Corona … Record deaths in America, and a study confirms that the Pfizer vaccine protects against two new strains of the virus

Doctors treating a Covid-19 patient

The United States recorded a record death toll, and the outbreak continued at a high rate in Europe. In Brazil, the number of victims exceeded 200,000, while a study stated that the American-German “Pfizer-BioNTech” vaccine could protect against the mutated virus.

According to data published by Johns Hopkins University at dawn today, Friday, about 4 thousand people have died in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 374 thousand deaths. In the same period, 265 thousand new cases of the virus were counted, which raises the total to more than 22 million and 132 thousand infections. And the Associated Press said that the state of California – the hardest hit by the epidemic – yesterday recorded a record death toll of 1,042 deaths. With the spread of the epidemic at an accelerated rate, despite all the precautionary measures and the launch of vaccination campaigns against the virus, the health system in the United States faces the risk of collapse.

According to the Ministry of Health, the number of hospitals nationwide has reached alarming limits, with the capacity of intensive care rooms reaching 85%. And to South America, where the number of deaths in Brazil exceeded 200,000 after recording more than 1,500 additional cases, with a record new daily injuries amounting to about 88,000, bringing the total number to more than 8 million. Note that this country ranks third in the world in terms of injuries, after the United States and India.

In Europe, which countries witness tight restrictions that include complete closure, about 32,000 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Germany, and nearly 1,200 additional deaths. In France – which recorded more than 21,000 injuries and 277 additional deaths in the past 24 hours – Prime Minister Jean Castex warned of the deteriorating health situation, admitting that it had become more fragile in recent weeks. Advertising Castex also announced that the borders with Britain will remain closed until further notice, in order to prevent the spread of the mutated virus, after 22 cases of the two new Corona strains that were discovered in Britain and South Africa recently were detected. In Italy, in the same period, 18 thousand new infections were recorded, and 414 additional deaths. And in Britain, which is witnessing a complete closure amid an outbreak of a new strain of the virus believed to be faster, there were 52 thousand other cases of corona, and about 1,200 additional deaths, and thus the country records 400 thousand injuries and about 5 thousand deaths from Corona within a week. The virus also continues to spread at a high rate in Russia and other countries on the continent of Europe, which have so far recorded nearly 28 million infections and 603,000 deaths from the virus.

Other developments

And in Asia, China today recorded 53 new cases of the virus, most of them in Hebe Province, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga yesterday declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighboring provinces, due to the high number of Coronavirus infections to record levels. We are still in Asia, as countries like South Korea and Thailand continue to tighten restrictions to contain the outbreak. Today, Israel also tightened general isolation measures in an effort to curb the large increase in injuries, which rose to about 4,000 injuries per day, at a time when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged that all Israeli adults would be able to receive the vaccine by the end of March. On the other hand, Australia has halved the number of travelers coming to it to contain the spread of the new strain of Corona that was discovered in Britain. In the Arab world, yesterday the UAE recorded record infections near 3 thousand new infections, while the media office in Abu Dhabi stated that the emirate had started the third phase of clinical trials for the Russian vaccine, “Sputnik V”. For its part, Tunisia recorded about 2,400 new cases of the virus yesterday and 48 additional deaths, while the downward trend of infections in Morocco continued.

Meanwhile, Reuters quoted the American “Pfizer” as saying that a laboratory study conducted by the company showed that the vaccine, which it developed in cooperation with the German company Biontech, appears to be effective against the new Corona virus mutations discovered in Britain and South Africa. The study – which was conducted on people who received the vaccine, and was reviewed by the scientists of the company and the University of Texas Medical Department – showed that the vaccine was effective in neutralizing the virus. It is encouraging that the vaccine appears to be effective against the new mutation, in addition to the 15 other mutations that the company has already tested, said Phil Dormitzer, a senior viral vaccine scientist at Pfizer. In terms of vaccines, too, the World Health Organization said yesterday that the poorest countries will start receiving the first vaccinations against Corona between the end of January and mid-February. The WHO vaccination official said that the “Kovacs” program has concluded agreements to purchase two billion vaccines, with the first doses starting to arrive in the coming weeks. The Kovacs program, launched by the World Health Organization with support from the “Alliance for Vaccines”, aims to help ensure equitable access to vaccines against Corona.

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