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June 14, 2021

International update: US Covid deaths near 600,000 – Global infections pass 175 million

By Paul Dennis

14 June

Global: The global Covid death toll is still rising with a figure of 3,800,590 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections exceed 175 million world wide.

G7 leaders have renewed calls into an investigation of the origin of the pandemic amid questions over whether it leaked from a Chinese laboratory.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 33.4 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 599,769 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The US is approaching 600,000 deaths from Covid, even as new fatalities, infections and hospitalizations continue to plummet nationwide. The vaccination drive has slowed significantly but the results are clear: Masks are disappearing, the country is largely reopening. Daily deaths have fallen from a peak of more than 5,000 in February to an average of about 300 over the last week.

President Joe Biden said Sunday the US may be able to provide 1 billion more doses of coronavirus vaccine to the world by 2023, and again raised the possibility that the virus may have escaped from a Chinese laboratory. “I haven’t reached a conclusion, because our intelligence community is not certain yet whether or not this was a consequence of, from the marketplace, a bat interfacing with animals in the environment that caused this Covid-19, or whether it was an experiment gone awry,” he said Sunday at a news conference in Cornwall, England, following the completion of the Group of Seven summit. “It’s important to know the answer to that.”

UK: The UK reported eight new deaths and a further 7,490 positive cases, according to official data. Sundays figures are an increase of 2,149 from last weeks figure of 5,341. Becoming the second week in a row, the country has recorded over 2000 new cases from an increase on 30 May – 6 June, which showed an increase of 2,101.

Peru: Peru passed two million positive cases, with 2,001,059 people now contracting the virus and 188,443 deaths.

Germany: Germany reported 20 deaths connected to Covid-19, the lowest number since 31 May. The number of reported daily virus cases was 1,484, showing the third decline in a row. Given the waning coronavirus pandemic, Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht called on the federal states to review the continuation of the mandatory mask requirement.

India: New infections in India fell to 80,834, the lowest level since the start of April. Daily recoveries from Covid-19 have outnumbered new infections for 31 consecutive days, the health ministry said in an update.

Vaccine news

Lebanon: Lebanon administered more than 40,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in a weekend drive to contain the pandemic.

US: The US has administered over 309 million vaccines, with almost 87% of people 65 and older receiving at least one dose and 76% fully vaccinated.

As US public health advisers prepare to meet on Friday to discuss a potential link between Covid-19 shots that use messenger RNA technology and heart inflammation, a former Food and Drug Administration chief cast doubt on the connection. “It’s not clear that it’s the vaccine or a change in behavior,” former FDA Director Scott Gottlieb, who sits on Pfizer Inc.’s board of directors, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

California’s vaccinations are approaching 40 million ahead of the state’s reopening on Tuesday. “Everyday life will feel a lot like before Covid-19,” the Department of Developmental Service said in a tweet. “Restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, and most everyday places will be open as normal with no capacity limits or social distancing required.”

A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit brought by employees of a Houston hospital contesting a requirement that staff be vaccinated against Covid-19. US District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston dismissed the suit Saturday in a scathing ruling: He said the claim from 117 employees of the Houston Methodist Hospital that the requirement amounted to Nazi-era human experimentation was both irrelevant and offensive. “Equating the injection requirement to medical experimentation in concentration camps is reprehensible,” Hughes wrote.

UK: British prime minister Boris Johnson rejected suggestions by a former prime minister that there may be an ‘unforgivable moral failure’ in the supply of vaccine doses to cover the needs of poorer nations.

South Africa: South Africa will dispose of 2 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines following a US ruling that ingredients for the country’s doses may have been contaminated during production in a plant in Baltimore, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Lockdown updates

Portugal: Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa pledged no return to Covid restrictions despite growing infections over the past month.

UK: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to delay his plan to lift England’s pandemic restrictions amid concerns that a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases could put hospitals under strain. The surge in the delta variant first identified in India has forced Johnson and his team to rethink their blueprint for ending social distancing rules on 21 June. Instead, officials now expect the premier to announce a delay of as long as four weeks to the easing of most rules when he sets out his decision to the nation on Monday evening.

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City’s health department advised the city government to extend social distancing restrictions for two more weeks from 15 June, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported, citing information from a Monday morning meeting. Removing the current anti-virus measures due to expire just before midnight risks accelerating the spread of Covid-19, said the city’s Health Department Director Nguyen Tan Binh, Tuoi Tre reported.

Germany: German Health Minister Jens Spahn suggested ending the mask mandate for outdoor activities as Covid-19 infections recede. Daily deaths in Germany attributed to Covid-19 declined to 18, the Robert Koch Institute health agency said on its website Sunday, the fewest since October.

Japan: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga gained the support of US President Joe Biden and other Group of Seven leaders for Tokyo’s hosting of the Olympics next month, in a boost for the premier’s plans to push ahead with the event despite virus concerns.

Malaysia: Malaysia is studying the possibility of easing the standard operating procedures of its current nationwide lockdown if daily Covid-19 infections drop below 4,000, Star reported, citing Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

UAE: The UK has been removed from Abu Dhabi’s “Green List,” meaning travelers from the country will now need to quarantine on arrival in the Middle Eastern city.

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