Coronavirus latest: US to buy another 100m doses of J&J vaccine

The resurrection of FlyBe has been dealt a blow after the collapsed UK airline’s operating licence was revoked. FlyBe was one of the first corporate casualties of the pandemic when it collapsed in March last year.

The US budget deficit has exceeded $1tn this fiscal year even before President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn stimulus package, which secured final approval in Congress on Wednesday, takes effect. The budget deficit swelled to $311bn in February, increasing by almost a third from a year ago, the Treasury Department said

The US should reach herd immunity from Covid-19 by the early autumn, one of the country’s top medical scientists has said. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that a combination of prior infection and vaccinations should make enough people immune to the disease by later this year.

Ireland’s prime minister quashed hopes of any big easing of the country’s tight coronavirus lockdown until at least mid-May, warning that if the country lets its “guard down too quickly” new variants of the virus will begin spreading again. 

New coronavirus strains represent more than half of all current cases in New York City, mayor Bill de Blasio revealed. One strain, known as B.1.256, made up 39 per cent of virus samples from the five boroughs over the past week, Dr Jay Varma, senior advisor for public health, said. That is up from 31 per cent of samples a week earlier.

Antibiotics were given to more than half of US patients admitted to hospitals with Covid-19 in the first half of last year, according to a new study that raises concerns over the spread of drug resistance linked to over-prescription. Research showed that 52 per cent of hospital admissions linked to coronavirus during February to July 2020 resulted in at least one antibiotic prescription.

Portugal has followed other EU countries in authorising the AstraZeneca vaccine for over 65s. The Directorate-General of Health said in a statement that the vaccine could be used “without reservations”, saying its “safety, quality and effectiveness” had now been established for all over 18s.

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