The devastating human toll from the coronavirus reached another major milestone when the worldwide death tally surpassed 5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Nowhere else in the globe has the cost in lives been higher than in the United States, despite the country’s abundance of vaccines. Even through a decline in infections in recent weeks, the U.S. continues to experience about 1,400 daily deaths because of COVID-19, which has killed 746,000 Americans.
Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia are next on the somber list, although the numbers are unofficial. Because of underreporting in several nations, the worldwide tally is believed to be much higher than 5 million fatalities.
The U.S. death count has surpassed the estimated 675,000 Americans who died in the 1918 flu pandemic, and the emergence of vaccines toward the end of 2020 only slowed the pandemic’s pace.
The U.S. produces and freely administers three COVID-19 vaccines — made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — that are highly effective at protecting people from severe illness, hospitalization and death.
But about 60 million eligible people in this country remain unvaccinated, giving the virus plenty of victims to infect and kill.
The global death total reached 4 million in early July and grew by one million in less than four months. The U.S. accounted for about 18% of those million deaths while representing a little over 4% of the world’s population, further confirmation of the delta variant’s ability to spread and cause severe harm among the unvaccinated.
Also in the news:
►South Dakota has joined Missouri, Nebraska, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Wyoming in a lawsuit against President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors.
►Seven members of the Sharks and coach Bob Boughner were placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Saturday, delaying the start of San Jose’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
►Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers survived another challenge — this one from the City Council, which voted down a proposal pushed by some of its members to repeal it.
► A federal grand jury in Louisiana has indicted a man with fraudulently obtaining more than $1.1 million in loans from two programs designed to help small businesses stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded 45 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 745,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. . More than 192 million Americans — 58% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: The rush is on: With vaccine orders placed, doctors and pharmacies are preparing for a flood of young children.
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Maryland man faces 20 years for scheme involving fake Moderna website
A Maryland man pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud conspiracy after authorities said he participated in a scheme that tried to sell COVID-19 vaccines.
Odunayo Oluwalade, a 25-year-old man from Windsor Mill, Maryland, faces up to 20 years in federal prison after entering the guilty plea on Friday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He and two other men were arrested in February for involvement in the fraud, which consisted of appearing as Moderna and selling COVID-19 vaccines.
The scheme consisted of the group creating the website “Modernatx.shop,” similar to the company’s actual domian “Modernatx.com”. The website also included the use of the company’s logos, colors and markings.
While Moderna’s actual website lists of how people can obtain the vaccine, the fake website included a link that said, “You may be able to buy a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of time,” along with a link to “contact us,” according to the plea agreement.
The scheme was brought to a halt after an undercover Homeland Security agent got in touch with a number listed on the fake website. Within hours of first connecting with the number, the agent received an invoice from the email “[email protected]” for 200 doses of the vaccine, which said cost $30 each.
— Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tests positive for COVID
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for COVID-19, she disclosed Sunday in a statement that also said she has not been in close contact with the president or senior members of the White House staff since Wednesday.
Psaki said she last saw President Joe Biden on Tuesday, “when we sat outside more than six-feet apart, and wore masks.”
Biden left Thursday for Europe and is not scheduled to return until Wednesday.
Psaki, who was supposed to accompany Biden, stayed back after members of her household tested positive. (At the time, the White House announced Psaki was not going because of a family emergency.)
She said she has been quarantined since then and tested negative every day until Sunday.
— Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY
US intelligence won’t likely determine COVID-19 origins, report says
Barring an unforeseen breakthrough, intelligence agencies won’t be able to conclude whether COVID-19 spread by animal-to-human transmission or leaked from a lab, officials said Friday in releasing a fuller version of their review into the origins of the pandemic.
The paper issued by the Director of National Intelligence elaborates on findings released in August of a 90-day review ordered by President Joe Biden. That review said that U.S. intelligence agencies were divided on the origins of the virus but that analysts do not believe the virus was developed as a bioweapon and that most agencies believe the virus was not genetically engineered.
China has resisted global pressure to cooperate fully with investigations into the pandemic or provide access to genetic sequences of coronaviruses kept at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which remains a subject of speculation for its research and reported safety problems. Biden launched the review amid growing momentum for the theory –initially broadly dismissed by experts – that the virus leaked from the Wuhan lab.
— Associated Press