Coronavirus News Update – May 12: WHO Warns Indian Variant May Be Highly Contagious

Dr. Fauci Retorts Senator Rand’s Contentions on Origin of Virus

By Anna Breuer on 12 May 2021
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Old Senate chamber in the Capitol

The World Health Organization warned in a report Tuesday evening that the Indian variant of the novel coronavirus might be more contagious than most versions.  The variant, known as B.1.617, may be contributing to the surge that is devastating India in recent weeks, it said.

As of Wednesday morning, the world reported over 160.5 million mark for Covid-19 cases and has seen over 3.33 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 138.3 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year, the world has administered more than 1.34 billion doses as of Wednesday morning, the equivalent of over 17 doses for every 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Wednesday morning, 153.44 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.  Approximately 58.5% of the population over the age of 18 – some 150.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation, including 115.4 million people, or 44.7% of the same population, who have received both doses. Overall, 35.1% of the population, or 116.6 million people, has been fully vaccinated against the virus.

Covid-19 vaccine booster shots will be made available at no charge “if necessary,” David Kessler, the chief science officer in the Biden administration, told the Senate Health Committee Tuesday.

Meanwhile, at another congressional hearing, Senator Rand Paul bickered with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, over unproven theories over how the novel coronavirus originated.  Scientists believe the virus spread naturally by jumping from animals to people but Paul focused on speculation that the virus may have come from a lab in Wuhan, China. “To arrive at the truth, the U.S. government should admit that the Wuhan Virology Institute was experimenting to enhance the coronavirus’s ability to infect humans,” he said, and asked Fauci if he still supported National Institutes of Health funding for “gain of function” research at Wuhan Institute. “Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect,” Fauci told him, and going on to say the NIH has not funded “gain of function” such research.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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