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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 8th Aug 2022

Lockdown Exit
CDC: 85% of Americans Should Be Wearing a Mask Indoors or Considering It
Nearly 85% of Americans should be wearing a mask while indoors in public spaces or considering the measure, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over 55% of the U.S. lives in counties that are considered a “high” COVID-19 community level by the CDC. Under the agency’s guidance, those people should be wearing a mask while inside. More than 29% of the country lives in counties considered a “medium” level where they should consider the measure based on their risk of severe COVID-19. The percentage is a slight decrease over the previous week, when nearly 88% of the population was in a high or medium community level.
With second negative COVID test, Biden exits isolation and gets back on the road
U.S. President Joe Biden tested negative for COVID-19 for a second consecutive day on Sunday and ended his isolation at the White House with a trip to his vacation home in Delaware and a reunion with his wife, first lady Jill Biden. Biden has been holed up at the White House for more than two weeks with COVID, leading to canceled trips and events even as his symptoms stayed mild. The president tested negative on Saturday but waited until a second negative test on Sunday before ending his isolation.
The EU says Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine should carry a warning. But this Australian expert says there's 'no major issue'
TGA figures show about 189,200 doses of Novavax have been administered in Australia to 24 July 2022. The EMA has requested more data from Novavax about its vaccine. An Australian epidemiologist says "a very small number of people" have been affected
Desperately seeking nurses: What can be done to retain them?
The pandemic has taken a toll on nurses. Across nations, nurses are quitting in large numbers. In Singapore, they are resigning in record numbers, causing a severe shortage at the hospitals. The Straits Times looks at why they quit and where some of them have gone to.
Covid in Schools: Masks, Shots Helped Protect College Students from Infection
Vaccinated and masked college students had virtually no chance of catching Covid-19 in the classroom last fall, according to a sweeping study of 33,000 Boston University students that bolsters standard prevention measures. The researchers screened the college’s health records to find nine sets of students who developed Covid at about the same time, were in class together without social distancing and had no known contact outside school, suggesting that they might have transmitted it in the classroom. However, genome analysis of coronavirus samples from the groups showed that all of them more likely were infected in other places.
Chinese tourist hot spot Sanya imposes COVID lockdown
The southern Chinese beach holiday city of Sanya imposed a lockdown on Saturday and shut its public transport system to try to stop a COVID-19 outbreak during its peak tourist season. Authorities announced the curbs would start at 6 a.m. (2200 GMT), saying the COVID situation was "very severe" and people's movements were being restricted. It did not say when the measures might be lifted. "We urge the general public and tourists to understand and give their support," authorities said in a statement on the city government's WeChat account.
Covid-19: North Korea claims to have recovered from outbreak
North Korea says everyone who fell sick since the country confirmed its first Covid-19 infections has recovered. On Friday state media reported zero fever cases for a seventh straight day. North Korea refers to "fever" rather than "Covid" patients due to a lack of testing equipment. The country announced its first Covid outbreak in May and has reported fever infections and deaths since. But there is widespread doubt over the data, especially the number of deaths. "No new fever cases were reported during the past week and all those receiving treatment have recovered across the country," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Friday.
Long Covid symptoms experienced by one in eight patients, research suggests
One in eight adults are likely to develop long Covid symptoms after being infected with Covid-19, a new study suggests. New research has compared common symptoms of long Covid, such as chest pain, breathing difficulties, loss of taste and smell, in thousands of people who had been diagnosed with Covid-19 during the Alpha wave with those who hadn’t been infected. Professor Judith Rosmalen from the University of Groningen, lead author of the study, said: “There is urgent need for data informing the scale and scope of the long-term symptoms experienced by some patients after Covid illness. “However, most previous research into long Covid has not looked at the frequency of these symptoms in people who haven’t been diagnosed with Covid-19 or looked at individual patients’ symptoms before the diagnosis of Covid-19.”
U.S. Schools Spent Millions of Dollars on Faulty COVID Scanners and Cameras
In August 2020, with COVID-19 outbreaks proliferating and back to school plans shifting, U.S. tech vendors popped up, promising a solution. They were selling thermal imaging cameras and scanners that they said could screen large groups of students for virus-related fevers in real time. The catch: they didn’t work. The Daily Beast has found over 200 school districts nationwide that were persuaded to buy these devices between 2020-21 by a number of companies, spending a combined total of more than $11 million. Internal emails obtained through public record requests show how districts were sold technology by an industry which experts compare to the “wild west,” and how now in many instances, the scanners sit dormant in schools, gathering dust.
Exit Strategies
New Zealand allowed pharmacists to dispense COVID-19 antivirals and 'everyone realised it was a win'
There are calls for awareness of COVID antivirals and easier access to the treatments in Australia. Pharmacy experts suggest looking to New Zealand where the drugs are available without a prescription. As well as reducing the severity of disease, emerging research suggests the medications can help reduce the risk of long COVID
While Covid-18 grabs global headlines and funding, HIV infections rise
While Covid-18 grabs global headlines and funding, HIV infections rise
COVID in WA: New COVID cases drop below 3000
WA has recorded a dip below 3000 in daily recorded COVID cases — with 2,911 new infections to 6pm Friday night. Hospital admissions have remained steady at 346, with 14 people needing to stay in the intensive care unit. Two new virus-related deaths dating back to August 2 were recorded in today’s numbers. They were two men in their 80s. The new infection bring the State’s active caseload to 20,078, as WA marks 1,085,331 cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began. A total of 5,276 PCR tests were conducted at either State-
Most Covid-19 deaths in Delhi among those with comorbidities
With cases of Covid-19 on the rise again in the national capital – over 2,000 cases have been recorded over the last three days – the number of deaths with the infection are also on the rise. There have been 16 deaths in the first five days of August. Delhi reported 2,419 cases and a positivity rate of 12.9% on Friday, according to the government’s daily health bulletin. Most of the Covid-19 deaths recorded in the government’s health bulletin are of people who incidentally test positive for the infection, say doctors from big government hospitals. Two of the four haven’t seen a death yet as cases continue to increase.
All Manitoba kids 6 months and older can get COVID-19 vaccine starting Friday
Articlee reports that all kids in Manitoba six months and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine starting Friday morning, the province says in a news release. Previously, only Indigenous kids and those with certain health conditions were eligible to get their shots. Parents and caregivers can start booking appointments for newly eligible kids at 9 a.m. Children need to be at least six months old at the time of their appointment, the release said. Health Canada approved the two-dose Moderna vaccine for kids ages six months to four years old in July. So far, Manitoba has gotten 14,900 doses, the release said. It's shipped more than 3,700 of them to regional vaccine sites and medical clinics and another 2,100 to First Nations medical leadership to distribute in their communities.
U.S. administers over 7300 Novavax vaccine doses - CDC
The United States has administered more than 7,300 doses of Novavax Inc's COVID-19 shot, which health officials hope will convince more people to opt for vaccinations as it is based on a technology that has been in use for decades. Over 330,000 doses of Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed in the United States, and more than 2,300 people have been fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated on Thursday.
Work stoppages and no chatting at lunch: Japan Inc grapples with COVID
Japanese companies are temporarily shutting offices or suspending production as they battle a record wave of COVID-19, disrupting businesses in a country that has until now weathered the pandemic better than most advanced economies. Automakers Toyota Motor Corp and Daihatsu Motor Co last week halted production line shifts because of employee infections. KFC Holdings Japan Ltd has had to shut some fast-food restaurants and move staff to fill gaps, while Japan Post Holdings Co has temporarily shut more than 200 mailing centres.
Hong Kong to Announce Hotel Quarantine Cut as Soon as Monday
Hong Kong may announce a reduction in the amount of time international travelers need to spend in mandatory hotel quarantine as soon as Monday, according to people familiar with the matter, with discussions over the scale of the change still ongoing. While officials had anticipated making an announcement on Friday, it has been pushed back to Monday at the earliest since no firm decision has yet been made on the parameters of the cut, according to one person, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations.
Partisan Exits
Australia cricketer wins in Commonwealth Games gold medal match after positive Covid test
Tahlia McGrath was allowed to play for Australia in their Commonwealth Games T20 cricket final against India despite testing positive for Covid-19. The all-rounder is the No1 ranked side’s hottest property and Aussie chiefs were desperate that she started the Edgbaston showpiece. Despite experiencing “mild” symptoms, and following consultation with health experts, team and match officials delaying the toss by 10 minutes, the International Cricket Council gave her the green light. Under Games Covid rules, affected players across all disciplines are assessed on a case-by-case basis. McGrath, who contributed 126 runs and eight wickets to Australia’s previous four matches, sat apart from her team-mates in the dressing room wearing a mask.
Biden Tests Negative for Covid-19 After Rebound Case, White House Doctor Says
President Biden tested negative for Covid-19 Saturday after a rebound case, but will remain in isolation until he has a second negative test, his physician said in a letter. Dr. Kevin O’Connor said in a letter made public by the White House that Mr. Biden tested negative on an antigen test and “continues to feel very well.” A White House official said a second test was planned for Sunday morning. Mr. Biden first tested positive for Covid-19 on July 21 and tested negative five days later following treatment with the antiviral drug Paxlovid. But he tested positive again on July 30, in what his doctor described as a rebound case. Following the positive test, Mr. Biden returned to isolation at the White House residence.
Biden tests negative for COVID, White House physician says
President Joe Biden has tested negative for COVID-19 after testing positive with a breakthrough case for days, the White House physician said on Saturday. The Democratic president, "in an abundance of caution," will remain in isolation until he tests negative on a second test, Dr. Kevin O'Connor said in a memo released by the White House. Biden, 79, emerged from isolation at the White House on July 27 after testing positive for COVID-19 for the first time on July 21. He tested positive again on July 30 in what O'Connor described as a "rebound" case seen in a small percentage of people who take the antiviral drug Paxlovid.
Prada Navigates Tricky COVID Curbs to Hold Beijing Show
Prada on Friday became the first major luxury house to host a show in China this year, navigating strict COVID curbs to send models down a catwalk in a historic Beijing mansion hotel, a move aimed at underscoring its commitment to the market. Livestreamed on multiple online platforms including Weibo, more than 400 celebrities and customers attended the event held by the Italian group in the Prince Jun’s Mansion Hotel, where it showcased its men and women's fall and winter collections. Shows in Chinese cities by global luxury giants, from Prada to LVMH's Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, used to be a familiar sight and continued even in 2020 and 2021 after China curbed the spread of the virus relatively quickly thanks to tough border curbs. But much has changed in 2022 with China's continued insistence on a "dynamic zero COVID" policy that uses harsh measures to cut any virus transmission chain, even as the rest of the world opens up in the face of infectious Omicron variants.
Three years in prison for man who threatened US Covid-19 advisor Fauci
A West Virginia man has been sentenced to three years in prison for threatening top US Covid-19 advisor Anthony Fauci and other officials over their handling of the pandemic. Thomas Connally, 57, of Snowshoe, pleaded guilty to making email threats between December 2020 and July 2021, the US attorney's office for Maryland said. One of the emails threatened that Fauci and his family would be "dragged into the street, beaten to death, and set on fire," the attorney's office said in a statement. US District Judge Paula Xinis sentenced Connally on Thursday to 37 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Gas company to pay $184000 to worker with cancer fired over COVID risk
A Pennsylvania gas well service company will pay $184,000 to settle claims that it unlawfully fired a longtime employee because his cancer made him more vulnerable to COVID-19, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said on Thursday. The settlement with Gas Field Specialists Inc (GFS) was announced by the EEOC a day after it was filed in Scranton, Pennsylvania federal court, ending a 2021 lawsuit by the agency. The company denied wrongdoing.
Japan PM Kishida to reshuffle cabinet as COVID, Taiwan in focus
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday he will reshuffle his cabinet next week to address mounting issues including Taiwan tensions, COVID-19 and economic stimulus measures to counter inflation. "We need to set off a new formation as soon as possible considering the various issues," he told a news conference in Hiroshima after attending a commemoration for the 77th anniversary of the world's first atomic bombing in the city.
Scientific Viewpoint
Quebec records 14 new COVID-19 deaths as hospitalizations drop slightly
As of Friday, there were 2,109 COVID-19 hospitalizations — 716 of them specifically due to the disease — a decrease of 27 compared with Thursday’s total. Of those patients, 57 were in intensive care, a drop of 10 from a day earlier; 27 were in the ICU specifically because of COVID-19. The number of health-care workers absent because of COVID-19 — either due to being in isolation or as a precaution — stood at 4,910. Quebec’s COVID-19 death toll is now 16,024.
80 fresh COVID-19 cases in Sikkim
Sikkim now has 559 active cases, while 40,863 people have recovered from the disease and 778 patients have migrated to other states so far
Thailand records 2,432 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 32 deaths on Wednesday
The Public Health Ministry reported on Wednesday (August 3) that over the past 24 hours, 2,432 Covid-19 patients have been admitted to hospitals, one of whom has arrived in Thailand from abroad. The death toll has risen by 32, while 2,472 patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals. The number of cumulative cases in the country since January 1, 2022, stands at 2,373,124 with 9,765 deaths.
Covid cases rise sharply, 446 infections recorded
After witnessing the flattening of the Covid-19 pandemic curve for nearly a month for the last four days, Mumbai is witnessing a sudden surge in the number of infections with the city registering 446 cases on Friday, which is the highest single-day count recorded in the past 18 days. In the past two weeks, the average daily Covid-19 cases were hovering around 200 in Mumbai. But since August 2, when the city reported 329 cases, the numbers are witnessing an upward spiral. The next day, the cases further climbed to 434 cases and one death was also reported. On August 4, the cases saw a slight dip with 410 infections and two deaths. On Friday, the daily caseload again surged to 446.
Hospitalizations, deaths tied to COVID-19 up slightly, latest report says
The latest provincial report on COVID-19 in Manitoba suggests an uptick in some severe outcomes for the second week in a row, including more people landing in hospital due to the coronavirus. The report says 53 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized during the week ending July 30, compared to 45 one week earlier. Slightly fewer people ended up in intensive care units: there were seven ICU admissions, down from eight ICU admissions during the week ending July 23. There were six deaths associated with coronavirus, up from five the week before. So far, 2,067 people have died due to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
UK Covid-19 infections fall for second week in a row
Covid-19 infections in the UK have fallen for the second week in a row, in a fresh sign that the current wave of the virus has peaked, new figures show. The number of patients in hospital with the virus is also on a clear downwards trend. A total of 2.6 million people in private households are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 25/26, down 19% from 3.2 million in the previous week, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Infections have now dropped by more than a million in the space of a fortnight.
Russia's official toll of COVID-related deaths exceeds 820000
Russia has registered a total of 820,307 COVID-related deaths since the start of the pandemic in the country in April 2020, the state statistics service Rosstat said on Friday. It said 4,991 people had died of COVID-19 or related causes in June, down from 7,098 in May. Russia recorded more than 965,000 excess deaths between April 2020 and June 2022 compared with the average mortality in 2015-2019, Reuters calculations showed.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Tamil Nadu sees 1,094 new Covid-19 cases
Tamil Nadu logged 1,094 new Covid-19 cases, including two returnees from Maharashtra and Karnataka, pushing the tally to 35,51,641 till date, the Health Department said on Saturday. There were no fresh fatalities and the death toll remained unchanged at 38,033, a bulletin said. As many as 1,431 people have recuperated from the virus in the last 24 hours, aggregating to 35,03,347 leaving, 10,261 active cases. Two districts accounted for most of the new cases with Chennai recording 239, Coimbatore 127 and the rest were spread across other districts. The neighboring Chengalpet, which has been reporting fresh cases in three districts till Friday, has added 94 new infections, indicating a decline in the cases.
Top covid symptom is ‘sore throat’, says latest data
Covid-19 infections in the UK have jumped by around 7 per cent, with the ongoing rise still driven by the newest Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5. Hospital numbers are also continuing to increase, with early signs of a rise in intensive care admissions among older age groups. A total of 3.8 million people in private households are estimated to have had in the week up to 14 July, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures. The previous week there were around 3.3 million cases across the UK. That is the highest estimate for total infections since late April, but is still some way below the record high of 4.9 million seen at the peak of the Omicron BA.2 wave at the end of March.
How A Covid-19 Infection May Affect Your Period
Recently, Dr. Leslie Farland, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and a team of her colleagues studied menstruation changes after Covid infections. The research was conducted in 127 people ranging from ages 18 to 45 beginning in May 2020. All participants tested positive for Covid at some point between the beginning of the pandemic and now; the study is still ongoing. “Approximately 16% of menstruating participants who had Covid-19 reported changes to their menstrual cycle following infection,” Farland tells HuffPost. Participants most commonly reported irregular menstruation, an increase in premenstrual syndrome symptoms like mood swings and tiredness, and infrequent menstruation.
Covid-19: One in eight adults develops long covid symptoms, study suggests
One in eight covid-19 patients (12.7%) is likely to experience long term symptoms, a study from the Netherlands has reported. Using digital questionnaires, researchers collected data on the frequency of 23 symptoms commonly associated with covid in an uninfected population and in people who had had a covid diagnosis. The findings, published in the Lancet,1 found that 21.4% (381/1782) of adults who had had covid experienced at least one new or severely increased symptom three to five months after infection when compared with before. This compared with only 8.7% (361/4130) of uninfected people followed over the same period. The core long covid symptoms highlighted by the researchers include chest pain, difficulties breathing, pain when breathing, painful muscles, loss of taste and smell, tingling extremities, lump in throat, feeling hot and cold, heavy arms or legs, and general tiredness.
Even Mild Covid-19 May Cause Lasting Brain Fog
In previous installments of this series, we looked at new research that suggests even mild SARS-CoV-2 infection can impair cognitive function. The first step in this chain of events happens when the virus sets off an intense inflammatory response that eventually reaches the brain. Once there, inflammation triggers reactivity of microglial cells —the resident immune cells of the central nervous system— which produce yet more inflammation and interfere with the normal functioning of important cells, including oligodendrocytes and neural precursor cells (Figure 1). Schematic of the pathway through which general inflammation causes cognitive dysfunction. But given that all of this happens off the back of inflammation, which we experience during any number of infections or injuries, wouldn’t we expect to see something similar unfold in other viral diseases? As part of their research, Fernández-Castañeda et al. asked themselves this same question. In the search for an answer, they turned to influenza. Like Covid-19, the flu has also been associated with cognitive and neurological issues. And like SARS-CoV-2, influenza is rarely neuroinvasive — even though both viruses can infect the brain directly, as can many other viruses, it seems to happen only infrequently. It could be, then, that influenza causes cognitive issues through a similar mechanism as Covid.
What is GBS, the syndrome behind SA’s first Covid-19 vaccine-related death?
The South African patient got vaccinated against the coronavirus, choosing the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 jab. But what happened soon after had everyone stumped and many health professionals floored. The patient developed Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS), one of the possible side effects of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine. A mere 100 000 people, globally, are affected by this disease a year – and few of them die from it. What is even more puzzling about this SA patient, whose details were withheld, is that they seemed relatively healthy and had no other diseases which could have led to their sudden death.
New Lockdown
China's Sanya holiday hotspot shuts duty-free malls, venues to curb COVID
Sanya, a top tropical holiday destination on China's southern Hainan island, began closing its duty free malls on Friday in response to a worsening COVID-19 outbreak. Since China shut its international borders in early 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19, Hainan's duty-free industry has boomed, becoming a vital channel for global brands from Gucci to Coach, La Mer to L'Oreal to reach Chinese shoppers.