Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases that threaten efforts to quash the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, president Joe Biden has on Monday urged states to pause reopening efforts and a top health official warned of “impending doom”.
The warning comes after more cases were recorded in the country leading to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths are multiplying from the disease that has already killed roughly 550,000 persons in the country.
Biden said 90 per cent of US adults would be eligible for vaccination by April 19, and 90 per cent of Americans would have a vaccination center within five miles (8 km) of their homes by then, as his team ramps up its drive to get vaccine shots in people’s arms.
The president said “I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate,” adding that “We still are in a war with this deadly virus. And we’re bolstering our defenses, but this war’s far from won.”
According to Reuters news agency, quoting a reporter who asked if states should pause re-opening efforts, in which Biden responded with a “yes.”
The country’s director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Rochelle Walensky urged public officials and others to spread the word about the seriousness of the situation.
Walensky said more than 30 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the US as at Sunday, adding that the seven-day average of new cases was slightly less than 60,000 per day.
Walensky expressing her fears told a briefing with reporters “I’m going to lose the script and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,”. She added “Right now I’m scared.”
Some parts of the US have done away with mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions altogether, and Americans have gotten out to travel more as pandemic fatigue takes hold.
Disruption In Oxygen Supply Kills Many COVID Patients In India
Twenty-two COVID-19 patients on ventilators have on Wednesday died in a hospital in western India after a disruption in the supply of medical oxygen caused by a leak.
According to Reuters news agency quoting the Nashik district’s collector, Suraj Mandhar said an oxygen tanker leaked outside a hospital in the city, halting its supply for about half an hour before it later resumed for nearly 150 other patients in the hospital.
Media reports said all the victims were on ventilators and in need of constant oxygen supply in the hospital dedicated for COVID-19 patients.
Fire officer Sanjay Bairagi said the leak was halted by the fire service within 15 minutes, but there was supply disruption in the Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, a city in Maharashtra state that is the worst hit by the latest surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
Television images showed white fumes spreading in the hospital area, causing panic.
Surinder Sonone, a police officer, said the leak occurred in a pipe connecting the oxygen supply to the main tank in the hospital complex.
India with the second highest confirmed cases of COVID-19 behind the United States has reported more than 15.6 million infections as the total number of fatalities stood at 182,553.
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the state government has ordered an investigation into what caused the leak.
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Biden On George Floyd Verdict: ‘A Giant Step Forward
United States (US) President Joe Biden ut he warned “we can’t stop here”.
After a three-week trial, the jury in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin has on Tuesday found the former Minneapolis police officer guilty in the killing of George Floyd, a Black man on May 25 last year
45-year-old Chauvin was filmed with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, sparking mass protests against racism.
Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, a decision Biden said he hoped would become a “moment of significant change”.
After the verdict, Biden speaking on Tuesday from the White House alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, with the pair saying the country’s work is far from finished with the verdict.
Biden further said “we can’t leave this moment or look away thinking our work is done. We have to look at it as we did for those nine minutes and 29 seconds.”
Vice-President Kamala Harris urged lawmakers to pass the George Floyd bill aimed at reforming policing in the US saying “this bill is part of George Floyd’s legacy. This work is long overdue.”
The Reuters news agency quoting the Floyd family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump said “Justice for Black America is justice for all of America,” adding that “this case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state.”
People gathered outside the courtroom and on the intersection in Minneapolis where Mr Floyd was killed to celebrate the verdict while some also gathered in other cities to celebrate.
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