20 June 2021

• The South China Morning Post reports that China has administered one billion vaccines, accounting for a third of the global total. Source

• Viet Nam – which is battling an outbreak of the Delta variant, was given 500,000 doses of Sinopharm’s  coronavirus vaccine. The donated doses will be used in Chinese citizens who live in Viet Nam, Vietnamese people who plan to work or study in China, and people living near China’s border. Currently, 2.4 million of the country’s 98 million people have gotten one dose of vaccine and 115,315 are fully vaccinated. Source

• The US is increasingly unlikely to meet President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of all adults receive at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by 4 July. The President now is warning people about the fast-spreading Delta variant, present in 25 states, which people remain vulnerable to until they are fully vaccinated. Source

• In Brazil, COVID-19 deaths surpass 500,000 while the country suffers through its worst drought in nearly 100 years – which may worsen the nation’s coronavirus epidemic. Fires in the Amazon region, usually set by farmers or ranchers, may be difficult to control and their smoke and ash may worsen COVID-19 and increase the risk of death. Source

• India is now battling an epidemic of mucormycosis (also known as ‘black fungus’) among 30,000 COVID-19 patients.  The fungus is transmitted through spores that are found in homes and hospitals. COVID-19 patients treated with higher doses of steroids for longer durations than recommended may have become more susceptible to mucormycosis, especially people with diabetes. If untreated, the fungus, which eats bones and tissue, attacks the gastrointestinal tract, the lungs, the skin and the sinuses, often spreading to the eye socket and the brain; the mortality rate is 50 percent. Treatment involves disfiguring surgery and amphotericin B, an expensive and scarce medicine. Source

• In the US, many undocumented immigrants lack access to health care, leading them to delay treatment for COVID-19 or to use unproven remedies; the New York Times reports that vendors at a large California flea market are selling different antibiotics, the antiparasitic drug ivermectin, the malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine and injections of dexamethasone for $25, as well as herbal supplements.  Source

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