Uk Doubles Down On Living With Covid
The UK government has been encouraging citizens to learn to live with the coronavirus since last summer, when prime minister Boris Johnson ditched laws requiring face masks and social distancing, only partially reinstating mask rules when omicron first hit.
Johnsons laissez-faire policies may have been shaped by illegal drinks parties he attended with dozens of staff while the rest of the country was in strict lockdown in 2020, for which he is now under intense scrutiny and faces calls to quit. The UK government has been promoting policies that require some degree of living with covid from the very beginning, whether through herd immunity or delaying lockdowns over fears of behavioral fatigue.
Thats all good and fine if you manage to live, but there are people who die, Danielle Ompad, an associate professor of epidemiology at New York Universitys School of Global Public Health, says of the concept being pushed by British officials. She noted that while omicron cases appear to be less severe, particularly in vaccinated people, the virus is also more infectious, meaning it still has the potential to overwhelm health systems.
How Much Longer Can China Keep Up Its Zero
As Beijing pursues its solitary path, observers are asking whether the policy is about protecting public health or social order
Desperate residents in Chinas western Xian city are running out of food after they were barred from grocery shopping in a fierce lockdown. In the southern province of Guangxi, people who broke Covid laws were recently publicly shamed by being paraded through the streets in Hazmat suits with placards round their necks.
The rest of the world is learning, slowly and with some difficulty, to live with Covid-19, but in China, authorities are doubling down on their zero-Covid policy: trying to stamp out the disease whenever it appears, and at any cost. A single case in a border town led to 200,000 people being locked down late last month.
A key aspect of the policy is border closures. Few people are allowed in or out of China, and those who do enter the country face up three weeks of government-enforced quarantine. Some other countries locked the world out for over a year in a bid to lock out the pandemic. But in 2022, Beijing is treading an increasingly solitary path.
A combination of mass vaccination, social pressure and highly transmissible new variants has persuaded other once zero-Covid countries including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to begin slowly opening up again to the world.
A key sign to watch for, she added is whether the approach to Covid shifts after the leadership decisions are made at the Communist Party Congress.
Can You Get Omicron Twice
Yes, you can get Omicron twice, says Stanley Weiss, M.D., professor at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the Department of Epidemiology at the Rutgers School of Public Health. He cites a recent lecture he attended from a virologist in South Africa, where Omicron first emerged, who said that doctors in the country had seen several people who had Omicron reinfections.
Omicron is highly contagious and it would appear to not induce fantastic protective immunity, Dr. Weiss says.
Exactly how common Omicron reinfection is remains to be seen, given that this is still a fairly new COVID-19 variant, Dr. Russo says. If you had a mild infection, didnt get a very good immune response, and you get exposed again with a big dose of the virus, its definitely possible, he says.
Time is likely a big factor, too, Dr. Blaser says. The longer the interval from the last infection, the less protection you have from that infection, he says. Time does make a difference.
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Tributes To Beautiful Bride
China claims some of the world’s strictest lockdowns, adherence to the rules, and extensive testing programmes have allowed it to beat the pandemic.
With total cases of just 90,697 and total deaths of 4,636, China has just a fraction of the cases and deaths compared to other nations – despite having the world’s largest population with 1.4billion.
Pictures show the country has essentially returned to normal as museums, festival and landmarks are again packed with holidaymakers.
The Case Of The Missing Wuhan Data
The missing data problem also emerges from an examination of the hotspot the only hotspot for Covid in all of China Wuhan, in Hubei province. According to Chinas official statistics, Hubei has accounted for 97% of all Covid-related deaths in the country.
All of the reported deaths in Wuhan/Hubei occurred between Jan 1 and March 31 of 2020. After that, all reporting ceased.
- There are no excess-death statistics for the period from April 2020 onwards.
Even the data that escaped in this brief window show a puzzling degree of instability. The extreme geographical and temporal concentration of the disease outbreak, affecting just a single major urban center, during a short period, under almost total lockdown, ought to have simplified the task of data collection .
However, the Wuhan/Hubei death count has been subject to a series of revisions, adjustments, and gaps.
After the Wuhan outbreak was allegedly brought under control by the end of March 2020, the original final count of Covid deaths in the city was set at 2,579. Then in April, an adjustment added another 1,290 deaths, said to be the result of patients who died at home without a diagnosis in the early stages of the outbreak and failures by hospitals to report numbers correctly. That brought the Wuhan count up to 3,869, where it sits today. Another 643 deaths came from the province of Hubei outside of the city, for a total of 4,512.
Chart by author
Covid Case Fatality Rates
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Less Than Half Of Those Eligible Have Gotten A Booster Dose Of Covid
From CNNs Deidre McPhillips
Heres the latest data on vaccination efforts in the United States, published Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Fully vaccinated: 62.9% of the total US population , about 209 million people
- Not vaccinated: At least 20.5% of the eligible population has not received any dose of Covid-19 vaccine, at least 64 million people.
- Current pace of vaccinations : 1,286,773 doses are being administered each day.
- Most doses being administered about 735,000 are booster doses.
- Only about 327,000 people are initiating vaccination each day. New Covid-19 case counts are about 2.4 times as high.
- About 78.1 million people have received a booster dose.
- About 24% of the total US population is now fully vaccinated and boosted.
- Less than half of those eligible have received a booster dose.
Note: CDC data on Covid-19 vaccinations are estimates. The agency notes that data on people who are fully vaccinated and those with a booster dose may be underestimated, while data on people with at least one dose may be overestimated.
What About The Sinopharm Vaccine
The WHO approved the Sinopharm vaccine which is produced by a Chinese state-owned company.
Like Sinovac, it is an inactivated vaccine which triggers the production of antibodies that fight the coronavirus.
The virus is killed before being injected into people’s bodies, so it can’t transmit Covid-19.
At the time, the WHO said: “Vaccine efficacy for symptomatic and hospitalized disease was estimated to be 79%, all age groups combined.”
However, it added once again that there wasn’t enough over 60s enrolled in clinical trials to estimate the efficacy for the age group. It still recommends the vaccine for older people though.
China has administered more than a billion doses of its vaccines to its residents, according to China’s National Health Commission.
The spread of the coronavirus within China has for the most part been contained – and the country has largely opened up.
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China: How Many Tests Are Performed Each Day
What does the data on deaths and cases tell us about the mortality risk of COVID-19?
To understand the risks and respond appropriately we would also want to know the mortality risk of COVID-19 the likelihood that someone who is infected with the disease will die from it.
We look into this question in more detail on our page about the mortality risk of COVID-19, where we explain that this requires us to know or estimate the number of total cases and the final number of deaths for a given infected population. Because these are not known, we discuss what the current data can and can not tell us about the risk of death.
New Zealand: The Edge Case
Finally, consider the most extreme comparison available.
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – MARCH 25: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media at a press … conference ahead of a nationwide lockdown at Parliament on March 25, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday declared a State of National Emergency in response to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration allows the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management to direct and coordinate personnel, material and other resources, and provides access to other extra-ordinary powers that will support delivery of an effective and timely response to COVID-19. An Epidemic Notice has also been issued to help ensure the continuity of essential Government business.New Zealand will go into lockdown from 11:59 Wednesday night, as the COVID-19 alert level rises to four. All non-essential businesses will close at that time, including bars, restaurants, cinemas and playgrounds. Schools are closed and all indoor and outdoor events are banned. Essential services will remain open, including supermarkets and pharmacies. The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expects measures will remain in place for about four weeks, and has said there will be zero tolerance for people ignoring the restrictions, with police able to enforce them if required. New Zealand currently has 155 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
- 73 times lower than New Zealands.
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Check Labels And Printing
Legitimate N95s and KN95s are required to have specific text stamped on the front of the mask. Although you may find one in a fun color, masks that are printed with fancy designs or dont have text stamped on them are probably fake.
Your N95 should be stamped with NIOSH, as well as the company name, the model and lot numbers, and something called a TC approval number, which can be used to look up the mask on a list of approved ones. The C.D.C. has showing you the printing to look for on your N95.
A legitimate KN95 should also be stamped with text, including the name of the manufacturer, the model, and GB2626-2019, which is a reference to a quality control standard approved by the Chinese government.
The KF94 wont be stamped with text, but the package should say Made in Korea and include the product name, manufacturer and distributor name. The package will also have an expiration date and a lot number printed on it. If your mask comes from a Korean importer, the information on the package will be in Korean, but many companies have begun to create English-language packaging.
If You Recovered From Covid
If you recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection within the past 90 days , you do NOT need to get a test 35 days after travel. People can continue to test positive for up to 90 days after diagnosis and not be infectious to others. You also do not need to self-quarantine after travel. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms after travel, isolate and consult with a healthcare provider for testing recommendations.
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China Ends 2021 With Worst Covid Week Since Taming Original Epidemic
A medical worker in protective suit collects a swab sample from a man for nucleic acid testing at a residential compound, during another round of mass testing following the coronavirus disease outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province, China December 27, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS/File Photo
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- Mainland China reported 1,151 new local symptomatic cases in past week
- Latest outbreak driven by infections in city of Xian
BEIJING, Jan 1 – China ended its final week of 2021 with its biggest tally of local coronavirus cases for any seven-day period since subduing the country’s first epidemic nearly two years ago, despite an arsenal of some of the world’s toughest COVID-19 measures.
The National Health Commission reported on Saturday 175 new community infections with confirmed clinical symptoms for Dec. 31, bringing the total number of local symptomatic cases in mainland China in the past week to 1,151.
The surge has been driven mostly by an outbreak in the northwestern industrial and tech hub of Xian, a city of 13 million.
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The deepening outbreak in Xian will likely firm authorities’ resolve to curb transmissions quicklyas and when cases emerge. The city, under lockdown for 10 days as of Saturday, has reported 1,451 local symptomatic cases since Dec. 9, the highest tally for any Chinese city in 2021.
The Public Health Impact
China claims an extraordinarily low incidence of Covid mortality. However, there are significant gaps in the Chinese data . Essentially, Beijing put a halt to the reporting almost two years ago. It means that most of the international comparison studies have to leave China out.
The absence of reliable internal Covid statistics forces us to look at comparative benchmarks based on better data from other countries.
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Strong As Its Weakest Link
Over the last two years, with certain products missing from our favorite stores and crucial items like N95 masks and Covid-19 tests sometimes in short supply, weve all learned about the fragility of the supply chain. Electronics, cars, and consumer products have been highly sensitive to these types of disruption.
Many shortages are connected to Chinas lockdowns: A single case can close down a giant port. But China is so big that many instances of lockdowns at a local level have gone under the medias radar, notes economist George Magnus of Oxford University. Shutdowns have been happening constantly without global consequences. A small town of a million in the middle of the countrys butterfly-wing effects are obviously pretty small, but a big entrepôt in a coastal province in China will be observed and commented upon, Magnus said.
The good news is, despite some shortages, supply chains have proved mostly resilient and major retailers have adjusted. Its amazing how well supply chains have held up, said David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank. China is big enough that its shown it can lock down a particular port for coronavirus reasons, but its got 20 other ports.
Chinas Zero Covid Strategy Braces For Omicron
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, nations are looking for ways to coexist with the COVID-19 pathogen without shutting down their economies again with lockdowns The United States reopened its borders in November. Britain has eased testing and quarantine requirements for vaccinated arrivals.
Even countries that once had strict COVID-19 control measures, such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, have all dropped their goal of zero cases. Instead, most countries are trying to prevent their health care systems from becoming stretched to the breaking point while allowing their citizens to live semi-normal lifestyles.
But theres an outlier: China.
China is the last country still holding onto a strict zero tolerance policy. Over the past two years, Chinese authorities say they have contained more than 30 COVID-19 outbreaks, including ones caused by the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. Strict health care measures help keep the infection at bay, including mass testing, snap lockdowns and extensive quarantines.
A recent outbreak in Chinas Zhejiang province, a major industrial and export hub on the countrys east coast, left more than half a million people in quarantine, hundreds of factories shut down, and most flights out of provincial capital Hangzhou canceled. In November, Shanghai closed Disneyland, banning anyone inside from leaving while officials performed more than 100,000 COVID-19 tests after a single positive case.
The omicron variant
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China: Global Vaccinations In Comparison: Which Countries Are Vaccinating Most Rapidly
Why is data on testing important?
No country knows the total number of people infected with COVID-19. All we know is the infection status of those who have been tested. All those who have a lab-confirmed infection are counted as confirmed cases.
This means that the counts of confirmed cases depend on how much a country actually tests. Without testing there is no data.
Testing is our window onto the pandemic and how it is spreading. Without data on who is infected by the virus we have no way of understanding the pandemic. Without this data we cannot know which countries are doing well, and which are just underreporting cases and deaths.
To interpret any data on confirmed cases we need to know how much testing for COVID-19 the country actually does.
The Our World in Data COVID-19 Testing dataset
Because testing is so very crucial to understanding the spread of the pandemic and responding appropriately, we have focused our efforts on building a global dataset on COVID-19 testing.
- The testing dataset is updated around twice a week. The latest version is always available on our page on COVID-19 testing.
- And as with all our work, it is freely accessible for everyone. The data can be downloaded here on GitHub.