March 10 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott and Kara Fox, CNN

Updated 2:18 AM ET, Thu March 11, 2021
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4:55 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Rich nations vaccinating 1 person per second, but most poorer ones haven't given a single shot, watchdog says 

From CNN’s Christopher Rios

People queue in vehicles as they arrive for vaccinations at California State University of Los Angeles on March 4.
People queue in vehicles as they arrive for vaccinations at California State University of Los Angeles on March 4. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Rich countries are vaccinating one person every second against Covid-19 while the majority of their poorest counterparts have yet to administer a single dose, the People’s Vaccine Alliance said Tuesday. 

These same rich nations are blocking efforts by developing countries to waive intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines, the alliance said. The World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) committee meets Wednesday to discuss the TRIPS waiver.

“We should act now. There is no going back. It is totally unfair that rich countries, who have enough vaccines to protect their citizens, are blocking the TRIPS waiver, which could help poorer countries get the vaccines they need,” said Muhammad Yunus, Nobel laureate professor, and one of the leaders of the People’s Vaccine Alliance.
“For the rich world, this proposed act of human solidarity to ensure that medicines and vaccines get to the whole human family simultaneously is in their own self-interest, not just an act of charity,”

The People’s Vaccine Alliance, a group of organizations including Oxfam International, Frontline AIDS, UNAIDS, and others, says this is yet another example of rich countries prioritizing the interests of big pharmaceutical monopolies over people’s lives. 

“By allowing a small group of pharmaceutical companies to decide who lives and who dies, rich nations are prolonging this unprecedented global health emergency and putting countless more lives on the line,” said Oxfam's executive director Gabriela Bucher.

“At this crucial time, developing countries need support – not opposition.” 

The proposed TRIPS wavier would remove legal barriers and allow manufacturers across the world to start producing vaccines at scale within months, the alliance said. 

2:54 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Analysis: Biden's Covid relief bill is huge, ambitious and about to pass

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

President Joe Biden plans to use the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill expected to pass Congress on Wednesday as a platform for a generational transformation of the economy to benefit the least well-off Americans and alleviate poverty.

The passage of a bill of this scale and ambition two months into any new president's term would represent a power-affirming win. The political payoff for Biden of his first legacy achievement may be even greater. He had to navigate the measure through thin congressional majorities and a Democratic caucus riven by ideological divides -- and amid the worst domestic crisis since World War II.

Biden ran for election pledging to send stimulus payments to millions of Americans and to secure money to fund the return of kids to school, while speeding up the pace of vaccinations. When he gives his first prime-time address to Americans on Thursday, he can make a case that he kept his word as he battles to end a pandemic that has killed more than 527,000 Americans.

"Leadership matters. Vaccinations are up, infections are down, $1,400 survival checks are on the way, and that is only the beginning," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, said on Tuesday.

Read the full analysis: