More than 11 million counterfeit N95 masks seized in recent weeks, DHS says
The Department of Homeland Security has seized more than 11 million counterfeit N95 masks meant for front-line workers in recent weeks, officials said Wednesday. It was the latest reported victory in a long-running battle against fraudulent attempts to profit from the coronavirus pandemic.
The seizures stem from operations in five states, “with more enforcement actions expected in the coming weeks,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at a news briefing. Officials say they expect criminal charges and underscored the danger of fraudulent protective gear that gives first responders a false sense of security.
Here are some significant developments:
The number of new coronavirus cases has declined by 16 percent worldwide over the past week, the World Health Organization said, even as more virulent strains of the virus spurred outbreaks in multiple regions. There has been a 10 percent reduction in the number of global deaths over the past week as well, the agency added.
The Biden administration said Wednesday that it is investing more than $1.6 billion to increase coronavirus testing and sequencing, which have lagged throughout the pandemic.
U.S. diplomats serving in countries with poor medical infrastructure and high coronavirus infection rates are venting frustrations about the way top officials in Washington are distributing vaccines.
Britain will become the first country to deliberately infect healthy volunteers with the virus, now that the country’s ethics body has approved a “human challenge trial.”
The winter storm battering Texas and much of the United States has dealt a blow to the inoculation drive, delaying shipments because of poor road conditions and forcing the closure of hundreds of vaccination sites nationwide.