Coronavirus News Update – March 4: ‘The Last Thing We Need Is Neanderthal Thinking’

Relaxing Covid Restrictions is ‘Inexplicable,” Says Fauci

By Jesse Sokolow on 4 March 2021
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A panda at the Chengdu Panda Base

President Joseph Biden said Wednesday that it’s a “big mistake” for states such as Texas and Mississippi to lift pandemic restrictions such as requiring the donning of face masks in public, as well as allowing dining establishments to open at full capacity. “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that, ‘In the meantime, everyone’s fine, take off your mask,’” he said. “Forget it. It still matters.”

The president’s words are underscored by the fact that, as of Thursday morning, the world hit nearly 115.9 million coronavirus cases. The death toll includes almost 2.6 million deaths, approximately 531,000 of which have come from the United States, according to Worldometer, which tracks such information.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, said that the decision to roll back coronavirus-related restrictions in several U.S. states  was “inexplicable” in an interview with the television news network CNN.“I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you’re only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines — particularly when we’re dealing with anywhere from 55 to 70,000 infections per day in the United States,” he said in the interview.

Since vaccination rollouts began at the end of last year, over 52.8 million people in the United States have received at least one dose, including 26.9 million who have received both doses. Over 20.7% of the population in the United States over the age of 18 has received at least one dose and 10.6% have received both doses.

According to a report from Save the Children, a foundation created in 1919 in the United Kingdom to help improve the lives of children, the worst states in the United States for children to live over the last five months of 2020 awerere Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico. The report is based on how the pandemic has affected communities both socially and economically, and focuses on “three hardships that are making it more difficult for children to reach their full potential: hunger, lack of tools for remote learning and trouble making ends meet.” Meanwhile, Minnesota, Utah, New Hampshire, and Washington State were ranked in the top ten during the same time period.

BundeskanzlerinAngela Merkel said that Germany will extend the amount of time in between first and second doses of the vaccine administered “to the maximum.” This means for those receiving the shots, there will be a 42-day gap in between first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and a 12-week period between first and second doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine. This will allow us to vaccinate more people faster for the first vaccination. This is also recommended by the STIKO [the Ständige Impfkommission am Robert-Koch-Institut or Standing Committee on Vaccinations],” Merkel said.

In Canada, the country’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization also advised that the duration between shots can be extended, in this case to up to four months in between each dose. The final decision on a change in the timing of vaccinations will be left up to the country’s provincial governments.

Hungary will begin a new lockdown on March 8 due to a spike in cases in the country. The lockdown will see most shops close, and schools change from in-person to remote learning. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Hungary has recorded over 446,000 cases, with approximately 15,400 deaths.

China’s National Medical Products Administration approved the use of three traditional Chinese medicine herbal remedies  to combat the virus. The agency said the products, which are derived from “ancient Chinese prescriptions,” include “lung-clearing and detoxing granules,” “dampness-resolving and detoxing granules,” and “lung-diffusing and detoxing granules.” Although the use of the TCM remedies was screened by experts, the agency said, their effectiveness has yet to be verified.

In Japan, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics plan to make a decision by the end of March as to whether or not they will allow international visitors to view the events when they commence this summer. “When we think of the current situation, whether it is Japan or overseas, we are under a very difficult situation,” said Seiko Hashimoto, the organizing committee president. The Games were originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, but were ultimately postponed due to the pandemic.

New coronavirus cases have been trending upwards in Greece every day since the start of the month, and Vassilis Kikilias, the country’s health minister, has warned that hospitals in Athens, the country’s capital, are at risk of being overrun by patients due to the constant increases. Consequently, the government is introducing stricter lockdown protocols, such as longer curfews and less flexibility for leaving one’s residence for exercise.

Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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