Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases official, during a Sunday appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” outlined the reasons why he believes Covid-19 cases are on the rise again in the U.S.
Amid growing optimism about the rising pace of vaccinations in the U.S., the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has one request for the American people: Don’t act as if the pandemic is over – it’s not.
Brazil is in the throes of a battle against the new Covid-19 variant from the Amazon that threatens to send shock waves across the globe. Home to less than 3% of the world’s population, Brazil currently accounts for almost a third of the daily global deaths from Covid-19, driven by the new variant. More than 300,000 have died, and daily deaths now top 3,000, a toll suffered only by the far more populous U.S.
The city and Brazil as a whole have become an exemplar of what happens when a country pursues a strategy of denying the pandemic and embracing herd immunity by letting the virus spread unchecked. Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has promoted the idea of letting the pathogen move throughout the population until most people have been infected. He described proposals for a lockdown in Manaus before a crushing second wave of infections hit as “absurd.” And he has downplayed the severity of the crisis, saying that the nation of 211 million has to recognize that death is an inevitability and so Brazilians should stop being “sissies.” The country is currently recording around a quarter of all weekly COVID-19 deaths despite being home to less than 3 percent of the world’s population.
Even as the nation’s immunization program continued to pick up speed and new research showed coronavirus vaccines are highly effective in real-world conditions, Biden said states should suspend reopening plans and governors who had rescinded mask mandates should reinstate them.
A joint inquiry by the World Health Organization and China into the origins of the coronavirus has yielded a 124-page report full of new detail but no profound new insights. And it does little to allay Western concerns about the role of the Chinese Communist Party, which is notoriously resistant to outside scrutiny and has at times sought to hinder any investigation by the W.H.O.
The findings are the result of a joint study by Chinese scientists and a WHO-led team that was in China last month to investigate the virus’s origin.
Several emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) appear to have heightened infectivity and ability to evade natural or vaccine-derived immunity. Among the most prevalent of these is the B.1.1.7 VOC, first isolated in England in October 2020. This variant has spread to Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere, often superseding the wildtype virus. While B.1.1.7’s increased infectivity soon became evident, whether this VOC also causes more-severe disease has been less clear. Two recent publications elucidate this issue.
No doubt you’ve heard about the novel coronavirus variants that are evolving around the world. There now appear to be more than a dozen versions of SARS-CoV-2, which are of varying degrees of concern because some are linked to increased infectivity and lethality while others are not. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by this diversity and to fear that we’ll never achieve herd immunity. Yet evidence is growing that these variants share similar combinations of mutations. This may not be the multifront war that many are dreading, with an infinite number of new viral versions.
Health officials revise guidance based on reports of blood-clotting side effects in Europe. Canadian authorities recommended Monday a halt on administering the AstraZeneca PLC Covid-19 vaccine on people under the age of 55 in light of evidence from Europe on potentially serious side effects targeting younger women.
The researchers said this emphasised the importance of people having their second dose to provide the same “booster” effect. Those who have had Covid should still have a second jab, though, to ensure “longer-lasting” protection.
Hispanic people across the United States continue to be especially underrepresented among those vaccinated for Covid-19, according to a New York Times analysis of state-reported race and ethnicity information. The Hispanic share of the vaccinated population is less than the Hispanic general population in all states with large Hispanic communities.
Based on clinical trials, experts do know that vaccine-induced immunity should last a minimum of about three months. That does not mean protective immunity will expire after 90 days; that was simply the time frame participants were studied in the initial Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson trials. As researchers continue to study the vaccines, that shelf life is expected to grow.
Official Reporting for March 30, 2021
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 126 890 643
Deaths: 2 778 619
Confirmed Cases: 127,578,856
Total cases: 30,085,827 (+47,464 New Cases)
Total deaths: 546,704 (+560 New Deaths)
Science and Tech
Models now in testing do more than provide a physical barrier between the wearer and potential viruses. Materials scientists, chemists, biologists and engineers have created working prototypes of masks that include diagnostics, sensors and even the ability to kill viruses.
COVID-19 survivors and those vaccinated against coronavirus appear able to fight off infection with the B117 SARS-CoV-2 variant but may not have the same level of protection against the B1351 variant, according to two new studies.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
Corticosteroid therapy for 2019-nCoV-infected patients: A case series of eight mechanically ventilated patients – Wiley
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
Facebook has frozen Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s page for violating policies against spreading misinformation about COVID-19 by promoting a remedy he claims, without evidence, can cure the disease, a company spokesman said on Saturday.