While coronavirus cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in North America and Europe, one of the creators of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech says normal life will return by next winter.
BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said he was “very confident that transmission between people will be reduced by such a highly effective vaccine, maybe not 90%, but maybe 50%”.
It’s essential that all immunisation programmes are finished before the autumn, he said on Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
North Dakota earlier became the 35th US state to require face coverings be worn in public, as governors across the country are grappling with a surge in coronavirus infections. North Dakota joined 38 other states this month in reporting record daily jumps in new cases.
New cases nationwide rose on Friday to a daily record of over 177,000, the fourth straight day an all-time high was set, according to a Reuters tally of figures from US public health agencies.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended mask wearing, and a widely cited model estimated that a nationwide mandate could save 68,000 lives by next spring.
In France, the number of confirmed new cases and deaths rose sharply in the last 24 hours. France registered 32,095 new cases and deaths in hospitals from Covid-19 rose by 359.
Ten people died on Saturday in a fire at a Romanian hospital treating coronavirus patients, the country’s agency for emergency situations said. The blaze broke out in the ICU of the Piatra Neamt county hospital and spread to an adjoining room.