President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team said Friday the incoming administration will more quickly release coronavirus vaccines once it assumes power on January 20.Biden’s office said it would limit the Trump administration’s practice of increasing inventories of vaccine doses to guarantee that people get the booster shot several weeks after the first inoculation.Expectations were high when the vaccines were approved last month, but the vaccination campaign got off to a sluggish start. Only 5.9 million of the 29.4 million available doses in the U.S. have been distributed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.In this file photo, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci speaks during an unscheduled briefing after a Coronavirus Task Force meeting at the White House on April 5, 2020, in Washington.Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told National Public Radio in an interview Thursday that he believes “things will get worse as we get into January.” This is a result, he said, of “the holiday season travel and the congregate settings that usually take place socially during that period of time.”Fauci also said that he believed that tide could be turned “if we really accelerate our public health measures during that period of time, we’ll be able to blunt that acceleration. But that’s going to really require people concentrating very, very intensively on doing the kinds of public health measures that we talk about all the time,” such as wearing masks, social distancing and being inoculated with the coronavirus vaccine.Fauci said he is hopeful that when Biden is in office, the U.S. will be able to deliver to the U.S. public “1 million vaccinations per day, as the president-elect has mentioned.”A supporter of President Donald Trump confronts police as Trump supporters demonstrate on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol near the entrance to the Senate after breaching security defenses, in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.Health professionals and other scientists are concerned that Wednesday’s assault on the U.S. Capitol may have been a COVID-19 superspreader event.The shouting rioters that invaded the building were largely unmasked and not observing social distancing as they went through the halls of Congress and entered some lawmakers’ offices.Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, told The New York Times that, “People yelling and screaming, chanting, exerting themselves — all of those things provide opportunity for the virus to spread, and this virus takes those opportunities.”Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center said late Thursday the virus killed a record 4,085 people in the U.S. Thursday.The U.S. has more COVID-19 cases than anyplace else in the world – 21.5 million of the globe’s more than 88 million infections, roughly one-fourth of the world’s cases.The U.S. has also suffered more COVID-19 deaths than any other country – more than 366,000 of the world’s nearly 2 million COVID-19 deaths.A woman receives an injection during the first trial phase of a locally-made Iranian vaccine for COVID-19 coronavirus disease in Iran’s capital Tehran on Dec. 29, 2020.Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has banned imports of COVID-19 vaccines from America’s Pfizer-BioNTech and Britain’s AstraZeneca, citing a mistrust of Western countries.“I really do not trust them,” Khamenei said Friday in a televised speech. “Sometimes they seek to try out their vaccines on other nations to see if it works or not,” he said. “I am not optimistic (about) France, either.”Khamenei said he continues to allow the import of vaccines from other “safe” places and still supports his country’s efforts to produce its own vaccine.Iran began human trials with its vaccines in December and hopes they will be available in the country this spring.Britain announced mandatory COVID-19 tests Thursday for all international arrivals to the country.Brazil surpassed 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, making it the country with the second-highest death toll in the world.A Brisbane City Council worker wears a mask along the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane on Jan. 8, 2021, as Australia’s third-largest city headed into lockdown.The Australian city of Brisbane began a three-day lockdown Friday night after a member of a hotel’s quarantine cleaning staff was found to have the highly contagious British mutation of the coronavirus.”Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Friday morning when she announced the move.The Sydney Morning Herald reports authorities are tracing the woman’s movements around the city. She is reported to be the first local person to have contracted the virus variant that has been reported in several people in hotel quarantine.Johns Hopkins reports that Australia has more than 28,500 COVID cases.Canada moved Thursday to keep elementary schools in the province of Ontario closed until at least January 25. Ontario officials said that the positivity rate among children under 13 was as high as 20%.Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures in response to a surge of new coronavirus cases in the capital city.The decree lasts until February 7. Residents in Tokyo, China, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures are encouraged to stay home after 8 p.m., and restaurants and bars are also encouraged to close at the same time.  

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