The top U.S. infectious disease expert said Sunday the country is going in the “right direction” with millions of Americans receiving coronavirus vaccinations, but he was cautious about the high plateau of U.S. cases.
Speaking on the NBC-TV program “Meet the Press,” Anthony Fauci warned that “When you get a plateau at a level around 60,000 new infections per day, there’s always the risk of another surge.” Fauci used Italy as an example of a location that experienced “a diminution of cases.”
He said Italy “plateaued, and they pulled back on public health measures,” which contributed to Italy’s current surge of infections, forcing officials to place portions of the European country in lockdowns Monday. “He urged people to continue to observe “public health measures,” especially wearing masks.
The U.S. remains at the top of the list as the location with the most COVID-19 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, a research body constantly updating with COVID-19 data and expert input.
The U.S. has 29.4 million of the world’s almost 120 million COVID infections, followed by Brazil with 11.4 million and India with 11.3 million.
AstraZeneca said Sunday a review of its data found no evidence that its vaccine against COVID-19 causes blood clots.
“A careful review of all available safety data,” the company said in a statement. The vaccine “has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.” Pulmonary embolism occurs when lung arteries are blocked as a result of blood clotting whereas thromboembolic events occur when a blood clot breaks loose and travels through the body, causing harm.
The AstraZenica review, which covered more than 17 million people who had received the vaccine in Britain and the European Union, was conducted as Ireland and the Netherlands joined Denmark, Norway, and Iceland in suspending the use of the vaccine because of clotting issues. Austria stopped using a batch of the shot last week while investigating a death from coagulation disorders. However, the company asserts that there is no connection with the vaccine.
Dr. Ronan Glynn, Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer, said Sunday that though there was no conclusive link between the vaccine and incidents of blood clots, he would recommend suspending use of the shot as a precaution.
His recommendation followed Norway reporting four cases of blood clots in adults inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine shot.
In addition to the company itself, the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization have said there is no indication the clotting events were caused by the AstraZeneca.
In South America, Chile said it has reached one of the highest rates of vaccination in the world, having vaccinated roughly a quarter of its population as of Sunday.
While Chile struggled in the first months of the pandemic to contain the virus and stop its spread, health officials say they began early negotiations to buy vaccines, enabling them to launch a robust vaccination campaign this month.
In Massachusetts on Saturday, Yo-Yo Ma, the internationally acclaimed cellist, celebrated receiving his second vaccine.
While he waited seated with others for the 15 minutes of observation post vaccination, Ma, 65 and wearing a mask, started playing his cello at a clinic in Berkshire Community College, Massachusetts, on Saturday.
His impromptu performance included Ave Maria and Bach’s Prelude in G Major.
As Ma got up to leave, he was applauded by others seated and socially distant waiting for their own observation periods to end.