Global Covid cases near 88 million

Believe it or not, the global tally of COVID-19 cases is inching closer to 88 million.

According to the latest data released by Johns Hopkins University, the coronavirus death toll stood at 1,895,925 globally, while the total cases mounted to 87,952,778, as of Friday morning.

The US is the worst-hit country, with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 21,543,310 and 364,735, respectively, according to the university data.

The U.S. registered more COVID-19 deaths in a single day than ever before — nearly 3,900 — on the very day the mob attack on the Capitol laid bare some of the same, deep political divisions that have hampered the battle against the pandemic, reports AP.

The virus is surging in several states, with California hit particularly hard, reporting on Thursday a record two-day total of 1,042 coronavirus deaths. Skyrocketing caseloads there are threatening to force hospitals to ration care and essentially decide who lives and who dies.

“Folks are gasping for breath. Folks look like they’re drowning when they are in bed right in front of us,” said Dr. Jeffrey Chien, an emergency room physician at Santa Clara Valley Regional Medical Center, urging people to do their part to help slow the spread. “I’m begging everyone to help us out because we aren’t the front line. We’re the last line.”

India comes second in terms of COVID cases, at 10,395,278, while the country’s death toll soared to 150,334 this morning, according to the Health Ministry.

Brazil’s national death toll now stands at 200,498 and the total caseload at 7,961,673, acoording to the government.

In the evening, shortly after Brazil topped 200,000 deaths by COVID-19 in its official tally, the Sao Paulo state government said it had reached a deal with Brazil’s health ministry to provide 46 million doses of the vaccine. It did not say whether it would keep the start of its vaccination campaign on Jan. 25, reports AP.

Situation in Bangladesh

Bangladesh on Thursday reported 31 coronavirus-related deaths and 1,007 new cases.

Fatalities have risen to 7,718 since the first death was reported in the country on March 18.

The country’s caseload now stands at 519,905, said the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

So far, 3,317,810 tests, including 15,634 new ones, have been carried out. The overall infection rate now stands at 15.67 percent and the mortality rate is 1.48 percent.

However, 464,446 patients – 89.33 percent – have so far recovered.

The country’s infection numbers reached the 500,000-mark on December 20. The first cases were reported on March 8. The death toll exceeded 7,000 on December 12.

The government has been urging people to follow health safety measures. It has also adopted a “no mask, no service” policy to prevent the spread of the virus.

Vaccine campaign

A vaccine candidate made by China’s Sinovac is 78% effective in protecting against the coronavirus, according to results of a study announced Thursday by Brazilian state health officials seeking federal approval of the shot.

More than 12,000 health workers participated in the study, which detected 218 cases of COVID-19 — about 160 of those among people who received a placebo rather than the actual vaccine.

Turkish officials last month said that a smaller, companion study in that country of the same vaccine candidate found an efficacy rate over 90%.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans who have gotten their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine climbed to at least 5.9 million Thursday, a one-day gain of about 600,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hundreds of millions will need to be vaccinated to stop the coronavirus.

About 1.9 million people around the world have died of the virus so far, more than 360,000 in the U.S. alone. December was by far the nation’s deadliest month yet, and health experts are warning that January could be more terrible still because of family gatherings and travel over the holidays.

A new, more contagious variant is spreading around the globe and in the U.S. Also, it remains to be seen what effect the thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump who converged this week in Washington, many of them without masks, will have on the spread of the scourge.

The government of Sao Paulo state, which has contracted for the vaccine, said it will ask Brazil’s federal health regulators Friday for emergency approval to begin using it. Governor João Doria plans to start a vaccination campaign for the state’s 46 million residents on January 25.

South Africa says it will import 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to inoculate the country’s health workers. This is South Africa’s first announcement of the purchase of a COVID-19 vaccine as its cases soar.

The first one million doses will be delivered later this month from the Serum Institute of India, followed by an additional 500,000 doses in February, Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize announced Thursday.

Bangladesh is also set to purchase Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.

On Sunday, India, the world’s second-most populous country, authorised its first two COVID-19 vaccines — the Oxford-AstraZeneca one and another developed by an Indian company.

In Bangladesh, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Monday cleared confusion about the timely delivery of COVID-19 vaccine to Bangladesh, saying it will get the same from India on time.

“A decision has been taken at the highest level and that would be implemented. Nobody has to worry or get panicked,” he told reporters sharing the updates they received from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque also assured that Bangladesh will receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from the Serum Institute on time

Source: United News of Bangladesh