The delta variant of the coronavirus is as contagious as chickenpox, according to the CDC. The amount of virus in infected people is significantly higher than in the original variant and an infection can be passed on more easily, according to an internal CDC presentation published by the Washington Post has been published.
The authority’s findings, however, do not call into question the effectiveness of the vaccines: Even with Delta, these continue to protect against severe disease or death with a high degree of probability. The protection against infection also exists, but seems weaker. In addition, the CDC comes to the conclusion that Delta is probably more dangerous than the original virus and that sick people experience more severe courses. One of the slides read that “it must be recognized that the war has changed”.
Most recently, the CDC had adjusted its guidelines in view of the widespread use of the Delta variant and recommended that people who have been vaccinated again wear masks in many closed rooms. This was based, among other things, on the results of a study published on Friday on a corona outbreak in the state of Massachusetts, said CDC boss Rochelle Walensky. According to the study, 469 infections were identified in the outbreak around several major events, almost 75 percent of them in people with full vaccination protection and the majority with the Delta variant.
The top corona expert in the US government is now hoping for regular approval for common vaccines by mid-August. Several months have passed since the emergency approval, says Anthony Fauci of the Reuters agency. Regular approval would give doctors greater freedom of action for any third vaccinations. Pfizer / Biontech and Moderna, among others, have applied for normal approval from the US FDA. (07/30/2021)
Israeli President Herzog receives third vaccination
After Israel’s decision to give older people a third corona vaccination, President Izchak Herzog was the first to receive his booster vaccination. In view of the rising number of infections, Israel had previously announced that it would give 60-year-olds and older cohorts a third vaccination against the coronavirus. This applies to patients who received their second vaccination dose at least five months ago, said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. With the 60-year-old Duke, his wife Michal, who was the same age, was vaccinated again.
Herzog said the booster vaccination was “critical to creating a life under as normal circumstances as possible in this very challenging pandemic.” Bennett stressed that Israel is ready to share any information from this step with others. A team of experts had recommended such a booster vaccination with the Biontech Pfizer preparation, although there is still no corresponding FDA requirement. The general vaccination campaign in health insurance companies should start within a few days, according to Bennett. According to the head of government, 2,000 people with immunodeficiency have already received such a third dose in Israel without any serious side effects.
The background to the decision are figures from the ministry, according to which the effectiveness of the Biontech / Pfizer vaccination used in Israel has declined sharply since the beginning of June. According to the ministry, the vaccination only prevents corona infection by 39 percent and serious illnesses by 91 percent. At the same time, the more contagious Delta variant is spreading in the country, it said. However, government experts also criticize the fact that the effectiveness figures are not scientifically collected.
The number of new corona infections reported in Israel within one day has already exceeded the 2000 mark for four days in a row. On Friday morning, the Ministry of Health reported 2,140 new infections for the previous day. Almost 58 percent of the population are fully vaccinated. (07/30/2021)
US President Biden urges government employees to vaccinate
Vaccinations are now almost a requirement for millions of US government employees. Those who are not vaccinated represent a “problem”, warned US President Joe Biden. In view of a new wave of corona and a faltering vaccination rate, the government is urging employees to vaccinate with new rules. Employees who cannot provide proof of vaccination will in future always have to wear a mask and be tested for a possible infection once or twice a week, announced Biden.
The regulation for the more than two million civilian employees of the government therefore also applies to employees of contractual partners who work in government institutions. Unvaccinated employees are also said to be subject to severe restrictions with regard to business travel. With the strict rules, the White House apparently wants to make vaccinations the only convenient solution – but without explicitly relying on a politically controversial vaccination requirement. Biden emphasized, however, that the government supports companies that want to impose compulsory vaccination for their employees. “We all want our lives to get back to normal, and fully vaccinated workplaces will get that back quickly.”
Biden now also instructed the Ministry of Defense to check when the armed forces could impose a compulsory corona vaccination. The Pentagon immediately stated that the same strict rules would apply to all employees and soldiers as to federal employees. Minister Lloyd Austin will also initiate consultations on when and how vaccination can be made compulsory, it said.
In order to increase the vaccination rate in the population, Biden also called on states and municipalities to pay a reward of 100 US dollars (85 euros) to each newly vaccinated person. This will be the case in New York from this Friday. “If incentives help us defeat this virus, then I think we should use them,” said Biden. If more people are vaccinated, the whole country will benefit. Many states and municipalities have already offered numerous incentives to increase the vaccination rate – including millions in profits.
Biden urged the Americans to vaccinate: “Vaccinations are the very best defense to avoid getting seriously ill with Covid-19.” Vaccination is the only way to defeat the pandemic. The delta variant of the coronavirus is “highly contagious” and leads to many diseases among unvaccinated people. It is now a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” in the USA, stressed Biden. About 99 percent of all corona deaths were not vaccinated. “This is an American tragedy. People who don’t have to die die and will die,” said Biden. The president said the government had more than enough vaccine for all Americans. “It’s a shame. It’s such a shame to waste this blessing.” (07/30/2021)
More than 200 infected people after the outbreak at the airport in China
The Delta variant is spreading further in China from the airport in the metropolis of Nanjing. As reported by Chinese state media, at least 200 infections have been detected in five Chinese provinces that are believed to be linked to the outbreak in Nanjing. The first infections were detected last week in airport employees in the metropolis of nine million. It has been suggested that the virus arrived in Nanjing via a flight from Russia.
Most of the cases discovered are still limited to Nanjing, but individual infections were also found in other cities in travelers who had returned from the region. Two infected people were also reported in the capital Beijing.
The authorities called for unnecessary travel to be avoided. In addition, strict quarantine rules have been imposed for returnees from Nanjing, where the entire population has had to be tested for the virus twice since last week.
For more than a year, life in China, where the first infections with the new virus worldwide were discovered in December 2019, has largely returned to normal. The authorities pursue a strict “zero covid policy”: In the event of outbreaks, immediate response is given with mass tests, exit restrictions, contact tracing and quarantine. There are also strict restrictions for those entering the country who have to be in a quarantine facility for at least two weeks.
However, the highly contagious Delta variant has recently pushed the authorities to their limits several times. In the past few weeks, there had already been local outbreaks of the variant in the southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Yunnan.
The state of emergency in Japan will soon apply in other prefectures
Japan’s government plans to change the state of emergency by August 31 and expand it to three prefectures near the Olympic host city of Tokyo and the western prefecture of Osaka. Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who leads Japan’s pandemic response, suggested this before a panel of experts. He wanted to curb the sharp rise in coronavirus cases across the country by all means, the minister said. The Japanese capital reported a record 3865 infected on Thursday. (07/30/2021)
Google and Facebook impose compulsory vaccinations for employees in the USA
The employees of the internet giants Google and Facebook in the USA have to get vaccinated against the coronavirus before returning to the offices. The companies communicated this independently of one another. Google boss Sundar Pichai said the regulation will initially affect the US, but will also apply to other regions in the coming months as soon as vaccinations are widely available there. As a result of the recent increase in the number of new corona infections in the USA due to the Delta variant, Google is also postponing the planned larger return to the offices until October 18, as Pichai explained. Apple, on the other hand, had already postponed this by an initial month last week, now until October. However, the company has not yet announced any compulsory vaccination.
On Facebook, HR director Lori Goler said that the implementation of mandatory vaccinations for employees in the US offices will depend on “local conditions and regulations”. There will also be a procedure for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons. The procedure with a view to locations outside the US would be examined further, it said.
The vaccination campaign in the USA is now on the point – and that despite an abundance of vaccines and many vaccination incentives. Therefore, the states of New York and California as well as several cities have already announced compulsory vaccination for employees. According to President Joe Biden, the federal government is also examining compulsory vaccinations for its two million employees. According to the regulation under consideration, those who do not want to be vaccinated will have to undergo regular corona tests. However, Biden rejects the idea of a nationwide vaccination requirement. (29.07.2021)