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Between hope of a vaccine and multiplication of restrictions

Despite the announcements of the laboratories which are linked, the epidemic continues its course in several countries, in particular in Europe where measures continue to be taken to try to contain the virus.

Despite the announcements of the laboratories which are linked, the epidemic continues its course in several countries, in particular in Europe where measures continue to be taken to try to contain the virus.

(AFP) – After the announcement last week by the American laboratories Pfizer and German BioNTech of a vaccine effective at 90%, the biotechnology company Moderna affirmed Monday that its had an effectiveness of 94.5%. It plans to manufacture twenty million doses by the end of December, making the prospect of vaccinations against covid-19 more concrete.

Immunologist Anthony Fauci, a highly respected figure in the United States, welcomed Moderna’s announcement. “The idea of ​​having a vaccine that is 94.5% effective is incredibly impressive,” he told AFP. “It’s a really stunning result, I think nobody expected it to be so good.”

The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for his part welcomed the new developments on the vaccine front but warned against any “complacency”. “We continue to receive encouraging news about vaccines and remain cautiously optimistic that new tools may start arriving in the coming months,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

He also assured to be “extremely concerned by the increase in the number of cases in certain countries”, pointing out the situation in Europe and on the American continent where “the workers of health and the systems of health are pushed to end”. Worldwide, the pandemic has killed nearly 1,320,000 people since the end of December, according to an assessment established by AFP on Monday.

In Germany, where a sharp rise in infections has been observed for several weeks, Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the Germans to reduce contact to the strict minimum. “We still have a long way to go, but the good news is that we have succeeded in stopping the exponential growth,” of the virus, said Merkel.

Boris Johnson in isolation

In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson went into solitary confinement on Sunday after coming into contact with a person infected with the new coronavirus, an unwelcome quarantine in the middle of the final sprint in post-Brexit negotiations. He assured Monday he felt “very good” and “overflowing with antibodies” after being seriously ill with covid-19 in April.

With nearly 52,000 dead, the United Kingdom is the country in Europe most bereaved by the pandemic. Sweden, which has a much less strict strategy than most European countries, announced on Monday to limit public gatherings to a maximum of eight people in the face of the rebound in contamination, a first. In Norway, a country which nevertheless has a relatively low contamination rate, the municipality of Oslo has announced the tightening of the rules of “social confinement” for adolescents, particularly affected by a recent rebound in the epidemic.

Austria begins a second lockdown on Tuesday, with the closure of schools and non-essential stores and a call to stay at home. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has also announced a large-scale covid-19 screening campaign. In France, 508 new deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours, but the number of new cases was at its lowest in weeks, according to official data.

On the other hand, the number of people currently hospitalized in France has broken a new record, at 33,466 with 2,065 new patients over 24 hours. “If there are signs of improvement in terms of the epidemic, we have not yet conquered the virus”, warned the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, urging his fellow citizens to “not relax (their) efforts “.

Restrictions in the United States

Europe is not alone in redoubling its efforts: on the other side of the Atlantic, the mayor of Chicago, the third largest city in the United States, recommended that her 2.7 million citizens avoid outings, except for essential travel including work and school, not to receive any guests and to cancel traditional Thanksgiving holidays. These are just recommendations. On the other hand, private meetings are, on a mandatory basis, limited to a maximum of 10 people.

From New York to Seattle, states and metropolitan areas have reintroduced restrictions in recent days in an attempt to stem the blaze of the coronavirus. The United States, the most bereaved country in the world with 247,116 deaths ahead of Brazil (166,014 dead), recorded one million new covid-19 infections in less than a week and crossed the 11 million case mark on Sunday , according to Johns Hopkins University.

The two vaccines Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna could be authorized by the United States Medicines Agency (FDA) in the first half of December, said Monday Moncef Slaoui, scientific head of Operation Warp Speed, set up by President Donald Trump for vaccinate the American population.

20 million from December

This would make it possible to vaccinate 20 million Americans, in priority probably the oldest and at risk, from the second half of December, then 25 million people per month from January, said this official on the MSNBC channel. US President-elect Joe Biden, for his part, raised the risk of additional deaths from covid-19 if Donald Trump, who does not admit having lost the presidential election, refuses with his government to coordinate with the Democratic team called upon to ensure the transition to the White House.

Without consultation between the two teams, “it may be that more people die,” said Joe Biden, citing in particular the urgency to prepare the distribution of vaccines as soon as they are available. In Belgium, the government has announced its intention to treat at least 70% of the country’s population, or 8 million people, with future vaccines and to guarantee that they are free “for every citizen”.


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