India Hits World’s Highest Day-To-Day Rise In Covid Cases

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India recorded nearly 315,000 new covid cases today. Elsewhere around the world, Pfizer confirmed fake versions of its vaccine were illegally on sale in Mexico and Poland, the EU prepares a lawsuit against AstraZeneca and covid kills young people in Brazil.

India Records World’s Biggest Single-Day Rise In Coronavirus Cases 

India recorded the world’s highest daily tally of 314,835 COVID-19 infections on Thursday as a second wave of the pandemic raised new fears about the ability of crumbling health services to cope. Health officials across northern and western India including the capital, New Delhi, said they were in crisis, with most hospitals full and running out of oxygen. (Miglani, Arora and Pal, 4/22)

EXPLAINER: Why India Is Shattering Global Infection Records

Authorities were lulled into believing the worst was behind them when cases started to recede in September. Cases dipped for 30 consecutive weeks before starting to rise in mid-February, and experts say the country failed to seize the opportunity to augment healthcare infrastructure and aggressively vaccinate. “We were so close to success,” said Bhramar Mukherjee, a biostatistician at the University of Michigan who has been tracking India’s pandemic. Despite warnings and advice that precautions were needed, authorities were unprepared for the magnitude of the surge, said K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India. (Ghosal and Pathi, 4/22)

In other global news about covid —

Fox News:
Pfizer Confirms Fake COVID Vaccines Found In Mexico, Poland Black Markets

Bogus COVID-19 vaccines – some selling for $1,000 a shot and some using an anti-wrinkle substance as an ingredient – were found in black markets around the world, Pfizer confirmed to The Wall Street Journal. “Pfizer has identified counterfeit versions of its COVID-19 vaccine in Mexico and Poland,” the company said in a statement. “We are cognizant that in this type of environment – fueled by the ease and convenience of e-commerce and anonymity afforded by the internet – there will be an increase in the prevalence of fraud, counterfeit and other illicit activity as it relates to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.” (Miles, 4/21)

Syria Gets 200,000 Doses Of AstraZeneca Vaccine Under COVAX Scheme – U.N. Officials 

Syria’s government has received its first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines through the global COVAX initiative, with almost 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) shot, U.N officials said on Thursday. A joint statement by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the GAVI vaccine alliance said the delivery was “critical and timely” and would help health workers “to continue delivering life-saving services in an already exhausted health system as a result of the decade-long war.” (Al-khalidi, 4/22)

EU Preparing Legal Case Against AstraZeneca Over Vaccine Shortfalls 

The European Commission is getting ready to launch legal proceedings against vaccine producer AstraZeneca, according to five EU diplomats. The Commission raised the matter at a meeting of ambassadors Wednesday, during which the majority of EU countries said they would support suing the company over complaints it massively failed to deliver pledged doses to the bloc. (Deutsch and Barigazzi, 4/21)

UK Coronavirus Contracts Raise Corruption Alarm, Report Warns 

The U.K. government is facing tough questions over its approach to procurement during the pandemic after an investigation found over 20 percent of the £18 billion spent in response to the crisis was linked to at least one red flag indicating corruption. Between February and November last year, 73 COVID-19 contracts, amounting to more than £3.7 billion in public spending, triggered at least one of six standard measures warranting closer scrutiny for corruption, according to a Transparency International report released Thursday. (Collis, 4/22)

Chile Vets Fined For Giving Dog Vaccines Against COVID-19

Health authorities in northern Chile have fined two veterinarians they say were giving or promoting canine vaccines as false protection against COVID-19.Roxana Díaz, deputy health secretary for Antofagasta province, said her agency’s workers had gone to the veterinary practice of Maria Fernanda Muñoz in the city of Calama over a report that people there weren’t using masks and were told it was because they were vaccinated. (4/21)

Where Covid Kills The Young: Brazil Shows What May Await Others

Like in most countries, the pandemic in Brazil hit the elderly and immuno-compromised first and hardest. But in the past couple of months, the nation that has stood out as nearly a worst-case-scenario for caseloads, deaths and public policy, has shown where the global plague may be headed: for the young. In March, 3,405 Brazilians aged 30 to 39 died from Covid, almost four times the number in January. Among those in their 40s, there were about 7,170 fatalities, up from 1,840, and for those 20-29, deaths jumped to 880 from 245. Those under 59 now account for more than a third of Covid deaths in Brazil, according to research firm Lagom Data. As the elderly get vaccinated, their deaths have fallen by half. (Rosati, Viotti Beck and Preissler Iglesias, 4/22)

In updates on the Tokyo Olympics —

Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay Has First Positive COVID-19 Case

Tokyo Olympics organizers said Thursday that a policeman tested positive for COVID-19 a day after his assignment last week at the Olympic torch relay. It is the first positive test connected to the relay since it began March 25 from northeastern Fukushima prefecture. (4/22)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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