Scott Atlas, a favoured coronavirus advisor of the US president, who tweeted in October

President Donald Trump‘s controversial coronavirus advisor resigned , while hopes for a first wave of vaccinations before the end of 2020

received a further boost with an announcement from US firm Moderna.

Scott Atlas, a favoured coronavirus advisor of the US president, who tweeted in October “Masks work? NO,”

has submitted his resignation, effective as of December 1

Lacking relevant experience or qualifications in public health or infectious disease,

he also called in November for people in Michigan to “rise up” against Covid-19 measures.

Atlas stepped down as hopes rose for a first wave of vaccinations before

the end of the year after Moderna said it was filing for emergency authorization of its vaccine in the United States and Europe.

After top US scientists warned Americans to brace for a “surge superimposed on the surge,”

Moderna reported full results had confirmed a high efficacy estimated at 94.1%.

It was set to join American pharmaceutical maker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, which applied for similar approvals last week,

and have predicted their vaccine could be greenlit in the US shortly after December 10.

If the US Food and Drug Administration agrees Moderna’s product is safe and effective,

the first of the drug’s two doses could be injected into the arms of millions of Americans by the middle of December.

 

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Health Secretary: “We could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people’s arms before Christmas.”

Co-developed with the US National Institutes of Health, the jabs were generally well tolerated,

with the most common side effects including injection site pain, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain and headache.

Moderna expects to have approximately 20 million doses of the vaccine available in the US by the end of 2020,

and between 500 million to a billion doses globally in 2021.

The news came after leading US scientist Anthony Fauci

voiced his fears as millions of travellers returned home after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 267,000 Covid-19 deaths,

and the Trump administration has issued conflicting messages on mask-wearing, travel and the danger posed by the virus.

“What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into

December is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in,” Fauci said Sunday.

FOURTH WAVE

More than 1.4 million people have died worldwide since the outbreak in China last December,

The World Health Organization insisted Monday it was doing everything possible to find the animal origins of the virus,

although it hasn’t yet sent a full team of expert investigators to China.

Observers have voiced concern the agency has bowed to Chinese pressure and dragged its feet over the investigation,

but WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hit back and urged critics to stop “politicising” the issue.

At a briefing, Tedros added he was alarmed over a rapid worsening of the Covid-19 situations in Brazil and Mexico,

urging them to be “very serious” about halting the spread.

Europe meanwhile is still battling to lower the daily toll of death and infection with a variety of curbs,

lockdowns and tests after fatalities topped 400,000 at the weekend.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a total weekend lockdown and a curfew for the rest of the week.

In Asia, Hong Kong on Monday announced social distancing

measures at some of the strictest levels in the city since the start of the pandemic, as authorities battle a fourth wave of infections.

“This new wave of Covid-19 has hit Hong Kong very quickly,” chief executive Carrie Lam said.

Anger over rising infection numbers sparked a riot in a Sri Lankan prison

where guards shot dead eight inmates and wounded at least 71 others.

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