Britain Is The First Country To Have Approved The Pzifer Vaccine

Covid-19 vaccine

When Will It Be Approved In Australia?

Britain has just approved the Pzifer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and is the first country to do so. With plans on rolling out the said vaccine from early next week, Pzifer revealed that they are already shipping limited supplies to the UK.

What do we know so far about the Pfizer vaccine?

Back in March, US-based Pzifer partnered with BioNTech from Germany as they announced plans to create a potential COVID vaccine using mRNA technology; using genetic material to carry instructions to the body.

This mRNA technology hasn’t been successfully distributed or manufactured ever. Hence, this poses a real challenge and an extensive process of development as four trial phases are deemed to be necessary.

In summary, the said mRNA technology is injected into a compatible muscle and would serve as a flag or alter system should something foreign be detected to have managed to breach the body’s defence. 

As a bodily response, B cells – a type of white blood cells – make and pump out bodies that are Y-shaped molecules that form an immune “memory” of that particular antigen.

Provided that tens of thousands of people were already tested with the Pzifer vaccine, it is yet to be determined if the process is complete. Early results, though, have suggested that the vaccine provides a 95 per cent effectiveness among those tested.

The same statistic goes with Pzifer’s rival Moderna which recently released trial data showing a 95 per cent effective rate. Whilst AstraZeneca revealed last month that its vaccine was on an average 70 per cent effective rate.

Given that the Pzifer vaccine is one of Australia’s four potential vaccines to have signed an agreement to purchase, the Australian Government is awaiting the affirmation if the vaccine really is successful.

A staggering 134.8 million units across four potential vaccines – Pfizer, Novavax, AstraZeneca and the University of Queensland was already projected by the country. Topping that is the country access to 25.5 million units under the international, COVAX facility, a WHP initiative allowing all countries to share the costs and benefits of vaccine development. This was according to Health Minister Greg Hunt.

The Australian Government has set aside 10 million doses for the Pfizer vaccine candidate. It’s due to be manufactured overseas, transported to Australia and then transported domestically, rather than produced in Australia.

This is because it uses mRNA technology; we don’t currently have the technology to locally manufacture mRNA vaccines. And like other vaccines made with mRNA, the Pfizer one needs to be stored in quite a particular way, which complicates things some more.

It is revealed as per Health Minister’s statement on Wednesday night, that the timeline for a decision on approval for the vaccine is expected by the end of January 2021.

“Pfizer continues to work with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, providing data for safety and efficacy as part of the approval process,” Mr Hunt said.

India pushes tonnes of supplies to disputed China border ahead of winter

LEH, India: From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, India’s military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China.

In recent months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said.

The move was triggered by a border stand-off with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand combat. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed while China suffered an undisclosed number of casualties.

Both countries are negotiating to resolve the confrontation, but neither side has backed down. The Indian military is now set to keep troops deployed along the treacherous, high-altitude border through the winter.

Eastern Ladakh, where the flare-up occurred, is typically manned by 20,000-30,000 soldiers. But the deployment has more than doubled with the tensions, a military official said, declining to provide exact numbers.

“We have mirrored the increase in Chinese troops,” the official said, adding the Indian military was well-prepared but did not want further escalation or a prolonged conflict.

Temperatures in Ladakh can fall well below freezing, and troops are often deployed at altitudes of over 15,000 feet, where oxygen is scarce, officials said.

Indian soldiers disembark from a military transport plane at a forward airbase in Leh, in the Ladakh region, Sep 15, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui)

Since snow blocks mountain passes into Ladakh at least four months every winter, Indian military planners have already moved more than 150,000 tonnes of materials into the region.

“All the supplies that we need have already been pushed to wherever they are required,” said Major General Arvind Kapoor, chief of staff of the Indian army’s 14 Corps.


On Tuesday morning, a succession of the Indian air force’s large transport aircraft landed at a forward base in Ladakh, carrying men and materials, as fighter jets roared overhead.

Soldiers with backpacks streamed out and were checked for COVID-19 symptoms at a transit facility, where they awaited further transport.

The materials are stored across a network of logistics hubs.

At a fuel, oil and lubricant depot near Leh, Ladakh’s main city, a hillside was covered with clusters of green drums.

At storage facilities at a nearby supply depot, boxes and sacks of ration – including pistachios, instant noodles and Indian curries – stood in tall piles. At another base near Leh, tents, heaters, winter clothing and high-altitude equipment lay stacked.

From these depots, the materials are pushed to logistics nodes by trucks, helicopters and, in some particularly difficult parts, mules, officials said.

“In a place like Ladakh, operations logistics is of huge importance,” said Kapoor. “In the last 20 years, we have mastered it.”

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6 Kids School Supplies for Online Distance Learning

Every school has its own tech requirements, which makes it difficult to make specific PC recommendations. Be sure to check with your district to see what they recommend if they don’t already provide your child a device. We suggest buying a laptop with at least an 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage (preferably a solid-state drive, also called SSD), and at least a 13-inch display that’s close to HD.

The Acer linked here fits the bill without breaking the bank, though you can save some money by opting for a Chromebook like the Lenovo Duet ($300). The downside is that not all schools recommend Chromebooks, and there are fewer parental controls than you’ll find in Windows PCs.

Another way to save some money (and keep some electronics out of the landfill) is buying used. Our guide to buying on eBay will get you started, just remember to keep in mind the minimum specs above.

Read more: The Best Cheap Laptops and the Best Chromebooks we’ve tested

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England’s future water supplies at ‘serious risk’

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Some parts of England will run out of water within the next 20 years unless “urgent action” is taken.

That’s the view of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in a report on the state of water supplies.

It’s calling on the government to establish a league table for water companies to pressure them into dealing with leaks.

It also wants efficiency labels on domestic products like washing machines and dishwashers to be made compulsory.

The government responded by saying it had already initiated a programme to improve performance in the water industry.

The PAC is accusing ministers and regulators of taking “too ponderous” an approach to improving infrastructure.

In their report, the MPs say the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has shown a “lack of leadership” on the issue.

“Defra has failed to lead and water companies have failed to act,” committee chair Meg Hillier MP said.

“We look now to the department to step up, make up for lost time and see we get action before it’s too late.”

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PA Media

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Water in reservoirs dipped sharply in May this year

According to the report, people in England and Wales use about 14 billion litres of water a day – one-fifth of which is wasted through leaky pipes.

It calls for water companies, which were privatised in 1989, to be ranked on their performance, and for a “coordinated national message” to encourage people not to waste water.

The MPs said every domestic product sold in the UK that used water, such as washing machines and dishwashers, should have a label on it to show how efficient it was. Also, when building new homes, the government should make water efficiency as much of a priority as energy efficiency and low-carbon heating.

Last year, the chief executive of the Environment Agency (EA), Sir James Bevan, said that within the next two decades the UK would be facing “the jaws of death”.

This is the point at which, “unless we take action to change things, we will not have enough water to supply our needs”.

The unprecedented dry and sunny weather in May, coupled with the Covid-19 lockdown, led to a record-breaking demand for water.

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Getty Images

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The country has a lot of old infrastructure that needs replacing

According to the trade association, Water UK, average demand surged by 20%. Yorkshire Water warned that its reservoir levels were lower than normal, and other companies urged customers to limit watering lawns and washing cars.

The PAC said last year’s “Love Water” campaign had so far had little impact, mainly because there had been no central funding, and none yet secured from any of the water companies.

In a response to the report, Defra referred to its National Framework for Water Resource, launched in March. It said: “We are already taking a tougher approach to poor performance and wastage within the water industry, while also finding ways to increase supply.”

It urged people to be “mindful of their usage”.

Vanessa Speight, professor of integrated water systems at Sheffield University, told BBC News: “The UK has some of the oldest water infrastructure in the world, and while it has served us well, it is now time to look to the future with significant water infrastructure investment that will address leakage as well as related reliability and water quality issues.

“Achieving the desired water efficiency targets is going to require a holistic review of infrastructure investment, building regulations, and related practices.”

People in certain parts of the UK, particularly in the South East, have less water available to them than those in countries like Morocco, according to several water companies in the region.

The water companies that would face the most acute pressure for demand – if there was to be a very dry year – are: Thames Water, which supplies 7.98 million people; Affinity Water which supplies 3.2m people, and Southern Water, which supplies 2.5m people.

From information provided by these companies to the BBC, all of them have already passed the so-called “jaws of death”. This means they have very limited reserves. So, in a period of exceptionally low rainfall, they may well need to put emergency measures in place such as hosepipe bans.

The companies maintain they are doing what they can to prepare.

Legally every five years they must set out plans for how they will deal with supply and demand over the next 25 years.

Thames Water has a scheme to help customers buy water butts.

In its five-year plan, published on Wednesday, the EA said it was committed to investing in climate resilience, “ensuring the nation is prepared for flooding, coastal change, and drought”.

However, it said it “needed to secure the income and investment needed”.

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‘It’s horrific’: Residents of Melbourne’s locked-down towers are struggling to receive essential supplies

As Victorian Leading Daniel Andrews insists the hard lockdown of nine community housing towers is not a punishment, people inside of say they are battling to accessibility crucial supplies.

Nine towers in Flemington and North Melbourne have been locked down since Saturday in an exertion to slow the distribute of coronavirus, with 3,000 residents not able to depart their apartments for any explanation for at the very least five times.

Mr Andrews reported thousands of foods, together with hundreds of toiletry packs and treatment packs for kids have been distributed to people.

The authorities is also offering bread and milk after the staples were being missing from hampers on Sunday.

Victorian Law enforcement officers and health and fitness personnel are noticed outside a public housing tower along Racecourse Street in Melbourne.


But some inhabitants have reported complications in obtaining all sorts of materials.

On working day three of the community housing estate lockdown, single mother Maima, who does not want to be identified by her entire identify, stated she arrived at breaking stage.

“I will not feel I can tackle it any more,” she explained to SBS Information.

“I am disappointed and angry. I wasn’t prepared at all.” 

The mom-of-seven in one particular of the Flemington general public housing towers mentioned it has been particularly difficult to care for her infant without obtain to critical materials like nappies and fresh milk.

Workers in hazardous material overalls are seen outside of a public housing tower along Racecourse Road in Melbourne.

Workers in harmful substance overalls are observed outdoors of a community housing tower along Racecourse Street in Melbourne.


“We are in two bedrooms with eight of us,” she explained, even though comforting her crying 8-7 days-previous infant little one.

“They [the children] want fresh milk. They want toast. They want a normal daily life.”

She explained the youngsters have been residing off foods of Weet-Bix breakfast cereal – without having milk.

“I can’t maintain them fed any more … I you should not know how to describe. I failed to count on this.”

At 4pm, Maima said she received the 1st supply of meals supplies, soon after calling the health and fitness office hotline and sending 4 text messages.

But she said the family has nevertheless to be tested for COVID-19. 

“We haven’t been examined. And the kids are acquiring annoyed. My sixteen-calendar year-outdated reported she does not want to be tested any more since she has been waiting [from] Saturday.” 

Left to right: Brotherhood of St Laurence's Polly Graham, Mohamad Yusuf and Hannah Ibrahim say a number of residents have yet to receive supplies.

Still left to right: Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Polly Graham, Mohamad Yusuf and Hannah Ibrahim say a selection of residents have however to get materials.


‘We’re sharing what we have’

The Yusuf family is in a neighbouring tower beneath lockdown.

Father-of-a few Mohamad Yusuf claimed inhabitants in the developing are sharing what supplies they have, but the anxiety of contagion is a continuous issue.

“We only have the provides we already experienced in the house on Saturday and now we are operating very minimal.”

At least 53 conditions have been linked to nine community housing towers under lockdown as the point out data its 20th consecutive day of double-digit expansion.

“I’m supporting out my elderly neighbours. Getting some information and facts to them. Getting some necessary things like sugar and milk to them. We are sharing [our supplies].

“The virus could distribute. But when persons you should not have ample essentials, we have to go out and share stuff. You are selling the spread of the virus.”

Polly Graham from the charity Brotherhood of St Laurence explained she has been fielding phone calls from distressed inhabitants who are trying to adapt to a lockdown they experienced no time to get ready for.

Ms Graham stated she has experienced to personally intervene to produce a late-night time offer of baby formulation for a mother who had operate out on Sunday evening.

In a different case, a mother was urgently seeking treatment for her son who has a condition which he has been hospitalised for many situations in the past 12 months.

“She was not capable to get drugs for her son. I experienced to call a community politician to get in touch with Daniel Andrews’ place of work and to beg him to get motion for this certain mom. And it was only this morning that she received the drugs. That is about 35 hrs soon after she started off begging for medication for her son. “

Require for culturally-acceptable meals

Whilst the point out govt stated it has been distributing foodstuff considering the fact that Saturday when the lockdown was introduced, some citizens have noted that some of the solutions had expired.

Group groups have stepped in to react to demand from customers.

President of the Australian African Affiliation, Nasa Ige, claimed local community customers have been sourcing culturally-proper food stuff from close by restaurants.

About 1000 Food Bank hampers have been distributed to residents in the locked public housing towers, but not everyone has received the supplies.

About 1000 Meals Bank hampers have been distributed to citizens in the locked community housing towers, but not everybody has received the materials.


Mr Ige said a big share of people in the public housing towers are refugees from war zones in Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya and Eritrea.  

“As a community, we are here to help. We converse to the people instantly and find out what they can try to eat.

“We generate down [what they can eat] and go to nearby East African dining establishments. We discuss to the proprietors and we ask can they cook dinner what these citizens can eat.”

The Victorian Trades Hall partnered with social company Moving Feast to offer halal meals.

Mr Ige said he has been aiding to co-ordinate the provision of materials and to deliver details for citizens who do not speak English.

Painkillers are 1 of the most asked for goods, Mr Ige stated.

Australian African Association president Nasa Ige says members of the community have stepped in to provide translation and arrange the delivery of meals.

Australian African Association president Nasa Ige says members of the local community have stepped in to provide translation and set up the shipping and delivery of foods.


Hannah Ibrahim in the Flemington general public housing towers stated she and other residents are more than joyful to be analyzed and are waiting to get examination kits.

But in the meantime, the absence of masks, gloves and hand sanitiser has built it distressing for residents who go as a result of shared spaces to collect foods still left in the foyer.

“We are much more than happy to be tested. We want this virus below regulate. Just not like this,” she stated.

Ms Ibrahim stated she would like much more methods directed to the provision of health employees, social employees and translators.

‘We are sitting ducks’

A further resident of a community housing making in Flemington reported she has been ready for information about when she can have her everyday treatment sent.

“We bought a single letter shipped this early morning telling us to keep in our models and at some point we would be tested and they have hung just one mask on our door,” Janine Kelly stated.

The 50-calendar year-previous has the lung condition emphysema, which leads to shortness of breath. She is anxious to hear much more regular updates.

She has tried calling the overall health office hotline relating to her medication, but nonetheless “hasn’t heard a phrase”.

Of the 127 new cases in Victoria on Monday, 16 were detected in the public housing towers that have been locked down.

Of the 127 new conditions in Victoria on Monday, 16 were being detected in the general public housing towers that have been locked down.


A box of food stuff was sent to her device just immediately after 5pm, but in advance of then there was “no meals, no guidance”.

“It’s not some thing that we can go ‘oh, certainly, it’s possible, no’ we are going to just wait around till you get it together. It can be horrific,” she stated.

“It can be scary to believe it is spreading … it’s like we are sitting ducks, I am terrified.”

She added that she hasn’t had the opportunity to do a coronavirus check as of Monday night.

“We just want responses, and all people is asking the same issue: where’s the test? You should, can you hurry up and get us analyzed.”

Folks in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres absent from many others. Verify your state’s limits on collecting restrictions.

Tests for coronavirus is greatly out there throughout Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu signs or symptoms, set up a take a look at by contacting your medical professional or get hold of the Coronavirus Overall health Information and facts Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government’s coronavirus tracing application COVIDSafe is accessible for download from your phone’s application store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s assorted communities about the newest COVID-19 developments. Information and details is readily available in 63 languages at

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Australia secures stockpile of coronavirus drug remdesivir after US hoards supplies

Health and fitness Minister Greg Hunt has reassured Australians they will not overlook out on important coronavirus cure remdesivir immediately after the United States moved to buy up practically all of the drug’s international supply till Oct.

Previously this 7 days, the Trump administration announced a deal with US manufacturer Gilead Science to secure 500,000 doses – in excess of 90 for each cent of the pharmaceutical firm’s creation output for the up coming a few months. 

The United States remains one of the hardest-strike nations by the pandemic, with just about 2.7 million situations noted, which accounts for nearly 1 quarter of complete situations globally.

A spokesperson for Mr Hunt confirmed Gilead experienced donated a provide of the drug to Australia’s national clinical stockpile.

The sizing of the donation has not been verified but the govt is assured it has enough doses to meet demand from coronavirus sufferers.

“The governing administration welcomes the donation of remdesivir to the Countrywide Medical Stockpile from Gilead, which will be offered for use in qualified clients recommended by a health care practitioner,” the spokesperson stated. 

“Australia at present has ample offer of remdesivir to fulfill recent affected individual needs on the foundation of our skilled health care tips.”

Originally made as a drug to overcome the Ebola virus, remdesivir gained emergency acceptance by the American Federal Medicines Administration in May perhaps. 

The investigational drug remdesivir has proven promise as a procedure for coronavirus victims.

Gilead Sciences

In Australia, remdesivir has not been approved by the Therapeutic Merchandise Administration but it has been proposed as a treatment method for patients by the Nationwide COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce.

“[Therefore] it is really a very uncommon circumstance for Australia to get this form of drug donation,” Affiliate Professor Barbara Mintzes from the College of Sydney Pharmacy University told SBS News.

Gilead, which acquired taxpayer funding to acquire the treatment method, is pricing the drug at all over $753 a vial, and a full procedure study course, which lasts on average six vials, will run at over $3,400.

The firm has refused to release its patents on the drug, regardless of phone calls from civil culture groups like Health professionals Without having Borders to do so.

Its most current offer deal with the United States has been criticised by community wellness authorities, who have lifted concerns it undermines the international energy to battle the virus and discover a remedy.

“The US arrangement to purchase 500,000 doses of remdesivir from Gilead raises problems not only about access in other international locations, but also how to avert profiteering from the COVID-19 pandemic and making certain that patients who need to have procedure are in a position to obtain it,” Professor Mintzes reported. 

“The US offer with Gilead and restrictions on which nations around the world can be provided less than this licensing arrangement depart nations around the world this sort of as Australia in the lurch.”

It could nevertheless be achievable for Australians to import versions of the drug from abroad.

Gilead has introduced arrangements with 9 producers exterior the United States to produce and provide a version of the drug to 127 establishing countries. 

Two Indian pharmaceutical firms commenced output of remdesivir underneath licence in June, with the intention of building it offered on the Indian sector in July.

But the Indian governing administration is but to indicate if it will prohibit the export of all those certified medications.

“This raises the possibility that patients or their people obtain remdesivir from India, as transpired when highly lively medication against hepatitis C were being offered in India but not still PBS stated in Australia,” UQ Professor David Paterson claimed. 

Australia can also reinstate its choice under commercial trade agreements to concern compulsory drug licences on community wellbeing grounds, which overrule Gilead’s mental house over the remedy.

That would allow for Australia to manufacture its have doses or import very low-value versions of the drug from other nations. 

“We never know for positive irrespective of whether remdesivir will show to be an vital procedure for COVID-19 [but] If it does, supplied that the US is acquiring out Gilead’s provide, and also supplied the exceptionally large cost as when compared with costs of generation, the apparent resolution for Australia would be to also take into consideration obligatory licensing,” Professor Mintzes reported.

Pharmaceutical firms in Egypt have been allowed to manufacture remdesivir under license.

Pharmaceutical firms in Egypt have been permitted to manufacture remdesivir underneath license.


The drug is obtainable for use in clinical trials and on compassionate grounds in three hospitals throughout Australia as aspect of a constrained world access method.

Even though scientific studies have observed the drug shows guarantee, there is still to be conclusive proof it helps preserve the lives of coronavirus sufferers.

“Regardless of the availability of remdesivir, the only drug tested in clinical trials to lessen mortality from COVID-19 is the generic steroid, dexamethasone,” Professor Paterson explained. 

“In Australia, dexamethasone is easily offered and is inexpensive, earning it the cornerstone of therapy for hospitalised people with deterioration in their respiratory position.”

Individuals in Australia will have to stay at the very least 1.5 metres away from many others. Examine your state’s limits on accumulating limits.

Screening for coronavirus is now widely out there across Australia. If you are encountering cold or flu signs and symptoms, prepare a take a look at by contacting your health practitioner or get hold of the Coronavirus Overall health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government’s coronavirus tracing application COVIDSafe is offered for download from your phone’s application keep.

SBS is dedicated to informing Australia’s varied communities about the most recent COVID-19 developments. Information and info is out there in 63 languages at

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Locusts in Kenya threaten to cut off food supplies

Locusts in Kenya could threaten the nation’s food supply if not controlled quickly, prompting experts to travel to remote corners of the country to try to find budding infestations.

Boris Polo, a Kenyan logistician on contract for the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization, says the team can fight locusts by finding ones that are too young to fly.

Polo said he will call in a spraying plane on any marching ‘hoppers’ that cover an area at least 10 hectares across.

If left to grow, swarms of locusts can travel 200 kilometres a day, ravaging everything green that they encounter along the way.

They can also lay eggs to spawn a new generation of locusts. Once airborne, they are much harder to contain.

“Basically they will form big swarms and have the risk of going into the bread baskets of Kenya in the south and that will affect food production for the populations and the future of Kenya,” warned Polo.

The locusts do have some benefits – their faeces is a rich fertiliser and they don’t generally kill the plant.

But for people whose livestock rely on the plants, farmers further south worry about what locus infestations will mean for this year’s crop.

“These infestations are pretty serious. Kenya (in) 2020 has suffered already quite a lot with floods, of course COVID-19, and now the desert locusts infestations that we seem to be finding everywhere,” Polo said.

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Red Cross Warns of a ‘Staggering’ Drop in Blood Supplies

WASHINGTON — As protests and violence erupt in cities, the United States faces a new threat: The country is running out of blood.

Several months of social distancing and stay-at-home orders have resulted in fewer people donating blood, according to health care workers, with collection drives at offices, schools and churches canceled en masse. For a while, the drop in donations was not critical because supply and demand fell in tandem as most surgeries were canceled and far fewer people were getting injured in car crashes and other accidents.

But now, even as hospitals have resumed elective surgeries and many Americans are venturing out of their homes again, the rate of blood donations has yet to bounce back. The result is what Chris Hrouda, president of biomedical services for the American Red Cross, which collects about 40 percent of the country’s blood donations, called a “staggering” drop in supply.

“Our inventories have been cut in half,” Mr. Hrouda said. “We’re starting to get into a critical situation.”

As demand keeps rising across the country, hurricane season, projected to be even more devastating than usual, may also increase the need for blood supplies. Multiple intense storms may also make it harder to collect.

The Red Cross, which usually has enough blood supplies to meet the nation’s needs for five days, now has less than two days’ worth, Mr. Hrouda said. In response, the group on Sunday stopped sending hospitals around the country the full amount of blood requested in their standing orders, instead providing just 75 percent of the requests.

If donations don’t increase in the next week or two, Mr. Hrouda added, the Red Cross will have to cut that amount even further, sending hospitals just half their requested amounts. He said the Red Cross was still fulfilling emergency orders.

“It puts hospitals and doctors in the precarious position of deciding who gets blood,” Mr. Hrouda said.

Further aggravating the shortage, said Brian Gannon, chief executive of the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in Texas, is that many hospitals are performing surgeries at an even faster clip than before the pandemic as they try to work through the backlog of operations.

“Slow down on your electives,” Mr. Gannon said he had told the roughly hundred hospitals that get blood from his center.

Some of the most crucial types of blood are in even shorter supply. The most important is Type O-negative, which can be given to any person, regardless of their blood type — and is therefore especially useful for patients who can’t wait for doctors to determine their blood type.

Mr. Gannon said he usually had a three to four day supply of Type O red blood cells. Now he has just one or two days’ worth.

The drop has already started to complicate the jobs of emergency rooms doctors, according to Mark S. Rosenberg, chairman of emergency medicine at St. Joseph’s Health in Paterson and Wayne, N.J., and president-elect of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

“We’re running critically low in certain blood types like O-negative,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “I get about half of what I need.”

For now, emergency rooms can use workarounds, such as delaying procedures long enough to find out a patient’s blood type.

But that will only work for so long, Dr. Rosenberg cautioned.

“We’re in a crisis that potentially can really escalate,” he said. “If this continues, we’re going to put patients at risk.”

Michelle Hood, chief operating officer for the American Hospital Association, said the country’s hospitals “are critically aware of the potential implications of shortages of blood.”

“We have not yet heard of blood supply issues impacting patient care,” Ms. Hood said. Still, she said, hospitals are urging people to donate.

Hurricane season often increases the demand for blood and will make the problem even more challenging, experts warned.

Elizabeth A. Zimmerman, who ran disaster operations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the Obama administration, said some kinds of storms can lead to an influx of people who need medical help. She cited what she called “pop-up hurricanes,” which accelerate quickly and so may not provide people enough time to evacuate.

Emergency managers encourage people to help survivors by donating blood during and after disasters, Ms. Zimmerman said. But this year, she added, that message might not have the same results.

Local health officials warned that the shortage has made it harder to get ready for hurricanes and other disasters.

“We’re entering these seasons where we know there’s typically more strain on the blood supply,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Association of County and City Health Officials, which represents about 3,000 local health departments. “You want to be ready for an influx of patients.”

Asked how the federal government was preparing for the impact of a blood shortage on this year’s disasters, FEMA referred questions to the Department of Health and Human Services, which did not respond.

The combination of growing demand from hospitals, continued limits on typical blood drives and, projections suggest, a bad storm season makes it all the more important for people to donate blood, said Mr. Hrouda of the Red Cross, before the supply falls even further.

He said the Red Cross takes steps to ensure the safety of its donation sites — requiring the use of masks, taking the temperature of donors, and cleaning all the equipment. He urged people to get back in the habit of giving.

“We’re trying to avoid yet another crisis in the country,” he said. “We’ve got enough on our hands.”

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U.S. Intel: China hid extent of COVID-19 outbreak in order to stockpile medical supplies

A crew gets ready to unload medical supplies from an Antonov AN-225 cargo transporter upon arriving from China at Mirabel Airport in Mirabel, Quebec, Friday, May 1, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:51 PM PT — Monday, May 4, 2020

According to U.S. officials, China withheld critical information regarding the coronavirus outbreak in order to give itself time to hoard medical supplies.

Reports Monday cited Department of Homeland Security intelligence documents, which stated Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic in early January.

This followed comments by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Sunday who confirmed China did “all that it could” to make sure the world didn’t learn about the pandemic “in a timely fashion.”

“This is an enormous crisis created by the fact that the Chinese Communist Party reverted to form, reverted to the kinds of disinformation, the kinds of concealment that authoritarian regimes do,” said the State Department chief.

According to the analysis, while China was concealing the extent of the virus, it was simultaneously increasing imports and decreasing exports of vital medical supplies.

The report said Chinese officials tried to cover this up by “denying there were export restrictions, and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data.” China then went on to order medical supplies abroad, noting imports of face masks, gloves and surgical gowns “increased sharply.”

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro made similar accusations in mid-April. He said for six weeks China used its influence at the World Health Organization to hide the nature of the coronavirus, while buying up the world’s supply of medical equipment.

FILE – In this April 29, 2020, file photo Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department in Washington. Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a 4-page, Department of Homeland Security report dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Pompeo also noted that the U.S. still hasn’t been granted the access it needs in order to effectively fight the pandemic.

“We tried to get a team in there, the World Health Organization tried to get a team in there and they have failed,” he explained. “No one’s been allowed to go to this lab or any of the other laboratories; there are many labs inside of China.”

The secretary went on to stress that “this is an ongoing threat, an ongoing pandemic, and the Chinese Communist Party continues to block access to the western world.”

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