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:
- French schools reopened on Sep 1, and 12 are already closed because of virus activity, Reuters reported. COVID-19 activity is spiking in France, with nearly 9,000 new cases reported today, with hospitalizations and the number of people in intensive care also on the rise.
- In the Middle East, rising cases in Israel prompted government officials to announce a partial nationwide lockdown to take effect next week, and Iraq reported a daily record high of 5,036 new cases.
- The Czech Republic yesterday reported a daily record high of 650 new cases, part of a flare-up in the wake of relaxed pandemic restrictions.