CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant to become dominant in U.S. #SootinClaimon.Com

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CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant to become dominant in U.S.

Health & BeautyJan 17. 2021

By The Washington Post · Joel Achenbach

The highly contagious variant of the coronavirus first seen in the United Kingdom will become the dominant strain in the United States within about two months, its rapid spread heightening the urgency of getting people vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted Friday in its most sobering warning yet about mutations in the virus.

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In every scenario explored by the CDC, the U.K. strain, which British researchers estimate is roughly 50% more transmissible than the more common coronavirus strain, will account for a majority of cases in the United States by some point in March.

The CDC released modeling data to back up its forecast showing a rapid spike in infections linked to the U.K. strain. The agency said the emergence of these mutation-laden variants requires greater efforts to limit viral spread – immediately, even before the U.K. variant becomes commonplace.

So far, no variant is known to cause more severe illness, although more infections would inevitably mean a higher death toll overall, as the CDC made clear in an informational graphic released Friday: “MORE SPREAD – MORE CASES – MORE DEATHS,” it said.

The CDC report “speaks to the urgency of getting vaccines out. It’s now a race against the virus,” said William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Scientists both in and out of government have stressed the need for the public to stick to proven methods of limiting viral spread, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds and having good hand hygiene.

“We know what works and what to do,” Jay Butler, the CDC deputy director for infectious diseases, said Friday.

The emergence of highly contagious variants has grabbed the full attention of scientists, who in recent weeks have warned that these mutations require closer surveillance. The CDC and its partners in private and academic laboratories are ramping up genomic sequencing efforts to gain better awareness of what is already circulating. Experts think there could be many variants containing mutations worth a closer look.

“This is a situation of concern. We are increasing our surveillance of emerging variants. This virus sometimes surprises us,” Butler said.

Mutations could limit the efficacy of vaccines or therapeutic drugs such as monoclonal antibodies. Scientists believe vaccines will probably remain effective because they produce a robust immune system response, but such reassurances have been paired with cautionary notes about how much remains unknown.

The coronavirus mutations are not unexpected, because all viruses mutate. There are now several “variants of concern” receiving scrutiny, including ones identified first in South Africa and Brazil, and U.S. officials have said genomic surveillance is still ramping up here and that there may be other variants in circulation, not yet identified, that are enhancing transmission.

“We’re going forward with the assumption that these three variants that we know about now are not going to be the only variants that emerge that are of concern to us,” Greg Armstrong, head of the CDC’s strain surveillance program, said Friday.

The CDC model suggests that the level of pain and suffering in late March, when the new variant is forecast to be dominant, depends on actions taken today to try to drive down infection rates.

The emergence in recent weeks of mutation-laden variants has alarmed the CDC and the scientific community. Because the threshold for herd immunity depends in part on how infectious a virus is, the emergence of a more transmissible strain can prolong efforts to crush a pandemic.

There has been particular scientific focus on the United Kingdom variant, known as B.1.1.7, which has been spreading with stunning speed in Britain, Denmark and Ireland and has been identified in dozens of countries. The United Kingdom conducts extensive genomic sequencing, and first detected the variant, which has 17 mutations, in September. But it was not flagged as a “variant of concern” until December, when it began circulating at explosive rates and quickly became dominant among the coronavirus infections in southern England.

Scientists say B.1.1.7 has mutations in the “receptor binding domain” of the virus, and this may be enhancing the ability of the virus to bind with cells in the human body. There is evidence it leads to higher viral loads, which in turn could boost the amount of virus that a person is shedding, or prolong the period in which someone can transmit the virus.

None of these mutations appears to change the basic mechanics of infection, and people should stick with common-sense measures to limit viral spread, said James Cutrell, an infectious-diseases physician at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

“The same things that worked to protect you from this virus are going to work for these new variants as well,” Cutrell said.

The CDC did not call for new government restrictions to crush the pandemic but emphasized the need to drive down infection rates.

“Increased SARS-CoV-2 transmission might threaten strained healthcare resources, require extended and more rigorous implementation of public health strategies, and increase the percentage of population immunity required for pandemic control,” the CDC wrote. “Taking measures to reduce transmission now can lessen the potential impact of B.1.1.7 and allow critical time to increase vaccination coverage.”

It is unclear if the winter surge in the United States is at a peak, but the numbers are staggering, with more than 200,000 new infections confirmed every day on average.

This is not the first warning from the CDC about variants of the virus, but it is the first to offer a plausible timeline for when and to what degree the mutations seen recently could complicate efforts to end the pandemic.

It shows that vaccination, performed rapidly, is critical to crushing the curve of viral infections. Without vaccines, under one CDC scenario, the country could be dealing with even greater levels of infections in May than in January.

But if public health agencies can ramp up to 1 million vaccinations a day, the CDC model forecasts that daily new infections will decline in the next few months – even with the extra boost from the highly contagious U.K. variant. It has been identified in 12 states, the CDC said Friday, and the agency has informed officials nationwide that they should assume the variant is present in their state.

The CDC and unaffiliated scientists have said they see no evidence that this particular variant is driving the winter surge in cases. So far, it has been involved in fewer than 0.5% of infections nationwide, testing data suggests.

Friday’s sobering CDC forecast is based on simple models and has limitations, the agency acknowledged.

The model looks at just the B.1.1.7 variant and does not consider the impact of other variants already discovered or not yet identified. The variants in South Africa and Brazil could prove to be even more problematic, though they have not been spotted so far in the United States. Researchers have noted the disastrous spike in cases in Manaus, Brazil, in recent weeks, despite the high percentage of the population believed to have been previously infected – a situation that raises suspicions, not confirmed by data, that some people who had recovered are becoming reinfected by the new strain.

The CDC model treats the United States as a single unit even though the virus is spreading at different rates locally and regionally. No one knows, even at the national level, the current “R,” the reproduction number, of the common coronavirus variant. That’s the number of people an infected person will infect, on average.

The CDC model used plausible reproduction rates of 1.1 (faster spread right now) and 0.9 (slower). The CDC then used British data to project that the U.K. variant is 50 percent more transmissible than the common variant. The model assumes that between 10 and 30% of the population has been infected already and recovered and now has immunity.

“It would be foolish to say that this is never going to end, and we might as well stop trying,” the CDC’s Butler said. “But there is reason to be concerned. We’re not out of the woods on this pandemic yet. We need to continue to press ahead.”

Coffee a big business in Thailand #SootinClaimon.Com

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Coffee a big business in Thailand

Health & BeautyJan 15. 2021

By THE NATION

The coffee market in Thailand has been expanding significantly, with new cafes popping up in every city.

A report from Nestle (Thai) shows that the coffee market in the Kingdom has risen by 10.7 per cent or by Bt60 billion in 2020 alone, despite the Covid-19 outbreak.

Coffee is grown in several parts of the country, with Chumphon province being the largest producer. According to Spring News, Chumphon has devoted 104,326 rai to the bean and produces as much as 11,537 tonnes of Robusta per year.

After Chumphon, the other biggest producer of coffee is Ranong, where 44,080 rai has been devoted to the crop and 4,667 tonnes is produced on a yearly basis.

Other provinces where coffee is grown are Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Nan in the North, where 42,215 rai, 23,125 rai and 22,500 rai has been devoted to the crop, producing 3,402, 2,283 and 3,825 tonnes per year, respectively.

Coffee plantations in the North grow the Arabica variety of coffee.

Insurance firm launches blood donation campaign amid new wave of infections #SootinClaimon.Com

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Insurance firm launches blood donation campaign amid new wave of infections

Health & BeautyJan 13. 2021Duangduen Kongkasawad Duangduen Kongkasawad

By The Nation

Thai Life Insurance has launched a blood-donation campaign to meet shortages amid the new wave of Covid-19 infections.

“To ensure blood supply meets demands in the country, Thai Life Insurance has launched a campaign encouraging people to donate blood every three months,” the company’s executive vice president Duangduen Kongkasawad said, adding that the aim is to procure 1.2 million cubic centimetres (cc) of blood this year.

The first blood-donation event will be held on the first floor of Thai Life Insurance headquarters on Bangkok’s Ratchadapisek Road from January 13 to 15. Donations will also be collected via a mobile unit parked in front of the company’s Rattanathibet branch on January 13. Blood donations will be collected from 9am to 3pm.

“To ensure donors’ safety, the company has implemented strict measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, such as screening each donor’s body temperature, collecting information on their history and providing enough space to implement social distancing,” she said.

Members of the company’s Life Fit programme can collect points for up to 30 per cent discount on next year’s premium after submitting their blood donation reports via the Thai Life Insurance smartphone app.

“There are still many people who are sick and need blood for treatment, so we invite healthy people to donate blood every three months,” she said.

EU-funded campaign urges consumers to beware of counterfeit cosmetics and beauty products #SootinClaimon.Com

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EU-funded campaign urges consumers to beware of counterfeit cosmetics and beauty products

Health & BeautyJan 12. 2021

By The Nation

Southeast Asia is awash with counterfeit beauty, skincare, and cosmetic products, many of which pose a real threat to the health and well-being of the people who use them and the economies they are trafficked in, according to the IP Key Southeast Asia project.

Funded by the European Union (EU), the project has launched the second phase of the #YourHealthIsPriceless campaign in the region to directly connect with consumers and help raise their awareness about the risks and dangers associated with substandard products.

An OECD-EUIPO 2017 report identified China and India as major producers of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, and Singapore as well.

In terms of counterfeit perfumes and cosmetics, an OECD-EUIPO 2017 report states that generally, China is the key producer of these products, that are shipped worldwide, but these goods are also produced in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Singapore. But, seeing as how counterfeiters use complex and constantly changing trade routes so as to avoid detection, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact origins and manufacturing sources of some products, the project said.

Due to the surreptitious manner in which counterfeit goods are produced and trafficked from one country to another, the value of counterfeit cosmetics and beauty products in a specific country would be very difficult to estimate, the report said. Nevertheless, the value and volume of counterfeit goods seized by Thai IP enforcement authorities, as reported by the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) Thailand, gives a good indication of the size and value of the counterfeiting industry in general. The IP Key SEA project is working with the DIP and Thai authorities in order to address the pressing issues of counterfeiting and piracy in the country.

According to the European Commission’s “Counterfeit and Piracy Watchlist 2018”, these physical marketplaces, including shopping venues and open-air markets, are still operating and selling counterfeit products of different brands, especially in this sector. These physical marketplaces are very well-known, open to the public, close to landmarks and tourist attractions, and easily accessible via public transportation.

The major venues include MBK Center in Bangkok, where allegedly more than 2,000 shops count 100-500 counterfeit items per shop, including a large number of fake cosmetics, personal care products, and beauty products. EU stakeholders have also reported the presence of huge quantities of counterfeit goods at Mike Shopping Mall in Pattaya, Phuket Night Market in Phuket, and Rong Kluea Market in Sa Kaeo province. Regarding other Southeast Asian countries, these fakes can be found for sale in Petaling Street Market in Kuala Lumpur, and Saigon Square Plaza in Vietnam, for instance.

But it’s not just the physical marketplaces that pose a problem; these fake goods are easily available across a number of online shops, which adds another level of complexity to stopping the incessant trade of these poor quality and health endangering-products. Only through heightened consumer awareness can this marketplace also be cut off as a contributor to the problem, the report said.

“The first phase of our #YourHealthIsPriceless campaign, launched last September, received a good reception and much interest from Thai media outlets and those in Southeast Asia and the EU, which is helping us communicate with the public and spread the message of just how important consumer vigilance is to help stop the trade of these dangerous products. On top of our social media efforts during the first phase, we also partnered with young Thai micro-influencers to connect with people of all ages, and communicate relevant information to them and make them aware of the importance of safeguarding their health and well-being by only purchasing genuine products,” said Tiago Guerreiro, IP Key SEA Project leader.

In this second phase of the #YourHealthIsPriceless IP Key SEA campaign, the focus will be on starting conversations in the community about the importance of intellectual property and trademarks and how they contribute to protecting them from poorly made pirated products. The campaign will share important insights such as helping people identify a counterfeit product. Local authorities are embracing the IP Key SEA project across Southeast Asia as they continue to make inroads to halt the import and sale of counterfeit cosmetics and beauty products, he said.

“We have been working closely with Southeast Asian IP authorities for three years now through the organisation of activities covering various areas of intellectual property, namely trademarks, copyright, and related rights, industrial designs, geographical indications, patents, plant variety protection/plant breeders’ rights, and IPR enforcement. We organise technical meetings, where we share best practices, and capacity building activities with our IP and law enforcement counterparts in order to assist them in addressing the challenges that arise in relation to the protection and enforcement of IP rights. It’s through these activities that the project promotes the adoption of international and EU best practices in the enforcement of IP rights, which would contribute to a more transparent IPR environment in the region,” Guerreiro added.

Combating the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods requires collaboration between countries and a united effort to cut off trade routes and implement more stringent systems and processes. One of the key missions of IP Key SEA is to help countries in the region to be better equipped to understand how they can bolster their law enforcement capabilities and work more effectively when it comes to cross-border IPR enforcement. By doing this they are not only protecting their citizens they are also protecting their economies, he said. For example, in the EU alone, the total revenue loss attributable to the legitimate sector averages annually at 17.9 billion euros and 3.5 billion euros total government revenue loss during 2013-17.

People can share their personal experiences alongside a description, photo, or video, including the hashtags #YourHealthIsPriceless #IPKeySEA #EUinThailand #EUForeignPolicy and tag the @IPKey_EU Twitter account or IP Key Facebook page.

Doctors warn high doses of Chong Cao can cause kidney failure #SootinClaimon.Com

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Doctors warn high doses of Chong Cao can cause kidney failure

Health & BeautyJan 12. 2021

By THE NATION

The Rural Doctors Society has warned that Chong Cao (Cordyceps), a traditional Chinese remedy for the kidneys, can cause renal failure if taken in high doses.

The society urged the government to monitor companies who advertise products made from Chong Cao, which is also sold as an aphrodisiac. Sales of the herbal remedy – which is derived from a fungus that feeds on caterpillars and can be high in arsenic – are strictly regulated in China.

In Thailand, Chong Cao is advertised as a remedy for kidney disease and is especially popular among elderly people.

However, according to the Rural Doctor Society’s Facebook page, Chong Cao can suppress kidney function.

On Tuesday, the society cited a recent article published in “Chalat Sue” (Buy Smartly) health magazine by Dr Mayuree Tangkiatkumjai from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Srinakharinwirot University.

Dr Mayuree said low estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR) were detected among a group of kidney patients who took Chong Cao once a day for a month. However, when they stopped taking Chong Cao, their kidney eGFR recovered to healthier levels.

The Rural Doctor Society thus urged the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to prevent advertisements related to Chong Cao from exaggerating the products’ qualities.

More virus-zapping robots are coming, and they’ll stick around #SootinClaimon.Com

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More virus-zapping robots are coming, and they’ll stick around

Health & BeautyJan 11. 2021The LG CHOi is an autonomous robot that can clean hotels, schools and retail stores. MUST CREDIT: Photo by LGThe LG CHOi is an autonomous robot that can clean hotels, schools and retail stores. MUST CREDIT: Photo by LG

By The Washington Post · Dalvin Brown

Businesses across a broad range of industries continue to turn up the dial on high-tech surface disinfection, and LG Electronics is among the latest tech companies to bank on the deep-cleaning boom extending beyond the pandemic.

The South Korean technology giant’s American arm is introducing an autonomous UV-C light robot designed to kill viruses on heavily touched surfaces, joining a long list of companies to deploy such gadgets amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

LG’s CLOi robot looks like a plug-in space heater on wheels and is set to be introduced Monday at CES, which is among the world’s biggest tech conferences and will be hosted online this year.

The device will ship to LG’s business customers in April – almost a year after several start-ups and organizations began hyping their automated germ-blasting machines in the face of a deadly respiratory virus. LG says it is right on time as industries remain crippled by the outbreak and Americans face months of vaccine distribution ahead.

“I don’t think that the concern over items like this is going to go away anytime soon,” said Mike Kosla, the vice president for hospitality at LG’s business division in the United States. “This product is going to have a strong, strong life ahead of it.”

While the novel coronavirus is primarily spread through the air, UV-C robots disinfect rooms and equipment with ultraviolet light. CLOi will be LG’s first robot to be rolled out in the United States, and it would not have existed, LG says, had the pandemic not presented a new business opportunity.

Hospitals have relied on mechanical UV light cleaners for years. But since March, a growing number of malls, airports and hotels have spurred demand for a new wave of user-friendly, anti-contamination robots that could safely zap high-traffic areas with or without people in the room. Companies grew desperate to attract foot traffic with elaborate displays of cleaning.

A New Mexico school district is already using a UV robot by Xenex as a safety measure. MIT began work on its UV-C robot for schools and grocery stores in April. Other such robots have been spotted at airports and sports arenas, and more are on the way.

Sales of cleaning robots are projected to swell from $341 million in 2019 to more than $2.3 billion by 2025, according to a market advisory firm Mordor Intelligence. Most of the growth comes in health-care settings, the report said, but buyers include schools and industrial facilities.

Before the pandemic, demand for UV light robots outside hospitals did not exist, according to companies in the field. Analysts and tech firms say the robots are here to stay and will continue to crop up in new places as prices fall.

“I do believe there has likely been a slight paradigm shift in how people think about hygiene, as well as how corporations and governments approach sanitation-related issues,” said Tim Mulrooney, a commercial services equities analyst for William Blair.

The investment bank said in a research note that it expects the commercial cleaning market to settle at a higher level after the pandemic because of increased attention to hygiene and because of businesses signing long-term commercial cleaning contracts.

Hills Engineering, which developed a robotic arm system that sprays disinfectant and emits UV light, also will show at CES. On Jan. 21, Canada’s Prescientx will release its talking UV-C robots, dubbed “Charlotte” and “Violette,” that were created to kill germs in large public spaces.

“We started developing a UV robot in 2016, but there was no demand. It was ahead of its time,” said Barry Hunt, the chief executive of Prescientx. “Now there are all kinds of companies, probably 100 companies, around the world that are all jumping into that market because of covid.”

LG’s upcoming device has a built-in motion sensor that shuts it off when people are around, and it is meant for restaurants, corporate offices and retail stores. It can navigate around tables, chairs and other furniture by itself, generally disinfecting a room’s touchable surfaces in up to 30 minutes.

The company developed the project in eight months, building on various other overseas robotics projects. When it does launch, it’ll face a wave of competition.

LG says it will be more affordable than comparable products on the market, which can cost as much as $100,000 per unit.

The virus that causes the illness covid-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets in the air, not through surfaces, according to the World Health Organization. The gadgets may make people feel safer and could be an added layer of protection in an era when cleanliness is top of mind.

A sustained market for cleaning robots hinges on the pandemic having a lasting impact on the American psyche, analysts say.

Part of what is expected to keep these boxy, light-emitting cleaners around is the notion that people will not be as quick to forget the pandemic compared with other outbreaks such as SARS and Ebola. Health experts say outbreaks of infectious diseases are becoming more common, so a fleet of robotic germ fighters will be around when the next one hits.

“If anything, this should be something that allows us to be better prepared,” said John Rhee, the general manager of UBTech Robotics, a firm offering a range of humanoid “anti-epidemic” gadgets. “One of the things that companies can do is develop products and become a part of a government’s core strategy on what to bring out of the warehouse when the next one occurs.”

Sinovac’s covid shot proves 78% effective in Brazil trial #SootinClaimon.Com

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Sinovac’s covid shot proves 78% effective in Brazil trial

Health & BeautyJan 08. 2021Dimas Tadeu Covas, director of the Butantan Institute, from left, Jean Gorinchteyn, Sao Paulo's health secretary, and Joao Doria, Sao Paulo's governor, hold boxes of the Sinovac Biotech coronavirus vaccine at Guarulhos International Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 19, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Jonne Roriz.Dimas Tadeu Covas, director of the Butantan Institute, from left, Jean Gorinchteyn, Sao Paulo’s health secretary, and Joao Doria, Sao Paulo’s governor, hold boxes of the Sinovac Biotech coronavirus vaccine at Guarulhos International Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 19, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Jonne Roriz.

By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Andre Romani

The experimental vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech was shown to be 78% effective against covid-19 in late-stage Brazil trials, the most definitive result so far on the shot’s efficacy after previous data sparked confusion and doubt.

The protection rate, which was reported by newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo on Thursday and confirmed by Sao Paulo state officials, was derived from Sinovac’s most advanced phase III trials in Brazil, involving about 13,000 participants. The number is below the near 95% effectiveness seen in the mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.

Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria is attempting to move quickly while the central government delays presenting concrete vaccination dates. Almost 11 million doses of Sinovac’s vaccine, called CoronaVac, have already been shipped to the country. Doria, a political rival of Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, plans to obtain swift approval and begin vaccinating the state of some 45 million people on Jan. 25. Pressure from other governors led the health ministry to include the shot, which has been publicly shunned by Bolsonaro, to the country’s vaccination plans.

Conflicting and incomplete information from Sinovac’s trials last month created confusion over exactly how effective its shot is in protecting people sickened by the novel coronavirus. Researchers in Brazil delayed releasing complete data on the so-called CoronaVac shot in late December, saying only that it was found to be more than 50% effective. Sao Paulo state Health Secretary Jean Gorinchteyn later said the vaccine “didn’t reach 90%” efficacy. Further confusing matters, Turkey said its trial showed an estimated efficacy rate of 91.25%, though that was based on only 29 cases.

The release of more definitive data on the vaccine’s efficacy was delayed because the Beijing-based vaccine developer needed to reconcile results from different trials using varying protocols, according to a person familiar with the matter.

While Sinovac’s disclosure now provides a clear picture of its vaccine’s efficacy and should shore up confidence in countries where it has inked supply deals like Indonesia and Brazil, Chinese developers’s lack of timely and clear disclosures have contributed to a lack of trust in their shots.

China has already administered more than 4.5 million doses under emergency use authorization, and is aiming to inoculate 50 million people against the virus by early February, ahead of the annual Lunar New Year holiday.

Both Sinovac and state-owned developer China National Biotec Group Co., whose shot last week became the country’s first to be approved for general public, have seen conflicting data disclosed on their vaccines. CNBG said its vaccine is effective in preventing covid-19 in 79.3% of people, less than the 86% reported earlier from its trials in the United Arab Emirates.

Sinovac can make more than 600 million doses a year at its production facilities in China. The company has orders from countries involved in vaccine trials, including Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia, and will also supply Singapore and Hong Kong in addition to the Chinese mainland.Sinovac and CNBG’s inactivated vaccines use a killed version of the coronavirus to stimulate the body’s immune response. They can be stored at refrigerated temperature (2 to 8 degrees Celsius), making them potentially better choices for distribution and use in the developing world than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna that require deep freezing.

Coronavirus caseload average sets another record in Washington region #SootinClaimon.Com

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Coronavirus caseload average sets another record in Washington region

Health & BeautyJan 08. 2021Registered Nurse Maryanne Morgan, left, gives a shot to Susan Dodge, a midwife, right, as Montgomery County administered 4,000 doses on Dec. 30. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Bill O'Leary.Registered Nurse Maryanne Morgan, left, gives a shot to Susan Dodge, a midwife, right, as Montgomery County administered 4,000 doses on Dec. 30. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Bill O’Leary.

By The Washington Post · Rachel Chason, Jenna Portnoy

WASHINGTON – The number of new coronavirus infections continued to rise Thursday across the region as the number of recent daily cases set a record.

The District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia added 8,617 new daily cases – the third most in a day since the start of the pandemic – sending the seven-day average soaring to 7,725. It’s the eighth consecutive day the recent average has risen across the region.

Compared to last week, the average of new daily cases is up 19% in D.C., 21% in Maryland and 29% in Virginia.

The increase comes as the distribution of vaccines continues across the region.

Virginia hospitals have administered more than 102,900 doses of the coronavirus vaccine in the three weeks since shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccinations arrived in the state, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. Starting with the first shipments to Virginia in mid-December, the state’s 67 hospitals have received more than 269,000 doses, the association reported Thursday.

The Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses 21 days apart, while the Moderna vaccine is administered in two doses 28 days apart. Hospitals already have begun administering some of the 72,150 doses of the Pfizer vaccine they received Dec. 31.

“It is important to understand that in addition to responding to the current covid-19 surge, Virginia hospitals are also leading the way on a complex vaccination process that involves many moving pieces,” Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association President and CEO Sean Connaughton said.

The process includes coordination of temperature-controlled shipment and delivery of the vaccine, storage in ultracold conditions, redistribution to other health-care facilities and scheduling vaccination clinics.

In Virginia, three groups are responsible for vaccinating the public: Hospitals give the vaccine to front-line clinicians at greatest risk of exposure before vaccinating other health care professionals. CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are coordinating vaccinations for staffers and residences of long-term-care facilities. The Virginia Department of Health and local health districts, with help from hospitals, are overseeing vaccinations for other health professionals.

In Maryland, 98,536 people had received the first dose of the vaccine as of Thursday, according to that state’s vaccine distribution portal.

In D.C., 16,989 vaccine doses have been administered. The city’s health department reports that 40,075 doses have been delivered to health-care providers.

D.C. added 252 new infections Thursday, Maryland had 2,745 new cases and Virginia added 4,728. D.C. reported two new deaths, Virginia reported 49 and Maryland had 41.

The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus ticked upward in D.C. and Virginia on Thursday, with 278 people hospitalized in D.C. and 3,000 in Virginia. Maryland had 1,834 people hospitalized Thursday, down slightly from 1,862 a day earlier.

The Washington suburbs continue to be among the hardest-hit jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, with Prince George’s County, by far, leading the state in the total number of reported coronavirus cases, including 3,190 in the past seven days. Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction, has added 3,057 in the past seven days.

When adjusted for population, Prince George’s is third among Maryland jurisdictions in terms of cases per 100,000 residents, behind Alleghany and Somerset counties, while Montgomery County is 10th.

In Virginia, Fairfax County has reported the most cases in Virginia since the start of the pandemic, with 3,258 infections in the past seven days.

Moderna’s covid vaccine wins backing of EU drugs regulator #SootinClaimon.Com

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Moderna’s covid vaccine wins backing of EU drugs regulator

Health & BeautyJan 07. 2021The Moderna covid-19 vaccine in Delray Beach, Fla., on Dec. 30, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Saul Martinez.The Moderna covid-19 vaccine in Delray Beach, Fla., on Dec. 30, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Saul Martinez.

By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Naomi Kresge

Moderna’s covid-19 vaccine won the backing of the European Union drugs regulator, clearing the way for a second weapon in the bloc’s fight to stem the pandemic.

The recommendation was announced by the European Medicines Agency on Wednesday. The European Commission is working “at full speed” on the final clearance step, President Ursula Von Der Leyen said in a tweet.

EU leaders are facing growing pressure to speed up clearance and deployment of vaccines to tame a virus resurgence across the continent. The 27-nation bloc began immunizations last week with the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, but the pace of the rollout has been uneven, prompting unfavorable comparisons with the U.K. and U.S.

France had vaccinated fewer than 10,000 people so far, compared with more than 300,000 in Germany, heaping pressure on President Emmanuel Macron to accelerate the deployment. The U.S., by contrast, has immunized more than 5 million people, and Britain more than 1.3 million.

Moderna shares rose 2.6% before U.S. exchanges opened. The vaccine was developed with the National Institutes of Health and is given in a two-dose regimen. Like the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, it’s based on messenger RNA technology that previously hadn’t been used in immunizations. The Moderna shot was cleared for emergency use by U.S. regulators on Dec. 18.

“This vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency,” Emer Cooke, the EMA’s executive director, said in a statement. “We will closely monitor data on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine to ensure ongoing protection of the EU public. Our work will always be guided by the scientific evidence.”

The EU recently announced that it would trigger an option for 100 million additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, raising the total from the companies to 300 million. It’s also negotiating a deal that could as much as double that amount, people familiar with the talks said Tuesday.

The bloc has ordered 160 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, the company said last month.

Moderna will likely start delivering doses within the next week, German health minister Jens Spahn said Wednesday. Germany expects to get more than 50 million doses, he said.

Shots from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford are also anticipated, though it may be some weeks before they’re approved. After the EMA said last week it hadn’t received enough information to review the Astra-Oxford vaccine, Astra submitted a “substantial” data package and said it would work closely with the EMA to support the start of a formal application process.

Vaccines are considered the ultimate weapon against the coronavirus, which has infected more than 86 million people worldwide and killed more than 1.86 million. But getting shots into people’s arms presents a huge logistical challenge and will take months, leaving governments little choice but to impose restrictions on public life to keep the pathogen from spreading out of control.

Britain, Germany and Italy all announced tougher measures to contain the spread of the virus this week.

“With every jab that goes into our arms, we are tilting the odds against Covid,” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a televised address late Monday. “The weeks ahead will be the hardest yet, but I really do believe that we are entering the last phase of the struggle.”

Young overweight people as vulnerable to Covid-19 as the elderly #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Young overweight people as vulnerable to Covid-19 as the elderly

Health & BeautyJan 05. 2021

By The Nation

Apart from age, body weight is another critical factor in aggravating the damage done by Covid-19, Asst Prof Opass Putcharoen, Head of Chulalongkorn Hospital’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Clinical Centre, said on Tuesday.

He explained that the decline in lung and T cell immunity functions, including diabetes, may trigger young people who are overweight to develop severe Covid-19 symptoms similar to the elderly.

“According to a study by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US, Covid-19 patients who have body mass index over 35 have been admitted to the hospital more than others,” he said.