The United States presented India with dark statistics of the global pandemic – India recorded the highest death toll in a day.
As daily U.S. infections, hospital stays and deaths decline, the Indian Ministry of Health reported 4,529 deaths on Wednesday as the coronavirus spreads across cities to the wide open countryside where health systems are weaker. The number is considered a minor number by most health professionals.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the US had the previous record for daily deaths on Jan. 12 of 4,475. But battles with near-record infections and rising deaths are shaking India. Hospitals and morgues are overwhelmed. Every day dozens of corpses swim in the Ganges, which flows through poor rural states.
In the village of Gahmar in Uttar Pradesh alone, 15-year-old Raju Chaudhry, who works on the fishing boats, told the Guardian that he had recently “seen about 50 bodies washing up every day for many days”.
Also in the news:
►The US is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at land borders with Canada and Mexico through June 21, the Department of Homeland Security said. The restrictions were set to expire on Friday.
► The Archbishop of Detroit says face masks are no longer mandatory in Roman Catholic churches in southeast Michigan for people vaccinated against the coronavirus.
►The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell to 444,000 last week, a new pandemic low and a sign that the job market continues to strengthen as consumers return to free spending.
►A study of 280 nursing homes in 21 states confirms the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines in practice: about 1% of residents tested positive for the virus within two weeks of receiving their second dose, and only 0.3 % more than two weeks after full vaccination, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday. Most of the cases showed no symptoms.
►The European Union announced plans on Wednesday to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated visitors, as well as to people from a list of countries believed to be safe. The US is expected to make the cut.
📈 Today’s numbers: There are more than 33.26 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 587,800 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 164.6 million cases and 3.41 million deaths. More than 349.2 million vaccine doses have been distributed and 277.2 million administered in the United States, according to the CDC. Almost 125.4 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 37.8% of the population.
📘 What we read: Japan continues to struggle with COVID-19 but is set to keep opening its doors for the Summer Games. Why some call it a “ridiculous idea”.
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Next: The Olympic Games in Tokyo remain a “go” despite pandemic concerns
The Summer Olympics, which are slated to open in Tokyo in two months, face more obstacles than the 400-meter hurdlers.
The torch relay rolled through Hiroshima this week, minus the usual crowds due to coronavirus concerns. Some cities took the relay from public roads. According to polls, around 60% of Japanese people were supposed to cancel the Olympics, and an online petition for the cancellation drew 350,000 signatures in just nine days.
However, the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 are facing the opening ceremony on July 23.
John Coates, Vice President of the IOC, promised science-based solutions to alleviate pandemic problems and pledged to “draw on the experience of hundreds of sporting events that have taken place safely around the world over the past year, with minimal risk to participants, and most importantly, those local population. “
Nearly 1 million deaths related to COVID-19 in 29 affluent countries
It is estimated that there were 979,000 “excessive deaths” in 29 relatively affluent countries in 2020 when the pandemic erupted around the globe. This was the result of a new report in the British Medical Journal.
The U.S. had the highest absolute number of deaths above expected – 458,000 – but only reported about 340,000 coronavirus deaths. Italy, England, Spain and Poland were among the countries with high numbers of deaths.
Some countries, including New Zealand, Norway and Denmark, actually had fewer deaths than expected. Researchers said they didn’t know why.
“Excess deaths significantly exceeded reported deaths from COVID-19 in many countries, suggesting that determining the full impact of the pandemic on mortality requires assessing excessive deaths,” the study said.
EU treaties provide for up to 1.8 billion Pfizer doses
The executive branch of the European Union has signed a third vaccination contract with Pfizer and BioNTech through 2023 for an additional 1.8 billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccinations. That’s enough for about four cans for everyone in the 27-nation collective.
According to the EU Commission, the deal includes 900 million doses of the current recordings and a serum adapted to the virus variants, with the option to purchase an additional 900 million recordings. The contract with Pfizer-BioNTech stipulates that cans must be manufactured in the EU and that essential components come from the region.
The EU is struggling with supply problems and is behind the US and the UK on vaccination. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will have dispensed 260 million vaccine doses across Europe by the end of this week.
The pedestrian death rate is the largest increase in 45 years
New data released Thursday by the Governors Highway Safety Association for 2020 shows the largest annual increase in pedestrian death rates since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s system of fatalities was set up in 1975.
The association cited 6,721 pedestrian deaths in 2020, up 4.8% from the previous year. But it also means a “shocking and unprecedented” increase in the death rate of pedestrians per mile traveled by 21%. The Americans drove fewer kilometers due to the pandemic and the restrictions and lockdowns associated with it.
“We cannot afford to go deaf to this unacceptable number of pedestrian deaths,” said Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Consulting, who conducted the data analysis.
– Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press
Iowa prohibits local mask mandates
Iowa school district leaders cannot require students or staff to wear masks, and Iowa cities and counties cannot impose mask mandates under a law that Governor Kim Reynolds signed Thursday.
Democrats denounced the measure, saying it could harm children and teachers, especially immunocompromised children, and make overarching decisions by local government.
Reynolds, a Republican, said the state wants parents to regain control of their children’s education and protect the Iowan’s rights to make their own health care choices. “I am proud to be the governor of a state that values personal responsibility and individual freedoms,” she said.
– Ian Richardson, Des Moines Register
According to the FDA, the Pfizer vaccine can be stored longer in refrigerator temperatures
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can now be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures for up to a month, according to an announcement by the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday. This period makes it easier to store and ship the vaccine – the previous storage time was only five days. The change should make this vaccine available to the American public by allowing vaccine providers to obtain, store, and administer the vaccine, according to the FDA.
“The wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines is key to getting people vaccinated and ending the pandemic,” says Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA Center for Biologics and Research.
The largest union of nurses urges the CDC to revert to the old masking guidelines
National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union of registered nurses, condemned the CDC’s decision to lift the masking recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals and urged the agency to bring them back. NNU leaders argued in a press conference Wednesday that the US is still grappling with 35,000 new COVID-19 cases per day and the continued spread of variants. They also said persistent unanswered questions about the vaccines – how long protection lasts – underscore the need for masks.
The CDC’s new guidelines could potentially harm those who haven’t been vaccinated, such as children under 12 and underserved communities, as well as immunocompromised people who are not as responsive to the vaccines, said NNU President Jean Ross.
“As public health guardians during the worst global pandemic of our lives, and as the primary care workers who have held this medical system together for the past year and a half, it is our duty to stand up for what we know in the best interests of health of the people, ”she said. “The guidance issued by the CDC on May 13th, disappointingly, is not in the best interests of public health.”
– Adrianna Rodriguez
Another possible complication: deep blood clots in your arm
In the first reported case of its kind, a healthy 85-year-old man developed a rare recurrence of blood clots in deep veins or deep vein thrombosis in his upper arm as a result of coronavirus infection, according to a report by Rutgers researchers.
The unusual case shows yet another way the virus that causes COVID-19 can affect people. Aside from the more common respiratory symptoms and loss of taste and smell, the virus can cause coagulation disorders, especially blood clots.
“This is worrying because in 30% of these patients the blood clot can get into the lungs and potentially be fatal,” said Dr. Payal Parikh, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, who co-led the study with Martin Blaser, Director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine. “Other complications with disability include persistent swelling, pain, and arm fatigue.”
Those who have previously had deep vein thrombosis or have a disease that predisposes them to blood clots may be more susceptible. Read here.
– Lindy Washburn, NorthJersey.com
Contributor: The Associated Press.