COVID Highlights - Arabian Peninsula and Elsewhere

@ January 15, COVID-19 Deaths Per Million:

  • Italy: 1,338
  • UK: 1,263
  • USA: 1,199
  • Spain: 1,135
  • Germany: 542
  • Canada: 462
  • Saudi Arabia: 180
  • UAE: 74

January 15 - New York Times: "Participants in Moderna’s early clinical trials are being offered a booster shot." ... "People who received two shots of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in its earliest, Phase 1 clinical trial are being offered a third shot ... as part of a continuing study to determine whether repeated vaccinations are needed ... “We anticipate that an additional dose could further boost the levels of neutralizing antibodies, should such a boost be required, and that this is expected to be an advantage of mRNA vaccines,” ... "

January 14 - CTV News: "COVID-19 infection grants immunity for five months, U.K. study suggests ... "People who have been infected with COVID-19 are likely to be protected against catching it again for at least five months, according to a new study led by Public Health England (PHE). The study -- which has not yet been peer reviewed -- found that past infection was linked to an 83% lower risk of reinfection, compared to people who have not been infected before. But researchers warned that the protection was not absolute, meaning some people do catch the virus again, and that it was unclear how long any immunity lasts. It is also possible that those who have a degree of immunity against the virus may still be able to carry the virus in their nose or throat and therefore transmit it to others. ... "

January 14 - New York Times: "A W.H.O. team is in China to investigate the virus. It’s already meeting obstacles" ... "... The pandemic has hurt China’s reputation, with many foreign governments still angry that Beijing did not do more to contain the crisis in its earliest stages. So Chinese propagandists are trying to use the W.H.O. inquiry to help shore up China’s image and portray the country as a mature superpower. Complicating that effort could be new virus flare-ups in recent weeks that have prompted fresh lockdowns in China. ... "

January 13 - CNN: "Study reveals deep trauma among ICU workers in the UK ... "... The study -- which has not yet been peer reviewed -- was published Wednesday by researchers at King's College London. It analyzed the responses to an anonymous online survey in June and July of more than 700 doctors and nurses working in intensive care units (ICUs) across six different hospitals. Although nearly 60% of respondents reported good well-being, the study found that almost half of ICU staff reported symptoms consistent with a probable diagnosis of PTSD, severe depression or anxiety, or problem drinking.... "

January 13 - New York Times: "Facing new outbreaks, China puts more than 22 million under lockdown." ... "... By this week, the lockdowns had expanded to include another city on the edge of Beijing, Langfang, as well as a county in Heilongjiang, a northeastern province. Districts in Beijing itself, the Chinese capital, also shut down. More than 22 million people in all have been ordered to remain inside their homes — double the number affected last January when China’s central government locked down Wuhan, the central city where the virus was first reported, in a move that was then seen as extraordinary ...."

January 12 - CNN: "At least two gorillas have tested positive for coronavirus at San Diego Zoo" ... "Three animals are currently showing symptoms of the virus, and it is suspected that they were infected by an asymptomatic staff member, according to a press release. This is the first known instance of coronavirus in great apes... "

January 11 - CNN: "Three-quarters of Wuhan patients hospitalized for Covid-19 still had symptoms 6 months later, Chinese study finds" ... "Most patients who had been hospitalized with Covid-19 still suffered a variety of symptoms -- including fatigue and sleep difficulties -- six months after infection, a Chinese study has found. The study of more than 1,700 patients treated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the pandemic, shows 76% suffered at least one symptom months after they were discharged from hospital. ... "

January 11 - CNN: "WHO team investigating origins of the pandemic will arrive in China Thursday, Chinese officials say" ... "... "WHO expert group will visit China on January 14 to conduct joint scientific research with Chinese scientists on virus tracing," a statement from the NHC said. ... "

January 7 - Arab News: "Smoking heightens COVID-19 risk: Study" ... "A new study has found that smokers are more likely to develop COVID-19 symptoms and end up in hospital, contradicting previous research that suggested smoking reduces the risks posed by the virus. Researchers at King’s College London (KCL) analyzed data from more than 2 million people and found that smokers are more than twice as likely to end up in hospital from COVID-19, and 14 percent more likely to suffer from coughs, shortness of breath and fever. ... "

January 7 - New York Times: "Study says plasma infusions, administered early, can keep older patients from many severe effects" ... "Blood plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients can help older adults avoid getting seriously sick with the coronavirus — if the therapy is administered within days of the onset of the illness, a small but rigorous clinical trial in Argentina found. ..."

January 7 - CNN: "Open letter from US physicians calls on Biden administration to mail masks to all American homes" ... "...Ideally, a set of masks would be mailed to each household every month -- the costs of doing so pale in comparison to the pandemic's toll on lives and the economy,” the authors write...."

January 6 - CTV News: "Loss of smell in mild COVID-19 cases occurs 86 per cent of the time: study" ... "Some 86 per cent of people with mild cases of COVID-19 lose their sense of smell and taste but recover it within six months, according to a new study of over 2,500 patients from 18 European hospitals. ... The sense of smell reappeared after an average of 18 to 21 days, the study found, but about 5 per cent of people had not recovered olfactory function at six months."

January 6 - CNN: "US states call in National Guard as country hits daily Covid-19 death toll record" ... "As numbers climb, US governors are now taking new measures to get the distributed vaccines into arms faster, including mobilizing National Guard members and training more volunteers to administer vaccines. ..."

January 6 - New York Times: "The W.H.O. criticizes China for not letting its experts into the country." ... "The World Health Organization has criticized China for not authorizing a team of international experts to enter the country to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, a highly anticipated trip that has been months in the making. ...The Chinese government has yet to release crucial information about its own internal investigations into the virus’s origins, including data from animal samples taken in and around Wuhan."

January 5 - CNN: "Vaccine developed in India will be tested on children as young as two years old" ... "The Covaxin vaccine, which was developed by labs in India and given emergency approval on Sunday, will be tested on children as young as two, pending approval from India’s drug regulatory body, according to the developer and manufacturer Bharat Biotech. Bharat Biotech's chairman Krishna Ella said at a news conference on Monday that the company was planning to submit a proposal to India's drug regulatory body soon on its plan to start a clinical trial that would include 2- to 15-year-olds. ..."

January 5 - New York Times: "Vaccination drives are off to slow starts around the world" ... "But in the race to beat the virus, the virus is still way out in front. Around the world, inoculation efforts in many countries are rolling out slower than promised, even as the count of new infections soars and record numbers flood hospitals, placing a double burden on health care providers who have also been tasked with leading the vaccination push. ..."

January 4 - CNN: "New UK variant detected in at least 37 countries" ... "A new variant of coronavirus first discovered in the UK, also known as B.1.1.7, is present in at least 37 countries as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan, according to CNN's count. Experts say that while the variant appears to be more transmissible than other Covid-19 strains, there is no evidence it is deadlier or causes more severe disease...."

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