US Death Toll Approaches Milestone of 500,000

The United States stood Sunday at the brink of losing 500,000 people to the CCP virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

After a year of the pandemic, the running total of lives lost was about 498,000. The figure compiled by Johns Hopkins University surpasses the number of people who died in 2019 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, flu, and pneumonia combined.

UK Shopper Numbers Rise for Fifth Straight Week Despite Lockdown

The number of people heading out to shops across Britain increased by 6.8 percent last week versus the previous week, a fifth straight week of uplift despite the national lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday.

It said shopper numbers, or footfall, in the week to Feb. 20 was up 10.5 percent in high streets, 4.5 percent in shopping centers, and 1.2 percent in retail parks.

California Death Toll Tops 9,000

California’s death toll during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic has topped 49,000, even as the rates of new infections and hospitalizations continue to plummet across the state.

California reported another 408 deaths Sunday, bringing the total since the outbreak began to 49,105—the highest in the nation.

CDC Was Unwilling to Partner With Industry for Rapid Sequencing: Former Trump Adviser

The deputy national security adviser during the Trump Administration, Matthew Pottinger, said Sunday that during the onset of the CCP virus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was “unwilling” to partner with industrial labs that could provide rapid COVID-19 sequencing.

He suggested that one of the reasons for the lack of collaboration is that over the years, the CDC has developed an “academic kind of mindset,” and prefers to run tests internally.

Hong Kong Leader Gets China’s Sinovac Vaccine in Bid to Bolster Confidence

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam received China’s Sinovac vaccine on Monday together with top officials at a live televised event in a bid to bolster public confidence ahead of the vaccine’s rollout in the global financial hub this week.

Sinovac is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be introduced in Hong Kong, ahead of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine set to arrive in the Chinese special administrative region before the end of February.

The vaccine was found to be 50.4 percent effective, according to the results of a late-stage trial in Brazil.

Stricter Public Health Measures Now in Effect at Canadian Borders, Airports

A mandatory three-day hotel quarantine for most travelers landing at Canadian airports comes into effect today, along with a suite of measures meant to prevent contagious COVID-19 variants from entering the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the tighter border controls are meant to keep everyone safe, not punish travelers. Anyone flying into the country will be required to foot the bill for their hotel stays. Travelers will also have to complete multiple COVID-19 tests in the days after they arrive in Canada.

Isabel van Brugen, The Canadian Press, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.

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