"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 19th Jul 2021
England's COVID unlocking is threat to the world say 1,200 scientists
- Boris Johnson's plan to lift virtually all of England's pandemic restrictions on Monday is a threat to the world and provides fertile ground for the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants. international experts say.
- Britain's position as a global transport hub would mean any new variant here would rapidly spread around the world, scientists and physicians warned at an emergency summit. They also expressed grave concerns about Downing Street's plans.
- Government advisers in New Zealand, Israel and Italy were among those who sounded alarm bells about the policy, while more than 1,200 scientists backed a letter to the Lancet journal warning the strategy could allow vaccine-resistant variants to develop.
- An adviser to New Zealand's government told the summit he and his colleagues were astounded at the approach being taken in England.
- 'In New Zealand we have always looked to the UK for leadership when it comes to scientific expertise, which is why it's so remarkable that it is not following even basic public health principles,' said Michael Baker, a professor of public health at the University of Otago and a member of the New Zealand ministry of health's COVID-19 technical advisory group.
- Also participating was Prof Jose Martin-Moreno of the University of Valencia, a senior adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO), who said: 'We cannot understand why this is happening in spite of the scientific knowledge that you have.'
- Others warned the British government's approach would be imitated, for political expediency, by authorities elsewhere.
- 'What I fear is that some of the worst impulses in many of our states will follow the UK example,' said Dr William Haseltine, a former Harvard Medical School researcher and pioneering Aids researcher who chairs Access Health International, a New York-based thinktank.
- 'I am extremely dismayed to see the very rapid rate of increasing infections in a population that is vaccinated pretty much like we are.'
- Prof Christina Pagel, the director of University College London's clinical operational research unit, told the meeting: 'Because of our position as a global travel hub, any variant that becomes dominant in the UK will likely spread to the rest of the globe. The UK policy does not just affect us. It affects everybody and everybody has a stake in what we do.'
- The letter to The Lancet said: 'We believe the government is embarking on a dangerous and unethical experiment, and we call on it to pause plans to abadone mitigations on July,19, 2021.'
- 'The world is watching the current avoidable crisis unfold in the UK,' said Dr Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist and senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, who is talking part in Friday's summit.
- She added on Twitter: 'Let's be under no illusions - we are a country where our government is taking steps to maximally expose our young to a virus that causes chronic illness in many. Our government is ending all protections for our children including isolation of contacts of cases in schools & bubbles.'
England’s Covid unlocking is threat to world, say 1,200 scientists
Government advisers in New Zealand, Israel and Italy were among those who sounded alarm bells about the policy, while more than 1,200 scientists backed a letter to the Lancet journal warning the strategy could allow vaccine-resistant variants to develop. An adviser to New Zealand’s government told the summit he and his colleagues were astounded at the approach being taken in England. “In New Zealand we have always looked to the UK for leadership when it comes to scientific expertise, which is why it’s so remarkable that it is not following even basic public health principles,” said Michael Baker, a professor of public health at the University of Otago and a member of the New Zealand ministry of health’s Covid-19 technical advisory group.
Scientists round on UK over plan to end COVID curbs
‘I believe that the strategy of herd immunity is actually murderous,’ US scientist William Haseltine said, as the UK prepares to lift most restrictions on public gatherings, businesses and nightclubs.
Just 5% think 'Freedom Day' will mark return to normal as Brits stay cautious
A new poll shows 85% of Brits will keep on social distancing - and nearly 40% believe it's too soon to lift Covid-19 restrictions
UK govt plan to end virus orders queried as cases top 50,000
The U.K. recorded more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time in six months Friday amid a warning from the British government’s top medical adviser that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 could hit “quite scary” levels within weeks. Government figures showed another 51,870 confirmed lab cases, the highest daily number since mid- January. Infections have surged in recent weeks, mainly among unvaccinated younger people, as a result of the far more contagious delta variant and the continued easing of lockdown restrictions. Despite the increase, the British government plans Monday to lift all remaining legal restrictions on social contact in England and to ditch social distancing guidelines as well as the legal requirement for people to wear masks in most indoor settings, including shops, trains, buses and subways.
C.D.C. Director Warns of a ‘Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’
As the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus fuels outbreaks in the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Friday that “this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain far below last winter’s peak, and vaccines are effective against Delta, but the C.D.C. director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, urged people to get fully vaccinated to receive robust protection, pleading: “Do it for yourself, your family and for your community. And please do it to protect your young children who right now can’t get vaccinated themselves.”
CDC director warns of 'pandemic of the unvaccinated' as cases rise
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky ROCHELLE WALENSKY Overnight Defense: Milley reportedly warned Trump against Iran strikes | Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer killed in Afghanistan | 70 percent of active-duty military at least partially vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC director warns of 'pandemic of the unvaccinated' | Biden says social media platforms 'killing people' | Florida accounts for 20 percent of new cases Biden: Social media platforms 'killing people' MORE warned of rising cases on Friday, stating that COVID-19 is "becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated" and that vaccinated people are protected against severe disease. The highly transmissible delta variant is fueling expanding outbreaks, but they are centered in parts of the country with lower vaccination rates. "This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Walensky said during a White House press briefing. "We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage, because unvaccinated people are at risk."
South Africa footballers test positive for Covid-19 in Tokyo Olympic Village
Team GB’s preparations for the Olympics have been plunged into chaos after six athletes and two staff members from the athletics squad were forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with a member of the public who had Covid-19 on their flight to Tokyo. The news, which broke late on Sunday afternoon in Yokohama after the athletes had finished training for the day, stunned officials who immediately rushed to ensure that the athletes and staff members were confined to their rooms.
U.S. COVID-19 vaccine doses going to Ukraine, Bangladesh
The United States sent 2 million doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine to Ukraine via the COVAX international vaccine-sharing program on Friday, a White House official said, and plans to send 3.5 million Moderna doses to Bangladesh over the weekend. The doses for Bangladesh will arrive on Monday, the official said. The doses are part of President Joe Biden's promise to share doses of U.S. vaccine with other countries around the world, via COVAX or directly.
Covid:-19 Decision on vaccinations for under-18s 'within days'
The evidence we have received so far is compelling and ministers are going to make a decision armed with the advice in the coming days." If it does get the go-ahead, those just short of their 18th birthday are likely to be invited to have a vaccine first,
COVID-19: Cautionary tale from the Netherlands' coronavirus unlocking - what lessons can the UK learn?
As the UK's nations prepare to ease coronavirus restrictions, another European nation is reimposing curbs on its citizens. The Dutch celebrated their "Freedom Day" two weeks ago only to find COVID-19 cases soaring to unprecedented levels. The spike in case rates led the Dutch prime minister to concede that coronavirus restrictions had been lifted too soon. While the epidemiological situation varies between the two countries and direct comparisons are difficult, is there anything the UK could learn from the Dutch experience?
African countries to receive first U.S. donated COVID-19 vaccines in days - Gavi
49 African countries to receive 25 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses. First deliveries soon to Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Ethiopia. Africa recorded a 43% jump in COVID-19 deaths last week
As Delta drives COVID surge, vaccines, strategies under scrutiny
Malaysia’s health ministry has announced that it will stop using the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac once its supplies end, while other Southeast Asian countries have said they are looking to mix and match the Chinese-made shots with those from western manufacturers amid a surge in cases driven by the highly-transmissible Delta variant. Malaysian Health Minister Adham Baba announced on Thursday that about half its 16 million doses of Sinovac have already been distributed and the remainder will be used to cover second doses.
A Louisiana doctor's COVID plea: 'If you don't choose the vaccine, you're choosing death'
A Baton Rouge infectious disease specialist gave a stark account Friday of the dangers of the coronavirus delta variant circulating through Louisiana, saying that it's causing children to lose their parents, pregnant women to lose their babies and that choosing vaccination is the only option to avoid more deaths.
World leaders pledge to focus on global vaccination efforts
Leaders of the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, including US President Joe Biden, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and China’s Xi Jinping, pledged on Friday to work to expand sharing and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines to fight the global pandemic. The leaders, struggling to tame outbreaks exacerbated by the Delta variant, said they would encourage the voluntary transfer of vaccine production technologies “on mutually agreed terms” as the region prepared for future health shocks.
Covid 19: More than one third of Londoners unvaccinated
More than one third of Londoners have not had their first vaccine dose making it the area with the lowest uptake in England, latest figures show. The data from NHS England also shows 55% have not had a second dose. Across England, 88% of people have had a first dose and 68% the second. Figures also show the city has one of the lowest rates of Covid-19 cases, with 298 per 100,000. Sadiq Khan said "everything possible" was being done to vaccinate everyone.
Covid-19: PM and chancellor to self-isolate in U-turn
In U-Turn, UK's Johnson to Quarantine After COVID-19 ContactU.S. News & World ReportCoronavirus latest news: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak reverse decision to not self-isolate after getting 'pinged'Telegraph.co.ukBoris Johnson and Rishi Sunak WILL self-isolate after being 'pinged'Evening StandardView Full coverage on Google News
Johnson to press ahead with lifting Covid rules despite ‘worry’ over case numbers
Boris Johnson is set to lift Covid restrictions across England on Monday despite Downing Street conceding concerns over rapidly rising case numbers as more than 1,200 international scientists and health experts urged the government to scrap the “dangerous experiment” of “freedom day”. New daily infections in the UK broke the 50,000 threshold on Friday for the first time since mid-January and official figures showed one in 95 people in England are estimated to have the virus – more than quadruple the rate in the middle of June, when the prime minister set 19 July for lifting most of the country’s last infection control measures.
Olympic village tests first COVID case days before Tokyo Games
The Tokyo Olympics has registered its first COVID-19 case in the Olympic Village six days before the Games open, the organisers have said. Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto confirmed on Saturday that a visitor from abroad who is involved in organising the Games had tested positive. He would not reveal the person’s nationality, citing privacy concerns.
Freedom or folly? UK's end to mandatory masks sows confusion
For many, it’s common courtesy or a sensible precaution. For others, it’s an imposition, a daily irritation. The face mask — a highly charged source of debate, confusion and anger around the world during the coronavirus pandemic — is now dividing people as the crisis eases. Britain is bracing for acrimony on Monday, when the government lifts a legal requirement to wear face coverings in most indoor settings, including shops, trains, buses and subways. Donning a mask in many places will stop being an order and become a request. Already, people are split over how to respond.
Violent unrest in South Africa imperils COVID-19 response
A six-month-old baby, shot in the head during a crossfire, was among the patients treated by Dr Suhayl Essa at central Johannesburg’s Hillbrow Clinic on Sunday. Later that day, four foreign nationals, each stabbed in the chest in suspected bouts of xenophobic violence, arrived in the space of half an hour, followed a man whose eyeball was left almost hanging from its socket after being struck by a rubber bullet.
Bangladesh plans to vaccinate Rohingya against COVID: Official
Bangladesh plans to start rolling out inoculations against COVID-19 for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya living in crowded refugee camps next month, says a senior official. “Subject to availability of the doses, we will begin administering the jabs among Rohingya anytime in August,” Shah Rezwan Hayat, chief of Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission, told DPA news agency on Friday.
New poll finds confidence in science has plunged among some groups
Forty five percent of Republicans have either a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in science. More than 40 years ago, Republicans had more confidence in science than Democrats. The average adult at 33 percent either has "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in public institutions.
Thailand expands lockdown areas as COVID-19 cases surge
The Thai government on Sunday announced plans for a tighter lockdown in Bangkok and high-risk provinces next week, suspending most domestic flights and expanding curfew areas after the country reported a third straight day of record COVID-19 case numbers. Thailand reported 11,397 infections and 101 deaths on Sunday, bringing the cumulative total to 403,386 cases and 3,341 fatalities, the vast majority from an outbreak since early April that is being fuelled by the highly transmissible Alpha and Delta COVID-19 variants.
Opera singers are teaching long-term Covid-19 patients to breathe again
Covid-19 shoved Jeff Sweat into a medical coma for three weeks last winter, face down on a ventilator, on death's trap door. "I took care of him when he was literally near death," said Dr. Nida Qadir, a pulmonologist and co-director of the Intensive Care Unit at UCLA Medical Center. "He has no memory of meeting me." But now the pair are well acquainted -- the lung specialist and the 49-year-old married father with three teenagers -- as he sings his way to recovery in a unique therapy program at UCLA. Sweat and several other patients with serious medical complications caused by the virus attend weekly opera classes via video conference, conducted by members of the Los Angeles Opera and music educator Rondi Charleston.
British ministers decide against mass vaccination for teens - The Telegraph
Britain has opted against mass COVID-19 vaccinations for all children and teenagers, with ministers instead preparing to offer doses to vulnerable 12 to 15-year-olds and those about to turn 18, the Telegraph newspaper reported late on Saturday.
Long covid might strike half a million people during current wave, Neil Ferguson warns
Around half a million people can be expected to develop long Covid during the current wave of coronavirus, epidemiologist Neil Ferguson has warned. The Imperial College London scientist said it was “almost inevitable” that daily infection rates will hit a record 100,000 within weeks, and said the pandemic could spike at more than 200,000 positive cases a day. Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick agreed that the wave driven by the Delta variant of Covid-19 will be “challenging” and could last into September, but said the government would do “everything we can” to avoid further lockdown restrictions.
China Zhifei's COVID shot largely retains effect against Delta variant-lab study
A COVID-19 vaccine developed by a unit of China's Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products largely retained its neutralising effect against the Delta variant but there was a slight reduction, Chinese researchers found in a laboratory study.
Boris Johnson pursuing Covid policy of mass infection that poses ‘danger to the world’, scientists warn
Boris Johnson’s government has come under pressure to urgently reconsider its plan to end Covid restrictions in England on Monday, as international scientists warned that the move poses a “danger to the world”. More than 1,200 scientists from around the globe have condemned the prime minister’s decision to forge ahead with so-called “freedom day” on 19 July, describing it as “unscientific and unethical”. Some of the experts convened an emergency summit on Friday, warning that the UK government’s decision to lift its rules on social distancing and masks amounted to a “murderous” policy of “herd immunity by mass infection”. The group of scientists – who all signed a recent letter to The Lancet warning against the plans – fear next week’s reopening in England will allow the Delta variant to spread rapidly around the world.
Children's viruses that disappeared during pandemic lockdowns are back, doctors say
As children emerge from their homes after COVID-19-related lockdowns, common viruses that all but disappeared during the pandemic are re-emerging too, doctors say. "This time of year in pediatric hospitals, it's usually quiet," said Dr. Fatima Kakkar, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at CHU Sainte-Justine in Montreal. "But now we're seeing a surge of respiratory infections." The level of non-COVID illnesses is what Kakkar usually sees in the fall, she said, when children are out and about in daycares or schools.
FDA grants priority review to Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine; decision on approval expected by January 2022
Pfizer and BioNTech said Friday that the US Food and Drug Administration has granted priority review designation to their application for full approval of their Covid-19 vaccine, and an FDA official said the decision will come "soon". The FDA official told CNN on Friday that a decision on full approval is likely to come within two months. The agency considers this matter a priority, said the official, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine Generated 10 Times More Antibodies Than China’s Sinovac Shot, Hong Kong Study Shows
People who were inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine had ten times the amount of antibodies compared to those who had received the Chinese-developed Sinovac vaccine, a Hong Kong study has shown, likely offering evidence about the varying levels of protection offered by different Covid jabs.
Studies elucidate poorly understood long COVID
Three new studies detail "long-haul" COVID-19, one finding 203 symptoms involving 10 organ systems, another showing that more than five coronavirus symptoms in the first week of infection portends a long disease course, and one finding few long-haul–like symptoms in children.
Did an Eid al-Fitr mass exodus kick-start Indonesia’s COVID chaos?
In the run-up to the holiday, the Indonesian authorities banned people from returning to their hometowns – a process known as “mudik”, usually involving some 20 million people – in a move designed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Roadblocks were set up, toll roads barricaded and checkpoints erected to prevent what was deemed unnecessary travel from May 6. But despite the ban, clandestine routes called “jalan tikus” (rat runs) mushroomed as travellers flouted the restrictions and went home anyway. Others were allowed to travel because of work or other reasons. By sheer coincidence, the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the date of which changes every year in line with the lunar calendar, coincided with Ascension Day, a Christian holiday. As a result, on May 13, a double holiday was celebrated by Indonesia’s Christian minority and Muslim majority communities across the archipelago.
Senegal's daily COVID-19 cases double overnight, new restrictions likely
Senegal's daily COVID-19 cases nearly doubled overnight to its highest since the outbreak began, the health ministry said, just one day after President Mackey Sall threatened to reimpose strict safety measures if cases continued to increase.
Doctors and health officials say their latest Covid-19 hospital patients are unvaccinated and increasingly younger
Covid-19 is putting younger, healthy and mostly unvaccinated people in hospitals at higher rates as cases continue to climb in much of the US, health experts say. Over the past week, 48 states saw an increase in Covid-19 cases, with 30 reporting a more than 50% increase, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. Low vaccination rates in some areas and increased spread of the more contagious Delta variant are making an already deadly virus even worse, especially for younger, healthy people, Dr. Catherine O'Neal, an infectious disease specialist at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told CNN's Erin Burnett on Friday.
Nigeria puts six states on COVID-19 red alert, curbs gatherings
Nigeria has put six states on red alert after seeing a "worrisome" rise in COVID-19 infections, a government official said, urging people to curb gatherings and hold prayers outside mosques during this week's Muslim festival Eid-el-Kabir. Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, is like most parts of the continent now facing a COVID-19 third wave after detecting the more transmissible Delta variant.
Indonesia reports record number of doctor deaths from COVID-19 in July
Deaths of doctors from COVID-19 in Indonesia rose sharply in the first half of July, according to the profession's association, as the Delta variant of the coronavirus fuelled a surge in infections across the country.
Covid cases could hit 100,000 ‘in two weeks’ with lockdown needed ‘by September’
The UK’s third wave of coronavirus could last well into the autumn, one of the government’s scientific advisers has warned. Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), suggested the current wave ‘will be quite long and drawn out’ after lockdown is lifted in England next week. The so-called ‘freedom day’ on Monday will see the majority of the remaining legal restrictions dropped, meaning the end of social distancing measures, the return of large-scale events and workers beginning to head back into the office.
‘Wembley variant’: England fans report soaring Covid cases after gathering for Euro 2020 final
Swathes of England football fans have reported testing positive for coronavirus following the Euros final on Sunday night, as Public Health England (PHE) issued renewed calls for regular testing ahead of the lifting of restrictions on Monday. Some fans said that “pretty much everyone” they knew who headed to the stadium had contracted the virus or was self-isolating. The large numbers of fans reporting positive Covid tests following the match has led people to dub the illness “the Wembley variant”. The final at Wembley, which was part of a Government trial to test the safety of large events, saw 60,000 fans attend with no social distancing or masks after producing a negative test result. However, thousands more congregated outside and dozens of ticketless fans stormed the stadium.
Sydney lockdown shock as Gladys Berejiklian admits NSW has failed to ‘quash’ Covid outbreak
Lockdown restrictions in Greater Sydney will be drastically tightened after the New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, conceded measures introduced three weeks ago were failing to stop an outbreak of more than 1,000 cases. Berejiklian made the changes after repeatedly denying in the past week that there was any need to harden restrictions, saying people could use their “common sense” to decide whether they were an essential workplace that had to stay open.
UK has nine times more Covid cases than France as country moves to 'amber plus' list
The UK has extended quarantine rules for France, despite Britain having almost nine times as many Covid cases. British holidaymakers coming home from France after Monday will still have to continue to quarantine for 10 days, officials have announced. The requirement will be dropped for all other 'amber list' countries as long as returning Brits have been double-jabbed. Many travellers have questioned why the rules are continuing for France when it has a comparatively low number of new Covid infections. The UK recorded a further 244,691 cases in the 7 days to July 14, while France only had 27,713 infections over the same period, according to Our World in Data.
Indonesia overtakes India as Asia's new Covid-19 epicenter
Indonesia reported 54,517 new cases of Covid-19, authorities said Wednesday, a single-day national record and dire warning sign for the world's fourth-most populous country. The island nation -- home to about 270 million people -- is now reporting more cases a day than hard-hit India, making Indonesia the new epicenter for the pandemic in Asia. If the spread continues unabated, experts say it could push Indonesia's health care system to the brink of disaster. Some fear the situation may be worse than the numbers show, because not enough people are getting tested for the virus. A survey published Saturday found that nearly half of the 10.6 million residents of Jakarta may have contracted Covid-19.
COVID-19 crisis could return quickly as infections surge, UK adviser warns
Chief Medical Officer: England not out of COVID-19 woods. Daily case numbers highest since January. England set to end legal restrictions on July 19. Self-isolation vexes businesses as full reopening nears
US COVID-19 cases climb steadily all week
Today in a White House news briefing, public health officials spotlighted the COVID-19 surges appearing across the country and reiterated the urgency for people to get vaccinated. Not only has the moving 7-day average of new daily cases increased every day this week, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said that 10% of US counties were recently reclassified as "high transmission risk" areas and 7% moved into the "substantial risk" category. Many of these areas, she added, corresponded with low vaccination rates.
India orders 660 mln vaccine doses amidst warnings over shortages - media
The Indian government has ordered 660 million vaccine doses for August-December, its largest procurement, local news reports said on Friday, as state authorities and health experts warned that shortages could leave millions vulnerable if coronavirus infections surge again. The federal government aims to inoculate all of the country's estimated 944 million adults by December, a target health experts have said is ambitious, as only 8% of that number is currently vaccinated with the mandatory two doses.
UAE's Abu Dhabi announces partial lockdown effective July 19 -tweet
The United Arab Emirate's Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee announced on Thursday a partial lockdown and new entry requirements in the emirate starting July 19, from midnight until 5 a.m., as part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants, the media office reported in a tweet.
Thailand weighing up more lockdown measures as COVID-19 cases surge
Thailand is considering bringing in tighter coronavirus curbs in a bid to contain soaring infections, as authorities reported on Friday a record number of cases despite imposing partial lockdowns in Bangkok and nine other provinces this week. Since Monday, areas considered high risk in Thailand have been under the toughest restrictions in more than a year, with new curbs on movement and gatherings, the closure of malls and some businesses, and curfews between 9 pm to 4 am
White House slams Facebook as conduit for COVID-19 misinformation
Facebook is not doing enough to stop the spread of false claims about COVID-19 and vaccines, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday, part of a new administration pushback on misinformation in the United States. Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, needs to work harder to remove inaccurate vaccine information from its platform, Psaki said.