Prominent Chinese commentator urges COVID experts to ‘speak out’

Prominent Chinese commentator urges COVID experts to ‘speak out’

BEIJING, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Prominent Chinese commentator Hu Xijin said on Sunday that as China ponders its COVID-19 policies, epidemic experts need to speak out and China ought to conduct comprehensive research and make any studies transparent to the public. Hu's unusual call on Chinese social media for candour and transparency earned him 34,000 likes on the popular Twitter-like microblog Weibo, as well as frank responses from netizens in a normally tightly policed internet quick to censor voices deemed a risk to social stability. China's top leaders warned in May amid the COVID lockdown of Shanghai and widespread restrictions…
Read More Here
COVID raises risk of long-term brain injury, large U.S. study finds

COVID raises risk of long-term brain injury, large U.S. study finds

CHICAGO, (Reuters) - People who had COVID-19 are at higher risk for a host of brain injuries a year later compared with people who were never infected by the coronavirus, a finding that could affect millions of Americans, U.S. researchers reported this week. The year-long study, published in Nature Medicine, assessed brain health across 44 different disorders using medical records without patient identifiers from millions of U.S. veterans. Brain and other neurological disorders occurred in 7% more of those who had been infected with COVID compared with a similar group of veterans who had never been infected. That translates into…
Read More Here
First signs of new COVID-19 wave seen in colder countries

First signs of new COVID-19 wave seen in colder countries

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are creeping up in Northern Europe where the colder and wetter weather is first being felt across the bloc. Latest data from Belgium, the U.K. and Denmark points to a gradual uptick in the number of cases and hospitalizations. Belgium's health authority said its modeling points to a new COVID-19 wave hitting in mid-October. Its data published on Friday suggests the first ripples of this wave have already arrived. Belgium reported a 17 percent increase in the number of new cases of coronavirus in the week to September 19 from the previous week. Hospitalizations in the…
Read More Here
EU drugs agency to Biden: The pandemic is not over

EU drugs agency to Biden: The pandemic is not over

The European Medicines Agency’s top scientist stated Tuesday that the pandemic is “ongoing” after U.S. President Joe Biden declared that the health crisis was over. “I cannot honestly answer why President Biden came to that conclusion,” the regulator’s chief medical officer, Steffen Thirstrup, told journalists during a briefing. “What is clear to me … is that we in Europe still consider the pandemic as ongoing, that it's important that member states prepare for rollout of the vaccines, and especially the adaptive vaccines to prevent further spread of this disease in Europe,” Thirstrup added. In an interview that aired late on…
Read More Here
Biden says ‘the pandemic is over’ even as death toll, costs mount

Biden says ‘the pandemic is over’ even as death toll, costs mount

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden said in an interview aired on Sunday that "the pandemic is over," even though the country continues to grapple with coronavirus infections that kill hundreds of Americans daily. "The pandemic is over," Biden said during an interview conducted with CBS' "60 Minutes" program on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show, an event which drew thousands of visitors. "We still have a problem with COVID. We're still doing a lotta work on it. But the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one's wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty…
Read More Here
France’s health body warns of resurgence of COVID virus in the country

France’s health body warns of resurgence of COVID virus in the country

France's national health body warned on Friday of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the country, and urged people to continue to get vaccinated to protect themselves against the virus. The Sante Publique France (SPF) body said that during the week of Sept 5-Sept 11, there had been 186 confirmed COVID cases for every 100,000 people in France - a figure up 12% versus the previous week - representing an average of around 18,000 new cases per day. Earlier this week, Emer Cooke - the executive director for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) watchdog - told a Reuters Next Newsmaker…
Read More Here
WHO ‘strongly advises against’ use of two COVID treatments

WHO ‘strongly advises against’ use of two COVID treatments

 (Reuters) - Two COVID-19 antibody therapies are no longer recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), on the basis that Omicron and the variant's latest offshoots have likely rendered them obsolete. The two therapies - which are designed to work by binding to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 to neutralise the virus' ability to infect cells - were some of the first medicines developed early in the pandemic. The virus has since evolved, and mounting evidence from lab tests suggests the two therapies - sotrovimab as well as casirivimab-imdevimab - have limited clinical activity against the latest iterations of the…
Read More Here
End of COVID pandemic is ‘in sight’ -WHO chief

End of COVID pandemic is ‘in sight’ -WHO chief

The world has never been in a better position to end the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, his most optimistic outlook yet on the years-long health crisis which has killed over six million people. "We are not there yet. But the end is in sight," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a virtual press conference. That was the most upbeat assessment from the UN agency since it declared an international emergency in January 2020 and started describing COVID-19 as a pandemic three months later. The virus, which emerged in China in…
Read More Here
WHO urges action as 17 million long COVID cases estimated in Europe region

WHO urges action as 17 million long COVID cases estimated in Europe region

Around 17 million people have been stricken with long COVID in the first two years of the pandemic across the European region, according to modeling conducted for the World Health Organization. Rates of long COVID surged in 2020 due to soaring coronavirus cases, especially in the second half of the year when the highly transmissible Delta and Omicron variants emerged. Across the WHO Europe region of 53 countries, the modeling finds that women are twice as likely as men to experience long COVID, which includes symptoms such as fatigue with bodily pain and mood swings, cognitive problems, and shortness of…
Read More Here
‘Challenge’ to maintain world’s focus on global health after COVID-19: Bill Gates

‘Challenge’ to maintain world’s focus on global health after COVID-19: Bill Gates

Asking the world to prioritise saving lives in the world's poorest countries is increasingly challenging in a world still rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat of climate change, rising energy costs and the war in Ukraine, according to Bill Gates. The Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist said it was a "paradox" that in the wake of a huge global health threat, funding for tackling diseases like malaria and AIDS could actually drop this year. "I am very worried… ironically, in the face of the clearest indication of why infectious disease is not a thing of the past, in fact, the…
Read More Here
New York State ends mask mandates on trains, transit

New York State ends mask mandates on trains, transit

 (Reuters) - New York state on Wednesday ended a 28-month-old COVID-19 mandate requiring masks on trains, buses and other modes of public transit, as well as at airports and in ride-share vehicles, Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Starting today masks will be optional," Hochul said at a news conference, citing recent revised guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We have to restore some normalcy to our lives.... Masks are encouraged but optional." Hochul said the mask requirements were also being lifted for taxis and ride-share vehicles, airports, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and detention centers. New York first…
Read More Here
Top scientists join forces to study leading theory behind long COVID

Top scientists join forces to study leading theory behind long COVID

CHICAGO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Top scientists from leading academic centers are banding together to answer a key question about the root cause of long COVID - whether fragments of the coronavirus persist in the tissues of some individuals. The effort, known as the Long Covid Research Initiative, aims to streamline research and quickly pivot to clinical trials of potential treatments. By sharing diverse skill sets and resources, the group hopes to uncover the scientific underpinnings of the disease and use that to design evidence-based trials. Long COVID is a complex, poorly understood, disabling condition that can last for many…
Read More Here
On COVID alert, more Chinese cities advise residents to stay put for holiday

On COVID alert, more Chinese cities advise residents to stay put for holiday

BEIJING, Sept 7 (Reuters) - More Chinese cities advised residents on Wednesday to avoid unnecessary trips for the upcoming holiday long weekend, adding to COVID policies that are keeping tens of millions of people under lockdown and exacting a growing economic toll. Nanjing and Wuxi, major cities in eastern China's Jiangsu province, recommended residents not leave town during the Saturday-Monday mid-autumn festival, echoing similar advisories made by other cities this month. China reported a slight uptick in new cases for Sept. 6 to 1,695 - low by global standards - but its "dynamic zero" COVID policy to stamp out every…
Read More Here
Boost high-risk people with Omicron-tailored shots first – EU officials

Boost high-risk people with Omicron-tailored shots first – EU officials

LONDON (Reuters) - EU officials recommended that the two Omicron- tailored vaccines recently endorsed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) be first deployed in high-risk individuals. Developed by Moderna  and the team of Pfizer  and BioNTech, the new so-called bivalent shots combat the BA.1 version of Omicron and the original virus first detected in China. While the European regulatory approval allows for the use of these adapted vaccines for those aged 12 and older, vaccination drives for this autumn and winter should prioritise boosting people at highest risk of severe disease. These groups include people over 60, immunocompromised individuals, those…
Read More Here
CanSino’s inhaled COVID-19 vaccine gets emergency use approval in China

CanSino’s inhaled COVID-19 vaccine gets emergency use approval in China

HONG KONG, Sept 4 (Reuters) - China's CanSino Biologics Inc said on Sunday that its recently developed COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the country's drug regulator for emergency use as a booster, potentially benefiting its business. The inhaled version of Cansino's adenovirus-vectored COVID-19 vaccine has obtained the green light from the National Medical Products Administration, the company said in a filing on Sunday. "The approval will have a positive impact on the company's performance if the vaccine is subsequently purchased and used by relevant government agencies," CanSino said. The company cautioned, however, that it will face fierce competition from…
Read More Here
China’s Shenzhen extends COVID curbs but stops short of full lockdown

China’s Shenzhen extends COVID curbs but stops short of full lockdown

SHENZHEN, China, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Some districts of China's southern tech hub Shenzhen extended curbs on public activities, dining out and entertainment venues on Friday, but city officials stopped short of a full lockdown as they try to rein in rising COVID cases. Restrictions in the central business district of Futian and Longhua, home to a major campus of Apple AAPL.O iPhone assembler Foxconn 2317.TW, have been extended until Sunday, while residents in several areas across the city were asked to work from home if possible. Most of Shenzhen's nearly 18 million residents are now under COVID controls amid…
Read More Here
EU states urged to roll out COVID booster shots to fend off winter infections

EU states urged to roll out COVID booster shots to fend off winter infections

BRUSSELS, Sept 2 (Reuters) - EU countries should start offering COVID boosters to their populations now to contain a fresh wave of infections expected this autumn and winter, the bloc's executive said in a document seen by Reuters on Friday ahead of its official release. The Brussels-based European Commission said more than 2,300 people still die of COVID in the bloc every week, while other negative health consequences of the disease include long-COVID symptoms and mental problems. "The past two years have shown that the EU could face another COVID-19 wave this autumn and winter," the Commission said, as a…
Read More Here
Chengdu locks down 21.2 million people as Chinese cities battle COVID

Chengdu locks down 21.2 million people as Chinese cities battle COVID

SHENZHEN, China, Sept 1 (Reuters) - One of China's biggest cities, Chengdu, announced a lockdown of its 21.2 million residents as it launched four days of citywide COVID-19 testing, as some of country's most populous and economically important urban centres battle outbreaks. All residents in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, were ordered to stay largely at home from 6 p.m. on Thursday, with households allowed to send one person per day to shop for necessities, the city government said in a statement. Chengdu is the largest city to be locked down since Shanghai was shut for two months earlier…
Read More Here
Europe to get Omicron-adapted vaccines within days of EU approval -MEP Liese

Europe to get Omicron-adapted vaccines within days of EU approval -MEP Liese

LONDON, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Omicron-adapted vaccines will be delivered to the European Union within days of regulatory approval, European member of parliament Peter Liese said on Wednesday. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to make a decision this week on Moderna  and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines tailored to target the older BA.1 Omicron variant as well as the original strain that first emerged in China. Moderna MRNA.O will provide the EU with 70 million vaccine doses in the first two months, with eight to 11 million expected to be available as early as the first week of September, and Germany is scheduled to receive four…
Read More Here
Worldwide roundup on the spread of the coronavirus

Worldwide roundup on the spread of the coronavirus

Aug 31 (Reuters) - China's Guangzhou on Wednesday imposed COVID-19 curbs in parts of the city, joining Shenzhen in battling local flare-ups, deepening uncertainty over commerce and daily life in two of southern China's most economically vibrant metropolises. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS AMERICAS * The U.S. government expects its supply of COVID-19 vaccines and antiviral treatments to run out over the next year and is preparing for them to be sold via the commercial market, the Department of Health and Human Services said. * Advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet on Thursday to vote on…
Read More Here
China says COVID has exacerbated decline in births, marriages

China says COVID has exacerbated decline in births, marriages

 (Reuters) - China's National Health Commission said COVID-19 has contributed to the decline in the country's marriage and birth rates that has accelerated in recent years due to the high costs of education and child-rearing. Many women are continuing to delay their plans to marry or have children, it said, adding that rapid economic and social developments have led to "profound changes". Young people relocating to urban areas, more time spent on education and high-pressure working environments have also played their part, it added. Demographers have also said that China's uncompromising "zero-COVID" policy of promptly stamping out any outbreaks with…
Read More Here
China customs drops some COVID reporting for international arrivals; quarantine remains

China customs drops some COVID reporting for international arrivals; quarantine remains

BEIJING, Aug 26 (Reuters) - China still requires international passengers to take pre-departure COVID-19 tests and quarantine upon arrival, the customs office said on Friday, a day after dropping some reporting requirements for travellers clearing customs. China, which has shortened the quarantine period and removed some testing and self-isolation requirements for inbound international travellers, still has some of the world's most stringent COVID-19 policies. Chinese customs on Thursday said it had removed the requirements for travellers to report COVID tests, previous infections and vaccination dates when they clear customs, to make entry more convenient. "This is not an easing of…
Read More Here
U.S. first lady Jill Biden once more tests positive for COVID-19

U.S. first lady Jill Biden once more tests positive for COVID-19

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. first lady Jill Biden has tested positive in a rebound case of COVID-19 but is not experiencing any symptoms, while President Joe Biden continues to test negative for the virus, officials said. Jill Biden tested positive on Wednesday by antigen testing, following a negative test the previous day, and the White House's medical unit has notified close contacts, her deputy communications director said. "The First Lady has experienced no reemergence of symptoms, and will remain in Delaware where she has reinitiated isolation procedures," her deputy communications director, Kelsey Donohue, said in a statement. Jill Biden, 71,…
Read More Here
Singapore to drop most indoor mask requirements next week

Singapore to drop most indoor mask requirements next week

SINGAPORE, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Singapore will do away with requirements to wear masks indoors starting Aug. 29, as the country sees its COVID-19 situation stabilise further, the health minister said on Wednesday. For the first time in more than two years, people in the Southeast Asian city-state will no longer be required to wear masks indoors except on public transport and in high-risk settings like healthcare facilities. The health ministry also updated rules for non-vaccinated travellers, dropping a 7-day quarantine requirement starting next week. Singapore, which is a major Asian financial and travel hub, lifted most pandemic curbs, including…
Read More Here
Fauci, face of U.S. COVID response, to step down from government posts

Fauci, face of U.S. COVID response, to step down from government posts

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official who became the face of America's COVID-19 pandemic response under Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden, announced on Monday he is stepping down in December after 54 years of public service. Fauci, whose efforts to fight the pandemic were applauded by many public health experts even as he was vilified by Trump and many Republicans, will leave his posts as chief medical adviser to Biden and director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Fauci, 81, has headed NIAID…
Read More Here
U.S. first lady Jill Biden tests negative for COVID

U.S. first lady Jill Biden tests negative for COVID

WASHINGTON  (Reuters) - U.S. first lady Jill Biden tested negative for COVID-19 after isolating for five days following a positive test, the White House said. "After isolating for five days and receiving negative results from two consecutive COVID-19 tests, the First Lady will depart South Carolina later today for Delaware," her spokesperson said in a statement. The White House said on Tuesday that the first lady had tested positive and was experiencing mild symptoms. President Joe Biden himself also recently recovered from the virus. Jill Biden, who like her husband has been vaccinated twice and boosted twice with the Pfizer…
Read More Here
Japan PM Kishida infected with COVID, recuperating

Japan PM Kishida infected with COVID, recuperating

TOKYO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been infected with COVID-19 and is recuperating at his official residence, his office said on Sunday. Kishida, just returned from week-long vacation, was due to restart work on Monday. He developed a cough and fever on Saturday, and took a PCR test on Sunday morning, which confirmed the positive result in the afternoon, a Cabinet spokesperson said. Japan has endured a record resurgence in coronavirus infections, hitting businesses in the world's third-biggest economy, although deaths remain relatively low and the disruptions have been milder than in some other advanced…
Read More Here
Mild COVID-19 still infectious five days after symptoms begin

Mild COVID-19 still infectious five days after symptoms begin

Most people with mild COVID-19 are still infectious five days after symptoms begin, a study suggests, throwing into question current NHS guidance on how long to avoid contact with others. Research by Imperial College London found two thirds of participants were still infectious at five days and a quarter were still infectious at seven days. Current NHS guidance is that people should try to stay at home and avoid contact with others for five days. There is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. The new study comes after another found that most people…
Read More Here
U.S. first lady Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19

U.S. first lady Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) - U.S. first lady Jill Biden tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms, the White House said, adding that President Joe Biden has continued to test negative after recently recovering from the virus. The 71-year-old first lady tested negative earlier on Monday as part of her regular testing routine, but a PCR test taken after she developed cold-like symptoms came back positive, her spokesperson Elizabeth Alexander said. President Biden will wear a mask for 10 days when indoors and when in close proximity to others because he is considered a close contact of the first lady,…
Read More Here
UK first to approve Omicron COVID shot with Moderna nod

UK first to approve Omicron COVID shot with Moderna nod

Britain, the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine in late 2020, has now also given the first green light to a variant-adapted shot that targets both the original and Omicron version of the virus. The UK medicines regulator (MHRA) gave the so-called bivalent vaccine made by U.S. drug company Moderna conditional approval as a booster for adults on Monday. Hours later, the country's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended all adults in the United Kingdom be offered boosters this autumn. The MHRA's Moderna decision was based on clinical trial data that showed the booster triggered "a strong immune response"…
Read More Here
Variant-adapted COVID vaccine wins first approval in Britain

Variant-adapted COVID vaccine wins first approval in Britain

LONDON, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Britain has become the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine that targets both the original and Omicron variant of the virus. The the UK medicines regulator (MHRA) approved the so-called bivalent vaccine made by U.S. drug company Moderna  as a booster for adults. The agency's decision was based on clinical trial data that showed the booster triggered "a strong immune response" against both Omicron (BA.1) and the original 2020 virus, it said. The MHRA also cited an exploratory analysis in which the shot was also found to generate a good immune response against the…
Read More Here
Pfizer CEO tests positive for COVID

Pfizer CEO tests positive for COVID

Aug 15 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc PFE.N Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said on Monday he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was experiencing very mild symptoms. Bourla, 60, said he had started a course of the company's oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment, Paxlovid, and was isolating and following all public health precautions. "I am confident that I will have a speedy recovery," Bourla said in a statement. Several public figures have tested positive for the infectious disease in the past few months including U.S. President Joe Biden and his chief medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci. Biden spent more than two weeks isolated in the…
Read More Here
Unvaccinated children have higher long COVID risk

Unvaccinated children have higher long COVID risk

A small study is adding to evidence that children can develop long COVID-19 even if the virus did not make them seriously ill. Researchers in Texas who tracked 1,813 children infected with the virus between October 2020 and May 2022 - during the waves of the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants - found that 4.5% had symptoms for up to 12 weeks and 3.3% had symptoms for longer than 12 weeks. The risk for persistent symptoms - loss of taste and smell, cough and difficulty breathing - was highest in children sick enough from COVID-19 to be hospitalized. But 93%…
Read More Here
North Korea lifts mask mandate, distancing rules after declaring COVID victory

North Korea lifts mask mandate, distancing rules after declaring COVID victory

SEOUL, Aug 13 (Reuters) - North Korea has dropped a face mask mandate and other social distancing rules as leader Kim Jong Un declared victory over COVID-19 this week, state media said on Saturday, three months after its first acknowledgement of the virus outbreak in the isolated country. Kim presided over a COVID meeting on Wednesday and ordered the lifting of maximum anti-epidemic measures imposed in May, adding that North Korea must maintain a "steel-strong anti-epidemic barrier." Under the shift to a "normal" anti-epidemic system from a "top-level" system, North Korea dropped the mask-wearing obligation and other rules such as…
Read More Here
Carnival drops mandatory COVID-19 testing for vaccinated passengers

Carnival drops mandatory COVID-19 testing for vaccinated passengers

 (Reuters) - Carnival Corp's major cruise lines will drop mandatory COVID-19 testing for vaccinated guests and allow unvaccinated passengers to travel without an exemption in some cases, the company said on Friday. The decision affects Carnival Cruise, Princess Cruises and Cunard and follows a similar move by rival Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd earlier this week. Unvaccinated guests - who still have to present a negative COVID-19 result - no longer need to apply for an exemption except for Carnival Cruise's sailings in Australia or on its voyages 16 nights and longer. The cruise industry has in recent months bounced…
Read More Here
Parts of China’s Hainan extend COVID lockdown, Lhasa in Tibet tightens curbs

Parts of China’s Hainan extend COVID lockdown, Lhasa in Tibet tightens curbs

SHANGHAI, Aug 12 (Reuters) - A few cities in China's tourism hub Hainan extended lockdowns on Friday, with some of the measures expected to last through the weekend, while Lhasa in Tibet also tightened restrictions, among the latest curbs to contain COVID clusters in the country. Under the "dynamic COVID zero" policy that aims at quickly stopping each outbreak from spreading, local governments have imposed shorter lockdowns where people were barred from unnecessary movements for a few days or weeks until clusters were contained within narrower areas. Such lockdowns were less painful than the two-month virus battle fought by Shanghai…
Read More Here
U.S. CDC no longer recommends students quarantine for COVID-19 exposure

U.S. CDC no longer recommends students quarantine for COVID-19 exposure

 (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will no longer recommend quarantines or test-to-stay programs at schools or daycare centers for people exposed to COVID-19, the agency said in updated guidelines. The agency also said it was no longer recommending unvaccinated people quarantine after exposure as around 95% of the U.S. population has either been vaccinated, had COVID-19 already, or both. "This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives," CDC scientist v said in a statement. The CDC said…
Read More Here
North Korea declares victory over COVID, reveals Kim suffered fever

North Korea declares victory over COVID, reveals Kim suffered fever

SEOUL, Aug 11 (Reuters) - North Korea's Kim Jong Un declared victory in the battle against COVID-19 on Thursday, with the leader's sister revealing he had suffered from fever and vowing "deadly retaliation" against South Korea which it blames for causing the outbreak. Kim ordered a lifting of maximum anti-epidemic measures imposed in May, adding that North Korea must maintain a "steel-strong anti-epidemic barrier and intensifying the anti-epidemic work until the end of the global health crisis," according to a report by state news agency KCNA. North Korea has never confirmed how many people caught COVID-19, apparently lacking testing supplies.…
Read More Here
‘Living with COVID’: Where the pandemic could go next

‘Living with COVID’: Where the pandemic could go next

As the third winter of the coronavirus pandemic looms in the northern hemisphere, scientists are warning weary governments and populations alike to brace for more waves of COVID-19. In the United States alone, there could be up to a million infections a day this winter, Chris Murray, head of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent modeling group at the University of Washington that has been tracking the pandemic, told Reuters. That would be around double the current daily tally. Across the United Kingdom and Europe, scientists predict a series of COVID waves, as people spend more…
Read More Here
Hate crimes surge in Canada during pandemic

Hate crimes surge in Canada during pandemic

Canada has experienced a sharp rise in hate crimes targeting religion, sexual orientation and race since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released this week by Statistic Canada. Canada, which prides itself as a diverse and welcoming country for immigrants and refugees, has witnessed a 72% jump in its hate crime rate between 2019 and 2021, said Statistics Canada. This increase was partly due to the pandemic, which exposed and exacerbated safety and discrimination issues. Chinese-Canadians reported increased discrimination due to Wuhan, China being the epicentre of the virus. The World Health Organization said in June that…
Read More Here
Chile’s Easter Island reopens to tourists after pandemic shutdown

Chile’s Easter Island reopens to tourists after pandemic shutdown

Chile's Easter Island received its first group of tourists after closing its borders for more than two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Easter Island, over 2,000 miles (3,219 km) from the coast of Chile, has over a thousand stone statues -- giant heads that were carved centuries ago by the island's inhabitants -- which have brought it fame and UNESCO World Heritage Site status. "(Easter Island) is the biggest open air museum in the world," said Pedro Edmunds, the mayor of Easter Island, adding that it was time to open the island after it shut its borders 868 days…
Read More Here
Smell problems may predict memory problems after COVID-19

Smell problems may predict memory problems after COVID-19

Severity of smell dysfunction after infection with the coronavirus may be a better predictor of long-term cognitive impairment than overall severity of COVID-19, according to an Argentinian study. Researchers studied a random sample of 766 people over age 60, roughly 90% of whom had been infected with the virus. Physical, cognitive and neuropsychiatric tests performed three-to-six months after infection showed some degree of memory impairment in two-thirds of the infected participants. After taking individuals' other risk factors into account, severity of loss of smell, known as anosmia, "but not clinical status, significantly (predicted) cognitive impairment," the researchers reported at the…
Read More Here
Childrens’ noses defend less well against Omicron

Childrens’ noses defend less well against Omicron

The Omicron variant may be more efficient at infecting children through the nose than previous versions of the coronavirus, a small study suggests. Earlier in the pandemic, children's noses had been less welcoming to the virus that causes COVID-19 than adults' noses. Studies of the original SARS-CoV-2 and some of its variants found the virus was met with stronger immune responses in the cells lining young noses than in adults' nasal-lining cells, and it was less efficient at making copies of itself in children's noses. But recent test-tube experiments mixing the virus with nasal cells from 23 healthy children and…
Read More Here
North Korea marks end of first COVID wave, but risks persist

North Korea marks end of first COVID wave, but risks persist

SEOUL, Aug 5 (Reuters) - North Korea on Friday said all of its fever patients have recovered, marking the end of its first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, but challenges linger with economic hardships deepening and an unvaccinated population exposed to future resurgences, analysts said. While state media said the "anti-epidemic situation ... has entered a definite phase of stability", rather than boasting of victory, North Korea said it would "redouble efforts to maintain perfection in the execution of state anti-epidemic policies".  The reclusive country has never confirmed how many people caught COVID-19, apparently lacking testing supplies. But it said around 4.77…
Read More Here
White House: Biden to remain in isolation until he tests negative for COVID

White House: Biden to remain in isolation until he tests negative for COVID

Aug 4 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden will remain in isolation until he tests negative for COVID-19, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said. She also said it would be up to Biden's physician, Kevin O'Connor, to decide whether two negative tests were needed to end his isolation. Biden tested positive again for COVID-19 on Thursday but he was feeling "very well," O'Connor said in a memo released earlier by the White House. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
Read More Here
Three types of long COVID identified with different symptoms

Three types of long COVID identified with different symptoms

There appear to be three different types of long COVID, each with their own symptoms, researchers have discovered. One group experiences neurological symptoms including fatigue, brain fog and headache, which most often affect those who contracted the virus when the Alpha and Delta variants were most prevalent, according to experts at King's College London. A second group suffers from respiratory issues, including chest pain and severe shortness of breath, which could point to lung damage. These symptoms were common among those infected during the first wave of the pandemic. The final group is grappling with a diverse range of symptoms…
Read More Here
EU says Novavax COVID shot must carry heart side-effect warning

EU says Novavax COVID shot must carry heart side-effect warning

(Reuters) - The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is recommending Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine carry a warning of the possibility of two types of heart inflammation, an added burden for a shot that has so far failed to win wide uptake. The heart conditions - myocarditis and pericarditis - should be listed as new side effects in the product information for the vaccine, Nuvaxovid, based on a small number of reported cases, the EMA said on Wednesday. Novavax  said no concerns about heart inflammations were raised during the clinical trials of Nuvaxovid and that more data would be gathered, adding that the…
Read More Here
Biden still testing positive for COVID

Biden still testing positive for COVID

U.S. President Joe Biden tested positive again for COVID-19 on Wednesday, his physician Kevin O'Connor said in a memo released by the White House, adding that the test was taken after Biden finished a light workout. Biden continues to feel well and is fever free, O'Connor said, adding that the president is still experiencing an occasional cough but less frequently than on Tuesday. Biden, 79, had just emerged from isolation on Wednesday last week after testing positive for COVID for the first time on July 21. He tested positive again on Saturday in what O'Connor described as a "rebound" case…
Read More Here
Reinfections, severe outcomes may be more common with BA.5

Reinfections, severe outcomes may be more common with BA.5

Compared with the earlier Omicron BA.2 subvariant, currently dominant Omicron BA.5 is linked with higher odds of causing a second SARS-COV-2 infection regardless of vaccination status, a study from Portugal suggests. From late April through early June, researchers there studied 15,396 adults infected with the BA.2 variant and 12,306 infected with BA.5. Vaccines and boosters were equally effective against both sublineages, according to a report posted on this week on medRxiv ahead of peer review. However, 10% of BA.5 cases were reinfections, compared to 5.6% of BA.2 cases, which suggests a reduction in protection conferred by previous infection against BA.5 compared to BA.2, the…
Read More Here
Experts say if you’re high risk, do not wait for updated COVID vaccines

Experts say if you’re high risk, do not wait for updated COVID vaccines

CHICAGO(Reuters) - People at high risk of severe disease who have yet to get a second COVID-19 booster should not wait for next-generation, Omicron-targeted vaccines expected in the fall, five vaccine experts told Reuters. In many countries, including the United States, the BA.5 Omicron subvariant of the virus is surging, but current vaccines continue to offer protection against hospitalization for severe disease and death. And, as the virus evolves, it is not known what version will be widely circulating in the fall or whether new vaccines - expected to target BA.4/5 in the United States and BA.1 in Europe - will be…
Read More Here
Millions could suffer from long-term smell or taste problems after coronavirus infection, study says

Millions could suffer from long-term smell or taste problems after coronavirus infection, study says

Around one in 20 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 worldwide have long-term smell or taste problems for at least 6 months, a new study has found. The survey was put together by a team of international experts, including some from the UK and analysed data from 18 studies comprising 3,699 patients. Published in the BMJ, it used modelling to estimate how many people go on to suffer from altered taste or smell for at least six months after a COVID-19 infection. It found that an estimated 5.6% of patients suffer smell dysfunction for at least six months, while…
Read More Here
North Korea reports no new fever cases for first time since COVID outbreak

North Korea reports no new fever cases for first time since COVID outbreak

North Korea reported no new fever cases on Saturday for the first time since its acknowledgement in mid-May of a COVID-19 outbreak in the isolated country, state-run media reported. North Korea said earlier this month it was on a path to "finally defuse" its first publicly declared coronavirus crisis even as Asian neighbours experience a resurgence in infections driven by Omicron subvariants. The official KCNA news agency said 99.99% of its 4.77 million fever patients since late April have fully recovered, but because of an apparent lack of testing, it has not released any figures on people who tested positive…
Read More Here
Covid origin studies say evidence points to Wuhan market

Covid origin studies say evidence points to Wuhan market

Scientists say there is "compelling evidence" that Wuhan's Huanan seafood and wildlife market was at the centre of the Covid-19 outbreak.  Two peer-reviewed studies published on Tuesday re-examine information from the initial outbreak in the Chinese city. One of the studies shows that the earliest known cases were clustered around that market. The other uses genetic information to track the timing of the outbreak. It suggests there were two variants introduced into humans in November or early December 2019. Together, the researchers say this evidence paints a picture that Sars-Cov-2 was present in live mammals that were sold at Huanan…
Read More Here
Biden has sore throat and body aches, but COVID symptoms improving -physician

Biden has sore throat and body aches, but COVID symptoms improving -physician

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) - President Joe Biden's COVID-19 symptoms continue to improve and now include "less troublesome" sore throat, runny nose, loose cough and body aches, his physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, said in a memo. Biden's lungs remain clear and his oxygen saturation "continues to be excellent on room air," the doctor said. Biden, 79, tested positive for COVID on Thursday, when the White House said he was experiencing mild symptoms. His diagnosis came as a highly contagious subvariant of the coronavirus drives a new wave of cases in the United States. Biden most likely has that BA5 variant, O'Connor said.…
Read More Here
Australia battles fresh Omicron outbreak as COVID deaths rise

Australia battles fresh Omicron outbreak as COVID deaths rise

SYDNEY, July 21 (Reuters) - Australia reported one of its highest daily death tolls from the novel coronavirus on Thursday while hospital admissions hovered near record levels, as authorities struggle to get ahead of highly contagious Omicron variants. The BA.4/5 variants are good at evading immune protection from vaccination or prior infection and have been driving a surge of new infections globally. Australia is reporting the highest daily numbers since the first Omicron wave earlier this year, with 89 deaths from the coronavirus on Thursday and 90 on Wednesday. Just over 55,600 new cases were recorded on Thursday, the highest…
Read More Here
New Zealand COVID-19 death rate at record levels

New Zealand COVID-19 death rate at record levels

WELLINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) - New Zealanders are dying from COVID-19 at record rates as the country battles a new wave of the Omicron strain that is particularly affecting the older population. Deaths from the virus reached 151 in the seven days to July 16, compared with 115 in the worst week of the previous wave, in March, according to Health Ministry data. In the latest 24 hours, 26 people died from COVID, all aged over 60, the ministry said in a statement on Friday. The Omicron BA.5 sub-variant is driving the current wave in New Zealand, which has 5.1…
Read More Here
White House COVID response chief says Biden’s risk of serious illness is low

White House COVID response chief says Biden’s risk of serious illness is low

President Joe Biden's risk of serious illness is dramatically lowered since he is double boosted and vaccinated, White House COVID-19 response chief Ashish Jha said. Biden, the oldest person ever to serve as president of the United States, has tested positive for COVID-19, is experiencing mild symptoms and will continue working but in isolation, the White House said earlier in the day. Here is a rundown of possible treatments U.S. President Joe Biden will receive for COVID-19 and the risks he faces, having been infected most likely with the fast-spreading but less severe BA.5 variant.  TREATMENTS At 79, the president…
Read More Here