Migrants workers head to Delhi from various part of Uttar Pradesh after leaving the city during the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus

UP, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam are currently the biggest contributors to daily numbers in coronavirus cases in India.

Each of these four states have been clocking daily growth rates of more than 4 per cent since July, when the national growth rate has been declining steadily, and now stands around 2.8 per cent. Since the start of July, the infection numbers in Bihar and Assam have grown by more than eight times, while in Uttar Pradesh it has increased by five times. West Bengal has seen its numbers rise by more than four times during this period. The death numbers in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have increased proportionately, and both the states have counted more than 2,200 deaths till now. But in Bihar and Assam, the death counts are relatively low. Bihar has recorded just 474 deaths till now, while in Assam, the number of deaths is 161.

In the third rung of states are Odisha and Kerala, and now, also Punjab, which has been seeing a relatively high growth after a long time. Odisha now has more than 50,000 confirmed cases of the disease, with most of them concentrated in Ganjam and Khurda districts, where the spread had started with the influx of migrant workers in the first week of May.

Kerala, which had offered a lot of hope during the first three months of the epidemic in the way it had been able to contain the spread, has been adding relatively large number of cases for the last one month and a half. Its confirmed case count is now heading towards 40,000, and growing well above the national growth rate.

Covid-19 vaccine tracker: US has pre-ordered 800 million doses for its 330 million population

The United States government has entered into a US$ 1.525 billion deal with Moderna, a US-based biotech company, for securing the supply of 100 million doses of the novel Coronavirus vaccine that the company is developing.

With this, the United States government now has advance supply agreements with five companies whose candidate vaccines are being considered to be the leading contenders to get approved. This is the second deal with Moderna. Earlier, the US government had promised US$ 995 million to the company for the development of technology that is being used for the first time to develop a vaccine. Moderna’s candidate vaccine uses the messenger RNA from the novel Coronavirus to induce immune response in the human beings. An RNA-based vaccine has never been made for any disease till now.

The two agreements combined take the US government’s commitment in the Moderna vaccine to US $2.48 billion. An unspecified part of this money is meant as an incentive for timely delivery of the vaccine, but the company did not reveal the timelines that had been agreed. In a statement, the company said, the agreement also provided for an option for purchase of an additional 400 million doses of vaccine.

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