The US faces a very real risk of losing all of its recent accomplishments in the fight against the virus as highly contagious variants take advantage of Americans becoming negligent with security measures.
There are already worrying signs. While U.S. Covid-19 cases and hospital stays have been declining for several weeks, they’re still alarmingly high. And this downward trend now seems to have stopped. The latest 7-day mean new cases shows a little more than 2% increase from the previous week, said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky, yesterday. A similar increase has been reported in the last 7-day average in deaths, she added.
“Please hear me clearly,” said Walensky. “At this level of cases with spreading variants, we will completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. These variants are a very real threat to our people and our progress.”
Dr. Zeke Emanuel, Obama White House health advisor and a member of the Biden Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board, said Americans would have to adhere to strict security measures for another two or three months. “We shouldn’t relax, dine indoors, large groups … get rid of mask mandates,” he said. The World Health Organization (WHO) raised similar concerns yesterday after the number of new cases rose globally last week for the first time in seven weeks. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the surge was “disappointing but not surprising,” adding that the agency was working to better understand the surge in transmission.
“Part of this seems to be due to the easing of public health policies, the continued proliferation of variants and disappointment among people,” said Tedros. “Even as vaccines continue to roll out, we urge all governments and individuals to remember that vaccines alone will not protect you.”
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: Q: Which Covid-19 vaccine should I get?
A: There are now three Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States and many people are wondering which one to get.
We have CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen asked to weigh up. Her top advice: “Take the vaccine you get. All three vaccines are safe and effective. Think about other vaccines we take, such as the flu vaccine. Most of us don’t ask which company does it We just make sure it works. “Submit your questions here. Are you a healthcare worker fighting Covid-19? Drop us a message on WhatsApp about the challenges you are facing: +1 347-322-0415.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY?
Vaccines dramatically lower the risk of hospitalization in over 80 years, real data shows
A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines reduces the risk of Covid-19 hospitalization in people over 80 by more than 80%, new data from Public Health England shows.
The effect was observed three to four weeks after vaccination. It has also been shown that people over the age of 70 have up to 61% protection against symptomatic disease from the Pfizer BioNTech shot and up to 73% from the Oxford-Astra-Zeneca vaccine.
Britain has treated more than 20 million people with Covid-19 shots. The campaigns are initially aimed at those over 80 who are most susceptible to the disease. The new data support the country’s decision to use both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines when other countries in Europe raised concerns about the use of the AstraZeneca shot in the elderly. Meera Senthilingam report
Brazilian hospitals are unable to cope with new variants
Intensive care units are reaching their limits across Brazil as health experts and state officials urge the government to take stricter measures to reduce coronavirus transmission. The country is struggling to control the new, more infectious variants of the coronavirus. “The mutated virus has three times the contamination capacity and the speed may surprise governors in terms of structure and support,” said Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello. That is the reality we have in Brazil today. “
UK is hunting for people infected with the Covid-19 variant
British health officials are looking for a person infected with a variant of Covid-19, which was first identified in the Brazilian city of Manaus. The person is one of six cases of the P.1 variant in the UK. The variant exhibits a mutation pattern that appears to facilitate the transmission of the virus. The unidentified person did not fill out a registration card associated with their test, so officers cannot easily find them.
ON OUR RADAR
- After reviewing all existing studies on the subject, a panel of experts from the WHO has urgently advised against using hydroxychloroquine for the prevention of Covid-19.
- A batch of Covid-19 vaccines had to be rescued by boat after heavy rains threatened power supplies to a health facility in Kentucky.
- Former US President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump received a Covid-19 vaccine at the White House in January, a Trump adviser told CNN.
- A Trader Joe employee says he was fired after writing directly to the chain’s CEO asking for stricter Covid-19 safety protocols in his business.
- The first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines sent to Latin America through the COVAX program landed in Colombia yesterday.
- The European Commission has started laying the groundwork for a vaccination passport that citizens of the European Union can use to travel this summer.
- China plans to vaccinate more than half a billion people by the end of June, said Zhong Nanshan, respiratory disease expert.
- A California doctor’s trial was postponed after showing up for a virtual trial while performing surgery.
While many Americans stay home for their own safety during the pandemic, home can be the most dangerous place for victims of domestic violence to live. The usual places that victims fled to in the past are not always available now.
According to an analysis by the National Commission on Covid-19 and Criminal Justice, domestic violence incidents in the US rose about 8.1% after bans were imposed related to pandemics. But help is available. If you or someone you know has had domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline / 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) / TTY 1-800-787-3224. A worldwide list of directories is provided by UN Women. You can also find a list of National Agencies on The Pixel Project.
“When you are an inch away from all your pursuits that are being stolen from you, and the games may even be canceled entirely, it is heartbreaking.” – Sandi Morris, 2016 Olympic silver medalist
Almost a year ago, athletes around the world learned that the Olympics would be postponed. For those hoping to attend the Games, navigating this extra year was a challenge, especially as Covid restrictions forced many professional sports facilities to close. Pole vaulter Sandi Morris and long jumper Tyrone Smith share their training experiences so that a married couple can take part in one of the last Olympic Games. Listen now.