Moderna will ask regulators to authorize two small-dose shots for youngsters under 6. Early results from the study found that tots developed high levels of virus-fighting antibodies from shots containing a quarter of the dose given to adults. pic.twitter.com/SuZPRE29si
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 23, 2022
The number of new coronavirus cases globally increased by 7% in the last week, driven by infections in the Western Pacific, the WHO said. The rise is due to the more infectious omicron variant and the suspension of COVID-19 protocols in many countries. https://t.co/ogvg6Hk1Uu
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 23, 2022
The number of new coronavirus cases globally increased by 7% in the last week, driven largely by rising infections in the Western Pacific, even as reported deaths from COVID-19 fell, the World Health Organization said.
There were more than 12 million new weekly cases and just under 33,000 deaths, a 23% decline in mortality, according to the U.N. health agency’s report on the pandemic issued late Tuesday.
Confirmed cases of the virus had been falling steadily worldwide since January but rose again last week, due to the more infectious omicron variant and its subvariant BA.2, in addition to the suspension of COVID-19 protocols in numerous countries in Europe, North America and elsewhere.
Health officials have said repeatedly that omicron causes milder disease than previous versions of the coronavirus and that vaccination, including a booster, appears highly protective against severe disease.
The Western Pacific remained the only region in the world where coronavirus cases are rising, reporting a 21% jump last week, continuing weeks of increase. According to figures from last week, the number of new infections in Europe remained stable and fell everywhere else…
The WHO cautioned that with many countries dropping widespread testing programs, many infections are likely being missed and new case numbers should be interpreted cautiously.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, WHO emergencies director Dr. Michael Ryan said that even though some countries are seeing an exponential spread of COVID-19 prompted by the more infectious omicron subvariant BA.2, it is proving less devastating than previous waves of the virus.
“Countries that have high rates of vaccinating their vulnerable populations are weathering the transmission storm,” he said. “We’re not seeing that translate into pressure on the health systems or higher rates of hospitalization and death.”
China reported 2,054 new confirmed coronavirus cases on March 23, the country's national health authority said on Thursday, down from 2,667 a day earlier. https://t.co/OYo8u1mg9i
— Reuters Health (@Reuters_Health) March 24, 2022
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 22, 2022
… “It’s actually over,” said a netizen posting on WeChat under the username “Jasmine Tea”. “The common cold is more serious than this… The testing agencies want this to go on. The vaccine companies want to inoculate forever.”
The comments reflect the growing frustrations throughout China as authorities use all the tactics in their “zero-COVID” playbook to grapple with the more infectious Omicron variant.
As case numbers surge, members of the public are wondering whether the government’s increasingly complex “dynamic clearance” methods – including the continuous testing of residents – still work.
At a briefing last week, Wang Hesheng, vice-head of the country’s National Health Commission, said China’s increasingly refined tactics had reduced inconvenience.
“It shows that at the cost of the normal activities of very small numbers of people, and the control of movement in very small areas, what comes in exchange is normal production and normal life for the widest range of regions and people,” he said.
But there have been signs that a lack of clarity and consistency is exasperating the public, and China’s social media censors have been working overtime to try to clear the tide of complaints…
But China’s policies have caused more than mere inconvenience, with netizens increasingly willing to discuss how lockdowns led to tragedy.
A widely shared post on Weibo last week reported that a patient undergoing chemotherapy at the Shanghai Cancer Hospital died while locked down in her lodgings next to the hospital.
In posts since deleted, bereaved citizens also shared stories about the death of loved ones caused by COVID-related disruptions.
“My dad died of a stroke at the end of last year,” said one, posting under the name MaDDNa. “There was some hope of treatment. Unfortunately, we had to wait for a nucleic acid test report and missed the best treatment time.”
Hong Kong reported 12,240 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, down from more than 14,000 the previous day, as the city starts to ease some of the world's most stringent restrictions that have triggered an exodus of people and hurt business. https://t.co/kRzbVUcPkv
— Reuters Health (@Reuters_Health) March 23, 2022
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 24, 2022
Thread on the BA.2 wave in England. This is not just about cases.
—Hospital admissions increased 22% past week, may be decelerating
—Need for mechanical ventilation up 10%
—Deaths up 14% https://t.co/27v095AjJg
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) March 23, 2022
— World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific (@WHOWPRO) March 23, 2022
very excited to share this one: for @FiveThirtyEight, I looked back at the metrics that the U.S. has used to track COVID-19 over the last two years — and how our fractured public health system doomed each one. (1/5) https://t.co/wgzTYL8Dh9 pic.twitter.com/sqxwIrufQT
— betsy ladyzhets ? (@betsyladyzhets) March 23, 2022
— delthia ricks ? (@DelthiaRicks) March 24, 2022