Coronavirus in the world: suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine in several European countries, New York pays tribute to its 30,000 dead

The pandemic has killed nearly 2.65 million people worldwide since the start of the pandemic, according to a report established by AFP from official sources on Sunday in the middle of the day.

The United States is the country with the most deaths with 534,877 deaths, followed by Brazil (278,229), Mexico (194,490), India (158,607), and the United Kingdom (125,464).

These figures, which are based on daily reports from health authorities without including reassessments based on statistical bases, are generally underestimated.

WHO put to the test of the mystery of the origins of the Covid

The virus responsible for the pandemic passed to humans over a year ago, but how? WHO experts will have only the beginning of an answer in their report amid intense pressure from Beijing and Washington.

The result of a collaboration between specialists appointed by the World Health Organization and Chinese experts, the publication of their conclusions – a priori in the middle of the week – is eagerly awaited.

Authorized to conduct the field investigation only a year after the start of the epidemic by the Chinese authorities, the international experts have now returned for more than a month and the tension is becoming palpable.

All the more so as the project to publish a preliminary report at the end of February was abandoned without any real explanation from the WHO.

Pending the final report, American and Chinese diplomats have spoken more than once, some demanding more “transparency”, others assuring that WHO experts have been able to carry out their work thanks to “cooperation scientist “from Beijing.

But will we ever know the origin of Covid-19, which has killed more than 2.6 million since it was first reported at the end of December 2019 in Wuhan, a giant metropolis of 11 million people? people in central China?

After a four-week stay there, including two in quarantine in a hotel, the investigation of a dozen international experts recognized by their peers in their various specialties and mandated by the WHO ended without definitive conclusions.

EUROPE

AstraZeneca: suspensions in several countries

The Netherlands suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 on Sunday as a precaution until March 28 inclusive, after “possible side effects” were reported in Denmark and Norway, without a proven link at this stage .

Ireland has also been added to the list of European countries which have suspended injections of AstraZeneca’s anti-Covid-19 vaccine as a precaution after serious cases of blood clots in vaccinated adults.

The Irish vaccination program commission recommended the measure in the name of the “precautionary principle” after a Norwegian report reporting “four new serious cases of blood clots in adults”.

Norway, which like Iceland, Denmark or Bulgaria, had announced the suspension of injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine, was also concerned on Saturday about cases of skin hemorrhages in relatively young people who received a dose of vaccine.

The Piedmont region (north-west of Italy) announced on Sunday that it had resumed AstraZeneca vaccinations after having suspended them for a few hours, however excluding as a precaution a batch, after the death of a teacher vaccinated the day before.

Investigation into a death in Sicily

Inspectors from the Italian Ministry of Health went to Sicily on Sunday to investigate the death of a 43-year-old soldier who died on March 9 in the southern island of Italy after an injection of a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. An autopsy of the body was performed on Saturday at the hospital in Catania (eastern Sicily).

EU: a “green passport” for the summer

The European authorities are aiming for the entry into service of a health certificate, called the “green passport”, to facilitate travel within the EU, before the summer holidays, announced Sunday Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.

This draft certificate, which would be “either in electronic or paper form”, will be presented on Wednesday. It will contain information “which will indicate that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, or that they have recovered, or that they have received a negative result in the test,” he said.

Germany: “zero tolerance”

The German conservatives of Angela Merkel, weakened by a financial scandal around contracts for the purchase of anti-Covid masks, promised “zero tolerance” in the face of embezzlement on Sunday after a heavy defeat in two crucial regional elections.

Italy: improvement hoped for in spring

Italy, three quarters confined from Monday to halt the progression of the coronavirus, hopes for an improvement “in the second half of spring,” said its health minister, Roberto Speranza, on Sunday.

“The implementation of more rigorous measures and the gradual increase in the number of people vaccinated lead us to think that we will have improving figures already in the second half of spring,” according to the minister.

AMERICA

New York pays tribute to its 30,000 dead from Covid-19

New York, which is the city in the United States most bereaved by the coronavirus, paid a moving tribute to its 30,258 dead, a year after the start of the pandemic. “We have lost more New Yorkers than in World War II, the Vietnam War, Hurricane Sandy and 9/11 combined. Every family has been affected, and for so many families there is pain, raw pain, ”Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a live virtual ceremony after asking for a minute of silence in tribute to the victims.

The democratic councilor notably mentioned the “health heroes” who “saved lives”, sometimes at their expense, and also asked to remember the good times. “Whatever happens, no one can take the dances you have already danced from you!” Bill de Blasio said in Spanish, quoting a quote from Colombian writer and Nobel Prize winner for literature Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in a city ​​where a third of immigrants are of Latin origin.

The virtual ceremony began with a short New York Philharmonic recital, in front of lit candles on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge on a freezing, windy night. Large black and white photos of the victims were projected onto the bridge.

There were speeches by religious leaders, a young poet, witnesses, as well as the participation of Hezekiah Walker, pastor of the great Brooklyn Church (Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church) and popular gospel artist, accompanied by the choir. The Love Fellowship.

USA: Reduce distancing?

US authorities are considering reducing the recommended social distance to limit the spread of Covid-19 from two to one meter, which would make it easier to reopen schools, immunologist Anthony Fauci said on Sunday.

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