"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 5th Jul 2021
Some vaccinated people are dying of COVID-19. Here's why scientists aren't surprised
- As the Delta variant of the coronavirus surges through the UK, almost half of the country's recent COVID-19 deaths are of people who have been vaccinated. But doctors and scientists aren't sounding the alarm about the apparently high proportion of deaths among the vaccinated population.
- On the contrary, they say figues so far offer reassurance that vaccines offer substantial protection against the variant, particularly after two doses, Delta, first identified in India, has since spread to at least 85 countries, including the U.S., where it is now estimated to be the most common variant.
- The UK is a testing ground for how vaccines are coping. Delta is racing through the country - with 146,000 identified cases in the past week, 72% up on the week before. The country is also a world leader through testing and genetic sequencing which versions of the virus are prevalent: By mid-June, 97% of cases were Delta infections. And Delta is spreading among a population that is among the most highly vaccinated in the world: 85% of adults have had at least one vaccine shot and 63% have had two.
- The spread of Delta has led the UK government to postpone by a month the ending of COVID restrictions until July 19. But Ministers are increasingly confident that the unlocking will take place as planned because vaccinations have broken the lockstep between new cases, later hospitalizations and deaths.
- Data from Public Health England show that there were 117 deaths among 92,000 Delta cases logged through June 21. Fifty of those - 46% - had received two shots of vaccine.
- But rather than suggest Delta is displaying a worrying ability to evade the vaccine and cause severe illness, scientists say those figures support the shots' effectiveness. There are three main reasons why.
- First, vaccines aren't 100% effective. Not everyone who is inoculated will respond in the same way. Those who are elderly or whose immune systems are faulty, damaged or stressed by some other illness are less likely to mount a robust response than someone younger and fitter. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective but some people will still be vulnerable to the virus even after receiving their shots.
- Second, the risk of dying from COVID-19 increases steeply with age. If a vaccine reduces an 80 year old's risk of death from COVID-19 by 95%, for instance, that 80 year old's risk of death might still be greater than the risk faced by an unvaccinated 20 year old. Some chronic illnesses such as diabetes hypertension and lung disease are also associated with a higher risk of severe illness and death.
Third, as more of the population gets vaccinated, there are fewer
unvaccinated people for the virus to infect. If the pool of vaccinated
people is larger than the pool of unvaccinated people, then it is
possible and even likely that breakthrough infections resulting in
deaths in the older, vaccinated group would match or exceed deaths in
the younger, unvaccinated group. Consider an imaginary country with
100% of people vaccinated, where the virus can still somehow spread. All
COVID-19 deaths would be in vaccinated individuals.
Some Vaccinated People Are Dying of Covid-19. Here’s Why Scientists Aren’t Surprised.
As the Delta variant of the coronavirus surges through the U.K., almost half of the country’s recent Covid-19 deaths are of people who have been vaccinated. But doctors and scientists aren’t sounding the alarm about the apparently high proportion of deaths among the vaccinated population. On the contrary, they say the figures so far offer reassurance that vaccines offer substantial protection against the variant, particularly after two doses. Delta, first identified in India, has since spread to at least 85 countries, including the U.S., where it is now estimated to be the most common variant.
‘A lot more dead people’: COVID too dangerous to be treated like flu
Epidemiologists have disputed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s claim that coronavirus will be able to be treated “like the flu” when Australia reaches a high vaccination rate, saying contact tracing and widespread mask wearing may be needed for years to avoid excess deaths. Infectious diseases experts are optimistic that the nation will be able to reach what Mr Morrison described as the third stage of a four-stage pathway out of the pandemic, when vaccinated people can start freely travelling overseas and lockdowns are avoided.
Nevada Leads Nation in Covid Cases as 300000 Descend on Vegas
Nevada is reporting the highest-in-the nation rate of new Covid-19 cases, just as the gambling mecca of Las Vegas prepares for what could be its biggest weekend since reopening. The state ranked first in the U.S. with almost 112 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average daily hospital admissions have jumped 44% from a week earlier to about 55 a day, with a surprising increase in the 30-to-39-year-old cohort.
‘Last one standing’: Delta variant poses threat to New Zealand’s Covid-free bubble
Last week was a sharp reminder for Dr Siouxsie Wiles, one of New Zealand’s most prominent pandemic communicators, of how close the country’s recent brush with Covid was. A Sydney tourist, infected with the Delta variant of Covid-19 had visited more than a dozen busy Wellington cafes, museums and eateries over the course of a weekend. As contact tracers went to work, Wiles’s own phone pinged: she was a potential contact, having stayed, like the tourist, at the Rydges Hotel.
Tokyo 2020 organisers warn of no-fan Olympics as COVID cases rise
Tokyo Olympics organisers have warned that they are prepared to hold the Games behind closed doors as virus cases rise, leaving ticket-holders in limbo just three weeks before the opening ceremony. Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, said on Friday that banning all fans from the Olympics is still an option with the Games opening during a pandemic.
Thailand reports record Covid-19 cases as concerns mount about vaccine shortages
Health authorities in Thailand reported more than 6,200 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, setting a record for a third straight day, as concerns mounted over shortages of treatment facilities and vaccine supplies. Officials also reported 41 deaths, bringing the total to 2,181. About 90% of Thailand’s more than 271,000 reported coronavirus cases and 95% of the deaths have been recorded during a surge that began in early April. There were 992 deaths in June, more than 15 times Thailand’s total for all of 2020.
Despite ally donations, few Venezuelans get COVID-19 vaccine
Some Venezuelans have gotten a shot in the arm thanks to a gift of Cuban-developed COVID-19 vaccines, bringing relief to some residents while simultaneously deepening the mystery around the country’s donation-dependent vaccination campaign
Vaccine passport allows for reopening of Europe's internal borders as Delta variant sneaks in
The European Union has started using unanimously the so-called “vaccine passport” as a travel document that allows holders to cross through borders within the bloc. The EU's health pass applied to those who have been applied the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca vaccines produced in European territory. The digital certificate aims at reviving travel and tourism in the Summer season, despite threats posed by the new Delta variant of the coronavirus. The document may be displayed in its digital format from cell phones through a QR code or printed.
Argentina Weighs Rule Change to Pave Way for mRNA Vaccine Entry
Argentina changed its local vaccine regulations to speed access to a wider range of vaccines including those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson, as the Biden administration steps up donations. President Alberto Fernandez signed a presidential decree late Friday aimed at smoothing over certain legal and technical terminology, to find a middle ground between labs’ needs and government interests, according to official agency Telam. The decree, published on Saturday, will allow the purchase of pediatric vaccines and pave the way for the country to receive donations, authorities said in a previous announcement
Delta variant sweeps Asia, prompting curbs as vaccination remains tepid
The highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is surging through Asia this week, with record numbers of infections in Australia and South Korea, prompting some countries to tighten curbs and others to hasten vaccination.
Africa’s COVID threat hits ‘new level’ as Delta variant spreads
Driving past warehouses and overgrown walls, an ambulance pulls up at a side entrance of a former medical centre at a disused United Nations military base in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. The site has been rehabilitated and spruced up to serve as the principal COVID-19 treatment unit in the country, which has seen infections surge by more than 300 percent in the past two weeks.
Tokyo's new COVID-19 infections hit highest in 5 weeks
Tokyo reported 716 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, its highest in more than five weeks, as the nation considers extending pandemic restrictions in the capital just weeks before it is to host the Olympics.
Malaysia to ease coronavirus lockdowns in five states next week
Malaysia will relax coronavirus lockdowns next week in five states that have met the government's indicators for lifting curbs, the security minister said on Saturday. The Southeast Asian country has been under a nationwide lockdown since June 1 to rein in a surge of COVID-19 infections.
Slovakia sells most Sputnik V vaccine doses back to Russia
Slovakia has sold most Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines back to the country of origin, the Slovak Health Ministry said on Friday, as public interest is low after months of government hesitation over using the product that lacks European regulatory approval. Slovakia shipped back 160,000 out of 200,000 doses imported in March, at $9.95 per dose, the same price as the original purchase, a ministry spokeswoman said.
Argentina opens door to U.S. vaccine donations with legal tweak
Argentina will tweak legislation to help the country receive U.S. donations of COVID-19 vaccinations, senior officials said on Friday, a move that could also help unlock deals that have proved tricky with drugmakers like Pfizer Inc. A government decree will soften legal clauses around negligence, remove a reference to "fraudulent maneuvers" and create a fund to compensate people harmed by a vaccine.
To jab or not to jab: should we be vaccinating our children against coronavirus?
Measles, diphtheria, polio, whooping cough, mumps, flu, meningitis — the list of illnesses against which children are vaccinated goes on and on. By the time they start school aged four, a British child has been injected, nasal-sprayed or orally inoculated 16 times. But when it comes to immunising children against Covid we are surprisingly circumspect. Asked by the Office for National Statistics whether they would want their children vaccinated against Covid, nearly half of parents said they were unsure.
Face masks to become a personal choice in England, minister says
The wearing of face coverings in England will become a personal choice and the data that will determine if lockdown restrictions can be lifted this month was looking "very positive", Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Sunday
15 million people in the U.S. have missed their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, CDC says
Nearly 15 million people — or more than one in 10 of those eligible in the United States — have missed their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC data shows that as of June 16, nearly 11 percent of people who had sufficient time to get the second dose missed their ideal window. The number has increased from 8 percent earlier in the year, but CDC spokesperson Kate Fowlie said the rise was “not unexpected.”
‘The World Is Watching’: Britain Gambles on Reopening Despite the Delta Variant
Prime Minister Boris Johnson seems convinced vaccines have broken the link between cases and hospitalizations. In a few weeks, we’ll know whether he’s right.
In Argentina, COVID jabs propel search for ‘stolen grandchildren’
As a child growing up in the city of La Plata in the 1980s, Leonardo Fossati would look in the mirror and think that reality was on the other side. It was a game the little boy played. He felt like he was living in a movie and that there was something about his own life he could not see. Years later, he would come to understand the game as much more: a manifestation among others that there was more to his story.
Why Covid-19 outbreaks in countries using Chinese vaccines don't necessarily mean the shots have failed
In Mongolia, hospitals are overwhelmed. In the tiny archipelago of Seychelles, more than 100 new Covid-19 cases are being reported each day. And in Chile, a nationwide lockdown was lifted this week -- but the country is still reporting thousands of daily cases. What links these countries is that they have each fully inoculated more than 50% of their populations, largely with Chinese-made coronavirus vaccines. And that's raised questions over the vaccines' efficacy. If the Chinese vaccines aren't working, that's a huge problem -- and not just from a health perspective. Beijing has staked its reputation on providing other countries with vaccines.
Covid: Keep some restrictions after 19 July, BMA doctors say
Some Covid measures should be kept in place in England beyond 19 July - when all legal restrictions are due to be lifted, a doctors' union says. The British Medical Association is calling for the continued use of face masks and new ventilation standards. It says it is crucial to protect the NHS, health and education amid what it says is an alarming rise in cases. It comes as ministers consider allowing fully jabbed people to avoid isolation and testing if exposed to Covid.
South Africa Approves Sinovac's Covid-19 Vaccine
South African regulators have approved Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s coronavirus vaccine, the first shot developed for the disease by a Chinese company to be sanctioned locally. The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority backed the double-dose CoronaVac candidate made by Sinovac’s Life Sciences unit with conditions, according to a statement on Saturday. Those include satisfactory results of ongoing studies and periodic safety updates, SAHPRA said.
Covid: Call to let Novavax volunteers have second vaccine
Calls have been made for "in limbo" Novavax trial volunteers to be allowed an approved vaccine. Patricia and Brian Antlett, from Wrexham, are desperate to visit family in Spain while Mr Antlett needs to go to Italy for work as an engineer. However, they took part in trials of the unapproved Novavax - which foreign countries do not accept for travel. The Welsh government urged trial volunteers to talk to their doctor or trial team about any issues.
It’s Time for the F.D.A. to Fully Approve the mRNA Vaccines
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe and effective. Full approval from the F.D.A. will help stop the spread of Covid-19.
WHO warns new COVID wave inevitable in Europe as cases rise
A third wave of infections is now inevitable unless citizens and legislators are “disciplined”, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns, saying a 10-week decline in new coronavirus infections across Europe has come to an end. The number of new cases across Europe rose by 10 percent last week, the UN health agency’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told a news briefing on Thursday in Copenhagen, Denmark.
COVID-19: UK will work to ensure travel to Europe after fears three batches of vaccine won't be accepted by EU
Downing Street says it will work to ensure "safe and open travel" following concerns that millions of people could miss out on trips to Europe this summer because their COVID jabs aren't recognised. It has been reported that up to five million Britons will not qualify for the EU's vaccine passport scheme because the AstraZeneca shots they received were manufactured in India. These doses are not recognised by the EU's drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and so effectively bars those who have received India-made vaccines from using their vaccinated status to travel to the bloc.
Moscow Tightens the Clamp on Russia’s Millions of Covid-19 Vaccine Holdouts
Russia is adopting increasingly coercive measures to convince Russians to be vaccinated, as authorities try to reboot a flailing vaccination campaign and race to beat back a surge in Covid-19 cases caused by the more infectious Delta variant. Local authorities in some areas of Russia have made vaccination compulsory for service-sector employees, meaning that millions of workers, ranging from hairdressers to bank tellers, face the threat of unpaid leave if they don’t get inoculated. Restaurants and shops could be closed for months if they don’t have 60% vaccinated staff by mid-July. And as of late June, only the inoculated, those who have recovered in the past six months or who have a negative test can enter Moscow restaurants and coffee shops.
Coronavirus: Delta variant cases in UK rise four-fold in less than a month
Cases of the more transmissible Delta Covid variant have risen nearly four-fold in just under a month, official figures show. According to Public Health England data released on Friday, confirmed cases of the strain, first detected in India, stood at 161,981 as of 30 June – up by 50,824 on the previous week. Of the 161,981 cases, 148,538 have been in England, 10,185 in Scotland, 1,749 in Wales and 1,509 in Northern Ireland.
Analysis: Indonesia looked to India on lockdown, but didn't adopt its policy
The scenes in Indonesia's hospitals in the past week have been eerily similar to those in India two months ago - hospital corridors jammed with COVID-19 patients and frantic families trying to find oxygen to treat sick loved-ones.
English COVID-19 prevalence rises to 1 in 260, ONS says
The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England is estimated to have risen to 1 in 260 people in the week to June 26, Britain's Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday, as a new wave of cases of the Delta variant gathers pace.
Officials across the US warn of COVID-19 outbreaks as states report up to 200% increases in cases
Local officials in several states, such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Nevada, are reporting an increase in cases of COVID-19 ahead of July 4 weekend. Arkansas has seen a 202% rise in infections from an average of 234 cases per day to 707 per day over the last two weeks with just 34.5% of the total population vaccinated. Missouri reported a 53% spike in coronavirus cases 648 per day to 996 over 14 days, with some cities reporting a jump in hospitalizations by as much as 225%. In the West, Nevada has a slightly higher vaccination rate even though cases have risen by 167% from 247 per day to 660 per day. Health experts blame the Indian 'Delta' variant spreading in areas with low vaccination coverage as reports show it makes up as much as 77% of cases in some states
Portugal Announces Curfews as Delta Variant Spreads
The highly contagious Delta variant is surging in countries around the world, from Indonesia to parts of Europe, leading governments to reimpose restrictions just weeks after they had taken steps to return to ordinary life. The latest example is Portugal, which on Friday will impose a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Lisbon, Porto and other popular tourism spots, reversing course after it had reopened its economy to prepare for summer travelers. Scientists believe that the Delta variant may be twice as transmissible as the original strain of the coronavirus. But in countries where high percentages of the population have been vaccinated, the outlook is encouraging, with death tolls and hospitalization numbers remaining low.
UK's daily Covid cases spike 70% in a week to 27,125 as deaths and hospital admissions tick upwards
Department of Health bosses posted 27,125 infections spotted today, up on 15,810 last Friday. Another 27 deaths were recorded, up 50 per cent from the same time last week when there were 18 registered. And hospitalisations rose by 35 per cent after 304 were recorded on June 28, the latest available. Office for National Statistics swabbing study estimated there were 211,100 Covid cases in England last week. This is the highest number since late February near the end of the second wave when there were 248,100. There were an average 12,000 patients in hospitals in England with the disease then compared to 1,300 now
COVID-19: Delta variant and vaccine hesitancy mean Russia's third wave is in full swing
Russia's third COVID wave is in full swing. On Saturday, Russia's coronavirus operative response headquarters reported 24,439 new cases of the virus - the highest number since 16 January. It also hit a record high of 697 related daily deaths in the last 24 hours. It is driven by the Delta variant and is surging through a largely unvaccinated population.
Indonesia triples oxygen supplies as Covid-19 outbreak worsens
Indonesia is tripling its oxygen supplies to hospitals as data suggests the Delta variant of coronavirus is now driving the country’s worsening outbreak, accounting for more than 60% of recent cases. Indonesia’s health minister, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, told the Guardian that three-quarters of the national oxygen production used for industry would be redeployed to hospitals for the next two weeks. “We learned from India to make sure the supply is there,” he said.
Iran at risk of fifth COVID-19 wave as Delta variant spreads - Rouhani
Iran may face a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads through the Middle East's worst-hit country, President Hassan Rouhani warned on Saturday. "There are concerns that the whole country may enter a fifth wave if enough care is not taken in following health protocols. Today, reports are that just 69% of the people are observing the precautions," Rouhani said in remarks broadcast on state TV.
Covid-19: Ireland to buy one million vaccine doses
The Irish government has announced it is to purchase one million Covid-19 vaccine doses from Romania. The agreement in principle to purchase the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, followed talks between Taoiseach (Irish PM) Micheál Martin and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Mr Martin said the development was "very good news for Ireland". People aged 18 to 34 can register to get a specific Covid-19 vaccine in the Republic of Ireland from next week. Earlier, Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said this group can "opt-in" for Janssen or AstraZeneca for earlier vaccination.
India's Bharat Biotech says vaccine 93.4% effective against severe COVID-19
Phase-III trials of a vaccine made by India's Bharat Biotech showed it was 93.4% effective against severe symptomatic COVID-19, the firm said on Saturday, a finding that could boost people's acceptance of Covaxin. The data demonstrated 65.2% protection against the Delta variant, first identified in India, that led to a surge in infections in April and May, and the world's highest daily death tolls.