A former British prime minister has prepared a blueprint for world leaders to use to manage the next pandemic.
Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change has issued a report titled The New Necessary: How We Future-Proof for the Next Pandemic that calls for international cooperation in the future to identify and test for any new outbreak. The report also called on countries to work together to produce vaccines.
Blair told The Guardian, “Had there been global coordination a year ago, I think we could have shaved at least three months off this virus,” in a reference to the outbreak of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Blair also called on Britain to take a leadership role in establishing an international health security infrastructure to ensure global cooperation for any future pandemics.
South Korea began its coronavirus vaccine campaign Friday, focusing its initial inoculation efforts on nursing home residents and staff.
U.S. President Joe Biden hosted an event at the White House Thursday honoring the 50 millionth coronavirus vaccination administered in the country.
"Fifty million shots in just 37 days since I've become president," Biden told reporters at the event, noting that despite extreme weather conditions, the United States is on track to surpass his promise to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days in office.
The New York Times reports that researchers at Caltech and Columbia University have identified a rapidly spreading “worrisome” coronavirus variant in New York City. The researchers found, according to the newspaper account, that the mutation could “weaken the effectiveness of vaccines.”
The researchers’ findings have not yet been published in a scientific journal.
Brazil marked one year since its first confirmed case of the coronavirus Thursday – the same day it recorded a total of a quarter million deaths from the disease the virus causes.
The country has averaged roughly 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 daily in recent weeks – much like the peak of the virus in the country last July, according to statistics from the country’s Health Ministry.
President Jair Bolsonaro, who fell ill with COVID-19 last year, has repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the virus and has publicly stated he will not be vaccinated against it. Brazil has confirmed more than 10 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. It has the second-highest death rate in the world, following the United States.
Roughly five weeks after the first shot against the virus was administered in Brazil, the country has vaccinated about 3.6% of its population, according to Our World in Data, a research site.
Also on Thursday, the U.N. Children’s Fund announced that the COVAX facility for coronavirus vaccines will soon get access to 170 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
The COVAX facility aims to ensure at least 2 billion vaccine doses are available to 85 of the world’s poorest countries. UNICEF said Thursday that deliveries of the vaccine will begin in the first quarter of 2021.
There are more than 113 million global coronavirus infections, and the virus has claimed the lives of more than 2.5 million people.
The U.S. continues to lead the world in the number of cases at 28.4 million, followed by India with 11 million cases and Brazil with 10.3 million.