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NYC offers at-home shots; South Africa registers 17,493...

Covid-19

CORONAVIRUS GLOBAL UPDATE

NYC offers at-home shots; South Africa registers 17,493 new cases

A woman is vaccinated at the Mbekweni Community Hall vaccination site in Paarl on 22 June 2021. (Photo: Gallo Images / ER Lombard)
By Bloomberg
23 Jun 2021 0

South Africa registered 17,493 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total to 1,861,065. A further 166 Covid-19-related deaths were reported, taking total deaths to 59,258. A total of 2,312,873 people have been vaccinated.

An estimated 20 million people in the US were likely to have been infected with Covid-19 by mid-July of 2020, about 17 million more than previously thought, a new study found. More than 1,200 cases of heart inflammation have been reported in people who received messenger RNA vaccines.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is preparing to allow Britons who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus to travel to more than 150 countries without the need to quarantine on their return later this summer. Switzerland is reopening its borders for vaccinated overseas tourists, including from the US.

In Sydney, about one million people will be barred from leaving the city as Australia races to control an outbreak of the Delta variant. Japan has surpassed its target of administering one million doses of Covid-19 vaccine on a single day ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and a general election.

Key developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases exceed 179.3 million; deaths pass 3.88 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 2.71 billion doses administered
  • UK optimism grows that shots end link between cases and deaths
  • Shortages hit global vaccine supply programme, halting roll-outs
  • Pandemic’s end is as messy as the start: Clara Ferreira Marques
  • Jill Biden pitches shots for reluctant arms in Trump country

South African cases rise to third-wave high

South Africa’s daily Covid-19 infections rose to 17,493, the highest number recorded in the country’s third resurgence of the virus.

The number of infections, announced by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases on Wednesday, is the highest since 14 January. Of those tested, 24.9% were positive for Covid-19 and 62% of the new infections were in Gauteng, the NICD said.

CDC says heart issues top 1,200 cases

More than 1,200 cases of heart inflammation have been reported in people who received messenger RNA Covid-19 vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers were reported at a Wednesday meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is weighing heart risks from the vaccines. The meeting is expected to be wide-ranging, with discussion of heart inflammation, booster shots and the use of mRNA vaccines in adolescents.

NYC to offer free at-home vaccines

New York City will begin offering free at-home vaccinations to anyone who wants one, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The city, faced with full vaccination rates of 27% among black residents and 35% among Hispanics, has tried education and free giveaways as inducements to increase inoculations among those groups, with limited success. White residents have been fully vaccinated at a rate of 43%, according to city Health Department statistics, highlighting the disparity.

“We’re going to keep innovating in incentivizing people,” de Blasio said in a briefing Wednesday. The program will expand on a homebound campaign that has so far delivered 15,000 shots to people where they live. The city will expand the program with home deliveries to anyone who fills out a form on the city website, nyc.gov/homevaccine.

Study: US cases likely higher by millions 

An estimated 20 million people in the US were likely to have been infected with Covid-19 by mid-July of 2020, about 17 million more than previously thought, according to a new study by National Institutes of Health scientists published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine. The data suggest that during that time period, for every one diagnosed case there were nearly five undiagnosed cases.

While the researchers said the findings address the prevalence of asymptomatic coronavirus infections, they also probably reflect a dearth of Covid-19 diagnostic testing infrastructure.

The results were based on blood samples obtained from about 8,000 volunteers who were tested for coronavirus antibodies. Some of the positivity rates were among people of colour, particularly black individuals; residents of mid-Atlantic and Northeast states; adults ages 18 to 44; people living in cities; and women, the study found.

Seychelles to assess shots

Seychelles, which has inoculated a greater proportion of its population than any other country, said it remains unsure how effective the shots it has administered are and will have to determine if boosters are required.

“We don’t know yet the validity of these vaccines. So once that is clear we will look at the additional booster shots that we need to offer,” Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde told the Qatar Economic Forum on Wednesday.

Swiss to reopen borders

Switzerland is reopening its borders for vaccinated overseas tourists, including from the US. The move is one of several measures announced by the government as infections fall and the vaccination campaign progresses. Discos will be allowed to reopen on 26 June, while the requirements for wearing masks and working from home will be relaxed.

Rich nations ‘caused vaccine gap’

Strive Masiyiwa, the telecommunications billionaire tasked with helping the African Union secure vaccines, said the shortage of doses on the continent was a consequence of deliberate action by the world’s richest nations.

While the US has fully vaccinated 45% of its people, the UK 47% and the European Union 29%, Africa has had 61.4 million doses delivered for 1.1 billion people. Just 1.1% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

“Those with the resources pushed their way to the front of the queue and took control of their production assets,” Masiyiwa told a virtual summit on vaccine equality and equitable distribution.

Delta variant on rise in Amsterdam

The Delta variant was found in more than 40% of positive coronavirus tests in Amsterdam, Dutch news agency ANP reported, citing an official at the city’s public health institute. The figure relates to about 100 test samples examined by the institute in the week leading up to 20 June. In a sample from the previous week, the Delta variant accounted for just 7%.

Japan halts workplace vaccination requests

Just weeks after applications opened, Japan will suspend new requests for its workplace vaccination programme on Friday as demand threatens to outstrip the supply of Moderna shots, said vaccine minister Taro Kono. Kono said vaccines through workplaces and universities are set to eat up more than 33 million doses, while mass vaccination campaigns by local governments would account for an additional 12 million. DM

— With assistance by Andrew Janes, Andreo Calonzo, Jerrold Colten, Emma Court, and Henry Goldman.

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