WHO report on the origin of the pandemic; USA passes 550,000 deaths

The theory that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a Chinese laboratory was hardly based on a joint study by the World Health Organization and China into the origins of the global crisis that killed nearly 2.8 million people.

The report, released on Tuesday, supports the previously accepted theory that the virus was most likely transmitted from bats to humans by another animal. The report also suggests that the role of a Wuhan seafood market, from which human cases have been traced, was uncertain. Research published in Lancet magazine last year suggested that the market may have helped spread the disease rather than being its source.

The report cites multiple reasons for everyone, but rules out the possibility that the virus escaped a laboratory in Wuhan, a sprawling city of 11 million people where the virus was first identified. According to the report, such accidents are rare and the laboratories in Wuhan working on coronavirus and vaccines are well managed. It is also noted that there was no record of viruses closely related to the coronavirus in any laboratory until December 2019 and that the risk of the virus accidentally growing was extremely low.

Matthew Kavanagh of Georgetown University suggested that more solid conclusions will be difficult when the Chinese government stops providing data.

“In the end, it might be more fruitful to focus on the future (ability to proactively detect, better response),” Kavanagh tweeted. “We need @WHO to respond to this pandemic, prepare for the future and not get caught in the US-China confrontation.”

Also in the news:

►England had good news: no deaths were reported in London for a day. During a surge in cases in January, the capital recorded more than 200 deaths a day related to the virus.

►All Coloradans can receive a COVID-19 vaccine from Friday, weeks earlier than previously announced.

►Burbio, which oversees 1,200 school districts, including the country’s 200 largest, reported Monday that more than half of the states have re-admitted students to face-to-face learning in more than 70% of their schools.

📈 Today’s numbers: In the United States, over 30.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 550,000 deaths have been confirmed, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global totals: 127.7 million cases and 2.79 million deaths. More than 180.64 million vaccine doses have been distributed and 145.8 million administered in the United States, according to the CDC.

📘 What we read: As a growing number of states have removed vaccination requirements, it has become less clear why some act faster than others. Read more here.

USA TODAY is tracking COVID-19 news. Please keep updating this page for the latest updates. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter to get updates for your inbox and join our Facebook group.

The US surpasses 550,000 deaths as the vaccination surge accelerates

More than 550,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus epidemic, claiming the lives of 1 in 600 residents, according to Johns Hopkins University. The nation still has an average of 1,000 deaths a day. But more than a dozen states will be opening up vaccinations to all adults this week, signifying a significant expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations for tens of millions of Americans. According to President Joe Biden, vaccine distribution will soar to a new high of 33 million this week.

It also comes amid a worrying surge in virus cases and concerns about the balance of vaccine supply and demand.

“Please wait a while,” said Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a briefing at the White House. Several northeastern states and Michigan saw the largest increases. Some are reporting hundreds or thousands more new cases each day than you were two weeks ago.

California has the second lowest rate of COVID-19 spread

California reported the second lowest rate of COVID-19 spread compared to other states in the week leading up to Sunday, but a senior US health official on Monday described a “recurring sense of impending doom” as infections re-emerge across the country.

California was ranked 49th among the states where the coronavirus spread fastest per person, according to an analysis by the USA TODAY Network of data from Johns Hopkins University. 34 states had more cases in the past week than the week before. The US has exceeded 30 million coronavirus cases.

On the vaccine front, there was some good news: The nationwide dual vaccines reduce the risk of infection by 80% after a single dose two or more weeks after vaccination, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

California ranked 24th among states for the percentage of people who received at least one shot. 29.3% of the population are at least partially vaccinated. The national rate is 28.2%, according to an analysis of the CDC data in the US TODAY.

– Palm Springs Desert Sun.

Biden says 90% of adults will be eligible for a vaccination by April 19

President Joe Biden said Monday that 90% of American adults would be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines by April 19, and vaccination sites would be within five miles of a person’s home.

Biden’s new timeline beats his previous May 1 goal for nationwide eligibility by nearly two weeks. The remaining 10% of the population would be eligible at this point, he said.

“More vaccines, more sites, more vaccines, all to speed up our critical work,” said Biden, who also announced that the federal government would be handing out a record 33 million doses of vaccine this week.

The Biden government is fighting the spread of virus variants, which in some cases can lead to further spikes, especially as states relax restrictions that help limit transmission but also harm the economy.

Biden urged governors who have lifted the mask mandates to reinstate them, warning Americans that the fight against the virus is not over and may indeed reverse course. Therefore, they would need to remain vigilant and adhere to security measures.

“If we let go of our guard now,” he said, “we might see a virus getting worse, not better.”

Contributor: The Associated Press

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