COVID-19: What you need to know about the pandemic this week
- This weekly roundup of COVID-19 news brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Top COVID-19 news: Pandemic leaves millions of children without routine vaccinations; Over 2 billion doses of vaccine administered in India; What is BA.5?
1. How COVID-19 affects the world
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have topped 562.4 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now exceeded 6.36 million. More than 12.22 billion doses of vaccination have been administered worldwide, according to Our World in Data.
The Czech Republic will start offering a second COVID-19 booster injection from today. It will be recommended for people over 60 and for people in risk groups.
An estimated 3.5million people in Britain had COVID-19 in the last week of data available, the Office for National Statistics said on July 15.
Canada has authorized Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for babies as young as 6 months old.
Japan has warned that a new wave of COVID-19 infections appears to be spreading rapidly and urged people to be cautious. “Coronavirus is spreading across the country and in all age groups,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.
New Zealand is offering free face masks and rapid antigen tests in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19 and protect the country’s health system.
Adapted versions of established COVID-19 mRNA vaccines that treat two variants in a single injection will soon offer people better protection than currently available vaccines, a European health official said last week.
The Pan American Health Organization warned last week of the rising number of COVID-19 cases caused by the highly infectious BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, even as the total number of cases declined. in the Americas.
More than 2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered in India, the news coming as infections in the country hit a four-month high.
Australia will reinstate payments to casual workers who must quarantine due to COVID-19.
2. Millions of children are missing out on routine vaccinations
Around 25 million children around the world missed routine vaccinations in 2021 as COVID-19 continued to disrupt health care around the world.
That’s 2 million more than in 2020, when the pandemic caused lockdowns around the world, and 6 million more than before the pandemic in 2019, according to new figures released by the United Nations Fund for Health. Childhood (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization.
UNICEF described it as the biggest drop in immunization levels in a generation, bringing coverage rates back to levels of the early 2000s.
“I want to push the emergency through,” UNICEF senior immunization specialist Niklas Danielsson told Reuters. “This is a child health crisis.”
3. What is the BA.5 variant?
The latest report from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that the BA.5 variant was responsible for 52% of sequenced COVID-19 cases worldwide at the end of last month, up from 37 % In a week. In the United States, it is thought to cause around 65% of new infections.
BA.5 is not new, however – it was first identified in January and the WHO has been tracking it since April.
It is a sister variant of the Omicron strain that has been dominant since late 2021 and, like BA.4, is particularly good at evading immune protection afforded by vaccination or previous infection. “BA.5 has a growth advantage over other Omicron sublines that are circulating,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, said during a press briefing last week.
However, Van Kerkhove pointed out that there is no evidence that BA.5 is more dangerous than other Omicron variants.
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