India has become the third deadliest country from Covid-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.
India surpassed Mexico’s death toll from the virus on Monday, making it the country with the third highest number of reported coronavirus deaths worldwide, behind the United States and Brazil.
The country’s death toll stands at 218,959, according to its health ministry and JHU. Mexico’s death toll stands at 217,233.
India also has the second highest number of total reported Covid-19 cases worldwide, behind the United States.
Pfizer is working with the Indian government to gain expedited approval for its Covid-19 vaccine, CEO Albert Bourla said a LinkedIn post.
Pfizer is aware that access to vaccines is critical for ending this pandemic,” Bourla said. “We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country.”
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has already received emergency use authorization in the United States and has been used to innoculate millions of Americans.
India is currently administering two vaccines domestically: the Oxford-AstraZeneca one, also known as Covishield, and its homegrown Covaxin, developed jointly by Bharat Biotech and the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research.
India has also received 150,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine as the country grapples with a brutal second wave of the pandemic, the government said Saturday.
CNN’s Aditi Sangal contributed to this report.
India’s capital Delhi has begun vaccinating its 18-44 year olds, albeit at a slow pace due to limited vaccine availability, according to the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
“Mass vaccination for youth of Delhi has begun,” he announced on Twitter. “We have established 301 centers in 76 schools. Our target is to establish 3000 such centers in 300 schools, subjected to the availability of vaccine.”
Delhi has 450,000 vaccines and 45,150 people have been given vaccination appointments, he added in a statement to Asian News International, an Indian news agency.
“There is 100% turnout,” he told ANI Monday. “There is a lot of enthusiasm in the youth.”
Some background: In a bid to tackle India’s spiraling Covid-19 crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the country will offer vaccines to everyone age 18 and above from May 1. The change came into effect on Saturday, however, a number of states, including Delhi, said they have no shots to give.
On Friday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged citizens not to queue up for shots Saturday as vaccine supplies had not been received. Monday marks the first day that Delhi was able to start offering vaccines to the newly eligible cohort.
Pfizer is donating more than $70 million worth of medicines to India, CEO Albert Bourla announced in a statement posted to his official LinkedIn account.
The medicines, including steroid medications, anticoagulants to reduce blood clotting, and antibiotics will be made available “immediately,” he added.
“Pfizer stands in solidarity with all those currently affected by COVID-19 in India and around the world and will continue to do everything possible to provide assistance,” Bourla said.
Germany recorded 9,160 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the German agency for disease control and prevention. This brings the total number of cases in the country to 3,425,982.
The death toll now stands at 83,276, with 84 additional deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute.
A week ago, a nightly curfew was introduced for areas with high Covid-19 infection rates. Since then, infection numbers have dropped and the number of intensive care unit admissions has also declined.
We are confident that the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units will decrease — and that this is directly related to the measures of the federal emergency brake, as well as the significant progress in vaccination,” Gernot Marx, the president of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, told the Düsseldorf-based Rheinische Post newspaper.
Meanwhile, the country’s vaccination rate has picked up — 26.9% of the overall population has received at least one dose and 7.7% of the population has received both doses of the vaccine, according to the German health ministry.
Thailand reported its highest Covid-19 death toll on record Monday. The country reported 31 deaths in the past 24 hours and 2,041 new cases, according to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
Ten people died from Covid-19 in Bangkok and the surrounding suburbs. A new cluster of cases in Bangkok’s Klong Toey slum area has caused concern for the Thai government, with 304 confirmed cases found there since the country’s third wave began in April.
The first case found in this slum area was linked to the Thong Lor entertainment district. A temporary referring center has been set up in order to transfer the infected to hospitals or field clinics.
Thailand has reported a total of 71,025 Covid-19 infections and 276 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
America’s emerging limbo between a full-blown pandemic and a return to normal is throwing up new public health dilemmas that spark instant political fires — like a fresh round of grandstanding over mask wearing.
Top White House adviser Anita Dunn Sunday defended President Joe Biden over his continued use of a mask outdoors — even though the practice appears to conflict with new and relaxed administration guidelines for fully vaccinated citizens.
In comments that didn’t necessarily clarify the situation, Dunn told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that “extra precautions” were being taken for the President and that mask wearing was “a matter of habit.”
Republicans, seeking to dent strong public approval ratings for Biden’s handling of the pandemic, have already accused him of whipping up stigma against people who refuse to wear masks, who include many conservatives. The Republican National Committee, for instance, blasted Biden for “breaking” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, and the issue has become one of the latest culture war flashpoints for right-wing talk show hosts.
Republicans are seizing on the controversy over masks to bolster their wider narrative that Biden and Democrats are too politically correct and using the power of government to infringe on the freedoms of Americans — a conceit that works for them on taxes to guns and public health to climate change.
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For three days, Goldi Patel, 25, went from hospital to hospital in New Delhi’s oppressive summer heat, frantically trying to find one that would keep her husband breathing.
Four hospitals turned away Patel, who is seven months pregnant with the couple’s first child, before she finally found one that would take him. But the level of care at Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre and Hospital, a makeshift pandemic facility on the outskirts of the capital, is so lacking that her husband is begging to leave.
Around Sadanand Patel, 30, people are dying. He has barely any contact with doctors, and limited medicine. With 80% of his lungs already infected, he’s terrified of what happens if his condition gets worse.
“I am very scared,” Sadanand said Saturday from his hospital bed, through labored breathing. “If my health gets critical I don’t think they will be able to save me.”
As coronavirus cases spiral in India, the country’s health care system has been stretched beyond breaking point. Beds, oxygen and medical workers are in short supply. Some Covid patients are dying in waiting rooms or outside overwhelmed clinics, before they have even been seen by a doctor.
Only some Covid-19 patients manage to get admitted into India’s overburdened hospitals. But once inside, some face a different kind of terror: an absence of medical care or supplies as people die around them.
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India is experiencing the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak.
The country has reported more than 19.5 million cases since the pandemic began last year. But experts fear the the real number could be up to 30 times higher.
Grieving families are struggling to keep themselves and their loved ones safe amid an overwhelmed health care system, and medical workers are stretched thin as some hospitals run out of oxygen and supplies.
The global community is rallying to help India push back against the pandemic, with countries around the world offering aid.
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