Coronavirus News Update – May 13: Pandemic Was ‘a Preventable disaster,’ says WHO-Ordered Report

Britain Has Highest Number of Indian Variant B.1.617 and Sublineages

By Anna Breuer on 13 May 2021
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A home in the Cotswolds

The World Health Organization said in a report that the coronavirus pandemic was “a preventable disaster.”  The report said that the virus found a world that was vulnerable to the worst effects of a pandemic, despite warnings from scientists and experts as well as a number of recent global health threats.  The system, the report concluded, remains “unfit.”

As of Thursday morning, the world has seen 161.18 million Covid-19 cases and has seen over 3.34 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 139 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 1.37 billion doses as of Thursday morning, the equivalent of 17.3 doses for every 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Thursday, 153.98 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Approximately 58.7% of the population over the age of 18 –some 151.4 million people –has received at least a first inoculation, including 116.3 million people, or 45.1% of the same population, who have received both doses. Overall, 35.4% of the population, or 117.6 million people, has been fully vaccinated against the virus.

The CDC’s authorization to offer coronavirus vaccinations to 12- to 15-year-olds cleared the way for the world’s first mass inoculation effort in youngsters.  The United States is planning inoculation sites at parks, beaches, and playgrounds to reach as many children as possible before summer break.

The vaccination campaign in Greece is rapidly expanding as health officials there attempt to reach hundreds of thousands of residents who live on dozens of islands in the Aegean Sea.  The country will open its doors to foreign visitors Friday who have proof of vaccination, previous infection, or a negative coronavirus test result.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration said it plans to invest $7.4 billion to recruit public health workers to both respond to the current pandemic and prepare for future health challenges, the White House announced Thursday morning.  The funding includes $4.4 billion to expand current public health staffing for the pandemic response and to support vaccination outreach and contact tracing.

Boris Johnson said his government is “anxious” about the Indian coronavirus variant and how it is spreading in the United Kingdom.  “Outside of India, the United Kingdom has reported the largest number of cases sequenced as B.1.617 sublineages, and recently designated B.1.617.2 as a national variant of concern,” the World Health Organization said Wednesday.  Despite this development, he said he remains “cautiously optimistic” about England’s plans to reopen on June 21.

Jonathan Spira and Jesse Sokolow contributed reporting to this story

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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