Pedestrians walk pass a mural depicting Indonesia’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Jakarta on August 16, 2020.

Feature China | Barcroft Media via Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Indonesia will take at least a year before a sufficient portion of its population becomes immune to Covid-19, the country’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told CNBC and stressed the need for the government to keep spending to support the economy.  

“We see that the pandemic is not declining, and we need to keep vigilant on that,” Sri Mulyani told CNBC on Monday as part of the coverage of World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda.

Indonesia launched its Covid-19 vaccination program earlier this month after approving for emergency use the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech.

Sri Mulyani said conservative estimates by experts showed Indonesia needs about 15 months to vaccinate around 180 million people in order to reach “herd immunity.” That occurs when enough people in a population develop protection against a disease such that it can no longer spread easily.

We see that the pandemic is not declining, and we need to keep vigilant on that.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Finance Minister, Indonesia

But President Joko Widodo wants to “accelerate” that process

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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about his administration’s plans to respond to the economic crisis during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response event in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, January 22, 2021.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Joe Biden has painted a bleak picture of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak in his first few days in office, warning that it will take months to turn around the pandemic’s trajectory and that fatalities are expected to dramatically rise over the next few weeks.

“A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. We’re 400,000 dead expected to reach well over 600,000,” Biden said on Friday before signing two executive orders designed to reduce hunger and bolster workers’ rights amid the pandemic.

The U.S. surpassed 400,000 total Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, with a quarter of those coming over the previous 36 days, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. On Biden’s first full day as president on Thursday, he told reporters following a meeting with his Covid-19 advisors, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, that the nation would likely top 500,000 Covid-19 deaths in February.

Biden warned on Friday that as the outbreak continues, “there’s nothing we can do

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Scientists work in a lab testing COVID-19 samples at New York City’s health department, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York, April 23, 2020.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

New York state is running about 1,000 genome tests per week to look for new, more infectious Covid variants, the state’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, said at a press conference Friday.

“The new strains are frightening: the U.K. strain, Brazil strain, now the South Africa strain,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at the briefing. “The U.K. strain is here.”

Zucker said the state has run about 6,000 genome tests so far and has found only the strain that originated in the U.K. New York officials have identified 25 of those cases so far, including two new cases in Westchester County and one new case in Kings County, Cuomo said. There have been no deaths among those cases, according to Zucker.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters Friday there is “some evidence” the mutated strain could also be more deadly than the original one, which originated in Wuhan, China.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has previously said there’s no evidence that any of the new

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At the last minute, President Donald Trump granted pardons to several individuals convicted in huge Medicare swindles that prosecutors alleged often harmed or endangered elderly and infirm patients while fleecing taxpayers.

“These aren’t just technical financial crimes. These were major, major crimes,” said Louis Saccoccio, chief executive officer of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, an advocacy group.

The list of some 200 Trump pardons or commutations, most issued as he vacated the White House this week, included at least seven doctors or health care entrepreneurs who ran discredited health care enterprises, from nursing homes to pain clinics. One is a former doctor and California hospital owner embroiled in a massive workers’ compensation kickback scheme that prosecutors alleged prompted more than 14,000 dubious spinal surgeries. Another was in prison after prosecutors accused him of ripping off more than $1 billion from Medicare and Medicaid through nursing homes and other senior care facilities, among the largest frauds in U.S. history.

“All of us are shaking our heads with these insurance fraud criminals just walking free,” said Matthew Smith, executive director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. The White House argued all deserved a second chance. One man was said to have

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Johnson & Johnson board member Dr. Mark McClellan told CNBC that “if the clinical trial works out,” the company could significantly increase the nation’s Covid vaccine supply availability within the coming weeks. 

“I do know that J&J is making a very large supply, going all out with its production, both here in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world, with the goal of having perhaps enough vaccines for 100 million Americans by spring, by this April or so,” said the former FDA Commissioner in a Thursday evening interview on “The News with Shepard Smith.” 

During remarks at the White House on Thursday, the government’s top infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci said that Johnson & Johnson would have enough data on its vaccine to begin analysis within a week or two. McClellan told host Shepard Smith that the most important thing for the company’s vaccine is the large scale clinical trial that is under way now.  

“The independent scientists who are overseeing that study should be taking a close look in the very near future based on those results, and we’ll see how fast the vaccine could go forward,” McClellan said. 

The U.S. is averaging about 883,000 jabs of the

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Anita Baron first noticed something was wrong in August 2018, when she began to drool. Her dentist chalked it up to a problem with her jaw. Then her speech became slurred. She managed to keep her company, which offers financing to small businesses, going, but work became increasingly difficult as her speech worsened. Finally, nine months, four neurologists and countless tests later, Baron, now 66, got a diagnosis: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

ALS, often called Lou Gehrig’s disease after the New York Yankees first baseman who died of it in 1941, destroys motor neurons, causing people to lose control of their limbs, their speech and, ultimately, their ability to breathe. It’s usually fatal in two to five years.

People with ALS often must quit their jobs and sometimes their spouses do, too, to provide care, leaving families in financial distress. A decade-long campaign by advocates highlighting this predicament notched a victory last month when Congress passed a bill opening key support programs earlier for ALS patients.

In late December, then-President Donald Trump signed the bill into law. It eliminates for ALS patients the required five-month waiting period to begin receiving benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program, which

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