COVID-19 update

This item appears on page 5 of the March 2021 issue.

At press time, active COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in 192 countries and territories, with more than 101 million cases and, resulting from those, more than 2.2 million deaths. The country with the most confirmed cases was the US, with 25.8 million. It was followed by India (10.7 million), Brazil (9.0 million) and Russia (3.8 million). At least 19 countries had recorded more than 1 million cases at press time.

Multiple vaccines were made available around the world starting in December. In most countries, medical workers and those over 75 were given vaccination priority. At press time, Israel was the country that had inoculated the highest proportion of its population, with 55.7% of Israelis having gotten at least one dose of a vaccine.

After the introductions of the vaccines, several new strains of the virus were identified, some of which were theorized to be more contagious than the original virus that surfaced in Wuhan in 2019. Of the new strains, virologists were most concerned about one first found in South Africa, whose mutations may be resistant to some of the vaccines.