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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 8th Oct 2020

News Highlights

New Zealand eliminates Covid-19 for the second time this year as election looms

New Zealand was hit by a second wave of Covid-19 cases in August, months after it declared itself 'coronavirus-free' in April. Now, with general elections round the corner, the country's health ministry has announced that no new community spread cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in the country, except for cases which are already in hotel quarantine. Auckland, the hot spot for the second wave of infections in August, has not reported a case in 10 days.

Bars and cafes in Brussels to be closed for a month to tackle sharp rise in cases

Brussels followed Paris and Madrid in introducing new lockdown measures to fight a steep rise in coronavirus cases, with bars and cafes closed in Brussels and a ban on drinking alcohol in public until November 8. An average of 2,500 new Covid-19 cases have been reported daily in Belgium over the last week, a 57 percent increase over the previous seven day period.

Scientists urge new lockdown in UK as coronavirus cases surge

Scientists in the UK have urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce tighter national lockdown measures to replace the localised restrictions that are currently in place to tackle the recent surge in Covid-19 cases. Infection rates in the UK rose from 63.8 a week ago to 125.7 as of Tuesday, which means that cases are now doubling every seven days.

Nearly 60% of Argentines examined tested positive for Covid-19, says tracker

According to an Oxford-linked data tracker, Argentina has the world's highest rate of positive coronavirus tests, with almost six out of 10 people tested showing up as Covid-19 positive. The country is reporting an average of 12,500 new daily infections and now has 809,728 confirmed cases and over 20,000 deaths. While Argentina was lauded for its effective handling of the pandemic early on, health professionals are now saying that low testing and lax restrictions have shot up the positivity rate from 40% in August to 60% positive now.

Lockdown Exit
New Zealand Flattens Curve for a Second Time as New Domestic Covid Cases Fall to Zero
o new community cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in New Zealand except for those in hotel quarantine, the country's health ministry has announced, providing a boost to prime minister Jacinda Ardern ahead of a general election this month that she is expected to win. Those entering New Zealand have to stay in isolation in a hotel for 14 days. On Wednesday, three people who had arrived from overseas and were already in managed isolation, tested positive for COVID-19 but all patients with the virus in the community have now recovered, The New Zealand Herald reported.
New Zealand eliminates COVID-19 for a 2nd time; cases surge in Europe
New Zealand on Wednesday announced it has eliminated local transmission of the coronavirus for a second time as cases surge in Europe. New Zealand's Health Minister Chris Hipkins said there were no more active community cases of COVID-19 in the country after the last patients had recovered from a recent outbreak of the virus.
'We've squashed the virus': New Zealand celebrates as it officially eliminates COVID-19 for the SECOND time and Auckland lowers restrictions from midnight
Auckland has gone ten days without any new cases recorded in the community. NZ declared they were COVID-free in April before a second wave in August. Auckland will ease restrictions to alert level 1 as of midnight on Wednesday
What pandemic? Crowds swarm the Great Wall of China as travel surges during holiday week
The scene at the Great Wall of China this past week would have been unthinkable just months ago. Photos of the tourist attraction in Beijing last weekend show massive crowds crammed along the winding wall, pressed together in close quarters and squeezing past each other through narrow doorways. Most are wearing face masks -- but a number of people, including young children, pulled their masks down to their chin, and a few seem to have foregone masks entirely. It's Golden Week -- an eight-day national holiday, one of China's busiest annual travel periods, and a major test for the country as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.
Exit Strategies
Hard-hit Peru's costly bet on cheap COVID-19 antibody tests
In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the harried health officials of Peru faced a quandary. They knew molecular tests for COVID-19 were the best option to detect the virus – yet they didn’t have the labs, the supplies, or the technicians to make them work. But there was a cheaper alternative -- antibody tests mostly from China, that were flooding the market at a fraction of the price and could deliver a positive or negative result within minutes of a simple fingerstick. In March, President Martin Vizcarra took the airwaves to announce he’d signed off on a massive purchase of 1.6 million tests – almost all of them for antibodies. Now, interviews with experts, public purchase orders, import records, government resolutions, patients, and COVID-19 health reports show that the country’s bet on rapid antibody tests went dangerously off course.
Partisan Exits
Top US immunologist quits health role over Trump Covid response
The ousted director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine has quit his post at the National Institutes of Health, charging that the Trump administration “ignores scientific expertise, overrules public health guidance and disrespects career scientists”. Dr Rick Bright, a whistleblower who crossed swords with the Trump administration over claims his warnings over both coronavirus and the utility of hydroxychloroquine were ignored, left his role complaining that his plan to develop a national testing infrastructure had also been sidelined.
Trump says not to fear Covid-19. Do Americans agree?
After three nights in hospital for Covid treatment, US President Donald Trump is back in the White House - and back on Twitter. In a video posted on Monday shortly after his return, the president implored Americans not to let the virus "dominate" their lives. "Don't be afraid of it. You're going to beat it," he said. "Don't let it take over your lives. Don't let that happen." But with nearly 7.5 million Covid-19 cases and more than 210,000 deaths nationwide, is this a message of strength or an insult to those still suffering? We ask voters.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says lockdowns are 'useless' as state's COVID-19 cases soar
South Dakota's governor is doubling down on her controversial stance against state-wide lockdown measures even as the local positivity rate continues to soar. Gov. Kristi Noem defended her hands-off approach to managing the deadly COVID-19 pandemic while addressing lawmakers earlier this week and called mandatory stay-at home orders "useless" in helping lower the spread. Amid criticism over her tactics for fighting the novel coronavirus, Noem used her speaking time to read a portion of a letter she said she received from a reporter who praised her for sticking to her beliefs.
Coronavirus: Health experts join global anti-lockdown movement
Thousands of scientists and health experts have joined a global movement warning of "grave concerns" about Covid-19 lockdown policies. Nearly 6,000 experts, including dozens from the UK, say the approach is having a devastating impact on physical and mental health as well as society. They are calling for protection to be focused on the vulnerable, while healthy people get on with their lives. The declaration has prompted warnings by others in the scientific community.
Like America, India Is Witnessing Protests Against Forced Mask, Testing And Vaccination
Along the lines of countries like the US, UK, Australia, Italy and Canada, now India is also encountering protests against precautionary measures adopted to curb COVID-19 being imposed upon the public as strict rules. The importance of precautionary measures like face masks, gloves, social distancing, hand washing, etc. has not only pervaded India but the whole world ever since we came to terms with coronavirus. In India, almost the entire population decently cooperated with the lockdown decisions of government and abided by all the set norms. But recently, a spate of protests was seen arising across India where people were spotted echoing their contradicting thoughts on the compulsion to wear a face mask in public places.
Morrison takes aim at Victoria's lockdown, warning of 'very severe' impact on national economy
Scott Morrison has warned that the national economy will take another hit from the extended Victorian lockdown as he took aim at the state’s roadmap for easing restrictions, saying leaders “cannot create a burden that is too great to bear”. The prime minister refused to specify on Monday whether the federal government would rethink its plan to reduce the rate of the jobkeeper and jobseeker programs this month, calling on the Victorian government to spell out its own economic support package before Canberra considered taking action. But Morrison raised questions about Victoria’s contact-tracing capabilities and said he hoped the plan unveiled by the premier, Daniel Andrews, was the “worst-case scenario” and only a “starting point” for managing the virus in the weeks ahead.
Liz Truss: more Covid lockdown measures in England would ‘set us back’
A senior cabinet minister has said further lockdown measures would “set us back hugely” amid signs that additional coronavirus restrictions may be imminent for parts of north-west England. Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, indicated that the government remained strongly opposed to measures such as closing pubs, bars and restaurants despite rising hospital admissions and a sharp increase in infections. Truss said ministers were attempting to strike a “delicate balance” of protecting the economy while stopping the spread of the virus, telling Sky News: “If we end up locking down further or having a national lockdown, that would set us back hugely so we’re constantly balancing those two priorities.”
Continued Lockdown
The Uneven Decline of Health Services Across States During the Lockdown
The national lockdown in April-May 2020 had devastating effects on people’s employment and earnings. About half of urban workers, for instance, did not earn any income during that period, according to a recent survey by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. For good measure, many public services were also reduced or discontinued. This includes routine health services.
Australia's Victoria state reaches lower infection milestone
Australia’s city of Melbourne, capital of the coronavirus hotspot state of Victoria, on Wednesday reported the lowest two-week average of new cases after a second contagion wave that led to one of the world’s toughest lockdowns. For the first time since the second coronavirus outbreak caused more than 800 deaths in the state - more than 90% of the country’s 897 virus-related deaths - the two-week average has fallen below 10. The metric is key as officials in the second-most-populous state are reluctant to ease mobility restrictions until the rolling average in the two-week window falls below five. “The strategy is working,” premier Daniel Andrews told reporters at his daily briefing. “Its success is pinned ultimately to whether symptomatic people come forward and get tested.”
How virus lockdowns have triggered a surge in domestic violence across Australia
Coronavirus lockdown triggered a surge in domestic violence across Australia. About 13.2 per cent of women living with partners experienced a form of abuse. Poverty and financial stress often limit women from fleeing violent situations. Experts have warned reduced welfare payments may force women to stay.
Covid-19: Family violence spiked after news of level 4 lockdown, new data shows
Family violence reports soared as New Zealand reeled from the news it was going into level 4 lockdown, new figures show. On March 24, the day after the announcement, 645 reports of family violence were made to police –second only to New Year’s Day, typically a peak for family violence incidents. The report draws together data from the Family Court in Auckland, police and Oranga Tamariki, and shows that while family violence increased, the reporting of harm to other agencies went down. Oranga Tamariki nationally saw a 24 per cent decrease in reports of concern during Levels 3 and 4, a similar trend to what is seen during the school holidays.
Shocking Impact Of Lockdown On Vulnerable Children And Families Revealed
Shocking data released today reveal the dramatic impact the Covid-19 lockdowns had on vulnerable children and families in New Zealand. For the first time, statistics from the Family Court in Auckland, and the Police and Oranga Tamariki nationwide, have been brought together to give a true picture of what happened while the country was in lockdown. The information has been compiled by K3 Legal Director and specialist family law practitioner Toni Brown, who has more than 20 years’ experience working with children and families, and well-known QC Kate Davenport, the former president of the NZ Bar Association.
Covid Has Wiped Out the Economic Dreams of a Generation in Asia
Asia’s fast-growing economies for decades have offered millions of young people the chance to do better than their parents, a path to upward mobility now at risk as youth unemployment soars in a region home to a majority of the world’s 15- to 24-year-olds. These young people -- just at the start of their working lives -- are losing jobs at a faster rate than older generations because almost half are clustered in the four economic sectors hurt most by the Covid-19 pandemic, including wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, business services and accommodations and food service.
Scientific Viewpoint
Oxford coronavirus vaccine blow as trial faces further delay
The hotly anticipated University of Oxford vaccine faces knock-on delays with its trials. A month-long pause in the jab's development could mean volunteers who had already been given one shot may not be able to get the planned second. The delay is due to American regulators investigating potential side effects, the Times reports. A previous delay on September 6 was triggered by AstraZenaca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford, after a trial participant in the UK fell ill. Other people who had received the first shot were due for a second one next week, which has now been cancelled.
Coronavirus: Bill Gates says richest countries could be 'close to normal' by late next year if vaccine found
The world's richest countries could be back "close to normal" by late 2021 if a coronavirus vaccine is found, Bill Gates has said. But the Microsoft co-founder warned that this is the "best case" scenario, as it still remains uncertain whether any vaccines will work. The 64-year-old, who in April stepped down from the board of the Redmond-based tech giant he founded in 1975, told The Wall Street Journal there were still some hurdles to clear in the race for a vaccine for COVID-19.
Scientists dash hopes of ‘one-shot wonder' Covid vaccine as Government warned not to 'overblow' impact
Virus experts today warned that a Covid vaccine would not be a universally available “one-shot wonder” that would swiftly allow millions to return to normal life. Ministers hope the first vaccine will be ready for roll-out early next year and will lead the “cavalry” charge, alongside mass testing and improved hospital care, to bring the pandemic to heel. But today: The Government was warned that “over-blowing” the impact of a vaccine and speed at which it would come into action risked further undermining public trust in its handling of the crisis and the roll-out of millions of anti-Covid jabs. The Standard was told that it could be 18 months before a vaccine is widely available. An expert said that a vaccine might work for only half the population.
Abbott says fast COVID-19 test correctly identifies positive cases 95% of the time
Abbott Laboratories on Wednesday released early data from a study on the accuracy of its ID NOW COVID-19 test, which is used in the White House, that could help alleviate concerns the diagnostic frequently fails to detect the virus. Interim data from Abbott’s 1,003-participant study shows that its test, which can deliver results in under 15 minutes, correctly identified positive COVID-19 cases 95% of the time when used within seven days of symptom onset.
Lilly seeks emergency use of its antibody drug for COVID-19
A drug company says it has asked the U.S. government to allow emergency use of an experimental antibody therapy based on early results from a study that suggested the drug reduced symptoms, the amount of virus hospitalizations and ER visits for patients with mild or moderate COVID-19. Eli Lilly and Company announced the partial results Wednesday in a news release; they have not yet been published or reviewed by independent scientists. Its drug is similar to one that President Donald Trump received on Friday from Regeneron
Having a vitamin D deficiency could make you more likely to catch Covid-19, another study claims
Further proof that vitamin D could protect people from coronavirus emerged today after another study found adults deficient in the nutrient are more at risk of catching the disease. Seventy-two per cent of NHS workers who were lacking in the 'sunshine vitamin' also tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies — a sign of previous infection. This compared to just 51 per cent for those who had a sufficient amount. The difference was even greater among those of a Black, Asian or ethnic minority, who may be more likely to have a deficiency because people with darker skin find it harder to obtain it from the sun.
Most Patients’ Covid-19 Care Looks Nothing Like Trump’s
As a buoyant President Trump emerged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center this week, appeared on a balcony at the White House, and proclaimed on Twitter that the public should have no fear of the coronavirus, many Americans saw few parallels between Mr. Trump’s experience with the virus and their own. Some Covid-19 survivors, even those who support Mr. Trump, found what they consider his lack of compassion off-putting.
COVID-19 spread in hospitals to be mapped to 'break the chain'
A new study will map the spread of coronavirus in hospitals in a bid to break the chain of transmission. The clinical trial, led by scientists at University College London (UCL), will evaluate the use of real-time viral genomic data to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within hospitals. The findings could help the NHS reduce further transmission by determining if an individual caught the virus from someone else within the same hospital, researchers say. “Spread of COVID-19 infections in hospitals is now recognised to be a major problem for both healthcare workers and patients, and breaking the chain of these transmissions is critical,” said Professor Judith Breuer, director of UCL/UCLH/GOSH biomedical research centres funded pathogen genomics unit, and trial lead.
Covid-19 could cause male infertility by harming testicular cells that produce sperm, study claims
Sperm production dropped to half its normal levels in male patients, study said More than one-in-ten sperm were also shown to be infected with the virus Covid-19 is able to infect the testes as they have ACE2 receptors like the lungs But to do this it must travel in the bloodstream which scientists say is unlikely
'COVID-19 free' hospital areas could save lives after surgery – global study
Setting up ‘COVID-19 free’ hospital areas for surgical patients could save lives during the second wave of the pandemic – reducing the risk of death from lung infections associated with coronavirus, a new global study reveals.
Jason Leitch: Coronavirus still considered a major threat by mainstream science
Mainstream scientific opinion still considers Covid-19 to be a "major threat to global public health", Scotland's national clinical director Jason Leitch has said.
Covid-19: Group of UK and US experts argues for “focused protection” instead of lockdowns
Thousands of medical practitioners and public health scientists have signed a declaration arguing for an alternative public health approach to dealing with covid-19. The Great Barrington Declaration,1 published on Monday 5 October, was drawn up by three epidemiologists and public health experts from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford universities, who describe their approach as “focused protection” of the people most at risk. As of Wednesday 7 October almost 6300 medical practitioners and public health scientists from the US, the UK, and other nations had signed the declaration. The authors—Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard, Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford, and Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine and economics at Stanford—said that because older people were 1000 times more likely to die of covid-19 than younger people, an “age stratified” approach could allow resources to be focused on older and high risk patients, while allowing younger and healthier people to attend school and keep businesses open.
Resurgence of Covid-19 cases in France Is real as testing positivity rate continues to rise
France struggled to control the surge of new cases during the first wave of Covid-19, resulting in a high rate of fatalities from cases. There was no meaningful testing capacity and it was offered only for serious cases. The country was placed under one of the harshest lockdowns in Europe in an attempt to flatten the curve. Similar to other countries in Europe, France’s Covid-19 daily confirmed cases started to decline in May and the country seemed to have regained control of the situation. France was also able to ramp up the testing capacity and it was available for a wider population in the community. However, the daily confirmed cases have started increasing again, giving rise to the concern that France is experiencing a second wave of Covid-19. This increase in cases cannot be fully explained by increase in testing capacity, as the percentage of cases tested positive continues to rise steadily.
Coronavirus: Why public transport could be safer than we thought
The risk of coronavirus spreading on public transport has remained substantially low through the pandemic, several international studies have shown. Safety measures imposed on public transport around the world since COVID-19 hit have made them "the safest places on earth", Dr Julian Tang, a professor of respiratory sciences at Leicester University, told Sky News. He said if people took the same precautions in other high-risk areas such as crowded streets and pubs, the number of cases would reduce there.
newsGP - Australia's COVID-19 response may have saved more than 16000 lives
The University of Sydney-led research, published by the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA), is based on modelling that used the UK’s COVID-19 response as a template. Led by Dr Fiona Stanaway, a clinical epidemiologist at the University of Sydney, researchers used data on all-cause mortality from England and Wales over the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak from March to May to directly estimate the number of excess deaths that may have occurred if the outbreak in Australia had been of a similar extent. ‘This resulted in an estimated additional 16,313 deaths in Australia: 9295 men and 7018 women,’ Dr Stanaway and her colleagues wrote.
Tough national lockdown is needed right now to stop COVID spread, says Sage adviser
With COVID-19 rates in England continuing to rise, a government adviser is pushing for a second national lockdown to bring them under control. Professor John Edmunds, who sits on the scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage), said local measures such as those introduced in some northern cities last week had failed. As a result, Edmunds said more stringent lockdown restrictions are now needed to bring the pandemic under control. Speaking on the day it was revealed that the UK-wide seven-day COVID-19 rate had increased to 125.7 cases per 100,000 people from 63.8 a week ago, Edmunds told the BBC’s Newsnight: “We need to take much more stringent measures, not just in the north of England, we need to do it countrywide, and bring the epidemic back under control.”
How Much Would Trump’s Coronavirus Treatment Cost Most Americans?
President Trump spent three days in the hospital. He arrived and left by helicopter. And he received multiple coronavirus tests, oxygen, steroids and an experimental antibody treatment. For someone who isn’t president, that would cost more than $100,000 in the American health system. Patients could face significant surprise bills and medical debt even after health insurance paid its share.
‘Guinea pig for white people’: Black Americans react to being asked to take part in coronavirus vaccine trial
Recruiting black volunteers for vaccine trials during a period of severe mistrust of the federal government and heightened awareness of racial injustice is a formidable task. So far, only about 3 per cent of the people who have signed up nationally are black. Yet never has their inclusion in a medical study been more urgent. The economic and health effects of the coronavirus are falling disproportionately hard on communities of colour. It is essential, public health experts say, that research reflect diverse participation not only as a matter of social justice and sound practice but, when the vaccine becomes available, to help persuade black, Latino and Native American people to actually get it.
China’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine appears safe, study shows
A Chinese experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences was shown to be safe in an early stage clinical trial, researchers said. In a Phase 1 trial of 191 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59, vaccination with the group's experimental shot showed no severe adverse reactions, its researchers said in a paper posted on medRxiv preprint server ahead of peer review.
Genetic tracing could show how coronavirus spread through White House
There’s a way for the White House to prove exactly how the outbreak traveled among its ranks: through gene-based contact tracing. But it doesn’t appear interested in doing so — even as the circle of President Trump's associates infected with the virus expands by the hour.The Trump administration could, if it chose, search samples taken from dozens of White House staff members and visitors for tiny genetic variants. Because the virus undergoes slight changes as it moves from person to person, it’s possible to map where it has moved by looking for similarities in mutations. White House spokesman Judd Deere said tracing has been done for people who had contact with Trump. But it’s the kind recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which involves merely tracking people who were nearby those known to be infected.
Sofosbuvir in combination with other antivirals safe for coronavirus
Researchers have demonstrated that RNA terminated by hepatitis-C drug Sofosbuvir may be more effective against the Covid-19 virus. The results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, support the use of the USFDA-approved hepatitis-C drug EPCLUSA -- Sofosbuvir/Velpatasvir -- in combination with other antiviral drugs in Covid-19 clinical trials. The SARS-CoV-2 exonuclease-based proof reader maintains the accuracy of viral RNA genome replication to sustain virulence. Any effective antiviral targeting the SARS-CoV-2 polymerase must therefore display a certain level of resistance to this proof reading activity, according to the researchers
Dexamethasone: Here Are The Side Effects Of The Covid-19 Coronavirus Treatment That Trump Received
To help treat the effects of Covid-19, President Donald Trump has reportedly received dexamethasone. Corticosteroids can have significant side effects, including mood, behavioral, and cognitive effects. The rationale for dexamethasone as a possible treatment for Covid-19 is that the virus can trigger inflammation and an uncontrolled immune response from your body. The strongest evidence for dexamethasone’s use for Covid-19 comes from RECOVERY, an ongoing clinical trial sponsored by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
Coronavirus: Bill Gates says richest countries could be 'close to normal' by late next year if vaccine found
The world's richest countries could be back "close to normal" by late 2021 if a coronavirus vaccine is found, Bill Gates has said. But the Microsoft co-founder warned that this is the "best case" scenario, as it still remains uncertain whether any vaccines will work. The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Tuesday a vaccine may be ready by the end of the year - earlier than suggested by the UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
When will the Covid vaccine be ready and who will get priority for immunisation? The truth behind the coming treatments
The Government’s vaccines advisory panel last week set out a priority list of who should be first in line for the Covid vaccine. This sets 11 categories — with top priority given to care home residents and staff. Those under 50 without known health problems come last. The guidance makes clear the pecking order “could change if the first available vaccines were not considered suitable for, or effective in, older adults”. Q: Will the vaccines work in everybody? Probably not. However, according to Dr Nuria Martinez-Alier, a consultant in children’s infectious disease and immunology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust, the “efficacy” of any vaccine — or how well it works — should be at least 50 per cent before it is rolled out.
Vaxart Ramps Up Coronavirus Vaccine Production
Vaxart is gearing up for a potential roll-out of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine. The clinical-stage biotechnology company is expanding its partnership with Kindred Biosciences to manufacture its oral vaccine candidate for the novel coronavirus. Under the terms of the deal, Kindred's plants will produce bioreactors for Vaxart's clinical trials.
Moncef Slaoui Talks to Kara Swisher About the Coronavirus Vaccine
Dr. Moncef Slaoui is the chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, and arguably the most powerful force in the mission to vaccinate America from the coronavirus. The scientist, a 30-year pharmaceutical industry veteran and registered Democrat, says he doesn’t “want to get into the politics” even though everything about the United States’ coronavirus response — from mask-wearing to President Trump’s illness — seems to have been politicized. Dr. Slaoui says he’s an adviser with “significant influence” — not a decision maker. And while he makes no guarantee about vaccine timelines, he does stand by a commitment to quit if politics interferes with science, saying, “I can guarantee that I will say what I think, and I am saying what I think.”
Coronavirus vaccine that could end pandemic ‘quite a way away’, Welsh first minister warns
People will have to learn to live with coronavirus because a pandemic-ending vaccine is “quite a way away”, the first minister of Wales has warned. As the world races to come up with a vaccine to stop the pandemic, Mark Drakeford said the public will have to live with restrictions for “quite a while yet” and suggested the first immunisations may only protect a person for a matter of weeks. He made his comments during a Welsh government online Q&A session with members of the public on Tuesday. Drakeford said: “The early vaccines will be vaccines that will give you some protection for a relatively short period of time. Months, sometimes maybe weeks, and then you’ll have to have it again.
Coronavirus vaccine may be available in Wales in six months - Chief Medical Officer Frank Atherton
A small number of vaccines could be available for the most vulnerable in Wales by March, according to the Welsh Government's top health official. Wales' chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Frank Atherton has said there is hope for a vaccine coming in by March 2021. "I want to say a few words about the ongoing search for a vaccine," he told the Welsh Government's press conference today. "There are a number of promising candidates, which are rapidly progressing through research trials, but we are still some way off having a vaccination against this virus ready to be rolled out throughout the population. "Small quantities of a vaccine could be available for those at the highest risk within the next six months if trials continue to progress well."
Coronavirus: Australia expects Covid-19 vaccine still a year away
Australia considered a rollout of a coronavirus vaccine no sooner than mid-2021 a best-case scenario in its pandemic planning that would save the economy tens of billions of dollars, the treasurer said on Wednesday. The Treasury and Health Departments developed economic modelling based on an assumption that a vaccine would be widely available in Australia toward the end of next year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said. “These are very uncertain times and as a government, we have taken every step possible to give Australia the best possible chance of getting a vaccine,” Frydenberg told the National Press Club. Treasury modelling doesn’t contemplate a vaccine becoming available in Australia early next year. An early vaccine is regarded as one that is rolled out from July 1, providing certainty to households and businesses while promoting consumption and investment.
Experts seeking healthy Scots to trial potential vaccines for coronavirus
Experts are seeking healthy Scots to participate in vaccine trials as the search for a coronavirus cure continues. The Oxford Covid-19 Vaccine Trial is looking for Scots in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Edinburgh and Lothian health board areas to take part. Volunteers will be split into two groups - one will be vaccinated with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and the other will be given a dose of Men ACWY. Patients will be asked to visit between six and 12 times over a course of 12 to 15 months as part of the trial.
India declines proposal to test Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine in large study
India’s drug regulator has knocked back a proposal from Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd to conduct a large study in the country to evaluate Russia’s Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine and has asked it to first test the vaccine in a smaller trial. The recommendations here by an expert panel of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) noted that safety and immunogenicity data from early-stage studies being conducted overseas is small, with no inputs available on Indian participants.
Researchers hope to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine using bovine adenovirus
A researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is part of a team of scientists working to develop a unique COVID-19 vaccine that uses a bovine adenovirus as a safe and effective delivery vehicle. With support from a nearly $3.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the team aims to create a vaccine that will protect all segments of the population, especially older adults.
Argentina has world's highest COVID-19 positive rate
Argentina has the world’s highest rate of positive COVID-19 tests, according to Oxford-linked tracker Our World In Data, with nearly six out of 10 yielding an infection, a reflection of low testing levels and loose enforcement of lockdown rules. Argentina hit 809,728 confirmed cases on Monday, with an seven-day rolling average of around 12,500 new daily infections. The country, which started strongly against the virus, passed 20,000 fatalities last week. Medical professionals said low-levels of testing and lax restrictions had propelled the high positive rate, that climbed from around 40% in August to just shy of 60% in the last week, a Reuters calculation using health ministry data shows.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Boris Johnson flatly rejects letting Covid-19 sweep through UK while protecting vulnerable
Boris Johnson today flatly rejected the idea of letting Covid-19 sweep through Britain while protecting the vulnerable. Downing Street made clear that such a policy, advocated by a group of academics, scientists and medics, could lead to young people infecting older generations who are at greater risk of being killed by coronavirus. No10 said the idea, being promoted under the banner of the Great Barrington Declaration, was based on an “unproven assumption” that it was possible to stop the virus being passed between generations to more vulnerable people.
Czech COVID-19 cases rising at fastest rate in Europe
New coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic reached a daily record of 4,457 on Tuesday, the health ministry said, as separate data showed the country now has the highest number of cases per 100,000 in Europe, surpassing Spain. Data published by the health ministry on Wednesday showed the rise in new cases during the previous 24 hours had exceeded the previous one-day record of 3,794, to bring the total number of cases in the country since March to 90,022.
Britain records 59 more Covid-19 deaths in early count
Coronavirus cases are compared to two weeks ago due to a serious counting error at Public Health England. Officials failed to announce the correct number of new cases - meaning 16,000 were missed last week. Although figures are heading in the wrong direction, they are a far-cry from the height of the pandemic
Italy expected to make mask-wearing compulsory OUTDOORS
Italy is considering making the use of masks outdoors mandatory nationwide to fight the coronavirus. Infections in Italy - the first European country to be hit by the virus - have risen steadily over the past two months. The regions of Lazio, around Rome, and Campania, around Naples, have already made mask wearing mandatory outside. And authorities are 'working on a proposal' to make it a compulsary rule nation-wide, Health Minister Roberto Speranza told the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday.
Europe's major economies predict more dire declines to come as coronavirus rages
Major European economies are warning of worse growth rates to come, downgrading already dire forecasts on the back of a second wave of coronavirus infections sweeping through the continent.
Coronavirus: UK recording more daily cases per capita than the US
143 cases per million people on October 5 in UK, compared to US' rate of 130 First time Britain recorded more infections per capita than the US since March US is still recording almost three times the raw number of infections as the UK
Steady rise in Covid cases, spillover effects of lockdown to hit economic growth: Report
Resurgence in Covid-19 cases is the main headwind for the gl obal economy and in India the steady rise in coronavirus caseloads will have an adverse impact on the country's economic growth, says a report. According to Dun & Bradstreet's Country Risk and theGlobal Outlook Report, the pandemic will induce long term structural changes in the global economy
PM Muhyiddin says Covid-19 cases will rise in Malaysia but no lockdown for now
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that he expects a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country in the short term as a record 691 new cases were reported on Tuesday (Oct 6). It was the second consecutive day of a record high number, after 432 cases were confirmed on Monday. Four new deaths were reported on Tuesday, including that of a one-year-old, the country’s first child fatality.
Poland reports new record of daily coronavirus-related deaths
Poland said it would enforce restrictions more strictly as it reported a daily record of 58 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, as well as sharp increases in the number of ventilators and hospital beds being used by COVID-19 patients. The country reported 2,236 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, close to Saturday’s record of 2,367. Poland, which has a population of 38 million, has reported 104,316 cases overall and 2,717 deaths, much lower than many other European countries. “Only those with a medical certificate from a doctor can choose not to wear a mask where it is mandatory ... any person who doesn’t wear a mask (and doesn’t have a certificate) will face the harshest of punishments,” Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told a news conference.
Party city Berlin slaps corona curfew on bars, restaurants
Germany’s capital decided on Tuesday to impose a late-night curfew on restaurants and bars to contain surging numbers of new coronavirus cases in Berlin. City mayor Michael Mueller, a Social Democrat, said experts had pointed to two problem areas that had to be addressed - large groups of people who were not sticking to social distancing rules and gatherings in closed rooms. “The advice showed we have to act quickly,” Mueller told reporters, adding action was needed to avoid a full lockdown in the German capital, famous for its club scene which has already come to a standstill due to corona restrictions.
Coronavirus: Three universities move to online teaching amid rising cases
Three of the UK's biggest universities have moved to online teaching due to coronavirus outbreaks. More than 1,000 students have tested positive for COVID-19 at the University of Manchester (UM) since the autumn term started last month. The university has now joined with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and the University of Sheffield in announcing a move to online learning to protect the health of students and staff. It comes amid renewed calls for all universities to halt face-to-face teaching and for the government to "stop pretending" campuses are able to control the spread of the virus.
Swiss report more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in a day
The number of new coronavirus infections rose by 1,077 in a day, data here from Switzerland's public health agency showed on Wednesday, the first daily increase of more than 1,000 since early April. The agency reported a total of 57,709 confirmed cases, up from 56,632 on Tuesday. The death toll rose by two to 1,789.
Coronavirus digest: Germany sees new spike in daily cases
Germany set a new post-peak record for new daily coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with 2,828 new cases. The number of people requiring treatment in intensive care and on ventilators also increased. In late March and early April, Germany was counting more than 6,000 new cases per day before they decreased. However, numbers began to slowly rise again since July. Lockdown rules have been gradually lifted since May, but the capital of Berlinannounced a partial curfew on Tuesday.
Covid-19 community spread of ‘significant concern’ for nursing homes
The rise in coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes is of “significant concern” and correlates with rising infection rates in the community, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) has warned. NHI Chief Executive Tadgh Daly said there is growing concern among nursing home operators over the recent rise in new Covid-19 outbreaks following weeks where the number was tapering off. At the end of August, there were 38 active outbreaks in nursing homes but this number fell to 26 by the end of September. By October 3, the number of active outbreaks in nursing homes had increased to 31, as highlighted by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) when it recommended moving to Level 5 restrictions.
New Lockdown
Scotland circuit break: What might it be like?
New lockdown restrictions will be announced on Wednesday, the first minister has said. It is possible this could be in the form of a "circuit-breaker" lockdown for a relatively short period. Nicola Sturgeon says it won't be the same as the lockdown introduced in March - so what might it look like?
UK Government’s Scientific Advisors Warn of Looming National Lockdown
SAGE experts say tighter lockdown ‘inevitable’ as coronavirus rates continue to soar in the UK. The government’s scientific advisors have warned that much tighter national lockdown rules are looming. Boris Johnson now faces an agonising choice over whether to bring in new restrictions for swathes of northern England, or even the whole country. The government’s advisors raised the alarm after the UK’s infection rate almost doubled in a week. There are now 125.7 cases per 100,000 people across the UK with 14,542 positive results confirmed yesterday – up more than 2,000 on the day before.
Belgium closes cafes and bars for a month in Brussels as the country moves towards second lockdown
Brussels cafes and bars will be closed and drinking alcohol in public banned. The latest round of measures will be in place until November 8, then re-assessed. Belgium recorded an average of 2,500 new COVID-19 cases per day in past week This represents a 57 per cent increase on the previous seven day period. Paris enforced similar measures yesterday, Madrid entered lockdown on Friday
Soaring coronavirus rate leaves Britain on lockdown alert
Surging coronavirus infection rates have put Britain on the brink of tougher lockdown measures, overshadowing Boris Johnson’s attempt yesterday to focus on life after the pandemic. The government’s scientific advisers called for “urgent and drastic action” after cases doubled in 11 days to 14,542 and deaths doubled to 76 in the same period.
Boris Johnson urged to impose coronavirus lockdown as cases surge
Boris Johnson's scientific advisers have urged him to introduce tighter lockdown measures as coronavirus cases surge across much of the country. The UK-wide infection rate rose from 63.8 a week ago to 125.7 as of Tuesday, meaning cases are now doubling every seven days. The prime minister appears to be resisting calls for a national lockdown. Professor John Edmunds, a scientific adviser to the government, said Boris Johnson should introduce further national restrictions to replace the patchwork of local measures currently in place across the UK. Professor Stephen Reicher, another scientific adviser to the government, said the prime minister should take action now to avoid a March-style lockdown by the end of October.
Second Wave of Virus? As COVID Threatens to Plague World Again, Many Countries go Back to Imposing Lockdown |
As the virus cases kept going down, many countries started with the unlocking process. But, many countries are now back to imposing lockdown measures to counter the spread of virus, which is threatening to plague the world yet again.