"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 23rd Jun 2021
Unusual 'consequences' of not getting a COVID-19 vaccination
Almost 900 Secret Service employees were infected with COVID
- Roughly 900 U.S. Secret Service employees tested positive for the coronavirus, according to government records obtained by a government watchdog group. Secret Service records show that 881 people on the agency payroll were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1 and March 9 - 2020, according to documents obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. More than 11% of Secret Service employees were infected. More than half - 477 - worked in the special agent division, which is responsible for protecting the president and the vice president, as well as the families of these leaders and other government officials.
Philippines President Duterte: 'You choose, Covid vaccine or I will have you jailed'
- President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to jail people who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as the Philippines battles one of Asia's worst outbreaks, with a cumulative total of more than 1.3 million cases and 23,000 deaths.'You choose, vaccine or I will have you jailed,' Duterte said in a televised address on Monday, following reports of low turnouts at several vaccination sites in the capital Manila. Duterte's comments flatly contradict the remarks of his health officials who say the vaccine is voluntary.
Trump wanted to send COVID-infected Americans to Guantanamo: Book
- Former President Donald Trump considered sending U.S. citizens infected with the coronavirus to Guantanamo Bay, according to a new book. 'Don't we have an island that we own? Trump asked staff in the Situation Room in February, 2020, the Washington Post reported. 'What about Guantanamo?'
- 'We import goods,' the book claims Trump, who later contracted COVID-19, said to his staff. 'We are not going to import a virus.'
- The comments came before coronavirus cases exploded in the U.S. and Trump's administration faced sustained criticism over its handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 601,000 people, according to the John Hopkins University tally. The majority of those deaths, roughly 400,000, occurred under Trump's administration.
- Trump's aides were stunned by the question about Guantanamo Bay and shut down the idea the second time it was raised. 'Testing is killing me!' the book claims Trump said to the then Health & Human Secretary Alex Azar on March 18. 'I'm going to lose the election because of testing! What idiot had the federal government do testing?'
In Pakistan, saying 'No' to COVID-19 vaccination carries unwelcome consequences
- Pakistan's punitive measures vary by region - health services are largely the responsibility of the country's four provinces - but the federal government has also announced penalties, all meant to prod a populace long suspicious of vaccines. Pakistan is one of only two countries where polio remains endemic, due largely to scepticism towards the polio vaccine.
- Pakistan's health minister, Dr Faisal Sultan, said the government aims to inform people of the need to be vaccinated. 'The most important lever is communication and education and removing of doubts. Requiring that people be vaccinated would be a last line of defence, though provinces have that power.'
- Sindh province said that it will withold the salaries of unvaccinated government employees, starting next month. Karachi has said it won't issue driving licences to the unvaccinated. In some places punitive action is already in place, in Sindh's rural Qambar Shahdadkot district the police chief has blocked the salaries of his unvaccinated members - who then were 2,000 strong with about a third unvaccinated. Now 98% of the force has had at least the first dose. The eastern province of Punjab, whose population exceeds 100 million, said this month it would block the cellphone connections of the unvaccinated - cellphone ownership is widespread. Human rights groups are not happy with the start of such punitive action and believe it is unjustified.
Almost 900 Secret Service employees were infected with COVID
Roughly 900 U.S. Secret Service employees tested positive for the coronavirus, according to government records obtained by a government watchdog group. Secret Service records show that 881 people on the agency payroll were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1, 2020 and March 9, 2021, according to documents obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. More than 11% of Secret Service employees were infected. Secret Service spokesperson Justine Whelan said COVID testing of employees was pro-active with more than 25,000 tests being administered.
Philippines president Duterte: ‘You choose, Covid vaccine or I will have you jailed’
President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to jail people who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as the Philippines battles one of Asia’s worst outbreaks, with a cumulative total of more than 1.3 million cases and 23,000 deaths. “You choose, vaccine or I will have you jailed,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday following reports of low turnouts at several vaccination sites in the capital Manila. Duterte’s remarks contradict those of his health officials, who have said that while people are being urged to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, it was voluntary.
Trump wanted to send COVID-infected Americans to Guantanamo: Book
Former President Donald Trump considered sending US citizens infected with the coronavirus to Guantanamo Bay, according to a new book. “Don’t we have an island that we own?” Trump asked staff in the Situation Room in February 2020, the Washington Post reported. “What about Guantanamo?” Guantanamo Bay is a detention camp on Cuba the US uses to house those accused of serious crimes, including enemy combatants from foreign wars and those allegedly behind the September 11 attacks. “We import goods,” the book claims Trump, who later contracted COVID-19, said to his staff. “We are not going to import a virus.”
In Pakistan, Saying ‘No’ to Covid-19 Vaccine Carries Consequences
Many countries offer incentives to entice people to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Pakistan is taking a more punitive approach. Authorities in this country of 220 million threaten those refusing to accept the shot with punishments from cutting off their cellphone connections to withholding their salaries. The penalties contrast with the prizes being dangled elsewhere in the world. A town in the Philippines is offering people who agree to be vaccinated the chance to win a cow. Some U.S. states are holding lotteries with cash prizes, while Hong Kong is giving away a multimillion-dollar apartment.
Moderna's president talks COVID-19 and vaccine technology
Soon after a new coronavirus began spreading around the world, little-known vaccine developer Moderna began working with the U.S. National Institutes of Health to create a vaccine using a new technology. That vaccine is now one of the pillars of the U.S. COVID-19 response, with 130 million doses administered just six months after regulators authorized it for use. Moderna is now testing its vaccine in younger people as well as potential boosters that may be needed in the future — along with vaccines and treatments for other diseases — all using similar technology based on genetic code called messenger RNA. The Associated Press spoke with company president Dr. Stephen Hoge, who oversees Moderna’s research.
New Zealand on edge after virus-infected Australian visits
After enjoying nearly four months without any community transmission of the coronavirus, New Zealanders were on edge Wednesday after health authorities said an infectious traveler from Australia had visited over the weekend. New Zealand has taken a zero-tolerance approach to the virus and continues to pursue an elimination strategy. The country’s response has been among the most effective in the world and the nation of 5 million people has recorded just 26 coronavirus deaths. But its vaccination campaign has been far slower than in most developed countries, with just 11% of the population having gotten their first dose. So although there were no immediate cases confirmed as a result of the traveler’s visit from Sydney to New Zealand’s capital Wellington, authorities were asking people at more than a dozen locations to self-isolate for two weeks and get tested.
Israel Recommends Vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds Amid Indian COVID Strain Fears
Israel's Health Ministry recommended on Sunday that the country vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds, following the outbreaks of the Delta variant of coronavirus in the country. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened a meeting with key ministries on Sunday in light of a resurgent rate of infection in Israel, and decided to bar people from travelling to high-risk countries and to enforce quarantine on arrival.
Italy to lift mandatory masks outdoors as pandemic slows
People in Italy will no longer have to wear masks outdoors from June 28, the government has said, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations decline in one of Europe’s worst-hit countries by the pandemic. Mandatory masks were imposed in October last year, when the country was entering a second wave of infections and authorities were struggling to curb a surging national caseload. Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government has been steadily lifting restrictions since April, allowing restaurants, bars, cinemas and gyms to reopen and permitting freedom of movement around the country. The wearing of masks was one of the last rules to remain in place.
Ministers to use Covid-19 passports to keep Premier League fans at stadiums if winter restrictions imposed
Ministers are drawing up plans to use Covid-19 passports to keep football fans in stadiums if fresh restrictions are imposed this winter. The Government has cooled on plans to use Covid Status Certificates to open up society amid fears it would be discriminatory and would put undue pressure on the testing system. But Government sources have told i the passports could be revived as a “backup” to keep pubs, theatres and mass events going if coronavirus cases begin to soar once again in the autumn and winter.
Turkey's Erdogan says easing COVID-19 restrictions further as of July
Turkey will further relax restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 from next month, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday after the number of daily coronavirus cases in the country fell to around 5,000. Lockdowns that had been imposed on Sundays and curfews from 1900 GMT on weekdays would be lifted from July 1, Erdogan said after a government cabinet meeting. "Public transportation restrictions will also be lifted and public institutions will return to normal working hours," Erdogan said.
Pandemic Response Sparked 'Widespread' Wealth Inequality Rise
Efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic have spurred wealth inequality across nations, the latest finding that coronavirus has impoverished many of the world’s poorest while bolstering the fortunes of the well off. The wealth share of the richest 1% in nations including the U.S., China and India rose last year, primarily due to governments slashing interest rates following the Covid-19 outbreak, according to Credit Suisse Group AG’s 2021 Global Wealth Report released Tuesday.
A QUARTER of American adults under 40 do not plan to get a COVID-19 shot due lack of trust in vaccines and fears of potential side effects
A new CDC report finds that 24.9% of Americans under 40 do not plan on getting vaccinated. Over 56% report they do not trust the vaccine, while 56% also report they fear side effects of vaccine. Other reasons included thinking they do not need a COVID-19 shot or that the virus is not a big threat to them. President Joe Biden has set a target of hitting 70% of the population vaccinated by July 4, which is unlikely
Eating Disorders Surged Among Adolescents in Pandemic
Experts across the country who treat eating disorders in adolescents and young adults say they are seeing unprecedented demand for treatment that arose during the pandemic. Inpatient units have doubled or tripled capacity, wait lists for residential programs and outpatient services are months long, and the patients coming in are sicker than ever. Experts say they have seen the biggest increase during the past year in anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder where people deprive themselves of food. Other disorders being seen include bulimia nervosa, where people binge on food and then try to get rid of it with laxatives or vomiting, and binge-eating disorder, where people consume excessive amounts of food in a short period.
Study finds ‘substantial’ antibody-level difference between BioNTech, Sinovac jab takers
Amount of antibodies does not directly reflect individual’s level of protection, but researcher notes increasing evidence that higher levels generally correspond with greater immunity against infection. Objective of study was to estimate incidence of natural infections over time and level of population immunity due to infections and vaccinations
Euro 2020: WHO concerned about easing COVID restrictions
The World Health Organization has said it was concerned about the easing of COVID-19 restrictions by nations hosting Euro 2020 matches, noting that some were already seeing rising cases. “WHO is concerned about easing of restrictions in some of the host countries,” Robb Butler, an executive director at WHO’s Regional Office for Europe, said in an emailed statement to the AFP news agency.
Persistent pulmonary disease after acute covid-19
Lingering pathology contributes to a wider picture of poor health after hospital discharge It has been over a year since the first patients were discharged from UK hospitals following treatment for covid-19. Hospital admission was largely dictated by the requirement for supplementary oxygen and additional respiratory support.1 Acute imaging commonly showed multifocal airspace opacification, and venous thromboembolism was recorded in around a quarter of adults admitted to critical care.2 This led to concern about the long term respiratory consequences of covid-19, particularly interstitial lung disease and pulmonary vascular disease.3 Fifteen months later, our understanding of the complications after hospital treatment for covid-19 is improving. A UK study of 47 780 discharged patients reported all cause mortality of 12% and readmissions in one third after 140 days of follow-up.4 Interestingly, although respiratory disease was diagnosed in 29.6% after discharge, rates of extrapulmonary complications, including diabetes, adverse cardiovascular events, and liver and kidney dysfunction were also increased compared with those in population matched controls, indicating that the effect of covid-19 extends far beyond the lungs.
Do we have to learn to live with Covid-19?
A new wave of Covid-19 cases is threatening to disrupt another summer in the UK as the government extends restrictions for England into July amid concern about the rate of spread of the Delta variant. The Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, tells Anushka Asthana that this time around we are in a very different position with most adults now having had two vaccine jabs. However, there is still a prospect of a sharp rise in Covid cases and with it more hospital admissions and deaths. Boris Johnson has said cases of the Delta variant are rising at about 30% a week.
Don't Count on Needing a Covid Booster Shot, WHO Scientist Says
As some governments and pharmaceutical officials prepare for Covid booster shots targeting more-infectious virus variants, health authorities say it’s too early to tell if they will be required. “We do not have the information that’s necessary to make the recommendation on whether or not a booster will be needed,” Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, said in a Zoom interview Friday. The “science is still evolving.”
COVID-19: Period changes after coronavirus vaccine 'could be coincidental', gynaecologists say
Changes to women's periods after the coronavirus vaccine are likely to be "coincidental", gynaecologists have said. It comes after data suggested more than 4,000 women reported changes in their menstrual cycle after getting a COVID jab. But experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) say that most women experience changes in their cycles - so the fact this is happening after the vaccine could be "by chance".
Indian Delta variant could create two Americas, experts warn
Expert warns that differences in vaccine coverage could create 'two Americas.' Delta variant first identified in India is rising in prevalence across the US. Highly vaccinated areas could be protected, while others may suffer. CDC director warns Delta will be dominant in the US in 'one or two months.' President Biden urges Americans to get vaccinated in 'race' against variant. Older adults and Democrats are most enthusiastic about the vaccine. But younger adults and Republicans are more likely to express skepticism
Delta COVID-19 variant greatest threat to U.S. pandemic response -Fauci
The Delta variant of the novel coronavirus that was first found in India is the greatest threat to the United States’ effort to eradicate COVID-19 in its borders, said U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Tuesday press call. "The transmissibility is unquestionably greater" in the Delta variant than the original variant of COVID-19, Fauci said, adding that "it is associated with an increased disease severity."
New Covid study hints at long-term loss of brain tissue, Dr. Scott Gottlieb warns
A new U.K. study examined brain imaging before and after a coronavirus infection and looked specifically at the potential effect on the nervous system. “In short, the study suggests that there could be some long-term loss of brain tissue from Covid, and that would have some long-term consequences,” Gottlieb said. Gottlieb explained to CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that the destruction of brain tissue could explain why Covid patients lost their sense of smell.
There may be trouble ahead as dangerous Covid-19 variant appears to cause hospitalization spike in a Missouri city
The Delta coronavirus variant, which is highly transmissible and possibly more dangerous than current predominant variants, now makes up more than 20% of all samples sequenced in the United States after the percentage doubled in a recent two-week period, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. The country seems to be following a pattern seen in the United Kingdom, both with a variant first seen there -- the B.1.1.7 Alpha -- and now with the Delta variant, said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "As was the case with B.1.1.7, we seem to be following the pattern with the Delta variant, with a doubling time of about two weeks," Fauci said Tuesday at a White House Covid-19 Task Force briefing.
Israel Sees Highest COVID Daily Infections in Two Months as Delta Variant Spreads
The highest daily coronavirus infection rate in two months was registered in Israel on Monday, with 125 people testing positive after local outbreaks of the delta variant had been reported across the country. The director-general of the Health Ministry, Chezy Levy, told Israeli television that about 70 per cent of the new infections were with the Delta variant. He also noted that half of those infected were children, and that a third of those infected had been vaccinated.
Bihar Saw Nearly 75,000 Unaccounted Deaths Amid 2nd Covid Wave, Data Shows
Close to 75,000 people died in Bihar of unexplained causes in the first five months of 2021, which coincided with the deadly second Covid wave, new data shows. This is almost 10 times the state's official pandemic death figure, raising the question of whether the state is undercounting its Covid deaths. About 1.3 lakh deaths were reported in Bihar in January-May 2019. The figure for the same time period in 2021 was almost 2.2 lakh, according to data from the state's Civil Registration System, showing a difference of about 82,500. More than half of this 62 per cent increase was reported in May this year.
Moscow imposes new virus restrictions as cases remain high
The mayor of Moscow announced new pandemic restrictions on Tuesday, saying the situation in the capital where the delta variant of the virus is spreading remains “very difficult.” The country’s state coronavirus task force reported 6,555 new COVID-19 cases in Moscow on Tuesday and a total 16,715 new infections across Russia, both tallies twice as high as a month ago. “The decisions that we’re making are difficult, unpopular, but necessary for saving people’s lives,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in an online statement, adding that more than 14,000 people severely ill with COVID-19 remain in the city’s hospitals. He has attributed the infection spike to the delta variant that first appeared in India. Sobyanin banned all entertainment and sports events at which more than 500 people are present starting Tuesday.
Angela Merkel receives Moderna dose after first AstraZeneca shot
German Chancellor Angela Merkel received a Moderna coronavirus vaccine as her second jab, after getting the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, a government spokesman said on Tuesday. The 66-year-old took her first dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in April, more than two weeks after German authorities recommended the use of the jab only for people aged 60 and above. Millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been safely administered in Europe, but concerns linger over a rare type of blood clot seen in an extremely small number of recipients, meaning that some people in early priority groups due to their age or pre-existing health conditions have been holding off on getting it, preferring to wait for another vaccine.
Oxford University explores anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment
The University of Oxford said on Wednesday it was testing anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID-19, as part of a British government-backed study that aims to aid recoveries in non-hospital settings. Ivermectin resulted in a reduction of virus replication in laboratory studies, the university said, adding that a small pilot showed giving the drug early could reduce viral load and the duration of symptoms in some patients with mild COVID-19
Indian court calls for probe of Renault-Nissan plant's social distancing
An Indian court on Tuesday asked the Tamil Nadu state government to inspect a Renault-Nissan plant on July 3 to check whether social distancing norms are being followed. The Renault-Nissan workers union petitioned the Madras High court last month seeking to halt operations, saying that social distancing norms were being flouted and company-provided health benefits were outweighed by the risk to their lives.
Abu Dhabi opens up free COVID-19 vaccines to tourists
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is offering tourists free COVID-19 vaccinations that were previously restricted to UAE citizens and residency visa holders. There is no indication that the change applies to Dubai, the most populous emirate, or the other five emirates that make up the UAE. Visitors with visas issued by Abu Dhabi and passport holders eligible for tourist visas when they arrive in the UAE through Abu Dhabi can book free vaccines, according to information provided by the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), which operates the emirate's public health infrastructure.