MERS Coronavirus warning

It seems that Japan's hospital system lacks integration. Although it has many private beds the provisioning is a problem. The system is not suited to dealing with pandemics. Mask wearing and public diligence may be all that stands in the way of a national emergency. https://japantoday.com/category/national/relatives-of-virus-dead-question-japan's-stay-at-home-policy
The Japanese are inflexible*, they will still be having meetings about whether or not to meet to make a decision in 2 years from now.

*Source - married to one (and lived there for 5 years)
 
Bit of bum twitching in the Valencia Region with holidays coming up. They have a week at the beginning of December where everyone gathers in big crowds for parades and festivals. December 6th is Constitution Day and a national holiday. December 8th is Immaculate Conception when the Christmas festivities start and is again a national holiday.

Restrictions are, at the moment, very limited. Face masks indoors or where there are crowds like open air markets.
Maximum of 10 at a table in a restaurant indoors.
Cinemas or concerts must leave one chair between others if food and drink is served.
Indoor venues for football and basketball maximum 80% occupancy.

And that's it for the moment. However, they want to introduce the covid passport before the "December Bridge" which would mean showing it to enter large festivals, pre-booked restaurants for office parties etc, discos, nightclubs, banquet halls. No signs of introducing it for normal bars and restaurants.

Currently 249 in the region are hospitalised of which 175 are unvaccinated but 49 in ICU of which 44 are unvaccinated. Still 8% of the population not vaccinated and the drive is on to convince them to do so.

In the Alicante province, the first death has occurred in the Elche hospital for over a month.
In Spain, the positive cases among under 30s has risen to twice the national average.
 
One Supreme Court in the Basque Country has ruled against the use of the covid passport to enter bars and restaurants. They said it was "incongruous" for customers to show the passport but not the serving staff.

Other regions still awaiting approval from their supreme courts already agreed by Galicia and Catalonia.
 
Slight thread drift but related to the Covid pandemic. We have known for some years that there is increasing bacterial resistance to antibiotics. During the pandemic, massive use was and is being made of antibiotics. The fear is that this is accelerating resistance to these antibiotics at a time when there are still very few antibiotics being developed. The next pandemic: How Covid-19 has accelerated the emergence of super-bacteria

We really ought to be building a capability with Phages.

 
We really ought to be building a capability with Phages.

I recall watching a documentary about phages many years ago. After the Soviet Union Collapsed there was concern that the research had also stopped. It started off as experiments with waste water.

A century of phage research: Bacteriophages and the shaping of modern biology

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The good news is that research seems to be continuing.
Phage therapy: An alternative to antibiotics in the age of multi-drug resistance

How Phages Overcome the Challenges of Drug Resistant Bacteria in Clinical Infections
 
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Christopher Snowden of the Institute for Economic Affairs argues that opening up in Summer rather than Autumn was the correct decision, despite what critics of the Johnson government may say. He points to the increasing cases in mainland Europe where they opened up later and now have Covid and flu on the rise.

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Article may be behind a Paywall The chaos in Europe proves England was right to end restrictions in the summer
 
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Here is the COVID-19 summary for Monday.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world Monday

Vaccine donated by the EU via GAVI has started to arrive in Africa. The first shipments of 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine have arrived in Guinea Conakry, Mauritania, the Central African Republic, Djibouti, Nigeria, Togo and the Republic of Congo.
In Africa, the first of nearly 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine being donated by the European Union by year-end have begun arriving in African countries, a statement by the GAVI vaccine alliance said on Monday.

"The first doses have reached Niger, with more doses arriving in a number of countries this week," Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, said in the statement that also listed Guinea Conakry, Mauritania, the Central African Republic, Djibouti, Nigeria, Togo and the Republic of Congo.

Austria have started their fourth national lockdown. Austria have one the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe, at 66 per cent, and they have a very active anti-vaxxer movement.
In Europe, Austrians awoke Monday to their fourth national lockdown of this pandemic, cutting short a Christmas season of shared merriment to fight rising coronavirus infections.

Austria has one of the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe, about 66 per cent of its population of 8.9 million people, with a vocal minority who refuse to be inoculated. On the eve of the latest lockdown, people flocked to Christmas markets for one last night of public socializing and in-person holiday shopping.

Israel have started vaccinating ages 5 to 11. Currently half of all new infections are in children age 11 or below.
In the Middle East, Israel began rolling out Pfizer-BioNtech's COVID-19 vaccinations for five-to-11-year-olds on Monday hoping to beat down a recent rise in coronavirus infections.

New Zealand are ending many pandemic restrictions.
In the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand will adopt a new system of living with the coronavirus on Dec. 3, which will end tough restrictions and allow businesses to operate in its biggest city, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

The US said that 90 per cent of federal employees have had at least their first jab.
In the Americas, the White House confirmed Monday that more than 90 per cent of 3.5 million federal employees covered by a presidential COVID-19 vaccine mandate have received at least one vaccine dose ahead of a Monday deadline.
 
Anti-vaxxers are changing tactics in Alberta when trying to sue the government.
Misinformation in the courtroom: How cases challenging COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta have shifted

Anti-vaxxers in Alberta have shifted from challenging the legality of particular public health orders to legal arguments based around those of the "sovereign citizen movement". The goals of the latter are to file nuisance lawsuits to tie up the legal system. Their arguments tend to be utterly bogus.

In one recent case still under review, one plaintiff is trying to stop all vaccinations on the grounds of vaccines causing (he claims) widespread injuries and side effects.

In another, a man in Red Deer an anti-vaxxer got is arse handed to him in court but went away claiming that he had "forced the government to admit" COVID-19 doesn't exist. This "proof" existed only in his head. This was however picked up by other anti-vaxxers on social media and widely repeated.

The anti-vaxxers lose their cases but claim victory on social media and the muppets who follow them believe it.
 
The Spanish interterritorial commission on health met today to discuss the way forward to handle the covid-19 crisis. Proposals on the table were to have a traffic light system brought in which would impose restrictions depending on the cases per 100,000 in each region. Proposals were to limit hostelry opening hours from medium risk up to entire closure for those in extreme risk.

At the end of the meeting, they agreed that Alert 1 would be regions with an incidence of below 100 in 100,000, Alert 2 between 100 and 200 per 100,000, Alert 3 would be 200 to 300 and Alert 4 over 300.

They also came to the conclusion that no restrictions would be imposed as yet due to the high take up of the vaccine and the relatively low number of hospitalisations, ICU admittance and deaths even though positive cases are on the rise.

The Spanish Min of Health stated that getting the 10% unvaccinated to accept the vaccine was the priority and that, in future, daily stats would include incidences in the vaccinated as well as the unvaccinated. He said this was important to bring home the benefits of the vaccine,

He then gave the following figures:
In the 60 to 80 age range, the chance of becoming infected was reduced 8 times in the vaccinated, the chances of hospitalisation in the unvaccinated was 18 times greater and the chance of death 25 times greater.

In the 30 to 50 age range, the chance of the vaccinated being hospitalised was 10 times lower and the chances of death the same 25 times greater in the unvaccinated.

In the 60 to 69 age group, the incidence is 23 per 100,000 vaccinated compared to 181.5 per 100,000 unvaccinated. Between 30 and 59 years of age there are 0.4 hospitalisations per week compared to 3.9 in the unvaccinated.

Now those are figures that spell it out. It will be interesting to see the daily stats with figures being given for the vaccinated to compare those with the unvaccinated.

There were 34 deaths reported in Spain today. It doesn't say how many were vaccinated or not but 15 of those deaths were in the Valencia Region which has the highest proportion of foreign tourists at the moment.
Cases rose by almost 7,000 which is almost double than that at the end of the month and the biggest rises are in the unvaccinated group of under 12s who have not received the vaccine.

Catalonia has now extended the use of the covid passport to bars and restaurants and the Valencia Region will announce the venues the covid passport will be required for on Thursday.
 
Here is the COVID-19 summary for Tuesday.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday

In Canada, more provinces announced the vaccine roll out plans for the age 5 to 11 group. The first jabs starting going into arms on Tuesday in Ontario.
More provinces on Tuesday outlined their respective rollout plans for vaccinating children aged five to 11 against COVID-19, while a small group of Ontario children in that age range became the first in that province to be inoculated.

The WHO said that Europe could see another 700,000 deaths by spring, taking the total over 2 million. WHO Europe also said that boosters should go to the most vulnerable populations first, such as people over 60, people with weakened immune systems, and health care workers.
In Europe, The World Health Organization's Europe office said projections show its 53-country region could face another 700,000 deaths in the COVID-19 pandemic by next spring, topping two million in total.

WHO Europe, which is based in Copenhagen, also cited growing evidence of a decline in protection against infection and mild disease through vaccines, and said a "booster dose" should be given as a priority to the most vulnerable populations — including people with weakened immune systems — as well as people over 60 and health-care workers.

India are seeing a big demand for flu vaccination, something that is not normally common there. Unlike certain other vaccinations, flu jabs are not free in India, but none the less people are asking for them.
In Asia, a pandemic-spurred demand for flu vaccines in India has surged since a devastating second wave of COVID-19 brought the nation's health-care system to its knees earlier this year.

Vaccinations against influenza are not very common in India due to a lack of awareness, access and steep prices, and they are also not part of the federal government's universal immunization program that includes polio, tuberculosis and hepatitis B.

Still, more than 1,000 shots were administered at Manipal Hospital's sites in the tech hub of Bengaluru in southern India between July and September, compared with about 3,000 for all of last year, according to the health-care provider.

Mexico will now look at giving booster doses to older people, having previously said it wouldn't be necessary.
In the Americas, Mexico will analyze administering booster vaccine doses against COVID-19, especially for older people, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday, softening his previous stance on the need for a third shot.

Less than two months ago, Lopez Obrador had rejected suggestions that Mexico should administer a third vaccine shot, saying experts deemed it to be unnecessary. But his government has gradually opened the door to giving more people shots, including teenagers.

"The booster vaccine will be analyzed in some cases, especially for older adults, but that still has to be decided by the doctors, the specialists," he told a news conference.
 
As the Spanish Health authorities said they would, they are now publishing the rates for the double vaccinated and the unvaccinated. They have kicked it off with a fortnightly summary.

Cumulative incidence in the last 14 days is 139 per 100,000. This is a steep rise from a month ago when it was hovering over the 50 mark. It has not meant an increase in hospitalisation and deaths, though, as they are 5% and 3% respectively of the high marks.

Average weekly rate of infections - vaccinated 23.1 cases per 100,000/unvaccinated 64.5 per 100,000.
Age 60 to 80 show a 25 times more risk of death in the unvaccinated compared to vaccinated. Risk of infection 8 times higher and hospitalisation 18 times higher in the unvaccinated.

Every age group shows a large difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated. Age 12 to 19 (84% of this age range are double vaxxed) 9.6 cases per 100,000 vaxxed compared to 59.7 per 100,000 unvaxxed.

Middle aged range of 30 to 50 is not so marked but still shows the unvaccinated are double the amount of cases but the number of hospitalisations is 0.1 cases per 100,000 compared with 3.9 non vaccinated.

60 to 79 age range. Hospitalisation 2 per 100,000 compared to 35.7 unvaccinated, ICU admittance 0.3 compared to 6.9 and deaths 0.1 compared to 2.5.

53% of those over 70 have now received the booster vaccine (about 7 million people) along with around 3.5 million with underlying immuno compromised conditions.

It's almost like a family day out when it's vaccine time. Everyone I've spoken to, regardless of nationality, seem to look forward to the day when they get their jab and I haven't heard anyone with an anti vaxx bent. Every now and again a troll pops up on one of the local social media chat sites but they are quickly shot down by others and disappear just as quickly.
 

Anthony Collins, 54, sent suspicious parcels to Downing Street and a lab in Wuhan, China, a court heard

A man with an “obsessive interest” in Covid-19 has been jailed after sending a suspicious package to a vaccine factory and sparking a bomb scare. Anthony Collins, 54, also sent similar parcels to 10 Downing Street and a laboratory in Wuhan in China, among others, a court heard.

Covid: Man obsessed with virus jailed after sparking bomb scare at vaccine plant and sending suspicious package to Downing Street
 
Here is the COVID-19 summary for Wednesday.

The US are sending 44 military medical personnel to Michigan to help deal with the rise in infections there. A hospital official described the situation as "dire" and that help is "desperately needed." The hospitalization rate is 87 per cent higher than a month ago, and is at 94 per cent of the previous record set in April. The vaccination rate in Michigan is 58 per cent, which is well below the already low national average of 63 per cent.
U.S. military sending medical staff to help Michigan battle COVID-19 surge
The U.S. government will send 44 military medical staffers to Michigan to help beleaguered hospitals treat COVID-19 patients amid a fourth surge that is the worst in the country, state health officials said Wednesday.

(...) "Right now, our doctors and nurses are reporting the vast majority of their patients are unvaccinated or have not yet received a booster dose," the governor said in a statement. "We can all do our part to help reduce the strain on our hospital systems by getting vaccinated, making an appointment to get a booster dose and continuing to take precautions to keep ourselves and loved ones safe."

Brian Peters, CEO of the statewide hospital group, said the situation is "dire" and the Department of Defence's support is "desperately needed."

"Many hospitals throughout the state are operating at capacity, delaying non-emergency medical procedures and placing their emergency departments on diversion," he said. "Receiving these teams of federal caregivers can only help those hospitals."


Germany are set to pass the 100,000 mark in terms of deaths in the midst of a major outbreak. The problems are being blamed on the lack of political leadership during the recent elections and the subsequent coalition negotiations.
Germany poised to pass 100,000 COVID-19 deaths
Germany is poised to pass the mark of 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week, a sombre milestone that several of its neighbours crossed months ago but which Western Europe's most populous nation had hoped to avoid.

In practice, Germans faced a confusing array of pandemic rules, lax enforcement and a national election — followed by a drawn-out government transition during which senior politicians dangled the prospect of further lifting restrictions even as the infection rate rose.

"Nobody had the guts to take the lead and announce unpopular measures," said Uwe Janssens, who heads the intensive care department at the St. Antonius hospital in Eschweiler, west of Cologne.

The vaccination rate remains low at 68 per cent and seems to have stalled well short of the national target of 75 per cent. The anti-vaxxer movement is strong in Germany. Increasingly younger people are showing up in hospital and staying longer, clogging up ICU beds.
Doctors like Janssens are bracing for an influx of coronavirus patients as confirmed cases hit fresh daily highs that experts say is also being fuelled by vaccine skeptics.

Resistance to getting the shot — including the one developed by German company BioNTech together with U.S. partner Pfizer — remains strong among a sizeable minority of the country. Vaccination rates have stalled at 68 per cent of the population, far short of the 75 per cent or higher that the government had aimed for.

"We've increasingly got younger people in intensive care," said Janssens. "The amount of time they're treated is significantly longer and it blocks intensive care beds for a longer period."

Some Germans are talking about mandatory vaccination to get over these hurdles, following Austria's lead. New legislation will make it harder for provincial governments to impose lockdowns with out legislative approval. The provinces with the highest infection rates however are also the ones where this political hurdle could be the most difficult to cross over.
Some German politicians are suggesting it's time to consider a vaccine mandate, either for specific professions or for the population as a whole. Austria took that step last week, announcing COVID-19 shots will become compulsory for all starting in February after seeing a similar reluctance to get vaccinated fuel fresh outbreaks and hospitalizations.

Germany set a record of 66,884 new cases as well as 335 deaths.
Germany's disease control agency reported a record 66,884 newly confirmed cases on Wednesday, and 335 deaths. The total death toll from COVID-19 stood at 99,768 since the start of the pandemic, the Robert Koch Institute said. German weekly Die Zeit, which conducts its own count based on local health authority figures, said the 100,000 threshold had already been passed.

Elsewhere in the world:
The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for Nov. 24

South Korea has been having problems with fringe religious groups causing major outbreaks. The latest is south of Seoul where 241 people linked to a fringe religious group have tested positive. Many of the congregation were in their 60s or older and unvaccinated.
Nursing home deaths have been the bane and shame for a number of countries in the pandemic, but in South Korea, fundamentalist religious groups have triggered superspreading events. A little-known sect is now at the centre of a COVID-19 outbreak there, as the country reported a new daily record of 4,116 cases.

In a tiny rural church in a town of 427 residents in Cheonan city, south of Seoul, at least 241 people linked to the religious community had tested positive for coronavirus, a city official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Many of the congregation were in their 60s and above and were unvaccinated. The church opened in the early 1990s and has encouraged communal living while its pastor performs a ritual act of placing hands on the eyes of parishioners to rid them of secular desire, according to Jung youn-seok, head of a South Korean cult information resources think-tank.

Shincheonji was a church at the centre of an explosion of cases in 2020, with at least 5,227 people linked to its 310,000 followers infected after attending a service in Daegu.

The national case rise has seen about 71 per cent of intensive care beds filled up across the country for coronavirus-related reasons and 83.7 per cent in capital Seoul and neighbouring areas alone, Son Young-rae, a senior Health Ministry official, told a briefing.

In South America, infections are rising in every country except Brazil, Suriname, and Venezuela. The biggest jumps were in Ecuador and Paraguay.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) held its weekly briefing on Wednesday, reporting that nearly every country in South America except Brazil, Suriname and Venezuela is reporting increasing COVID-19 infections, although experts in the past have questioned the official numbers from Venezuela's autocratic government.

The biggest jumps were in Ecuador and Paraguay, PAHO said. Bolivia is having a localized upsurge, with a 400 per cent increase in cases in the Santa Cruz department after recent strikes and protests prevented people from accessing COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites.

Across Latin America and the Caribbean the average rate of vaccination is 51 per cent, but there are 19 countries where the rate is below 40 per cent.
While 51 per cent of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, there are 19 countries where vaccination coverage is below 40 per cent of the population.
 

Anthony Collins, 54, sent suspicious parcels to Downing Street and a lab in Wuhan, China, a court heard

A man with an “obsessive interest” in Covid-19 has been jailed after sending a suspicious package to a vaccine factory and sparking a bomb scare. Anthony Collins, 54, also sent similar parcels to 10 Downing Street and a laboratory in Wuhan in China, among others, a court heard.

Covid: Man obsessed with virus jailed after sparking bomb scare at vaccine plant and sending suspicious package to Downing Street

This sounds like Dipso Factoid and several others we get posting here.
She added: “He is a lonely and bored individual who does find it very difficult to deal with normal life.”

Passing sentence, Judge David Griffith-Jones QC told Collins: “A compulsion to send bizarre communications to different bodies or authorities is one thing and may be considered a harmless idiosyncrasy.
“It doesn’t explain your behaviour here, which was deliberately to send a bomb hoax knowing perfectly well that it would cause fear and mayhem.”
 
EU covid passports are now required to enter bars and restaurants in Catalonia if anyone is thinking of going to Barcelona.

The Valencia Region has only introduced them to enter bars or restaurants with a capacity over 50 indoors. They are not required if sitting outside (dunno what happens when you want the loo) and for hospital and residential home visits. Not required anywhere else including cinemas, shopping malls etc (the big shopping mall near me has some dozen or so entrances from the car parks so I would imagine that would be a bit difficult to do.)

They are publishing the differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated as well. They reported yesterday that over 50s had a 25 times higher chance of dying if not vaccinated and the story today is that 12 to 30 year olds have a 14 times higher chance of dying if not vaccinated.

Also reporting that studies have shown the Pfizer vaccine loses efficacy after 3 months although it is still at 60% by then. Don't know if that's just a story to get the unvaxxed done but, in any case, it is working as that story plus the introduction of covid passports has caused the uptake of the vaccine to take off again. They reported between 300 and 400 thousand unvaccinated in our region with 50,000 saying they wouldn't have it but have given 76,000 doses this week of the second vaccine along with the over 70s boosters and that's a rise of 26,000 or so from the previous week.
 
(...) Also reporting that studies have shown the Pfizer vaccine loses efficacy after 3 months although it is still at 60% by then. Don't know if that's just a story to get the unvaxxed done but, in any case, it is working as that story plus the introduction of covid passports has caused the uptake of the vaccine to take off again. (...)
That decline of efficacy to 60% after 3 months, is that "efficacy" against severe illness and hospitalization, or are they just talking about declines in the concentration of anti-bodies in the bloodstream? If it's the former, I haven't seen any reports about that in Canada.

If it's the latter (declines in anti-body concentrations), then that's normal and nothing to be particularly concerned about. Your immune system still has a "memory" of the vaccine and can produce new anti-bodies on demand relatively quickly. This is normal as it would not be practical for your body to have a high level of anti-bodies in your bloodstream all the time for every disease you've ever encountered.

Anti-body levels in the bloodstream are easy to measure however, so they will get reported on while the "memory" and system to reproduce them on demand are in places such as your bone marrow where they are harder to monitor.

I'm not ruling out the reports you are referencing, I'm just pointing out that what I've seen reported in Canada does not align with that. However, most of our population was vaccinated with a longer interval between first and second jabs (16 weeks in most cases) and studies have shown that to produce better immunity than short intervals such as 3 or 4 weeks. It's possible therefore for both situations to be correct.

However, I suspect that what is being reported is antibody levels, which is not the same thing as immunity (there is more to immunity than just antibodies) and the subject is not being well reported by the press who don't understand the details.
 
Here is the COVID-19 summary for Thursday.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Thursday

A new variant has been discovered in South Africa that appears to be spreading rapidly in the area around Pretoria and Johannesburg. The variant appears to have multiple mutations. The WHO will be discussing on Friday whether to give the variant a Greek letter name to use in reporting it. So far it is just known as B.1.1.529.
A new coronavirus variant has been detected in South Africa that scientists say is a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country's most populous province.
New variants arise all the time, so it is not known for sure yet if this one is significant. However, it does seem to be spreading rapidly and with the number of mutations it has existing vaccines may possibly be less effective against it. It should be emphasized however that this is still speculation.

The variant seems to be associated with gatherings of students, so it is possible that the rapid spread may simply be the result of social circumstances. I expect more information to start coming out over the next few days and weeks.

There are more details in this story:
South African scientists detect new COVID-19 variant
The UK have banned flights from South Africa in response.

Also in South Africa, vaccination rates are well below target, with only 41 per cent of adults fully jabbed so far. Currently they are doing 130,000 jabs per day, which is well below the target of 300,000. The problem isn't shortage of vaccine, as the government have had to delay deliveries as supplies were arriving faster than they could be used. There was no information in the story as to whether the problem was in organizing and delivery, or whether they are running out of people willing to be jabbed.
About 41 per cent of South Africa's adults have been vaccinated and the number of shots being given per day is relatively low, at less than 130,000. That's significantly below the government's target of 300,000 per day.

South Africa currently has about 16.5 million doses of vaccines, by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, in the country and is expecting delivery of about 2.5 million more in the next week, according to Nicholas Crisp, acting director-general of the national health department.

"We are getting in vaccines faster than we are using them at the moment," said Crisp. "So for some time now, we have been deferring deliveries, not decreasing orders, but just deferring our deliveries so that we don't accumulate and stockpile vaccines."

Germany has crossed the 100,000 deaths mark, the fifth country in Europe to do so.
In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of "a very sad day" as her country became the latest to surpass 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Germany is the fifth country in Europe to pass that mark after Russia, the United Kingdom, Italy and France.

In Brazil, mayors are deciding whether to cancel public New Years and February carnival celebrations. Rio de Janeiro is going ahead, but others are concerned about infection rates rising again as a result of big public gatherings.
In the Americas, mayors across Brazil are divided on whether to maintain end-of-year festivities and February's Carnival, traditionally celebrated lavishly in all four corners of the vast nation, with some fearing that now-low COVID-19 infection rates could roar back. Rio de Janeiro is moving forward with both New Year's Eve and its legendary Carnival, but others have opted for a more conservative approach.

New Zealand will reopen their borders over the next few months. Residents will be allowed to return without quarantine starting in January, and tourists will be allowed starting in April.
In Asia-Pacific, New Zealand will reopen its borders to the world over the coming months, allowing for the return of displaced residents from January and tourists from April. The South Pacific nation imposed harsh border restrictions when the pandemic began, effectively banning tourists and requiring returning residents to spend two weeks in a quarantine hotel run by the military.

Canada may approve vaccines for ages 6 months to 5 years in early 2022.
COVID-19 vaccine for babies and toddlers could be approved early 2022, chief public health officer says
Canada's chief public health officer says COVID-19 vaccines for babies and toddlers could be approved early in the new year, depending on how clinical trials play out.

In an interview with CBC Radio-Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam said a vaccine for some of Canada's youngest people could be a turning point in the fight against COVID-19.

"Children do have a robust immune system and I expect that they will mount a good immune response to the vaccine as well," she said

"And for their parents as well, it's sort of offering them some further hope."

Canadian health authorities are now recommending medical grade masks instead of cloth masks. Early in the pandemic there were severe shortages of PPE due to lack of domestic production leading health authorities to recommend reserving medical grade masks for health workers and telling the public to use cloth masks. Now that there are domestic manufacturers however, advice has changed to stop using cloth masks and to use medical grade masks instead. Cloth masks are of highly variable effectiveness because they use different materials while medical grade masks provide better and more consistent protection.
Canada's mask guidance has changed. Here's why you might need an upgrade
Now that the cold weather has hit and people are moving inside, many doctors and scientists are urging Canadians not only to resist getting complacent about wearing masks to protect against COVID-19 — but also to take a closer look at whether that cloth mask is keeping you and others as safe as possible.

"In general, while non-medical masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, medical masks and respirators provide better protection," the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said on its COVID-19 mask information webpage, which was updated on Nov. 12.

The updated guidance also recommends medical masks or respirators for people "who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19" and those "at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 because of their living situation."
 
The following story is a report from Public Health Ontario.
Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 Following Vaccination in Ontario: December 14, 2020 to November 14, 2021

I think the following charts summarize the main points.

This shows cases by time since vaccination. The colours show different categories according to how it has been since the time of jab. Note that the number of infections declines exponentially with time since vaccination. Don't read too much into the right hand side of the chart as that period of time also has fewer people jabbed. The left side of the chart however covers a time period when most people were jabbed and you can see that as time increases the effectiveness increases.

2021-11-25_Versus-Time.png



After 14 days you are theoretically "fully vaccinated", but the vaccine continues to become significantly more effective over the following weeks. Keep this in mind when you read about fully vaccinated people having infections. Unless you know how long it was since their second jab you don't know whether they got infected during the time when the effects of vaccination were still building up.

It also shows why "wait until later" is a losing strategy, as it takes time for the vaccine to actually take effect.

The report mentions that since vaccination began on the 14th of December 2020 and up to the 14th of November 2021, 11,154,162 individuals in Ontario have become fully vaccinated. Of these 11 million and change, 17,596 have reported an infection. Of the people who have had third jabs (the elderly, etc.), just 40 have reported infections.


The following two charts are the ones I found the most illuminating. This one shows rate of infection per 100,000 for both vaccinated (blue line) and unvaccinated (black line) from mid-February to mid-November. Ignore the area in the grey bar on the right, as the data there is subject to reporting delays.
2021-11-25_Confirmed-Cases-of-COVID-19-Following-Vaccination.png


The period starting in August is particularly interesting. Most people were jabbed by then. There is a significant wave of infection among the unvaccinated, but barely a blip among the vaccinated. This suggest to me that the pandemic might effectively be over if everyone was vaccinated.

Here is the same for hospitalizations.This is even more dramatic, showing how vaccination is even more effective when it comes to preventing severe outcomes.
2021-11-25_Hospitalizations.png


Again, look at the massive difference between the vaccinated versus unvaccinated.

As of Tuesday, 86.1 per cent of people in Ontario age 12 or over have had both jabs. The province will start reporting rates for age 5 to 11 soon.
 

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