#AceNewsReport – July.10: Businesses have reopened at a rapid clip, boosted by a rollback in restrictions now that more than 155 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
#CoronvirusNewsDesk – U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly rise, overall trend points lower but still, the job market rebound has been anything but steady despite recent employment gains.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 373,000 for the week ended July 3, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 350,000 applications for the latest week.
“Through some of the noise in the data it still looks like the trend for filings keeps moving lower over time,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.
#AceHealthReport – July.03: This is the first analysis giving an estimated number of vaccine-prevented infections, providing further evidence of the staggering impact of the vaccination programme so far.
#CoronavirusNewsDeskreports that a new analysis suggests the vaccination programme has prevented between 6.4 and 7.9 million infections and 26,000 and 28,000 deaths in England alone in the latest modelling analysis from Public Health England (PHE) and the University of Cambridge’s MRC Biostatistics Unit suggests that the coronavirus #COVID19 vaccination programme has so far prevented an estimated 7.2 million infections and 27,000 deaths in England alone.
These findings remind us once again why getting both doses of your vaccine is the most important thing you can do to stop the spread of this terrible disease.
As well as preventing the deaths of tens of thousands from COVID-19, for the first time we can now appreciate the huge impact that the vaccines have had on stopping people getting infected, and therefore passing the virus on to others.
The results were produced using the PHE and Cambridge real-time pandemic surveillance model, looking at the direct and indirect impact of the COVID-19 vaccination programme on infections and mortality.
The total was calculated by comparing the estimated impact of vaccination on infection and mortality against a worst-case scenario where no vaccines were in place to reduce infections and mortality.
Dr Paul Birrell, Senior Research Associate at the MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge and Senior Principal Modeller at PHE, said:
The number of infections and deaths saved by the vaccination programme is not only astoundingly high, but continues to grow exponentially as the vaccination programme continues.
In practice, this analysis highlights that the vaccination programme has given us a path back towards a normal life that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. This is why it’s so important that we all get 2 doses of the vaccine as soon as we can.
#AceHealthReport – July.01: Indonesia’s #COVID19 surge is on the edge of a “catastrophe” as the more infectious Delta variant dominates transmission and chokes hospitals in South-East Asia’s worst epidemic, the Red Cross says.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Red Cross says Indonesia close to ‘catastrophe’ as #COVID19 Delta variant causes case surge and oxygen shortage and health dept has reported record daily infections of more than 20,000 in recent days, in a new wave of infections fuelled by the emergence of highly transmissible virus variants and increased mobility after the Muslim fasting month.
“Every day we are seeing this Delta variant driving Indonesia closer to the edge of a COVID-19 catastrophe,” said Jan Gelfand, head of the Indonesian delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
As cases surge, oxygen prices in Indonesia’s capital more than doubled, and some suppliers reported shortages on Tuesday.
With hospitals filling up in Jakarta and patients being turned away, some people sought to secure oxygen for infected family members at home.
The price for a tank of oxygen had jumped to $US140 ($185) from the usual $66, suppliers said.
“I’m queuing here now to refill oxygen for my wife and son who are now positive with COVID-19,” said Taufik Hidayat.
“I went around and it all was sold out.”
Sellers in others areas of Jakarta told Reuters their stocks had also dried up.
But Sulung Mulia Putra, an official at Jakarta’s health agency, said a shortage at hospitals was temporary and due to distribution issues that were being resolved.
“Distributors don’t have enough transport so hospitals will be helped by the police, parks agency and Red Cross to transport oxygen,” he said.
“Hospitals are full because of the case surge caused by mobility and loosening health protocol adherence, worsened also by the Delta variant,” said senior health ministry official Siti Nadia Tarmizi, when asked about the IFRC’s assessment.
The Delta variant was first identified in India and has been blamed for big spikes in infections in many countries.
Indonesia is banking on mass vaccinations as a means of tackling the virus, but only 13.3 million of the 181.5 million targeted for inoculation have received the required two doses since January.
Indonesia’s Health Minister is leading a push for stricter controls as infections surge to unprecedented levels, sources familiar with government discussions have told Reuters.
Citing unnamed sources, The Straits Times newspaper on Tuesday reported the government will tighten restrictions starting on Wednesday, prohibiting restaurant dining and requiring negative tests for domestic air travel.
Asked for confirmation of that, the health ministry said: “Wait for the official announcement.”
“We must take this next step with a heavy dose of caution”, says Prime Minister Boris Johnson as coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease in England, Wales and most of Scotland. Indoor eating and drinking at pubs, restaurants and cafes is back, and the ban on foreign travel has also been lifted and replaced with new rules. Millions of people will hug loved ones again and be able to socialise indoors. The rules vary in each of the nations but most people will be able to do more than they have been able to do for months. Northern Ireland will review its lockdown rules on Wednesday.
2. Thousands set to travel overseas as holiday rules ease
As the ban on foreign holidays is lifted, holidaymakers are expecting to jet off for some early summer sun. Travellers will now be able to visit 12 destinations on the government’s green list, including Portugal, without isolating on their return. But the vast majority of tourist destinations remain on the amber and red lists, meaning travellers would have to quarantine when they got back. This has hit demand for holidays, with online travel agent Thomas Cook saying the number of people booking to travel abroad is “still small”.
The international scheme to ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines is 140 million doses short because of India’s continuing Covid crisis. The Serum Institute of India, the largest single supplier to the Covax scheme, has made none of its planned shipments since exports were suspended in March. The UN children’s agency Unicef buys and distributes vaccines for Covax. It is urging leaders of G7 nations and EU states to share their doses.
#AceHealthReport – Apr.27: Researchers at the University of Glasgow said both cats developed the virus after their owners:
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Scientists find more evidence of human-to-cat transmission: They were of different breeds and lived in separate households. One displayed mild symptoms but the other had to be put down.
Scientists now want to improve understanding of whether pets can play a role in infecting humans: The cases were found as part of a screening programme of the feline population in the UK: Researchers believe both pets were infected by their owners, who had Covid-19 symptoms before the cats became unwell.
The study, published in the Veterinary Record, said there is currently no evidence of cat-to-human transmission or that cats, dogs or other domestic animals play any appreciable role in the epidemiology of human Covid infections.
But the scientists said domestic animals could potentially act as a “viral reservoir” allowing continued transmission, and said it was important to improve understanding of whether pets can play a role in infecting humans.
‘Relatively low risk’
Prof Margaret Hosie, from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research who was lead author of the study, said: “These two cases of human-to-animal transmission, found in the feline population in the UK, demonstrate why it is important that we improve our understanding of animal Sars-CoV-2 infection.
“Currently, animal-to-human transmission represents a relatively low risk to public health in areas where human-to-human transmission remains high.
“However, as human cases decrease, the prospect of transmission among animals becomes increasingly important as a potential source of Sars-CoV-2 reintroduction to humans.”
She added: “It is therefore important to improve our understanding of whether exposed animals could play any role in transmission.”
Getty ImagesThere have been reports of cats from Covid-positive households in countries including Hong Kong, Belgium, the USA, France and Spain
Researchers at the centre worked in partnership with the Veterinary Diagnostic Service (VDS) at the university’s School of Veterinary Medicine on the study.
The first cat was a four-month-old female Ragdoll kitten from a household in which the owner developed symptoms that were consistent with Covid at the end of March 2020, although they were not tested.
The kitten was taken to a vet with breathing difficulties in April 2020 but its condition deteriorated and it later had to be put down.
Post-mortem lung samples revealed damage consistent with a viral pneumonia and there was evidence of Sars-CoV-2 infection.
The second cat was a six-year-old female Siamese from a household where one owner tested positive for Covid-19.
The cat was taken to the vet with nasal discharge and conjunctivitis, but its symptoms remained mild and the cat later recovered.
Covid-19 infection was confirmed in a retrospective survey of swabs submitted to VDS between March and July 2020 for routine pathogen testing.
Scientists believe the two cases are likely to be an underestimate of the true frequency of human-to-animal transmission, as animal testing is limited.
MRCThe study was led from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research
Since the pandemic began there have been reports of cats from Covid-positive households in countries including Hong Kong, Belgium, the USA, France and Spain that tested positive for the virus and were presumed to be infected from their owners.
Prof James Wood, head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University said: “These are important and interesting findings, adding to the body of evidence that humans can infect their pets, in some cases, as here, leading to clinical disease in the animals.
“Cats and dogs have been reported to be infected. This is a high quality study, including whole genome sequencing to confirm transmission links.”
The study was funded by the Wellcome ISSF Covid Response Fund and supported by the Medical Research Council.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.27: With criminal groups producing, distributing and selling fake vaccines, the risks to the public are clear: these can include buying a product which not only does not protect against #COVID19, but poses a serious health hazard if ingested or injected. Such products are not tested, regulated or safety-checked:
Legitimate vaccines are not for sale. They are strictly administered and distributed by national healthcare regulators.“Counterfeit vaccines threaten the health of consumers who are duped by nefarious actors seeking to exploit the pandemic situation for financial gain. HSI and its law enforcement partners will vigorously investigate and seek prosecution for criminals taking advantage of the public’s quest for COVID-19 vaccinations and those who endanger the lives of the very people the vaccines are intended to protect,” said HSI Assistant Director, and Director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, Steve Francis.
Anyone buying these products online also runs the risk of potentially giving their money to organized criminals.
“From the very beginning of the pandemic, criminals have preyed on people’s fears in order to make fast cash. Fake vaccines are the latest in these scams, which is why INTERPOL and HSI are warning the public to be extra vigilant,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock. “Anyone ordering a vaccine online rather than obtaining it from their national provider, will be buying a fake product.”
“The networks behind these crimes have global ambitions. No country or region can fight this type of crime alone. INTERPOL is assisting law enforcement around the world to both identify criminal networks and to dismantle them,” added Secretary General Stock.
Following a global alert issued by INTERPOL in late 2020 the world police body recently announced the first internationally linked arrests and seizures in connection with fake vaccines after criminal networks were disrupted in China and South Africa.
INTERPOL has also been receiving additional information on fake vaccine distribution and scam attempts targeting health bodies, including nursing homes.
“HSI will continue to work with INTERPOL to coordinate investigations targeting every level of the transnational criminal organizations trafficking in counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines,” added Francis.
An emerging trend has seen cybercriminals set up illicit websites claiming to be legitimate national and/or world organizations offering pre-orders for vaccines against the COVID-19 virus. These websites offer payments in bitcoins and other payment processing methods.
Using trademark logos of major pharmaceutical companies producing approved COVID-19 vaccines, the fake websites are suspected of being used to conduct phishing attacks and/or dupe victims into giving charitable donations.
In addition to opening up their computer to cyberattacks when attempting to purchase alleged COVID-19 vaccines online, people also run the risk of having their identity stolen.
In December 2020, HSI seized two websites purporting to be those of biotechnology companies developing treatments for the COVID-19 virus. Instead they appeared to have been used to collect the personal information of individuals visiting the sites, in order to use the information for criminal purposes, including fraud, phishing attacks, and/or deployment of malware.
Ransomware attacks have also been conducted against hospitals, laboratories, local governments and other targets, remotely blocking computer systems and demanding a payment to release them.
Given the need for a global response against these types of cyber-enabled fraud and financial crime, INTERPOL created the Global Financial Crime Task Force (IGFCTF) in 2020 with member countries in order to enhance international cooperation and innovation with public and private sector partners.
To report suspected illicit criminal activity or fraudulent schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, email Covid19Fraud@dhs.gov.
#AceHealthReport – Mar.26: In total, more than 29 million people have now had their first dose of one of the available vaccines, while the number having gone on to receive their second has now passed three million:
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Another 70 people die as 6,187 test positive for #Covid19 over the last 24 hours, the latest figures from the Department of Health show. This brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases to 4,325,315 with over half U.K.population now had there first jab according to the MetroUK today’
Friday: 26 Mar 2021 4:30 pm
The update comes after the Government insisted it has absolute confidence in UK vaccine supplies, with all adults still on track to receive a first dose by the end of July.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the UK’s vaccine programme will continue to be ‘world-leading’, despite a row with Europe over vaccine exports.
He told Good Morning Britain on Friday: ‘We are confident we have got the supplies that we need both to meet our mid-April target of vaccinating all the over-50s and those people with clinical vulnerabilities, and the bigger target, which is that every adult at least has had their first jab by the end of July.
‘Of course, anyone who has an appointment for a jab, either their first one or second one, there is no need to worry – those appointments will be honoured.’
Meanwhile, the Government has denied reports from France that the UK could struggle to secure second doses due to the row in the EU.
A spokesman said: ‘We’re on track to meet our vaccination targets and everyone will get their second dose within 12 weeks of their first.’
It comes as new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate around one in 340 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to March 20 – unchanged on the previous week, suggesting a levelling off.
The picture remains broadly similar in Wales and Northern Ireland, with a slight rise in infections in Scotland.
According to the latest Government figures, the reproduction number – the R value – across the UK is between 0.7 and 0.9. This is compared to 0.6 to 0.9 last week.