Brazil's COVID-19 total tops 4 million; global vaccine plan gains steam

In global COVID-19 developments, Brazil passed the 4-million-case mark, and World Health Organization (WHO) officials said more developed countries have joined the COVAX initiative, a promising sign for a tool designed to support vaccine development and allocate doses fairly.

The global total today climbed to 26,427,137 cases, and 870,948 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

Encouraging COVAX enrollment

At a WHO media briefing today, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said that agency is pleased that 78 high- and upper-middle income countries have confirmed their participation in the COVAX Facility and that the number is growing. The program pools the risk of supporting vaccine development with securing doses for countries at reasonable prices.

He thanked countries and economies that have publicly announced this week that they are joining COVAX, which include Germany, Japan, Norway, and the European Union. Also, Hong Kong's government today announced that it is interested in participating in COVAX.

The WHO has said that an equitable vaccine rollout to all countries offers the best chance of reducing the global threat from COVID-19.  Tedros said the virus will continue to take lives and stunt the world's economic recovery if low- and middle-income countries miss out on vaccine access.

"This is not just a moral imperative and a public health imperative, it's also an economic imperative," he said.

Brazil tops 4 million cases

Brazil's daily case totals have been declining slowly since early August, and with 43,773 new cases today, the country topped 4 million cases. The country has the world's second most infections, but cases in India are accelerating, and the country is poised to pass Brazil soon. India reported 83,341 cases today, and its total is over 3.9 million cases.

In other Brazilian developments, a local media report said the country's health ministry has distributed less than one third of the 22.9 million RT-PCR test kits that it has. Internal documents obtained by the newspaper said the reason is that the country lacks supplies, such as swabs, to use the tests.

In other global developments:

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