COVID-19 News and Discussions

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"Take it easy, nothing matters in the end."
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"Take it easy, nothing matters in the end."
– William Shatner
weatheriscool
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The US triples its vaccine donations to Taiwan as the island battles an outbreak
Source: CNN
The United States is more than tripling its vaccine allocation to Taiwan, as the island battles a Covid-19 outbreak and resists pressure from Beijing to take China's homegrown inoculations.

Washington has shipped 2.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Taipei, the US State Department spokesperson Ned Price tweeted on Saturday. The Moderna shots are set to arrive Sunday evening local time in Taiwan, according to the island's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After a wildly successful initial run of keeping case numbers down, Taiwan is now battling its first major outbreak and scrambling to combat its low vaccination rate: just 6 doses have been administered per 100,000 people.

China, which considers Taiwan an integral part of its territory, has repeatedly offered to send coronavirus vaccines to the island. Taipei has expressed concern about the safety of Chinese shots and accused Beijing of blocking its efforts to purchase vaccines internationally.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/19/asia/tai ... index.html
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COVID-19 dual-antibody therapies effective against variants in animal study

by Tamara Bhandari, Washington University School of Medicine
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06- ... iants.html
COVID-19 therapies made from antibodies often are given to patients who are at high risk of severe illness and hospitalization. However, there have been nagging questions about whether such antibody therapies retain their effectiveness as worrisome new virus variants arise.

New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that many, but not all, therapies made from combinations of two antibodies are effective against a wide range of variants of the virus. Further, combination therapies appear to prevent the emergence of drug resistance.

The study, in mice and hamsters, tested all single and combination antibody-based therapies authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or that are being evaluated in late-stage clinical trials, against a panel of emerging international and U.S. variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
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America hits 150 million fully vaccinated, says White House
Source: Washington Post

By Katerina Ang and Miriam Berger

The United States has fully inoculated 150 million people against the coronavirus, the White House said, marking a major milestone even as experts warn that highly contagious new variants mean the vaccination rate needs to continue rising.

“America is coming back,” President Biden wrote in a tweet Monday evening.

Roughly 46 percent of U.S. residents have completed their vaccination schedule, still some way below the 70 to 90 percent inoculation rate that Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, has said is needed to achieve herd immunity.

Health experts have said the delta variant of the coronavirus, first detected in India, could become dominant in the United States over summer, adding urgency to their pleas for more people to get vaccinated.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2 ... pdates-us/
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Watchdog: Nursing home deaths up 32% in 2020 amid pandemic
Source: Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Deaths among Medicare patients in nursing homes soared by 32% last year, with two devastating spikes eight months apart, a government watchdog reported Tuesday in the most comprehensive look yet at the ravages of COVID-19 among its most vulnerable victims.

The report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services found that about 4 in 10 Medicare recipients in nursing homes had or likely had COVID-19 in 2020, and that deaths overall jumped by 169,291 from the previous year, before the coronavirus appeared.

“We knew this was going to be bad, but I don’t think even those of us who work in this area thought it was going to be this bad,” said Harvard health policy professor David Grabowski, a nationally recognized expert on long-term care, who reviewed the report for The Associated Press.

“This was not individuals who were going to die anyway,” Grabowski added. “We are talking about a really big number of excess deaths.”
-snip-


Read more: https://apnews.com/article/nursing-home ... c72f4f42aa
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Fauci: Delta Variant Accounts for 20% of New Coronavirus Cases in U.S.
Source: U.S. News and World Report
Leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Tuesday sounded the alarm on the delta coronavirus variant, saying it accounts for over 20% of new U.S. infections.

"The delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19," Fauci said during a press briefing. "The good news: Our vaccines are effective against the delta variant."

He said that cases due to the variant, which was first identified in India, are doubling every two weeks.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky warned that the variant "represents a set of mutations that could lead to future mutations that evade our vaccine."
Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/fauci ... li=BBnb7Kz
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Angela Merkel Receives Moderna as Second Shot After AstraZeneca First Dose
June 23, 2021

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/e ... -1.1247148

Introduction:
(The National) German Chancellor Angela Merkel has received a Moderna coronavirus vaccine as her second shot, after getting AstraZeneca as the first.

Ms Merkel, 66,took her first dose of AstraZeneca's vaccine in April, more than two weeks after German authorities first recommended it for people aged 60 and over.

Germany had initially restricted the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 60 because of concerns over its efficacy in older people.

Another concern over possible blood clots in younger people prompted Germany to recommend that people under 60 who had already received a first dose of AstraZeneca should have a different vaccine for their second shot.

Ms Merkel is not in that age group but still decided to mix her vaccines.
Last edited by caltrek on Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Japan Reaches Suga’s Target of 1 million Vaccine Doses per Day
June 23, 2021

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/ ... cinations/

Introduction:
(The Japan Times) Japan has surpassed 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered on a single day, meeting Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s target as the inoculation drive accelerates ahead of the political pressure points of the Tokyo Olympics and a general election.

The milestone was achieved on June 14, according to data compiled by Bloomberg using figures released from the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday. There’s a considerable lag in the reporting of vaccination data by local authorities, so much so that vaccine minister Taro Kono has been reported to suggest the government might skip shipments of shots to municipalities that are slow to report.

The figure from June 14, a Monday, may include some medical workers who were vaccinated on Saturday or Sunday.

Suga had said he hoped to achieve the goal in mid- to late June, and finish inoculating everyone who’s willing to be inoculated by October or November. His administration’s handling of the virus, the vaccine rollout and the looming Olympics is in the spotlight as he plans for both a parliamentary election and a party leadership race in the fall.

Japan’s vaccination rollout began with medical workers and people age 65 and older, and was initially criticized for its slowness compared to other developed countries.
Image
A Japan Airlines Co. employee receives a dose of the Moderna Inc. COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site set up at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on June 14.
| BLOOMBERG
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