The top U.S. infectious disease official has raised concerns about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines developed by China and Russia as the world struggles to find answers to a pandemic that the WHO says will be felt for decades.
Six months after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency, the new coronavirus has killed at least 679,000 people and infected at least 17.9 million, according to an AFP count.
As Western European countries announced new lockdowns and reported historic economic downturns, the United Nations health body said the pandemic was a “one-off in a century” crisis and its fallout would be felt for decades to come. decades.
Several Chinese companies are at the forefront of the race to develop immunity to the disease, and Russia has set a target date in September to deploy its own vaccine.
But US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said his country was unlikely to use a vaccine developed in either country, where regulatory systems are much more opaque than they are currently. West.
“I hope the Chinese and Russians actually test the vaccine before giving the vaccine to anyone,” he said Friday during a hearing in the US Congress.
“Claims that a vaccine is ready to be distributed before testing is done, I think, are problematic at best.”
As part of its own “Operation Warp Speed,” the US government will pay pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and GSK up to $ 2.1 billion for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, the companies said.
In East Asia, the territories that succeeded in tackling the early wave of the coronavirus are now facing worrying new peaks.
Japan’s Okinawa declared a state of emergency on Saturday after a record increase in the number of cases on the island – many of which are linked to US military forces stationed there – while Hong Kong opened a new hospital in fortune to house COVID-19 patients.
The financial center had been a poster child to fight the coronavirus, with local transmissions all but ending in early summer.
But since July, daily cases have reached record levels, in part due to tens of thousands of people who have been exempted from a mandatory quarantine imposed on most arrivals.
France, Spain, Portugal and Italy all reported huge contractions in their economies for the April-June quarter, while Europe as a whole saw its gross domestic product fall by 12, 1%.
As a sign of the compromises imposed on European governments, Britain imposed new lockdowns on millions of households in the north of England on Friday.
With large Muslim populations in these regions, the ban was painfully timed on the eve of the Eid-al-Adha festival.
Meanwhile, in the United States – the world‘s largest economy and the hardest-hit country – jobless Americans were preparing to end extra unemployment payments after Congress failed to strike a deal. on the extension of services.
It came just a day after the United States posted a 9.5% drop in GDP in the second quarter compared to the same period a year ago, the worst on record.
The cult leader arrested
Fresh out of an episode of COVID-19, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday that almost everyone would likely end up catching the novel coronavirus, urging Brazilians to “face it” and saying there was nothing to fear.
His comments come as the death toll in Brazil approaches 100,000 and Latin America’s largest airline, LATAM, has said it is laying off at least 2,700 crew members because of the coronavirus.
In South Korea, the elderly leader of a secret sect at the center of the early coronavirus outbreak in the country was arrested on Saturday for allegedly hampering government efforts to contain the outbreak.
People linked to Lee Man-hee’s Shincheonji Church of Jesus accounted for more than half of southern coronavirus cases in February and March, when the country was experiencing one of the world‘s worst early epidemics.
Much of the South has since returned to normal, appearing to have brought the epidemic under control through a massive “trace, test and cure” program.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)