The U.S. drug regulator said on Monday a panel of independent advisers will meet on April 6 to discuss considerations for use of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses. https://t.co/Ac23R4E6k3
— Reuters Health (@Reuters_Health) March 21, 2022
Health systems around the U.S. are rushing out same-day prescription deliveries for some people with COVID-19, with the goal of getting patients started on the pills within five days of symptoms appearing. But that tight timeline has several challenges. https://t.co/uInxqy2GOU
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 21, 2022
… In an interview with state broadcaster CCTV on Monday, Liang Wannian, head of the expert panel leading the country’s Covid-19 response, said those conditions included having better tools to fight the virus, the prevalence of a less dangerous strain and the pandemic becoming less serious abroad.
Liang said China would review factors collectively, including the degree of harm being caused by the virus, when weighing up changes to pandemic strategy or a return to normal.
“I know everyone is hoping for the pandemic to end soon, but the viruses and diseases themselves do not depend on our will,” Liang said…
Liang’s remarks came as China recorded about 42,000 local infections so far this month with the highly transmitted Omicron variant spreading to most provinces. About 95 per cent of the infections have been mild or asymptomatic, prompting discussion about whether China should adjust its response as the virus mutates in the same way other countries have relaxed or cancelled restrictions.
He said potential developments included the virus mutating into a weaker pathogen with low transmissibility and virulence, posing less danger to health and life, which would be the best-case scenario.
Or that vaccines become so effective they prevent not only severe illness, more severe clinical outcomes and death but stop infection altogether. Future Covid-19 drugs might block the disease at an early stage, Liang said.
“Globally, the epidemic in other countries [potentially] decreases and eases pressure on us to prevent outbreaks coming from overseas,” he said.
On Tuesday, China reported 2,281 locally transmitted symptomatic Covid-19 cases and a further 2,313 asymptomatic infections. About half the reported infections in recent days are yet to develop symptoms which Liang attributed in part to the strong intervention measures.
“They probably would have developed symptoms, but because we intervened and treated them in time to interrupt the disease course, they did not develop symptoms,” Liang said.
“You can’t assume the high proportion of asymptomatic infections is due to the virus itself. A significant portion … is due to the effectiveness of our prevention and control.”…
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 22, 2022
Hong Kong reported 14,152 Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, of which 9,856 were from rapid tests. The city added another 245 deaths.
— Hong Kong Free Press HKFP (@hkfp) March 22, 2022
Hong Kong is easing travel restrictions that were accelerating emigration: an acceptance that contradictory policies have ended in failure with infections rampant. If the mainland border doesn't reopen soon, people may keep leaving, says @petesweeneypro https://t.co/Fz34rpHj6W pic.twitter.com/XOPdLOEl82
— ReutersBreakingviews (@Breakingviews) March 21, 2022
… The Centre for Health Protection’s Chuang Shuk-kwan said during Sunday’s Covid-19 briefing that a recent report was “a bit misleading” and needed clarification, referring to an article published by Ming Pao earlier that day.
She said that, since the fifth wave began, the fatality rate for those who were unvaccinated was 2.58 per cent. The figure fell to 0.09 per cent for patients who had received two doses of Covid-19 jabs.
Among elderly aged 80 and above, the age group that constitutes an overwhelming percentage of Covid-19 deaths, even getting one shot of either the Sinovac jab or the German-made BioNTech vaccination considerably reduced the fatality rate by “almost three times,” Chuang added…
“The issue is not about which jab offers more protection. The most important thing is whether you get vaccinated,” Chuang said, citing figures based on the first 5,436 Covid-19 deaths since the fifth wave began…
Despite research on the lower effectiveness of Sinovac, more than 75 per cent of vaccinated elderly aged 80 or above have opted for the China-made jab, which is perceived to have fewer side effects.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who received three Sinovac jabs, has called on the public not to bring politics into “what is a scientific issue for the good of Hong Kong.”…
Hong Kong has reported 1,047,690 Covid-19 cases and 5,896 deaths, as of Sunday.
… While telemedicine is technically illegal in South Korea and has only been allowed under emergency COVID measures since 2020, the increase in its users and support from President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol who sees it as an “inevitable reality” suggest it may remain part of the healthcare system.
“It was really convenient to get treatment via a phone call and have drugs delivered through a single process. I wish this can be expanded even after COVID ends,” Kim said. “Making a trip to the hospital can be burdensome when you’re ill.”
The closest hospital designated for COVID home care patients that Kim can go to is an hour away by foot, but it only provides such treatment on Monday and Tuesday and is currently fully booked for the week.
A total 2 million people are under home care for COVID in the country. While there are two doctors per 1,000 people on average in South Korea, only six of 17 cities and provinces meet the average, showing how health care is thinner in many parts…
But telemedicine providers are few in South Korea, leading to long virtual queues. Kim, for example, had to wait three hours to get a phone call from a doctor.
“Although I had to wait hours in the virtual queue, still that’s better than not being able to receive any treatment … and I’ve got tonnes of work to do, which means I still wouldn’t have made it to the hospital,” Kim told Reuters…
President-elect Yoon, who takes office in May, has vowed to “make sure all Korean citizens can enjoy telemedicine”, fuelling hopes that the practice may become a permanent part of South Korea’s $203 billion health industry…
This time last year demand for Covid vaccines far outstripped supply. We’re entering a period where the reverse is true — which is bad news for vaccine makers still working on first generation vaccines. https://t.co/HJ7ozUwuBb
— Helen Branswell ?? (@HelenBranswell) March 21, 2022
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 21, 2022
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) March 22, 2022
Analysis: The strain of a seasonal flu pandemic — but every month https://t.co/ZT3yVqbzk4
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 22, 2022
An older woman turns from several seats away and yells, “can’t you read?” The person next to her sarcastically says, “is a miracle, he’s apparently immune to covid and can’t give it to anyone either!”
The first woman says, “call the authorities! They need to know!” 2/n
I’ll add now for context the man without the mask is youngish and white.
He responds, somewhat politely, “I don’t have a mask and I’m only going 3 stops.”
To which the woman yells, “how do you not have a mask with you after all this time?!” 3/n
Another man jumps in. “Did you just wake up from a coma?”
A woman jumps in. She’s got a British accent I think. I’m not sure what she says but everyone by her laughs.
The man says, “Mind your own business” but has yet to put the clothes around his face again. 4/n
Two, also young men, start singing about the maskless man. They’re improvising the song as they go. People are cheering them on. The maskless man has put back on the clothing around his face.
New people are getting on and are confused. 5/n
The singing is getting more intense. A new person is dancing.
The maskless man, now wearing a sweatshirt wrapped around his face, looks defeated. 6/n
Someone has gone for the attendant.
A small group is chanting, “Off the train. Off the train.” 7/n
And on the next stop, the man leaves (one stop early)
Philly be Philly. [Gritty gif] 8/8