"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 7th Jun 2021
If we can vaccinate the world, we can beat the climate crisis
- It would only cost $50bn to ensure 40% of the world's population is vaccinated by the end of the year, and 60% by the first half of 2022. This is a recent estimate from the IMF, the latest institution to join a chorus of voices calling for a global vaccination programme to bring COVID-19 under control. The IMF has highlighted the economic benefits of global vaccines, which would be huge. But there is another powerful reason for a worldwide campaign
- Vaccinating the world will be crucial if countries are going to act together to confront the climate crisis, which will require many of the same things as delivering vaccines: resources, innovation, ingenuity and a true partnership between rich and developing countries. The COP26 climate conference in November will be an opportune moment for building this partnership. But to do so, rich countries need to deliver on their early promises to deliver global vaccines.
- As it stands today, vaccine access is deeply unequal. The U.S. is starting to vaccinate children, even as health workers and elderly people are waiting for shots in most of the world. At the end of April, less than 2% of the population of Africa had been vaccinated, while 40% of the population of the U.S. and 20% of the population of Europe had received at least one dose. India, one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world, has fully vaccinated 3% of its population, and is still in the middle of a nightmarish second wave that has forced the country to stop exports of all vaccines.
- It was clear for some time that this was where things were heading. Despite all the talk of solidarity at the beginning of the pandemic, rich countries built sufficient capacity to produce only enough vaccines for themselves and then proceeded to corner the world's supplies. By March, high-income countries accounting for 16% of the world's population had bought up 50% of vaccine doses. As of this month, only 80m of the 2bn vaccines promised to the world's poorest through the ACT accelerator, a partnership including the UN-backed COVAX scheme, have been delivered. The reason? A combination of insufficient donor funs and competition for vaccine doses from the richest countries, who can afford to pay high prices if needed, and who are planning to stockpile millions of extra doses for the future. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation estimates that rich countries will have up to a billion extra doses on hand by the end of this year.
- These inequities were mirrored by what happened with economic policiy. While rich countries borrowed massively and spent more than 20% of GDP to help their populations ride out the crisis, poor countries could afford to spend only 2% of GDP. An estimated 100 million more people are now living in extreme poverty compared to the start of the pandemic. Developing countries contemplating lockdown are caught in a double bind between economic disaster (in India for example, the first lockdown cost the country almost a quarter of its GDP) and overflowing morgues and mortuaries.
- The catastrophic moral failure on the part of rich countries to help poorer nations can only reinforce the strong suspicion in much of the developing world that, despite talk of global cooperation and shared fortunes, when push comes to shove its everyone for themselves. This could be devastating for global efforts against the climate crisis. The success of COP26 depends in part upon larger developing countries such as Bangladesh China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Paksitan committing to sacrifices that will only pay off if countries such as the U.S., UK, Germany, France and Canada can be relied upon to stick to their own commitments.
If we can vaccinate the world, we can beat the climate crisis
It would only cost $50bn to ensure 40% of the world’s population is vaccinated by the end of the year, and 60% by the first half of 2022. This is a recent estimate from the IMF, the latest institution to join a chorus of voices calling for a global vaccination programme to bring Covid-19 under control. The IMF has highlighted the economic benefits of global vaccines, which would be huge. But there is another powerful reason for a worldwide campaign. Vaccinating the world will be crucial if countries are going to act together to confront the climate crisis, which will require many of the same things as delivering vaccines: resources, innovation, ingenuity and a true partnership between rich and developing countries. The Cop26 climate conference in November will be an opportune moment for building this partnership. But to do so, rich countries need to deliver on their early promises to deliver global vaccines.
C.D.C. Says Child Covid Hospitalizations Are Rare, but More Frequent Than Flu
The number of hospitalizations related to Covid-19 among adolescents in the United States was about three times greater than hospitalizations linked to influenza over three recent flu seasons, according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday. The findings run counter to claims that influenza is more threatening to children than Covid-19 is, an argument that has been used in the push to reopen schools, and to question the value of vaccinating adolescents against the coronavirus. “Much of this suffering can be prevented,” the C.D.C. director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, said in a statement. “Vaccination is our way out of this pandemic.”
Switzerland to launch Covid certificates from June 7
The cantons will start making available the first Covid certificates - on paper or in digital form - from next week. They should be available throughout Switzerland by the end of June, the Federal Council said in a statementExternal link on Friday. Canton Bern has been chosen as a first test canton. To receive the free certificate Swiss residents must go to a pharmacy, doctor’s surgery, hospital or vaccination centre where staff can generate a digital QR code on a computer that confirms their status – either vaccinated, recovered from the virus or having proof of a recent negative PCR test. The forgery-proof QR code containing this information and other relevant personal details is then either printed out or transferred to the Covid Certificate smartphone app, which can be downloaded at Google and Apple app stores. It will feature an electronic signature of the Confederation.
Nearly 400,000 people still have long Covid a year after initial infection, new stats show
The number of people suffering from symptoms of long Covid more than a year after their initial coronavirus infection has jumped to almost 400,000. New data from the Office for National Statistics based on a survey of patients found the numbers of patients with persistent symptoms after 12 months jumped from 70,000 in March to 376,000 in May. Overall, the ONS said an estimated one million people had self-reported signs of long Covid which last for more than four weeks.
Meet the variant hunters on the frontline
Professor Sharon Peacock is acutely aware that in her line of work there is “a fine balance between calling it right and unduly panicking people”. She is the executive director and chairwoman of the Covid-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium, which means she is on the frontline of looking at new variants of coronavirus and discussing what the appropriate response to them is. It also means that she goes to a lot of long, politically-charged meetings — where her colleagues do not always agree. “We had a meeting about the Indian variant that overran by at least an hour because there was so much debate as to whether we would escalate the seriousness of the threat posed by the variant or not,” says Dr Christina Atchison, who leads Public Health England’s rapid investigation unit. “The majority of us felt we should err on the side of caution but there was a lot of discussion. I’d have been inclined to wait two to three weeks before easing lockdown on May 17 until we knew more — it takes two to three weeks to grow the virus in a lab to understand it — but I appreciate there are political and economic considerations.”
Pfizer jab approved for children, but first other people need to be vaccinated
Moderna and Pfizer have released data suggesting that their vaccines are well tolerated in adolescents and highly effective in preventing COVID-19. Canada, the US and the EU have already authorised the Pfizer vaccine in children as young as 12. And the UK has just approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children aged 12 to 15. But there may a case for holding out on an immediate rollout, for several reasons. Whether a vaccine is beneficial for someone depends on three things: how likely they are to become seriously ill from the infection, how effective the vaccine is, and the risks of vaccination.
Belgium allows indoor dining from June 9 in lockdown easing
Belgium cleared the way for indoor dining and drinking next week as an acceleration of COVID-19 vaccinations reduced strain on hospitals and allowed a further easing of restrictions. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told a news conference on Friday that from June 9, restaurants and bars can stay open later until 11:30 p.m. and serve customers in indoor spaces for the first time since closures late last year. The Euro 2020 soccer championship, where Belgium are among the favourites, kicks off next week, with many evening matches.
Yemen Covid Surge Threatens to Worsen Country's Humanitarian Crisis
Masks and social distancing are scarce in the port city of Aden, where many see Covid-19 as less of a threat than cholera or typhoid. Yemen has struggled with mass outbreaks of cholera, dengue fever, and typhoid, and poverty has surged to affect as much as 78% of the population since 2015, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and their allies began an offensive to restore the government ousted by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Now, as the world tries to emerge from a public health disaster, Yemen looks poised to hurtle more deeply into another one. After a first coronavirus wave in mid-2020, Covid-19 has “come roaring back” to Yemen, Mark Lowcock, the United Nations undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, warned in April.
Gavi welcomes U.S. allocation plan for vaccine dose-sharing – 19 million doses donated to COVAX in first tranche
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, welcomes the announcement by the United States Government of its strategy for global vaccine sharing, which sets out how it will provide at least 80 million doses of vaccines to the rest of the world – with the announcement of a first tranche of 25 million doses today. 75% of doses will be shared with COVAX, the global equitable access mechanism. This means that almost 19 million doses allocated in this first tranche will be provided to countries and territories around the world hit hard by global supply constraints. “This announcement allows us to quickly get more doses to countries in a strained global supply climate – meaning frontline workers and at-risk populations will receive potentially life-saving vaccinations and bringing us a step closer to ending the acute phase of the pandemic,” Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley commented. “We welcome this strong commitment by the Biden-Harris Administration, and look forward to working with the United States Government to operationalise these donations quickly.”
Coordination was the right path for the EU's vaccine strategy, but lessons need to be learned
The EU’s vaccination campaign has gathered pace and is expected to further accelerate in the coming weeks following a surge in available vaccines. This gain in momentum is sorely needed: there is much public frustration over the EU being outpaced by countries like Israel, the United States and—probably most painfully—its former member, the United Kingdom. Inevitably, the question arose whether the EU was acting smartly by attaining and distributing vaccines as a joint effort rather than having member states negotiate contracts individually.
Vaccinating children ‘not a high priority’ amid shortage: WHO
The World Health Organization’s top vaccines expert has said that immunising children against COVID-19 is not a high priority from a WHO perspective, given the extremely limited global supply of doses. During a social media session on Thursday, Dr Kate O’Brien said children should not be a focus of COVID-19 immunisation programmes, even as increasing numbers of rich countries authorise their coronavirus shots for teenagers and children.
In the race between variants and vaccines, rich Asia-Pacific countries finally start their sprint
A month ago, Kentaro Iwata couldn’t see how Japan might safely host the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games this summer. Coronavirus cases were climbing and vaccinations were slow to take off. But then the infectious-disease expert saw his country’s traditionally conservative establishment shift gears, and inoculations started to soar. “They changed the documentation, they changed the rules, they changed the traditions,” he said of Japan’s newly streamlined vaccination process. “I was quite surprised to see the panic of the government toward accelerating its vaccination program so quickly.”
The U.S. Is Sending 1 Million Vaccines To Mexico Border Cities And Resort Spots
One million Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are heading to Mexico from the U.S. with most of the shots set to service resort areas and spots along the border. The batch of vaccines is part of the 25 million excess doses the White House announced on Thursday would be shipped to other countries around the world. Much of the vaccine distribution will be through COVAX, an international system aimed at helping to vaccinate people in the world's poorest countries.
Taiwan's COVID-19 vaccine stocks more than doubled by Japan donation
Japan delivered to Taiwan 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca PLC's coronavirus vaccine on Friday for free, in a gesture that will more than double the amount of shots the island has received to date. Taiwan is battling a spike in domestic infections and has vaccinated only about 3% of its population. Japan has agreed to procure more than 300 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer Inc, Moderna Inc and AstraZeneca, more than enough to cover its entire population.
A safe return to U.S. schools seems closer with vaccines and testing improvements.
After a school year rife with debate over the safety of returning to classrooms, experts say that the United States is edging closer to a safe return to in-person learning in the fall. First, there is continuing good news on the vaccine front. Children ages 12 to 15 recently became eligible to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the U.S. and in the European Union, and the vaccine was endorsed by Britain’s drug regulator on Friday to be used for the same age group. Moderna plans this month to ask the Food and Drug Administration to clear its vaccine for use in 12- to 17-year-olds. For more than a year, parents across the United States have scrambled to adapt to online learning and keep their children focused. (And parents who balanced remote learning with work were the lucky ones. Many others lost their jobs, lacked adequate internet access or stopped work to tend to their families.)
Covid-19: Freedom won't last if UK doesn't share excess vaccine doses, aid agencies warn
Freedom from covid-19 restrictions will be short lived if the UK fails to share its huge supply of vaccine doses with low income countries, Unicef and Wellcome have warned the prime minister. In an open letter to Boris Johnson the organisations said the UK had secured access to enough doses to vaccinate the entire UK population twice over, while other countries still did not have enough to vaccinate their healthcare workers and the most vulnerable groups. The UK must now “show the historic leadership needed to end this crisis” and share at least 20% of its available doses between now and August, they said, and should call on the other G7 countries to commit to sharing one billion doses in 2021 and to fully fund the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, launched by the World Health Organisation to accelerate the development of tests, treatments, and vaccines and to ensure their equitable distribution.
Masks have stopped disease spread for centuries. Here’s why they may catch on in the U.S.
More than a year into a pandemic that has sickened tens of millions of people in the United States and killed more than 500,000, most people are eager to reclaim some semblance of their former lives. About half of the country has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccines authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. Infection rates are dropping. And federal health authorities have relaxed mask recommendations for people who are fully vaccinated against the virus. But it’s unclear what our new normal will look like and whether, at least in some form, it will include face coverings — which have been shown to not only help protect against the coronavirus, but also, with additional measures such as social-distancing, slow the spread of influenza and other respiratory diseases.
Groups amplify calls for COVID vaccine sharing as G7 leaders gather
A G7 health ministers summit in the United Kingdom wrapped up today with an agreement on standards to improve clinical trials and support for vaccine donations when situations allow, as pressure grew for developed countries to step up dose donations. In other global developments, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) said it is now experiencing its third surge, as some Asian countries continue to battle outbreaks and Australia detects cases involving another variant.
EU pushes rival plan to Covid-19 vaccine IP waiver, but some deride it as ‘meaningless’
Amid intense debate over equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, the European Union is offering a rival plan to a controversial proposal that would temporarily waive intellectual property protections in a World Trade Organization Agreement. But critics say the alternative is inadequate. The proposed plan is designed to safeguard patent rights, a hot-button issue for the pharmaceutical industry and some EU countries where drug makers are based. Instead, the EU suggested several ideas to increase equitable vaccine distribution, such as limiting export restrictions, voluntary licensing, sharing expertise, tiered pricing, making it easier for countries to use existing rules to override patents in some cases, and new investments in manufacturing plants in developing countries
Coronavirus: Germany fights trade in fake Covid vaccine certificates
A German police force has set up a special team to combat a growing black market in forged vaccine certificates. Police in Cologne told the broadcaster ARD that fraudsters were communicating via an encrypted messenger service which makes investigations difficult. They are still trying to determine the scale of the problem nationally. Some people are duped into paying about €100 (£86; $122), then get nothing. Covid "passports" to ease travel are being rolled out now across the EU. Of the Covid vaccinations approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) all but one - the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) one - require two jabs, several weeks or months apart.
One in four elderly black people in the UK still not vaccinated
A quarter of elderly black people in the UK have not been vaccinated, recent figures show, despite signs that hesitancy is improving generally. Nearly six months after the government kicked off the country’s most ambitious vaccination campaign, almost one in four black people over the age of 70 were not vaccinated as of 26 May, compared with 97% of white people of the same age. Among black people in their 50s, this figure rises to one in three, compared with 90% of white people, prompting calls for government to redouble efforts to tackle disparities as restrictions are lifted. Lower vaccination rates are particularly marked among people from African and Caribbean backgrounds, according to a Guardian analysis of figures released from OpenSAFELY.
Euro 2020: UK Government will NOT ease Covid-19 restrictions for foreign fans travelling
The UK Government will not be easing Covid-19 restrictions around Euro 2020. With Wembley hosting key games, many fans are expected to be flying in. Those from amber-listed countries will face a 10-day quarantine period. The UK has the toughest entry requirements of any of the host countries
Analysis: India's vaccine inequity worsens as countryside languishes
Urban Indians are getting COVID-19 shots much faster than the hundreds of millions of people living in the countryside, government data shows, reflecting rising inequity in the nation’s immunisation drive. In 114 of India’s least developed districts - collectively home to about 176 million people - authorities have administered just 23 million doses in total. That’s the same number of doses as have been administered across nine major cities -- New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Thane and Nagpur -- which combined have half the population.
Some Americans resist COVID vaccines as world faces shortage
California held its first COVID-19 lottery on Friday, which saw 15 vaccinated residents of the state win $50,000 each as part of a host of efforts across the United States to encourage Americans reluctant to take one of the country’s jabs, as the world struggles with rising cases and deaths amid a global shortage. California is the most populous state in the US, with nearly 40 million residents, and its programme is the largest in the nation. The state government has set aside $116m in cash prizes and incentives as part of “Vax for the Win”, including awarding a $50 grocery gift card to the first 2 million people vaccinated since May 27.
Covid-19: UK has highest vaccine confidence and Japan and South Korea the lowest, survey finds
The UK population has the highest confidence in covid-19 vaccines and its health authorities, while Japan and South Korea have the lowest, a survey of 15 countries shows. Carried out by Imperial College London and YouGov between March and May 2021, the survey included more than 68 000 people from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the US. It found that in 13 of the 15 countries more than 50% of people were confident in covid-19 vaccines and in 10 countries more than 50% were confident that their health authorities would provide them with an effective vaccine. Almost nine in 10 people in the UK (87%) said they trusted the vaccines, while 83% said the same in Israel. But in South Korea and Japan just 47% said they trusted the vaccines.
Delta Covid variant first identified in India now dominant in the UK, Public Health England announces
The Indian variant has overtaken the Kent strain to be the most dominant type of coronavirus in the UK, experts believe. Public Health England said cases of the B1617.2 variant, now known as Delta, have risen by 5,472 in a week to 12,431. There is also early evidence that there may be an increased risk of hospitalisation from Delta compared to the Kent variant, which has been renamed Alpha.
UK approves Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12-15
The UK has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use in children aged 12-15. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) authorised the use of the jab in the younger age group on Friday following a review of its safety,
Covid vaccine: Pfizer jab recipients have fewer antibodies against Delta variant
A recent study found that Pfizer jab recipients not only had almost five times fewer antibodies to protect against the Delta variant than the original strain of Covid-19, but also that these antibody levels decreased with time and age. The study, conducted by the Francis Crick Institute and the National Institute for Health Research, provided greater evidence for the need to shorten intervals between jabs, and to provide booster jabs, in order to keep as many people out of hospital as possible. The study analysed blood samples from 250 healthy individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine, and tested the ability of their antibodies to neutralise the different Covid variants.
Opinion | Why Are So Many Children in Brazil Dying From Covid-19?
In the modern history of catastrophic infectious diseases in Brazil, children often suffer the most in terms of deaths and disability. When dengue epidemics emerged in Brazil in 2007 and 2008, children accounted for more than half of the fatalities. When pregnant women became infected with the Zika virus during an epidemic that began in 2015, more than 1,600 newborn Brazilian infants were born with devastating microcephaly birth defects, far more than in any other nation. Respiratory viruses continue to disproportionately affect Brazil’s children, while hookworms and other intestinal parasites stunt childhood growth and development, especially in poor rural areas. Now Covid-19 is causing severe illness in young Brazilian children at levels not seen in other parts of the world. Research by Dr. Fatima Marinho of Vital Strategies, a nongovernmental organization, has found that more than 2,200 children under the age of 10 have died from Covid-19. While this number represents less than 0.5 percent of Brazil’s 467,000 Covid-19 deaths, more than 900 of the fatalities occurred in children under the age of 5. The United States has recorded nearly 600,000 deaths from Covid-19, but only 113 of those have been of children under the age of 5.
Industry Voices—Vaccines are pivotal in the war on COVID-19, but better treatments for acute COVID patients are critical
The COVID-19 pandemic has been cataclysmic for much of the planet, and the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes it, is far from finished with us. After earlier good control of the pandemic, Taiwan, Singapore and other countries are experiencing a surge, and India is facing a catastrophe, with millions of deaths counted already and the nation’s healthcare system devastated. In spite of the progress in suppressing the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., U.K. and some other countries, primarily through remarkably effective vaccines and non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as masking, social distancing, and good hygiene, it seems likely that COVID-19 will not in the foreseeable future completely disappear but will become endemic, with seasonal variation, similar to influenza. Because people will continue to fall ill, there will be an ongoing need for treatments, which are currently in short supply. Although some moderately effective drugs are already being used, new treatments are needed to treat severe COVID-19 infections.
Chile approves 2nd doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine, with new age limit
Chile said on Friday that people inoculated with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine should get their second dose, but health officials put a new limit on the age of recipients until an investigation into possible complications is completed. On Thursday, the health ministry said a 31-year-old man had developed thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) - a rare but serious condition involving blood clots with a low platelet count - seven days after his first AstraZeneca vaccine injection
COVID-19 still poses severe risk to unvaccinated teens: CDC
While most coronavirus hospitalizations occur in adults, the coronavirus still poses the threat of severe disease to teens, according to a new study issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly a third of teens ages 12-17 hospitalized with COVID-19 ended up in the intensive care unit, with 5% ultimately being placed on ventilators.
Coronavirus affecting mental health 'the norm,' research shows
Mild cases of Coronavirus can impact mental health just as much as severe cases, research by University College London (UCL) has found. Scientists analysed 215 studies from 30 countries, which found that 23 per cent of people who had contracted Covid-19 went through depression. Anxiety was also experienced by 16 per cent of patients.
Many people with covid-19 have neurological or psychiatric symptoms
Neurological and psychiatric symptoms such as anosmia and depression are common among people with covid-19 and may be just as likely in people with mild cases, new research suggests. Evidence from 215 studies of people with covid-19 indicates a wide range of ways in which the condition can affect mental health and the brain. The studies, from 30 countries, involved a total of 105,638 people with acute symptoms of covid-19 – the initial illness, rather than the longer-term impacts seen in long covid – including data up to July 2020. “We had expected that neurological and psychiatric symptoms would be more common in severe covid-19 cases, but instead we found that some symptoms appeared to be more common in mild cases,” said Jonathan Rogers at University College London, the lead author of the study.
Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine gains China nod for emergency use in kids, adolescents
China has approved emergency use of Sinovac Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine in people aged between three and 17, its chairman Yin Weidong told state TV late on Friday. China's mass vaccination drive, which administered 723.5 million doses of vaccines as of June 3, is currently only open to those aged 18 and above. When Sinovac's vaccine will be offered to younger groups depends on health authorities formulating China's inoculation strategies, Yin told state TV in an live interview.
Black fungus: Is diabetes behind India's high number of cases?
About 12,000 cases of a condition known as "black fungus" have been reported in India, mostly in patients recovering from Covid-19. This severe infection is normally very rare and has a mortality rate of about 50%. Some medical experts have suggested India has seen cases growing because of the high prevalence of diabetes. But are other factors at work and what is happening in other countries?
‘Mix and match’ Covid booster jabs may be offered in UK
Ministers are considering giving people a different type of Covid vaccine as an autumn booster, it has emerged, after early results from “mix and match” trials appeared to show promise for an enhanced immune response. Four different coronavirus jabs have been approved for use in the UK, with more under regulatory review. While people are currently offered two doses of the same jab, researchers have been exploring whether offering a second dose of a different Covid vaccine could generate a stronger immune response. It is also expected that people will be offered a third, “booster” injection, potentially in the autumn, in part to protect them against variants with some resistance to existing vaccines. One possibility being looked at is that this third jab could be of a different type to people’s initial two, a government source said.
As Vaccine Delays Grind on Across Africa, the Coronavirus Surges
A sudden, sharp rise in coronavirus cases in many parts of Africa could amount to a continental third wave, the World Health Organization warned on Thursday, a portent of deeper trouble for a continent whose immunization drives have been crippled by shortfalls in funding and vaccine doses. The W.H.O., an arm of the United Nations, said test positivity had risen in 14 African countries over the last seven days, with eight reporting a surge of over 30 percent in new cases. Infections are steadily climbing in South Africa, where four of nine provinces are battling a third wave. There has also been a sharp increase in cases in Uganda, with hospitals overwhelmed with Covid patients and the authorities mulling a lockdown.
Malaysia warns of rising number of COVID-19 deaths, cases among children
Malaysian health authorities have raised concerns about a growing number of coronavirus deaths and serious cases involving children, after a surge in overall infections forced the Southeast Asian nation into a strict lockdown. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin declared a two-week "total lockdown" from June 1-14, as daily COVID-19 cases and deaths hit record numbers, with the government warning the outbreak may be linked to more contagious variants. Malaysia recorded the deaths of three children aged below five due to the coronavirus in the first five months of this year, the same number recorded over the whole of 2020, according to Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah.
COVID-19 cases jump in Myanmar after outbreak near Indian border
Myanmar on Friday reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases since health services and testing collapsed in the wake of the Feb. 1 coup, adding to concerns over a growing outbreak near the border with India. The 212 cases reported from across the country are low compared to many neighbours, but are the highest in over four months. Many of the cases are from Chin State, bordering India, raising concerns that the more transmissible variant first found there is now spreading in Myanmar
Delta variant dominant in UK, may increase risk of hospitalisation
The Delta variant of concern first identified in India is now dominant in Britain and might have an increased risk of hospitalisation compared to the Alpha variant, Public Health England said on Thursday. There were 5,472 new cases of the Delta variant reported in latest weekly figures, taking the total confirmed cases of the variant to 12,431, PHE said, adding it had overtaken Alpha, the variant first identified in England's Kent, as Britain's dominant variant
Covid-19: Peru's official death toll triples to become world's highest
Peru has revised its official death toll in the covid-19 pandemic from 69 342 to 185 380, after a scientific review of medical records ordered by the government. The new figure means that Peru has had 5551 covid deaths per million population, proportionally the worst official toll in the world. Hungary, which before this week had the world’s highest official toll per capita, now stands a distant second at 3094 deaths per million. More than 0.5% of Peru’s people have died from covid-19, a toll worse than that recorded by the UK in the 1918-20 “Spanish” influenza pandemic. “We think it is our duty to make public this updated information,” said the Peruvian prime minister, Violeta Bermúdez, at a news conference announcing the publication of the report
Exit from lockdown ‘to be delayed by two weeks’ as Covid cases surge
A two-week delay to the planned easing of restrictions in England on June 21 is reportedly being considered after the number of people in the country with Covid-19 rose by 75 per cent. Multiple reports have also suggested plans to lift restrictions could be scaled down, with social distancing and the wearing of face coverings set to continue amid concerns the Indian variant is fuelling a surge in cases. The UK on Friday recorded its highest number of new confirmed coronavirus cases – 6,238 – since late March, according to official figures
In Peru's hinterland, a town battles world's worst COVID-19 outbreak
Set among green hills in Peru's rural north, the town of Chota is close to collapse under the weight of COVID-19 as the Andean nation battles the world's deadliest outbreak of the virus. Chota is grappling with raging infections, sharpened by a lack of intensive care unit beds and medical resources. It is on Peru's 'extreme alert' list along with a handful of other rural provinces - all far from wealthy urban centers.
CDC investigating heart inflammation following COVID-19 vaccination
An article raised awareness of heart inflammation following a COVID-19 vaccination in several cases. Only young males were affected. The CDC highlights that the risk is rare and vaccination to reduce COVID-19 transmission is still recommended.