APC group lauds FG’s COVID-19 response

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Legacy Awareness and Campaign Group, has lauded the Federal Government’s COVID-19 response, saying it has created inclusive growth.

Mr Tolu Ogunlesi, a spokesperson for the group, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Ogunlesi also lauded the federal government for its numerous economic initiatives, saying that such would continue to yield fruits and translate into inclusive growth, as well as socioeconomic prosperity for Nigerians.

“We wish to acknowledge the remarkably clear and firm response of the APC-led federal government on COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nobody anticipated that 2020 will usher in the most disruptive pandemic in the most recent history of humanity.

“However, once the pandemic started, the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration undertook a two-step approach,” he said.

“The steps include protecting the lives of all, preserving the livelihoods of workers and business owners to ensure that their families got through the difficult times in dignity and with hope and peace of mind,” he said.

Ogunlesi enumerated some of the major steps taken by the government in response to the pandemic to include the setting up of an Economic Sustainability Committee chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said the committee developed a comprehensive economic stimulus plan, known as the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).

“The ESP has been widely credited with fast-tracking Nigeria’s exit from the COVID-induced recession, and as a contributor to the robust 5.1 per cent economic growth recorded in February 2021.

“The ESP has included a range of interventions from payroll support, to federal investments in renewable energy for households, to grants for artisans and transport workers, as well as the aviation sector bailout packages.

“Also, recently, the president set up a committee to comprehensively reform the health sector, to build on the efforts already introduced by the administration, including the operationalisation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF),”he said.

Enugu State opens COVID-19 vaccination centres in major markets, malls

 Enugu State Government says it has opened additional COVID-19 vaccination centres in major markets, shopping malls and public places.

These are additional to the more than 100 conventional vaccination centres previously opened in the state.

Dr George Ugwu, Executive Secretary, Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA) told our correspondent in Enugu on Saturday that the move was to make COVID-19 vaccination centres more accessible for residents.

Ugwu said that having more vaccination centres would help the state to achieve its target of getting every eligible resident vaccinated against the pandemic.

According to him, centres have been opened in major markets like Ogbette Market and Kenyatta Market in Enugu; at Shoprite and SPAR malls as well as other designated public places notwithstanding the 100 vaccination centres already available.

“Another thing we will do differently this time, which came as a result of challenges in the first phase, is that of increased advocacy and public sensitisation.

“We have planned to officially communicate and use various grassroots leaders, traditional, religious and opinion leaders, to press home the message of the need for the vaccination, its safety and efficacy.

“We are desirous to go to the hinterland and check all falsehoods and unfounded information militating against the people to freely get vaccinated, especially in the rural areas.

“Our teams will be visiting worship centres, community meetings and other public gatherings to sensitise our people on the need to receive their COVID-19 vaccination for the protection of all,’’ he said.

The executive secretary noted that the agency had created special mobile vaccination teams that would cover groups that needed to be vaccinated.

“We are ready to make the sacrifice and send our special mobile vaccination teams to groups such as military and Para-military organisations among others to ensure reach and accessibility for them,’’ he said.

Ugwu lauded the state government for being supportive in all programmes on COVID-19 vaccination, especially in the installation and maintenance of cold chain equipment, accessories and logistics to ensure 24-hourly power supply.

The executive secretary also called on all eligible citizens and residents of Enugu State (18 years and above) to get vaccinated.

“COVID-19 vaccines are safe, secure and meant to protect everyone,’’ he stressed.

Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi flagged off COVID-19 second batch vaccination at the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Enugu, on Aug. 26

The state has received 5,012 doses of Modena vaccine and additional 13,416 doses of Astra Zeneca vaccines. It is expecting an additional 60,000 doses of Modena vaccine.

A total of 1,200 health workers have been specially trained to vaccinate people in the second phase of the exercise.

NAN recalls that Enugu State already exhausted the 65,410 doses Astra Zeneca vaccines supplied by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency in March, 2021.

COVID-19: Nigeria’s infection rate hits 199,333 –NCDC

 The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says the country now has 199, 333 COVID-19 infections as at Friday Aug. 27 across all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

The Centre, who made the announcement on its verified website on Saturday morning, noted that the country logged in 618 additional COVID-19 infections on Friday, adding to the recent surge in infections driven by the spread of the Delta variant in the country.

Our correspondent reports that the 618 fresh cases reported on Friday was a drop from the 835 cases reported the previous day and that the fresh cases were reported from 15 states of the federation.

The Centre also reported 10 additional COVID-19 related deaths as at Aug. 27, 2021, which increased the nation’s fatalities to 2,308

The Public Health agency noted that the number of the country’s active coronavirus infections had again risen to 18,210, an increase from  17, 210 reported on Wednesday .

The NCDC  did not indicate if majority of the known active cases were from the contagious Delta variant, or other variants of concerns to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The  Centre stated that the fresh 618 cases were reported from across 15 states of the federation.

“Lagos state reported 312, a rise from the 217 cases of the previous day Thursday, Akwa Ibom recorded 89 fresh cases, a rise from the 11 cases it reported the previous day, while Edo posted 71 cases, a rise from the 45 cases of the previous day.

“Others were; 47 in Rivers, 20 each in Ekiti and  Plateau, 15 in Delta, 13 in Kwara, 11 in the FCT, 8 in Osun, 4 in Oyo, 3 each In Ogun and Benue, 1 each in Gombe and Kaduna, respectively”, it stated.

The NCDC added that over 2.7 million samples of the virus out of the nation’s roughly 200 million population were tested, while 169,815 cases were successfully treated with 189 additional people discharged on Friday.

Meanwhile, the multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at level 2, had continued to coordinate the national response activities, the NCDC said.

COVID-19 may have existed in U.S. before being officially reported

According to official data released by the U.S., the first case of COVID-19 infection in the country was reported on January 21, 2020, and the first death on February 29, 2020.
However, studies found some public health incidents occurring in the country since the second half of 2019 highly suspicious. They believe that the novel coronavirus might have existed in the U.S. before the first COVID-19 infection was reported.
As stated by a May article published on Clinical Infectious Diseases, one of the most heavily cited journals in the fields of infectious diseases and microbiology, researchers from David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, detected severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in 7 specimens from 6 patients, dating back to mid-January.
The researchers used a pooling strategy to look for SARS-CoV-2 in remnant respiratory samples submitted for regular respiratory pathogen testing from symptomatic patients from November 2019 to early March 2020. The earliest positive patient had no relevant travel history but did have a family member with similar symptoms.
The research presented strong evidence of community spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the Los Angeles area well before widespread diagnostic testing was performed in early 2020.
Nature Communications on June 8 published an article by a research team from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The researchers utilized a sample pooling strategy to screen for previously undetected SARS-CoV-2 in de-identified respiratory pathogen-negative nasopharyngeal specimens from 3,040 patients across the Mount Sinai Health System in New York.
The patients had been previously evaluated for respiratory symptoms or influenza-like illness during the first 10 weeks of 2020. The researchers identified SARS-CoV2 RNA from specimens collected as early as 25 January 2020, and completed SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences from multiple pools of samples collected between late February and early March. The results provided evidence of sporadic SARS-CoV-2 infections a full month before both the first officially documented case and emergence of New York as a COVID-19 epicenter in March 2020.
According to a report published on the website of the National Institute of Health (NIH) of the U.S. on June 15, a new antibody test research jointly conducted by the NIH, University of California and Harvard Medical School checked specimens collected by the All of U.S. Research Program of the NIH, and found that COVID-19 infections took place in five U.S. states as early as December 2019.
With limited SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity in the U.S. at the start of the epidemic (January–March 2020), testing was focused on symptomatic patients with a travel history throughout February, obscuring the picture of SARS-CoV-2 seeding and community transmission, the report said.
Of the 24,079 study participants with blood specimens from January 2 to March 18, 2020, 9 were seropositive, and 7 before the first confirmed case in the states of Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi. The finding identified SARS-CoV-2 infections weeks before the first recognized cases in the 5 U.S. states. The earliest positive sample was collected on January 7, 2020 in Illinois. The median time from SARS-CoV-2 infection to IgG antibody presence is 14 days, so the finding suggested that the virus may have been present in Illinois as early as 24 December 2019.
The above finding was an expansion of a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Clinical Infectious Diseases on November 30 last year. The study examined blood donation specimens collected among residents of 9 states between 13 December and 17 January 2019 and found in them antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. It proved that COVID-19 was in the U.S. before December 13, 2019. It said data suggested the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into the US may have occurred earlier than initially recognized, and that might explain why there were so many COVID-19 cases in the country.

By Qu Song, People’s Daily

COVID-19 exposes grim reality of ‘putting money above everything else’ in U.S.

When faced with major public health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic, governments must try their best to treat patients, save lives and cut all channels for the transmission of the virus. However, in the U.S., which often boasts of being a “beacon of democracy” and “shining example of human rights”, response to the pandemic has always been dominated by capital, and capital, rather than the well-being of the people, is always the top priority of politicians.

The profit-seeking nature of capitalism determines that in the U.S., capital, not lives, is put above everything else, which is both the truth of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and an important reason why the country has failed to control the pandemic.

In the eyes of U.S. politicians, people’s right to be informed and rights to life and health are insignificant compared to capital.

At the beginning of the pandemic, then U.S. leaders deliberately ignored early warnings of the virus and downplayed the risks of the pandemic in a bid to prevent a stock market crash, thus wasting crucial weeks for pandemic prevention and control.

According to The New York Times, White House coronavirus task force and the National Security Council of the U.S. jointly prepared a memorandum on coping with the COVID-19 pandemic on Feb. 14, 2020, suggesting explicitly that a series of strict measures be adopted to control the pandemic. However, U.S. policymakers immediately rejected the memorandum after hearing the judgment that relevant measures would lead to the collapse of the U.S. stock market.

U.S. media reports have also revealed that while telling the American public that there wasn’t much to worry about, many members of the U.S. Congress dumped their stock holdings after being briefed about the emerging threat of the coronavirus and the massive impact it would have upon the economy.

“He ran for the exits when the theater was on fire, while selling tickets to women and children,” a U.S. Internet user commented on a post of the social media account of a U.S. senator who sold stocks amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Caring only about capital and their own interests, such U.S. politicians have led the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the wrong direction from the beginning.

U.S. politicians seem to believe that safeguarding their private finances should always be placed before public health security.

After the pandemic turned into a full-blown crisis in the U.S., the federal government and many state governments hastily reopened the economy before the COVID-19 situation was truly under control, leading to the rebound of the pandemic.

Over the past more than one year, the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. has been trapped in the cycle of “deterioration-alleviation-deterioration”, with peaks frequently appearing on the curve of the COVID-19 infections, which is closely related to the U.S. government’s swinging between pursuing short-term economic interests and safeguarding public health security.

It’s worth noting that the severe COVID-19 situation in the U.S. has been accompanied by an abnormal boom in the country’s stock market, which has benefited the wealthy the most.

Data show that the U.S. stock market has soared after a seismic decline on March 23, 2020. As of January 2021, the combined wealth of more than 600 billionaires in the U.S. had rocketed from about $2.9 trillion to around $4.1 trillion, representing an increase of 38.6 percent compared to their collective net worth in mid-March of 2020.

As the gap between the rich and poor has been further widened by the COVID-19 pandemic, American economist Paul Krugman pointed out bluntly, “America’s response to the coronavirus has been a lose-lose proposition.” The country is “failing dismally on both the epidemiological and the economic fronts,” he wrote in an article published on the website of The New York Times.

It’s shocking that U.S. politicians even used the social Darwinian “law of survival of the fittest” to excuse themselves for their indifference to what people have suffered in the public health crisis.

When asked if it’s right for professional athletes and other well-connected people to get tested for the coronavirus while others can’t, then U.S. President Donald Trump said, “Perhaps that’s been the story of life.”

The answer is very “America”, as in this country, emergency beds are left empty rather than used for treating the poor, officials would rather die than see public health measures damage the U.S. economy, and pandemic control efforts were like a “state-sanctioned killing,” where “the old, factory workers, and black and Hispanic Americans” were deliberately sacrificed.

According to reports, hospital cost for an uninsured COVID-19 patient could reach tens of thousands of dollars in the U.S.

One in seven American adults said that they would avoid seeking medical care if they experienced key symptoms of COVID-19 because they’re afraid of the financial cost of treating the disease, revealed a research jointly conducted by American analytics and advisory company Gallup and non-profit organization West Health.

Acts of “putting capital above everything else” have seriously twisted U.S. response to the pandemic, during which people’s health and lives are merely figures that can sometimes even be neglectable in the ruthless calculation of U.S. politicians.

“Nations, like individuals, reveal themselves at times of crisis,” wrote BBC’s New York correspondent Nick Bryant.

Acting in the interest of capital rather than people in political decision-making is in fact not an accidental phenomenon that just happened during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Policy choices, made over decades, have re¬lent¬lessly favoured the interests of the private sector in general, and large corporations in particular, over both the state and labour, in ways that are proving costly to our health and our economy,” pointed out American business columnist Rana Foroohar.

Through the prism of the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world have seen clearly that the political system of the U.S. was only established to guard capital. The concepts such as democracy, human rights and equality, which have always been flaunted by the U.S. government, have already been distorted by money and become mirages long ago.

By Zhong Sheng, People’s Daily

Failure to control COVID-19 unavoidable for “Divided States of America”

The COVID-19 pandemic is just deteriorating in the U.S. again, leading to a sharp rise in infection numbers in the country. Even so, the Republicans and Democrats are still debating over whether mask mandates are necessary, and recriminations between the federal and local governments on pandemic control even became a hotspot issue for the public.
Such chaos mirrors the institutional ineffectiveness of the United States. Given fierce party rivalry, extreme political polarization and huge social divide, the institutional design which the U.S. has long been proud of has turned into “vetocracy.” As the United States of America gradually becomes the “Divided States of America,” a failure in pandemic control is just inevitable.
The rampant pandemic has forced Washington to declare major disaster in all 50 states, a severe situation that requires the U.S. to pool all public health resources and mobilize all social sectors. However, the two political parties and authorities at different levels are not working together to fight the virus, making no effort to advance nucleic acid tests, implement mask mandate, advocate social distancing, execute home quarantine order, promote vaccination drive, enhance distribution of medical strategic reserves, or implement emergency relief plan. On the contrary, they are seeking private profits with the so-called checks and balances, placing political interests over the fight against the pandemic. As a result, over 620,000 citizens have died because of the pandemic so far. This is exactly an “American failure,” just as what U.S. media called it. Accountability is essential to the U.S. government system, said Times magazine in an article.
U.S. politicians have always taken pride in the separation of powers, as they believe it is a model mechanism for checks and balances and self-correction. However, the anti-science and unwise practices of Washington with regard to domestic affairs, diplomacy and international anti-pandemic cooperation have fully proved that the mechanism was not correcting mistakes, but serving as a stage of power struggle amid the increasingly fiercer partisan fight.
Last year, the Democrats and Republicans, out of their long-built “political instincts,” both associated pandemic control measures with the presidential election that was about to happen. What came first to their minds was not how to control the virus or how to save more lives, but how they could win the election and shift responsibilities.
Since the pandemic was identified in the U.S., the two parties have always been arguing over various topics and thus missed the window period. Even the judicial system, which is claimed to be “independent” in the separation of powers mechanism, is involved in partisan fight. The system failed to set a good example for handling public health crises, said an American scholar.
It’s nothing strange for U.S. federal, state and local governments, controlled by different parties, to rake up each other’s faults and shift responsibilities. Under the previous administration, conflicts broke out frequently between the federal government controlled by the Republicans and the blue states. They not only competed for anti-pandemic supplies, but also implemented pandemic control measures that were poles apart.
It fully revealed the nature of American politicians – maximizing their private political gains under the fixed mechanism. Under the incumbent administration, the federal government controlled by the Democrats is still having a beef with the red states.
Fierce political wrangling is continuing in each U.S. state, too. In July last year, the Georgia governor, who is a Republican, dropped a lawsuit against the Democrat mayor of the state’s largest city Atlanta, trying to stop the mask mandates enacted by the later. In Texas today, mask orders implemented by Dallas are also facing legal challenge from the state government. “The American system is very decentralized,” said Fareed Zakaria, a U.S. journalist, who believes it is a reason for the country to have failed in pandemic control.
Pandemic control calls for joint efforts. The “Divided States of America” would definitely see more chaos in its fight against the virus. There’s one thing that is certain about pandemic control in the U.S. – U.S. politicians care more about political interests than people’s lives and health. It is an irony to the so-called “democracy” and “human rights” they have always advocated.
American political scholar Francis Fukuyama said the pandemic has exacerbated political polarization in the U.S., and the polarization might worsen as time goes by. At present, U.S. politicians are still turning a blind eye to the divide in the country. The blame game would only make U.S. politics more polarized, and society more separated. Because of it, the U.S. citizens have to pay a larger price, and the world has to face bigger threats from the pandemic.

By Zhong Sheng, People’s Daily

FG challenges citizens on 3rd wave of COVID-19

The Federal Government says the ravaging third wave Delta variant of COVID-19 can be defeated if all citizens play their part in the fight against the pandemic.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the weekly ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team, led by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity.

According to him, if everybody plays his/her role, such efforts put in by individuals and organizations will complement the national response by government.

He said: “If we work together, not only government, it also has to do with citizens, agencies and not the least, the media, we do have a good chance of scaling through this COVID-19 third wave threat.

“I want to thank all Nigerians for the support and participation so far, which has made this battle controllable.

“The successful implementation of the non-pharmaceutical interventions and public health measures since we started this vaccination and since this epidemic came in remains very important.

“Therefore, everyone has a role to play; government, citizens, media, partners, nongovernmental organizations, community based organizations, civil society organizations, traditional rulers, political leaders and community leaders all have a role to play in this collective effort.”

While giving the current status of the disease in the country, he said as at Aug. 11, the number of confirmed cases stood at over 179, 000.

“As at the Aug. 11, 2021, the government of Nigeria has confirmed the following statistics which by now may have changed a little bit; that the total number of confirmed cases is 179, 118, active cases are 10,783.

“The number of number of discharged cases, 166,144 and sadly the number of fatalities is 2194.

“So we have declared that Nigeria is officially in the 3rd wave of COVID-19 pandemic and as you know, it has already spread in many parts of the world mostly in India where it was first recognized spreading to other parts of the world and also Africa, including West Africa,” he said.

According to the minister, cases of the virus have started to rise since several weeks, saying there have been increased in fatalities recorded in the past four weeks.

“Currently, the states that have the highest contribution to the national case load of COVID-19 are Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“These are the ones we have called the red alert states because they require extra attention to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in those places.”

Ehanire said Nigeria was concerned about the Delta variant because “it is more transmissible and dangerous’’.

He added: “The country is particularly concerned about the Delta variant because it is much more transmissible and it has been estimated to be 60 per cent more transmissible, which means that where one virus of the previous variants would infect 100 people, this particular variant will infect 160 people and that is a lot.

“Secondly, this variant is also of concern because it affects even younger people. Before now we did say that younger people might likely get away or escape from the infection,

“We expect the vaccination from 18 years upward but this Delta variant attacks people and we did say that those who suffer most from the other variants are people who have underlying illnesses but this variant seems to care less.

“It does not discriminate too much whether you have underlying illnesses or not,” he said.

Ehanire noted that vigilance at the country’s borders had been fortified to check the importation of the disease to the country.

On the ongoing strike by National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, the minister debunked the assertion that the Federal Government was threatening members of the association.

He, however, appealed to the doctors to call-off the strike in the interest of humanity to help address the challenges posed by COVID-19.

He said: “Now with the question of the strike, we have said openly that this is not a good time for doctors to go on strike. We’re having a strike for the third time this year, which is not good.

“We have appealed to them; we have been having long meetings with young doctors to tell them that we have a certain responsibility to our country.

“Every country who has a difficult situation at this time should understand that responsibility is on all of us.

“If you have any problem, any grudges, let’s talk about it. If we can’t solve it now, let’s continue talking about it until we find a solution but don’t drop work.

“I think Nigeria is probably the only country in the world today where doctors are dropping work in the middle of a threat to the whole country.’’

U.S. can’t cure its underlying diseases by shifting blame

The COVID-19 situation in the U.S. is entering a new stage of upsurge, with core indicators, including daily numbers of new confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths rebounding sharply, and the daily average tally of new confirmed cases during the past week exceeding 100,000.

Shockingly, the country’s politicians are still busy stigmatizing acts of other countries regarding the pandemic, attaching geographical labels to the virus, and politicizing COVID-19 origin tracing, repeatedly playing the old trick of buck-passing.

Such despicable deeds not only show U.S. politicians’ indifference to the lives the U.S. has tragically lost in the pandemic, but constitute blasphemy against facts, science, and justice.

On August 9, three Chinese think tanks jointly released a research report titled “‘America Ranked First’?! The Truth about America’s fight against COVID-19” to reveal the underlying causes of the failure of the U.S. in its pandemic control.

The curve of the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. has never flattened, but continued to rise. As of 6 p.m. EST on August 8, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. had reached 35,757,980, and death toll 616,816, suggested statistics from Johns Hopkins University.

According to the latest research result of University of Washington, as many as 60 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. went undetected as of March 7, 2021 due to major flaws in data sources, including biases in data capture and delayed reporting.

How could the U.S., which boasts the world’s most advanced medical technologies, most abundant medical resources, and the strongest medical care capacity, become the worst-hit country in the pandemic?

The reason for the surprising contrast is the serious “underlying diseases” of the U.S. society, where political polarization is intensifying, partisan disputes are heating up, federal system is plagued by excuse-making partisanship, and deep-seated institutional flaws are prominent.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic is identified, the two major political parties in the U.S. have been unable to bridge their political differences, which have seriously encumbered the country’s fight against the pandemic.

Amid endless partisan struggles, the U.S. wasted crucial weeks’ time for pandemic prevention and control, and was held back from the implementation of various epidemic prevention and control measures, including nucleic acid testing, masks wearing, social distancing, home quarantine, vaccinations, the distribution of strategic medical reserves, and emergency relief bills.

As the country is rife with disagreements between the two major parties at the federal, state, and local levels, and between executive, legislative and judicial branches, anti-epidemic policy became a bargaining chip in the political game between the two parties, and pandemic prevention and control has been mired in “politicized internal frictions”.

The federal government hadn’t formulated a unified national strategy to protect people’s health even six months after the first case identified in America, according to James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

“Chronic ills—a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years,” pointed out an article titled “We Are Living in a Failed State,” which was published in American magazine The Atlantic.

Apart from its failure to cope with the pandemic, the U.S. has also seriously disturbed and disrupted global anti-epidemic cooperation.

While other countries have been making joint efforts to fight against the pandemic, the U.S. has wantonly pursued unilateralism, “vaccine nationalism” and practiced “origin tracing terrorism”, becoming the widely criticized “country where the virus spread”, the “suspected source of the outbreak”, and the “country where the global response to the virus has been devastated”, said the recent research report of Chinese think tanks.

From November 2020 to January 2021, the average daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. exceeded 186,000. During the same period, the average daily number of U.S. citizens traveling abroad reached 87,000. The outbound travel rush during the peak period of the pandemic resulted in imported COVID-19 cases from the U.S. in many countries.

In addition, the U.S. has ignored the opposition of the international community and disregarded international morality by massively deporting illegal immigrants, causing the pandemic to intensify in some developing countries.

Moreover, the self-anointed “beacon of human rights” has disappointed the international community by hoarding COVID-19 vaccines, restricting export of raw materials for the production of vaccines, and artificially aggravating the immunity gap between countries.

As pointed out by the recent research report, many scientific issues, such as the anti-pandemic model, the origin tracing of the pandemic, and the effectiveness of the vaccine, have been politicized by the U.S. Besides, the country has also constantly fabricated and spread rumors regarding the pandemic to wantonly smear and attack other countries.

From maliciously calling the novel coronavirus the “China virus” to openly clamoring for so-called “accountability and compensation” from China, and from repeatedly hyping up the “lab leak theory” to the infamous act of involving intelligence agencies in the COVID-19 origin tracing, U.S. politicians have always fixed their eyes on their selfish interests and never pulled their minds out of the vicious circle of politicization.

Famous American scholar Graham Allison pointed out that the political elite in Washington will remain focused on China throughout the pandemic, thus avoiding shouldering their own responsibility for the failure to control the virus.

The U.S. has turned the dangerous virus into an international means of blackmail, said a critique published on the website of Russian television channel Tsargrad TV.

The U.S. shouldn’t have been the country that failed to contain the COVID-19. However, its serious “underlying diseases” have made it unable to focus on fighting the pandemic, which is the root cause of its failure to control the pandemic.

Placing politics above science, selfish interests above people’s lives and health, and American hegemony above global anti-epidemic cooperation will neither help the U.S. fight against the pandemic nor cure its “underlying diseases.”

As new COVID-19 infections surge in the U.S., it is about time the country realized its mistakes, returned to the right path, and made the right choice.

By Zhong Sheng, People’s Daily

COVID-19: Ogun increases testing, records 85 new cases

Ogun Government says it has recorded 85 new cases of the COVID-19 virus, following increased testing and surveillance across the state.This was contained in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, in Abeokuta on Tuesday.She stated that 55 of the cases were reported in Ado-Odo/ Ota Local Government Area; while Abeokuta South recorded 14; Ikenne, seven; Sagamu, five; Ijebu-Ode, three and Yewa South, one.According to the commissioner, the government is doing its best to curtail the third wave of the pandemic, calling for the support of all and sundry in containing the virus.Coker, however, urged members of the public not to panic by the significant rise in the cases.She stated that the decision to increase testing in all the local government areas of the state would enable the carriers of the virus to know their status and ensure they receive timely treatment.The commissioner called on residents to present themselves for vaccination as soon as the second phase begins, adding that “no one is safe until all is vaccinated.“The significant rise in cases is due to the increased testing and surveillance being carried out across the state. The public should, therefore, not panic.“We urge residents to adhere strictly to non-pharmacological interventions by ensuring the wearing of face masks properly, regular hand washing, maintaining physical distancing, avoiding large gathering, as well as coughing into the elbow,” she said.

COVID-19: FG sets Aug 16 for phase 2 vaccination, gives reason

The Federal Government has announced a new date of Aug. 16 to begin  administering the second batch of COVID-19 Moderna vaccines doses donated by the U.S.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the announcement on Monday when he featured on “Good Morning Nigeria’’ a live programme of the Nigerian Television Authority.

Speaking on the programme monitored by our correspondents in Abuja, the minister said the postponement of the vaccination exercise from Aug. 10 to Aug. 16 was “purely administrative’’.

“We have received 4,80,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and we will commence administering the doses on Monday Aug. 16.

“The exercise was supposed to commence tomorrow Aug. 10, but we suspended it till Monday, and the reason is purely administrative.

“You see, when vaccines arrive the country, they are taken to National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)

“The agency which will analyse them and thereafter give us a green light for the use,’’ he said.

The minister debunked reports in certain publications that the exercise was postponed indefinitely over concerned raised by some experts on the   propriety of using Moderna vaccines.

He said, like the first batch of the Astrazeneca Vaccine which had been fully administered without hitch, the doses of Moderna vaccine donated to the country by the US were “safe and meant to save lives’’

“I want to thank Nigerians for the way they responded to the first batch of Astrazeneca Vaccine.

“I can say authoritatively that we succeeded administering the four million doses of the vaccine and we do not have a single expired vaccine.

“They were all administered to the targeted population.

“I want to encourage Nigerians to come out also to take the Moderna vaccine.

The minister also disclosed that the second phase of the vaccination exercise would target people from 18 years and above.

He explained that the 18 years and above were targeted because the younger ones, even in the US, were now becoming more vulnerable to COVID-19infection and attack

Mohammed underscored the need for people to come out to take the vaccine stressing that “Nigeria has entered the third wave of COVID-19’’.

He explained that the Delta variant of COVID-19 pandemic which is more virulent and deadly had been recorded in some states since July.

“If you have our two doses, it is clear that even if you are infected with COVID-19, it will be very mild.

“You will not be hospitalised, talk less of death as opposed to the fellow that has not taken the vaccine.

“So, we must encourage people to go out and take the vaccine,’’ he said.

Mohammed said following the pandemic, a major challenge faced was “infodemic’’ caused by fake news around the vaccine.

“For instance, they first came up with the fake news that it has magnetic effect if you take the vaccine.

“After that, they said it was meant to depopulate certain part of the country.

“ All this is not true because every vaccine you use today has been proven to be safe and to safe life.

“ If the vaccines are not safe, they will not be administered,’’ he said.

Mohammed reiterated the call on religious and community leaders, media and other influential people to join the Presidential Committee on COVID-19 in fighting fake news and disinformation around the vaccines.

our correspondents reports that on Aug.2, Nigeria received four million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines donated by the United States government.

Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said the vaccines, which arrived are undergoing validation by the country’s drug regulator.

He said the doses will be distributed to the local states once they are certified fit for use.

The U.S. government last week shipped nearly 10 million doses to two of the most populous African countries – Nigeria and South Africa