"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 9th Aug 2021
Early signs COVID-19 vaccines may not completely stop Delta transmission, UK says
- There are early signs that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 may be able to transmit the Delta variant of the virus as easily as those who have not been vaccinated, scientists at Public Health England said on Friday.
- The findings chime with those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has raised concerns that vaccinated people infected with Delta could, ulike other variants, readily transmit it.
- The highly infectious Delta variant has become the dominant coronavirus type globally, sustaining a pandemic that has already killed more than 4.4m people worldwide, including over 130,000 in Britain.
- Vaccines have been show to provide good protection against severe disease and death from Delta, especially with two doses, but there is less data on whether vaccinated people can still transmit it to others.
- 'Some initial findings indicate that levels of virus in those who become infected with Delta having been vaccinated may be similar to levels found in unvaccinated people,' PHE said in a statement.
- 'This may have implications for people's infectiousness, whether they have been vaccinated or not. However, this is early exploratory analysis and further targeted studies are needed to confirm whether this is the case.'
- PHE said that of confirmed Delta cases that had ended up hospitalised since July 19, 55/1% were unvaccinated, while 34.9% of them had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Nearly 75% of the British population has had two vaccine doses, and PHE said that 'as more of the population gets vaccinated, we will see a higher relative percentage of vaccinated people in hospital.'
- Separately, PHE said another variant, known as B.1.621, first detected in Colombia, has shown signs of evading the immune response triggered by either COVID-19 vaccines or previous infection.
- PHE has labelled the variant 'under investigation' but has not declared it a 'variant of concern' - a designation that can trigger strong policy responses.
- 'There is preliminary laboratory evidence to suggest that vaccine and previous infection may be less effective at preventing infection with (B.1,621),' it said, adding there had been 37 confirmed cases of the variant in England.
- 'However, this data is very limited and more research is required. There is no evidence to suggest that (it) is more transmissable than the dominant Delta variant.'
Reuters 6 August, 2021
Early signs COVID-19 vaccines may not stop Delta transmission, England says
There are early signs that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 may be able to transmit the Delta variant of the virus as easily as those who have not, scientists at Public Health England (PHE) said on Friday. The findings chime with those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which last week raised concerns that vaccinated people infected with Delta could, unlike with other variants, readily transmit it
These top US chains are reinstating their mask requirements
Top US retail and food chains have updated their mask policies since the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in areas with substantial Covid-19 transmission. That designation includes more than two-thirds of US counties. The CDC changed its guidance in response to the rising spread of the new, highly transmissible Delta variant and low vaccination rates in many areas of the country.
Indonesia's Covid disaster: Delta variant killing 150 children a week
Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, has marked a sombre milestone in its battle with Covid, with total deaths now officially exceeding 100,000, although epidemiologists believe the true figure could be two and a half times that. The rapid spread of the Delta variant is alarming Indonesian paediatricians, who say one in eight of those infected are children.
COVID19 - Delta variant ravages St Lucia
On Saturday, August 7, 2021, the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOH) confirmation of 66 new cases of COVID-19, from a total of 246 samples taken during the period August 4, 2021, to August 6; noting that“ a spike in the COVID-19 cases which was anticipated given the increase in social activities over the past couple of weeks,” short of saying that the general election 'carnival style' campaign and the general ad-hoc protocol/policy is the attributing factor, coupled with the Delta variant that is unofficially on the island.
In England, hundreds of vaccinated people hospitalised with Delta
Hundreds of fully vaccinated people in England have been hospitalised with the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant, scientists said on Friday. In their latest COVID-19 update, Public Health England (PHE) experts also warned there were early signs that people who have been inoculated may be able to transmit the Delta strain as easily as those who have not received any jabs. From July 19 to August 2, 55.1 percent of the 1,467 people hospitalised with the Delta variant were unvaccinated, PHE said, while 34.9 percent – or 512 people – had received two doses.
Some in U.S. Getting COVID-19 Boosters Without FDA Approval
When the delta variant started spreading, Gina Welch decided not to take any chances: She got a third, booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by going to a clinic and telling them it was her first shot. The U.S. government has not approved booster shots against the virus, saying it has yet to see evidence they are necessary. But Welch and an untold number of other Americans have managed to get them by taking advantage of the nation’s vaccine surplus and loose tracking of those who have been fully vaccinated.
Head of notorious Wuhan lab warns more COVID-19 mutations are coming
Shi Zhengli told Chinese state media that the virus will continue to mutate. The delta variant was first discovered in India and is now the dominant strain of COVID-19. Scientists are also monitoring the lambda variant, which is becoming a prominent strain in South America.
Why are government experts holding off vaccinating under-16s in the UK?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced this week that everyone in the UK aged 16 and 17 should be offered the Covid-19 vaccine. Just two weeks ago, it said the vaccine wouldn’t be offered to non-vulnerable people aged 12-17. The change in position is welcome, but the reasons for the committee’s two-week delay, and its decision to not extend the vaccine to 12- 15-year-olds, are unclear. Unlike the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the committee has offered no quantitative analysis of the risks associated with vaccinating people in this younger age group. Delaying the rollout of the vaccine to adolescents is risky. Recent figures show that 1% of 10-19s were being diagnosed with Covid-19 a week. Waiting for further data on vaccine safety when infections are ripping through younger age groups isn’t cautious, it’s reckless.
Six EU states overtake UK Covid vaccination rates as Britain’s rollout slows
Six EU states have now fully inoculated a larger share of their total populations with a coronavirus vaccine than the UK, after the bloc’s dire initial rollout took off while Britain’s impressive early jab rate has slumped. According to government and health service figures collated by the online science publication Our World In Data, Malta, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and Ireland have all overtaken the UK in terms of the percentages of their populations who are fully vaccinated.
US reaches 50% fully vaccinated against COVID
White House officials today said 50% of Americans have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with immunization levels up 11% from last week, as the nation's Delta (B1617.2) variant activity surges. Concerns over the more transmissible Delta variant and renewed pressure to get people vaccinated have pushed vaccination levels up. Cyrus Shahpar, the White House's COVID-19 data director, said on Twitter that vaccination levels have increased 44% over the past 2 weeks. Meanwhile, a new study suggests that vaccination offers higher protection than previous COVID-19 infection, according to findings from Kentucky published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
California to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for health workers
California will require all of its roughly 2.2 million health care workers and long term care workers to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30 as the nation's most populous state is losing ground in the battle against new infections of a more dangerous coronavirus variant. The order, issued Thursday by the California Department of Public Health, is different than what Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said last month
COVID-19: Young people told to get jabbed or 'miss out on the good times' as vaccine take up slows
Young people are being told not to "miss out on the good times" by getting both of their COVID-19 jabs in the latest government move to drive up vaccination rates. The major advertising campaign on billboards and social media will focus on the freedoms that vaccinations allow - from nightclubbing to foreign travel. It comes as clubs are set to encourage young people to get a COVID-19 jab, with one being used as a vaccine centre.
As delta variant surges, trust in the media plummets
We're a long way from 1976 or even 2005, aren't we? Because in 1976, in the post-Watergate era of journalism, trust in the Fourth Estate was 72 percent, according to Gallup. That's right: Nearly three of four Americans trusted that what they read, what they heard, were the facts with no narrative or cause or agenda being advanced. In 2005, 72 percent became 50 percent in terms of trust in the media. A 22-point drop, sure, but a respectable number when compared to just how bad things have become for an institution once revered for icons such as Cronkite, Brinkley, Mudd, Reasoner, Wallace, Jennings, Koppel and Russert.
Protesters mass in France against Macron's Covid health pass
Almost a quarter of a million people took to the streets across France on Saturday for the biggest protests yet against a coronavirus health pass needed to enter a cafe or travel on an inter-city train, two days before the new rules come into force. Similar but smaller protests were held in Italy. Championed by President Emmanuel Macron, the French regulations make it obligatory to have either a full course of vaccination against Covid-19, a negative test or be recently recovered from the virus to enjoy routine activities.
They rejected coronavirus shots in vaccine-rich countries. In the hospital, they changed their minds.
The fit and healthy bodybuilder in England. The religious woman from Canada. A conservative talk radio host in Tennessee. All chose not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, despite living in countries where doses are plentiful. But after contracting the disease and falling severely ill, they have since expressed an overwhelming sense of regret and urged others not to make the same mistakes they did — some just days before they died.
Vietnam's capital to extend COVID-19 curbs as new clusters emerge
Vietnam's capital Hanoi will extend coronavirus restrictions until Aug. 22, its health ministry said on Friday, after authorities warned of new clusters of infections detected in the city of more than 8 million people.
Delta spreads in Sydney as Australia widens COVID-19 restrictions
Sydney reports record infections for second day in a row. Victoria enters sixth pandemic lockdown. Queensland optimistic of easing lockdown rules
Why has the CDC stopped collecting data on breakthrough Covid cases?
It’s difficult to answer these questions because there’s a dearth of rigorous data on breakthrough cases in the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks only breakthrough cases that lead to hospitalization and death, which it does by gathering data from state health departments. Only 25 states report some data on breakthroughs, and only 15 of those states update it regularly, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of state data. Encouragingly, this data suggests that breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated are extremely rare – well below 1% in states collecting this information. (Note that undercounts are expected, since people with breakthrough infections may not know they are sick or bother to get tested.)
Beyond Delta, scientists are watching new variants
The continued spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spawned a Greek alphabet of variants - a naming system used by the World Health Organization to track new mutations of the virus that causes COVID-19. Some have equipped the virus with better ways of infecting humans or evading vaccine protection. Scientists remain focused on Delta, now the dominant variant rising rapidly around the world, but are tracking others to see what may one day take its place.
What experts are learning about Lambda, a coronavirus ‘variant of interest’
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, infections caused by the Lambda variant have been emerging in the United States, including in Texas, where Houston Methodist Hospital last month reported its first case. Genomic sequencing has identified 1,060 cases of Covid-19 caused by the Lambda variant in the United States so far, according to the independent data-sharing initiative GISAID. While that number is a far cry from the surge in cases caused by the Delta variant — representing about 83% of new cases in the US — infectious disease experts have said that Lambda is a variant they are watching closely. The Lambda variant was first identified in Peru in December. The World Health Organization designates Delta as a “variant of concern.” Lambda is designated a degree lower as a “variant of interest.”
Covid variants could be named after star constellations if Greek alphabet is used up, says WHO epidemiologist
New coronavirus variants could be named after star constellations when the 24 letters in the Greek alphabet are used up, the Covid-19 technical lead for the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. Maria Van Kerkhove revealed the body was considering how the naming rule for mutations of interest and concern should change amid concerns new variants will continue to emerge in the coming months.
America shouldn’t be sending unvaccinated kids back to school
The Delta variant is the latest setback on our path toward a new normal. This is the fourth major Covid-19 wave, and there’s a palpable sense of morbid familiarity. We know the drill: cases rise, hospitals are pushed to their limit, and then the deaths start piling up. We have grown numb to the ongoing mass casualty event, even as friends and neighbors share their stories of debilitating chronic symptoms. But data from around the world signal that the Delta variant is different, particularly when it comes to children.
Is the delta variant more dangerous for children? A growing number of kids are very sick
The surge in pediatric infections worries doctors, especially on the cusp of flu season, saying Covid's potential impact on kids is "beyond what flu would ever do."
Doctors fear Delta variant may be more dangerous for children: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it’
Stories of hospitals becoming overwhelmed with very sick children are emerging in the Covid-19 hotspots of Louisiana, Texas and Florida. But despite the anecdotal evidence, pediatricians said it was too soon to say if the Delta variant was more dangerous for children than earlier strains of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr Rochelle Walensky said it was examining data to see if the Delta variant was causing more serious illness in children.
Novavax plans to trial combined flu and COVID super jab in Australia
Novavax is yet to confirm when it expects to complete applications to get its coronavirus vaccine approved in Australia, but the biotech is already planning new local research into a combined influenza and COVID-19 shot. The vaccine developer has again pushed out timelines for the approval of its vaccines in the US. It told investors on an earnings call overnight it now expects to file for emergency use approval with the Food and Drug Administration during the last three months of this year. Novavax won a $US1.75 billion contract to develop its vaccine for the US market but its quarterly report revealed on Thursday the federal government may withhold funding until the company can resolve concerns about its processes.
Moderna says Covid vaccine durable for at least six months
Moderna said Thursday that protection from its Covid-19 vaccine remained strong for at least six months, and the variant-specific boosters shot it is testing generated a "robust" antibody response to Delta. In a final analysis from its Phase 3, or final stage, clinical trial, Moderna's Covid vaccine showed 93 percent efficacy at six months following the second dose. The company is also carrying out clinical trials on three different Covid-19 boosters, with all of them producing high antibody levels against the original coronavirus strain and variants of concern, including Delta, originally identified in India.
Study ties COVID vaccines to lower transmission rates
COVID-19 vaccines appear to help prevent transmission between household contacts, with secondary attack rates dropping from 31% to 11% if the index patient was fully vaccinated, according to a Eurosurveillance study yesterday. The population-based data looked at the Netherlands from February to May, when the Alpha variant (B117) was dominant and the available vaccines were by Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. "This finding underscores the importance of full vaccination of close contacts of vulnerable persons," the researchers write. "Further research is needed to determine whether the observed differences between the different vaccines are due to the small sample size or have real public health relevance."
From vaccine halo to liability? Reputation tracker says COVID-19 shot makers now dinged for safety, supply issues
COVID-19 vaccine makers' time in the sun is over, according to one reputation tracker. The reputation boost ignited by the rush to find solutions during the pandemic have not only faded but now is turning into a liability, says Alva citing its latest research. Pharma is now split into vaccine makers and everyone else, said Alastair Pickering, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Alva market intelligence group. Vaccine owners notched big negative scores in its March-May research. Johnson & Johnson landed at -39 and AstraZeneca at -25, mostly on reports and conversations around shots being linked to blood clots.
'Goldilocks virus': Delta vanquishes all variant rivals as scientists race to understand its tricks
The variant battle in the United States is over. Delta won. Since late last year, the country has been overrun by a succession of coronavirus variants, each with its own suite of mutations conferring slightly different viral traits. For much of this year, the alpha variant — officially known as B.1.1.7 and first seen in the United Kingdom — looked like the clear winner, accounting for the majority of cases by April. In second place was iota, B.1.526, first seen in New York City. A few others made the rogue’s gallery of variants: gamma, beta, epsilon.
Covid-19 nasal spray vaccines in development in Thailand
The National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, known as BIOTEC, believes that the solution to Covid-19 vaccination may be right under our noses. Thai virologists at BIOTEC have 2 nasal spray options currently in development for domestic production that may act as a substitute for Covid-19 vaccines in needle form. They believe a nasal spray or inhaler may provide additional benefits as well.
Novavax seeks COVID-19 vaccine use in India ahead of US
Vaccine maker Novavax announced Thursday it has asked regulators in India Indonesia and the Philippines to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine -- offering its shot to developing countries before vaccine-flush rich ones. U.S.-based Novavax partnered with the Serum Institute of India to apply in the three countries, and plans later this month to also seek the World Health Organization review needed to be part of the COVAX global vaccine program. Novavax CEO Stanley Erck called the submissions an “important step toward access to millions of doses of a safe and effective vaccine for countries with an urgent need to control the pandemic.”
Get Vaccinated Even If You've Gotten COVID-19, Study Suggests
Even those who’ve had COVID-19 should be vaccinated, suggests data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A study in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), shows 2.3 times the number of reinfections with natural immunity compared to breakthrough infections in those who are vaccinated. CDC investigators examined data from Kentucky residents infected with COVID-19 in 2020. They compared the vaccination status of those reinfected in May and June 2021 to residents who had not been reinfected. “May and June were selected because of vaccine supply and eligibility requirement considerations; this period was more likely to reflect resident choice to be vaccinated, rather than eligibility to receive vaccine,” the study states. “Control participants were Kentucky residents with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in 2020 who were not reinfected through June 30, 2021.”
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine rebranding to 'Vaxzevria' ahead of international travel restart
AstraZeneca has become a household name, but its COVID-19 vaccine will soon be rebranded to help smooth the pathway for millions of Australians hoping to travel overseas once the international border reopens. The vaccine was originally called COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca but has now been officially renamed "Vaxzevria" and approved by Europe's drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency.
J&J applies for emergency use approval of COVID-19 vaccine in India
Johnson & Johnson has applied for emergency use approval of its coronavirus vaccine in India, the U.S. pharmaceutical giant said on Friday, moving a step closer to supplying the first single-dose COVID-19 shot to the country. The shot will be brought to India through a supply agreement with homegrown vaccine maker Biological E Ltd, J&J said in an emailed statement.
Antibody findings spark ideas for pan-coronavirus vaccine
Three epidemic or pandemic coronaviruses—SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, & SARS-CoV-2—have spilled over from animals to cause deadly illness in humans in the past 20 years. Virus researchers are determined to discover a means to broadly safeguard people from the continuing threat of emerging coronaviruses.
Japan COVID cases hit 1 million as infections spread beyond Tokyo
Japan reached the milestone of one million coronavirus cases on Friday, domestic media reported, as infections surged in Olympic host Tokyo to other urban areas and the country grapples with an unprecedented speed of spread of the Delta variant. A driver of Finance Minister Taro Aso had caught COVID-19, the Ministry of Finance said, prompting Aso to self-quarantine at home. Aso has shown no symptom but had a PCR test, results of which will be known on Saturday, Kyodo news wire reported.
More deadly Delta Variant virus cases confirmed in Cambodia as Covid-19 cases and death toll keep rising
Cambodia's Ministry of Health (MoH) announced on Sunday that another 58 new cases of the Delta Covid-19 variant were detected, taking the kingdom's total number of the Delta variant cases to 385. Laboratory testing conducted by the Pasteur Institute in Cambodia found the Delta variant on 51 local people, including four health workers, and seven laborers returning from neighboring Thailand, the MoH said in a statement. The local infections were spotted in capital Phnom Penh and the provinces of Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kandal, Kampong Thom and Ratanakiri, it added.
Fears as more children falling ill in latest US Covid surge and school approaches
Amid increased fears that children are now both victims and vectors of the latest Covid-19 variant surge, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins signaled on Sunday that increasing numbers of children are falling ill in the US. His comments also came as one of America’s largest teachers unions appeared to shift its position on mandatory vaccinations for teachers. With around 90 million adult Americans remaining unvaccinated, and vaccines remaining unauthorized for 12 years and under, Collins told ABC News This Week with George Stephanopoulos that “the largest number of children so far in the whole pandemic right now are in the hospital, 1,450 kids in the hospital from Covid-19.”
Seven die after outbreak of Colombian variant of COVID-19 at Belgian nursing home
Seven residents of a nursing home in Belgium have died after being infected with a lineage of the coronavirus first detected in Colombia despite being fully vaccinated, the virology team that conducted tests said on Friday.
U.S. nurses' COVID-19 grief pours out online: 'I just don't want to watch anyone else die'
Nichole Atherton couldn't take it anymore. The intensive care nurse watched helplessly last year as COVID-19 sufferers died in her Mississippi hospital - slowly, painfully and alone. Then in July she was again confronted with a wave of deathly ill patients, even though almost all likely could have saved themselves by getting the coronavirus vaccine.
U.S. COVID-19 cases reach six-month high, Florida grapples with surge
Daily new COVID-19 cases have climbed to a six-month high in the United States, with more than 100,000 infections reported nationwide as the Delta variant ravaged Florida and other states with lower vaccination rates. The seven-day average of new reported cases reached nearly 95,000, a five-fold increase in less than a month, Reuters data through Wednesday showed
China sees highest daily figure of COVID-19 patients in current outbreak
China reported on Friday its highest daily count of new COVID-19 patients in an outbreak that began in late July, fuelled by a surge in locally transmitted infections. Officials blamed the latest clusters mainly on the highly transmissible Delta variant, though it has not led to widespread infection in some cities, while cases in some areas show initial signs they could ease.
NIH Director: Some Evidence Child Hospitalizations Increasing And Kids ‘More Seriously Ill,’ But U.S. Lacking ‘Rigorous Data’
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins told ABC News on Sunday he has been alerted by pediatricians that children are being hospitalized at a higher rate and with more serious illnesses amid the U.S.’s most recent, delta-fueled coronavirus surge.
S.Korea extends social distancing curbs to reduce COVID-19 cases
South Korea will extend its social distancing curbs by two weeks as the government contends with outbreaks nationwide and more people fall severely ill, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Friday.
Alabama ICU beds almost full as COVID hospitalizations continue rapid rise
Critical care units in Alabama hospitals are nearing capacity due to increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients, but recent deaths from the virus still remain relatively low. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Friday that about 93% of Alabama’s ICU beds are occupied as the more transmissible COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread in the state and vaccination rates remain low. As of Saturday there were 1,968 Alabamians hospitalized from COVID-19, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. A month ago, just 235 people were hospitalized. Most of those patients are unvaccinated, Harris said.
Senegalese doctors, cemetery workers battle COVID-19 surge
At Dalal Jamm hospital in Dakar, only the whooshing sound of a ventilator and beeps from a monitor indicated that the pregnant COVID-19 patient in the intensive care bed was still alive.
Japan's Kanagawa prefecture sets to report record new COVID-19 cases of more than 2000 - NHK
Japan's Kanagawa prefecture, which borders Tokyo, is set to report record new COVID-19 cases of more than 2,000, public broadcaster NHK said.
Manila residents crowd vaccination centers in rush before lockdown
Residents in the Philippine capital are rushing to get Covid-19 vaccines, crowding into vaccination centers and waiting in long lines outside, ahead of a two-week lockdown that goes into effect Friday evening. Restrictions will be imposed across greater Manila, an urban sprawl of 16 cities that is home to 13 million people. The nearby province of Laguna, and the cities of Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro, will also be placed under lockdown.