have already expressed interest and do not have this particular problem as an option, the country’s Minister of Health, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, told parliament. So there will be no unnecessary and wasteful spending.

South Africa’s decision not to use AstraZeneca’s vaccine, at least for now, underscores the difficult choices countries will face as other options become available, even though vaccine is in short supply in many places. The vaccine was the only one approved in the country, and news of the disappointing trial results came just days before the long-awaited launch of the vaccine.

Scientists involved in the South African study said they believe AstraZeneca’s vaccine can still protect against the more serious cases caused by the virus variant, based on immune responses found in blood samples from people who received the vaccine. The Minister of Health has asked for further investigation.

A World Health Organization panel of experts recently recommended the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in countries where new variants of the coronavirus are circulating, but cautioned that it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions based on this preliminary data. However, the group also stated that each country should take into account the status of the virus and the type of races spreading in the country when deciding which vaccines to use.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is cheap and easy to store. It is considered particularly important for low- and middle-income countries around the world, which often lose out to richer countries in the global race for vaccines.

Instead of AstraZeneca-Oxford’s vaccine, South Africa planned to vaccinate tens of thousands of health workers with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which has prevented hospitalizations and deaths during clinical trials in the country. It is envisaged that these vaccines will be administered on a trial basis while the country works towards official approval of the vaccine.

The ministry has not said whether the African Union will buy the cans, accept them as donations or exchange them for others. The regional association declined to comment.

Dr Mkhize also dismissed a report in the Indian Economic Times that South Africa had asked the manufacturer of his doses, the Serum Institute of India, to take them back.

We would also like to categorically contradict media speculations that we have brought back the shares to India. We didn’t, the health minister said.

United States ‘ United States 15. February Change of 14 days
New business 55,552 -41%  
New deaths 994 -22%  
World ‘ WorldAm 1. 15 February Change of 14 days
New business 348,189 -28%  
New deaths 7,953 -17%  

VS Vaccinations ‘

A mass vaccination against coronavirus in Poplar Bluff, Mo, last month. Missouri halts vaccine distribution for a week due to safety concerns from storm…Credit…Paul Davis/Daily American Republic, via The Associated Press.

A winter storm that has ravaged much of the United States disrupted coronavirus vaccine distribution this week. Vaccination clinics were closed and vaccine transport halted as flights were grounded by snow and ice, turning roads into a dangerous slide.

Many of these closures and cancellations occurred in the South, where the storm was particularly intense and where vaccination rates were below the national average in several states. Vaccination appointments for Monday have been moved from Texas to Kentucky or canceled.

It’s just not safe for people to go outside. So we need this to thaw, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said Tuesday on CBS. And then we redouble our efforts to make sure that the vaccine that we have reaches people. But right now, we’re having a break.

Delays are likely to worsen in the coming days as the storm moves further across the country.

In Missouri, Mike Parson said Monday that the state’s vaccination campaigns will be suspended for the rest of the week. Missouri is currently experiencing a harsh winter that makes driving dangerous and threatens the health and safety of anyone exposed to the cold, he said in a press release.

In Alabama, hospitals have closed immunization clinics and more than 20 county health departments. In New Hampshire, state officials said Tuesday that the vaccination would be canceled.

The impact of the storm on vaccine distribution appears to be national. Health officials in Washington state, where the storm hit, said they will cancel vaccination plans later this week because they expect delays in delivering new doses. Parson, of Missouri, said the weather may also prevent some vaccine shipments to his state.

Vaccination dates have also been postponed in Tennessee due to the storm. The Southeast Hamilton County health department said it will reschedule all scheduled vaccination appointments for Tuesday.

Our top priority is to provide a safe environment for employees and community members, department head Becky Barnes said in a press release.

In Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan said the 3,000 vaccination appointments scheduled for Tuesday at the TCF Center, a downtown conference center, will be made up Saturday at the same time.

We need to get through this as a community, Mr Duggan said. We will support vaccines as much as possible, but we will not ask people to put themselves at risk when driving conditions are difficult.

Andrew M. Cuomo of New York acknowledged Monday that his administration’s lack of transparency regarding coronavirus-related deaths in state nursing homes was a mistake. credit Hans Pennink/Associated Press

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York wrote a book on pandemic leadership, literally. He won an international Emmy for television briefings in the early months of the outbreak. Now the image he has created for himself as governor of the US Covid-19 may be threatened by his efforts to protect it.

Mr. Cuomo admitted Monday that his administration’s lack of transparency about how it counts coronavirus-related deaths in state retirement homes was a mistake.

A pandemic has ravaged nursing homes across the country. At the end of January, New York City still reported only 8,500 deaths in nursing homes; deaths from viruses contracted outside these facilities, e.g., in hospitals, were not included. As a result of these data, it is now known that more than 15,000 residents of retirement homes and long-term care facilities in New York City died as a result of Covid-19.

The increase came after Attorney General Leticia James accused the Cuomo administration of brazenly hiding deaths in nursing homes. The state quickly updated these figures and added thousands. Since then, the Court’s decision has prompted further updates and more.

In Monday’s speech on Capitol Hill, Cuomo made his first comments after a senior aide to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, privately told some lawmakers last week that the state had withheld data from the Legislature. She expressed concern that the Trump administration could use this information to launch a federal investigation into state management of retirement homes.

The governor concurred with DeRosa’s comments, acknowledging that by not responding to questions from legislators, the public and the media, the state has created a vacuum filled with skepticism, cynicism and conspiracy theories that have added to the confusion.

The revelation that the data had been withheld from lawmakers led to accusations of cover-ups and calls from lawmakers of both parties to investigate the Democratic governor and strip him of the emergency powers he had exercised during the pandemic.

President Trump’s Justice Department has never opened a formal investigation. But the incident cast a shadow over the governor’s record on retirement homes and tarnished his carefully cultivated image as a skilled leader with an eye for the facts. In October, Mr. Cuomo wrote his memoir The American Crisis, drawing lessons from his handling of the pandemic that killed more than 45,000 people in New York City.

Indeed, the revelations about the retirement homes are potentially politically problematic for Cuomo, who plans to run for a fourth term in 2022, said Patrick Egan, a professor of political science and natural history at New York University. But he added that if the governor succeeds in vaccinating a large number of New Yorkers, his offense could be long forgotten.

According to the New York Times database, New York ranks 38th among the states in vaccination coverage with at least one vaccination.

The governor is committed to expanding access to vaccines, most recently for the millions of New Yorkers with chronic diseases. This is despite the fact that demand far exceeds supply.

New Yorkers lined up at various locations around the city Monday to get the vaccine, a day after people flooded the state’s website and call center and discovered there was a lack of appointments.

Last month, government officials tried to ease restrictions on vaccine approval after health officials said they were having to discard vaccine doses because they were having trouble finding patients who could meet guidelines.

The vaccine shortage can be solved very quickly, Dr. Egan said, but Cuomo’s reputation as a leader on pandemics may lose its luster if investigations produce damaging revelations.

We just don’t know if this is going to be a bigger problem, he said. Is there anything else the government has withheld?


North Korea, whose healthcare system is failing, officially claims to be Covid-19-free. Early last year it closed its borders. linked to the James Estrin/New York Times credit report.

North Korea has attempted to steal the Covid 19 vaccine and processing technology by trying to break into the computer systems of international pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, a South Korean lawmaker said Tuesday after briefing intelligence officials.

The North, which has a struggling health care system, officially claims to be Covid-19 free. Early last year, it closed its borders.

South Korean MP Ha Tae-seung, who belongs to the opposition People’s Power Party (opposition), spoke to journalists after he and other MPs were briefed by senior National Intelligence officials during a meeting behind closed doors on Tuesday.

Mr Ha provided no further details and the service refused to confirm his comments, citing the policy of not confirming information received during these briefings. Pfizer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Western officials have long accused North Korea of stealing technology and money from the outside world through hacking attacks. Last week, Reuters news agency reported that a preliminary UN investigation into the theft of $281 million in assets from a cryptocurrency exchange in September last year strongly suggests ties to North Korea.

At other events around the world:

  • Johnson & Johnson has submitted its disposable vaccine Covid-19 to the European Medicines Agency for approval, the agency announced Tuesday. The vaccine could be approved in mid-March if it meets the criteria of safety, efficacy and quality, the regulator, the European Medicines Agency, said in a statement. This would be the fourth vaccine approved in the Union, which gives hope that the Member States will be able to speed up the vaccination programmes, which have been slow to start.
  • Colombia, which begins vaccination on Wednesday, is starting its campaign in rural areas of the country to show that vaccines are available to everyone, not just in the big cities, President Ivan Duque said. Colombia has experienced the second largest coronavirus epidemic in Latin America, starting vaccination a few weeks after neighboring countries like Chile and Argentina.
  • A Dutch court ruled that the 9 p.m. curfew to contain the spread of the coronavirus should be lifted immediately because there was no particular urgency to do so. The court described the curfew imposed by the government without parliamentary intervention as a far-reaching violation of the right to freedom of movement and privacy. After a curfew was imposed last month, violent demonstrations broke out across the country several nights in a row, with people looting shops and throwing stones at police.
  • Germany plans to introduce Mars to offer free rapid tests for coronavirus antigens, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Twitter. They are done in pharmacies or testing centers, he said. Currently, German health insurance companies pay for tests in people who have symptoms or have been in contact with infected people, although the rules vary from country to country.

Zoom singing class, led by English National Opera. The credit… ENO Breathe, via English National Opera and Imperial College Health NHS Trust

LONDON – The zooming session held by vocal coach Susie Zumpe on a recent afternoon was reminiscent of those she usually leads at the Royal Academy of Music in London or at Garsington Opera near Oxford, where she trains young singers.

This time, however, the student who helped them warm up was not a singer. It’s Wayne Cameron, 56, who manages logistics for an office supply store. Doctors scheduled this session as part of his recovery plan following his Covid 19 experience last March.

The six-week Breathe programme, developed by English National Opera in collaboration with the London Hospital, offers patients private singing lessons: clinically proven recovery exercises, redesigned by professional singing teachers and delivered online.

In a video interview, Jenny Mollica, head of public relations at English National Opera, explains that the idea came about last summer when the Covid case first surfaced. These were people who had recovered from the acute phase of the disease but were still suffering from effects such as chest pain, fatigue, brain fog and shortness of breath.

Opera is rooted in breath, Mollica said. That’s our experience. I was thinking: Maybe E.N.O. has something to offer.

The programme is now being extended to post-Covid clinics in other parts of England. It is funded by donations from charities and is free to all who are sent to the doctor. It aims to help up to 1,000 people in the next phase, the opera said in a statement.

Mr. Cameron said even a few simple breathing exercises quickly made a big difference for him. The program really helps, he says. Physically, mentally, in terms of fear.

P.E. class in Boston last month. Doctors across the country are seeing a frightening increase in the number of adolescents with Multisystemic Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.Credit…Allison Dinner/Reuters

Doctors in the U.S. are seeing a frightening increase in the number of youngsters with childhood multisystemic inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C. What’s even more worrying, he said, is that many more patients are affected now than in the first wave of cases that alerted doctors and parents around the world last spring.

The reasons are unclear. This increase follows a general rise in Covida 19 disease in the United States after the winter holidays, and more cases may just mean more risk of serious illness. So far, there is no evidence that newer variants of the coronavirus are responsible, and experts say it is too early to speculate on the influence of variants on the syndrome.

This condition remains rare. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,060 cases have been reported in 48 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, including 30 deaths. The average age was 9, but young children under 20 were also affected. The data, which is only complete through mid-December, shows that the number of these cases has increased since mid-October.

Although most young people, even those who became seriously ill, survived and returned home in relatively good health, doctors are not sure that some of them will develop persistent heart or other problems.

We really don’t know what will happen in the long run, said Dr. Jean Ballweg, medical director of pediatric heart transplantation and advanced heart failure at Omaha Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, which treated about two cases a month from April to October. Around 30% of these cases were in intensive care, rising to 10 in December and 12 in January, with 60% of patients requiring treatment in intensive care – most requiring ventilation.

Symptoms of the syndrome may include fever, skin rash, red eyes or gastrointestinal problems. This can lead to heart dysfunction and even cardiogenic shock, where the heart can no longer contract enough to pump sufficient blood. Some patients develop cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart muscle to stiffen or the heart rhythm to be affected.

According to the hospitals, most patients are positive for covid-19 antibodies, indicating previous infection, but some patients are also positive for active coronavirus infection. Many children were previously healthy and had few or no symptoms of their initial infection. Doctors are not sure what factors predispose children to this syndrome.

69% of reported cases involved Hispanic or black youth, which experts say is due to socioeconomic and other factors that disproportionately expose these communities to the virus.

But the hospital in Omaha, where the first cases occurred mostly in children of Hispanic parents who work in the meat processing industry, is now seeing a much broader spectrum and every ethnic group, Dr. Ballweg said.

Dr. Jessica Manning last week in her laboratory at the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control in Phnom Penh, Cambodia…Credit…Thomas Cristofoletti for the New York Times….

Covid-19 arrived a year ago, on the 23rd. January, in Cambodia, when a Chinese person arrives by plane from Wuhan, the city where the disease was discovered, and soon falls ill with a fever. The P.C.R. test was positive.

For Cambodia, a developing country with a rudimentary health care system and many direct flights from Wuhan, the new disease posed a particularly high risk.

Dr. Jessica Manning, a public health researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has worked in Cambodia for many years, also saw an opportunity: to help the country join global efforts to monitor emerging diseases.

In the early years of Covid-19, researchers did not know how accurate the P.C.R. tests were, and whether the virus was generating new strains with potentially different properties. The Cambodian report confirmed the accuracy of the P.C.R. test and showed that there were only minor changes in the sequence. The virus does not appear to have mutated significantly, indicating that the disease will be easier to detect, treat and vaccinate.

For Dr. Manning, this exercise proved that even a small research station in the development world can be successful in detecting new or unexpected pathogens and gathering important information about them. As such, his laboratory and others like it can serve as an early warning system for the next potential pandemic.

Surveillance of emerging pathogens in Southeast Asia has recently become an important part of global efforts to understand the pandemic. In late January, a team of researchers, primarily from the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia, announced that they had used metagenomic sequencing to discover a coronavirus closely related to the coronavirus responsible for covid-19 in a bat captured in Cambodia in 2010.

This is what we were looking for, and we found it, Dr Veasna Duong, leader of the study, told Nature in November. It was both exciting and amazing.

This discovery has caught the attention of researchers who want to better understand how and when viruses overlap between species.

Dr. Duong is particularly interested in where people approach flying foxes. Such exposure could allow the virus to mutate, creating a pandemic, he said last month.

Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in January. Several team members tested positive for the virus, with symptoms including congestion and coughing. …. Ken Bohn/Zoo of San Diego, via Reuters.

Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park that were found positive for the coronavirus last month have fully recovered, the zoo said.

We are very grateful for the outpouring of sympathy and support we received while the troops were safely recovering, Lisa Peterson, executive director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, said in a statement.

Zoo officials said they believe the animals, one of a group of eight western lowland gorillas, were infected by an asymptomatic employee who followed safety procedures, including wearing personal protective equipment when approaching the animals. The gorillas, whose symptoms include coughing and constipation, are the first monkeys in the United States to be infected with the virus, federal authorities said.

The primate enclosure that houses the gorillas is now fully open to the public, the zoo said. The San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park both announced on Jan. 30, after being closed by state order since early December. Visitor restrictions and other security measures are in place.

There have been numerous cases of infected animals, including domestic cats and dogs, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, snow leopards at the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky, and mink in Utah and Denmark. In a Pakistani zoo, two white tigers reportedly died of covid-19 last month. And in Seoul, South Korea, where pets can be tested for free, officials said Monday that one cat had tested positive.

Although cats and dogs can be infected, they may not be sick or show symptoms. There is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of the virus, but humans can transmit it to them.

Dr. Anthony Fauci briefed reporters at the White House last month. Dr. Fauci received the Tel Aviv University Award for his work during the coronavirus pandemic. Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the public face of pandemic response in the United States, received a $1 million award. The $200,000 comes from the Dan David Foundation and Tel Aviv University, which is celebrating excellence in public health this year.

The award is presented annually to individuals and organizations totaling $3 million for their achievements in three categories: Improving knowledge of the past, enriching present-day society and promising a better future for the world. The theme of the award varies from year to year. Previous winners include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, former Vice President Al Gore, writer Margaret Atwood and Dr. Demis Hassabis, a researcher, neuroscientist and entrepreneur in the field of artificial intelligence.

Dr. Fauci, 80, received the nomination for his scientific contributions, particularly in the areas of pandemic research and education. He has used his considerable communication skills to reach people plagued by fear and anxiety, and has worked tirelessly to educate people in the United States and other countries about the public health measures needed to curb the spread of the pandemic, Dan David Award organizers said in a statement.

He went on to say: He was widely praised for his courage to speak truth to power in a highly charged environment – a nod to Dr. Fauci’s testimonial relationship with former President Donald J. Trump.

The other recipients of this year’s Dan David Award are health and medical historians Dr. Allison Bashford, Dr. Katherine Park and Dr. Keith A. Vailoo, in the past winners category, and cancer immunotherapy pioneers Dr. Zelig Eshhar, Dr. Carl June and Dr. Steven Rosenberg, in the future winners category.

A Manhattan subway station before it closed for the night last month. Starting Monday, the subway will close from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., instead of its current daily closure of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Credit… Jonah Markowitz for The New York Times.

The New York City subway will soon be open longer, transportation officials said Monday, a step toward a full resumption of life in the city.

Starting next Monday, the system will only be closed from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. for cleanup work, instead of from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., officials said at a news conference. They described this move as the beginning of a gradual reopening, but did not say when the trains will return to 24-hour service.

New York City is starting to get back to normal, said Sarah Feinberg, acting president of the New York City Transit Authority, which operates the subway.

The overnight shutdown – the first in the system’s history – began last May when New York City was ravaged by a pandemic. Under the administration of Andrew M. Cuomo, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs public transportation in New York City, authorized a 24-hour overnight shutdown of the infamous subway system so that the entire system could be decontaminated, which Cuomo said was necessary to stop the spread of the virus.

Cleaning of night trains will continue during the shortened closure, officials said.

The pandemic has ruined the finances of cities across the country and drained their public transportation systems – in some small towns, start-up systems may have been forced to close altogether. In Minneapolis, the number of commuters dropped by more than 98 percent last May compared to the year before, according to the city’s transportation agency.

Monday, Washington Metrorail reduced the frequency of its services on three routes during peak hours to better match customers’ travel patterns during a pandemic and to control costs, the transportation agency said in a statement. He said opening hours would remain unchanged even though Metrorail passenger numbers have dropped by nearly 90% from pre-pandemic levels.

In New York City, Cuomo and other officials previously said the subway would not be fully open until the end of the pandemic. This gradual discovery seems to herald a new approach.

In recent months, the governor has faced increasing criticism from public transit advocates, who claim the closure has disadvantaged thousands of nighttime commuters.

About 80 percent of nighttime subway users are people of color, and a third of them are low-income people, activists and several New York City council members said in a press release last week, calling on Cuomo to restore service.

As the cold weather has hit the city this winter, supporters of homeless New Yorkers have also expressed concern.

For decades, the city’s sprawling subway system has served as a haven for thousands of homeless New Yorkers who fear the city’s often overcrowded and sometimes violent shelters.

Today, homeless people living on the streets face a dangerous combination of winter weather and the lack of enclosed public spaces like subway stations, trains and fast food restaurants that used to provide shelter every night.

Critics of overnight containment have also pointed out that scientists have long concluded that coronavirus is spread primarily through inhaled droplets and not through contaminated surfaces.

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at Andrews Joint Base in Maryland on Monday. linked to the Al Drago credit for the New York Times.

President Biden, freed from the distractions of his predecessor’s impeachment trial, is fleeing Washington this week and traveling to Wisconsin and Michigan to seek support for his $1.9 trillion pandemic plan.

Without the spectacle of a constitutional conflict, the new president is now in the spotlight in a way that wasn’t the case in the first few weeks, said Jennifer Palmieri, who served as former President Barack Obama’s director of communications. According to her, the end of the dispute means that the year 2021 can finally begin.

The president plans to fly to Milwaukee on Tuesday, his first working trip as president, and will attend a CNN town hall meeting where he is expected to discuss his proposal to send 1,400 checks to those fighting the pandemic. On Thursday, Mr. Biden will travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to tour Pfizer’s manufacturing facility and meet with workers who make the company’s coronavirus vaccine.

This trip is meant to be a break from the Trump era. After the reality TV drama ended, he went back to the approach that elected him: He focuses on the coronavirus and the economy – in a way that balances caution with the need to sell his program to the public.

It got going pretty fast. House of Representatives committees have begun to consider parts of the coronavirus bill, and several members of his cabinet have been confirmed.

The president’s bipartisan perspective is complicated by the fact that much of his agenda is focused on dismantling Trump’s policies, or what Democrats have called his failures, particularly his failed response to the pandemic.

That’s why Biden’s first official trips will be to the two major states in the Midwest, which he yanked from Trump’s ranks in 2016 and 2020 — and he hopes to gain support for his presidency in both places by promoting his plan, which already enjoys broad support among Americans of all political stripes. (So far, Mr. Biden has left Washington only to spend a weekend in Wilmington, Del. and to visit Camp David last weekend.)

Nonetheless, the 43 innocent Republican votes in the Senate are a stark reminder that Mr. Trump continues to influence the majority of his party. Even with control of both houses of Congress, Democrats will still need Republican support for many of Biden’s agenda items to overcome Senate filibuster.

Perhaps more than any other president, Biden has used Trump as an effective political bulwark, framing his program almost entirely as a repudiation of Trump’s political and personal behavior during his four tumultuous years as president.

On his first day in office, Mr. Biden issued a series of decrees that many of Mr. Trump’s shares should be cancelled. And often she calls her broader agenda a necessary response to the measures her predecessor took – or failed to take.

Later in the week, he took over international affairs.

On Friday, Biden will join other leaders at a virtual G-7 summit to discuss the pandemic and the global economy. Biden has already spoken with most world leaders by phone, including a two-hour conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week.

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