Fear of fourth-wave COVID-19 grips U.S, others

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As hospitalisations and deaths increase

THE global COVID-19 death toll has passed the grim tally of 2.79 million with a figure of 2,792,268 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

  The World Health Organisation said that a long-awaited report into the origins of COVID-19 following a mission to China where the virus first emerged will be released publicly on today, but that further study is required.

  This was made known by the United Nations Secretary General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus yesterday.

  “As I have said, all hypotheses are on the table and warrant complete and further studies.”

  Meanwhile, infections have passed 127.6 million worldwide, with the US COVID -19 infections surpassing 30.3 million and death toll reaching 550,036, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

  The seven-day average of hospital admissions with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 increased in 25 U.S states plus the nation’s capital and Puerto Rico last week, compared with same period a week earlier, according to U.S Department of Health and Human Services data as at Saturday.

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  The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boss pleaded with Americans to wear masks and stick with COVID-19 mitigation measures, warning of impending doom as cases, hospitalisations and deaths begin to rise again.

  Rochelle Walensky, speaking at a press briefing yesterday, fought back tears as she outlined a series of warning signals and said she was frightened about a looming fourth wave of COVID-19 cases.

  According to her, “the US trajectory looks similar to that in the EU a few weeks ago, before spikes in cases took hold.”

Source says, scientists from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have developed a COVID-19 rapid test that detects variants in the virus.

  The results are produced within 30 minutes and are about 10 times more accurate than rapid antigen tests currently in use, according to the The Straits Times’ report.

  In France the number of people in intensive care units with COVID-19 since the second lockdown in November and the number of people in hospital with the disease has hit new height, reaching over 600 in a day, the biggest jump in more than four months.

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  German Chancellor, Angela Merkel threatened to centralise Germany’s pandemic response as several of the country’s federal states refuse to implement an emergency brake mechanism on easing restrictions in spite of rapidly rising infection rates.

 “We need action in the federal states, We need to take the appropriate measures very seriously. Some states are doing it; others are not yet doing it.” The German leader said.

  Meanwhile, global report says, COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. effectively prevented coronavirus infections, not just illness, with substantial protection evident two weeks after the first dos. Two doses of the vaccines provide as much as 90 per cent protection against infection, according to data from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published yesterday. Earlier clinical trials had established that the shots also prevent illness, hospitalisations, and deaths.

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  Ethiopia said it will today receive 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses from China’s state-backed China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). Ethiopia is struggling to administer shots and tame infections, which have risen to the highest number of new cases in the last week of any country on the continent.  

  In a related development, health officials in at least five Canadian provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, are halting the rollout of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to people under 55 over concerns it could lead to blood clots in rare circumstances. The move could cast further doubt about the safety of the vaccine after concerns were raised in Europe about potential side effects. It’s also another setback for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vaccine effort, which is off to the second-slowest start among group of seven nations.

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