Panel: China, WHO should have acted quicker to stop pandemic
“What is clear to the panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January,” it said. The U.N. health agency convened its emergency committee on Jan. 22, but did not characterize the emerging pandemic as an international emergency until a week later. “One more question is whether it would have helped if WHO used the word pandemic earlier than it did,” the panel said. WHO did not describe the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic until March 11, weeks after the virus had begun causing explosive outbreaks in numerous continents, meeting WHO’s own definition for a flu pandemic. The U.N. health agency bowed to the international pressure at the annual assembly of its member states last spring by creating the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.
The Latest: More than 4,000 people hospitalized in LA County
(AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool)LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County has again broken a record for coronavirus hospitalizations, fulfilling the county public health director’s dire predictions in just days. Figures released Sunday afternoon show that more than 4,000 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the nation’s most populous county. The LA County health director warned on Monday, when hospitalizations were near 3,000, that the county could see the statistic to climb to 4,000 within two weeks. That’s when FDA advisers will review the agency’s independent assessment of data supplied by Moderna about its coronavirus vaccine. ___SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The U.S. has reached a record 3,309 daily coronavirus deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
US: WHO not sharing enough info about China virus probe
GENEVA – A senior U.S. government official complained Tuesday that the World Health Organization has not shared enough information about its planned mission to China to investigate the animal origins of the coronavirus. “The (terms of reference) were not negotiated in a transparent way with all WHO member states,” he said via video conference, referring to the mission's criteria. In recent months, a long-planned WHO-led team seeking to investigate the coronavirus’ animal origins in China has stalled. Clark has shied away from criticizing WHO or member states like China for their COVID-19 efforts. ___Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
New Zealand to vote on legalizing marijuana and euthanasia
New Zealanders are poised to decide on two crucial social issues during an election on Saturday, Oct. 17, whether to legalize recreational marijuana and whether to legalize euthanasia. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)AUCKLAND – New Zealanders are poised to decide on two landmark social issues during an election Saturday: whether to legalize recreational marijuana and whether to legalize euthanasia. Polls indicate the euthanasia referendum is likely to pass while the result of the marijuana measure remains uncertain. The marijuana measure would allow people to buy up to 14 grams (0.5 ounce) a day and grow two plants. If the euthanasia referendum is approved, it would become law, whereas if the marijuana referendum is approved, it would still require lawmakers to pass matching legislation.
Asia Today: India adds another 83K, nears 2nd-most in world
The 83,341 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India's total past 3.9 million, according to the Health Ministry. Indias Health Ministry on Friday also reported 1,096 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 68,472. India added nearly 2 million coronavirus cases in August alone. New Zealand reported five new virus cases Friday, two among returning travelers already in quarantine and three connected to the Auckland outbreak. The number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea has stayed below 200 for the second consecutive day amid toughened social distancing rules.
Members named to panel probing WHO's pandemic response
The panel's co-chairs, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, announced the 11 other members during a media briefing. Clark said she and Johnson Sirleaf chose the panel members independently and that WHO did not attempt to influence their choices. We must honor the more than 25.6 million people known to have contracted the disease and the 850,000 and counting who have died from COVID-19, Johnson Sirleaf said. The panel scheduled its first meeting for Sept. 17 and plans to meet every six weeks between then and April. To uncover how the global response to COVID-19 was managed, we may ask decision-makers what kept them up at night," Clark said.