"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 17th Jun 2021

Isolation Tips
Easing of Covid isolation rules on care home resident trips welcomed
Moves by the government to ease restrictions covering the movements of care home residents in England have been largely welcomed by organisations representing the social care sector. Residents will be able to spend more time with family and friends, including overnight stays, without needing to isolate, as part of an easing of visiting rules announced on Monday by the prime minister. They can currently only leave their care home for a visit if it is outdoors or for high-priority reasons, such as a GP appointment, but will soon be able to do so for more social reasons without isolating.
How to help employees dealing with loneliness
Lockdown has precipitated a huge shift in our understanding of how and where employees can work, and hybrid working has gained momentum as a way to benefit from a more autonomous and agile workforce. However, remote working has not been a panacea. While enhanced autonomy has benefits for both employers and employees, the loss of in-person collaboration and networking opportunities risks remote workers being left isolated, feeling disconnected from friends and colleagues. The UK government has recently released guidance for employers, which it hopes will act as the starting point of a wider conversation about what organisations can do to address loneliness.
TransPennine Express Join The Fight To End Loneliness
TransPennine Express (TPE) has joined the fight to end loneliness in the UK by partnering with the Campaign to End Loneliness. The announcement of the partnership comes during Loneliness Awareness Week (14th-18th June) and TPE is taking steps to inform customers, colleagues and people who live in and around the places they serve about support services and tips to help tackle loneliness. There are more than 9 million people who suffer from loneliness in the UK and this figure has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as people have struggled to see family and friends. Now the train company is aiming to be part of the solution and to help bring people together.
Hygiene Helpers
Treating fear of needles could reduce Covid vaccine hesitancy, study suggests
Treating the fear of needles may reduce coronavirus vaccine hesitancy, research has found. A new study suggests one in four UK adults screens positive for a potential injection phobia. Researchers from the University of Oxford say these people were twice as likely to report being hesitant to getting a Covid-19 vaccine, being put off getting vaccinated or, ultimately, never getting the jab. But if all injection anxiety in the population were removed then more than 10 per cent of instances of vaccine hesitancy might disappear too, the data indicates. People can be helped to overcome their fear of needles, including through the use of cognitive behavioural therapy, experts say.
New York reaches vaccine milestone and joins California in reopening
Tuesday brought reopenings in two of the largest states, with New York reaching an important vaccine milestone and joining California in dropping most of its Covid-19 restrictions. "This is a momentous day, and we deserve it because it has been a long, long road," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "We can now return to life as we know it." At least 70% of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine dose, prompting the lifting of pandemic mitigation measures. On the other side of the country, California, the first state to shut down last year, ended limits on capacity at most venues and stopped requiring physical distancing and masks for people who have been vaccinated.
All over-18s to be offered Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this week
The NHS will begin offering coronavirus vaccines to all over-18s by the end of the week, the head of the service said this morning. Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, told a conference of health service leaders that the next four weeks should be used to as far as possible “finish the job” of vaccinating people against Covid-19. He also said that he expected new treatments that could keep people out of hospital to be available within months, advising the NHS to “gear up” for these.
Athletes Could Be Booted From Tokyo Olympics For Not Following Covid-19 Norms
Visiting athletes participating in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics could face expulsion from Japan if they fail to follow pandemic-related rules which have been put in place by the organizers, according to the games’ rule book published on Tuesday, which comes amid reports that Tokyo may be placed under a state of emergency for the entire duration of the games.
The first state to shut down due to Covid-19 reopens today
California lifted most of its Covid-19 restrictions Tuesday as part of a grand reopening in which the state ended capacity limits, physical distancing and -- at least for those vaccinated -- mask requirements. The new health order went into effect Tuesday and allows vaccinated people to go without a face covering in most situations, putting the state in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Masks are still required on public transportation, in hospitals and jails, as well as at schools and child care centers, pending updated guidance from the CDC.
Israel scraps indoor mask order as COVID-19 infections wane
Israel told its citizens they could stop wearing masks indoors on Tuesday, ending one of its last main restrictions as new COVID-19 infections continued to wane even as vaccinations tapered off after a record rollout. Children headed to school and adults to work without masks for the first time in more than a year. Israelis have not had to wear masks outdoors since April. About 55% of Israel's 9.3 million population are fully vaccinated - a turnout largely unchanged by this month's expansion of eligibility to include 12- to 15-year-olds.
White House to host July 4 ‘independence from virus’ bash
Cue the fireworks. President Joe Biden wants to imbue Independence Day with new meaning this year by encouraging nationwide celebrations to mark the country’s effective return to normalcy after 16 months of coronavirus pandemic disruption. Even as the U.S. is set to cross the grim milestone of 600,000 deaths from the virus on Tuesday, the White House is expressing growing certainty that July Fourth will serve as a breakthrough moment in the nation’s recovery. That’s even though the U.S. is not expected to quite reach its goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated by the holiday. As COVID-19 case rates and deaths drop to levels not seen since the first days of the outbreak, travel picks up and schools and businesses reopen, Biden is proclaiming “a summer of freedom” to celebrate Americans resuming their pre-pandemic lives.
Community Activities
COVID-19: People aged 21 and 22 able to book coronavirus vaccine from today
Around one million people aged 21 and 22 are now eligible to book their coronavirus vaccination. Some 972,000 text messages will be sent out starting today, inviting them to schedule appointments for both doses via the national booking system. Dr Emily Lawson, lead for the NHS COVID Vaccination Programme, said "the largest ever NHS vaccination campaign is in the home stretch of the first dose roll-out," and getting the jab is "the most important step you can take to protect yourself, your friends and family so it's really important everybody in the latest eligible groups books themselves in to get their jab and plays their part in this huge national effort".
Covid-19: Deaths in Brazil near half a million as controversial football tournament gets under way
Brazil continues to report a high number of covid-19 infections and deaths against the backdrop of a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s management of the pandemic and a controversial football tournament plagued by virus outbreaks. The country is expected to reach half a million deaths from covid-19 in the coming days as teams from around Latin America compete in the Copa America, which kicked off in Brasilia on 13 June. “The situation is not coming under control since [politicians] are still in denial of the pandemic, including the president,” said Helena Nader, biomedical scientist at the Federal University of São Paulo and former president of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science. At least 31 Copa America players and 10 members of staff have been infected so far, as health experts and players alike voice their concern over the health risk posed by the controversial decision to host the tournament in one of the nations worst hit by covid-19 in the world.
London: Man charged after journalist mobbed at anti-lockdown protest
A man has been charged after a BBC journalist was mobbed by a group of anti-lockdown protesters in London. Video footage shared on social media showed Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt being physically intimidated and chased through the streets near Downing Street on Monday afternoon. Met Police launched an investigation into the incident after identifying a ‘number of possible offences’ in the video. Martin Hockridge, 57, from Harpenden in Hertfordshire, was interviewed under caution by officers and later charged with a public order offence on Tuesday evening.
Taj Mahal reopens for tourists as India eases COVID-19 curbs
The Taj Mahal reopened to the public on Wednesday as India, still reeling from a disastrous second wave of the pandemic, pushes to lift restrictions in a bid to revitalise its economy. The 17th-century white marble mausoleum, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the northern city of Agra, was closed in early April as India introduced strict lockdown measures in an effort to contain a surge in COVID-19 infections that is still killing thousands every day. Only 650 tourists will be allowed inside the premises of the Taj Mahal at any time, said Prabhu Singh, district magistrate of Agra. The monument normally attracts 7 million to 8 million visitors annually, or over 20,000 people per day.
Germany set to end work from home obligation, Merkel aide tells weekly
Germany will not extend beyond the end of June a rule which forces companies to allow working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff was quoted as saying on Wednesday. Germany has gradually lifted lockdown measures in the last six weeks as infections fell. After first introducing a working from home obligation in January, the measure was anchored in "emergency brake" legislation that allows the government to impose lockdown measures if infections rise beyond certain thresholds. As coronavirus infection numbers are sinking, the home office rule does not need to be extended on June 30, when the emergency law regulating the lockdown expires
UNICEF Helps Refugees Get Their Fair Shot At COVID-19 Vaccines
In Jordan, refugees are eligible for vaccination along with Jordanians and those of other nationalities. To support Jordan's COVID-19 vaccination campaign, UNICEF is providing procurement and logistical support for vaccine delivery and has donated 1.3 million syringes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, UNICEF has responded to refugees' growing needs by helping Jordan's Ministry of Health safeguard the roughly 120,000 who live in the nation's four camps
Alarm rises in India over COVID-19 risks as crowds return to malls and rail stations
Having barely got over a devastating second wave of coronavirus infections, India was gripped with alarm on Tuesday over risks of a resurgence as crowds thronged railway stations and shopping malls a day after major cities relaxed curbs on movement. The capital New Delhi, in the north, and tech hub Bengaluru, in the south, were among the cities that have begun lifting strict lockdowns as the nationwide tally of new infections dropped to its lowest level in more than two months. After a strict five-week lockdown, authorities in Delhi have fully re-opened shops and malls, and allowed restaurants to have 50% seating. Suburban rail networks can run at 50% capacity, and offices have been partially reopened.
Anti-lockdown protests boost Germany's far-right, says security agency
The number of politically motivated crimes in Germany rose last year, as protests opposing government measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic gave a boost to the far-right, Germany's domestic intelligence service said. More than half of the 44,692 politically motivated crimes registered in 2020 were committed by far-right radicals, the agency said in its annual report published on Tuesday. "Extremists and terrorists are not going into lockdown," Thomas Haldenwang, head of the BfV domestic security agency, said at a news conference to present the report.
Comfort During Covid-19 Can Come Equally From Sanitation Measures And Community Feeling, According To New Data
Comfort in returning to stores, venues, and other public spaces amid Covid-19 comes from two key sources: sanitation and feelings of regularity and familiarity. This is according to a new quantitative study conducted by Greater Divide. For large commercial spaces, such as malls and chain stores, the main factors driving feelings of comfort was a large interior space and clear signs of proper sanitation procedures. Smaller spaces, on the other hand, were more likely to be perceived as safe if they felt local, familiar, and an ongoing part of the person’s community.
Amazon has made its Covid-19 test available online, alongside a diagnostics portal for consumers
Amazon has made its FDA-cleared Covid-19 test available to consumers online, alongside a consumer diagnostics website where people can view their results. The consumer diagnostics website, AmazonDx.com, previously only had a login for Amazon employees. As of Tuesday, however, it appears any customer can sign into the site using the same login information they use to access the shopping portion of the tech giant’s website.
Working Remotely
Finland embraced remote working before COVID. Now it's designed the ultimate home office
Finland has long been an advocate for flexible working, even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies around the world to adapt their work cultures. Perhaps this explains why Finland has become such fertile ground for experimenting with remote working and home office design. From the earliest days of the pandemic, workers have had to adapt to living and working in the same space. For those without a dedicated office space in their home, kitchen tables and even ironing boards - in the first days at least - were pressed into service as office desks. In Finland, however, the transition to remote working has been eased with the help of ingenious interior design.
Emerging Data Suggests Remote Employees Are Less Engaged
It was approximately a month ago that WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani sparked a backlash by stating confidently, “only the least engaged employees want to continue working from home.” The news cycle was relentless in pointing out that Mathrani’s comments were insensitive or inaccurate. I even pointed out in my recent column, that Mathrani had no data to back up his claim. However, a new, yet to be published study contains a surprising data point that backs up (at least partially) Mathrani's claim. According to the study, remote employees do in fact feel less engaged.
Remote working hubs in small towns will help 30% of employees stay out of the office under Welsh plans
The Welsh Government is to set up “remote working hubs” to allow former commuters to work part-time in the office and part-time in their home towns even after the pandemic has passed. First Minister Mark Drakeford has set a target for 30 per cent of all work to take place outside the office, either in a hybrid setting or at home. But he said many workers would want to divide their time between different workplaces. After announcing the target in the Welsh Government’s “programme for Government”, to be implemented over the next five years, Mr Drakeford told i: “We are going with the grain of what businesses themselves are concluding. The future will be a much more hybrid, mixed model.”
Virtual Classrooms
Most educators want to keep virtual schooling for students with long-term illness, survey shows
The idea of virtual schools for students who have a long-term illness seems to have been a very positive experience among educators, with 93.3% of educators agreeing that it should be kept. This emerged from a survey conducted by the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT). Following the reopening of schools in October 2020, a host of new practices were introduced as mitigation measures due to the pandemic. The MUT has evaluated these practices, which were introduced in Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary schools, with the aim of understanding their impact and to be in a better situation to assess whether there are grounds to keep some of them in the post pandemic period.
Public Policies
Top-up Pfizer would be used to fully vaccinate Victorians, state government told Commonwealth
In Australia, the Andrews government assured the Commonwealth it would use the one-off additional doses of Pfizer it received to fully vaccinate Victorians, and declared it was incumbent upon the state to ensure that supply was available for second doses. Acting Premier James Merlino on Wednesday took a swipe at the federal government for the lack of certainty on the supply of the Pfizer vaccine, with Health Minister Martin Foley on Monday declaring the vaccine rollout was being hampered by limited doses arriving from the Commonwealth. The Morrison government has disputed there are supply constraints, while the Andrews government has maintained it cannot keep up with the rate of demand at the current level of supply.
EU Delays Russia's Sputnik V Covid Vaccine Approval – Reuters
The European Union will delay approval of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine until later in 2021 because of a missed deadline to submit required data, Reuters reported Wednesday. The delay shrinks Sputnik V's prospects as part of the EU’s pandemic response. Russia’s Direct Investment Fund, which markets the jab worldwide, said earlier in the day it was confident that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) would approve Sputnik V within two months. The EMA launched a rolling review of Sputnik V, which Russia touts as the world’s first government-approved vaccine, this spring.
U.S. buys 200 mln more Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses
The U.S. government has bought another 200 million doses of Moderna’s (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine, the drugmaker said on Wednesday, including an option to buy experimental shots that may be in development. The additional Moderna doses, which brings total U.S. orders to 500 million, could be used for primary inoculation, including of children, or as a possible booster shot, the company said. Moderna is currently conducting clinical trials testing a third booster shot of its authorized vaccine as well as an experimental one to protect against coronavirus variants.
Brazil to buy single-shot Chinese COVID-19 vaccine
Brazil plans to buy 60 million doses of the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's CanSino Biologics for delivery in the third and fourth quarters of this year, according to a negotiation document reviewed by Reuters. A ministry official signed a letter of intent on June 4 to purchase the doses with a Brazilian pharmaceutical company that represents CanSino in Brazil, Belcher Farmaceutica do Brasil, the document said. The vaccine, trade-named Convidecia and developed by CanSino together with a research institute linked to the Chinese military, will cost $17 per dose, it said.
New York governor lifts remaining COVID-19 restrictions, calls it a 'momentous day'
New York is lifting all state-mandated coronavirus restrictions after reporting that 70% of the state's adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday. "It is an important milestone, and we're going to keep pushing to do more," Cuomo told a news conference, adding that the state would continue to encourage more New Yorkers to get vaccinated. Restrictions across commercial and social settings will be lifted immediately. Cuomo said some limitations based on guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would remain in place, with mitigation measures still required in public transit and healthcare settings
Ukraine government extends lockdown measures until Aug 31, softens curbs
Ukraine's government on Wednesday extended COVID-19 lockdown measures until Aug. 31, but eased some of the restrictions, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said. Shmygal said all Ukrainian regions are now in the "green zone" but the country "must be ready for any development". Shmygal did not specify which measures will be eased. On Monday, Ukraine registered 420 COVID cases - the lowest daily number of new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours for nearly a year
South Africa returns to tighter COVID restrictions as cases surge
South Africa has returned to tighter restrictions on public gatherings and liquor sales as the country sees a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations. President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday that the new infections threaten the health systems in several parts of the country and COVID-related hospital admissions have increased 59 percent over the past two weeks.
Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine to be made in India soon - govt official
The Serum Institute of India is preparing to produce Novavax's (NVAX.O) COVID-19 vaccine in the country, government official Vinod Kumar Paul said at a press briefing on Tuesday. The vaccine maker on Monday had said its COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective in a large, late-stage U.S.-based clinical trial.
Coronavirus outpacing vaccine effort, says WHO, after G7 doses pledge
The World Health Organization has warned that Covid-19 is moving faster than the vaccines, and said the vow by G7 countries to share a billion doses with poorer nations was simply not enough. “This is a big help, but we need more, and we need them faster. Right now, the virus is moving faster than the global distribution of vaccines,” World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists. “More than 10,000 people are dying every day ... these communities need vaccines, and they need them now, not next year.” Global health leaders also warned the pledge was too little, too late, with more than 11bn shots needed.
Japan to ship 1 mln COVID-19 vaccines to Vietnam on Wednesday
Japan will send a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Tuesday, as the southeast Asian nation steps up vaccine procurement to fight a more stubborn wave of infections. With a population of about 98 million, Vietnam's tally of infections stands at 10,241, and only 58 deaths, since the pandemic began. The shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines produced in Japan is due to arrive in Vietnam on Wednesday, Motegi told reporters.
Malaysia grants conditional approval for CanSino, J&J COVID-19 vaccines
Malaysia has granted conditional approval for emergency use to the single dose COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by China's CanSino Biologics and U.S. drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, the government said on Tuesday. The Southeast Asian country has been ramping up its vaccination programme, amid a fresh round of lockdowns imposed this month to curb a surge in coronavirus infections. Malaysia would obtain Johnson & Johnson's vaccines via the global COVAX facility backed by the World Health Organization, the health ministry said in a statement. It did not say how many doses it would procure via COVAX.
Congo caps public gatherings as third COVID-19 wave builds
The Democratic Republic of Congo will limit public gatherings to 20 people and close nightclubs as the country grapples with a third wave of COVID-19, President Felix Tshisekedi said on Tuesday. Congo has officially registered relatively few cases, but low vaccination rates have left the country vulnerable to more contagious strains, including the highly-infectious Delta variant. "For several weeks we have seen a persistent rise in the number of people infected," Tshisekedi said in a televised address. "We need to react with speed, and above all, methodically."
Taiwan reports 132 new domestic COVID-19 cases
Taiwan reported 132 new domestic COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, down from the previous day's figure of 185.
Maintaining Services
Turkey surpasses 35M coronavirus vaccine shots administered
Turkey has administered over 35.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine doses since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in mid-January, according to official figures released on Tuesday. More than 21.7 million people have received their first doses, while over 13.9 million have been fully vaccinated, said the Health Ministry count. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca also said in a tweet that over 1.2 million vaccine doses were administered in a single day, indicating another record in the country's mass vaccination campaign. The country currently uses China’s CoronaVac and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in its campaign.
Hospitals told to brace for double wave of Covid and child infections
An internal NHS email seen by Channel 4 News shows how hospitals are being told to prepare for a third Covid-19 wave at the same time as a spike in serious infections among very young children. The email, sent by a London NHS trust to clinical staff, says “national guidance on planning” has been issued telling hospitals to expect 50 per cent of the Covid cases seen in the first wave of the pandemic. At the same time the third wave of severe Covid cases is likely to peak in hospitals, in early August, NHS leaders are also predicting a national wave of Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV infections.
European Union administers over 300 million coronavirus vaccines
The European Union (EU) has administered more than 300 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday. "We have passed 300 million vaccinations in the EU. Every day, we get closer to our goal: to have enough doses delivered to vaccinate 70 per cent of adults in the EU next month," she tweeted. As of Monday, 53.3 per cent of the EU adults had received at least one dose, and 353 million doses had been delivered to the 27-state bloc, reports Xinhua news agency. "By now, almost a third of all adults in the EU are fully vaccinated," European Commission deputy chief spokesperson Dana Spinant said
COVID-19: NHS England to launch Long COVID services for children
The NHS is launching Long COVID services for children, as concerns grow about the number of young people experiencing long-term symptoms. Fifteen paediatric hubs will be created in England, drawing together experts on symptoms such as respiratory problems and fatigue. They will treat young people, advise family doctors or other carers, or refer patients to other specialist services and clinics. More than one million people have reported suffering symptoms for weeks or even months after being infected with the virus and it is expected that hundreds of thousands of these need support.
Covid-19: GPs to contact over-40s who have not taken vaccine
GP practices in Northern Ireland are to begin contacting patients who have not come forward for vaccines. The groups being targeted include people over 40 and patients prioritised for the vaccine because of clinical risk factors. They will be contacted by telephone, text or letter by GP practices and encouraged to consider vaccination. Pop-up vaccination clinics will also be visiting different parts of Northern Ireland in the coming weeks. The Department of Health said it would help address potential barriers to vaccination such as mobility, accessibility and language.
COVID Delta variant represents 2-4% of French cases -minister Veran
The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus first found in India - which experts estimate to be more infectious than other variants - currently represents 2-4% of confirmed COVID cases in France, said French health minister Olivier Veran on Tuesday. Veran added this meant France was registering between 50-150 cases a day of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which highlighted the importance of sanitary protocol measures and vaccinations to keep the virus at bay. "We are in the process of crushing the virus and crushing the pandemic, and we must in no way let the Indian variant get the upper hand so that it leads to another wave of the pandemic," Veran told reporters at a Paris vaccination centre.
Ongoing COVID surges in multiple regions keep nations on edge
Cases in Africa are up for the fifth week a row, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said today in its weekly outbreaks and health emergencies report. Overall, the region's cases increased 36.3% over the previous week. South Africa reported more than half of last week's cases, and other hot spots include Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, and Kenya. Twenty countries reported rises in cases, with increases of 50% or more in 10 of them. In a related development, Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi today announced new measures to limit gatherings to help the country slow its third COVID surge, according to Reuters. Tshisekedi told reporters last week that hospitals in Kinshasa were overwhelmed.
Troubled J&J vaccine manufacturer Emergent promises to fix plant
Emergent BioSolutions Inc. is promising the Food and Drug Administration a series of fixes in response to an inspection that led to a halt in production at a company facility that had been making Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine. The contract manufacturer said in a letter to the FDA dated April 30 that it would strengthen its biowaste handling processes, put in place new requirements for wearing protective gowns and deliver training to facility personnel, among other steps to ensure the quality of the vaccine, after agency inspectors cited myriad problems in a report earlier that month.
Healthcare Innovations
New COVID-19 variant of interest identified in 29 countries: WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that a new variant of COVID-19, named Lambda, was identified in 29 countries and notably in South America where it is believed to have originated. First identified in Peru, the Lambda lineage was classified as a global Variant of Interest on Monday due to an “elevated prevalence” in South America, the WHO said in its weekly update. Lambda has been rampant in Peru where 81 percent of COVID-19 cases since April 2021 were associated with this variant, authorities reported. In Chile, it was detected in 32 percent of all submitted sequences in the last 60 days, and only outclassed by the Gamma variant which was first identified in Brazil. Other countries such as Argentina and Ecuador have also reported elevated prevalence of the new variant.
Regeneron COVID-19 therapy cuts deaths among hospitalised patients who lack antibodies -study
A COVID-19 antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Roche reduced deaths in hospitalised patients whose own immune systems had failed to produce a response, a large British study found on Wednesday. The therapy, REGEN-COV, has been granted emergency use authorisation for people with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in the United States, but results from the RECOVERY trial provide the clearest evidence of its effectiveness among hospitalised patients. It found that the antibody therapy reduced by a fifth the 28-day mortality of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 whose immune system had not mounted an antibody response, known as seronegative.
Sewage sleuths helped an Arizona town beat back Covid-19. For wastewater epidemiology, that’s just the start
Valerie Molina anxiously searched the desert sky, scanning the horizon for any clouds dark with rain. But all was blue and bright. Today, the weather wasn’t going to be on her side. It was March 20, 2020, and Guadalupe, over which Molina presides as mayor, was preparing for what should have been the third of six Friday ceremonies in the run-up to Easter. Normally, it’s the time of year when the town of 6,700 doubles in size, as spectators from across the state descend on its white adobe church to witness young men in wooden masks, a sacred deer antler headdress, and ankle rattles made from the cocoons of butterflies dance to beating drums beneath ribbons of flowers. Guadalupe was founded by Pascua Yaqui Indians who were forced from their homelands in Sonora, Mexico, and settled in the Salt River Valley in the early 1900s, bringing with them their unique religion — a blend of spiritual animism and Catholic beliefs picked up from Jesuit missionaries.
Covid-19: Irish scientists discover link to life threatening blood clots
Irish scientists have identified how and why some Covid-19 patients can develop life-threatening blood clots. The work ,led by researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), could lead to targeted therapies that prevent such clots happening in future. The findings are published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. The scientists analysed samples from Covid-19 patients in intensive care in the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. They found the balance between a molecule that causes clotting called the von Willebrand Factor (VWF) and its regulator, ADANTS 13, is severely disrupted in Covid patients who had elevated levels of the VWF protein.
Two shots of Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines effective against Delta variant: study
As the coronavirus surged across the globe, experts have raised concerns that skyrocketing infections would cause mutations that evade current vaccines. As more data comes in, those concerns are fading. A real world study conducted by Public Health England shows that two doses of the vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca are highly effective in preventing hospitalizations due to the troublesome Delta variant (B.1.617.2), which scientists first detected in India. The variant has become the predominant coronavirus strain in the U.K. Of those who received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 96% avoided hospitalization with no deaths. Of those who received two shots of the AZ vaccine, 92% avoided hospitalization with no deaths. The study included 14,019 people in England who had contracted the Delta variant of the virus. Of them, 166 were hospitalized from April 12 to June 4.