Abortion: The Leading Cause of Death in 2021

Rev 21:8 KJV “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Abortion Was the Leading Cause of Death Worldwide in 2021, Killing 42.6 Million People
  • Statistics compiled by Worldometers indicate that there were over 42.6 million abortions world-wide in 2021.
  • By contrast, 8.7 million people died from cancer in 2020, 5 million from smoking, 13 million from disease, and 1.7 million died of HIV/AIDS.
  • That means abortions accounted for 42% of every death around the world last year.
  • In America, just under 1 million babies are aborted every year. Though abortion rates have been dropping in the past decade, abortion remains the leading cause of death in the United States as well.

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France’s COVID-19 cases reach national record while deaths also rise

PARIS (Reuters) -France had its worst-ever day in terms of new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with more than 91,000 new cases being recorded while the number of deaths also climbed, as the country battles against a fifth wave of the virus.

“Today’s figures are not good,” said Health Minister Olivier Veran.

Veran had earlier told reporters that the case number would stand at around 88,000 for Thursday, but the final official tally from the health ministry showed 91,608 new cases.

Veran had already warned earlier this week that France would soon be at 100,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.

Data from the health ministry also showed that France registered a further 179 COVID-19 deaths in hospitals over the last 24 hours, while the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units reached 3,208, up by 61 from the previous day.

President Emmanuel Macron is hoping France’s COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign will help to contain the fifth wave of the coronavirus to hit the country.

He is aiming to avoid imposing tough, new restrictions, although the French government has said all options will be considered to tackle any rapid deterioration in France’s COVID-19 situation.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Juliette Jabkhiro, editing by Mark Heinrich, Barbara Lewis and Aurora Ellis)

Factbox – Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

(Reuters) – The Americas is facing an impending crisis in routine vaccinations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pan American Health Organization said, and vaccinations against the coronavirus are behind where they should be.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

EUROPE

* France is at the beginning of a fifth wave of the epidemic, Health Minister Olivier Veran said.

* Russia’s deaths hit a record in the previous 24 hours, two days after most of its regions emerged from a week-long workplace shutdown.

* People aged under 30 in Germany should only receive the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine as it causes fewer heart inflammations in younger people than the Moderna shot, an advisory committee said.

AMERICAS

* Over 900,000 U.S. children aged 5 to 11 are expected to have received their first COVID-19 shot by the end of Wednesday, the White House said, as the government ramped up vaccinations of younger children.

* The United States has brokered a deal between Johnson & Johnson and the COVAX vaccine-sharing program for the delivery of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine to people living in conflict zones.

* U.S. National Institutes of Health scientists played “a major role” in developing Moderna’s vaccine and the agency intends to defend its claim as co-owner of patents on the shot, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told Reuters.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* South Korea encouraged citizens to take booster shots as more of the elderly fell ill and reported vaccine breakthrough infections, driving serious and critical cases to a record.

* Thailand said it will set aside up to 500,000 doses of vaccines for foreign workers.

* Vietnam will by the end of this month have sufficient vaccines to cover its population, a deputy prime minister said, as the country approved India’s Covaxin vaccine for emergency use.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Israel’s pandemic advisory board backed administering Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s vaccine to children age 5-11, as a fourth wave of infections subsides nationwide.

* Bahrain will cancel working with its coronavirus travel red list from Nov. 14.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* French vaccines company Valneva won European Commission approval for a deal to supply up to 60 million doses of its vaccine candidate over two years.

* Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said Japan will pay about $1.2 billion for 1.6 million courses of their COVID-19 antiviral pill molnupiravir.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Wall Street lost ground on Wednesday as surging consumer prices fueled fears of a longer-than-expected wave of heightened inflation dampened investor risk appetite.

* San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly said she expects high inflation to moderate once COVID-19 recedes, and repeated that it would be “quite premature” to raise rates now or even to speed up the Fed’s bond-buying taper.

(Compiled by Devika Syamnath and Sarah Morland; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Sriraj Kalluvila)

Analysis – COVID-19 pills are coming, but no substitute for vaccines, disease experts say

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Oral antiviral pills from Merck & Co and Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE have been shown to significantly blunt the worst outcomes of COVID-19 if taken early enough, but doctors warn vaccine hesitant people not to confuse the benefit of the treatments with prevention afforded by vaccines.

While 72% of American adults have gotten a first shot of the vaccine, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, the pace of vaccination has slowed, as political partisanship in the United States divides views on the value and safety of vaccines against the coronavirus.

Vaccine mandates by employers, states and the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden have helped increase vaccinations but also fueled that controversy.

Some disease experts fear the arrival of oral COVID-19 treatments may further impede vaccination campaigns. Preliminary results of a survey of 3,000 U.S. citizens by the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health suggest the drugs could “hamper the effort to get people vaccinated,” said Scott Ratzan, an expert in health communication at CUNY, who led the research.

Ratzan said one out of every eight of those surveyed said they would rather get treated with a pill than be vaccinated. “That is a high number,” Ratzan said.

The concern follows news on Friday from Pfizer, maker of a leading COVID-19 vaccine, that its experimental antiviral pill Paxlovid cut the risk of hospitalization and death from the disease by 89% in high-risk adults.

Pfizer’s results followed news from Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on Oct. 1 that their oral antiviral drug cut hospitalization and death by half. That drug, known as molnupiravir, won conditional approval in the UK on Thursday. Both need clearance from U.S. health regulators but could be on the market in December.

“By relying exclusively on an antiviral drug, it’s a bit of a roll of the dice in terms of how you will do. Clearly, it’s going to be better than nothing, but it’s a high-stakes game to play,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert and professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine.

Six infectious disease experts interviewed by Reuters were equally enthusiastic about the prospect of effective new treatments for COVID-19 and agreed they were no substitute for vaccines.

Even in the face of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus, the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech remain effective, cutting the risk of hospitalization by a combined 86.8%, according to a government study of U.S. veterans.

They said some unvaccinated people have already relied on monoclonal antibodies – drugs that need to be delivered through intravenous IV infusions or injections – as a backstop in case they become infected. “I think the Pfizer news is terrific news. It goes hand in hand with vaccination. It doesn’t replace it,” said Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University and Baltimore’s former health commissioner.

Choosing not to get vaccinated “would be a tragic mistake,” said Albert Bourla, chief executive officer of Pfizer Inc. “These are treatments. This is for the unfortunate who will get sick,” Bourla told Reuters in an interview on Friday. “This should not be a reason not to protect yourself and to put yourself, your household and society in danger.”

ANTIVIRAL CHALLENGES

One main reason not to rely on the new pills, the experts said, is that antiviral medications, which stop the virus from replicating in the body, must be given in a narrow window early in the disease because COVID-19 has different phases.

In the first phase, the virus rapidly replicates in the body. A lot of the worst effects of COVID-19, however, occur in the second phase, arising from a defective immune response that gets triggered by the replicating virus, said Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert and the CEO and founder of Just Human Productions, a non-profit multimedia organization.

“Once you develop shortness of breath or other symptoms that would lead you to be hospitalized, you are in that dysfunctional immune phase where the antivirals are really not going to provide much benefit,” she said. Hotez agreed. He said getting treated early enough could be challenging because the window when the virus transitions from the replication phase to the inflammatory phase is fluid. “For some people, that will happen earlier; for some, later,” Hotez said. Hotez said many people in the early phase of the illness feel surprisingly well and may be unaware that their oxygen levels are dropping, one of the first signs that the inflammatory phase of the disease has started. “Oftentimes, you’re not going to realize that you’re getting sick until it’s too late,” he said.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Additional reporting by Josephine Mason in London, Deena Beasley in Los Angeles and Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; editing by Caroline Humer and Grant McCool)

Russia says at least 44,265 people died from COVID-19 in Sept

MOSCOW (Reuters) – At least 44,265 people died in Russia in September due to the coronavirus and related causes, taking the toll to around 462,000 since the pandemic began, state statistics service Rosstat said on Friday.

The figure was down from a peak of 51,044 in July, although infections and fatalities began to surge again in the second half of September and have repeatedly touched record levels this month, leading authorities to reintroduce stricter health restrictions.

The overall COVID-19 death toll reported by Rosstat is almost double the figure of 236,220 published by the Russian coronavirus task force earlier on Friday.

Authorities explain the discrepancy by the fact that the task force reports deaths from COVID-19 on a daily basis that do not need additional confirmation from medical examiners, whereas Rosstat publishes full data on a monthly basis.

Some epidemiologists say that measuring excess mortality is the best way to assess the death toll during a pandemic.

Based on the new data, Reuters calculated that the number of excess deaths in Russia between April 2020 and September 2021 was more than 632,000 in comparison with the average mortality rate in 2015-2019.

Authorities have blamed the latest surge on the more virulent Delta variant and on popular reluctance to take up the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine.

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

Moscow locks down as Russian COVID-19 deaths surge to new highs

By Tom Balmforth and Andrew Osborn

MOSCOW (Reuters) -The Russian capital brought in its strictest COVID-19 related lockdown measures in more than a year on Thursday as nationwide one-day pandemic deaths and infections hit new highs amid slow vaccination take-up across the world’s biggest country.

Moscow’s partial lockdown, in which only essential shops like pharmacies and supermarkets are allowed to remain open and schools and state kindergartens are shut, comes ahead of a week-long nationwide workplace shutdown from Oct. 30.

Like Moscow, some regions decided to kick off their partial lockdowns on Thursday or even earlier in an effort to cut infection numbers ahead of the nationwide initiative.

Moscow’s residents are allowed to leave their homes unlike a sweeping lockdown in summer 2020, but the new measures point to rising concern among officials over record numbers of deaths that the Kremlin has blamed on vaccine hesitancy.

Officials on Thursday reported an all-time high of 1,159 COVID-19 nationwide deaths in the past 24 hours, while the number of daily infections broke through the 40,000 barrier for the first time.

At the State Duma lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker, proposed requiring all lawmakers to get vaccinated and suggested that stragglers should have to work remotely.

“Imagine the consequences for the country if parliament stops working,” Volodin told the lower house. “Every day we’re seeing how our … colleagues are ending up in hospital beds,” he said.

His proposal was met by angry shouts from the parliament’s chamber with someone calling out: “What kind of PR is this?”

Many Russians have said they are reluctant to get vaccinated and have spurned the four vaccines Russia has registered, including the flagship Sputnik V vaccine.

Some people say they are hesitant due to mistrust of the authorities, while others cite concerns about the safety of vaccines.

As of Oct. 22, official data showed that 49.1 million Russians were fully vaccinated. The total population, excluding annexed Crimea, is officially estimated at around 144 million.

AD CAMPAIGN RELAUNCH?

The daily Kommersant newspaper reported on Thursday that the Kremlin planned to revamp the troubled public information campaign about the importance of getting vaccinated.

The new campaign would pay closer attention to Russia’s more than 80 regions and strike a less aggressive and negative tone than previously, the report said.

The existing campaign has often highlighted the risk of death for Russians who decline to get vaccinated rather than linking vaccination to the freedom to be exempt from lockdown-style restrictions, it said.

However, the Kremlin denied it planned to relaunch the ad campaign, but said the strategy was constantly being adjusted and that the campaign would be continued.

Many Russians have decided that now is an ideal time to fly off for a foreign beach holiday instead of hunkering down at home.

There were mixed feelings about the lockdown on the streets of Moscow on Thursday. Some residents like Lyubov Machekhina said they thought it would obviously help slow infections.

But others like Mikhail, a Muscovite who did not give his surname, voiced doubts that there would be any real impact without a larger chunk of the population being vaccinated.

“In my opinion, it will change nothing. Perhaps, it will slow down (the spread of cases) a bit, but in fact, without herd immunity – it’s nonsense. I don’t believe it will work.”

(Reporting by Tom Balmforth, Lev Sergeev, Anton Zverev, Gleb Stolyarov and Andrey Ostroukh; editing by Andrew Osborn)

Fierce cyclonic storm turns squares into lakes in southern Italy

CATANIA, Italy (Reuters) – A powerful cyclonic storm hit the southern Italian island of Sicily on Tuesday causing widespread flooding around the city of Catania, turning streets and squares into rivers and lakes and causing at least two deaths, rescuers said.

A spokesman for the Misericordia group of volunteers, who are helping police and firefighters, said the body of a man was found under a car amid torrential rains sweeping the town of Gravina, north of Catania.

Contacted by Reuters, police confirmed the death without providing details.

On Monday, a 67-year-old man died after his car was hit by rising waters and mud. His wife was still missing.

The rain has inundated some of Catania’s most famous streets and squares, causing a blackout in the city center and flooding shops. Schools have been closed in the city and in a number of nearby towns.

Floods also hit a ward at Catania’s Garibaldi hospital, media reported.

“The emergency situation is widespread and extremely critical and it does not seem to be improving,” a spokesman for the firefighters said.

Italian weather site Ilmeteo.it said parts of Sicily and the adjacent toe of Italy, Calabria, were being pounded by a rare tropical-like cyclone known as a medicane, and the sea was 8 degrees Celsius warmer than the average for this time of year.

The storm was expected to peak between Thursday and Friday, it said.

(Reporting by Antonio Parrinello in Catania and Angelo Amante in Rome; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Russia says at least 49,389 people died from COVID-19 in Aug

MOSCOW (Reuters) – At least 49,389 people died in Russia in August due to the coronavirus and related causes, taking the toll to around 418,000 people since the pandemic began, state statistic service Rosstat said on Friday.

Russian authorities blame the spread of the more contagious Delta variant and a low vaccination rate for the third wave of coronavirus infections, which peaked in July.

In July, Russia saw the highest monthly coronavirus death toll of the pandemic as 51,044 people died from COVID-19 or related causes that month, the figure revised recently after the first publication.

The number reported by Rosstat exceeds the official total death toll of 214,485, published by the Russian coronavirus task force earlier on Friday.

Authorities explained the discrepancy between Rosstat and coronavirus task force data by the fact that the latter reports deaths from COVID-19 on a daily basis that do not need additional confirmation from medical examiners, whereas Rosstat publishes full data on a monthly basis.

Some epidemiologists say that measuring excess mortality is the best way to assess the death toll during a pandemic.

Based on the new data, Reuters calculated that the number of excess deaths in Russia between April 2020 and August 2021 had reached 575,000 in comparison with the average mortality rate in 2015-2019.

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Alison Williams)

Russia’s COVID-19 deaths return to record daily highs

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia on Thursday reported 820 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, matching an all-time high set on Aug. 26, and authorities warned that cases were again rising rapidly.

Moscow recorded 3,445 new infections in the last 24 hours, the most reported in a single day since July 31 following a case surge over the summer, authorities said. There were 21,438 cases recorded nationwide, they said.

The Kremlin told reporters that officials were not discussing the idea of re-imposing lockdown measures or other restrictions, but that the government and regional officials were monitoring the situation closely.

“As far as I know, despite the increase in numbers, no decisions have yet been made anywhere (in Russia),” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

Thirty-six regions have recorded case increases this week, Anna Popova, the head of consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, said on Wednesday.

She said the virus was spreading fastest in regions where there were fewer vaccinated people. Russia, which has a population of more than 144 million, says almost 40 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Russia has recorded a total of 7,354,995 cases, authorities say.

The government coronavirus task force says 201,445 people have died of coronavirus-related causes so far, while the federal statistics agency gives a higher number of 365,000 deaths from April 2020 to July 2021.

Reuters calculations based on official statistics show there were 528,000 excess deaths between April 2020 and July 2021. Some epidemiologists say excess deaths are the best way to measure the real death toll from COVID-19.

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov, Dmitry Antonov and Alexander Marrow; editing by Tom Balmforth and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

U.S. FDA advisers may vote on COVID-19 boosters for older adults after rejecting broad approval

By Manojna Maddipatla and Michael Erman

(Reuters) – A panel of expert outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted against broadly approving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, but may vote on a narrower approval for older adults later on Friday.

The panel voted overwhelmingly against approving boosters for Americans age 16 and older, potentially undermining the Biden administration’s plan to roll out third shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as soon as next week.

But there was widespread support among panelists for a third dose for older Americans, who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 and may be more likely to have waning immunity after the first rounds of shots. FDA officials said that a vote to recommend approval for such groups was possible later on Friday.

The FDA will take the panel’s recommendation into consideration in making its decision on the boosters. But it can reject the advice as it did recently in approving Biogen Inc’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug

Many committee members were critical of the booster plan, arguing that the data presented by Pfizer and the FDA was incomplete and that the request for approval for people as young 16 is too broad. Most of them said they were not needed yet for younger adults.

Top FDA members have been split on the necessity of the boosters, with interim head Janet Woodcock backing them and some of the agency’s top scientists arguing they are not needed yet.

If the FDA goes ahead and approves the booster, a separate panel advising the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will meet next week to recommend which groups should get them.

The White House said it was ready to roll out boosters next week if health officials approve the plan.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru, Mike Erman in New York and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Caroline Humer and Bill Berkrot)