24 March 2021

• The US surpasses 30 million coronavirus cases. Source
• During a private call with conservative MPs, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attributes the successful coronavirus vaccine roll-out in the UK to “…because of capitalism, because of greed my friends.” Afterwards, Johnson tried to withdraw the comment, which was widely criticized. Source
• The Brookings Institute issues its spring 2021 Papers on Economic Activities which includes modeling projected the US COVID-19 death toll under different scenarios. One of the models assumed that aggressive testing, tracing and isolation measures were implemented on 1 May 2020 and maintained until coronavirus vaccines were deployed; under this scenario, the death toll would have been lowered to 292,00.  Source
• COVAX delivers 33,600 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to Lebanon. It will deliver 130,000 more in April. Source
• Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel apologies for announcing a five-day lockdown over Easter and withdraws the proposal, saying there was not enough time to properly implement it and that, “ …this mistake is solely and alone my mistake as in the end I am the one who carries the final responsibility…I deeply regret this and ask all citizens for forgiveness.” Source
• China approves clinical trials of an inhalable formulation of a coronavirus vaccine being co-developed by CanSino and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology. Source
• GlaxoSmithKline fires Moncef Slaoui (the former head of Operation Warp Speed)  from his position as chair of the Galvani Biolelectronics Board  of Directors and re-named a research and development lab that bore his name after being notified of sexual harassment allegations against him; he has resigned from Centessa Pharmaceuticals, where he was Chief Scientific Officer and Vaxcyte, where he was Chairman. Source
• Experts identify a new coronavirus variant in India which may be more transmissible and better at evading immune responses. The variant was been found in up to 20 percent of samples from Maharashtra state, where there has been a recent surge in cases.  Source

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