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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 10th Aug 2022

Lockdown Exit
Despite awareness of COVID-19 risks, many Americans say they’re back to ‘normal’
Many Americans know of the potential risks to themselves and their families from infection with Covid-19, but growing numbers say they have returned to living their “normal” pre-pandemic lives, according to July 2022 national survey data from the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC). Increasing numbers say they personally know someone who has died from Covid-19 and personally know someone who has suffered the lingering effects such as neurological problems and fatigue that are commonly known as “long Covid,” according to the APPC survey, which was conducted July 12-18, 2022. Despite awareness of the continuing risks of Covid-19, worries about its health effects have declined, the percentage of Americans who often or always wear masks indoors with people from outside their household has plummeted, and the number saying they have returned to living their “normal, pre-Covid-19 life” has more than doubled over the past six months.
Norwegian Cruise Line removes mandatory Covid vaccine requirement from September
Norwegian Cruise Line has removed its mandatory Covid vaccine requirements for its cruises beginning on September 3, 2022. Norwegian Cruise Line issued a statement on the removal of its mandatory Covid vaccine requirements, that read: “As the world continues to open up, luring travelers to explore their favorite destinations once again more freely, we have updated our health and safety protocols to further align to those of the broader travel, leisure and hospitality industry worldwide.” “The relaxation of global protocols and travel requirements, makes it easier for guests to return to sea with us. As such, for sailings beginning September 3, 2022, all travellers are invited to sail with us once again, regardless of vaccination status.”
People ‘still travelling less and exercising more than before Covid’
People are still travelling less and exercising more than they did before the pandemic, despite the scrapping of most Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year, new analysis suggests. Working habits appear to have undergone a permanent change – though the amount of time spent sleeping and resting has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The way people use their time has been studied since 2014/15 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with the latest figures capturing behaviour in March 2022, when almost all the UK’s coronavirus rules had been lifted. Adults spent an average of 52 minutes a day in March this year travelling, such as driving or walking, to places, the stats show. This is up from 32 minutes in March 2021, when many Covid-19 restrictions were still in place, but well below the figure of 84 minutes in 2014/15.
How We Mourn Covid’s Victims
Piece by piece, the Covid-19 sanctuary was born on a hilltop in the town of Bedworth in central England. The process was meant to be a metaphor for a human life. Like bones fused over time, it grew taller as the memorial’s creators spent months joining intricate pieces of wood into a skeletal structure that finally stood on its own, 65 feet high. Then they burned it all down. There have always been monuments to commemorate the loss of life from calamitous events, such as the thousands of memorials dedicated to world wars, the Sept. 11 attacks, the Holocaust.
Post pandemic Britons still spend more time working from home - ONS
British workers are spending more time working from home compared with pre-pandemic times despite the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, according to official data released on Tuesday that offered a glimpse of what the 'new normal' looks like. In March 2020 the global coronavirus outbreak triggered a radical redesign of swathes of the world economy, forcing many firms and their workers to give up on the office temporarily and adapt to working from home.
Jack Dorsey Tweets 'End the CCP' After China Covid Report
Twitter Inc. co-founder Jack Dorsey tweeted the words “end the CCP” over the weekend in response to a report about China’s strict Covid-19 measures. Dorsey, who’d been chief executive officer at Twitter until November, tweeted his terse message, ostensibly referring to China’s Communist Party, while quoting a CNN report about the rigorous testing and app-based contact tracing implemented by Beijing. He didn’t elaborate on his reasoning.
Biden Cleared to Resume Public Events After Negative Covid Test
President Joe Biden tested negative for Covid-19 for a second consecutive day, ending more than two weeks spent mostly self-isolating at the White House. The latest antigen test for Biden, 79, came back negative on Sunday morning, presidential physician Kevin O’Connor said in a letter released by the White House. “He will safely return to public engagement and presidential travel,” the doctor said. “I’m feeling great,” Biden told reporters outside the White House. Biden’s diagnosis, including a so-called rebound case after he received Pfizer Inc.’s antiviral drug Paxlovid, has hampered his political schedule ahead of midterm elections in November, though he has done a series of virtual events.
UK Economy Likely Hit Worst Slump Since Lockdown With GDP Shrinking
The UK economy probably shrank for the first time since the nation was in a coronavirus lockdown at the start of 2021, adding to pressure for action from the contenders vying to take over as prime minister. Gross domestic product for the second quarter probably shrank 0.2%, according to a survey of economists by Bloomberg News ahead of the official figures due to be published this week.
Analysis: More Chinese women delay or give up on having babies after zero-COVID ordeal
Seeing Chinese authorities exercise extraordinary powers during a stringent COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai earlier this year altered Claire Jiang's life plans: she no longer wants to have babies in China. During the April-May lockdown, the hashtag "we are the last generation" briefly went viral on Chinese social media before being censored. The phrase echoed the response of a man who was visited by authorities in hazmat suits threatening to punish his family for three generations for non-compliance with COVID rules.
Exit Strategies
Christmas could be in jeopardy for a third year as COVID-19 waves set to continue indefinitely, experts warn
Experts are warning waves of COVID to continue indefinitely. More than 65 per cent of Queenslanders aged 65 and older have received four doses of a COVID vaccine Experts say "variant-specific boosters" and nasal vaccines will be rolled out to the public in 2023
Australia retires CovidSafe contact-tracing app that was barely used
Australia’s CovidSafe app is being decommissioned because it is no longer being used for Covid-19 contact tracing. The app cost around $75,000 a month to run and was touted by former prime minister Scott Morrison as an important measure on par with wearing sunscreen. It was barely used in the Delta and Omicron outbreaks despite more than 7 million Australians downloading it to help contact tracers, and since launching in April 2020, just 17 “close contacts” in New South Wales were found directly through the app that were not otherwise identified through manual contact-tracing methods.
School vaccine mandates for Covid-19 are not happening
One thing is clear: Almost none of them will be requiring vaccines. Just 31 percent of children between 5 and 11 in the US have been fully vaccinated, and 61 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds have been. (Only about 3 percent of children under 5 had received a first dose by July 20.) Still, no state in the country is planning to require student vaccinations, a marked turnaround from where things seemed to be headed last winter, when multiple states and school districts suggested vaccine mandates were coming soon. Only Washington, DC, has announced a mandatory school vaccine policy this fall, for students 12 and older. Other mitigation measures — from masks to ventilation — may also be on their way out. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will likely soon recommend easing school testing, quarantine, and social distancing requirements, CNN reported last week. (Many schools often disregarded CDC guidelines, but the update is a sign of how expectations have shifted.)
DOH: COVAX to replace all expiring, expired COVID-19 vaccine doses
The COVAX facility has committed to replace all expired and expiring COVID-19 vaccine doses in the country, including those procured by the private sector and the local government units, the Department of Health officer in charge Ma. Rosario Vergeire said on Tuesday. Vergeire made the remark when asked about updates as regards the P5.1 billion worth of vaccine doses which were procured by the private sector and which have expired. “We had an agreement with the COVAX facility, that these will all be replaced... Even those that have expired from the private sector and the local government units, the vaccines,” Vergeire said at a press briefing.
Covid-19 mask use: 'It's just personal choice now', mayors say
Despite the government's plea for everyone to wear face masks indoors, mask wearing is hit and miss around the motu. Although there are some places where everyone is masked, in others there are no masks in sight. Some local leaders have been relaxed about it too, appearing without masks in social media posts and at council meetings.
Here's How Hong Kong Health Code System for Travelers Will Work
Hong Kong will introduce a tiered health-code system reminiscent of what’s used in mainland China to facilitate a reduction in its deeply unpopular mandatory hotel quarantine. The new rules, which come into effect on Friday, will mean arrivals at Hong Kong’s international airport must spend three days in hotel quarantine -- down from seven. If they don’t test positive for Covid, they will then undergo four days of health monitoring, underpinned by a yellow health code that restricts entry into a raft of high-risk places. Meanwhile, anyone infected with the virus will receive a red code that means they must isolate.
Covid Vaccine Maker Novavax Tumbles After Cutting Annual Sales Forecast 50%
Novavax Inc. shares had their biggest loss in more than three years as the drugmaker slashed its 2022 revenue forecast late Monday on disappointing demand for its Covid-19 vaccine that trailed competitors getting to market. Sales for the year will be as much as $2.3 billion, less than half the previous expected peak of $5 billion, the company said in a statement. Novavax also reported a second-quarter loss of $6.53 a share, wider than analysts’ average estimate of $5.24.
Health experts urge making fourth COVID vaccine more available
As Mexico’s fifth wave of coronavirus infections continues, two health experts have criticized the federal government for its slow and limited rollout of fourth shots of COVID-19 vaccines. The government has offered second booster shots to seniors, people with existing medical conditions that make them vulnerable to serious illness and health workers, but not all younger adults have had access to a fourth dose. According to The New York Times vaccinations tracker, 72% of Mexicans (adults and children) are vaccinated and 63% are fully vaccinated, but only 44% have had additional shots. Most of the booster shots administered to date have been third doses. Francisco Moreno, an infectious disease specialist and head of COVID-19 care at the ABC Hospital in Mexico City, said that Mexico is behind where it should be in terms of fourth-dose coverage.
Here’s How Hong Kong’s New China-Inspired Health Code Will Work
Hong Kong will introduce a tiered health-code system reminiscent of what’s used in mainland China to facilitate a reduction in its deeply unpopular mandatory hotel quarantine. The new rules, which come into effect on Friday, will mean arrivals at Hong Kong’s international airport must spend three days in hotel quarantine -- down from seven. If they don’t test positive for Covid, they will then undergo four days of health monitoring, underpinned by a yellow health code that restricts entry into a raft of high-risk places. Meanwhile, anyone infected with the virus will receive a red code that means they must isolate.
Scientific Viewpoint
Pfizer readies ‘robust’ manufacturing capabilities to deliver 2 COVID-19 variant vaccines
Pfizer is planning to deliver COVID-19 vaccines against two sets of omicron subvariants in the autumn in the belief its “robust manufacturing capabilities” are up to the task.
Five Thoughts on the State of COVID-19 Vaccination and the Road Ahead
This is a confusing time in the public health emergency. Americans are thinking less about COVID-19 on a daily basis and many are eager to move on. But COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, as evidenced by quick spread of the new variant, and it will continue to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future. Getting more Americans vaccinated against the virus will help to move us out of the pandemic stage. We can do this by sharing the right message and using trusted messengers on multiple platforms. This is the focus of the AHA’s vaccine confidence initiative, supported by $3 million in grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One of us is president of a hospital in North Carolina and has a background in family medicine and rural health. The other is chief marketing and experience officer for a health system in Louisiana. At the AHA Leadership Summit last month we offered our thoughts on the vaccine and the road ahead. Here are five highlights:
COVID in California: Vaccines, masks cut coronavirus transmission by 99.9% in classrooms, study finds
The alarming spread of omicron subvariants has again put a spotlight on how well COVID-19 rapid antigen tests work at this stage in the pandemic. Many ultra-wealthy people who left San Francisco in the early days of the pandemic decamped to ritzy ski towns. Coronavirus case rates and positive tests rates are steadily declining in California and the Bay Area, signaling that the region is finally on the downside of this summer’s record-long COVID-19 surge
Study details post-COVID-19 symptoms and conditions among children and adolescents in the US
In a recent article published as part of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), researchers assessed the incidence of post-coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms and conditions among children and adolescents. The researchers found some previously unreported post-COVID conditions and symptoms, including acute pulmonary embolism, blood coagulation, hemorrhagic disorders, acute renal failure, venous thromboembolic event, and cardiac dysrhythmias, in the study participants.
COVID-19 vaccination reduces infection-related myocardial infarction and stroke risk
COVID-19 vaccination significantly reduces the risk of both an acute myocardial infarction and stroke among those infected with the virus. COVID-19 vaccination provides individuals with a reduced risk of experiencing an acute myocardial infarction or ischaemic stroke after becoming infected with the virus according to the findings of a study by Korean researchers. It has now become recognised that following an acute infection with COVID-19, beyond the first 30 days, individuals with COVID-19 have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and which includes cerebrovascular disorders, dysrhythmias, ischaemic and non-ischaemic heart disease, pericarditis, myocarditis, heart failure and thromboembolic disease. While it is clear that a COVID-19 vaccination is safe and offers protection against severe COVID-19, hospitalisation and death against all current variants of concern, what is less clear is whether vaccination is able to reduce the post-infection cardiovascular sequelae.
With Innovation, We Can Keep Reducing the Toll of COVID-19
Scrolling through social media these days, you’ll see that loud extremists continue to dominate COVID-19 discourse. At one pole are the denialists who argue—incorrectly—that COVID is “just a cold.” At the other are those who suggest that no meaningful progress has been made in controlling its devastation. The truth, of course, is somewhere in the middle. We have not yet extricated ourselves from the peril of SARS-CoV-2, and wishing COVID-19 gone does not make it so. Surging case numbers provide opportunities to produce the next variant as the virus evolves to escape antibodies accumulated from vaccination and prior infection. (There is no way to predict the severity of disease caused by a future variant, though immunity undeniably helps.) Some portion of these cases will be severe, fatal, or result in disabling long COVID.
Covid-19: What we know about the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants
When and where were these subvariants detected? - BA.4 and BA.5 were first detected in South Africa in January and February 2022, respectively.1 They are offshoots of the omicron variant BA.2, though their additional mutations seem to have given them a transmission advantage. - What’s the difference between BA.4 and BA.5? - The World Health Organization has said that BA.5 now accounts for more than half of the world’s cases, while BA.4 accounts for just over one in 10.3 Why BA.5 has overtaken BA.4 is a mystery, because they’re so similar. Speaking at a Royal Society of Medicine event, Thomas Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, said, “They have identical spikes, more or less. So that means it has to be something outside the spike. And really our understanding of that from a virological perspective is very poor.”
The long reach of long Covid
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report says that anywhere from 10 million to 35 million working-age adults — as many as a third of all infections — are experiencing long Covid, a hazily defined ailment with symptoms that can include “brain fog,” shortness of breath, heart palpitations and neurological changes. Those symptoms can last anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein that he has felt “as if every nerve ending in my body has had five cups of coffee” since his initial infection subsided in early 2020.
EU regulator begins review of Pfizer-BioNTech's variant-adapted COVID shot
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started a rolling review of a variant-adapted COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, it said on Tuesday. The so-called bivalent vaccine targets two strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind COVID - the original strain first identified in China, and the Omicron offshoots BA.4/5 that are currently behind most cases in Europe. A rolling review means the EMA assesses the data as it becomes available, and the process continues until there is enough data for a formal marketing application.
Novavax tumbles 31% as waning COVID vaccine demand hits revenue forecast
Shares of U.S. vaccine maker Novavax fell about 30% on Tuesday after it cut its annual revenue forecast by half over falling demand for its COVID-19 shot from low- and middle-income nations. Demand for its vaccine is also waning in the United States, where it was authorized for use among adults last month and was expected to be preferred by the skeptics of messenger RNA-based shots from Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc
Covid Vaccine Maker Novavax Drops After Cutting Sales Outlook 50% (NVAX)
Novavax Inc. shares had their biggest loss in more than three years as the drugmaker slashed its 2022 revenue forecast late Monday on disappointing demand for its Covid-19 vaccine that trailed competitors getting to market. Sales for the year will be as much as $2.3 billion, less than half the previous expected peak of $5 billion, the company said in a statement. Novavax also reported a second-quarter loss of $6.53 a share, wider than analysts’ average estimate of $5.24.
Loss Of Smell Linked To Long Term Covid Cognitive Impairment
The Argentinian research team investigated the long term Covid-19 cognitive impairment in older adults through a one-year prospective study design. All 766 participants were randomly invited from the health registry in Jujuy, Argentina, which holds all Covid-19 testing information for its region. Investigators split the group by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing status: 88.4% who had Covid-19 and 11.6% without—in other words, the control group.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Covid-19: Covid-19: New Zealand to stay at orange as 5939 new community cases announced, 15 in ICU
Minister for Covid-19 Response Ayesha Verrall has confirmed that the country will stay at the orange traffic light setting as 5939 new community cases of Covid-19 in Aotearoa were reported by the Ministry of Health. She said there was still “significant pressure” on hospitals from winter illnesses though it was thought that Covid-19 cases may have peaked about 11,000 cases per day in mid-July. “Our response to Omicron is moving in the right direction, but loosening settings before we are completely on top of it risk infections going up again,” she said. “We just need to stay the course a little longer.”
UAE reaches one million Covid-19 cases
The UAE on Tuesday surpassed one million Covid-19 infections since the start of the global outbreak. This milestone figure was reached after a further 919 cases were confirmed. The country's overall tally now stands at 1,000,556. Recoveries climbed to 979,362 after another 859 people beat the virus in the past 24 hours. There were no coronavirus-related deaths during the latest reporting period, with the toll standing at 2,337.
India logs over 12,000 fresh Covid-19 cases in past 24 hours
For the third consecutive day, Covid-19 cases in India witnessed a downward journey on Tuesday with the country logging 12,751 new infections in the past 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry data. With this, the country's active caseload currently stands at 1,31,807. On Monday, India recorded 16,167 new Covid-19 cases, while the country had more than 18,000 infections on Sunday and over 19,000 cases on Saturday. The data shows that a total of 16,412 people recovered from the coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours, taking the country's cumulative recoveries to 4,35,16,071. The recovery rate remains consistent at 98.51%.
Rise in Covid-19 death registrations shows signs of slowing
The number of deaths involving Covid-19 registered each week in England and Wales has risen for the sixth week in a row – but there are signs the increase may be slowing down. A total of 810 deaths registered in the seven days to July 29 mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is up 9% on the previous week and is the highest number since the seven days to April 29. It is the smallest percentage increase since mid-June, however
Toyota suspends some Japan factory production due to COVID outbreak
Toyota Motor Corp said it would suspend the night shift operation on Tuesday at one production line at its factory in central Japan due to an outbreak of COVID-19, after it suspended operations there also on Monday night. The suspension comes as the Japanese automaker seeks to boost its production in earnest after COVID-19 lockdowns in China and a global chip shortage forced it to repeatedly scale back output in the April-June quarter, falling about 10% short of its initially planned target.
New Lockdown
China closes Potala Palace after COVID-19 reported in Tibet
Chinese authorities have closed Tibet’s famed Potala Palace after a minor outbreak of COVID-19 was reported in the Himalayan region. The response underscores China’s continued adherence to its “zero-COVID” policy, mandating lockdowns, routine testing, quarantines and travel restrictions, even while most other countries have reopened. A notice on the palace’s Weixin social media site said the palace that was the traditional home of Tibet’s Buddhist leaders would be closed from Tuesday, with a reopening date to be announced later. Tibet’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism and the Potala is a key draw.
China races to contain COVID outbreaks in tourism hubs Tibet, Hainan
China raced on Tuesday to stamp out COVID-19 outbreaks in the tourist hubs of Tibet and Hainan, with the authorities launching more rounds of mass testing and closing venues to contain the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Mainland China reported 828 new domestically transmitted cases across more than a dozen provinces and regions for Aug. 8, with over half of them in Hainan, a highly popular tourist destination, official data showed on Tuesday.
Escaping Shanghai's COVID lockdown only to get trapped in Hainan
Brian Hall fled Shanghai in June to avoid another lockdown of his residential compound, escaping to China's tropical tourist island of Hainan where he could work remotely as a public health professor after undertaking 10 days of quarantine. Hall, who has worked at the New York University Shanghai for the past two years, is now stuck in Sanya, Hainan's main tourism hub, with no clarity on when he can get out.