21 May 2021

• Japan approves coronavirus vaccines from AstraZeneca and Moderna, hoping to speed up vaccinations as nine of its prefectures have declared a state of emergency until the end of May. Source

Lancet publishes results from the African COVID-19 Critical Care Outcomes Study (ACOS) with data from 3,140 people with COVID-19 admitted to intensive care /high care units in 64 hospitals in Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria and South Africa. Overall,  mortality was higher in this region than any other: 48,2% of people died in the hospital within 30 days of admission. The risk of death was higher among older people, those living with HIV, diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, severe organ dysfunction and in people who were not admitted promptly, while steroids improved the odds of survival. Source

• US President Joe Biden says the country will be able to produce a billion coronavirus vaccines by the end of 2021. Source

• The United Nations warns of a surge in coronavirus cases in Gaza, driven by people sheltering together in school buildings. The violence has hindered delivery of coronavirus vaccines, and  vaccines and Israeli bombings have damaged or destroyed hospitals and clinics. Source

• Public hospitals in Osaka, Japan, are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, while  the country’s private hospitals are reluctant or unprepared to care for them. Less than five percent of the country’s 1.5 million hospital beds have been set aside for people with COVID-19 and people are forced to stay at home in a hotel despite being seriously ill. Source

• Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, says that the bloc will donate 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to low- and middle-income countries in 2021. Source

• G20 leaders sign off on the Declaration of Rome, which are guiding principles that include ensuring fair distribution of vaccines, ramping up production and possible use of  compulsory licenses. Source 

• Globally, over 1.57 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered. Source

• COVAX will get 200 million doses of the J & J coronavirus vaccine at an undisclosed, discounted price. Source

• WHO estimates that the actual death toll from COVID-19 is two to three times higher than what was officially reported. Dr. Samira Asma, assistant director of the WHO data division, said that six to eight million people may have died since the pandemic began, including at least three million in 2020. Source

• In the Mae Chaem district of Thailand’s Chiang Mai province, vaccinated residents have a chance to win a young cow each week until the end of 2021. Source

• India performed  2.5 million coronavirus tests over a 24-hour period, the most in a single day. It plans to scale up to 4.5 million tests per day by the end of June, using antigen testing for up to 60 percent of the population because laboratories doing PCR testing are overwhelmed. Source

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