Germany Reports 850 COVID-19 Deaths in 24 Hours

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier says he will begin leaving a light in a window at his official residence, Bellevue Palace, to remember those killed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Steinmeier has called on Germans to do the same as a remembrance that “the dead in the corona pandemic are not just statistics for us.”  He added, “Even if we don’t know their names and families, we know that every figure stands for a loved one whom we miss infinitely.”With more than 850 deaths from the coronavirus in the previous 24-hour period, Germany said Friday its death toll has surpassed the 50,000 mark. Less than two weeks ago, according to an Associated Press report, Germany’s death toll was 40,000.  U.S. President Joe Biden spent his first full day in office Thursday signing executive orders addressing the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected more people in the United States than anyplace else in the world. The U.S. has 24.6 million of the world’s more than 97 million infections. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks via video link during the 148th session of the Executive Board on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 21, 2021.In a related story, the Reuters news agency says the COVAX initiative announced Thursday that it is aiming to deliver 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to poor countries in 2021, and hopes to fulfill supply deals for wealthier ones in the second half of the year.  The world is racing against time to produce and deliver billions of doses of new coronavirus vaccines to blunt the pandemic, which has killed over 2 million people out of a total of over 97 million confirmed COVID-19 infections, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.Vaccination efforts have run into numerous difficulties, however, including logistical hurdles,  bureaucratic failures and a basic shortage of vaccines, which has led to residents across the U.S. having had their vaccine appointments canceled. In Peru, a group of doctors launched a hunger strike this week to protest the government’s lack of preparation for a second wave of COVID-19 cases.Dr. Teodoro Quiñones, the secretary-general of Peru’s physician’s union, and at least a half-dozen doctors are staging a strike in a makeshift tent outside the headquarters of the health ministry in the capital, Lima.  He told The New York Times the state-run EsSalud network dismissed COVID-19 specialists after the first wave receded and failed to hire them back when more and more new cases began filling up hospital intensive care units.  The South American country has more than a million confirmed coronavirus infections, including over 39,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. 



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