COVID-19 Update: Merck to Work With Johnson & Johnson to Develop Vaccine; Brazilian Variant Highly Transmissible; and more

On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, here are the latest COVID-19 numbers around the world, according to statistics aggregator, Worldometer. 

  • World Cases: Over 115.1 million.
  • World Deaths: 2,553,745 deaths.

Countries Outside of the US with Most Infections:

  • India: 11,137,992 confirmed cases; 157,310 deaths.
  • Brazil: 10,589,608 confirmed cases; 255,836 deaths.
  • Russia: 4,268,215 confirmed cases; 86,896 deaths.
  • UK: 4,182,009 confirmed cases; 122,953 deaths.
  • France: 3,755,968 confirmed cases; 86,455 deaths.

COVAX to Deliver More than 230 Million Vaccine Doses

The COVAX program will deliver 237 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to about 142 countries by the end of May, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced today. “When the Covid-19 pandemic erupted last year, we knew that vaccines would be a vital tool in bringing it under control. But we also knew from our experience with HIV, the H1N1 pandemic and other diseases that market forces alone would not deliver the equitable distribution of vaccines,” Tedros said.

Brazilian Variant is May Be 2.2 More Transmissible

A COVID-19 variant first reported in Brazil, known as P.1., might be 2.2 times more transmissible according to a modeling by researchers in Brazil and UK. Our results consistently suggest altered epidemiological characteristics of P1,” said Dr. Nuno Faria, reader in viral evolution at the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London.

National News

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

  • US Cases: Over 29.2 million.
  • US Deaths: 525,799 deaths.
  • California: 3,555,010 confirmed cases; 52,213 deaths.
  • Texas: 2,657,614 confirmed cases; 44,072 deaths.
  • Florida: 1,909,221 confirmed cases; 30,583 deaths.
  • New York: 1,680,688 confirmed cases; 47,827 deaths.
  • Illinois: 1,186,696 confirmed cases; 22,735 deaths.

Merck to Work with J&J to Manufacturer Vaccine

President Joe Biden is expected to announce that competitors Merck and Johnson & Johnson will help manufacturer Merck’s COVID-19, according to administration officials who reported the news to CNN.

Almost 70% of Americans Want to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine

An Axios-Ipsos poll shows that nearly 70% of Americans want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once its availability to them.

NYC Mayor Pushes to Expand Vaccine Eligibility

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling for New York state to expand vaccination eligibility to include sanitation workers, lifeguards, district attorneys, courtroom staff, board of elections staff, building inspectors and New York City Housing Authority frontline staff among others, according to a CNN report.

More Americans Feel Hopeful About the Pandemic

More Americans feel better about the pandemic now compared to last year, according to new poll results from Axios-Ipsos. The poll found that 48% of Americans said that hopeful best describes their mood – which more than doubles the 20% who felt that way over the past year.

Monday, March 1, 2021

J&J Vaccine Approved

On Saturday, the US FDA officially issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the third vaccine to be approved for the prevention of COVID-19. “The authorization of this vaccine expands the availability of vaccines, the best medical prevention method for COVID-19, to help us in the fight against this pandemic, which has claimed over half a million lives in the United States,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “The FDA, through our open and transparent scientific review process, has now authorized three COVID-19 vaccines with the urgency called for during this pandemic, using the agency’s rigorous standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.”

CDC Director Concerned About Virus’ Trajectory Shift

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said she is “deeply concerned” about the potential shift in COVID-19 cases. “Please hear me clearly. At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard earned ground we have gained,” Walensky said during a White House COVID-19 Response team briefing on Monday. “Please stay strong in your conviction,” Walensky said. “Continue wearing your well-fitting mask and taking the other public health prevention actions that we know work.”

COVID-19: January/February 2021 Round-up