Covid-19 Updates & Info

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MJ2004
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Covid-19 Updates & Info

#1726

Post by MJ2004 »

[quote="dmforever”]
Do most people here think that Trump will get the nomination if he runs?

Kevin[/quote]

Replace “if” with “when” and does a bear s*** in the woods?
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

#1727

Post by ponchi101 »

The only options that lead to him not running:
1. The burgers and poor diet do their job.
2. Major, MAJOR stroke, destroying the remaining 10% of his brain that seems to work (the one set to STUPID).
3. Prison, and even then, he will be put in the ballot.

Not only he will run and get nominated. Anybody running AGAINST him will be labeled a traitor and will suffer severe consequences (within the GOP). And if for some reason he can't run, he gets to anoint the successor.
His followers make Scientologists and Ayn Rand's followers look cerebral and independent.
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

#1728

Post by dryrunguy »

Here is the latest Situation Report.

::

Webinar Available: The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that accurate and timely health-related information is crucial to mounting an effective response to a public health crisis. As can be seen in setbacks during the COVID-19 response, health-related misinformation and disinformation can lead to more infections, deaths, disruption, and disorganization of the effort. The latest session of The Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Pandemic Preparedness & Health Security, titled “Combating Misinformation and Disinformation for COVID-19 and Future Public Health Threats,” evaluated the role misinformation has played in health emergencies and offered solutions to increase trust in future public health messaging. A recording of the webinar is available for viewing.

VACCINES FOR CHILDREN The US FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) is meeting today to consider recommending the authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years. Last week, the FDA posted Pfizer-BioNTech’s briefing on the vaccine for this age group, which suggested a 2-dose series of 10μg shots delivered 3 weeks apart—one-third of the adult dose—was 91% effective in preventing symptomatic disease among this younger age group, with low incidence of adverse events. The companies said no cases of heart inflammation were reported in 3-months follow-up after the second shot, although the study population was small. In its own briefing, the FDA said the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine among children ages 5 to 11 clearly outweigh the risks of potential side effects. The FDA’s advisory committee is expected to recommend authorizing the lower-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for young children today. After the FDA issues a final decision—which usually follows the recommendations of its advisors—the US CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will make recommendations at its next meeting, scheduled for November 2-3. Following the approval of those recommendations by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, children ages 5 to 11 could become eligible for SARS-CoV-2 vaccination by November 3-4.

According to 2 recent studies—one published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and the other in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)—the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease and related hospitalization in adolescents aged 12 to 18 years. The studies demonstrate the importance of vaccines in protecting children from COVID-19, and they could factor into today’s FDA advisory committee meeting.

On October 25, Moderna announced interim results from its Phase 2/3 KidCOVE study evaluating its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in children aged 6 to 11 years. According to the company, the data—which are not yet published or peer-reviewed—showed that participants in the 6- to 11-year-old range had a robust immune response to a 2-dose 50μg regimen delivered 4 weeks apart. Side effects included mild to moderate symptoms such as fatigue, fever, headache, and pain at the injection site. The company indicated plans to submit their data to US and European regulators soon, although there is no indication when the FDA might review the vaccine for use in children. Moderna’s vaccine currently is authorized for use in adults, and it is awaiting a response from the FDA to its June request for authorization for children aged 12 to 17.

US TRAVEL POLICIES On October 25, US President Joe Biden issued a proclamation on international air travel requiring nearly all inbound international travelers to be fully vaccinated. Notably, there are exceptions to the new policy: children under 18, those with certain medical conditions, and non-tourists traveling from specific countries with low vaccine access will instead be required to report a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure. There are no religious exemptions for inbound passengers, according to the US CDC, which issued new contact tracing rules the same day. Those travelers staying in the US are expected to receive a vaccine within 60 days, a decision which takes advantage of the large repository of vaccine doses in the country. The travel industry is welcoming these changes to the existing regulations, which issued travel restrictions on a country-by-country basis. With a more uniform travel policy, airlines are looking forward to simpler implementation and logistics moving forward. The new air travel policy will take effect on November 8, and more details on a similar plan to lift travel restrictions on land border crossings are expected later this week.

Additionally, the CDC extended its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order through January 15, 2022. While the CDC makes important recommendations for other forms of travel, CDC maintains authority over whether or not cruise ships are allowed to operate in US waters. Given the short, but fraught, history of COVID-19 on cruise ships, the CDC has taken many steps to work with the cruise ship industry to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. The Framework for Conditional Sailing Order was initially implemented in October 2020 following the expiration of the CDC’s No Sail Order. Since then, the cruise industry has adopted numerous COVID-19 prevention measures, such as masking and testing requirements. The temporary extension states that CDC intends to transition to a voluntary program upon the conclusion of the extension deadline, which will involve close coordination between the CDC and the cruise industry.

US BOOSTER DOSES Tens of millions more people in the US became eligible for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine boosters last week following CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky’s endorsement of the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for booster shots in certain populations. Now, all 3 of the vaccines approved or authorized in the US—all of which remain highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death—are available for additional or booster doses among certain populations. For those who received primary shots with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, booster doses are available 6 months after the initial series for individuals aged 65 or older and those aged 18 or older who live in long-term care settings, have underlying medical conditions, or work or live in high-risk settings. The Moderna booster is half of the initial shots (50 μg versus 100 μg), while the Pfizer-BioNTech booster is the same dosage. Anyone who received the J&J-Janssen vaccine is eligible to receive a booster dose 2 months following their initial shot. Additionally, the CDC’s recommendations allow for people to choose which of the 3 available vaccines they get for a booster, a strategy known as “mix & match” or heterologous dosing. Notably, health experts emphasized that anyone who received 2 mRNA vaccine doses or a single J&J-Janssen dose are—for now—considered fully vaccinated. Several members of the FDA and CDC advisory panels expressed frustration over the limited data on the safety and efficacy of boosters, how questions were posed to the committees, and a burden to approve the extra doses after they were promised by US President Joe Biden in August.

GLOBAL VACCINE ACCESS The US government has now delivered 200 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccines to more than 100 countries, out of a pledge of 1.1 billion doses. A US Department of State official said many of the donated doses are surplus supply and more needs to be done to increase supply to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), including manufacturers increasing production and other countries donating excess shots. Notably, the US government continues to deny requests from state or local governments to donate soon-to-expire doses to countries in need. In an agreement facilitated by the US government, Moderna announced it will make up to 110 million of its vaccine doses available at the lowest price to the African Union. The US undoubtedly is a leader in global vaccination efforts, but the government—and other wealthy countries—can and should do more to improve access in LMICs, public health advocates urge.

During comments to reporters last week, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karin Jean-Pierre called on all World Trade Organization (WTO) member states to support a proposal to temporarily waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 medical products, including vaccines. Formal talks on the proposal—which is endorsed by more than 100 countries—are stalled despite US backing. Notably, 2 senior officials in the administration of US President Joe Biden told The Washington Post that the government lacks the authority to share technology of Moderna's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, despite the company receiving nearly US$10 billion in federal funding to develop, research, and expand manufacturing of the shots. Last week, the WHO urged the G20 nations, which are holding a summit this week, to increase vaccine donations, and finance ministers from member states of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) agreed to take steps to support equitable distribution of vaccines and expand manufacturing. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) updated its Global COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage Tool on October 25, providing data on vaccine coverage by country, income-level, region, and globally, as well as estimates on future vaccine coverage levels.

HEALTHCARE WORKERS As many as 180,000 healthcare workers died of COVID-19 between January 2020 and May 2021, according to estimates from a WHO working paper, which urged nations worldwide to do more to support and protect healthcare workers amid the pandemic. In addition to calling for better access to vaccines for healthcare workers—only 2 of 5 are fully vaccinated globally, with greater disparities between poor and wealthy nations—the WHO warned that an increasing proportion of the workforce faces burnout, stress, anxiety, and fatigue, and the industry faces a worker shortage. A study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Nursing shows that in 2017, prior to the pandemic, 5.5% of 7,378 nurse survey respondents reported having suicidal ideation within the past year, and other surveys have shown that 25% to 50% of healthcare providers report high stress, anxiety, work overload, or symptoms of burnout. In the US, which needs more nurses, shortages in nursing school instructors, clinical sites, and financial resources has led to a bottleneck in available slots for students.

AY.4.2 VARIANT UNDER INVESTIGATION The UK Health Security Agency last week designated the Delta sublineage AY.4.2—commonly known as “Delta Plus”—as a Variant Under Investigation (VUI) and officially named the variant VUI-21OCT-01. The agency made the designation because the sublineage has become increasingly common in the UK in recent months, accounting for approximately 6% of all sequenced Delta cases. Currently, there is no evidence AY.4.2 causes more severe disease, although 2 mutations on the spike protein—A222V and Y145H—could be contributing to an increased growth rate, but more evidence is needed. COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta sublineage have been detected in at least 118 countries, including the US, India, Israel, and Russia. At a briefing last week, US CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said health officials are keeping an eye on the sublineage but that so far there is no evidence it impacts the effectiveness of vaccines or available treatments.

NEUROLOGICAL IMPACTS Many people who recover from COVID-19 suffer various symptoms of cognitive dysfunction, commonly known as “brain fog,” although the prevalence and severity of these symptoms are not well-known. In a research letter published in JAMA Open Network, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York (US) describe results from a study examining rates of cognitive impairment among 740 COVID-19 survivors who were treated in outpatient, emergency department, or inpatient hospital settings between April 2020 and May 2021. They found that up to nearly one-quarter of recovered patients continue to experience some sort of cognitive impairment 7 months post-infection, including problems with memory, processing speed, executive functioning, attention, or phonetic and category fluency. The researchers note the “considerable implications” for COVID-19 patients’ long-term rehabilitation and occupational, psychological, and functional outcomes. Even younger patients, in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, who had milder cases of the disease reported cognitive impairments, potentially heavily impacting their ability to engage in work, community, and family activities.

Another study published last week in Nature Neuroscience describes how SARS-CoV-2 can damage small vessels in the brain, potentially leading to neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients. The team of European and US researchers suggest a potential therapeutic target to potentially treat or prevent long-term neurological symptoms of COVID-19.

ASTRAZENECA-OXFORD VACCINE A recent study published in Nature Medicine reports an association between the AstraZeneca-Oxford SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a rare neurological condition. Researchers estimated that there were 38 extra cases of GBS per 10 million persons receiving the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine. The same study also estimated that there were 145 extra cases of GBS per 10 million persons with a positive COVID-19 test. Importantly, while there are some rare complications associated with SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, it appears that the risk of developing these neurological complications is much higher following natural infection with SARS-CoV-2. The study also examined the same outcomes among people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but there was no significant association between this vaccine and GBS. There was, however, a positive association between the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and hemorrhagic stroke. The European Medicines Agency previously added GBS as a possible adverse event to the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, and the UK added the warning last week. These new findings support the overall safety of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and the importance of protecting oneself against the worst outcomes of infection.

CHINA Chinese health officials announced new lockdowns and other measures to contain several local SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks, with the average number of daily new COVID-19 cases more than doubling since October 16. Officials warned the outbreaks, mainly in the northern part of the country, are expected to worsen. Marathons in Wuhan and Beijing were postponed, with organizers citing the safety of runners, staff, and residents. On October 25, health officials announced children as young as 3 years old will be eligible for vaccination, with at least 5 provinces announcing compulsory vaccination for children. SARS-CoV-2 vaccines from both Sinopharm (2 versions) and Sinovac are authorized for use in children, however the shots have only been used among individuals aged 12 and older until now.

China is one of only a few countries continuing to enforce a zero-COVID policy, and the Chinese government is concerned the outbreaks will spread into Beijing, where the 2022 Winter Olympics are set to begin in February. According to new guidelines released this week, athletes at the games must be vaccinated to avoid a 21-day quarantine, will need to take daily SARS-CoV-2 tests, and will be restricted to a closed loop system dictating travel between venues and interactions with other participants. China already has said international spectators will not be allowed at the Olympics, which are set to run from February 4-20. About 75% of the Chinese population is fully vaccinated, and those who received their last dose at least 6 months ago are eligible for a booster dose.
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

#1729

Post by ponchi101 »

About "Covid Fog". My sister tells me that she feels it a little bit, not a desirable condition for a therapist. She has had the disease twice (she had just received her Sputnik V second dose when she developed the second bout, and initially thought it was a reaction to the vaccine) and is doing fine, but feels that at times her memory is still a bit jumbled.
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

#1730

Post by ti-amie »

I get my booster next Wednesday. I had covid fog from both of my Pfizer shots but being aware of it helped deal with it. It disappeared after a few days.

Also, my doctor said to allow two weeks between the booster and the flu shot. That is not how it's being "sold" to the public.
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

#1731

Post by Deuce »

ti-amie wrote: Wed Oct 27, 2021 7:07 pm Also, my doctor said to allow two weeks between the booster and the flu shot. That is not how it's being "sold" to the public.
I've heard a few medical people say that one should leave time (it varies from a few days to a few weeks) between getting the flu vaccine and the COVID vaccine.
But I've also heard an equal number of medical people - or even more - say that it's fine to get them both at the same time, because they don't interact.

I assume the advice to get them at the same time would be for people who've already had both the flu and the COVID vaccines, and know that they have had no significant reaction to either. While it's true that the flu vaccine varies from year to year, I assume the primary ingredients are consistent enough so that if some sort of negative reaction is to occur, it will likely occur the first time - and if it doesn't, it's unlikely to occur with subsequent flu shots.
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

#1732

Post by MJ2004 »

My aunt in Spain was administered both the booster and the flu shot at the same time. That is standard practice there and I don't believe there's any evidence not to.

That said, I personally would prefer to practice an abundance of caution and space them two weeks apart.
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

#1733

Post by dryrunguy »

My guess is that, since there are so many people in the U.S. who have not been vaccinated for COVID coupled with large segments of the U.S. population that do not get vaccinated annually for the flu, and since there is almost certainly significant overlap among those two groups, public health officials are encouraging folks to go ahead an get both. But my other guess is that anyone who refuses to get one vaccine will probably refuse to get the other.
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

#1734

Post by dryrunguy »

Here's the latest Situation Report.

::

EPI UPDATE The WHO COVID-19 Dashboard reports 244.9 million cumulative cases and 4.97 million deaths worldwide as of October 28. Global weekly incidence increased by 4.81% compared to the previous week, and mortality increased by 5.27%. After falling the previous week, these increases show the curve trending upward again, with numbers of new cases and deaths close to where they were at the end of September.

Global Vaccination
The WHO reported 6.7 billion cumulative doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines administered globally as of October 25. A total of 3.8 billion individuals have received at least 1 dose, and 2.85 billion are fully vaccinated. Analysis from Our World in Data indicates that the overall trend in global daily vaccinations reached a recent high on October 23 at 28.3 million and are beginning to fall again, down to 23.67 on October 27.* The global trend continues to closely follow Asia. Our World in Data estimates that there are 3.85 billion vaccinated individuals worldwide (1+ dose; 48.97% of the global population) and 2.99 billion who are fully vaccinated (37.79% of the global population).
*The average daily doses administered may exhibit a sharp decrease for the most recent data, particularly over the weekend, which indicates effects of reporting delays. In an effort to reflect the longer-term trends, the numbers reported here may not correspond to the most recent data.

UNITED STATES
The US CDC reports 45.57 million cumulative COVID-19 cases and 737,990 deaths. The current daily incidence average is approximately 68,151 new cases per day and appears to be increasing. Daily mortality appears to be falling again, with an average of 1,098 as of October 26.*
*Changes in state-level reporting may affect the accuracy of recently reported data, particularly over weekends. In an effort to reflect the longer-term trends, the numbers reported here may not correspond to the most recent dates.

US Vaccination
The US has administered 416.2 million cumulative doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. The daily vaccination trend could be beginning to rise again after falling since October 1, with an average 638,768 vaccines administered as of October 22.* We might expect to see increases in this number after the US government last week authorized booster doses for tens of millions more people. There are 220.9 million individuals who have received at least 1 vaccine dose, equivalent to 66.5% of the entire US population. Among adults, 79.7% have received at least 1 dose, as well as 14.9 million adolescents aged 12-17 years. A total of 191 million individuals are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 57.5% of the total population. Approximately 69.1% of adults are fully vaccinated, as well as 12.45 million adolescents aged 12-17 years. Since August 13, 14.4 million fully vaccinated individuals have received a booster or additional dose of vaccine, including 19.2% of fully vaccinated adults aged 65 or older.
*Due to delays in reporting, estimates for the average daily doses administered are less accurate for the most recent 5 days. The most current average provided here corresponds to 5 days ago.

PEDIATRIC VACCINE As expected, the US FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on October 26 voted to recommend the regulatory agency issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be available for 28 million US children aged 5 to 11 years. The vote was 17 in favor with one abstention. The FDA is expected to follow the panel’s advice in the coming days, although it is not bound to do so. After the FDA’s decision, the US CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will take up the issue at its next meeting, scheduled for November 2-3. The CDC Director would then issue the agency’s final guidance, potentially making pediatric vaccinations available by the end of next week. The US government has 15 million doses ready to immediately ship to states for distribution to pediatrician offices, hospitals, and pharmacies, and Pfizer-BioNTech announced today that the US has purchased an additional 50 million pediatric doses, which are one-third the dose of the version authorized for people aged 12 and older. Researchers say a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children will save lives in that age group and could help keep overall case counts lower, especially if a new variant of concern emerges. But some parents remain concerned over the vaccine’s safety. New data from the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor show parents of 5- to 11-year-olds are about evenly split, with about 30% saying they will get the shots for their children, one-third saying they will wait, and 30% saying they will definitely not allow their children to get the vaccine.

FOURTH DOSE FOR SOME WITH IMMUNOCOMPROMISE The US CDC updated its guidance on SARS-CoV-2 vaccine booster doses for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. Those individuals who received an initial 2-dose series with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), followed by a third, or “additional,” dose after ≥28 days, may receive a fourth shot—this one considered a booster dose versus the additional dose—at least 6 months after the third dose with any available booster dose (full dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or J&J-Janssen or half dose of Moderna). The agency advised any moderately or severely immunocompromised individual who initially received a single dose of the J&J-Janssen vaccine should receive a single booster dose of any vaccine booster at least 2 months after the initial shot. Notably, if the person initially received the J&J-Janssen shot, they should not receive more than 2 vaccine doses at this time. An estimated 2% of the US population—about 9 million people—are considered to be moderately or severely immunocompromised.

PANDEMIC CONTINUES During its ninth meeting regarding COVID-19, a WHO Emergency Committee of advisors agreed that the pandemic is “far from finished,” 21 months after the group initially named the disease a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Noting that progress has been made in combating the virus, the group called on the international community to use all available tools to mitigate the pandemic’s impacts and recognized the additional burden on addressing humanitarian emergencies, population migration and displacement, and other crises. The committee also expressed concern over challenges responding to the pandemic in the Africa region, including access to sufficient vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments, as well as adequate surveillance and monitoring capabilities. COVID-19 likely will move from a pandemic to an endemic disease at some point in the future, although experts agree that the benchmarks for determining endemicity are unclear. The WHO Emergency Committee will meet again in 3 months, or sooner as needed, to reevaluate the state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MERCK LICENSING DEAL Merck and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) announced a voluntary licensing agreement that will allow MPP to issue sublicenses to permit manufacturers—mostly in Africa and Asia—to make and distribute Merck’s investigational antiviral COVID-19 treatment in 105 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), following necessary regulatory approvals. Merck is developing the drug, named molnupiravir, in partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, which acquired the license for the drug from inventor Emory University. Under the deal, Merck, Ridgeback, and Emory will not receive royalties for sales of molnupiravir in LMICs as long as the WHO continues to classify COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Merck will continue to make the drug for wealthy nations and some middle-income countries, selling it at significantly higher prices. Merck previously licensed production of molnupiravir to several generic drug manufacturers in India, but made the deal with MPP so as not to rely too heavily on production in a single region.

Earlier this month, Merck announced interim Phase 3 clinical trial data showing molnupiravir, which is administered orally, reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by about half in people with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. The companies applied to the US FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced this week it launched a rolling review of the antiviral. If approved for use, the easy-to-administer pill will be the first available that does not need to be administered by injection or infusion and could help curb COVID-19 outbreaks and alleviate pressure on healthcare systems by helping people recover at home. Health experts have voiced concerns over the potential for inequitable distribution of molnupiravir, but this deal, and a US$120 million pledge from the Gates Foundation to support access to the drug for lower-income countries, provide some hope that the rollout of the treatment will not follow along the lines of the vaccines.

BIONTECH VACCINE MANUFACTURING IN AFRICA BioNTech, which developed the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, announced this week it has signed agreements with Senegal and Rwanda to build mRNA vaccine manufacturing facilities, with construction on at least one plant to begin mid-2022. Initially, BioNTech will own and operate the facility, which will be able to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses annually, with capacity expected to expand. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa, said the state-of-the-art facilities could be “game-changers” for the continent, although much needs to be done on the continent to improve vaccine access. Health advocates welcomed the announcement but said the effort is too little, too late. Only 6% of the African population is fully vaccinated, and only 5 nations—less than 10% of the continent’s 54 countries—will reach the year-end target of fully vaccinating 40% of their people, WHO announced today. The UN also warned that limited access to necessary commodities—such as auto-disable syringes used to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine—could further slow the vaccines’ rollout in Africa.

MORTALITY TRENDS Overall, the risk of death from COVID-19 increases with age. But according to a working paper published by the World Bank Group, this reality varies depending upon where one lives. In high-income countries, COVID-19 deaths generally are concentrated among people over age 65, with only 11% of both official deaths and excess deaths occurring among people younger than age 65. In the upper-middle-income nations for which data were available, the mortality curve became flatter, with 40% of official deaths and 37% of excess deaths occurring among people younger than 65. Among the lower-middle-income nations that had available data, 54% of official deaths were among those under age 65.* Notably, the US has a much younger profile of death—for both official COVID-19 deaths and excess mortality—than countries with similar income levels, even after controlling for differences in population age distribution. With flatter mortality curves, developing countries face the loss of large numbers of people of working age, many of whom provided income to their families or were caregivers to children or family members. These losses likely will have long-term social and economic impacts on these nations into the future and underline the importance of equitable vaccine and resource distribution to close the gaps between wealthy and poorer nations.
*Data for excess deaths were not available for lower-middle-income countries, and no data were available for any low-income countries.

FLUVOXAMINE A study published in The Lancet Global Health showed the inexpensive antidepressant fluvoxamine lowered the odds of hospitalization and death when administered to COVID-19 patients early in their symptom onset. The trial, conducted in Brazil, included 741 individuals who received fluvoxamine and 756 who received placebo, 58% of whom were female, and the cohort had an average age of 50. The study included only high-risk patients and those who enrolled were largely unvaccinated, raising questions about the antidepressant's applications as a therapeutic among vaccinated individuals. Additionally, the study mentioned that some patients were unable to fully tolerate the intended study dosage, raising concerns about the most beneficial dose. Nonetheless, the study results represent positive news in continuing global efforts to reduce the need for COVID-19 hospitalization in a more accessible manner. The current cost of a 10-day course of fluvoxamine is about $4, significantly lower than many of the options currently used to treat COVID-19.

AT-HOME RAPID TESTS Earlier this week, the US HHS announced the agency is expanding its efforts to make at-home COVID-19 testing more accessible. HHS will invest US$70 million to help developers move through the regulatory process and develop a plan with the US FDA to streamline authorization decisions in an effort to bring more over-the-counter tests to market. At the federal level, there has been a push to increase the accessibility of at-home diagnostics ahead of the winter season. The administration of US President Joe Biden announced these plans as businesses move closer to having to implement a “vaccinate-or-test mandate.” The goal of the announcements are two-fold: to increase the supply of available tests and potentially lower the price threshold which currently limits their widespread usage. The FDA has authorized several at-home test kits.

PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) is warning world leaders that the window of opportunity to address the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future disease outbreaks is quickly closing, as the world begins to move on to other pressing issues. In its third annual report, GPMB says the failures of the COVID-19 pandemic response were markedly bogged down by geopolitical divisions and closed-door negotiations that neglected to include key stakeholders. GPMB called for renewed international cooperation and outlined 6 recommendations. In November 2021, the World Health Assembly will hold a special 3-day session to discuss the plausibility of developing a "pandemic treaty."

In the US, discussions over the federal government’s response to COVID-19 have been sidelined in the US Congress, as negotiations over US President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda and the federal budget take precedence. Efforts to present a bipartisan bill in the US Senate to bolster pandemic preparedness have been postponed until later this year or early 2022. Public health experts are advocating for improvements to data collection systems and supply chain vulnerabilities that continue to present significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden administration has indicated it is prioritizing global health security, earlier this month releasing an annual report on strengthening the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).

FINANCIAL DRAIN ON HOSPITALS The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities in healthcare systems and exposed disparities in funding allocations. In a recent study published in JAMA, researchers examined how US federal COVID-19 relief funding was allocated, how CARES Act funding was utilized, and disparities in funding allocations. They found that academic-affiliated hospitals, hospitals with higher pre-pandemic assets, and hospitals with higher numbers of COVID-19 cases received higher levels of funding, while critical access hospitals received lower levels of financial assistance. The lack of transparency behind CARES Act funding allocation possibly resulted in resource-limited hospitals suffering under the demands of the pandemic, and the researchers emphasized the need to base funding allocations on hospitals’ pre-disaster finances in future resource allocations. Hospitals also took an economic hit due to the postponement of elective surgeries during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to 2 studies presented at a conference of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). One healthcare system lost 42% of its net revenue in 2020 after delaying surgeries from mid-March to July 2020, while US children’s hospitals lost $1.53 billion due to delays or cancellations of pediatric surgeries. The researchers said the results show the need for long-term financial planning and preparations for sustained operations management during crises.

https://covid19.who.int/
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

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I took an antibody test last week to see if my numbers were decent enough where I could be comfortable with delaying the booster shot for a little bit. Among other things, I want to see more information about mixing and matching and whether that's something I should consider for this booster shot. To my shock, my numbers were much better than I was expecting to see, higher than what I had in my mind said I'd be happy with and more than I had wished for in a best case scenario.


Got my flu shot about 3 weeks ago. Initially the CDC wanted vaccines to be 2 weeks apart, but they said that was precautionary as they studied the interactions more and there wasn't data supporting giving them at once being a problem so they updated the advisory language. BUT, I can have reactions to either and don't need to test out the scenario of dealing with that at once so it was never in the cards for me. It was a good plan, I had a reaction to the flu shot for the first time in several years.
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

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dryrunguy wrote: Thu Oct 28, 2021 4:40 pm PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) is warning world leaders that the window of opportunity to address the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future disease outbreaks is quickly closing, as the world begins to move on to other pressing issues. In its third annual report, GPMB says the failures of the COVID-19 pandemic response were markedly bogged down by geopolitical divisions and closed-door negotiations that neglected to include key stakeholders. GPMB called for renewed international cooperation and outlined 6 recommendations. In November 2021, the World Health Assembly will hold a special 3-day session to discuss the plausibility of developing a "pandemic treaty."
Yes. The world needs to address other things. CC, world automation and the related drop in employment, specially for youth, the rise of totalitarian regimes around the world, and some other things.
Yes, the pandemic is very important. But not all policies and resources have to revolve around it.
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

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After about 14 months the company I work for has decided that masks at work are no longer required. They were already only partially required (not while sitting at your desk) since September. We'll see how it goes, our site is 85% fully vaccinated but outside it's significantly less and the numbers are going up again.
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‘People are starting to wane’: China’s zero-Covid policy takes toll

Latest Delta variant outbreak is testing the limits of people’s patience with aggressive containment measures

Helen Davidson in Taipei and Vincent Ni, China affairs correspondent
Sat 30 Oct 2021 10.00 BST

On Friday, the Beijing Daily published an intricate graphic identifying two people sick with Covid-19 and everyone they had infected, detailing the spread of the latest Delta outbreak in the country. The map came amid growing frustration, some panic, and rare protests over the ramifications of China’s effort to remain a “zero Covid” country.

Since the first coronavirus cases were reported nearly two years ago, China has run a zero-tolerance Covid policy. Its success in preventing the virus from spreading across the vast country serves as a stark contrast to the situations in many western countries. Since last year, fewer than 100,000 cases have been officially recorded, among a population of about 1.4 billion. At least 4,634 have died.

By comparison, the US has reported nearly 46m cases and more than 740,000 deaths. The UK has reported nearly 9m cases and more than 140,000 deaths.

But the policy is intense. For just a handful of cases, measures have included strict border closures, localised lockdowns, travel restrictions, and the mass testing of tens of millions of people. Homebound flights booked by Chinese citizens who live abroad are often cancelled at the last minute.

On Thursday, a high-speed train from Shanghai was ordered to halt midway before arriving in Beijing, after an attendant was identified as a close contact of a Covid-positive patient. All the other 211 passengers onboard were immediately quarantined in designated places.

But as the world begins to slowly open up, having decided to live with the virus mitigated by vaccinations, China is one of the few still clinging to a strategy of elimination. Analysts and health experts are starting to ask how long it can last, and the latest outbreak – which began early this month – is again testing the limits.

As of Friday the latest Delta outbreak had infected more than 300 people across 12 provinces, including the capital, Beijing, in little more than a week. The outbreak is centred on the province of Inner Mongolia but was linked to travellers.

In response authorities again launched mass testing, halted transportation and enacted local lockdowns.

“Such scenes have become a norm in recent months,” said Yanzhong Huang, a China public health policy expert at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “It’ll get more and more difficult over time. But costs are getting higher, and returns are diminishing quickly.”

On Chinese social media, while the majority of commenters support the government’s approach, frustration is also being voiced in Beijing, where one resident said fear had returned to their daily life, while another described people “panicking” as the situation there gets more tense.

“There is banning of dining and lockdowns everywhere. It is too difficult to even just eat normally,” said another resident.

There is also frustration in Ejina Banner in Inner Mongolia, where trapped tourists have posted on social media in recent days.

On Saturday, one tour leader said his guests had been stranded for six days and some elderly participants were running out of medicine. One alleged some guests were showing symptoms but there was no medical institution nearby. “It seems Ejina Banner doesn’t care about people’s life or death,” they said.

“People are starting to wane,” said Prof Chunhuei Chi, the director of Oregon State University’s centre for global health. “As with anywhere in the world we can see dragged into this pandemic for nearly two years, and everywhere we observe pandemic fatigue. That would surely also be affecting Chinese people.”

The current crisis is the second major outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta variant this year; both spread to multiple cities. The first reportedly sparked rare social unrest in Yangzhou this summer, over a government failure to deliver food to residents who had been locked down for three weeks.

At the time, some high-profile Chinese public health experts began to suggest that China should consider moving towards a policy of coexisting with the virus. Their comments received some support from citizens and scientific colleagues, but were drowned out by government censure.

Chi said China’s government was sticking to the strategy because it had little other choice, politically. Citing energy shortages and the housing industry crisis, he said ensuring there was no major outbreak of Covid was “possibly their last stronghold of credibility and legitimacy” domestically.

But there is another motivation, stemming from the international blame directed at China for the pandemic itself, Chi said.

“From the beginning China has persistently wanted to show the world both its capability and credibility in terms of controlling this pandemic. They want to demonstrate how successful China has been in containing the outbreak and its ability to mobilise all available resources.

“They want to be seen as not the cause but as the saviour.”

There is still support for the government’s efforts.

“Personal freedom, personal work, privacy, dignity, and mental health can all be sacrificed,” said one social media user, urging others to look at the bigger picture.

Beijing has admitted the pandemic is the biggest challenge to the forthcoming Winter Olympics in February and Winter Paralympics in March. Recently released guidelines showed entrants will quarantine before entering the “closed loop” of the competition world, completely separated from the rest of China to avoid cross-infection.

Chi said China may be able to use accumulated wealth to sustain the country and itself through another year – crucially, past the date Xi Jinping will probably be seeking a third presidential term – but it is a different story for the people.

“The people are already suffering, particularly the sizeable proportion who are in low to middle income,” he said. “They can’t sustain it. The limit to their mobility and economic activity will worsen their livelihood.”

Both big Delta outbreaks were sourced to domestic tourism – the only remaining market for the industry with no sign of international visitors returning soon, even with Olympic events around the corner.

Huang said that, to some extent, Beijing was also in a dilemma. “We’ve already seen flareups in the countries that adopt a ‘coexistence with Covid’ approach, such as Singapore. If this happens to China too, then people will turn to the government and ask: ‘Why did you not manage to protect us?’

“This is the last thing China wants to see, especially in the run-up to the Winter Olympics early next year.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... takes-toll
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

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Post by JazzNU »

Suliso wrote: Sat Oct 30, 2021 10:38 am After about 14 months the company I work for has decided that masks at work are no longer required. They were already only partially required (not while sitting at your desk) since September. We'll see how it goes, our site is 85% fully vaccinated but outside it's significantly less and the numbers are going up again.
Are employer mandates on vaccines common or uncommon in Switzerland? Wondering why it can't be 100% vaccinated and masks allowed off. Are unvaccinated going maskless as well? Do they need to get tested regularly?

Regardless, I hope it goes well and hope you're comfortable with the change.
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Re: Covid-19 Updates & Info

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Post by Suliso »

JazzNU wrote: Sat Oct 30, 2021 5:58 pm
Suliso wrote: Sat Oct 30, 2021 10:38 am After about 14 months the company I work for has decided that masks at work are no longer required. They were already only partially required (not while sitting at your desk) since September. We'll see how it goes, our site is 85% fully vaccinated but outside it's significantly less and the numbers are going up again.
Are employer mandates on vaccines common or uncommon in Switzerland? Wondering why it can't be 100% vaccinated and masks allowed off. Are unvaccinated going maskless as well? Do they need to get tested regularly?

Regardless, I hope it goes well and hope you're comfortable with the change.
Private sector vaccine mandates are not currently allowed in Switzerland. We can and do require nonvaccinated to be tested 2x per week. Therefore I think 85% is as good a number as we could have hopped for.
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