The United States is on track to have around 200 million home COVID-19 rapid tests available per month as of December, about four times more than at the start of this year.
The White House says the increase in supply is the result of a new federal investment of US $ 1 billion, in addition to the $ 2 billion committed to increase the availability of hands-on diagnostic tests in September. This is also due to the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a new test from ACON Labs this week.
More than 18 months after the start of the pandemic, the United States lags behind other countries in supplies of home tests, which are widely used overseas as part of regular testing programs to detect asymptomatic infections. Although less accurate than PCR tests, home kits are cheaper and faster, allowing serial screening of schoolchildren, long-term care residents and office workers.
The White House says it is also working to double the number of local pharmacies offering free coronavirus testing to 20,000 in the coming weeks to improve access to testing.
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Meanwhile, COVID-19 test kit maker Ellume is recalling some home tests after learning they were reporting a higher than expected false positive rate, indicating someone has the virus when they are not. did not.
The Australian company said the tests were shipped to U.S. retailers and other distributors from April through August. He published a list on its website the lot numbers on the test packages affected by the recall.
What’s happening across Canada
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What is happening in the world
As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 236 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Tracker. The death toll worldwide was over 4.8 million.
The World Health Organization says the number of new coronavirus cases reported declined last week, continuing a downward global trend that began in August.
In its latest assessment of the pandemic, the United Nations health agency reported on Tuesday that there had been 3.1 million new cases of COVID-19 – a drop of 9% – and about 54,000 deaths during from last week, roughly similar to the week before. The WHO said there had been a drop in the number of cases in all regions of the world except Europe, where the number was about the same as the week before.
In United StatesRising employer demand for COVID-19 testing has exacerbated a nationwide shortage of rapid tests in recent weeks and is pushing up the costs of national and local testing programs, industry executives and officials say. ‘State.
In Europe, Russia’s daily coronavirus death toll topped 900 on Wednesday for the first time out of the pandemic, a record that comes amid the country’s low vaccination rate and the government’s reluctance to impose strict restrictions to control new cases.
Romania hit a record 328 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, a day after reaching more than 15,000 confirmed cases. Romania is the second least vaccinated country in the EU with only 35% of adults fully vaccinated. Government data indicates that more than 90% of the 328 people who died were not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Scandinavian authorities on Wednesday suspended or discouraged the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in young people due to an increased risk of heart inflammation, a very rare side effect associated with the vaccine.
Sweden suspended the use of Moderna for those under 30, Denmark said those under 18 would not be offered the Swiss-made vaccine, and Norway urged those under 30 to do so instead. vaccinate with Pfizer.
In Asia, Singapore’s health ministry reported 3,486 new cases, the highest since the start of the pandemic.
In Africa, Libyan health authorities have started immunizing migrants in the country, in cooperation with the United Nations Migration Agency. The vaccination campaign has started in Tripoli, with migrants receiving the first injection of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine at the National Center for Disease Control.
Zimbabwe is allowing bars to reopen for the first time in over a year, but only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to take a sip inside the premises.