21 July 2021

• The US CDC reports that life expectancy dropped by 1.5 years in 2020 – the largest drop since World War II. The decrease in life expectancy was even greater among Black and Hispanic people. Although COVID-19 was the main driver, increasing rates of overdose and homicide also contributed. “It’s staggering and depressing,” said Noreen Goldman, a professor of demography and public affairs at Princeton University. “The U.S. lags behind virtually all high-income countries in life expectancy, and now it’s lagging further behind.” Source 

• Pfizer and BioNTech issue a press release to announce that they have entered into an agreement with Cape Town-based Biovac Institute to fill-and- finish over 100 million doses annually for exclusive distribution within the African Union. Source 

• India’s government suggests that local officials were not accurately tracking coronavirus deaths after a report from the Center for Global Development suggests that deaths from the pandemic have been dramatically undercounted. Source 

• YouTube removes content from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s channel, saying “Our rules do not allow content that states that hydroxychloroquine and/or ivermectin are effective in treating or preventing Covid-19; that states there is a cure for the disease, or says that masks do not work to prevent the spread of the virus.” Source 

• WHO warns of an increase of COVID-19 in many Central American and Caribbean countries, as it urges high-income countries to donate coronavirus vaccines. Dr. Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization, noted that the Americas are now “a region divided by vaccine access,” since only 15 percent of its residents are fully vaccinated. We clearly need more vaccines and we need them now.” Source 

• Half of Australia’s population goes into lockdown to stop the Delta variant from spreading. Source

• For the second year in a row, Indonesia imposes coronavirus restrictions during Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice as it faces record-breaking daily case totals. Source

• U Nyan Win, a spokesman for Myanmar’s ousted governing party, dies from COVID-19 while in prison. Source

Reuters reports that J & J  forecasts sales of $2.5 billion in 2021 for its coronavirus vaccine, at an estimated price of $5 per dose in the first half of 2021, and increasing to $8 by the end of the year (although South Africa says it is paying $10 per dose). Manufacturing problems have led J & J to lower 2021 production targets from one billion to 500 to 600 million doses. Source

• In China, senior health officials expressed their opposition to a plan from WHO to continue investigating the possibility that the virus had leaked from a Wuhan lab. Mr. Zeng Yixin, Vice Minister of China’s National Health Commission, said, “I could feel that this plan revealed a lack of respect for common sense and an arrogant attitude toward science. We can’t possibly accept such a plan for investigating the origins.” Source 

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