"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 13th Aug 2021
One Minute Overview
- Mississippi braces for 'failure' of hospital system due to covid-19 surge and lack of ICU beds
- New Zealand borders to remain closed for rest of the year
- France to strengthen COVID-19 lockdown in Guadeloupe island
- Pfizer's Covid vaccine may only be 42% effective against the Mayo Clinic 'Delta' variant, Moderna's 76% according to new study
- Kenyan oxygen maker to double production as COVID-19 fuels demand
- FDA to Authorize Third Vaccine Dose for People With Weak Immune Systems
Fortress New Zealand eyes opening to vaccinated travellers early 2022
New Zealand plans to allow quarantine-free entry to vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries from early 2022, as it looks to open its borders again after nearly 18 months of pandemic-induced isolation. Tight border controls and its geographic advantage helped New Zealand stamp out COVID-19 much faster than almost all other countries, but this left the Pacific island nation of 5 million almost entirely cut off from the rest of the world. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday that the country is still not ready to open up entirely, but will open in phases from early next year. "We’re simply not in a position to fully reopen just yet," the 41-year-old leader said in a speech outlining plans to reconnect New Zealand with the world.
CDC head warns unauthorized boosters undermine safety monitoring
Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned Thursday that Americans getting unauthorized booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine undermine the CDC's safety monitoring of recipients. Why it matters: With booster shots a near inevitability, many Americans are eager to know when they will be able to get one. Some are now circumventing official CDC guidelines and getting a third shot. Driving the news: More than 1 million people in the U.S. have received unauthorized booster shots of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, ABC News reported Tuesday.
Mississippi braces for 'failure' of hospital system due to covid-19 surge and lack of ICU beds
A surge in coronavirus patients and a shortage of health-care workers and intensive care unit beds have pushed Mississippi’s hospital system to the brink of “failure,” state health officials warned Wednesday, saying drastic federal intervention was needed to help the state grapple with the thousands of new daily infections that have overwhelmed doctors and nurses.
White House outlines grim COVID-19 trends as delta surge worsens
The seven-day numbers for new COVID-19 cases reached about 113,000 new cases per day in a 24 percent increase from the previous week. Hospital admissions rose 31 percent, to an average of 9,700 hospitalizations per day, and fatalities surpassed 450 per day, a 22 percent increase. “We continue to see cases, hospitalizations and deaths increase across the country,” Walensky said. “And now over 90 percent of counties in the United States are experiencing substantial or high transmission.” Officials said unvaccinated populations are taking the brunt of the COVID-19 surges, with Walensky saying, “As we’ve been saying by far, those at highest risk remain people who have not yet been vaccinated.”
Cambodia starts vaccine booster drive to shore up COVID-19 defence
Cambodia started offering coronavirus vaccine booster shots on Thursday in a renewed public health drive after managing to inoculate more than half of its population.
Covid-19: Vaccine portal for 12 to 15-year-olds in Ireland opens
More than 50,000 children in the Republic of Ireland aged between 12 and 15 have signed up to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Registrations opened for the age group on Thursday. The Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) said more than 42,000 children had been signed up by mid-morning, Irish broadcaster RTÉ reported. Around 280,000 children will be eligible for immunisation with a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Children need consent from a parent or guardian, either when registering online, or at the vaccination centre.
LA joins NY in requiring vaccine passports for customers
The LA City Council directed its city attorney on Wednesday to draft legislation requiring customers show proof of at least one vaccine dose to enter. The legislation also includes retail establishments, making it more restrictive than one announced in New York City last week. It is not yet clear how places such as grocery stores will be affected. It comes as average of 3,422 new cases were recorded in LA over the past week, a 10.9 percent increase over the previous week Reaction was mixed, with some calling the measure overreaching, while business leaders asked for more enforcement details. It came a day after California announced it was mandating teachers get vaccinated or submit to covid-19 tests
WHO calls on countries to set aside differences in SARS-CoV-2 origin probe
The World Health Organization (WHO) today called on countries to depoliticize the investigation into the origin of SARS-CoV-2 and how it jumped to humans, pressing for more raw data to review and suggesting that more can be done within its current framework to track lab safety around the world, including China. In other developments, countries in Asia and elsewhere reported new daily COVID-19 records, and Australia’s capital city Canberra went on a 1-week lockdown after local cases were identified.
Covid-19: £22k car offered to care staff as jab incentive
A care group has offered staff the chance to win a £22,000 car if they have taken both doses of a Covid jab. PJ Care, in Peterborough and Milton Keynes, says the incentive to get staff vaccinated is "more cost-effective than recruiting new team members". The government announced that anyone working or volunteering in a care home must be fully vaccinated by 11 November, unless exempt. The company said 85% of its 600 staff had received all their jabs. Neil Russell, chairman, said he hoped by raffling a Renault Clio E-Tech worth £22,000 it would "help to encourage those who are open to changing their minds"
Jacinda Ardern shuts New Zealand borders till early 2022 to keep Covid-19 out
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced plans to keep the country's borders closed at least till this year's end in a bid to keep the coronavirus outbreak outside its border amid the coronavirus outbreak. The country will allow quarantine-free entry to vaccinated travellers from low-risk Covid-19 hit countries only from early 2022, she said on Thursday. New Zealand will also speed up its vaccination strategy and increase the gap between two doses to ensure the population is at least partially vaccinated, the prime minister said. Ardern, in a speech on plans to open up New Zealand to the rest of the world, underlined that the New Zealand is still not ready to open up entirely and will open up in phases from early next year.
HHS will require health care workforce to be vaccinated against Covid-19
Covid-19 vaccinations will be required for the more than 25,000 health care staff and volunteers working at the Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Xavier Becerra announced Thursday. "Staff at the Indian Health Service (IHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) who serve in federally-operated health care and clinical research facilities and interact with, or have the potential to come into contact with, patients will be required to receive the Covid-19 vaccine," Becerra said in a statement.
South Korea turns COVID-19 testing booth contactless
A South Korean hospital has upgraded a COVID-19 testing booth to become a mobile contactless clinic that can test people and enable telemedicine for basic treatment. Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital says it has developed the one-stop clinic to protect staff and free them from the burden of wearing full-body protective gear in the sweltering heat.
Dr Fauci says EVERY American will eventually need COVID-19 vaccine booster
Dr Anthony Fauci told TODAY on Thursday that every American will eventually need a booster shot in the future. Fauci says that over time, some will drop to lower levels of immunity against the virus, and require booster shots. The CDC estimates that more than one million unauthorized boosted shots have been distributed in the country. The FDA is expected to approve the use of booster shots for people with weakened immune systems on Thursday
New Zealand borders to remain closed for rest of the year
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that that the country's borders will remain closed until at least the end of the year. She said an elimination strategy was the best way to keep Covid-19 out and the economy open. The prime minister also said New Zealand would move to a new individual risk-based model for quarantine-free travel from the start of next year. She stressed the priority was vaccinating the population by end 2021.
COVID-19: Calls for more employers to give staff paid time off so they can have their coronavirus vaccine
There are calls for more employers to allow staff paid time off to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. Research by conciliation service Acas found that one in four companies is not giving staff paid time off to get their jabs - and nor do they have any plans to allow this. Susan Clews, Acas chief executive, said: "The vaccine rollout programme has gone well and our survey reveals that most employers have allowed staff paid time off to get the jab, but a quarter have not.
F.D.A. to Authorize Third Vaccine Dose for People With Weak Immune Systems
The decision to expand the emergency use of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines is meant to help transplant recipients and others whose immune systems are similarly compromised.
COVID: Bennett asks Pfizer CEO Bourla to speed up jab for children
The Health Ministry’s advisory committee on COVID vaccines was set to meet on Thursday night to explore offering a booster to individuals as young as 40. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett asked Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to speed up the process to receive approval for a corona vaccine for children under 12, amid a spike in cases. According to Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash, preliminary data suggests that the booster – which is currently being offered to people over 60 – can help curb morbidity. Bennett has already asked the health funds to prepare for vaccinating as early as Sunday.
More than 50,000 children registered to receive Covid-19 vaccine
More than 50,000 children have been registered to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE). Registration for 12- to 15-year-olds opened overnight and the first vaccinations of this age group are expected to be administered in the coming days.
Why Only 27 Percent of Young Black New Yorkers Are Vaccinated
A construction site safety manager in Queens said that as a Black man, he was more worried about the prospect of being stopped by the police than he was about getting Covid-19. A graduate student in the Bronx who had not gotten vaccinated said her worst fears seemed confirmed when a vaccine that the government was directing to Black and poorer neighborhoods was briefly suspended over a small number of dangerous blood clots.
France to strengthen COVID-19 lockdown in Guadeloupe island
France will strengthen lockdown rules in the overseas territory of Guadeloupe to rein in the spread of COVID-19, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday, as spikes in infections in its Caribbean islands overwhelm hospitals. The French overseas territory of Martinique on Tuesday entered a tougher lockdown for three weeks to tackle the pandemic with the closure of beaches and shops selling non-essential items and restrictions on people's movements. Authorities in Martinique have also advised tourists to leave the island.
Britons should get a different Covid vaccine as their booster, SAGE adviser says
A different vaccine for a booster dose will give a stronger immune response Professor Danny Altmann said mixing and matching jabs is always 'a good idea' It comes as the UK is yet to announce whether third doses will be rolled out
Pfizer's Covid vaccine may only be 42% effective against the Indian 'Delta' variant, Moderna's 76%
The two most commonly used COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. may not be as effective against the Indian 'Delta' variant, a new study finds. Pfizer's vaccine efficacy dropped to 42% in July, with Moderna's falling down to 76%, when the Delta variant became the dominant strain. Hospitalizations among vaccinated people remained low despite an increase in cases, though with both vaccines more than 75 percent effective against hospitalization. The FDA may soon start allowing Americans to receive vaccine booster shots to shore up protection against virus
Philippines approves emergency use of Hayat-Vax vaccines
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Wednesday it has approved the emergency use of the Hayat-Vax COVID-19 vaccine manufactured in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Hayat-Vax vaccine, donated by the UAE, is identical to the Sinopharm vaccine from China, and will be administered to people aged 18 and above, FDA chief Rolando Enrique Domingo told Reuters.
Study: Third COVID vaccine ups response in organ recipients
Organ transplant recipients who did not achieve satisfactory immunity from two doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shot appeared to benefit from a third dose, according to a letter published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The University of Health Network researchers enrolled 120 organ transplant patients who had no history of COVID-19 infection, and who had suboptimal results from their two doses of Moderna vaccine. Two months after their second dose, half received another Moderna vaccine, while the remainder received a placebo. The resulting 2-month follow-up showed that patients who received a third dose had a higher likelihood of achieving satisfactory antibody levels against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein as well as higher neutralizing antibody levels. "Although some may infer from these data that solid-organ transplant recipients should routinely receive a third vaccine dose, additional randomized trials will be key to learning how to better care for solid-organ transplant recipients during this pandemic," Winifred W. Williams, MD, and Julie R. Ingelfinger, MD, write in a related commentary.
A century-old tuberculosis vaccine could help fight Covid-19 in the elderly
Scientists have been searching for drugs to repurpose for Covid-19 since the pandemic began, and researchers in India are exploring a surprising potential treatment: a century-old tuberculosis vaccine. A team at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis has investigated whether the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, traditionally used to inoculate against tuberculosis, could reduce Covid-induced inflammation in elderly people. The ICMR team said a major concern about using the BCG vaccine for Covid-19 was “the possibility of the vaccination inducing highly proinflammatory responses and thus worsening infection or disease in otherwise asymptomatic or mild cases”.
Ultraviolet and air purifier trials in schools to combat Covid-19 – report
Schools are taking part in trials which involve having air purifiers and ultraviolet light installed indoors to combat Covid-19, according to reports. The trial aims to assess how air purifiers and ultraviolet light mitigate the transmission of coronavirus and other respiratory diseases in schools, the i newspaper said. It also hopes to evaluate how feasible it is to implement the technologies in primary schools, and is expected to yield its first results by the end of the year, the newspaper reported.
Wildfire smoke could make you more prone to catching Covid, health authorities warn
Medical experts have issued a health warning over smoke from wildfires – warning that it could make people more prone to catching Covid-19. Blazes are raging across Europe and North America, fed by scorching temperatures and dry conditions and causing untold misery. Now health authorities have issued a warning over the threat presented fine particles in smoke. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states: “These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into your lungs.
COVID-19 May Accelerate Alzheimer's and Other Cognitive Issues
Researchers are learning more about how COVID-19 may impact memory. In one study, 1 in 10 patients have been reporting memory problems after mild cases of COVID-19 that did not require hospitalization, even 8 months after disease. People who have recovered from COVID-19 but presented with cognitive decline are more likely to be in poorer physical health and have low O2 saturation in their blood. COVID-19 may heighten the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and COVID-19 can cause an increase in blood-based molecular biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.
Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine: rare blood clot syndrome has high mortality rate
Although extremely rare, a blood clot syndrome after the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine carries a high risk of death and can occur in otherwise young and healthy people, UK researchers have found. In those aged under 50, this blood clot syndrome occur in around one in 50,000 people who have received the vaccine, and that number falls to one in 100,000 in the over 50s, data suggests. But the risk of blood clots is much higher with Covid itself — research shows that more than a fifth of hospitalised patients with Covid have evidence of blood clots. Researchers examined the symptoms, signs and outcomes in 220 confirmed and probable cases who presented in UK hospitals between 22 March and 6 June.
Brazil Senate approves bill that could allow coronavirus vaccine patents to be broken
Brazil's Senate on Wednesday approved a bill authorizing the president to temporarily break patents for vaccines and their ingredients in health or public emergencies, such as the coronavirus pandemic.
Experts look into why fully vaccinated people are still getting coronavirus
COVID-19 cases among those who are fully vaccinated continue to rise as experts look into it. Experts noted a number of reasons why this is happening, including the highly contagious Delta variant. None of the vaccines deployed around the US and Europe is 100% effective at preventing the infection and it remains unclear how long immunity from the coronavirus vaccine lasts. Data out of Israel found that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was only 40.5% effective at preventing symptomatic disease while a different study in England found the vaccine to be 88% effective against symptomatic disease caused by the Delta variant.
Pre-clinical trials show intranasal COVID-19 vaccine reduces infection risk
Scientists from Lancaster University have carried out pre-clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine which can be administered through the nose. The results of the trials showed a reduction in both the impact of COVID-19 itself and transmission of the virus.
Thailand reports record 22782 coronavirus cases
Thailand on Thursday reported a record 22,782 new coronavirus cases, brining total cases to 839,771, data from the country's COVID-19 task force showed.
French daily new COVID-19 infections above 30000 for first time since end April
French health authorities reported 30,920 new daily COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, a figure above the 30,000 threshold for the first time since April 28, when the country was about to exit its third lockdown. The seven-day moving average of daily new cases now stands at 23,288, above the 23,000 limit for the first time since May 1.
Covid-19 case rates rise in almost all age groups and regions across England
Coronavirus case rates have risen in most regions of England and among almost all age groups, the latest figures show. The Public Health England (PHE) data comes after an expert warned that the rate of decline in new daily symptomatic cases across the UK could be slowing down. Case rates rose in all regions of England except the North East and among all age groups except 10 to 19-year-olds, according to the latest PHE weekly surveillance report.
Kenyan oxygen maker to double production as COVID-19 fuels demand
Kenya’s oxygen production firm Hewatele is doubling production this year to keep up with surging demand from hospitals that are treating critically ill COVID-19 patients, the company said. Demand for the commodity has more than doubled to 880 tonnes from 410 tonnes before the pandemic, the ministry of health said, causing a steep shortage due to lack of installed capacity. The East African nation is confronting a severe fourth wave of COVID-19 infections that is putting pressure on health facilities. “This country doesn’t have capacity to put 2,000 patients under high flow oxygen at the same time. We need to do something urgently,” said Bernard Olayo, founder of the company.
Vietnam concerned over vaccine supply as COVID-19 cases near record
Vietnam's government on Thursday said it was facing a tense situation over rising coronavirus cases and a shortage of vaccines, as the country saw another day of near-record cases from its longest and most severe outbreak yet.
COVID-19: UK reports 29,612 new coronavirus cases and 104 deaths - as number fully vaccinated nears 40 million
The UK has recorded 29,612 new COVID-19 cases and 104 more coronavirus-related deaths in the latest 24-hour period, according to the latest government figures. The figures compare to 23,510 infections and 146 coronavirus-related fatalities reported on Tuesday - the highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths since 12 March, when 175 were recorded.
Sydney to tighten COVID-19 curbs, Australian capital to enter lockdown
Extra Australian military personnel may be called in to ensure compliance with lockdown rules in Sydney, the New South Wales state government said on Thursday, as the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant spreads into regional areas. The move comes as Australia's capital city, Canberra, 260 km (160 miles) southwest of Sydney, announced a snap one-week lockdown from Thursday evening after reporting its first locally acquired case of COVID-19 in more than a year. Authorities later confirmed an additional three cases, all close contacts of the first case, an unnamed man. Australia is battling to get on top of the fast-moving Delta strain that has plunged its two largest cities - Sydney and Melbourne - into hard lockdowns.