Coronavirus News Update – Feb. 26: New Mutation Worries Scientists as Global Deaths Cross 2.5 Million Mark

By Anna Breuer on 25 February 2021
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The Feldherrnhalle on the Odeonsplatz in Munich

The world has recorded over 113.5 million coronavirus cases since the appearance of the virus in late 2019, while the death toll on Thursday crossed the 2.5 million mark. In the United States, over 29 million people have been infected, and the death toll there is over 520,000.

The death toll in California from the coronavirus hit the 50,000 mark Wednesday. The Golden State has lost more residents to the coronavirus than any other state in the union.

A new form of the coronavirus is spreading in New York City, researchers said.  The variant, called B.1.526, first appeared in the city in November.  It now accounts for one in four viral sequences in a database assembled by scientists. The variant contains a mutation that could weaken the effectiveness of current vaccines, researchers said.

The world has 221.7 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, a figure that equates to roughly 2.9 doses for every 100 people, as the speed of vaccination rollouts continues to vary greatly by country. Over 15% of the population in the United States has received at least one dose and 7.5% has received both doses.

German officials approved three coronavirus home tests as part of a move to eventually exit its current lockdown. While the country’s infection rate fell at the start of the year, it has not declined further more recently, making it difficult for officials to consider easing present lockdown restrictions, which run to March 7.

In France, Prime Minister Jean Castex said that several regions of the country could face new restrictions amidst a sharp increase in the number of cases there. “The virus has been gaining ground again in the past week,” he said at a news conference Thursday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a request from Pfizer and BioNTech to store and transport their coronavirus vaccine at standard freezer temperatures. The move “should help to get vaccine to more sites,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the agency’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in a statement.

Former President Jimmy Carter and Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter began attending church on Sundays in Plains, Georgia, after both had received their two doses of the coronavirus vaccine. “Let us welcome them back,” Pastor Tony Lowden said to the face mask-covered congregation.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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