Trinidad and Tobago recorded 17 deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic joining Suriname, Jamaica and Guyana in registering deaths and increased positive cases of the virus over the past 24 hours.

The Ministry of Health in its latest bulleting said that there were also 454 new positive cases, pushing the total to 27, 533 since March last year.

The authorities said that there are 9,869 active cases and that the new figures were for the period June 3-8.

According to the ministry, the deaths were 11 males including one young male adult and six females. It said that all but one had co-morbidities. It said the death toll now stands at 599 with 450 patients in hospitals across the island, 117 in state-sanctioned facilities and 8,394 in home isolation.

In Suriname, the authorities said that another eight people died from the virus over the past 24 hours pushing the death toll since March last year to 363. So far this month, 61 people have succumbed to the virus that is also linked to 255 new infections.

The authorities said that the percentage of positives is 47.05 and that overall Suriname has 17,041 infections, with 12,888 having recovered. There are 251 people in the hospitals, 33 patients in the intensive care units, while 1,827 people who have tested positive are in isolation.

In Guyana, the country’s COVID-19 death toll has climbed to 417 after one more person died,

The Ministry of Public Health said that the latest fatality is a 79-year-old man from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and that the country also recorded 134 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the total positives recorded to date to 17,939.

There are 20 persons in the ICU, 99 in institutional isolation, 1,566 in home isolation, and four in institutional quarantine. A total of 15,837 persons have recovered.

Jamaica recorded 59 new COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s pandemic totals to 49,090 cases and 988 deaths.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness said the new cases comprise 30 females and 29 males within the age range of two months to 97 years.

It said that those who died from the virus were between the ages 43 to 95 years old including nine women.

Currently, the country has 20,900 active cases after 187 recoveries from the virus, resulting in a total recovery of 26,828. However, 145 people are still hospitalised, with seven in critical condition and 28 are moderately ill.

=====================================================

US will donate 500 million Pfizer doses to other countries: reports

The Biden administration plans to buy 500 million additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to donate to other countries, according to multiple reports.

Biden is expected to announce the plans during the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in the United Kingdom this week, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. The president told reporters earlier in the day that he would announce a global vaccine strategy during the trip.

According to The New York Times, the 500 million doses would be sent to about 100 countries over the next year, with 200 million doses sent this year and the remaining 300 million being distributed by mid-2022.

Biden has been under pressure to do more for global vaccine access: His planned commitment of 500 million doses could increase pressure on other G-7 members to make their own commitments to bring the world closer to that goal.

The White House last week said it would send 80 million doses to countries in need by the end of June, and 25 million of them — including doses from Pfizer—as soon as possible.

=============================================

GOP’s attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message

Former President Trump and his GOP allies have stepped up attacks on Anthony Fauci, seizing on portions of his emails and a renewed interest in the origins of the coronavirus pandemic to demonize the nation’s top infectious disease doctor.

The attacks, which are largely based on out-of-context comments and draw unsubstantiated conclusions, gloss over the Trump administration’s role in the nation’s early failures to respond to the pandemic.

Instead, conservative lawmakers and media personalities are lionizing the former president as someone betrayed by his advisers. Fauci is painted as a liar who misled both Trump and the American people, and is now facing calls for his resignation, prosecution, or both.

The effort to rehabilitate Trump at Fauci’s expense thrusts the nation’s COVID-19 response back into the center of the political arena. It also comes as most Americans are ready to move on from the coronavirus pandemic, with declining infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Vulnerable time: But the gains have come because of vaccinations, and health experts warn the GOP effort could sow distrust in the Biden administration at a vulnerable time. The nation’s vaccination effort has slowed to a crawl with a growing partisan divide in vaccination rates between red states and blue states. Public health experts say the nation needs widespread immunity to prevent a resurgence this fall, and trusted messengers are needed to convince many of the remaining people to get vaccinated.

Fauci addressed the rising GOP attacks on him; they are really ‘attacks on science’

Fauci weighed in on the escalating GOP attacks during an appearance on MSNBC with Chuck Todd.

“It’s very dangerous, Chuck, because a lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science, because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning, have been fundamentally based on science,” he said.

Republican attacks on Fauci have escalated in recent days following the release of many of his emails from early in the pandemic, with Republicans arguing Fauci was not forthcoming about the possibility of a lab leak as the origin of the virus, and that he changed his mind about the effectiveness of masks.

Fauci breaks down the change in mask guidance: For example, he pointed to criticism that “he should be fired because he in the beginning changed his mind about masks,” initially saying the general public did not need masks, before later saying they did.

Fauci said he was simply following the science that was known at the time, along with the surgeon general and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Initially, he said there was thought to be a shortage of masks, there was no evidence masks worked outside of a hospital setting with medical-grade masks and the extent of asymptomatic transmission was not known.

When the understanding on those three factors changed, the recommendation changed, Fauci said.

=========================================

Travel industry figures have dismissed the latest moves by the US and UK to reopen travel.

A new taskforce will be set up to make recommendations on easing restrictions as part of an “Atlantic Charter”, set to be agreed on Thursday.

A Number 10 statement said the prime minister and president would “work to relaunch UK-US travel as soon as possible”.

But the boss of Virgin Atlantic said the announcement “falls short”.

Chief executive Shai Weiss said: “The creation of the Atlantic Taskforce is positive recognition of the importance of the UK-US travel corridor and a first step towards reopening the skies.”

But he said the lack of a specific time frame for reopening travel meant airlines, businesses and passengers faced a lack of certainty.

Ahead of the start of the G7 summit in Cornwall, Mr Weiss urged Mr Biden and Mr Johnson to allow trans-Atlantic travel no later than 4 July.

line

What are the current rules on US-UK travel?

Nearly all passengers from the UK are currently banned from travelling to the US.

Under a presidential decree introduced last March, non-US citizens who have been in the UK in the last 14 days cannot enter the country unless a specific exemption applies.

Meanwhile, travellers from the US to the UK must self-isolate for 10 days on arrival as the country is on the “amber list”.

Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association, also called for a firm commitment on a date.

“We welcome the formation of the Atlantic Charter 2021 as a step in the right direction for transatlantic travel.

“However, this is the latest in a long line of travel taskforces which so far have only wreaked further devastation on our industry. Jobs won’t be saved, nor livelihoods protected, until we are given a certainty on dates for the resumption of international travel.”

A spokeswoman for the Association of British Travel Agents said that “steps to get travel restarted are very welcome”. But she also pointed out the lack of detail in the announcement.

She added: “Consideration should also be given to capitalising on the success of the UK vaccine rollout by relaxing rules for fully vaccinated individuals when travelling between low-risk areas, as the US, and many other countries, are already doing.”