Brazil exceeds 450,000 deaths from coronavirus

Brazil surpassed 450,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Health. In other news, the American pharmaceutical company Moderna announced that its vaccine does not present risks for minors and could be the second solution to start vaccinating adolescents after Pfizer; protests were registered in Argentina against the sanitary measures against Covid-19.

At the gates of a new summer in the northern hemisphere, optimism generates illusions that the return to normality may be closer with the progress in vaccination plans. 

However, the numbers are still worrying and herd immunity still looks a long way off, globally. Despite everything, many countries join in the reopening of battered economies.

The world registers this Tuesday, May 25, 167.4 million cases, 3.4 million deaths and 1.7 billion vaccines administered since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Here are the most important news of the day:

  • Brazil exceeds 450,000 deaths from Covid-19

The Latin American giant is the second country in the world with the most deaths from Covid-19, only behind the United States, and the third with the most infections, after the United States and India. 

In recent weeks, the contagion curve has risen, with an average of 66,910 daily infections in the last 7 days. However, the authorities fear an even greater increase after the arrival of the Indian variant of Covid-19 in this territory, considered as more transmissible.

Graves of Covid-19 victims in the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Brazil
Graves of Covid-19 victims in the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Brazil © Michael DANTAS AFP / File

The health crisis could be complicated by the slow vaccination process in this country. Of the 211 million inhabitants that Brazil has, 58.6 million people have been administered with a dose of the vaccine, while 18.8 million have received a complete inoculation. This represents 8.9% of the population.

This situation highlights the Government of President Jair Bolsonaro and the parliamentary commission is already investigating the possible negligence committed during the pandemic.

  • Moderna asks to start vaccinating teenagers in the US.

This Tuesday, the Moderna company announced that its vaccine has been shown to be effective in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years, in addition to showing no new or major safety problems. The sample showed an efficacy of 93% in those vaccinated, similar to the 94.1% that it had had in adults.

“We are encouraged that mRNA-1273 is very effective in preventing Covid-19 in adolescents,” Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO, said in a statement.

A nurse prepares Moderna's vaccination kit.
A nurse prepares Moderna’s vaccination kit. © Joe Raedle / AFP

If approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, it could allow schools and camps to relax their mask-wearing measures and the requirement of social distance. 

Although they are testing with up to 6-month-old babies, Moderna hopes that it will be the second licensed vaccine for adolescents. The solution could start to be implemented in July.

Pfizer was the first to be authorized and is being applied in the United States, Canada and Algeria in children between 12 and 15 years old. 

  • Argentina: citizens protest against new sanitary restrictions

Of the almost 45 million inhabitants that Argentina has, 3.56 million have spread the virus and more than 75,000 people have died from this cause, according to John Hopkins University. 

On the other hand, Our World in Data, reports that 11.1 million people have been vaccinated with at least one dose of a drug against Covid-19. However, only 2.41 million have been fully immunized, that is, 5.4% of their total population. 

Even so, citizens are against the tightening of the restrictions imposed by the Government of Alberto Fernandez to face the second wave in the South American country. Through the networks, the Argentines called demonstrations that took place this Tuesday in Buenos Aires and other cities.

In these protests, people have defied the nine-day quarantine that entered into force last Friday night. In addition, they expressed very varied slogans and claims. There are those who marched for the vindication of individual freedoms in the face of restrictions, others filed complaints regarding the limitations of trade and others demanded more vaccines. Some even denied the existence of Covid-19 in the world.

  • Chile: fully vaccinated people will be able to use a “mobility pass”

This Wednesday the “mobility pass” established by the Government of Sebastián Piñera in Chile comes into effect. This will allow people who have received a complete immunization against Covid-19 to move freely, just as they did before the pandemic. Of course, 14 days must have elapsed since they were administered with the last dose. 

Although the tourism and gastronomy unions received the news with joy, the leaders of the Medical College of Chile warned that it is a hasty measure and that it should be “reconsidered”. 

A healthcare worker administers a dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to a woman at the Medalla Milagrosa church in Valparaíso, Chile, on April 6, 2021
A health worker administers a dose of Pfizer’s vaccine against covid-19 to a woman at the Medalla Milagrosa church in Valparaíso, Chile, on April 6, 2021 JAVIER TORRES AFP

Of the more than 19 million inhabitants that this country has, 1.34 million have been infected and more than 28,000 have died, according to the organization Our World in Data. However, 17.3 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 7.7 million have already been fully immunized. This represents 40.6% of the population. 

  • Close to 8,000 ICU patients in Colombia, a record since the beginning of the pandemic

The Colombian Ministry of Health told the EFE news agency on Tuesday that of the beds available in the Intensive Care Units (ICU), almost 8,000 are occupied by seriously ill Covid-19 patients.

“Yesterday was the hardest day of the pandemic in Colombia in hospitalized patients. Around 7,857 were hospitalized in an ICU for Covid-19,” said Deputy Minister of Health, Luis Alexander Moscoso.

This figure represents a record in this country since the beginning of the pandemic, since the previous peak was registered at Christmas with approximately 6,200 patients. 

The month of April was particularly deadly due, among other factors, to Easter that took place during the third wave of the pandemic. But May has overtaken it with an average of 450 deaths per day.

On Monday, the Health Ministry reported 483 new deaths and on Sunday 21,669 cases were reported in one day. In total, Colombia accounts for more than 85,207 deaths and almost 3,250,000 cases.

So far, 8,425,588 vaccines have been applied, of which 3,147,478 correspond to second doses.

  • Fewer than 200,000 cases in India for the first time in 41 days

For the first time since mid-April, India reported fewer than 200,000 Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, with a total of 196,427 positive cases, while the average number of deaths fell from 4,000 a day, totaling 3,511 deaths in the last day.

In total, the number of infections rises to 26.9 million, and that of deaths to 307,231 since the infections began in the Asian country, according to data issued by the Ministry of Health.

200 million citizens have received at least the first dose of Covishield from AstraZeneca, which is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII); Covaxin, from the Indian laboratory Bharat Biotech; and the Russian vaccine Sputnik V.

The Indian authorities have assured that they would immunize 300 million people before July, but just over 43.2 million people have received the two doses of the vaccine against the virus.

  • Pessimism at WHO about early herd immunity

The World Health Organization (WHO) is in its annual assembly. In this event they have ensured that it is very unlikely that any country will achieve herd immunity soon. 

“Studies indicate that it takes more than 80% of a community to be immunized to interrupt transmission, but serological data around the world reveal that no country has acquired this level of natural immunity,” said Mike Ryan, director of emergencies. WHO health services.

File image of the Director of Emergencies of the World Health Organization (WHO), Mike Ryan.
File image of the Director of Emergencies of the World Health Organization (WHO), Mike Ryan. © Salvatore Di Nolfi / EFE

In this sense, the organization warned that the prompt relaxation of measures is what led to outbreaks in the second half of 2020 and in the beginning of 2021. Given the difficulty in accessing vaccines, the WHO continues to recommend the usual prevention measures .

The WHO also announced that of all people who experience symptoms of Covid-19, there are 20% who experience infection between severe and critical. 16% of seriously ill patients die, a figure that has improved from the beginning of the pandemic when 40% died.

The assembly has also served so that the United States has once again insisted on a “transparent” investigation of the origin of the coronavirus, while Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, has asked that the international treaty against pandemics enter into force in 6 months.

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